Freeing the Parents of Adult Alcoholics and Addicts

87542034The conversation began easily enough, “My brother is bleeding our parents into the poor house with his unending demands for money – money to support his addictions – and they don’t seem able to stop giving it to him, even though he isn’t getting any better. What can we do?”

Or we hear from the parents themselves, “How can I get $1000 loan today my spouse to stop giving our adult daughter money she just spends on booze or drugs? Her promises are worthless and the demands endless.”

It’s not an uncommon condition. Parents are living longer, some adult children make childishness a career, and it isn’t easy to say no to a son or daughter, regardless of their age. Then add in the grandchildren, hostages held for ransom as your child essentially blackmails you into supporting their drug and/or alcohol abuse: “Give me the money or I will kill myself,” or “they will starve,” or “we’ll be on the streets,” is the implied or actual threat, yet the money does no good.

As parents you capitulate even as you destroy your own fragile financial security. You hand over cash, even though you know it’s useless, often wondering if your child’s problem is something you caused. You post bail, buy cars, pay rent, doctors’ and attorneys’ fees, and pay for treatment that they rarely see through and that usually doesn’t work even when they do. Funds intended to benefit the grandchildren disappear without benefiting anyone. The cycle continues until someone dies or there isn’t anything left to extort. It seems like the only choice.

But is it?

Though it takes toughness that’s hard to muster and support which is even harder to find, there are alternatives. It means finding the courage to face the reality without being swept away by understandable emotions. Managing this means overcoming a lot of mythology.

The most destructive belief most of us have held at one time or another is that alcohol and drug abuse is an incurable disease over which the addict or alcoholic has no control. Believing this, how can any parent deny support to a sick child? This is the lever that every active drunk and junkie – and many “recovering” ones as well – use to control everyone around them: “It isn’t my fault and if you don’t give me the money I’ll die.”

The trouble is that drug and alcohol abuse, dependence, and addiction, aren’t really diseases, they’re choices – choices the alcoholic and addict made and continue to make. These choices can be unmade, but as long as you’re supporting them financially, protecting them from the consequences of their choices and behaviors, why would they change?

The answer to that is that they aren’t going to.

Most of us go though our lives wishing someone else would change. The reality is, however, that we can’t change anyone but ourselves. It may not seem like much, but sometimes it’s enough. When you change how you deal with your adult children they too are forced to change. How they change isn’t predictable, but they will change.

These reactive changes are the hard part. Initially they will probably escalate their aggressive behaviors to get you to return to the old status quo, no matter how awful that really was for everyone. That will include using their children to get to you.

And what about those grandchildren?

This is when the need for support comes in. It’s hard to stand up to the drunk or the druggie when they have no restraints on what they will say or do. Endless promises, threats, and blame will follow any interruption in the cash flow. You want to believe the promises, you succumb to the threats, or you cave in to the guilt that the blaming dredges up, no matter how real or ridiculous. But you need to stand firm.

So how do you go about doing what you know is right when everything seems stacked against you?

First, it’s necessary to keep in mind what you already know: your child will bleed you dry and out onto the street before they will stop exploiting you. You also know that continuing will never benefit your grandchildren. That’s a fact. Hold onto it. Cut them off and they may in fact decide to die rather than clean up. Instead, begin to plan ways to taper off the support in return for demonstrated progress in cleaning up – and be prepared to either take on the grandchildren yourself or allow someone else to. Make arrangements or contact Child Protection or both. Explore the options.

Second, they can clean up if they are sufficiently motivated and the treatment mode is carefully chosen. That’s a bit of a problem, of course. Virtually all forms of treatment in the U.S. have success rates of less than 10% over two years. AA itself reports a 95% dropout rate in the first year, and most treatment is based on AA.

Third, it really is okay to save yourself and the rest of your family. An almost universally overlooked aspect of the relationship of older parents to adult addicted children is that the financial support actually rewards the child for their self-destructive choices and behaviors while penalizing the parents, other children, and grandchildren. What kind of nonsense is that?

So what’s a parent to do?

Remember that you don’t have to stay stuck in the insanity of the addicted child’s world. You can stay clear and not be sucked down in all of the usual “powerlessness” and “disease” model ad copy that only serves to perpetuate and justify addiction-based exploitation. Drug and alcohol abuse, dependence and addiction are a choice. Sometimes the choice makes sense, sometimes it’s accidental, and sometimes it’s crept up so gradually that no one noticed it for a long time, but it’s still a choice. So is cleaning up.

You can offer to help them sober up. It’s hard to find effective treatment, but you can look for programs with a multitude of options for clients, a diverse staff (not dominated by “recovering” individuals), aftercare that isn’t limited to attending recovery groups, and a focus on the client’s strengths, interests, and future activities – not on the past, on drinking and using, or helplessness. Remember that the most common cause of relapse is a belief in powerlessness. Avoid any program that makes that belief part of their philosophy.

