​Mom changed the locks 5 weeks ago, and her son has just exhibited a “dip” — What should her next moves be?

*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, Addiction, Addiciton recovery, Dominique Simon-Levine, dsl, drugs, heroin, regret, hopelessness, wish or dip, family, Thansgiving, treatment

© Eleanor Davis

​”Hello Everyone,​ ​​

I don’t know what my next move should be so I’m asking for advice. It’s been 5 weeks since I changed the locks and my son left. I heard from him after his 3rd week gone, very short phone call. Not sure where he is living. Last week he did come join us at Thanksgiving day/dinner. After driving me home, w/o any serious talk he went to his brother’s house and had a great evening playing with his niece and nephew! Next day they surprised me and all came to do a bit of yard work. I seriously said it numerous times that life could not be any better than having both my sons and grandkids together at my house for a short while.

Well today is Monday and everyone is back to their life. I recv’d this text from my son. I love him so much.

I’m just a nobody. Feel worthless like a loser. Have had no life to speak of in years now. have wasted the last 6 months. Got nothing to my name. Just ignoring all bills. No credit, no money and no girlfriend. I have nothing to offer anyone. Have no idea what job to get. Resume is horrible. No computer. No home of my own. 30 years old. I do nothing and have no friends. I just exist. This is how I feel today. And it’s all so true. It’s nobody’s fault but my own.

Of course we have heard this before —

What do I say or do I say nothing?”

It’s time to sieze the opportunity: his change in motivation

Your son loves his family. He misses you. You spent some quality time together over ​T​hanksgiving. This is such a different attitude from him​, compared to just a short time ago, when he was angry and resentful ​of​ you.

You asked him to leave your house and are understandably concerned about where and how he is living. His text to you about being a loser is a classic “dip” (​Read the following post on wishes and dips) —​ ​a moment of awareness and motivation about needing to change his life.

A dip is a window when you could suggest treatment. Your son needs a way out of his life. He sounds much less resistant to you and just a little more willing in that text.

This is where the family can help

He doesn’t know which way to turn. What are the steps he could take? A treatment list with detailed options is needed. It will not be easy for ​you ​to come up with this, but treatment is the answer here.​ Here is a suggested response:​

Son, I am here to help. I am not going anywhere. I love​d​ spending time with you over the holiday. What a gift that was. I am very concerned about you. Would you be willing to sit down with me and look at a list of options I have come up with? 

You took a huge step forward by asking your son to leave. He is out of your house but not out of your life. He is turning to you for help. Yes, he may think it is about money, but it’s not. It is about proper treatment. That is what you can offer. It may include paying for something, but it is not about financial support.

You will have other moments like this

Your son is less comfortable now that he is out of your house. I hope you are more comfortable now that he is out of your house.

You are on the right track. It takes time for this to end. You are both on the move. Good. Reach out to local support groups for help with treatment resources. Look at our site​ for some guidance on searching for treatment​ (available to our members).

Hang in there. This will stop.

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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