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tough love advice
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tough love advice

So I too live this hell. and would like some encouraging advice. If there is such a thing.  My grown son, father of a 4yr old and 6 month, is an oxy snorter. He is in the first time jail phase. Has used probably the past 4-5 years, not sure as they lie. He couldnt hide it, got too broke and dope sick to function so asked for help. He went to rehab, did suboxen, then who knows but decided pills were whatever easier than suboxen to obtain.. back high living in the streets off friends. then the baby was born, (to a clean mama) thank god.  and he "seemed" to straighten up, moved in to apt with wife and kids. that lasted 6 months. now hes been charged with stealing and dealing, and has turned himself in to the county jail.  he missed thanksgiving,christmas,my 50th,newyears, and court date is jan 21, he has been in since nov 21.2012 .  At the beginning I offered help. but soon as he chose dope over the offers, i stopped. totally, no contact at all. only one junkie in the family and he wasnt going to associate and tear us all down with him. was my feelings. I told him one day while I felt he was reasonable sober. that i would always love him and be his mama, But would not have anything to do with him and his habit. It comes a time you have to stop being their mama, and protect yourself and the immediate family. because as you know they turn into the devil.. a walking thieving lying evil. that I refuse to encounter. It literally made me physically sick, and hell I wasnt even taking the stuff. ugh. the pain and hell they must feel, cause just thinking of them hurts.... so for my question, anyone any further in this stage to let me know how to dealwith it... he has made 3 attempts to call from jail. despite he left my house 3 weeks before he went to jail, with his pockets full of my change. all the while telling me bye mama love you. then cashed it in to buy dope, ugh, soooo, I hung up and refused the calls. I want to believe I should of answered, he may need me, ha, yet I know I really dont rate that much to a junkie. I wish I knew what to do next. I choose to ignore it/him, yet theres babies involved, he is still my son. and soon he will be out. I cant consume myself with worry on what he will do when he gets out, just not sure what I should do. do I play a role in his recovery? cause classes and such dont seem right that I should go. He is a grown man. ugh this can go on and on, I know deep in my heart there isnt any answers. but for now im choosing tough love, will I regret it if he dies? probably so, but with all deaths there is some sort of regret right?
29 Comments Post a Comment
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1551327_tn?1408668686
Hello and welcome to the forum.  You will find a lot of people on here who will try to help and various advice that you can take something from.  I check this forum quite a bit so I will usually give a fast response but in all my relationships I have always been the addict not the other way around.  The knowledge I have is from watching my family suffer and realizing how I acted in the addiction and in recovery.

I prefer the term chemically dependent over junkie but tomato, tomato.  It is harder for him then anyone else I promise.  I understand it is hard when you feeling the physical pain as a result of trying to empathize with someone who isn't even present enough to take in any of it.  His emotions are numb and it may seem like he doesn't care.  I was recently in a relationship with a lady that was pretty fresh out of battered women outpatient treatment.  I tried to help her to release the hate and forgive them but she was not receptive to it.  I am sure you already know that on the days when he has been clean for a bit that he shows signs of the person he used to be.  He likely apologizes and cries and may even think suicidal thoughts.  After numbing the pain and escaping problems for a long time when you do get some clean time you are hit with this overwhelming desire to fix everything that you have done but it is hard to do when you are trying to understand why you are addicted in the first place.  There is a root to this problem and it likely stems from somewhere.  Maybe a traumatic event, loss, insecurity, depression, or perhaps a mental illness.  Nobody wants to escape reality when reality is good.  
Anyway this is my knowledge and my experience.  Right or wrong I hope you take something from it.  I won't say whether you should or should not support him on this.  You can tell him you love him and plant a seed in his mind every once in a while but it is not your job to fix him.  If you find yourself working harder for his recovery then he is you are wasting your time and hurting yourself, in my opinion.  When he has some clean time, especially when he gets out of jail offer to go to NA and AA meetings with him.  That will be the best way to support him and show him you care.

