Son battling addiction
Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our 60s and have lived in our community for almost 20 years. The community has mostly retired couples, many of whom have been friends for years.
We have three adult children, who are all settled and successful. However, four years ago, our 36-year-old son became addicted to painkillers after an injury that required surgery and physical therapy. He lost his job and spent four months in jail. He has been clean for three years, and last year, we welcomed him back home. He found a job and is doing well.
Our dilemma is that we do not feel comfortable entertaining anymore because it always involves alcohol. — Concerned Parents
Dear Concerned: You cannot control your son, and ultimately his continued recovery is up to him and him alone. That said, I don’t think you should bring alcohol into the house while he’s living there.
Not all entertaining involves alcohol, especially luncheons or get-togethers over activities or sports. But if you’d really like to have a dinner party and you want to serve alcohol, tell your son in advance and persuade him to be out of the house until the guests have left. Then give away or dump out all the extra booze.
After losing his job and spending four months in jail, he probably made his sobriety No. 1 in his life. It is the most important thing in keeping him alive, and as long as he is living with you, it should also be No. 1 in your lives — way ahead of hosting parties for friends.
Dear Annie: My heart goes out to ”Confused Young Life in California,” who wrote to you from prison. It seems he has given up on himself and is resigned to a life behind bars.
I would encourage him to never give up and never give in. Prison is no life for him. My advice to him is to set some goals for the future. He should take advantage of any educational programs that are offered at the institution, read any books he can get his hands on and seek out programs that will help to further his well-being and education.
Three years ago, I began mentoring a young man who has been incarcerated nine years of his life. He is now 27 years old. I offered to mentor him and finance a two-year degree for him if he did the work. I was able to get him enrolled in a correspondence program for inmates at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He did the work and passed the course. We continue to work toward his educational goals.
My goal in mentoring is to help a young person reintegrate into society. I have found this way of giving back to be very rewarding. We have established trust and open lines of communication and have shared many of our life stories. I am very proud of the man he has grown into over the few years I have known him. His release date is this month, and he will pursue his college education upon his release.
I would appeal to your audience to think about possibly committing to mentoring a young person who is incarcerated.
I hope “Confused” gets the mentoring and help he needs to realize a better future. It will start and end with him — if he sets his mind to his future and never looks back. God bless and keep him. — Mentor From Wisconsin
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