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He Wants Money and Cigarettes While in Treatment

Money & Cigarettes

An Allies in Recovery member and mother of two addicted sons is at a loss. Should she bring the money her son is requesting, along with cigarettes, to the treatment facility?

This post originally appeared on our Member Site blog, where experts respond to members’ questions and concerns. To learn more about membership, see our Membership Benefits page.

“I am at a loss and I don’t know what to do. My son has been an active addict for 6 years and overdosed 5 times.

A week ago Monday I had to call the police because my son was shooting up cocaine in my bathroom. That was my breaking point. I told him to leave my house. I also had put a restraining order on him. He then contacted me on the 7th day having finally run out of money and told me that he got a bed at Lahey Behavioral health Detox. I brought him there and now he is going to a css bed in Quincy.

Now he wants me to bring him money and smokes. This is where I am at a loss.  He said that he can get through this if he has smokes and that this is no life for him if no one wants to help him. He is so mad at me.

My other son was also shooting cocaine and is now in a drug program in jail. I send him money for his canteen, a fact which my other son brings to my attention. What do I do? I am desperate.”


Dominique Simon-Levine clarifies the options in this confusing situation

It’s hard to imagine having two children addicted to drugs. We have other members for whom this is the case. Our heart goes out to you.

It may be difficult to believe, but both your sons are in a good place right now. Neither one is using. Both are in treatment. Jails are becoming de facto treatment facilities, thank goodness. For right now, this is the best it can be.

Family members hit a breaking point, like you did when you found your son shooting cocaine in the bathroom. It’s rushed and full of very difficult emotions but asking him to leave your house when you found him in the bathroom, made a difference. He ran out of options, became desperate and, probably quite sick, checked himself into a detoxification unit. The detox convinced him to go to CSS, a publically-funded inpatient unit.

You get a breather now.

Now what can you do? Keep moving forward with treatment

Your son may have signed a release that allows you to talk to the CSS. If this isn’t the case, ask him to do so. Explain that you are only interested in next steps and not the details of what he shares with the program

From CSS, your son can be sent to a residential program or a three-quarter house. If there isn’t room, he can be stepped down to a TSS, a transitional support service bed that should hold him until a bed in the community opens up.

I suggest you hold your line….. Keep the restraining order in place. Your son will be welcome in your home when he can show you that he is stable and off drugs. We’ve written a few blogs posts about your home as a reward (see this link).

For now, your son is homeless. The CSS needs to know this. Whether or not your son has signed a release for you to talk to the clinicians, I suggest you call them and let them know that your son is homeless. It may make a difference in what is available to him after release from the CSS.

He needs all the support he can get

Ask them about MAT (medication-assisted treatment)….just because Suboxone didn’t work before with your son, this is not a predictor of whether or not it will work going forward.

Again, if your son won’t sign a release, all this is a one-sided conversation. The clinicians cannot share client information with you.

Ask the clinicians what you should provide your son while in CSS. What do they need money for? I suggest you do give your son what he needs if it is reasonable, including money and cigarettes.

CRAFT would say reward the non-use

Your son is not using drugs. In fact, he is behaving in a way you want to support: he is in treatment. Though I know you’ve already given him so much, the money and cigarettes are a reward given his current efforts (see our video on rewards).

It’s pretty galling to go through addiction with your children AND to have your son mad at you as well. Let him be mad. It’s okay for now. What you did pushed him into treatment. Your son can come to thank you for this. Step away from his anger….it’s not about you.

It is extraordinarily frustrating when a person is addicted, to not have their drugs, to not be comfortable. They work so hard and are so resourceful to make all this to happen now, when they need it, but now……. Of course your son is angry. You messed up his plans.

Time to look after yourself

Perhaps today you can look at Learning Module 7 today (non-members: see an excerpt here) and figure out how to reward yourself. Can you turn the attention back on yourself, since both your boys are safe for the moment. Can you stop your head from second guessing, and find something that brings you a little calmness and peace?

This isn’t optional. The stress your situation can cause, and over such a long period of time, is harmful to you. What can you do today to quiet your head and body?

There is a community of people on this site who get what is going on with you. You are not alone.

A membership at Allies in Recovery brings you into contact with experts in the fields of recovery and treatment for drug and alcohol issues. Our learning platform introduces you to CRAFT and guides you through the best techniques for unblocking the situation. Together we will move your loved one towards recovery. Learn more here.


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