Start rewarding yourself and your family for achievements and accomplishments, not for destructive choices and habits and behaviors. You may not be able to keep a son or daughter from destroying themselves, but you and the rest of your family don’t have to go with them.

Finally, it’s good to get competent help in this process. You need to know, regardless of the outcome, that you have done everything possible, given every opportunity, and explored every option. The process of genuinely helping an adult child is difficult at best and outcomes, regardless of advertising copy, are very uncertain. Give yourself, your troubled child, and the rest of your family, the benefit of the best opportunities and support available.

Your addicted adult child is still an adult and will still make their own choices, one of which may be their own destruction. You can encourage and support other outcomes, but not by financing the addictive behaviors. Don’t let yourself be guilt driven, blackmailed, or intimidated into perpetuating the problem.

© Copyright 2007 by Mary Ellen Barnes, Ph.D.. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Lyle

    February 19th, 2008 at 7:09 AM

    As the parent of two small children, this scenario of an adult child addicted to drugs or alcohol is one of my worst nightmares. I know that hind site is 20/20, so what can parents of adult children offer in terms of advice? How can you raise healthy kids that will have the internal strength and motivation to resist caving into the temptations of drugs and alcohol?

  • Victor

    August 15th, 2016 at 3:26 PM

    I noticed you put your arrival in 8 year ago if you haven’t had this reply before now please give it a chance
    Being one of the worst case Alcoholic with an addictive nature to both Alcohol and Drugs I’ve now been with sobriety for over 12 year now by the grace of God and now being a spinner in the AA myself can only suggest what some people have done and they said it helped not one but all the family as Alcoholics ages are from as young as 15 16 years old if you need a drink to function at all in the morning your well on your way depending on the age go to the police stn ask them where the AA meetings are held go there get anyone you fell comfortable to SPEEK to as there we are all in the same boat to get the head spinner ask him can you take your kids along he will ask there ages that I don’t no if only one is ale final please just go as when they can identify with someone that’s named a share that person will be more than delighted to help you in any way he or she can as we all no that was just like ourself not that long ago your a lady what could I learn you about having a baby we are just the same you must be one to be able to first having lost the will to carry on along with every single thing you loved and cherished in your entire life then went through hell and back to now Alcohol is an illness but remember this if you don’t take that very first drink you’ll never get drunk hope this helps a bit my dear I truly do mean that
    With my kindest regards to yourself and all your family God bless and keep you safe also well
    Victor Pollock Henderson 🙏

  • Lisa

    February 19th, 2008 at 7:11 AM

    Yes, indeed, hind site is 20/20. But, I think just considering this threat when your children are so small is a huge first step. Research confirms for us that talking to your children from a small age about the dangers of addictive substances is key in this battle. Also, making sure they find activities they are good at that increase their self esteem is important. Also, be sure to make time for them that makes them feel special and worthwhile. The best way to combat a future addiction problem is to raise a child up so that he or she will know that there are things better than drugs and alcohol and that they are worth so much more.

  • Teresa

    November 21st, 2017 at 9:34 AM

    My husband and I did all the suggestions on how to raise children to not do alcohol or drugs and we lost our olest son on 11/29/17 to alcoholism. We never had alcohol in our home and neither did his grandparents. He lost a 14 year battle with alcohol, left behind a wife and 3 children under the age of 3. So I my advice is to not over look Peer Pressure and addictive behaviors in the family tree.

  • Teresa

    November 21st, 2017 at 9:35 AM

    I meant he died on 11/29/16

  • Freud's Reject

    June 27th, 2019 at 5:27 PM

    “Freeing the Parents of Adult Alcoholics and Addicts,” that’s precisely how you wrongfully get them in to a situation they couldn’t otherwise have gotten in to and are doubly unable to get out of. Free and by leveraging someone else’s children.

  • Art

    February 19th, 2008 at 7:14 AM

    I am glad that the author has let parents off the hook when it comes to supporting an adult child who is an addict. So many parents know they should stop supporting their child, but guilt steps in and gets in the way. With blogs such as this one, hopefully parents can start to see that giving an adult child money is enabling the child and his or her addiction. Real help comes in the form of ceasing financial support. And, the author’s suggestion to call social services is a sound one. If grandparents are willing to take the grandchildren and can provide a secure home environment, they are almost certain to receive guardianship.

  • amy

    February 19th, 2008 at 7:15 AM

    I like the author’s reference to the pay off addicts receive when someone gives them money. I have had more addicts tell me they didn’t have to quit b/c they didn’t have a reason to. They were having all of their needs met while still being able to drink and drug. Sometimes, well intentioned parents can be the enemy.

  • Mary Ellen

    February 19th, 2008 at 5:31 PM

    I appreciate the comments and will address these issues in up-coming posts and articles. For now, it’s very important to have accurate information and to share it with children. The best source currently available is the SUNY site “Alcohol Problems and Solutions” which can be found at It’s also important to teach responsibility for behaviors and consequences and to protect children from counter-productive programs like D.A.R.E. which have been repeatedly demonstrated to increase drug and alcohol use in adolescents.