Good luck
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Hi Pul, i feel your approach is the best one. He has to figure this out on his own and maybe the jail experience will bring some light to him. I would not go to the meeting with him as his has to man up and the reality has to break through to him by him accepting what he is doing.
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480448_tn?1403547723
Good for you for sticking to your bottom line...that seems to be the hardest part for most of us.  I've had a few very very close friends who were addicted, I did a lot of enabling...they did a lot of screwing me over.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  I caused problems in my own marriage trying to "help" these people who were so dear to me.  I honestly thought I was helping them, but I wasn't.  

Once a loved one realizes that enabling only keeps the addict sick, then progress may actually occur.  I think its okay if you want to be in contact with him, just maintain your boundaries...tell him you will love and support him in his recovery only.  Is his wife clean?  Encourage her to get aftercare and find her own bottom lines.  It really complicates things when both parties of a couple are addicts.....they can be great together in recovery, but more often than not...they risk each other's sobriety.  They will both need to really WANT this and want to work HARD to keep their sobriety.

Your son doesn't WANT to do the things he does, and trust me, he probably has more remorse and guilt than you'll ever imagine about the things he has done.  I strongly advise against using words like "junkie" when talking to him.  That may very well be what he is...but I think those kinds of over the top "tough love" statements actually take it a little bit too far.  You can be  tough without purposely tearing him down...addicts carry enough guilt on their own and have ZERO self esteem.  Hearing that from his Mom isn't really going to help at all.  I GET the tough love, shock value factor....but that's just a tad much, IMO.  That's twisting the knife unnecessarily.

I strongly recommend you look into support groups, like alanon or naranon.  They are wonderful agencies, you will learn so very much, and develop a support system on top of that!

VERY best to you and your family...prayers for your son.  Please update us, okay?
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I understand tough love, supporting an "addict" in recovery. He's clean and sober in jail, and I think he's calling to see if you meant it when you said you were always gong to be his mama.  He may be calling for canteen (some change) or to talk about getting into treatment when he get's out. Talking to him would be classified as supporting his recovery. They say that addiction is a family disease, as such, there are family days that allow the addict to receive support from their family when they're going through treatment. I've seen addicts fail miserably when their family doesn't care enough to show up. Obviously, going to AA or NA is important to an "addict", but like anything else, it sure doesn't hurt to know that someone cares enough to be there for them once in a while. Then, if they relapse, they can remember that someone cared when they were clean. Junkie is very harsh term, and I sure hope and pray that he never hears that term coming from a family member.
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Avatar_m_tn
You were my first to comment, and you were an addict. that is exactly who I wanted to give me advice. so I am sure not to ruin my chance with my son. If there are certain things I should and shouldnt do or say. an addict would be the one to tell me accurately. I soooo appreciate you taking the time to help us.... I dont call him names or refer to him personally with the junkie term. Im just blount and not so tactful. sorry. but you were very helpful.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hey let me start out the day on a good note.  I APPOLOGIZE for using the junkie term. I'm harsh with words, I say things so blountly that it shocks. I have been that way along time, and work everyday on not offending. Yall all are right I wont and shouldnt use the term when dealing with him, or referring to him. Underneath is devil cap is my son, my first born, my friend, forever he will be, I just get sooooo scared and defensive when dealling with this, sorry for offending, and making myself look insensistive. Sorry sincerely,. but enough. not here to feel bad .  just want a idea on how to deal with him.
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Avatar_m_tn
yes his girlfriend is clean, thank god.
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480448_tn?1403547723
It's great that you're willing to accept constructive criticism with dignity and class, good for you.  You don't have to explain why you have said the things you've said, you're a Mom with a broken heart, scared out of your mind...there IS no perfect way to deal with these impossible situations.  you're not always going to say the right things...and now you know that that word may be a bit much.  I think I get it...it's your "mad" word...helps you blow off some steam by saying it?  That's understandable.

