Happ1ness is concerned her son might relapse at home after responding well to treatment. Not seeing any efforts on his part to go back to a healthy routine, she is getting resentful. She wonders if she should ask him to move out.
"My 30-year-old son is home after six weeks of rehab for mental health issues and cocaine abuse. He came home super motivated and sharing his concerns and feelings but that has slowly deteriorated. COVID has a serious impact on him as he is now back in a restricted interaction with others and has again reverted to staying in bed for long periods of time.
I have really tried to follow your suggestions but communication is really hard with him now and I am becoming resentful as I do not know how to motivate him to return to following his routine he had established in rehab.
He is living at home and has no employment. I am trying to follow natural consequences for no money and have no idea where he is getting his money from. He has no credit cards.
Should I request he move out? Tough during COVID as shelters are very restricted right now.
I would really appreciate your insight. Thank you."
He is out of rehab and shaky
Your son completed a 6-week program just as the COVID shutdown started. He did well in treatment but he's now home without recovery support and you are witnessing his slide back into a shaky state. It is so incredibly unfortunate to watch our Loved Ones’ motivation sink as treatments are scaled back and the world of support goes online.
The treatment program should have created an aftercare program that includes online help. If you haven’t done so, please look in our supplement for an up-to-date list of online resources for people with addiction.
Try this before you show him the door
You are considering whether to ask your son to leave or to keep him home. Your son participated in treatment. He learned a lot and came home “super motivated.” It is completely understandable that his motivation is disappearing. Unfortunately, you are his one and only support system at the moment. You are officially case manager for the day as you help him put together a plan. Him spending all this time in his head, at home, without any recovery input is not a winning plan. What you are describing is a disposition of frustration and discomfort. Hiding out in bed is a way to quiet the disquiet.
You are his family. You are not professionals. Fortunately, you have found CRAFT and you have found us. You might be "it" for your son right now but you are not alone, and you are not powerless. CRAFT is proven to work, you might just need to give the program some time. You are typically meant to apply everything you learn over 6 to 8 weeks before expecting big results.
Here are some action items to consider:
Call the program your son attended and get them to talk to him. Consider asking them if they have other ideas which could help get him back on track.
Stepping away some and go neutral.
Give him room as best you can. He will be difficult.
Let him sleep and avoid any talk of housework or other things.
Provide him your strong acknowledgement that he is on the right course, then back away.
Make a list of treatments and prepare for a small but formal talk. Perhaps his dad and anyone else he respects is at the table when this happens.
“Son, I want to thank you for addressing your addiction. I am proud of you and thrilled by the change in your outlook. I see, though, that you are sinking backwards. That makes sense since we are all cooped up here, and you are not being supported properly. I can’t be your only support. This house cannot be your hiding place. Please consider looking at this list with me and let’s find a couple of online meetings to start. (perhaps you look together for something that looks good and is available daily). This is a turning point for you. We are with you.”
If he says no, thank him for listening. Set up to try again.
Your situation is happening in one form or another all over this country. Check out this post we just wrote to one of our members whose Loved One has been struggling, lacking follow-up and consistent recovery inputs because of COVID.
Communication skills first
Every situation is an opportunity to work on your communication. Going back to Module 4 again and again could help you do so. Being able to talk to him in a way that doesn’t shut him down is going to be your best long-term solution.
As for asking him to leave your home, that remains on the table. It may need to be done but I suggest you first try what I listed above. If this doesn’t help, you will need to figure out where he would go if you asked him to leave. Back to treatment? A sober house? I know these options are currently even harder to locate than usual. You can keep this in the back of your mind and ask us for guidance should he struggle again.
Back to you: compassion and self-care to get you through each day
Your son went to treatment and came back motivated for change in his life. Without consistent professional support, he is shaky in his early recovery. You have probably gone from feeling optimistic and hopeful to feeling down and helpless. You write about starting to feel resentful.
We can relate to what you are feeling just as anyone who has ever loved someone with addiction can. We know how draining it all is. We know it is asking a lot of you. You have been drawing on your resources, trying to help your son help himself.
I suggest you allow yourself to practice these two exercises that will both empower and calm you: compassion and self-care.
Resentment, just like anger, is a very natural response. It is an emotion that can further deplete you of your energy, cloud your judgement and blur your message. Even though it is healthy to welcome the emotion and take it for what it is, it will be a great help to practice turning it around and channeling it through the conscious practice of compassion. Seeing your son’s behavior through the lens of compassion will allow you to reach a better understanding of your son’s internal struggles. It can help you welcome every situation with objectivity and the gentle detachment you need to keep your head above the water.
Easier said than done, you say.
That’s when self-care comes in. Self-care is the amazing dependable friend that holds your hand when everything feels wrong. Self-care is that low-hanging fruit which, ironically enough, can feel incredibly hard to reach when you are so used to caring for your Loved One first. It is different for everyone; it can be little, it can be big, it just needs to feel good.
It is about finding some space to put the focus back on you and on your needs. It is not about being selfish; you need this space to be better equipped to help your son and your entire family navigate early recovery.
What can you do to make this time less tight? How do you bring the focus back on yourselves? How do you find ways, daily, to let in health, peace, and wellness? Here are some posts we have written that talk about self-care. I also encourage you to visit our Sanctuary which is aimed at providing you some relief, one day at a time.
We commend you for shifting your communication as well as your perspective on your son’s addiction. You are working CRAFT, keep it up, you are moving forward!