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How long does it take for the family to heal after our addiction??

Discussion in 'General' started by lil_miss, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. lil_miss

    lil_miss Member

    Hi, I was just wondering if anyone would like to share their story and give me some advice about how long and the process of their family recovering from the addiction of a loved one.
    I am 26 and on Suboxone but haven't 'used' as such for three months. My mother has custody of my children as she was taking care of them for me during a time of depression and this is when I started using. I only used opiates for ten months and in the time my family practically disowned me and were very intolerant of my using, although my using was extremely heavy from start to finish, I overdosed many times, I was having about 20 shots a day and spending about $300-$500/day on heroin and $300 on meth most days. My mother is an alchoholic herself. She put me in detox 3 times in total. She wont let me see or even talk to my children even though I have never used around or abused my kids. I understand she is angry and I have put my family through alot. I am trying to get work and I'm sure I will have a job soon. I just want to be a family again and I dunno how long til my mum is going to trust me again and it hurts like crazy. I just want her to give me a chance to show her that I am trying.
  2. mbl

    mbl Well-Known Member

    Hi lil' Miss,
    I am the mother of an addict and would like to share my thoughts with you.
    First of all, congrats on 3 months clean from heroin - that is a great accomplishment!
    I would definitely suggest reading some of the threads on the Family and Friends forum and maybe this will give you a different perspective of what we, 'the family' go thru.
    As to your question, obviously there is no certain time frame as every situation and every person is different. And, most importantly, it takes a lot more than just time to repair damaged relationships and the damage of trust. I feel certain that they are not only waiting to see how long you remain clean, but what actions you take to be sober - to be healthy both inside and out.
    And, have you asked her? What her expectations are? Most importantly, what actions you can take to help earn back her trust? Remember, trust is earned, not given. And it's harder to earn back once it has been broken or lost.
    Also, even though you never used in front of your kids, that does not mean that they were not effected by your using. They were. Not only because they were not able to live with their mother, but emotionally & mentally... in different ways, depending on their ages, etc. So I am sure your mother also feels that she needs to protect them from further pain or confusion or disappointment, etc. Which means her boundaries are going to be even bigger and even firmer.
    So, it will take a lot of work, and it needs to start with you.
    Good Luck & Stay strong & committed to your sobriety,
  3. glynntoo

    glynntoo Well-Known Member


    I'm the mom of a recovering addict (over 19 months clean) - she's been in a couple of worthless programs and she is graduating from an OP program this Friday that was very, very good. We have had temp custody of her children - well, for about 2 years. Her husband was also addicted and has been in programs.

    This is a very emotional subject for me...I have seen up close and personal what drug use does to children. It doesn't matter if you didn't actually use the drugs in front of your children...they were indeed affected by your use..by the lifestyle you had; by the people around them. No one wants to believe that.

    My daughter and her husband moved in with us after they left the facilities. The relationship was (is) extremely dysfunctional and codependent. While living with us, her husband got drunk and got in a fight the first day he had a few bucks. He no longer lives here.

    We are asking ourselves the same questions you are asking:

    1. Will we EVER trust her - enough for her to raise her children without our presence. ??

    2. How will we know ?? Is there something she can say? (I doubt it)...

    3. I respect the mother/child relationship. I know how important it is. But, I ask you - at what price?

    4. Would we have returned the children when our daughter was 3 months not using street drugs but on suboxone..no!

    5. It's got to hurt like crazy to not be with your children. I know it did my daughter. BUT, I will tell you the same thing I told her. You've been given a gift. It is very hard to truly care for yourself when there are children depending on you. This is your chance to seek help and show your family you are prepared to be a mother!

    6. Hey, she TRIED with you! Detox 3 times....the problem is - AFTER detox you have to do the hard work. Are you in counseling? Are you taking parenting classes? Are you going to meetings? Have you had someone approach your mom about family counseling? I do not think that grandparents who take temp custody of children do so lightly. You have to be very serious in your approach about reunification.

