what should I say: Niece going into rehab 3rd time

by WhereWasI 37 Replies latest social family

  • WhereWasI

    So my 35 year old niece is going into rehab for the third time now. This time it's a long stint, two and a half months. She got gov't help since she is techinically homeless. I'm very dissapointed in her, to say the least, and I want to get that point across to her before she leaves on the 30th. I want to say something to her like: don't play around this time, don't try to make friends, do the work, figure it out. etc. She has a confused 17 year old daughter who I would like to see rescued somehow. Me and my sister have some plans for that. But what I would like to know is what should my departing words of wisdom be for this niece. How brutal should I be? Or should I be sympathetic? I want to give her some departing words. Some kind of one liner. I'd like to say " Don't try to make friends, work on yourself." Let me know if you have any thoughts. I'd appreciate it.

  • NewChapter

    Frankly a one liner, or anything brutal won't have any affect. It may make you feel better, but what is the goal? It won't actually give her a better chance of being successful, nor will it increase her chances of failing. This is something she has to work out---or not. I find this song an interesting expression of the frustration that comes with rehab and drugs.


  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I will reveal something embarassing: I watch Dr. Drew sometimes. He repeatedly says it is important for members to bond, to be friends b/c the rehab staff can't be around after discharge, friends from rehab can be.

    My doctor pulled out a brain model and launched into an explanation about why it is so hard to lose weight. I was raised that addicts were lazy bums and very immoral. It turns out their brains are different. Morality has little to do with it. I would encourage her, let her know you understand the complexity, that she is already suffering the consequences of her addiction. Preacing religion will not help b/c it is not a religious problem.

    My doctor confused me. I thought maybe two chemicals were involved. It was such a complex interloop of different factors. The miracle is that anyone loses weight.

    Tell her you are looking forward for her completing rehab, and seeing who she authentically is, without addiction clouding the picture. Perhaps plan something special to celebrate when she gets out. Multiple stints are the norm. I saw statistics for substance abuse rehab. They are so low. I spoke with some treatment people at church. The low statistics could be if they factored in only one rehab stint. Two and 1/2 months is nothing to retrain a brain and culture. It sounds as though we only give lip service to rehab. There but for the grace of God, go you.

  • NewChapter

    I just want to add, I'm speaking from experience. It took me while, but I finally came to understand that nothing I said or did made any difference. The relative that I love had to finally come to the decision themselves---and they did. 10 years clean and sober now. When I finally came to terms with the idea that I was powerless over this and had to be an observer, I found some peace.

    Wish her the best. Hold back the judgemental stuff, since it doesn't work anyway. Be supportive of the sober activities, and leave the drunk (or high) stuff to her---she's the expert. I'm sorry that she has a daughter that is affected, and maybe the daughter could benefit from Alanon or CODA.


  • botchtowersociety
  • NewChapter

    BOTR I think you've brought out an incredibly important point. Rehab doesn't usually work the first---or second---or whatever time. Relapses are much more common than not, and no one should ever place the full weight of their emotions on any rehabe stint. Keep the hopes in check, and watch it play out. Don't be overly optomistic, but not overly negative either. Just watch and wait. It's all any of us can do.


  • WhereWasI

    good points. I needed your help. I need to know how I can be most helpful to her. That is really what I want to do.

  • BizzyBee

    Best succinct observation on the topic is by Christopher Lawford: "Relapse is part of recovery."

    My take-away is: Don't throw in the towel because someone relapses.

  • serenitynow!
    When I finally came to terms with the idea that I was powerless over this

    Sounds like AA. It is true in dealing with any other persons behaviour. I asked my sister who has been 3 years sober w/AA what to do about an exJW guy I know who is alcoholic and has PTSD who talks about killing himself periodically. She says there is not much you can do to make a person wake up and start really trying to be clean. Sometimes folks just have to hit rock bottom I guess.

  • EntirelyPossible

    "If you fuck this up the third time around, we are taking custody of your daughter, terminating your parental rights and you will be on your own until you decide to get your life in order and be a parent."

  • wha happened?
    wha happened?