    Thanks again for the thoughts,
    Mary Ellen

  • Carol R Cann, MA, LCPC, CADC

    February 29th, 2008 at 7:32 PM

    As an alcohol & drug counselor and psychotherapist who often deals with family members of people with addicitons, I found Mary Ellen’s article to contain a great deal of good sense and helpful suggestions. Realizing that we can’t change anyone’s behaviors but our own can be a giant leap forward for the codependent family member.

    I would pose a two-part response to Lyle’s question about raising children who aren’t likely to become addicts. There is a genetic component to addiction, so that if there are addicts in the family (parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles), it raises the probability that a person will develop an addiciton if they use drugs or alcohol. This part can’t be helped, but it can be minimized by family members who educate their children to the propensity to addiciton in the family by such actions as telling them about relatives, not having alcohol use as a centerpiece of family gatherings, seeing family members who have successfully participated in recovery. The other significant factor in predisposing a person to an addiciton (which could be something other than drugs or alcohol) would be a sense of emptiness and the feeling that the significant people in their lives (particularly parents) cannot be counted on. This begins in infancy. No parent can meet their child’s expectation 100% of the time! (To paraphrase Donald Winnicott, a pediatrician who became a psychoanalyst, one just has to be a “good enough” parent.) But the child must have the general sense that their cries (signifying wants & needs) will be heard and responded to in usually meaningful manner. This acknowledgement & sense that the world can be trusted expands to being supported and loved for what the child is, not what the parent thinks they should be; for example, allowing the child to explore playing a musical instrument (if that’s what they express interest in) instead of insisting that they play sports.

    Becoming an addict may or may not be a choice. BUT whether or not a person does something about it once they realize they are an addict, IS a choice.

  • lynn

    February 4th, 2017 at 5:07 PM

    The one thing that always amazes me is the lack of addressing the prenatal exposure to alcohol problem Many people are born addicted to alcohol because of said exposure. Advice to parents who are concerned about raising addict free children is to make sure you abstain from alcohol BEFORE you even become pregnant.

  • Ed Wilson, Ph.D, MAC

    March 3rd, 2008 at 7:09 PM

    As Mary Ellen’s private practice partner, and sometimes co-author, I will note that the issue of addiction “running in families” should always be handled very carefully. The increased risk actually seems to be about 6%,and most of that can be explained environmentally as well as genetically, but, the self-fulfilling prophacy (and excuse) risk is very high indeed. The number one factor in relapse is a belief in “powerlessness” and anything, including a belief in unfounded genetic links increases both the likelihood of abuse and resistence to remediation.

    Yes, a family history, just like a cultural history, increases risk, but this shouldn’t be exacerbated using it as justification. If anything it should reduce the excuses by warning individuals about their possible vulnerability.

    And, of course, people should be equally educated with regard to the proven health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption. Everyone benefits when the demonization of alcohol ceases and realty replaces mythology. Would that more of that were happening these days.

  • Art Becker-Weidman

    March 20th, 2008 at 7:15 AM

    Dr. Wilson’s comments are very important. While there is increased risk of dependency when there is a family history of this (the genetic dimension) it is NOT a 1:1, 100% issue nor is it even like eye color. The increased risk is notable, but it is still less than 10%. In a similar vein, the general risk of schizophrenia is about 1%, but if you have schizophrenic parents, the risk goes up by a factor of ten (sounds bad), but that only means a 10% risk…and, of course, there are environmental factors to consider as well.

    This is a very helpful article and an excellent blog thread.

  • Stacy1

    April 2nd, 2008 at 3:23 PM

    I am so glad to see the comments that this does not necessarily “run in families” but that it may well be more along the lines of self fulfilling prophecies. But that then turns the table on the addicts and takes away their excuse for why they do what they do.

  • amyhop

    April 22nd, 2008 at 1:58 PM

    My grrandparents have been the victim of a shameless alcoholic family member and child of theirs, and they continue to give and give and give yet get nothing in return. How do you teach this older generation about tough love and that money in this case will never buy sobriety?

  • Jill

    June 3rd, 2008 at 6:00 PM

    Our late daughter became addicted to marijuana & prescribed medications.

    As a child & young adult her life was full of promise.

    She was involved with Scouting & many other not for profit groups. She was full of energy & idealism and worked hard to achieve graduate & post graduate degrees.

    We were always careful to make sure our daughter stayed connected to the family and were mindful of the issues surrounding “enabling”.

    We were helpless, the medical professionals treating our daughter would not listen (quoting privacy laws) and we slowly watched our wondeful child who had so much to give, lose control of her life & ability to make sound judgements.

    She died aged 31 in 2006.

    Where do the broken hearted go to be listened to?