No matter WHAT hon, this is NOT your fault, and as much as you will support him, love him, care about him, in the end, it's ALWAYS going to be up to him how he moves forward, if he stays clean, etc.

Encourage him to get involved and stay involved with some kind of aftercare.  An addict sets themselves up for relapse when they do nothing.  They get "clean" and think that's enough...it's not.

That's one way you can help him, by encouraging him to seek and stick with aftercare.  Other than that, get some help for yourself and try to just be his Mom.  It's going to be rough navigating through this...it's all unchartered territory for you.

Keep talking....we'll help you the best we can.  You'll get all different kinds of perspectives, from people who are addicts themselves, and people like me, whose experience comes from having been a loved one of an addict, too many times to count, actually.  

He's lucky to have you.  
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No worries, It is just a word.  You could have called him a jar of jelly and in some language on some other planet that word could mean junkie or addict or therapist. lol  I wasn't attacking you at all just planting a seed.  There is no need to apologize to me.  I am not easily offended.  I can't be because I am codependent.
Thanks for your kind words and keep coming back for the support, knowledge, and variety of advise on here.

Have a blessed day,

Larry
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Avatar_m_tn
your last comment said it all,   thank you so much. I do feel so helpless. I just deeply pray he gets better and realizes he is worth it.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am so greatful for you, I am able to discuss such sad and scarry things with a complete stranger, and yet... it keeps me at peace.... Sincerely... I am battling with writing him a letter. not sure what to say. dont want to give him false hope are lead him to think, alls well get out of jail, and things will all be wonderful...maybe I will just write a note. Dear Levi, please dont give up on yourself. I love you.
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480448_tn?1403547723
Dear Levi, please dont give up on yourself. I love you. .


PERFECT!!!  A BIG message in a very short note.  Hang in there hon!
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1551327_tn?1408668686
You are, of course, welcome.  This process is such a fragile and confusing thing.  Dealing with an addict and trying to understand especially for people who don't use and are pretty stable.  I can only imagine what went through my wife's mind as she watched and supported me as I went through the addiction.  

Emily:  Is he high or isn't he?  Well he's laughing and affectionate right now.  He's playing with the kids.  I don't see him going to the bathroom every hour which is where he snorts them at.  Yeah I think he is really done this time.  Then I stand up and some of the pills fall out of my pocket....
Emily:  Well I guess he was taking them when I went to the kitchen.  I am so sick of this.  I guess he got them when he went to town earlier and said he was going to get a pack of cigarettes, but where did he get the money?  Oh my ring is missing, he must have pawned it.
Emily:  We are going to see his mom again.  She keeps giving him pills so I am going to watch him and her.  Ok we are heading home he didn't get any pills from his mom, thank God.

Reality:  I did pawn the ring.  I also borrowed them as a had a dealer that would let me borrow them and pay him back earlier.  Mom did give me pills I just called her in advance and told her to leave them under a towel in the bathroom under a towel.  I hid them in the closet buttoned up in a pocket.  I hid them in DVD cases.  She was a great detective but I was a professional addict.  
I use a lot of the drive that I used to have for getting pills in my life now.  It helps quickly problem solve a lot of times. I didn't have much time in between thinking about how I was going to buy the pills and coming up with a good excuse to leave and get them.  I didn't have much time to get them because if I told her I was going to get a gallon of milk from the store she knew about how long it should take to get there 5 to 10 minutes at most.  She knew how long I should be in the store 5 to 10 minutes at most.  Then 5 to 10 minutes to get back home.  So that's 30 minutes at most.  I also knew this as well so I would run through the whole scenario in my head to make sure I could do it.  I got better at it every time.  Sometimes I would tell the dealer that I was coming up and I needed to buy a gallon of milk off of him when I got there....

