Matt: What’s up, guys. This is Matt and Greg with Project Unbroken. Today, we are talking about a nightmare scenario. What would you do if you found out that your kid was abusing opiates?
Greg: I could …
Matt: Freak out?
Greg: … freak out. Yeah. Hypothetical question. I have a five-year-old. You have a three-year-old, so our kids are a little young, but I’m just picturing him growing up. I’m also just picturing myself as an addict, kind of what would work for me, I think or what will work the best. I think that is telling him that … It’s easier said than done, but probably telling him that I’m willing to support him as long as he is actively in recovery. As long as he’s actively trying to get sober. Otherwise, I would need to find a balance between helping him and letting him go through his addiction, I guess. Again, easier said than done.
What I mean by that is I know as an addict, the easier things were, the more I was caught up in addiction. The more I associated addiction with ease. When I first started, I had a good amount of money because I was into business back then. I made a bunch of money. I probably had 100 grand laying around where I could just buy drugs with, and it was easy. It was there in my bank account. I’d go get drugs. I didn’t have any problems. I could always get it. My dealer always had it, so it was really easy.
As things went on, things got harder. That was like for a good year I would say that it was like that, and addiction, it was kind of fun. The heroin addiction was fun, because there was nothing hard about it. I was living normally. I was feeling good most of the time. Then what happens with addiction, it catches up to you. It caught up to me. I ran out of money. It started getting harder to get. I started withdrawing more. I started losing friends. So then I started associating the addiction with hard. The more that happened, the more that I didn’t want to do it. The more I wanted to get away from it.
For me, it would be … It’s different for each situation, I think. Everyone that has a child, they’re older, younger, maybe some of them are on their own. Maybe some people are helping them a little bit and helping them a lot. Maybe not at all. So it’s different. Different scenarios, but I would just try to make it as clear as possible that I’m willing to help him in any way possible, that I love him, that I support him, but if he continues using, I’m not going to support him. I’ll have to find a line of where I was going to draw. Again, it would depend on the situation of if I can even give him a little bit or do I put him on the street? That would be really hard to do, but I think it depends on where that timeline is.
Matt: You’re talking about supporting. Are you strictly talking about financially?
Greg: Yeah. Look. If you’re willing to get into recovery and you’re already on this path to start recovering, I will do whatever. I support, I love you, I’m there for you. I’ll give you a house to live in, food. I’ll help you extra. I’ll pay your car if I need to. I don’t care. You can quit your job. If you’re working, quit your job. Let’s focus on recovery. I’ll do whatever for you as long as you’re in recovery. As soon I found out he’s using again, I’m going to start cutting that stuff off. I’m going to start making his life difficult.
I’d probably … There’s different people, I think, recommend. Some people say you have to just put him on the street. That’s hard for me, man, because I … Yeah. I think maybe slowly, very slowly work towards that. Again, this is hypothetical speaking. Easier said than done, but that would be really hard for me to do, I think. But definitely it would be make things harder and harder and harder on him without trying not to put him in dan- … I say not put him in danger, but if he’s using, it’s more danger. If I’m giving him stuff, like if I’m giving him money or I’m helping him with money that allows him to have money to buy more drugs, how is that helping him? He could end up overdosing. You know what I mean?
Matt: Yeah. Yes. It’s a fine line there, I think.
Matt: I also think that a lot of parents that are maybe going through this and they’re not sure what angle to take with their kid have not gone through what you and I have gone through. We know what has worked for us, what hasn’t worked for us. We understand addiction probably a lot better than most parents who are looking at their kids, where they’re like, “What are you doing?”
If God forbid, our kids fell into something like that, I think we would have a little bit more experience to fall back on, and I think that’s why we’re on the same page with supporting them through this. I think you just have to have parameters. If I found out this was the case … There are a lot of variables that go along with this thing. One, you have to even assume that the kid in the situation wants to get out of it, because like you said, it was fun for a while. You’re like, “I don’t want to stop this.”
Greg: That said, if you can make it more difficult on them somehow …
Greg: You know what I mean? Then that speeds up the process.
Matt: It all depends on how this lays out. Assuming that everyone is on the same page and recovery is the goal, absolutely, I’m with you 100%. I’m going to support you, but I’m going to be watching like a hawk. Even you said paying for the car, quitting the job, stuff like that. I might personally demand that those things stay in place in some way, shape, or form almost to add a little bit of accountability. I’m sorry. Maybe the job staying in place of some sort. Some sort. I think schedule and daily habits are a big thing.
As a parent, if you’re working with your kid to get to recovery, you’re going to have to be managing them for a while. You’re going to have to be watching them. You cannot trust them right off the bat. Forget it. You can support them, but you can’t trust them. So if you have this initial talk, and you’re like, “Yeah. I support you. I’ll help you out financially. You can live here, and I’ll help you with the car,” whatever that may be, you might have to take control or at least have eyes on the financial situation. If they have their own bank account, you’re going to need access to how and when they’re taking out money or spending money and stuff like that.
Greg: What’s cool is today, we have credit cards where you can track everything. If they get something even out of an ATM, you can go, “What did you get that money out for?”
Matt: Pull out 200, like, “Where did it go?”