  • marie s

    September 20th, 2016 at 11:13 PM

    I am sorry for the loss of your daughter in this life. I do not think you were an “enabler”, but rather a loving person who loved your daughter and did all you could to help her . I think your daughter knew she was loved, and i hope you have been able to find as much peace and happiness as possible in your life in the passing years. love and god bless

  • Dorothy

    November 19th, 2016 at 6:36 AM

    You have my sympathy though I am aware how that doesn’t help your heart from cracking; I have dealt with a daughter (now 54 yoa) since she was about 11 years old. If I did not have a God to go to and cry to, I don’t know how much worse the pain would be. I am currently wondering if involuntary commitment would help; if so I have to travel 3 hours to the court and deal with that – but she is quite capable of harming herself and others.

  • sandra

    December 10th, 2016 at 7:44 AM

    I’m sorry for your loss and we are having a difficult time with our daughter, we provided her with the medical care last year, treatments but she revoked all permissions to us to be able to talk to anyone, as a result of the drugs and alcohol she is bipolar now, she start to do dangerous things and we fear for her life, but she won’t listen, my other daughter is in college but on her little vacations thing always turns a nightmare for her, now, she is telling me that if I kept my oldest living with me she won’t come home, because we are enabling her to continue with her conduct. We are desperate

  • Gamoma03

    April 14th, 2017 at 1:33 PM

    As an adult sibling of 2 addicts in my family, I can relate to how your college age daughter feels. There are 4 children in my family… 2 of us who went to college, married, had kids and work to make an honest living. Then there are 2 who are destructive addicts… one who married another addict and had 2 kids. My oldest child is 18 and from the day he was born he has been unable to have a healthy relationship with his grandparents because of these trashy people. They have ruined every single family holiday, week-long stay at grandmas during the summer, spring break, family trip… you name it, they have ruined it. It does nothing but cause bitterness and resentment. Yet my parents continue to enable them over and over and over… Their patterns are identical to what is mentioned above in the article. They use “the poor kids” routine a lot, or when my parents try to cut them off or wean them off it becomes world war 3 with threats of violence and ridiculous verbal abuse. They are all transient now but continue to be under my parents’ roof quite frequently. The children have been removed by DFCS and yet they still do not learn. They have not had to deal with the consequences of any of their actions in 20 years. My suggestion to you would be to listen to your “straight” daughter… who is not an addict. Put your foot down with the addict and cut her off….before you lose both your daughters.

  • Arthur Becker-Weidman, Ph.D.

    June 4th, 2008 at 1:39 PM

    Dear Jill,

    What a very sad story. I am so sorry for you and your family. Your loss is profound. Where to go? I’d strongly urge you to find a person you can talk with about your loss, pain, anger, and saddness.

  • Ed Wilson

    June 5th, 2008 at 7:47 AM

    Dear Jill,

    Yours is a heartbreaking situation. Losing a child is very hard, and seeing it coming and being unable to stop it is hardest of all. I too would recommend counseling with someone experienced in both grief and cognitive behavioral therapy.

    My sympathies lie with you,
    Ed Wilson

  • terri

    July 14th, 2008 at 4:16 PM

    I find your story heartbreaking, and can particularly understand your frustration in feeling helpless. My 26 year old is also addicted to narcotic pain killers, denying the problem and making frightening choices. I am also at wits end with the medical profession in that even physicians who know he has a problem continue to prescribe the drugs. When he is hospitalized, they will not communicate with us or sometimes even let us see him because of privacy laws. Thank you for sharing this-letting people know how the lack of support from the med. profession may have been contributed to your loss. Our son also was a gifted child, we knew all his friends and their families until high school when it became harder to do that. My heart goes out to you. I hope your have the support you need.

  • denise

    August 23rd, 2008 at 8:53 PM

    Thanks to everyone who comments on this site.I have a 39 year old daughter in jail who has always been a very difficult person to help.Very Low frustration level, maybe ADD and a strong personality were all aided and abbeted by my broken marriage ,my immature single parenting and an absent father. I kept trying to stave off disaster by providing money because I felt she was fragile or incapable of caring for herself. I admit to all of these failures but I always loved her and misguidedly intervened too many times to save her,give her a new start etc.I know now love is not enough. I did not have the experiences or knowledge to be a good guide.

    Today I fear for my own safety due to her level of rage.Yes she has made choices and yes I have not helped to guide her as she needed but what do you do when you are emotionally still a baby and you have a baby .
    At this point after thousands of dollars, a horrifying intervention attempt involving a specialist and her two best friends and too many heartbreaking conversations,I feel the need to save myself and other family members .Can I be forgiven. I do not know.

