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

by WhereWasI 37 Replies latest social family

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I meant that there seems to be not much societal support for drug rehab services in the United States. Rehab totally enmeshes you in a closed system, then when the insurance runs out, out on the street where you are ready or not. If AA did not exist, it would need to be invented. Dr. Drew says it takes the brain about ten years to recover from addiction. AA is ubiquitous to fill the need. Society says you are a cheat, a dope fiend but all they offer is a few months at rehab.

    I was told to attend open AA meetings when my facial pain was so bad all I could think about is an impulse to kill myself. Atho I had no addiction, the doctor said being around other people barely hanging on,too, would be good for me. AA reminds me of the Witnesses, down to the grey metal folding chairs. I sat in each meeting repeating "These are not the Witnesses." I don't agree with some of the concepts. There is a place to go, though, and get support. I wish AA would have a competitor. AA can be a cult. Probably anything can be a cult.

    Alcoholics were morally reprehensible to me. I came to know some of the members. They were normal people with a brain disorder. Most people are addicted many years before treatment and we expect tor reverse perhaps 20 years of biology and culture in a few months. No wonder there are relapses. I thought from TV and mags, that AA had a cure rate of 98% if you did the program. The actual rate is about 15%. Addiction is so multilayered and complex that it is a miracle that anyone is sober. Maybe it is an indwelling God. or whatever the precise formula.

  • NewChapter

    LOL BOTR. My brother got sober using AA, but then he started to hate it. He's an atheist, and the even though they CLAIM they aren't religious, my brother was under constant pressure to be spiritual. He dealt with snide comments, anger, and insults because he had no god. Finally he walked away and bought a book that actually called AA a cult. Anyway he said everyone predicted his fall----but seven years after walking away from AA he's still sober.

    I've also heard that AA is much less effective for women. First there is still a double standard. When the guys get up to give their leads, and talk about their misbehaving, eveyone laughs. But when a woman gets up and talks about her mistakes----whore. Women also have a difficult time with the admitting they are powerless aspect. Some things I've read say that women generally feel more powerless than men. For men to admit they are powerless over alcohol is an admission of humility and a needed reality check. For women, admitting powerlessness is just more of the same and possibly what led them to drink in the first place. So for women, it is more effective to EMPOWER them and not make them powerless victims.

    We really do need an alternative to AA. I believe women have started their own programs, but none have reached the scope and prestige of AA. It's been a while since I looked into it, but it may have changed. And one other problem for women is that apparently their bodies become more strongly addicted.

    AA is important. But the fact is, the two most successful people I know, a man and a woman, were not helped much by AA. They had to find other solutions. The problem is when you say that to someone in AA, they just can't believe there is another way. They actually don't fully believe in the non-AA person's sobriety---it's some kind of aberration, or worse, the person is lying.

    AA is still a good starting point though. Sometimes it's the only option. Just always be prepared for a relapse.


  • designs

    NC- I see a lot of the local Churches setting up their own 12 step type programs, something their members can relate to more. AA doesn't help everyone, addictions are different for everyone, but I liked AA for awhile and now do other things to fill my life, my daughter likes the AA and NA program and helps a lot of young girls get through their first year.


  • NewChapter

    Designs--that's something that used to really irritate me. I had to be around when someone went into rehab and I had to speak to the workers at the place. The thing that really aggravated me about the whole mess is that they treated everyone exactly the same. THE ADDICT as though no one's experience was unique. And they were quite haughty about it, and any suggestion I made about individualism branded me as an enabler. WHAT? I'm wasn't trying to somehow make it easier for them to use drugs, I was just asking questions about specifics. I found the whole mess to be quite judgemental and fond of labels. And all I could think was that was certainly a lot of pride for a program that failed a great deal more than it succeeded. Yet they knew everything.

    Very frustrating. But it doesn't mean there isn't value there. I just say temper your expectations with a good dose of reality.


  • designs

    NC- I found that the groups varied greatly, some allowed 'cross talking' others didn't, some were robotic and others very friendly. Coming out of Rehab the group type of thing works well for the first few months or even a year. My BIL goes to AA meetings at his Catholic Church and he's made a lot of good new friends which he needed, they do weekend trips and other outings.

    NA meetings are wild, I'll tell the story of the Biker Meth King 'Bear' sometime

  • undercover

    I would like to know is what should my departing words of wisdom be for this niece.

    Not to be harsh... but it doesn't really matter. They're not listening. Only after they come out will they hopefully be receptive to words of hope, help and wisdom. My prespective comes from personal experience...of which coincidentally had some developments over the xmas weekend as well.

    I found out over the weekend that a family member that has gone through rehab a couple of times is back on that path of self-destruction. They're in denial of course. In fact, most of the family is in denial. I see it because I'm emotionally detached from this person. I gave up on them last time around and will never trust them again. (long story that involved theft and personal trust broken that can never be repaired). I got to the point where I could no longer allow their lifestyle and refusal to change to poison me. I had the chance to confront and challenge but I chose not to. First off, I would come off as the bad guy to the rest of the family for even daring to accuse this person. But personally, I can't live their life. I can only live mine. They chose their life course. They'll have to deal with the consequences. I've moved on.

