Friday, July 10, 2009

Cigarettes and Rehab

Son has been in rehab for 2 weeks as of yesterday. I've called to check on him a few times, and they tell me he's doing really well.

So, today we get a call from the intake lady asking if we could send a carton of cigarettes for our son. I don't smoke, so I asked her if that was even legal to do! Naive, I know, but I was clueless. Then I asked her if the $40 cash we left for son's incidentals was already spent and she said that it was. So, I told her okay, I would do it.

Husband says no. He says he lost his grandpa and dad to cigarettes and he doesn't feel good providing them to son. I understand where he is coming from, I truly do. However, I see the cigs as the lesser of the 2 evils and would rather it be cigs son is smoking than heroin.

Also, when we dropped son off that day, he mentioned he only had 2 cigs left and could we go get him a pack before we left. I looked at intake lady and before I could say anything she said, "We deal with one addiction at a time," and husband went to get the cigs then.

It didn't occur to me at that point to inquire about how he would get cigs after that. I'm just wondering if intake lady would have told us that she'd be calling periodically and asking us to send cigs, if husband would have agreed then. He's not home right now, I'll have to ask him that.

I'm sure there's no right or wrong, just opinions, but I'd love to hear what anyone thinks. Maybe husband's opinion has already changed too, I'll find out when he gets home.


  1. GET HIM THE CIGARETTES! I lost my father to lung cancer so I am very anti-smoking but in this situation I fully agree with intake lady: one addiction at a time. To strip him of cigs right now would bed like torture. I was a smoker and KNOW how hard it is to quit. Your son is struggling through what may be (hopefully) the hardest thing of his life, having cigs will help him cope.

    My son doesn't smoke which I know is very rare among drug users, but if he did I'd be suppling him.

    Word of encouragement to your husband: I know his concern is your son's health and that is so important, but he's young and he can quit the cigs later. I know a young lady who quit crystal meth and continued to smoke for a year then one day realized she wanted to quit cigs and she did her own time.

  2. At one of my daughter's rehabs, no smoking was allowed. Most of the addicts going into this fancy rehab were smokers. Come to find out, none of them died from the lack of tobacco. To me, it's not the smoking. It's the constant need for cash from the functioning people. I think, like you mentioned, there is no right or wrong. If your wallet is a bottomless pit, keep running to the bank. If you think your son got himself into this jam and his problems are no longer your problems, go have a nice dinner at a restaurant with your husband and trust God to see your son through these dark days. I may sound heartless to some, but nothing could be further from the truth. I've seen people who have lost their homes trying to lesson the struggles of an addict.

  3. I don't smoke. I hate cigarettes. That said, I came to realize that my son needed something as a crutch. Like you, it's the lesser of evils. My son's rehab did not allow smoking. They gave out patches. The day he got out, he couldn't light up a cigarette fast enough. My son still smokes, but he's cutting back and trying to quit. Like drugs or weight loss, it won't happen unless THEY make the decision. It's hard, but I say nothing. Cigarettes are my son's way of coping. Plus, at meetings, most of the addicts smoke anyway.
    Great to hear about your son's progress. I have two more weeks of vacation, so can we get together? Email me!

  4. Cigarettes were just banned at my state's jails & prisons. Guess son had to stop smoking.

    Giving your son cigarettes does absolutely nothing one or the other to help him achieve long term sobriety.

    Do it because you want to, not because you think it will keep him drug free.

  5. get him the butts.. please get him the cigs.. (ill send you a pay pal to pay) tell him to make them last.

  6. That's a tough one for us parents! When my son was in rehab as a 15 yr old, THEY let him smoke and encouraged me to provide him cigarettes. It went against my beliefs...(plus I was in law enforcement and it kinda ruffled my feathers to buy my underage kid cigarettes) but I did it. I too began to think of it as the lesser of the evils. When there's a will there's a way. If you don't provide them, he'll get them some how. Unfortunately, at the expense of others or at an incredibly inflated price as a "loan" from others as cigs are often used as a form of money, especially in jail and prisons. Even if smoking is banned...there are cigarettes to be had! Best wishes to you...Lisa

  7. I'm just catching up here. I am so anti smoking that it would be difficult for me to send cigarettes. I think that I would opt out of sending them but send something else to him that would be comforting.

  8. If you haven't done so already, get him the cigs. My daughter was in rehab and I also doled out money for cigs and incidentals. Best money I ever spent. Today, twelve years later, she is sober, healthy, tobacco free and the mother of 2 girls. One addiction at a time!! They are not going to die of cigarettes today but they can die of drugs today.

  9. One of my clients left Rehabs AMA twice in two successive days. He wanted to quit doing Vicodin and SOMA. I worked with him at his home for 10 days and he got off both. He has been clean from Vicodin and SOMA for over a year, but still smokes. His life is better than when he was using V and S. Regarding your son's smoking...will it help or hurt his chances of getting through rehab?

  10. The Gooden Center offers heroin treatment, blue cross rehab, and rehab aetna.

  11. I have to say that it was one of the most difficult decisions I had to make. But like most I chose to do it cause I felt that if I gave him this, he wouldn't do drugs anymore. That's the wrong reason to do it. I am under the scrutiny from my ex because I signed the papers for him to smoke while in Rehab. Our intake person told us the same thing and that was take care of one addiction at a time.
    It's so hard when one parent agrees and one doesn't. While I see his point and I receive conviction on it everyday I do believe that my son has to want to quit, same way he made a decision to quit drugs.
    My recommendation is get to know your kid and be encouraging to them while in rehab. I look at this way, he has to earn his smokes. When he came home, he has to work around the house and has rules that have to be followed. If he doesn't then no smokes. If he does then he earns pks based on what he completes. I don't have an expendable income to toss out money to support his habit but I will support him. My hope is he eventually will quit but until then it's not my battle to fight. When they come home there are way more battles that way out a pack of smokes here and there. Just my thoughts! ; )

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