Anyway the point it is the friendship you make with the drugs.  They become the only thing in your life.  If you remember your first kiss or the first time you saw your kids walk or whatever the buzz gives you that sensation every time you get them.  If you remember a day where you were confident and cocky because you were on it and nothing could bring you down you feel that confidence and more when you are taking the drugs.  I am not trying to make addiction sound great because it isn't so I will add this:
If you remember a time when you were deathly sick with the flu, the physical part of the withdraws are worse.  If you had ever gone through a series of traumatic events and felt like you could never be the same again, the mental withdraws are worse.  All of your emotions start coming back and you get overwhelmed by the guilt of what you have done and find yourself trying to fix it all as quick as possible but as you are trying to repair broken relationships you realize that you are also going to have to figure out how to get your finances in order, get the stuff out of the pawn shop, and so on.  If you have a job you have to go to it knowing that it is going to hurt and while you are there you wonder if your wife is going to be there when you get home, know that your next check isn't going to be enough to put a dent in the financial bind you have gotten yourself into.  The thought of treatment might enter your mind especially if you have been before and actually had a little sobriety time afterwards but who has time for that.  Typically you only get to stay for a week or two anyway and then you are kicked out the door with such advise as: go to AA, One day at a time, Change your entire life, you will always be and addict, and so on.
This adds on to the overwhelming list of things that are still fresh and waiting for you when you get out as well that have just gotten more difficult because you took a break and went to treatment.  I remember almost everything it took for me to get clean and I learn more every day that I don't use.  This is a vicious and scary cycle.  It is a long process and it takes what it takes.
I hope this gave you some insight on what he may be going through but we are all different.  
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hi mom. there is alwys hope..........
i so understand the hurts,anger,disappointments,sorrows,
sadness and every other feeling that you have. it cuts to the core, our heart,our soul,when our children are addicts. we think where did i go wrong? what could i have done differently? at first we "help", our help is then taken advantage of and we become enablers. we become the victums. we are stolen from, lied to,deceved,  our children now matter how old they are become a monster,it seems they have become the devil incarnate, someone we didnt birth or raise. the fact is mom i know it is hard to believe, but your son is still there. the drugs have taken control of all he says and does. how old is your son?
mom please support his recovery, not enable his addiction. i would answer the phone, i would tell him the boundaries that you want to put in place, the rules in regard to your house if and when he visits. that you love him and want him to be whole and well.
remember there is always hope....... my son is 27 and has been clean for 3 1/2 years. three days ago on my birthday he thanked me and said if it wasnt for me, my love, my tough love, my kicking him out of the house, cutting off all money to him, praying for him,continuing to support him he probably would have been dead. what a beautiful birthday gift.
my daughter who is 21 has now been in rehab for 4 months. in the last 3 years i have kicked her out of our house 2x, she has stolen thousands of dollars of jewelry from me. 10 days before she went to rehab on her own i sent her a text message. i told her that opiates have turned her into a monster, that opiates had robbed her of the humble,beautiful, meek,loving,
caring,gentle spirit that she was. that i would always love her and told her she wasnt welcome in our home until she went to rehab and did something to help herself before she died. within those 10 days she was also arrested again for the 4x, this time for possession with intent to distribute 100 roxys. she has court jan 22nd.  she has told me many times that that text i send her keep on playing in her mind over and over, and over again. she said mom you were right. she has thanked me so many times for continuing to support her, love her, pray for her. she continues to tell me how sorry she is, for causing so much hurt,disappointments,
sorrow,fighting and sadness. my youngest sons are 13 and 15. they had witnessed so many horrible things, screaming, fighting,yelling, my daughter and i had physical altercations. she had only weighed 95 lbs but boy was she strong when i tried to physically restrain her. she is in a christian rehab. she was raised in a christian church and knew that the LORD  was the only way for her to get and stay clean. she needed to be cleaned and spiritually renewed . my husband was a recoverying addict when we got married. he had been clean for 12 years and relasped in our marriage. my children lived with his addiction for years. i also enabled him. i regretted not leaving him, if i would have left maybe my 2 children wouldnt have been addicts also. if i hadnt married him. i cant go back. we are still married and he has been clean agian for 3 years.
