How the family of Thomas M Jones can deal with his drug addiction July 6, 1997

This is in response to Tommy's 3 year use of illegal substances that has culminated in his admittance into a detox center for a 5 day stay. His drug of choice was narcotics although he also used alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, sleeping pills, diet pills, pep pills, pain medication, tranquilizers(valium, librium, etc.) Pysychothropic drugs(thorazine, melleril, triavil), and LSD over the years. The most painful withdrawal symptoms however are associated with narcotics. Other major concerns for him is 3 convictions resulting in misdemeanor charges, his current charge of violating his parole for testing positive to marijuana, low self esteem and no money while owing a lot of money.
Upon his return, our struggle will begin with:

  1. Recognizing that it is not our fault. There was much that could have been done differently, but Tommy's drug use is indicative of a disease much like alcoholism is. Most of us can try illegal substances and walk away from it. However, some just can't stay away from it like Tommy can't. It is an affliction that he has to be cognizant of for the rest of his life to avoid.
  2. We have to realize that at this critical hour, Tommy needs more love, understanding and support..not less despite the fact that he has hurt us, sometimes by stealing, by being dishonest or spiteful. We will need to come to terms with our own attitudes while being sure to take care of ourselves. Organizations like Al-anon and families anonymous will help us. Some of the key points in their program that I noted- Our role is not to do things for Tommy, but to be things, not to try and change his actions, but to try and change our reactions. As we change our negatives to positives; fear to faith; contempt for what he does to respect for the potential within him; rejection to release with love, not trying to make him fit a standard or image, or expecting him to measure up or down from that standard, but giving him an opportunity to become himself, to develop the best within him, regardless of what the best may be; dominance to encouragement, panic to serenity: false hope, self-centered, to real hope, God-centered; the rebellion of despair to the energy of personal revolution; driving to guidance; and self-justification to self-understanding
  3. We must stop helping Tommy abuse drugs. We must stop protecting him from the effects his drug use has on US. We must not tempt him by loaning him money, keeping valuables left around and in short not be the source of funds for his next fix. We must not allow drugs to be used around us and if there is no way to stop him, then we should walk away and signal that it is not being met with your approval. If he goes to jail, we must not bail him out, when someone questions his effectiveness, we must not make excuses for his conduct to ourselves or to others. When he falls he must pick himself up-again and again until he finally finds his way.
  4. We do the most harm by telling him he is no good or not worth helping. Ridicule or shame only worsens the problem. Also, even with the best facilities there is only a 60% chance that Tommy will stay free from any chemical abuse for a year. We must also come to realize that we are also victims of addiction and in need of treatment whether it be from within or from the outside such as Al-Anon.
  5. Since Billy and Melody are also teenagers, we need to focus on their interaction with a society that has the highest incidences of drug abuse in the world. Everyone seems to be using drugs or abusing alcohol. The media and