    7. NO mother wants to "give up" on her addicted child. There are, however, times in certain situations that choices have to be made. Ask your mom to take the children to a park and let you meet with them there. Play with your children. Have a smile on your face and be able to tell them - I'm getting better and mean it. Don't make EMPTY promises. The children will know. Just be sincere. It may be that emotion is impossible for you right now. If you can't - then maybe you need more time away from your children. YOU need to heal...but, don't forget - THEY need to heal, also.

    Our temporary custody was the result of an agreement - DCF was involved but backed off (2 states involved) when we made the arrangement to take the children. NOW, that makes our situation especially difficult as we're the ones who are making this decision about "readiness"....If DCF was involved - they will have certain things they want you to do. Review that and start chipping away at the requirements.

    Some things I can suggest....try your best to be mature about the children being with your mom. I shudder to think where my grandsons would be mentally and emotionally had they stayed trapped in that situation. For that matter, my daughter - she would probably be gone...I never did drugs or alcohol. I had my own mistakes - but, not those. I remember thinking when the boys came to us - thank God I didn't drug or drink - I am not sure I could handle the additional guilt. Your mom has her own issues she's dealing with - and children....

    I get very angry sometimes...very frustrated. My husband and I are retirement age and we've got all this on our shoulders. It is not a good feeling. I learned in family counseling the other day that I'm cycling through the "grief" steps...think of that...family members are grieving about this situation.

    mbl mentioned boundaries....oh so true. My boundaries are solid now. I have minors depending on me to make good choices. I can't let them down. I imagine your mom feels similar.

    Warmest wishes for your sobriety and the future reunification of your family. It can happen...with enough desire and work!
  4. movazi

    movazi Well-Known Member


    You may feel normal and perfectly functional while on Sube, but do not kid yourself, you are still an addict. Sube is an opiate, not much different than your old habit (it is simply a long acting opiate so you do not get the ups and downs of your former doc). It will eventually catch up with you just like any other opiate eventually does.

    Where does a 26 yrs old get about $700/day to support her drug habit ? :- ) Did your parents cut off the allowance forcing you to go on Sube ? I think you have no idea yet where you are at and where this thing is going. Sorry being harsh but you need a wake up call. I wish someone would have banged me on the head with some harsh truth when I was your age.

    Get out while you still may have a chance, only then you can ask how long will the healing process with the family will take. Once you get off any opiates and met the process is kind of automatic and things heal themselves because your state of mind will be very different and your parents will realize it right away.
  5. lil_miss

    lil_miss Member

    Thank you all for your advice.
    Glyntoo, I have asked my Mum too meet a neutral place like you suggested, but she wont do that or let me speak to the girls on the phone. My children did not live with me at any time through my addiction but yes they did suffer ALOT. As you suggested being able to tell them I am getting better - and meaning it. I completely agree and that is the main reason I so desperately want to see them. To be completely honest with you when I couldn't tell them that my life was so messy that I rarely 'really' wanted to see them. The last time they seen me would have been so traumatic for them and
    I worry about what they are going through mentally wondering what has happened to me. I haven't seen them for four months. In the year they have been with my mum I have never had them on my own and even now I'm not asking for them back, I just really want to see them. I want them to know that Mummy is ok.

    Movazi - You are quite correct, I was indeed forced into detox and onto sub. My partner (35) was supporting my habbit and he went to jail. I was only able to use for about a day and a half after this and then went to detox. As for my parents, my dad disowned me as soon as he even heard I was using heroin, my mum supported me (strangely enough), untiloff the gear then after I detoxed the last time she refused to see me or let me see the kids.
    AFTER detox I started on the sub it was because i felt it was the only chance I had, but now I understand what you are saying as I had about 4 days off it recently and I knew if I didn't get it soon it wasn't going to end well. For that reason I have made an appt with Dr and am quite commited to go back to detox and get rid of the sub or start tapering. I will be drug free sooner rather than later, of that I assure you.
  6. movazi

    movazi Well-Known Member


    You do seem to have the right frame of mind so all the luck to you but know that it will not be an easy battle, so do not give up easily. Your body is young and can heal itself rather fast.

