Recently I read where church and community groups were organizing to step in and help people living in the streets and homeless become independent and rejoin society. This is of course a massive effort and I hope they are successful with their venture. One major point made in the piece I read was that some would be up to the challenges involved and other may see the task as so overwhelming and end up back in the very life they wanted to leave.
After finishing eighteen months, living each moment, day to day in a rehab facility in Florida, my son and his roommate who has become part of the family were given notice that they completed recovery and had sixty days to depart from the facility. Not sure of how all that comes about but no doubt money is involved at some point or need of beds. It now becomes decision making time. In most cases users arrive and depart with a duffle bag of belongings. Get ready, get set, go out into the big world and fend for yourself. Are they able to make the transition?
NAR-ANON expresses certain “suggestions” throughout meetings. Enabling is to be avoided. They do say that if your addict is in recovery, you may help. Believe me, they need help as much as they needed it in rehab. They finally start to gain some sense of reality and now face real situations. They may have been users since the teen years and have not a clue of the way of the world. As our son’s parents we made the decision to step in and help. Call it enabling but having lost one son, time and cost goes out the window. How much would I pay to have him back? I am guilty of insuring this son has every opportunity to continue recovery.
I spent over a month in Florida with my son and his roommate trying to assist them in transition. I’ve had to relearn many things myself during the time spent with them and the many individuals you deal with as you set things up with minimal issues. Their work schedules and hours left me with idle time. I decided I would attend NA and NAR-ANON meetings to get a different perspective on how things differ from those at home. I also wanted to meet with their sponsors who have been their life line these past months. I will address this subject at another time as it is more a session of learning for me.
My primary goal was to act as a mediator, advisor and help them learn to budget. I also acted a guarantee of the lease which was a crucial decision for them and myself as well. They agreed the rent would be sent to us bi-weekly and we would make sure payment was on time. The utilities, food, etc. were theirs to manage. What they had in their favor was eighteen months of sobriety, jobs, minimal savings and some furniture stored at their homes. It was enough to get them started. I had brought a trailer of furniture that had been stored in our basement. The family had provided pieces of furniture, lamps, silverware, pots and pans that they no longer needed. On their days off, we filled in other needs at the Goodwill, Restore, Salvation Army, and yard sales. I also helped them with shopping and learning to prepare economical meals. I will not go over all the learning sessions only to say it was very difficult and for two young men a huge endeavor.
They’ve been on their own for almost two years now and all payments are on time. They have moved to other better paying job still associated with user treatment centers. They made the choice to continue their recovery and have made new friends and reunited with family lost during the time of addiction. I only mention this as a good story, not to be mistook for the norm. My point is that with a proper amount of recovery time and regained trust as parents we should be able to help in some way we see suitable. We should not feel guilty. The goal for each of us is to return to sobriety and once again enjoy happiness.
As parent(s), family members, friends we have to decide when to step back in to the life of the users. You may set boundaries in all related matters concerned with the transition in order to minimize your own stress and that of the person active recovery. Everything dealing with addiction is choice. Hopefully, working together will prove successful.