Question: My son will be 18 in 3 months. Since he was 13 it has been a roller coaster ride. In trouble with the law, rehab, not following rules and so on. He is very intelligent and was only points away from being in the gifted classrooms as a child. He did received his GED last year with some of the highest points possible and graduated high school (a year early) this May.
The thing is, he has done nothing since this time. He refuses to go to college, look for work or come home when he needs to be. He is up all night and sleeps all day long. Asking him to do anything is like pulling teeth. When you lay down the law he is very hostile and will not follow them. I gave him a deadline to get busy in life (a job or take classes at the college) and follow rules or he will have to leave my home. That time came and passed and I told him he has to leave. He refuses and says I am crazy because I freak out over him doing nothing but sleep all day. Now by all day I mean until 4 or 6 pm!! I must add the drugs are not involved for he just got off probation and had to be drug tested. Plus he does sleep each day, its just all day long!
I am at my wits end! What do I do and why is he like this?
Answer: Dear SA:
It is not at all uncommon for people to sleep after they have gone through rehab and are sober. Please realize he maybe doing the best he can right now. He is sober and this is quite an accomplishment. This accomplishment is so much more important than anything else he could have achieved as it will allow him to move forward with his life.
Now he should have a sponsor to help him work through this next stage. The rehab professionals should have also put you in touch with Al Anon. If not Google Al Anon and find a local support group and get a sponsor for yourself. You will find out how other parents and family have dealt with these type of situations and find peace.
Realize it your son who is responsible for his recovery, he is not however, responsible for having the disease. Being mad at him will only frustrate both of you. Try to put your frustration back on the disease. You could not know how to fix this as this is beyond any parents skills. We are not prepared to deal with diseases such as addiction.
Let him know he needs to get with his sponsor and find out how to work through this so he can get his life back in a quality fashion.
M Kay Keller
———- FOLLOW-UP ———-
QUESTION: I should have told you that rehab was 2 ½ years ago and we finished all of the AA and meetings with a doctor.
The alcohol is no longer an issue. It is his total lack of motivation and his unwillingness to follow rules and help out at home. The sleeping and the no job or school are all huge issues now and he will not listen to a thing I say.
Answer: Dear SA:
My point to you is that he didn’t finish up with AA and the meetings. Alcoholism is not something he will get over like a cold. This is a lifelong program he is not a graduate of AA. There is no graduation. As a substance abuse professional everything I wrote before applies.
His not listening to you tell me that you are not getting his problem. PLEASE seek some counseling and get into Al Anon. It is not uncommon for people who dry up to have sleep disorders, depression or a number of other health conditions which cause them to sleep all the time. It’s amazing he has been off of alcohol and sober for 2 and half years without an AA meeting!
I know this is not what you wanted to hear and it is still the same. He maybe doing all he can to stay off of the alcohol and stay sober. It may not be enough for you however he needs to stay sober first and foremost. It will be better for him is you seek education regarding alcoholism.
Dr. Mary Kay Keller
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Comment: Thank you!!!