  • Cindy

    November 12th, 2008 at 7:11 AM

    I have been searching for a “parent support” group per se, my 23 y/o son is a recent heroin addict. He is currently in a part-time evening program which I’m not convinced is doing what he needs. I read your blog and completely agree reagarding us as parents enabling him to continue. He is living at home, so we are in a way supporting him-he eats, sleeps, showers and does his own laundry here-we offer him no spending money, he tells me he begs for gas money. I feel that he is motivated for recovery but his girlfriend (she’s 28) who is a long-time addict is still in the picture. He had never used before being involved with her, when he met her she was clean. I’m not blaming her, his using was his choice. I asked him if it meant that he had to give her up for a while to get better, would he-his answer was no, so I’m not convinced that this will work for him. I believe as long as he remains with her, he doesn’t have a chance at recovery. I am angry that he has chosen this route. Where can parents go to get the support for this? There are all kinds of AA/NA support groups for addicts, but I can’t find support for us and his siblings.

  • Ed & Mary Ellen

    November 12th, 2008 at 10:00 AM

    Frankly, there aren’t any good support groups for families. Those that do exist tend to follow the AA/NA model (Alanon) but have the same problems as AA/NA – a misguided model and focus. The best we have come up with is to remember to detatch from a situation you didn’t create, can’t fix and can’t control. Set clear limits with your son and set clear deadlines for eliminating support and keep them (i.e., don’t set conditions you won’t stick to). Frequently we play the role of intermediary so you may want to look for someone to fill that position. Also, look at the materials available at and see what applies to your situation. Feel free to call us as well.

  • Dr. Arthur Becker-Weidman

    November 12th, 2008 at 12:23 PM

    Many parents I see have found Alanon to be very helpful and supportive. While it is primarily for the family members of alcoholics, I do think you too will find it very helpful. If you call your local United Way they can give the tele number for the local Alanon or AA office that you can then call to get schedule and location information. You may want to go to several different groups as each one tends to have its own “personality” and you may need to go to several until you find one that fits for you.



  • Marilyn D.

    November 19th, 2016 at 9:17 AM

    What do I do about growing
    And children? Their father has them part time but is struggling financially so I cannot try guardianship of my grandchildren. My daughter is a drunk lying self absorbed the if who has wiped out my savings. I want her out and do not want her children here in visiting days as she is a neglectful mother. My heart breaks for them. But I want her out of my life without my grandchildren thinking I hate them too.

  • Cindy

    November 18th, 2019 at 2:36 PM

    I will testify that alanon has been very helpful for me. I have an adult alcoholic son who I cannot help any longer. Great FREE program if you really apply the steps and are honest with yourself. Acceptance of the things we cannot change is critical, and if you think you have power over someone else’s drug/alcohol abuse, you definitely need alanon.

  • Peggie

    December 4th, 2019 at 10:12 AM

    I am in the same boat. Adult 27 yr old son alcoholic, has been to a few rehabs already, comes out and starts drinking again. Blames us, his parents for all his problems. He is a great liar and manipulator. Our son was never like this in hs or college, started when he began working in NYC, financial area. He is still living with us, he makes a good salary,( for now, I fear he will eventually lose his job) but is in so much debt b/o inordinate spending. We want to retire and sell our house but feel so trapped…..he could not manage without us. Our daughter, a school teacher, who is younger, is doing good…she moved out to remove herself from the situation….how I wish we could too!

  • diane

    November 16th, 2008 at 6:08 PM

    This is the saddest website. Parents and loved ones seeking solace because of a lost loved-one.
    What is the answer.Who knows. My beloved daughter died recently. It was a natural death, I guess, that’s what the cororner said anyway . She was not speaking to me, because she did not want to listen to me about the choices she was making. I can’t really tell you how badly that hurts. I know tough love is the way to go but sometimes you have to pay with guilt. I just know she wasn’t well, she loved me very much,and i don’t know how I can bear life wihout my sweet girl. I have to remember the daughter she was before the addiction took her from me. Even then, I love her more than words or pain can say.
    She was onyl 39 years old.

  • Cherise

    September 1st, 2016 at 2:20 PM

    Been thru it all too. It has changed who I am. I no longer have a life it’s constantly full of remorse, guilt and regret. I know in my heat did all I could do for my alcoholic son.
    I tried it all. Been thru it all. Keep the hope never & give up . Knowing there are meds to help the cravings pellets to implant. On and on. Too much when one day someone tried to kill him during his black out stage. Seeing my son on life support not knowing if he will live or die has changed who I am forever.
    I understand this horrible pain we all share all too well!

  • Jessie

    December 17th, 2008 at 12:48 PM

    This site is making me face the fact that I am enabling my daughter (25) she finished an in house program about 3 months ago. When she came out she moved to a new city, got a new job tried to get new friends. I don’t know really how she is doing, other then the fact that she is not keeping up with her bills and it seems like an endless effort to help. She wants to come home and I don’t know how to say no. My Husband and I are well off and planning a trip with our other younger daughter to celebrate her graduation from highschool she is totally different from our older daughter. My 25 year old makes us feel so guilty about the trip. She had such a promising future now shes just so angery all the time. I don’t know if she is using but I just feel that something is not right. When I question her she gets really mad and tells me she is fine. I love her so much and want her to do well.