remember there is always hope..... i put off for years going to alanon. why should i go i dont have the problem they do. welll i did have a problem, i had become just as sick as they were. it is a family disease, i didnt sleep, i was physically,spiritually and emotionally sick. i started alanon a couple of years ago, it definitely helped, i go to the gym, i am taking care of me,i went to counseling,i pray, go to church, counsel with my pastor........
i hope and pray that your son has had some time to think about his life and what he wants out of it.
thinking of you, sending encouragement,support and prayers,
keep the faith,
debbie
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480448_tn?1403547723
Amazing posts!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
oh I am not sheltered to the life. at all. I am not an addict, by choice, I have known and watched many people use and I totally understand the hell they live... trust me thats why I am so scared for Levi. He has burned every bridge he had, regarding employment, trust with family, etc. he had nothing, his girl is seeing a sober man who enjoys living. so she now is finally starting to enjoy herself, without worry. He will have no where to live when released. When he was released from a 7 day detox he made a comment about" the only good thing about starting out on the bottom, you have no where to go, but up.  wow. he says some crazy ****. that thought and situation would horrify me. but hey he and he alone. chose to get high, to get help, to refuse aftercare, to selfmedicate, to steal, to lie, to walk up to the jail and turn himself in, and now only he can take this next step.  I was thinking yesterday how often I cry and worry about this/him. and if what they say is true, only he can cure himself. then why am I worrying and crying so much, thats not the answer, it only brings me down. I am tired of "it" stealing my happy. I deserve to smile. to feel peace. and I will. I will pray and love him, yet I aint letting the devil steal anymore of my happy. I believe in God. and he must have atleast one shephead left to bring back my son. I know this can turn out to be alright. keeping my head high, not literally, and my fingers crossed.
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Avatar_m_tn
Well well, good news. I need that. my son is 26, and it sounds so good to hear you say yours is now clean. ahhhh I am so glad for you and yours, your story gave me extra hope, and yes God is there only chance.... Hope while Levi is sitting,alone, he can get quiet for a moment, and listen.... please pray he listens..... and thank you for your concern and post...
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1551327_tn?1408668686
I understand your concern.  Just like praying to God for support or to remove your pain and worry, when you are trying to get your next pill you sometimes sub consciously pray to a higher power.  Just like the way that some people pray to a whole list of Gods, when you are using you come up with a God of pills.  The difference is that it is easier to get a "blessing" from the pill God than it is for a true higher power.  That is why it is so hard to quit.  God or whatever higher power doesn't give you that instant gratification that getting the pills.  Now when I pray for God's will and he shows me that thing that  helps me let go of regret, I get goose bumps and a sense of peace that I felt when I used to get when I got my next pill.  It is almost like the instant gratification I felt when I took my next pill but I only need it once and the peace I feel can last for weeks or months instead of only lasting till I got or took my next pill.  
Anyway you get the idea.  Higher power can take months to connect with and this is all while dealing with the problems that have built up over using.  It is not hard to convince people you are using but it is difficult to convince them that you are not.  
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Avatar_m_tn
so hard to convince us they aren't. wow so true. hey I wrote my son the letter, I totally understand your not my go to guy, but could i share what I wrote him. I dont want to offend or mislead him. yet so want to say something he may cling to ....if I'm oberstepping with this I understand.
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1235186_tn?1339127464
yes hun you can share go ahead.i am here to listen and be a sounding board.
i know it is hard, we dont know what to say to our addicted love ones. it seems no matter what i would say, didnt say, didnt mention things for weeks, whether i cried, spoke softly, yelled, tried to reason it was never received because they werent ready to hear it.it was always someone elses fault, never theirs. everything got twisted. my daughter always said nobody loves me. that was the farthest thing from the truth. the fact is she didnt love herself at the time.
i hope and pray that he will have had some time to think, as his head clears and he is coming to terms with what he has become that he will accept and take to heart your letter as i know it is from the heart of a mom.
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1551327_tn?1408668686
Of course.  You can share whatever you like.  I don't have to be your go to guy I am just hear to listen and if I can help I always will.
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Avatar_m_tn
thanks so much for being here for me. I so appreciate this. I feel at ease now, knowing I can vent and nobody is frowning on me. I try not to discuss this with others close to me, in fear they will loose their happy. and see I am worried. no need for all of us to be upset. so thanks for allowing me somewhere to go, and get such great caring advice...
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Avatar_m_tn
great. your my rock. let me know what you think about my letter.    

