An update from Midwestern Mama on #SoberSon and his recent Return to Use aka Relapse.
Ordinarily when I think R & R, it conjures up the concept of rest and relaxation. However, when it comes to addiction and mental health, the R words that I think of are Relapse and Recovery. Oh, and there’s one more: Ready.
2017 has been a struggle for my son. He’s maintained sobriety from opiate use, but began using cannabis and drinking alcohol again. He thinks of it as self medicating, yet his mental health is suffering, not improving.
It came to a head this summer. To top it off, he decided to stop taking Suboxone – almost cold turkey instead of a slow taper with support from his treatment team. The effect is terrible. He’s irritable and agitated. The cravings are strong. Anxiety and depression are ever present and getting worse.
“I feel great. Everything is good. Never felt better,” he tells us. But we know better, and so does the dog. (Read my recent posts, The Dog Knows and The Birthday Cake.)
Last week he admitted that things aren’t working and that he hadn’t anticipated the impact of going off Suboxone. To his credit, he made an appointment with a mental-health professional and decided to go on an anti-depressant. Of course, they counseled him about the risks of using marijuana and alcohol while taking the medication.
No more than a few days into the new approach, he left one morning and didn’t come home later in the day to get ready for work. He didn’t go to work that evening. He didn’t come home that night. He didn’t respond to text messages or phone calls. The next day, he didn’t show up at home or work, and still wasn’t responding to outreach. His medication was on his dresser. The day after that, he still hadn’t made contact – with us or with any of his friends.
He’s 25 – an adult. We give him space and let him take responsibility for his life and decisions. In years past, he reacted terribly when we intervened claiming we were overreacting – that’s the addiction talking.
In the three years he’s been in recovery from opiate use, he’s never missed work. He’s always kept us posted on his whereabouts and work schedule. He’s always let us know if he was going to stay at friends for the evening.
Given this, you can imagine our concern and worry. This behavior was out of the ordinary. Where was he? Had something tragic happened?
Through the grapevine, we learned he texted a co-worker that he’d been picked up for public intoxication and was being taken to detox. Two days later he texted the co-worker, “I’m out :)”.
It’s concerning, but we are grateful he’s alive. Now, we’re wondering what is next.
It’s now been another 24 hours and he hasn’t come home or responded to our outreach.
In our hearts, we know he’s hurting and we know he’s resistant to help – always wanting to do it “on his own.”
We don’t take it personally. We’re not mad. We’re not going to yell at him or lecture him. We’re simply concerned and want to be supportive. We want to have communication. We want to have him in our lives. We want him to come home.
This all reminds me of the earlier days of his addiction journey, which further reminds me that recovery is possible and available to him, again, when he is ready.
Ready. That’s the third R, and that’s the one I want most for #SoberSonNotRightNow
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