  • diane

    January 27th, 2009 at 5:57 PM


    If you feel that something is not right, it probably isn’t. You have to make the decision to enable her or to cut her off. It is a lose, lose situation, i’m afraid. I hope she is doing better, by now. If she is, you will know in your heart, otherwise, pray for her.

  • Charles

    February 18th, 2009 at 9:36 PM

    I feel like I could have written several of the comments on this website. My 29 year old wonderful son (before the addiction), a college graduate, was arrested again tonight. Just hours before the arrest, I once again had the delusion that he was clean. I have enabled, I have tried, I have cried, and I have failed. One of the comments above is so true: lose/lose. He has lost so much, and my family has lost my son to the ravages of the drug epidemic in this county. Maybe we parents of addicts need a “bailout” ourselves. I KNOW that I do. Remember the “War on Drugs”? I do believe that we have lost that war. Tough Love? Yes it is. The person who wants to teach very young children makes me feel so guilty, because I took it for granted that my children would know better. What an idiot I was and am!

  • Mary Ellen and Ed

    February 19th, 2009 at 9:20 AM

    That this is a common tragedy is demonstrated by the continuing stream of readers both here and in other places where we’ve published variations on this article – including Australia where it’s been reprinted as a social services handout.

    But that doesn’t fix anything, unhappily. Nor did the “War on Drugs” or various other approaches, nor does “treatment” which, in the U.S., is still obsessed with cult mentalities, discredited disease models, and being satisfied with a less than 5% efficacy rate.

    What does work? Occasionally we are able to work with families as a whole because drug and alcohol abuse always occur within a context, and the abuse is always a choice on the part of the user. That is the devistatingly obvious flaw in most approaches to abuse and dependence, the idea that the person using the drugs or abusing alcohol is “powerless” over their “addiction”. This is simply nonesense.

    But so-called “addicts” and their apologists have succeeded in spreading this myth far and wide until most people have come to accept it. And that means that people continue to support the drug/alcohol abuse with the result that the addict/alcoholic has absolutely no reason to change their behavior. Hand me $8,000 a month, as one recent couple was, and I will hardly change a life style that’ll actually require me to be responsible for myself.

    What can work? Weaning the person off of their access to financial support, frequently with third party support, and meaning it. Refusing to be blackmailed, emotionally or otherwise. Refusing to provide money to an addict if you aren’t giving equal amounts to your other children. Better yet, give to the others and let the addict know that getting their share depends on cleaning up first.

    Other ideas? Remember that drug and alcohol use and abuse are always choices that the abuser is making and they are choices that can be changed. Stop rewarding the use and abuse.

    Our sympathy to all of you – we have been on both ends of this problem and understand the frustrations, hurt, anger, and, yes, dispair. But while you are not able to control the outcomes, you aren’t powerles to make changes that can result in the best chances of favorable change in your son or daughter.

  • Jeremy

    March 10th, 2020 at 1:57 PM

    If you have doubts about the Alcoholics Anonymous program read Dr Lance Dodes book “ The Sober Truth” . The AA mantra .. accepting your powerless … what a load of bs. Addicts make choices.
    I have watched my son , now 38 yo , vitually commit slow suicide with drugs and alcohol. M6 wife and I have intervened , spent thousands on health care , psychiatric help, psychiatric hospitals, paying fines , rent, food, cars and much more. Reading this website has reminded me I have started enabling again ( I bought a car, said to him drive it for six months , save up for your own car ( I have bought at least two cars for him before) , then give the car back to me. He has been silent for months not answering his phone. I managed to contact his partner . He is drinking at a level that defies belief. A carton of beer a day. Unbelievably still holding down a job. I’m worried I have enabled him to drive and he ma6 kill some one.
    I’ve decided to take the car back.

  • February

    March 10th, 2020 at 3:25 PM

    It’s agonizing watching your adult child slowly committing suicide by addiction. It’s just as bad if not worse for the loved ones of this person. The alcoholic is in a fog- they aren’t even having to deal with it like we do with clear heads. I could never have imagined that this would be son’s story. He had so much promise. I saw him last week for dinner and I was so anxious. The last time we texted before this (see post at very bottom of this site), it wasn’t pretty. When I just saw him, he was sober, showered and clean and normal and talked about his life like a normal person. And I sat there very bottled up because I’ve been through so much with him, and thinking of the unkind things he said to me recently. And I’ve heard this all before from him, and yet I certainly don’t want to discourage him if he’s trying to think about the future.
    That’s why this is a crazy train. Who knows the state he’ll be in next week. I just know that I am still on the path to try make my life better, because all of my efforts and the family’s efforts have not changed a thing. I, personally, do not fully accept the powerlessness over addiction. I happen to think its a combination of choice and once they choose, the addiction absolutely takes control. I can only imagine how difficult it is to fight that urge- I don’t have addiction issues so I don’t understand that. I think sometimes he wants us to feel sorry for him that he has this problem. It’s heartbreaking to watch, but it’s hard to feel pity for him when so far he has not made concerted efforts to change his behavior or address his addiction. And this has been going on for 8+ years! We as parents never want to feel like we’re giving up on them, but I also don’t want to give up on myself. I was somebody once too before all this mess. I hardly remember what it is like to feel like a normal person.