  • WhereWasI

    Thank you very much, I really appreciate so much input. I tend to think AA can be a cult and that there are other ways to maintain sobriety. True though, it's premise is good and still can be a good start. I like the advice that not much of what I say will be heard anyway and that it all really falls back to her as to what course she will take. I feel so bad for my sister, and also my nieces daughter. They are both living with my sister now.

    Thanks again.


  • WhereWasI

    Wha - Just wondering what is a "chip night"?

    I'm taking notes from everything you all said and I know what I'm going to say. Thanks again everyone.

    I'm going to say something like: Sweetie I'm glad you are still willing to try because that means there is hope. I understand the complexities of addiction. I know this is going to be hard for you but I'm looking forward to having a relationship with the real you, the authentic person you are inside. Relapse is part of recovery. This is another chance for you. We all will be waiting.

    I don't know if I will get a chance to say it quite like that but as was said it doesn't really matter what I say.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run


    Your input on AA is so honest. Judgmental is a word. Group think. You must feel really bad about yourself when you enter rehab. It is not a marriage, birth, or degree. The staff have bad attitudes. Dr. Drew's rehab seems so friendly. Maybe it is the editing.

    The AA meetings I attended saved my life. AA has this awesome reputation. It was similar to the Witnesses. My gut told me to take what you like and run from the rest. I kept wondering if I were diseased or resistant b/c I saw flaws. Members can be Nazis. Also, it is similar to this forum. Everyone believes they are the only ones who have program purity.

  • designs

    WWI- Chip Night is people hitting certain milestones in their recovery such as 1 month, 6 months, 1 year etc., they get a Chip in recognition and people brings deserts to the meetings.

  • WhereWasI

    Designs: I'll be looking for the "Biker Meth King" story.

    Also, just an update. Niece left yesterday for the detox part. Now my great niece, her daughter will be living with my sister. She's practically a child of the streets at the moment so my sister and I and also my brother and husband, along with the social worker who helped the niece get into this program will be confronting her to use this time without her mother to grow and gain insight. Also we hope to impart rules. Something she will not like. We are prepared to be tough. There might be some counseling too. The social worker gave us a recommendation.

    Here's an odd side point. My niece was engaged to this social worker about 10 years ago. He is a fantastic guy and works with helping homeless people get back on their feet. Another odd side point, my niece has been gay except for this brief engagement period to this guy. More odd points: she is most likely adhd and who knows what else. When niece was involved with a partner, the partner legally adopted great niece and was emotionally brutal.

    We'll just have to wait this one out.

  • wha happened?
    wha happened?

    thanks designs, I was sleeping on the job

  • betterdaze

    No endorsements here, but Women for Sobriety may be a worthwhile female-only environment to avoid the many challenges New Chapter mentions for women in AA. Instead of 12 steps, they have 13 affirmations which appear helpful for recovering JWs, too.

    Many links for "Non-cult Pro-Recovery" at http://www.orange-papers.org/. Again, cannot offer any endorsements but there's lots of non-AA resources to wade through there.

    Addicts typically eat poorly. Most suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Since your niece qualifies for government assistance, is it possible for her to access a nutritionist who can help her heal and rebuild her whole body? Rehab therapy and/or meds can only go so far if she is physically run down from the inside out. Fresh fruits and veggies, low carbs to avoid blood sugar swings, and plenty of water daily to stay hydrated are so key even for non-addicts. Maybe a vitamin/mineral or protein supplement? Women in particular need extra iron… and B-complex can do wonders for people under stress, yet alone recovering from addiction.

    WhereWasI, best wishes for strength and peace for your family as you advocate for your niece, and especially for her healthy outcome.


  • JRK

    There is always hope until she takes the dirt nap. Give her all the support that you can muster. Unless you have been there, you do not have the capacity to understand.


  • cskyjw.sun
  • WhereWasI

    cskyjw.sun: I missed your thought

    But anyway I thought I would let you know that tonight we had an "interventiony thing" as my great niece called it. She didn't quite like it when she realized what was going on. But there we were in my sisters living room. All of the people who loved her and cared about her, I'll just call her Nina. She cried and balked and resisted. But it went down very loving. She thought she was just stopping in to get some money her Ma had left her before going into detox. The lady who brought her there was the sister of the divorced partner who had adopted Nina. This lady was very articulate and good and came into town to take Nina out to lunch but then realized she was needed to make the "interventiony thing" happen and delivered her to my sisters house. So anyway it was a first step. Everything is in place for this girl but it is up to her to take the help. I think she might but not quite yet.

  • JeffT

    Unless you have been there, you do not have the capacity to understand.


    Be supportive, talk to the counsellors if possible. Ask what is needed and do that.

    I've been sober for six and half years. AA worked for me, I recognize that it might not for everybody. If somebody finds something else that works for them, good. This isn't a pissing match to see who has the best program.

    I wish the best for all of your family.

  • its_me!

    I learned in a Chemical Dependency class at my univ. about a method called motivational interviewing. It is client centered and encourages the client to come up with solutions that they think would work for them, set goals, and then aid them in reaching those goals, rather than telling them what to do. It also focuses on self-efficacy and empowerment. It focuses on victories, and does not emphasize failures, rather it looks at failures or relapses as part of the recovery process. It is a non-judgemental form of therapy, or should be if it is done right by a kind and compassionate counselor. I wonder if the center where your niece is going practices motivational interviewing.....

Share this topic

Related Topics