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AliceB777 04-11-2004 02:27 PM

My son needs help.
Let me give you some background info. He worked in the World Financial Center, which was attached to the WTC by a walk ramp. Luckily for all of us, he was on a business trip to Washington, D.C. that week and was away during the horror.

I think this is part of the problem. He wasn't in NY to help his friends, and in Washington he felt like an outsider (the office there was also evacuated because of the plane hitting the Pentagon). He felt isolated.

None of his friends were hurt, but their office experienced major damage. For the next 15 months, they were relocated to NJ. He lived in Brooklyn -- a 2 1/2 hour commute each way, which he did while working 10 hour shifts/4 days a week. He basically woke up, commuted to work, worked, then went home and crashed, then got up in the morning and started again. On the 3 days he was off, the slept! When they told him they were going to have him do that 5 days a week, he balked. He handed in his resignation. This was 16 months ago.

He has sent out more resumes than he can count, but only had a few interviews. His field (computer support) has few openings. He has a history of alcoholism, but has been dry for 5 years (luckily).

His unemployment has run out, and so has his savings. He won't let us help him, and is about to lose his apartment. He is so depressed it scares me -- he had been suicidal during the alcohol rehab.

He won't move in with us (I have to do this myself, because I am the one who f***ed up!), and he won't see a therapist. I can't even get him to go to AA meetings.

Any thoughts?

possum 04-11-2004 10:27 PM

Re: My son needs help.
[QUOTE=AliceB777]He won't move in with us (I have to do this myself, because I am the one who f***ed up!), and he won't see a therapist. I can't even get him to go to AA meetings.

Any thoughts?[/QUOTE]It sounds like there is more to this! How are you possibly responsible?

I have no idea about AA and I can't afford a therapist. I'm in the same situation (and a computer support specialist aswell) so I get all my help from my GP till I can afford a therapist.

A GP should be able to determine if he needs a therapist aswell.

Angel77 04-11-2004 11:47 PM

Re: My son needs help.
I'm sorry that you're forced to watch your son falling apart. As a mom I can only imagine what it would feel like. We are all hard wired to fix our children and that's what you want to do. I can understand.

Men are funny little creatures and while it would take usually losing a life of someone important to us to throw us into such a severe funk, men are thrown when something like this happens. Many men feel as if their position and worth in life are directly related to their earnings, toys and cash in the bank. When that is taken from them, they feel they have no worth. After all, they aren't working, have no money, no toys to show off to the other boys....they don't realize how much value they possess as a person, not just a provider.

My husband was fired from a job when we first got married. He is a mechanic by trade and his boss had him doing front office work, not his style. He told him he was going to cut his pay if he didn't count back money differently (not because the till was off, just because it wasn't the way he did it). Chris told him he couldn't afford it and so he let him go on the spot. The first and last time he was ever fired in his life. It hit him harder than anything I've ever seen! He was so depressed. I had to take on two other jobs just for the basics...ya know like Tuna Helper, minus the tuna?? He was home for three months and you could see him age 10 years in that time. It was heart breaking, and no matter how much he knew I loved him, in his mind, he wasn't providing, therefore not worthy of living.

It's painful to watch at best, mostly it's heart wrenching. I also sense a fear that he'll turn back to alcohol. He's shown some real resolve if he's been off over a year and hasn't started drinking again. He was also probably affected by WTC and the after math...things you don't see. Even though he wasn't there, he was reminded every day of the horror of it....going to a new office every day because the one he was in was destroyed and knowing full well that many died. He may not have known them, but how powerful would it be if you worked at a large place and weren't allowed to return because of a horrible fire? Knowing that this new place is just a band-aid and that the news was going to play pictures of people jumping out of windows to get away or hearing the screams? Does it matter that you may not have known them? knew of them and that's enough to hurt. It broke my heart to see it all and I live in Utah and didn't know a single one of them. Still hurts to this day.

So, my suggestion would be to talk to your son and let him know that you aren't helping out of pity, you are helping because God put parents on this Earth to help their children, regardless of age. If it would make him feel better, he could "pay" you back by providing a service in exchange..that way he won't feel like it's a free ride or a rub in. Ask him if he feels like there's a chance of him slipping back into alcoholism and then ask, open-endedly, if there's anything he'd like you to do to help him..for example.."I know this has been hard on you and I may have seemed pushy when I mentioned AA or counseling. I'm just worried and don't know what you need to help you find your feet again. I want to help, you just need to let me know what I can do to best help you without making you feel worse. I know you feel like you don't want our help and I can understand that, but it's just a transition into what will hopefully become a better situation for you. If you don't know now, if you think of something that will help, let me or dad know. We love you no matter what the situation is."

I know it sounds cheesy, but he needs to feel like he has an out. If he feels cornered, you're likely to get a knee-jerk reaction rather than one from the heart. So leave the offer open and when you talk to him, follow his lead. If he doesn't want to talk about the seventeenth resume he's sent in, don't. But ahead of time I would recommend that you tell him that you don't want to beat a dead horse or make him feel bad, so you don't bring it up. That doesn't mean that you don't think about him or aren't willing to hear just want it to be in his time and on his terms. He needs to feel like a man again, and part of that will come to being free to make his own choices even in something as little as a conversation about where his life is headed right now.