Matt: Collect receipts, whatever, but I need to see where that money was spent. Probably even cell phone records. I’m looking at all that shit. You have to micro manage it. A lot of people are like, “I don’t want to push him away or scare him,” or whatever. You’re going to have to draw out some … What’s the word I’m looking for? Some demands, basically, saying, “If this is what we’re going to do, I’m going to help you get through this. These are the rules we have to follow.” Like cell phone records, bank statements. I would probably have to go through a comprehensive list and remember all the shit I tried to pull when I was going through it. I would have a real close eye on stuff like that, and just the day-to-day schedule.
Like you said, you need to focus 100% on recovery, absolutely. But hopefully, if this is the case, you can help them find a reputable doctor to work with. Buy a maintenance program for him. Stay in touch with the doctor. Go to the meetings. I remember … If you’re working with a reputable physician or whoever is subscribing this suboxone or methadone or whatever you’re doing. Be involved with that. You have to realize this is literally a life or death situation, and when it’s your kid, at least for me, and I know I’m speaking for Greg, too, it’s going to be my full-time job. My daughter is my full-time job now, really. So if push came to shove and that was on the line, I’m running the show, everything.
Greg: You know what? It’s pretty scary, because there’s two opposite ends of the spectrum. There are people who say you’ve got to just kick them to the street, like look, just totally disengage, like just cut them off. You know what I mean?
Greg: Well, okay. What if that person goes and they meet the worst of the junkies and they start using dirty needles, and they end up … You know what I mean?
Matt: Oh, it happens all the time.
Greg: Yeah. You almost push them into the … Like further down the road. Then there’s people who on the opposite end of the spectrum are like, “I’m willing to do anything for my child,” and they don’t monitor them. They just give them a car and they give them a house and a place to live and food.
Greg: Yeah. Totally enable them with no consequences, no accountability. Then what if that person, they’re able to get whatever they want, so they go deep, because they can … You know what I mean? So it can go really bad either way. Again, you’re associating easy with addiction when you do the enabling. I think it’s somewhere in between.
Greg: You’ve got to slowly maybe push towards that end line to make it more and more difficult, but the whole time, you’ve got to let them know that you’re there for them and you support them as long as they get sober.
Matt: I think it goes back to accountability. Making the addict accountable. Like you were mentioning, it’s going to be difficult if they’re like, “Damn. I can’t pull a dollar out of my bank account without my dad or whatever being on this shit.” That has to be … That would be my path to making things difficult. Just hawking over top of them.
As a parent, assuming there’s other family members involved, younger siblings, whatever. We know people that have literally ruined the rest of their family through their addiction. Families have the best intentions, and they’re trying to help, trying to help, trying to help. It will slowly rot away everybody else you have to take care of, because the addict is going to take all the attention and all the effort. It’s going to happen. It’s going to be the source of anxiety. It’s going to be the source of stress. It’s going to be the source of constant problems. That is, I think, a lot of times why people are like, “You’ve got to hit it or we’re going to lose everybody else in the process.”
Matt: It’s not an easy decision, and like you said, you’re walking a tightrope.
Greg: It is.
Matt: What’s too little? What’s not enough? Am I letting them slip and fall, or am I propping them up too much?
Greg: I’m thinking from experience, I would definitely recommend against immediately going one way or the other. Don’t just immediately kick them out would be my advice. If it was my child … We’re speaking hypothetically. If it’s my child, there’s no way I’m just kicking him out right away. I’m going to talk to him. I’m going to slowly start taking things away. I’m definitely not going to keep giving him shit if he’s going to keep using. I’m going to make it harder and harder and harder. I’m going to take away his car. I’m going to take away his … I don’t know … whatever I can take away, depending on the situation.
Now, there’s people out there where maybe their child no longer lives with them. That’s a different road. I think you might need to do different types of things to make their life harder, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do sometimes, I think.
Matt: Everybody has a different relationship with their kid.
Greg: That’s true. There’s so many different …
Matt: 100%. It’s hard. It’s really hard to speak … Again, every single situation is going to have so many variables involved. It’s going to be really difficult. If the goal is, and you really want to try to help them, you have to be up close and personal with what’s going on.
Greg: I agree with that.
Matt: You have to know what’s happening, especially if you are going to be supporting them in any way, shape, or form, because if not, you’re going to get taken advantage of.
Greg: I agree with that.
Matt: That’s just kind of it.
Greg: Yeah. Hopefully that was helpful. Again, you’ve got to be really careful with pushing too hard or keeping them too close as far as helping them to enabling them. You can’t enable or they’re just going to keep using. That’s associating easy with addiction, and you can’t do that. Again, there’s going to be different variables, different situations, different relationships. There’s not really a right move for us to say. We don’t know what our exact situation would be, but I know overall what I would do is talk to him. Tell him I love him, I support him, and then slowly probably try to make things more difficult on him if he doesn’t start taking that path.
Matt: Yeah. Absolutely. All right, guys. Well, thanks for watching. We will have plenty of content coming. If you want to see us or ask us any questions or see us talk about different topics, drop us a comment or hit us up in the contact section on our website at projectunbroken.com. We’ll be talking to you guys soon. Take care.