Addiction and Family

Well, I haven’t provided an update on 25 in a week or two…so here goes.

He appears to be doing well.  He is not, as far as we can tell, actively working his 12 step program but insists he is “doing what he needs to do.”  I don’t know what that means toward staying clean and sober; however, I have accepted it is his recovery and have truly began treating him like I do my other son.  For me, that is a huge milestone!

MrsL and I can go days without hearing from 20 and really never worry about him.  Granted, anything is possible and you never know from day to day what life will bring but with 20 we are comfortable that he is growing up and on his way to a great life.  So, instead of me actively texting or calling 25 every day just to see what kind of response I get I have started a once a week text to him simply wishing him a good day & week.

The flip side of that coin is that he is working, going to school, and is on track to graduate!  He has stopped calling/texting us for financial support and is paying his own bills.  He hasn’t even called and asked for grocery money which in and of itself is a miracle as that boy loves his food and loves to eat.  So, I am cautiously hopeful that he is finally on the right path.

For example, out of the blue Saturday I got a text from him while at 20’s football game.  I am amazed I got the text as 20’s campus is truly out in the middle of nowhere in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and their campus is a Verizon zone.  We get spotty reception especially in the stadium but I digress.  The gist of his message was:  he has received major compliments from several customers at his current job (he went back in to serving at a restaurant/bar) and during the course of his lunch shift was asked by separate people to come apply for jobs with their companies in sales.  He asked for my help in putting together his resume.  I was both excited and proud.  He has the personality to be great in sales: he loves people, he genuinely engages with whoever he is talking to, and has the gift of gab.  One of the people offering him a job was the (and I don’t know the exact title or what they are called) lead agent in charge of a real estate sales office near where he works now.  The guy gave him his card and told him he would even pay for his 6 week realtor school he liked him so much.  I mean the guy gave him a $20 tip on a $45 meal.

I am so glad things are going well.  Of course that fear is ever present but I have to celebrate the little wins for him.

On another front, I’ve written on here about the long line of addiction on my Mom’s side of the family.  My older sister and younger brother are both addicts.  My sister had gotten clean for 5 months and appears to have relapsed.  I haven’t heard from her in months and my Dad told me her estranged girlfriend who is an addict had moved back in with her back over the summer.  That explains her lack of contact.

Then out of the blue on Friday my brother messages me on Facebook asking for money to pay for a place to live so he could get a job.  He followed the first message up with another telling me not to talk to our Dad about his request which tipped me off to a bigger issue. When my sister was sober she had let my brother move in with her.  She is in subsidized housing and caught my brother and his addict girlfriend (I know this because she was fired from her job as a nurse at the nursing home where our Aunt worked and told my brother he was getting messed up with the wrong person) smoking meth in their bedroom so she kicked them out.  He has been on a spiral ever since.

Okay, my brother and I are 4 years apart in age and were never close but we are family so for a moment I actually considered wiring him the money.  Instead of responding, I sat my phone down and walked away for about 2 hours.  He sent a third message later saying he wouldn’t bother me at work and would consider me not responding a no…but threw in the old…”but I still love you…” at the end.  I don’t doubt he loves me and I love him…but I can’t get involved with another addict!

I talked to Dad yesterday and he said both he and my sister have resumed calling him daily for money and he has cut them both off…finally!

So, today after my interview of a guy buying tools with his very generous employee discount and selling them on eBay I pick up my phone to find another message from my brother.  In short, he complained about me ignoring his request for money and couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t talk to him…but…he loved me anyway.

I finally replied with this exact message:  “I Love you but I can’t and won’t help you.  I have had to cut off my own son forcing him to grow up and get clean because I couldn’t help him. I love you and hope you find your way soon.”  Now, NarAnon has taught me that all I needed to say was NO because no is a complete sentence.  I wanted him to know that I know he is using and HE needs to get help himself.  The sad part is I got back a typical addict’s angry response:  “Well, I guess I will see you when I see you as I got nowhere to go and no way to get there if I did.”

I am not only dealing with my own son’s addiction.  25 is in recovery.  It may not be truly “active” recovery but he is in recovery.  I now am dealing with my sister’s and brother’s addiction.  It hurts thinking about it.   That fear of getting the phone call from home that one or both have overdosed is high.  However, I didn’t cause their addiction and I certainly can’t control it; especially, from 7 hours away. All I can do is keep them in my thoughts and hope they find their way.

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