Will Trust Ever Return?
There was a question one night at NAR- ANON about will you ever be able to let the addict return home for a visit or family event and feel comfortable? I believe it is possible. Our son has returned home on several occasions without any sign of an incident. If the addict really wants to continue the road to sobriety, you see changes in their behavior that help eliminate the distrust. In the beginning of his recovery all the stories and conversations centered around negative events or feelings. As he continued in his program we could see how he started to recognized people, places and things that were a danger to him. He learned very quickly that the long-time friends of his that were still using needed to be avoided at all cost. He knew all the places where he got high, bought drugs, and broke into cars to feed his drug needs.
Originally, when he first went to rehabilitation all the stories were negative. Conversations were of recent relapses or deaths that he had encountered. He found difficulty in finding work. He continued to have weekly migraines, depression and poor sleeping. He was not getting much out of IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) and he had very little positive things to report. For his mom and I, this was heart wrenching as hope for recovery looked grim.
There were things that were in our favor that he himself decided upon. He said right from the day we drove him to Tennessee that he wanted to make this journey the first time through. He also wanted no part of returning home. These were major in how he continued his journey. The bed to bed move from Tennessee where he detoxed to the rehab in Florida went without question. This was difficult on all of us as it was a week before Christmas. The NAR ANON group helped ease the pain of all that by explaining that the rehab facilities went out of their way to help, the addicts get through this difficult time away from family by having social activities and meetings twenty-four hours a day over Christmas. He would not be alone.
After eighteen months in rehabilitation we could see so many changes in his behavior and more and more positive stories and conversations surfaced. He had selected friends and places that were aids in his recovery. He reached out to people he met that had been successful and helped him when he was down. His sponsor and roommate were his lifelines. He had many new friends. He worked his steps, went to meetings and continued to gain strength in his battle.
Coming back to the question of trust, I believe it may return after a time. For me I no longer worry about visits. I believe he does get homesick but knows he needs his support group in Florida. He misses us and the rest of the family but has learned that he needs to become independent and move on to find a full life again. Does it hurt to see him have to go through this at such a young age? Most assuredly to try and rejoin society and carry the burden of knowing you will always be an addict is huge challenge. I have been able to accept trust with him. I have built a strong bond with him throughout this journey. Can he relapse? Absolutely, but I know he knows what to do should it happen. I think after seeing him divert several grave situations I considered triggers and how he managed them, he is so much stronger.
I cannot spend the remainder of my life fearful that he may relapse. When he and I started this journey, we included my deceased son in how he and I made decisions and sought to understand what addiction was all about. It was a journey to understand the behavior of each of us. Someone recently said to me that they wish they had my curiosity to try and understand addiction and get involved in so many different ways. My response was that it was not curiosity but the challenge to find answers or maybe some aid to solving this horrible disease. I also said that I took on this challenge knowing full well I will never see the end to drug addiction. My only hope is to see even one life saved if possible.
I must say, though I hate to, that I have not completely emptied my mind of him falling once again. He has managed numerous triggers and shown us his strength. I still live with the thought that as strong as he is can he handle my death or his moms.
Here is where I know the bond I’ve made with him is wonderful but scary. The loss of a father or mother creates instant emptiness and sadness. My parents passed after having a full life and I was much older. He is young and the impact may be more difficult to deal with. I trust him with returning home, seeing family, visiting friends. I feel confident he is okay. What I don’t know is those he has really attached himself to like his parents, sponsor or others, can he handle the pain and sadness? Each day of his sobriety helps minimize the fear.