    A lot of good posts on this forum on Sube (Stay away from high doses doctors prescribe because the maker of this drug has done an excellent job in portraying Sube as a non-addictive alternative, go to 2mg and take the little pain, at 2mg you should still function normally). Sube is an amaizing drug though in that it stabilizes the addict, does not really get you high, has a ceiling effect, yet makes you feel perfectly normal , so it does deserve some credit in that regard.

    So long you know it is really an opiate and you must eventually come off it might as well take advantage of it and use it for a soft landing. You do not need doctors or detox centers, tell mom where your mind is at, take a good one or two months off, preferably at mom’s house, taper off to .25 mg (yes, even .25mg is too much) and then jump. Once you go lower than 1mg you will start feeling wd, once you jump you will feel the full impact of what Sube really is. (you need a good month or two, I am 5 months into this and as you can see still wake up at odd times of the morning, still sweat a lot, lack of energy, some anxiety, etc. but things get better after couple of months and much better after four months or so, everyone is really different, I am older than you and been longer on opiates and these are major factors).

    This is one of the better forums on the net, with caring administrators who make sure the goal of the forum is sobriety and nothing else. You are in a good place if you really want to quit. Wish you the best.
  7. glynntoo

    glynntoo Well-Known Member

    Miss - Grandparents who are forced into this position are pretty much floundering about not sure what to do next. They love their child - they love their grandchildren. There comes a point in which they have to acknowledge they have to protect their grandchildren's interest.

    THIS is where it gets interesting to me. Yes, a grandparent MUST put the minor grandchildren's well being first and foremost. The addicted adult child has her own challenges she has to meet. BUT, what is in the grandchildren's best interest? IMO, all of the time - it is in their best interest to know their mom is "getting better"....if that is the case. If it is NOT the case, depending on their ages - they probably need to know that to some degree. I believe this with all my heart after watching my grandson in counseling grapple with his feelings. They need to know it because they've been conditioned to live in denial and delusion. They had to. Perhaps your children were spared some of that by your mom's intervention PRIOR to the start of drug use. But, if you were depressed for a long time - or living with the individual now in jail - ......

    So, yes, your children can only benefit from knowing you are doing better. Just be careful you tell them that only if it is really true. Hugs, K
  8. mbl

    mbl Well-Known Member

    Glynn, I am so glad you posted for Miss - I was thinking about you when I read her post.

    Miss, I know I can't speak for your mom, but from my personal experience, we family members do make our decisions and set our boundaries the best we know how and do it all out of love. I can tell you that right now I am in a position with my son that I have to make tough choices that go against everything we 'think' we have known about unconditional love for our children. I am basically going to have to send him back out to 'who knows where' (if he shows back up here). He will see it as us kicking him out "again". We see it as he made this choice due to his recent actions and/or lack of actions. It hurts so much as a parent to have to make these decisions. We make them because we have to - not at all because we want to. Both for our child's addiction as well as for us and the rest of the family unit.
    Remember - the unconditional love does not change, only the way we now have to show it.
  9. movazi

    movazi Well-Known Member

    Glynn and mbl speak from the heart as they are moms themselves with kids in your situation. Use their posts to better understand your mom. There must have been a reason for your mom to refuse you after detox !! She is protecting her grand kids as she sees they still have a chance at living a normal life.
  10. tiredjunkette

    tiredjunkette Active Member

    hi if you get a moment read my story from secretly dealing with opiate addiction on thread. i am also a young recovering mother. everyone is right about the sub, really try to get off asap, so that you know how it feels not to need ANY chemical to make you ok. i used sub for a few weeks then slowly just started skipping a day. you will notice it stays in your system for quite awhile and once you break the habit of taking something to make you feel "better" you will notice you don't need them anymore. listen to your body, and not the doctors, u know when you're ok. ive been off sub for about eight days and havent felt this physically good in years. emotions are a whole other sory though, it's going to be really hard to feel again. stick with this forum there are alot of helpful people on here and good luck girl!

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