  • Maree

    February 23rd, 2009 at 7:31 AM

    Thank you to those that created this website – I am a mother of a 30 year old I.V. methodone addict who has been using this oral form of medication to inject into her body, she has chosen to do this for the last 7 years although it feels like forever. The saddest thing about this for me at this incrediable burnt out moment in time is the fact that she is raising a child. A child who I love and adore and the carnage is hofific. Yes I have had legal custody, those of you who will understand know that I have exhausted every avenue of help and hope and am emotionally financially and psychologically burnt out. I read other peoples stories and instantly understand, especially the quote “Fear for my own saftey because of her level of rage”.
    I do not mean to take away from others grief but sometimes I think that death would be easier to deal with. I live in a nightmare. She also has a mental health diagnosis: Mood disorder. Of course the drugs and she is a poly addict, accentuate this condition.
    I have had custody of my grandaughter but the love and loyalty and disfunction is such that she prefers to be with her mother as the roles in this relationship are reversed, the child does the parenting.
    At this point in my life I am selling my home in this recession and moving countries to get away from this madness. I will always have a safe home for my grandaughter to come to should she wish that wherever I am in the world
    I dont even expect to be happy anymore, I just want some peace in my life.

  • Margaret Conroy

    February 25th, 2009 at 1:35 AM

    I am a widowed mother of 3. My youngest, in his 30s is my concern. I have read this with a view to him that he is not necessarily addicted to drugs, but perhaps, addicted to video games. He is a college grad., has been unemployed for a year, and not making much effort to find employment. Now living in my basement, he spends his time playing video games and is very good at “working” me. When I express my concerns, he argues that there are no jobs for him. I have already had to refinance my mortgage in order to pay for a college loan that I co-signed for him.
    Do I get “on him” about all I’ve done for him? Do I make threats of throwing him out of the house?
    Where can I get help in dealing with this issue? If you can direct me I would really appreciate it. Thank you.

  • diane

    March 12th, 2009 at 5:11 PM

    It will not do any good to get on him. Get tough. good luck

  • Mary Ellen & Ed

    March 13th, 2009 at 5:20 AM

    Unhappily, as we have noted, your options are limited and talking won’t help – only actions will suffice.

    We would suggest that while there are some factors in common with addiction, this is much more apt to be a case of avoiding growing up. Apparently he went from sheltered home to sheltered college back to burrowing in at “home” again. Regardless, his behavior is still a choice on his part.

    Time to ramp down the support. Set some deadlines for contributing or leaving.

    We don’t know where you are so it’s difficult to suggest specific resources but feel free to write us directly for more information.

  • Alithia

    March 28th, 2019 at 2:53 AM

    Good morning, I am a South African mom. I lost my husband to cancer two years ago and my two sons (22 and 25) were using drugs even before my husband became ill. We tried everything and I know can see, after reading all the replies on this site, that we as parents tried all we can, they were very young and did not listen and the biggest mistake I guess we made was believing them, always helping them out of messes they got into and forcing them into every therapy we could think of, believing this is it.
    Sad to say, after my husband died thing only became worse and they started to manipulate and mentally and verbally abuse me. By times they would even get aggressive towards me pushing me around to get their way. Very soon they were the parents and I the child. They ruled every aspect of my life. It was as if I belonged to them, like property. They stole from me no matter what, they took it without remorse. Their druggie friends occupied my house when I come from work with no intention of respecting me or my home. I really started fearing for my life and made a choice to take my own life. Just to put a end to my hell. Then I met a lovely man. My boys treated him like trash. the tried to intimidate him by frequently sending him text messages or voicemails threatening his and his little girls life.
    Despite all of that and with numerous attempts from himself to make peace with them (even though he did nothing wrong) it just kept on spinning more and more out of control.
    After a year of dating, and when my oldest assaulted me in front of him he took me away from it all to live with him.
    They then moved to my parents sucking them dry. My parents would not listen when I told them to stop aiding the boys. I got married and my boys did not attend the ceremony (still blaming me for leaving them for another man). Soon my parents (being very ill) ask the boys to get out. They moved in with an older girlfriend of my youngest.
    I had enough for even if they do not stay with us or my parents, they still keep on sucking my parents dry and keep on demanding stuff I owned, stating it is their inheritance. My new husband doesn’t want anything to do with them and said he will divorce me if I do not cut any relations with them.
    I feel I am placed in the middle (on the spot) to make a decision regarding cutting them of and getting them out of every-bodies lives. I am so tired and feel past hopeless.