    Speaking of sobriety I thought I should add my 2 cents. Support the sober talk and activities. She's probably going to come out in a pink cloud after rehab. She needs to bury herslf in meetings and support that as well. If she asks to attend a chip night give it a try. It may look like an addiction within itself, but alot of the SERIOUS babies are at it 24/7. She will probably smoke like a chimney, try your best to put up with it. Keep up the rules with u. If you have rules at your home or just as a friend keep the boundries up and the rules. We addicts just love to bend the rules and screw up relationships. Three times is the charm I hope.

  • serenitynow!

    She needs to bury herslf in meetings and support that as well.

    That's true. I took my JW mom to an Al-anon meeting so that we could better understand my sister's connection to her group, and what we could do to support her. There was a lady there who was in AA, she said there were times she had to go to 2 meetings in a day, just to stay sober. It's hard for someone not in it to understand that.

  • WhereWasI

    Band on the run: what, more precisly do you mean by giving only lip service to rehab?

    I would like to mention that I have a brother who has been successful in being drug free for about 20 years. As a famly member I stepped in and gave him a new state and city to transform himself, he did have a relapse or two but is very solid now. He has a home and a good job and contributes to society. I feel he reflects a small minority of those who are successful. My father was an alcoholic, sober for 7 years then killed himself. So I am not totally ignorant of the complexities of addiction. Now here it is I'm faced with my niece's addicion and I can't help but feel blank as to what steps to take, I'm a bit numb, that is why I ask for help because I can't think clearly. So thanks for all your help.

  • wha happened?
    wha happened?

    I can understand that feeling. The overload just shuts it all off doesn't it? Get some sleep.

  • WhereWasI

    thanks wha, I think I will

  • trueblue

    Where is that scripture I am thinking? They will deliver you up to the supreme courts but not to worry about what to say for the holy spirit will tell you what to say when it is time.

    In other words I don't know what to tell you to tell her, but speak to her from the heart and remember that the one that says they are born without sin decieves themselves and Jesus said the one without sin cast the first stone,

    All the Swear Words in American Sign Language - YouTube

  • designs

    The Addict, the person before rehab, has brain function very different from the brain and body that is detoxed and post rehab. Show love and support.

    There is a genetic and a bio-chemical component to addiction like there can be with diabetes. I was an addict for 37 years and have been clean and sober for 12 years now, my daughter has been clean and sober for over 5 years. We had her stay in a rehab for 3 months, it was life threatening and during detox her heart stopped three different times and she had to be revived.

    We can have new lives, that's the important thing to remember. I have a new career, my daughter finished college and has a career and is a wonderful mother to our 3 year old grandson.

    Let us know how your niece is doing and make plans for when she comes home. Locate the local support groups for her and go to Al-Anon yourself for support and understanding.

  • zzaphod

    I`m not one for AA personally, but it does suit some people. In my case it really had to be hitting rock bottom, divorce, bankrupcy, time in police cells didn`t stop me. I only managed to pack it in when I was lying in a bed in Coronary care following a heart attack aged 37. All you can do is be supportive, and be there for her, she will sort herself out when the time is right for her, perhaps this spell in rehab will do it.

  • transhuman68

    Anyone going into rehab for the third time obviously isn't listening to anybody, so anything you say is probably a waste of time, but if there is an in-house 12 step program within the rehab, you could suggest that your niece participate in it.

  • irondork

    WhereWasI: I need to know how I can be most helpful to her. That is really what I want to do.

    Your input will be largely irrelevant. However, it might be helpful not to say anything harsh or hurtful so the mood is not negatively swayed. She's going to have enough battles to fight without you adding to them.

    It took me 10 years of trying, in and out of AA and rehab. !0 years of trying and failing before I got 1 year sober. In the process I screwed everybody who ever tried to help me... that is, until the last one. But I didn't screw that person because of anything she said or did, rather, I just finally figured it out for myself.

    Such is the nature of the beast. If you are going to be in the business of being there for your neice you have to be prepared to get run over again and again and again. Rest assured SHE FEELS TERRIBLY GUILTY EVERY TIME IT HAPPENS. If she's still willing to try, there's still hope.

    I will be celebrating 10 years of uninterrupted sobriety next year. I left a trail of dead friendships in my wake. There's nothing I can do about it except move forward. Yours is a difficult job with no guarantee of success. But there's always a chance.

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