She wants to help her son, in recovery from opioid addiction but he continues to struggle with Lyme’s disease, misuse of benzodiazepines, chronic fatigue, and perhaps depression. His mental state is deteriorating and he has lost the tenacity and hope to live.

*This post originally appeared on our Member Site blog, where experts respond to members’ questions and concerns. To sign up for our special offer and benefit from the Allies in Recovery eLearning program, click here.

Allies in Recovery, AiR, Dominique Simon-Levine, dsl, addiction, addiction recovery, opiates, struggling, Lyme's disease, benzos, benzodiazepines, depression, Xanax, Valium, sobriety, insomnia, withdrawals, hope, detox, detoxification, self-help
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Dominique Simon-Levine reassures this mother that she is taking the right steps to help her son.

Your son has been through so much. Being abstinent from opioids is no small feat! I am not trained to address the Lyme’s disease, but the fatigue you describe would be very hard on someone who is newly sober. The combination of being alone, fatigued, isolated, with occasional insomnia and withdrawals from benzodiazepines, sounds like a bad one. Depression makes sense.

You are focusing on the benzodiazepines and with good reason. Along with alcohol, benzos are the only other class of drug that, in withdrawals, cause life-threatening seizures. Detox programs take benzodiazepine addiction seriously.

If your son is misusing these drugs, he may find it hard to taper off on his own successfully. Tapering off benzos has to be done very slowly, over a period of months. It will therefore be much safer if he has a supervised detoxification. Though I can’t vouch for how he will actually feel as he crosses the exit door after a short inpatient stay. Medical detoxification programs get you to the place of physical safety, but not necessarily psychological or physiological health.

Your son needs hope to get through this

Both the treatment and recovery from Lyme’s and the detoxification from benzodiazepines will have an end to them. Perhaps his independence and work prospects have to wait. If I were your son I would find it too stressful to try otherwise.

So, where is hope? Hope is in self-help meetings, online self-help meetings, a place of worship, perhaps. Can you help your son access one or more of these? Is there a good recovery coach near you? Insurance is starting to pay for coaches. I just tried a Refuge Recovery meeting and felt comfortable. Our Resource Supplement, available to our members, provides a list of self-help programs. While the weather is still good, can you take walks together, or find some other light form of exercise, like stretching?

I hope that kicking opioids has given your son reason to feel his strength. I wish for you too, hope and strength, as you continue to love and care for your son.

Yes, the family DOES have a role to play. Your stance, behavior, and choices DO make a difference. At Allies in Recovery we are absolutely convinced of this. “Tough love” is not a successful technique. Our learning platform is set up to help family members learn the techniques that will reduce conflict, build that bridge of communication, and be effective in guiding your loved one into treatment. Together we will move your loved one towards recovery. Learn more here.

 About the Author:
Dominique launched Allies in Recovery in 2003. Her work has been featured on HBO and NPR. She is a facilitator and a trained speaker on issues of addiction and the family. She has worked extensively developing and evaluating federally-funded substance abuse programs for organizations and clinics throughout Massachusetts and New York. With an interest in recovery and substance abuse that spans 20 years, she sees a huge need to help families develop the skills that will help a loved one recover fully in a supportive, whole, and lasting way in their families and in their communities. Her mission is to have Allies in Recovery fill that gap.

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