Also, I have a friend who is a head-hunter for a large computer firm and goes all over the U.S. hiring people like your son and has several people even making upto 250.00 and hour!! Never gonna happen in my life-time. And the way his firm is set up, they are the middle man for a company looking for certain computer oriented employees and most are project specific. The more ability he has to travel, the better...more money and more work. The head hunters are paid by the company looking to hire, not the person seeking a job and they usually are paid top dollar for their services. And if his company is like others, they don't care about degrees, they care about tallent.

Maybe have him contact some or look. I can ask my friend what words to search for, proper wording and all...not to bright when it comes to computer terminology or wording...I'm very blonde! and my computer knows it.

Just 'hold his hand', don't teach him to walk. He knows how, he's just figuring out how he wants to do it now. That's our tendancies as moms. We want them wearing all the armor and padding we can find before sending them out to play touch football and then calling in the air-ambulance for a bruised knee...but they're our 'babies' and always will be, that's the hard part for us, we have to step back and let them flounder a little bit. As much as we want to push them back in the water, at best we can spray them with the hose...not a cure but gives them a little more time to get to the water.

Good luck...hugs to you and your family.

Foxbluff 04-12-2004 01:20 PM

Re: My son needs help.
He won't move in with us (I have to do this myself, because I am the one who f***ed up!), and he won't see a therapist. I can't even get him to go to AA meetings.[/QUOTE]

Wow! This one is heavy! Alice, I read your post yesterday and felt as helpless as you do. I didn't know what to say to you then and hoped that "sleeping on it" would bring some advise to mind. I'm sorry to say that it didn't.

Upon reading your post it struck me that he had been hit with a huge dose of "survivor guilt". A double dose, as he survived the NY hit AND the DC hit! If his company didn't provide its workers w/psycological support system (can't think what it's called) following 9/11, then I think they should have! And your son's refusal to accept any help with the posture of "I have to do this myself, because I am the one who ********** up" sounds a little like he's still punishing himself for surviving! The good news though, is that he has been able to remain sober during the last (16) months. That shows a great deal of strength.

I still don't have any good advise and, of course, don't know how much you have already tried. Are you in NY? Could you find out from companies in the vicinity of 9/11 tragedy what groups, etc. came to the aid of the workers? Are there still ongoing support aids available? Support groups that you could describe your son's problem to in order to get expert advice?

Does your son have good friends from the past that he may have dropped after quiting his job? Someone outside of the family that could maybe drop by to see him?

Does he have an AA sponsor or good friend in that group that could call on him?

Best of luck, and please keep us posted! We're pulling for you and your son! Foxbluff

billy7772 04-13-2004 06:12 PM

Re: My son needs help.
[QUOTE=AliceB777](I have to do this myself, because I am the one who f***ed up!), and he won't see a therapist. I can't even get him to go to AA meetings.

Any thoughts?[/QUOTE]

I think the way he is thinking about things is the problem based on that last thought above from your note: "I have to do this myself, because I am the one who f***ed up!" contains several of the thinking errors that cause anxiety and depression. Try and get him involved in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) if you can. CBT is not like other talk therapy. A good CBT therapist does not care much about your past or why you think you feel the way you do etc. A good CBT therapist knows they cannot change what's already happened to you but they can help you change how you deal with what happens in your life from here on out. It's all about using the tools to learn to think more clearly and accurately about things and counter the thinking errors you are making that are causing your problems and once you do your depression will miraculously begin to lift before your eyes. My favorite starter book on CBT is "Been There, Done That? Do This!" by Sam Obitz.

Good Luck!


ffsmith 04-13-2004 10:44 PM

Re: My son needs help.
Instead of helping him
Have him help you.

Need him
Respect him
Encourage him

If he will not move in with you .
You could always move in with him :--)

I lost my job too
I am working temp now

I could not go to my parents for anything, even if they would want to help
Because they hurt me too much in the past.
And they tend to use against me, every gift and good deed that they do,
And hold it over my head and make me feel like less of a person.
I would rather be dead.

Some of it may be in my mind, or too much pride or stubbornness
Or what ever you want to call it
But that is the way I feel

Some times if I accepted things from my parents I felt worse then I do now.
It is hard to know what is right to do.
I did make some arbitrary rules in my life some things that I just will not do.
Maybe your son has some arbitrary rules that are part of the definition of who he is.

Learn the rules and see if there is a way you can work with him
And you can both end up better off
But he can keep his sense of self --- which is also needed for good mental health.

there is a difference between swallowing your pride and loosing it forever.

AliceB777 04-14-2004 10:41 AM

Re: My son needs help.
I have been most overwhelmed with the responses I have received. The support offered is most appreciated.

I have gotten lots of great suggestions, and lots to think about. Some days are better than others :jester: :eek: , but we are taking it just one day at a time.

Angel -- yes, please talk to your friend re my son. Those "buzz words" would be most helpful.

Again, thanks for all the help and support, and I will keep you posted.


Foxbluff 04-15-2004 10:45 AM

Re: My son needs help.
Alice, thanks so much for touching base and for the kind words. I'm very relieved to know that you saw all our messages. And, yes, do keep us posted as we're concerned for your son and for you. Stay strong. Fox

billy7772 04-16-2004 04:41 PM

Re: My son needs help.
[QUOTE=AliceB777]I have been most overwhelmed with the responses I have received. The support offered is most appreciated.

I have gotten lots of great suggestions, and lots to think about. Some days are better than others :jester: :eek: , but we are taking it just one day at a time.


Alice- I hope you find something that works. Please keep us posted :wave:


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