Mothra wrote in to inform us of the latest with her son, struggling in the sober house setting…
Hello AIR – well, we are at a crossroads I feel with our son who has been in a sober house for over two months. After a job loss and another job not won, there seems to be an unraveling going on. Now he says there's problems at the sober house with one of the residents, and he seems to be overly involved suddenly. Contradictions abound and we can't tell if he's being truthful, but my gut says he's not. I fear he has started using or is ready to.
We are grateful that he has gotten this far and hope that what he experienced during this time will make an impact on him. Pressures with the courts are lurking too, though he was given a break with one hearing due to being at the sober house. However the big one is coming up within the next few weeks. Another reason to run.
We are seeing him tomorrow and I will know.
we will try very hard to use CRAFT when engaging with him in hopes we can continue to steer him towards recovery. This period of new found clarity in some areas – not all – has always been a dangerous time. He never pursued any counseling or an IOP , not even an MD visit though he had the time, just meetings, but not daily. No sponsor….I'd like to make our continued help with the rent contingent on some sort of counseling if he's not using, or detox if he is. Or let the consequences happen. What are your thoughts?
This early period of recovery is fragile, as you say even dangerous. As important as it is to remove the drugs, it is even more important to add things in that take the place of the drugs and that provide meaning, guidance, and that support recovery and health…a job, volunteer work, exercise, self-help, a recovery coach, a therapeutic group.
You’ve been aware of this and have been trying to interest your son in these healthy strategies. It is an uphill battle. I do think that continued rent payment of the sober house can be made contingent on following a treatment plan. The self-help is important but is not proving to be enough if your suspicions are correct.
Sober houses play an important role in early recovery but they can be uneven and too dependent on the people staying in them. Good management and governance are key. One studied approach is called the Social Model. Not that you can do much about the model in place at your son’s house, but readers may like to read about how some sober houses govern themselves… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4220294/
Learning how to be in a relationship of any kind is important to a continued and sane recovery. Many of us have never learned how to navigate relationships. We get tangled up, upset, and resentful. It can turn into an obsession, and is especially hard if we’re living with that person. Perhaps you focus on this skill and suggest to your son that managing this problematic relationship is important to his sobriety. A process group or therapist can help with this. Being in relationships is a life-long need. Learning about them is going to be important to a continued sobriety.
Your son was recently forgiven an offense by the courts because he is in a sober house. Let’s hope this left a mark on him. He is going to need that sober house and his continued sobriety as evidence of the effort he is making in the next hearing coming up.
Again, you know this. It is another leverage point for trying to influence your son to stay put. If I were to pick one treatment that your son would need to agree to in exchange for rent payments continuing, it would be an early recovery group, men only if possible. You would ask for a consent form to be signed by him to let you know he is attending. Stress that you are not interested in what is said.
Does the sober house drug test? The house should be following your son and helping with the issues that come up.
Your son may be wavering but it doesn’t necessarily mean a full-out relapse. He has two important pieces in place: a safe home and self-help. The house should be prepared to address a potential relapse or the beginning of one. The house should also be helping with the interpersonal issues that come up between residents.
Your influence is limited. You know your son best. It is hard to stand by and let things unravel, yet your reach is limited. It is worth trying to use your leverage to get him to address relationships through a therapeutic group. The need to be in treatment and in sober housing is very important for the court.
This early period in recovery is difficult. Wavering is not unusual. It doesn’t mean he is giving up, just ambiguous. This is normal. I hope this site is able to help you differentiate between what you can do, and what you need to let your son be responsible for. Thank you for letting us know what is going on with him. Your difficulties are similar to others' on this site.