My Levi,
I'm writing you this letter with so much hope, yet hesitation. I struggle withwhat to say. Do I really have the magic words? -advice? If I say -nothing, will I make things worse?  Does telling you, "this doesn't have to be this way," matter?  PLEASE use this time to "be quiet" and listen----
deep inside you'll hear the answers you need.  You are so worth it,!
God loves you. I love You.....PLEASE Love yourself.  Please enbrace sobreity with all your might.  Beg for aftercare, seek any and all opportunities that are crucial for you to succeed and live.  Dont look at the whole picture now.  It's ugly. Just take one day at a time.  The day you walk out , wont be the end of a bad thing. but the beginning of healing your body.  Its not well. Baby It. Don't fret and worry about how much you've lost or messed up.  ALL that will come back to you.  After you're well and healed.  Really it does.  I'm believing you CAN do this, Will you? is the question.  Always your Mama   Take Care

sorry my note turned into a letter. be honest with me tho.
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480448_tn?1403547723
I think it's beautiful.  Gave me a lump in my throat.  It's honest, it's sincere, it's so obviously from your heart.  You said some important things in that letter.

It's very positive, and maybe it's best to leave it just like it is, but I think I would be tempted to mention, briefly, that you will ONLY support him in his recovery, not in using.  They use this on the show "Intervention" all the time, and I think it's very powerful..."I love you, but I'm not prepared to love you to death".

See what the others say, but I think it'sd important that he knows you will hold your bottom lines.  It doesn't have to be a negative sentiment, you know?,... but I think it serves as a good reminder to him that he has you behind him 100%, but only if he is trying.

It's really a lovely letter.

Praying for your Levi...I hope he uses your love, and the love from God and others to really work hard to guard huis sobriety.
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1551327_tn?1408668686
It was better than I could have done and I am pretty good with words...amazing, great job.  Keep me posted on how everything is going.
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Avatar_m_tn
just wanted to say thanks, he got the letter, wrote me a nice one as well. he was released tues with 3 years probation, His girlfriend was there waiting when he got out. took him to her house and baked him a cake. His daughters were sooooooooo glad to see their daddy. tears tears. but like they say one day at a time. Hes mentioned classes and a sponser so Im keeping my fingers crossed. lets pray he figures this out....
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Avatar_m_tn
I was so relieved to see you approved of my letter. Your input matters, I feel you have been there on that side and would recognize sincerety or not. I so want to say the right things. yet I am still scorned that he stole so often from me/us. so I told him I wasnt ready for visits yet. It makes me nervous and I try not to feel that., so for now it seems to be going alright. He is home with his girls, and thats a good thing in my heart. now if only its enough to keep him clean. I can only wait and pray. its the weekend hope you have a good one, thanks Bubulous...
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1551327_tn?1408668686
You too.  If you need to talk or vent, come back on here.  I will be on an off all day.
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Avatar_m_tn
just wanted to let you know, I appreciate all of your comments, and advice. so far so good. Levi was released from jail after a 60 day stay, left with 3 yr probation, with random drug tests. He was fortunate in the fact his girlfriend picked him up took him home to his girls and a baked welcome home cake.......,. and I wasnt to sure that was the right thing but..... its not my world. so they are all still together. He has called me on several occasions to let me know he is still focused, and "clean" he says its easier than he had expected it to be. so with that being said. I can only hope pray and wait to see. Wouldnt it be a perfect world if he really did learn to stay clean, and wants to, Time is the test. thanks for listening.
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