My question would be... If I'm the only positive, constructive and truthful voice in my son's head... when he asks me to back off from talking about drug abuse OR anything negative relating to it for whatever his reason ... do I? I guess I feel like if I do "back off" I will just lose him to the demons of addiction that already seduce his mind with it's voice and he will lose himself even more. How does a loved one of an addict determine when to walk away?
Your question is one probably all of us struggle with every day. How do we communicate more effectively? No matter if it is with your son who struggles with addiction or if it is with a spouse, friend or boss. I am going to stick with communicating with your son in my answer, I have no advice or answers for the others, especially spouse, says Darlene.
You are the light for your son. You cannot stop providing your message of love and the dangers of addiction however sometimes it isn't the message but the delivery. Often times I would say to my son while he was using, "My eyes can hear much better than my ears." It was hard for me to internalize my own statement but it got better when I did.
Sometimes actions speak much louder than words. Actions demonstrate your words. Hugs and positive reinforcement when they do small things right provide the lubricant for those times when it is time to say the things he doesn't like to hear. You have to remember that you can say the same thing 100 times but if he isn't "hearing" what you say no communication takes place.
Become cognizant of when it the right and wrong time to talk about this with your son. Just like when driving on the street, there are red lights and green lights. There are days when you hit every red light no matter where you are going and any direction you take. Other days every light is green and the sun shines on you no matter where you are. The same thing happens in communicating with your son. Most of the time in his actions you can see the yellow light of caution, yellow doesn't mean speed up and blast through. Many times determining what color the light is can be as simple as asking.
I could give you a lot of good pointers but in truth when I was trying to communicate with Alex while he was using, I WAS THE WORST! My communication style was reminiscent of a Marine Drill Sargent on Paris Island. I was a slow learner but I did learn to speak with Alex instead of speak at Alex.
Some of the things I learned the hard way was already known by some really smart people about all of this and put into a short guide. I've been pitching this thing a lot lately, only because it is so good and makes so much damn sense. Go to The Parents 20 Minute Guide. Third button top of the page is about communicating.
How does a loved one of an addict determine when to walk away? You walk away when it is not healthy for YOU. You must take care of yourself. You can't help anyone if you aren't healthy inside. I know you've heard my simple question before. "If your son was ready to stop using today, or ready to talk, are you healthy enough to know what to do or say?" You must take care of yourself too so that your ARE ready when that day comes.
Thank you for your question. I have answered it the best I know know how. There is a lot of wisdom out there with my readers. I hope they chime in too with comments. None of us are alone in this, we all need each other.
For anyone interested the mother that ask this question also writes her own blog about her life with an addicted son. You can read her story here: Hands Full Of Tears