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Ahee

My family refuses to trust me


Health Point


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August 30, 2012
Dear Jeff and Debra:

I am 29 years old and five months sober. I went to treatment at Brighton Center for Recovery for addiction to Vicodin and Oxycontin. I did a lot of bad stuff in my addiction, including pawning my parents' flat screen TV and my mother's emerald ring. My parents changed the locks and got a restraining order against me to protect their home. It was bad and I freely admit my wrongs. But now I am going to A.A. meetings everyday. I have a sponsor, and I'm working the 12-step program just the way he tells me to do it. I do not want to be that person I became in my addiction. It isn't who I am.


The problem now is mostly financial. I have a part-time job at a grocery store and my paychecks are miserably small. A friend has let me rent a bedroom in his house for $200 a month. I don't have a car, so I ride a bike or walk. I buy groceries and go out for a cheap dinner once in awhile and have been saving about $50 a month. A few days ago, my friend got engaged and announced that I'm going to have to move out in 45 days.

I can't find another living arrangement I can afford, so I asked my parents if I could move in with them until I find a better paying job. At first, they agreed, but when my sister heard, she went ballistic. She told my parents not to allow me to move back under any circumstances. They decided she was right. I could end up on the street. What do I have to do for them to see they can trust me again? I'm clean and doing everything I am supposed to be doing. I don't think my request for help is unreasonable.

— RECOVERING

Dear Recovering:

We stand with your parents and your sister; you shouldn't move back home. Your family isn't likely to trust you until you have significant sobriety and what you have right now is just a very good start. If you are living in your parents' house, they are going to be naturally nervous, your sister will probably be angry and everyone will be watching your every move.

It's important to understand, as a recovering addict, you never have the right to ask others, "Do you trust me?" The only question you may ask is one you ask yourself: "Am I being trustworthy today?"

If you can answer that question affirmatively over enough time — and no one knows what constitutes enough time — most people in your life will begin trusting you again. For an opiate addict, we'd say at least two years of working your recovery program and maintaining continuous sobriety.

That doesn't mean people can't help you in a way that works for everyone. We recommend you look into sober living.

Call Brighton Center for Recovery and ask for a referral to a reputable, inexpensive sober house. There isn't much to choose from in Michigan, but there are a few.

Ask your parents if they would give you a small loan to help you move into a sober house. Then set up a payment plan you can afford and is agreeable with them, even if it is only $25 a month. When you get a better paying job, you can give them more

If you can't find a sober house opening in Michigan, think about going out-of-state where you'll have better options. For instance, the Minneapolis area is known for a large population of recovering people. Minnesota is sometimes referred to as "Minne-sober." You'll find many established and reputable sober houses and, perhaps, a better job market.

So broaden your horizons if you can't find what you need here.

Jeff Jay and Debra Jay are co- authors of "Love First: A New Approach to Intervention for Alcoholism and Drug Addiction," and Debra Jay is the author of "No More Letting Go: The Spirituality of Taking Action Against Alcoholism and Drug Addiction."

The Jays are professional interventionists who live in Grosse Pointe Farms.

For more information, call (313) 882-6921 or visit lovefirst.net.


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Jeff Jay and Debra Jay are the authors of "Love First: A New Approach to Intervention for Alcoholism and Drug Addiction," and Debra Jay is the author of "No More Letting Go: The Spirituality of Taking Action Against Alcoholism and Drug Addiction." Jeff and Debra Jay are professional interventionists who live in Grosse Pointe Farms. They may be contacted with your questions at (313) 882-6921 or at lovefirst.net.
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