An open letter to my alcoholic/drug addicted son who has been near death several times from his addiction. We had given him up for dead. I received a “letter” from “Ken” yesterday from yet another rehab, inviting the family to attend. We have not heard anything from him for about 5 years. [Note, my bio only mentions “two” children.] This is my recent letter written to “Ken” to share with his fellow addicts in treatment. If it does not “reach” him, perhaps it will give other alcoholics insight as to how much their alcoholism/addiction affects those around them.
I’ve changed his name out of respect, although he holds none for himself. The presently-aired TV show “Intervention” shows families in distress, centered around the addict. Sometimes, the addict goes into treatment when (s)he sees the suffering (s)he has caused others. My hope is that an alcoholic/addict reads this and decides to go into treatment because (s)he realizes his/her family is in as much pain as (s)he is, and recovery will affect the whole family, not just the addict.
Hi, Ken. We all still love you and we’re glad to know you’re alive. The ground rules are the same: no contact until you’ve been clean and sober, with a fairly permanent address and a job.
In reality, we had given you up for dead. I am not joking. I watch a lot of Dr. Drew (Pinsky) with the addicts and alcoholics on TV on “Celebrity Rehab” and “The Sober House.” I also watch a lot of the shows called “Intervention.” Some of the people make it, but some don’t. It’s very sad.
I am so sorry you live among the miserable ones who don’t know the good side of life. You had many chances: a college education, a car, a clean home, two living parents, several fresh chances after rehab, etc. Alcoholics are like downward water spirals that suck you in and drown you.
I went to [the local rehab center’s] 5-day inpatient program for co-dependency b/c of you back in 1991. I learned a lot from it. I learned that I cannot help you or intervene in your self-destructive spiral until you stop the spiral yourself. I don’t know whether you are ready this time or not.
I looked online at the [treatment center where you’re staying]. It looks nice. I guess you’re “safe” for another 3 months. You will be turning 34 this June 24. I don’t know how much time you have left. One doctor thought you’d be dead before you reached 30.
I don’t know if you really care about our lives or not, but I’ll outline some things. I will be 66 this June. I am in good health. [My second husband] and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary in May. [Your sister] still lives with us. She finished 4 years of college; has a secure job; and has become a wonderful young woman.
Grandma is still alive. She is very frail and has shrunk 7 inches. [Your brother] takes very good care of her. She has had atrial fibrillation 7 times; the doctor says she might not survive the next round so we are not going to tell her about this latest chapter in Ken’s life. [Your brother] wants things to stay as they are, without contact from you.
Your dad, from what I understand, has Alzheimer’s and has become very forgetful. I don’t know if he remembers you or me. He still drives a car, but sometimes forgets where he’s going. He was in critical condition in the ER for forgetting to take some medication and re-hydrating. He is at home and [his wife] cares for him.
I have a contact number for your counselor, M —–. You did not send a single word about yourself. I am not going to call anyone or get involved with “saving you” from your disease again. Been there, done that.
By privacy laws, M——- will probably not offer me any information of substance. I can do a re-play of the [local treatment] program to cover what you folks will be doing again.
It is really up to you, Ken, not us. If you decide you want to live life – while some quality is left – once you’re back on a sober track for at least 6 months, you could contact me. Please, do not call from prison or rehab, but from your residence with a return phone number where you plan to stay at least 6 months.
I guess those are my bottom lines. Everyone needs hope and a goal so I will make that offer. Maybe you can read this in one of your intervention meetings as something “out there” to live for.
As I say, we gave you up for dead. You do not carry an ID with my (married) name and phone number on it. We figured, since you hadn’t called in crisis or for a jail bailout, that you had skipped out of state and died somewhere as an unidentified person.
Seeing your name on this envelope was a shock to me. As my son, I will always love you. Grandma prays for you daily. I am sure [your sister] would like to have another stable, dependable brother to depend on later in life as things change with time. I don’t know what your father thinks or knows or remembers.
If you do get sober for yourself, you have “blood family” that has always loved you and those of us living would like to see the “old” Ken once again, before he, or one of us, dies.
Take care of yourself. Reach out for help. Make this your last stop before permanent sobriety. Best wishes and love, Mom.