  • Tammy

    June 30th, 2019 at 6:13 AM

    Let go and in your heart give them back to God. You chose to become your husbands wife. Enjoy being his wife and the girls. Mourn your boys for who they used to be- speak the truth to your parents— if they feel in danger they can call the police. My husband died of an overdose, both my adult sons are alcoholics- torture me. I had them both evicted and am depressed that this is what happened to my life and that this is what they all chose. For 30 years I have fought against this disease. Either way – I’d rather live alone and in peace and heal in my heart then live with all the lies, deception and abuse. The Lord will see me through. You have been very blessed by having a good man that came and rescued you. Don’t b foolish- they have no need for you when they can’t get what they want and they will do that to every single person unless they decide to change. This is their end here—. Recovery— jail— institutions or death then it’s up to God for how they’ll spend forever. Pray for their salvation and be so grateful for being taken out of it.

  • Margaret Conroy

    March 13th, 2009 at 8:03 AM

    Thank you very much for your input. Sometimes, especially as a single parent, it’s hard to trust my own instincts. If his father was alive I don’t think he would put up with his “failure to launch” nor would he have allowed two extra years of college because he was failing subjects.
    He was diagnosed at age 9 as “classic ADD” and perhaps I’ve babied him because of it.
    I will be talking with a counselor next week – a man, in order to get a male perspective – and that may help. However your responses have also been very helpful. Again, thank you.

  • Mary Ellen & Ed

    March 13th, 2009 at 3:11 PM

    You’re very welcome and if you’d like to call next week and talk to one of us we each have a lot of experience, some of which may apply. At least you’d have someone more to talk to.

    Ed’s usually available by phone until; 8:00 p.m. Monday and Tuesday evenings for free consults.

  • Carla Bass

    July 31st, 2019 at 4:17 AM

    In reading through your opening and most of the comments and replies. Most of the advice doesn’t cover our situation. It includes verbal abuse, turning situations into lies, and actually physically attacking me while I’m driving down the road or about to leave her house. She’s 34 acts like a petulant 7 year old (oppositional/defiant, depression, ADHA, and a recovering meth addict. I would love to visit with you for some advice.

  • Margaret Conroy

    March 23rd, 2009 at 3:22 AM

    Sorry to take so long getting back to you. Don’t know that I’m getting the “practical” advise I need with the counselor I spoke to.
    Please let me know how I can reach you by phone – that is, time zone and phone number.
    Thank you.

  • Denise

    September 4th, 2016 at 3:30 PM

    Remember to do what we always do anyway, take what you like & leave the rest. I feel supported in Alanon its aparent focus group. My caring thoughts to all of us who still struggle

  • Ruthie

    March 29th, 2009 at 6:30 AM

    I am so glad to have found this web site. I to have a 26 year old daughter who I am certain is on drugs. She was doing fine until a year ago. All the sudden she could no longer afford to pay her bills, buy groceries, etc.
    We let her move into one of our rentals and she was doing fine until around Christmas. She had all kinds of excusses why she could not pay her rent. We let it slide because she is our daughter that is having a hard time. Then, she just quit going to work all the while being reminded by us that her rent was past due over and over again. Then, she spent her tax money and unemployment checks on laptops, etc. and almost $3500.00 gone! Still no rent, no groceries, no electricity, etc. Her behavior is irrational, loosing weight, I found drugs in her apartment and THEN offered help in rehab or move. She did nothing so I served her a 3 day notice to move. She is now staying in a motel room. She has called me repeatedly to help her financially and I won’t until she agree’s to rehab. I did supply some groceries two days ago just to find out that she shared them with her low life drug friends… My heart is breaking as a parent and I’m finding it harder and harder to practice tough love but know I must. The last straw was yesterday when she got into a car accident and had her car that WE gave her totalled. It was discovered she had no insurance, no current registration and once again asking only for help and money. I declined both and again only offered help with rehab. She called me stupid for thinking she is on drugs and some other very painful comments. One would think these painfull words alone would help me to stay strong and not enable her but my heart is still breaking and am fighting the desire to help her since she will be kicked out of her motel at noon tomorrow. How do I stop my heart from breaking? I hate to see my own child homeless but know she must learn from her actions. If anyone has words of hope it would really be appreciated right now.

  • Mary Ellen & Ed

    March 29th, 2009 at 12:25 PM

    We understand the heart ache, and the heartbreak.

    Unhappily, most of us have this underlying belief that there is a good choice in all situations – something that will make things right or better or okay. But experience teaches us that all to often we are left with the least awful of a lot of lousy choices.

    When these time appear, as they have for you, we are stuck with looking at the alternatives. Obviously your daughter isn’t going to change her behavior as long as she can avoid it – no matter the cost to her. You don’t, however, compound the problem by supporting her at an ever increasing cost to you, a cost which merely helps her to dig herself into an ever deeper hole.

    It really does help – albeit only slightly – to remember that she has no interest in changing at this point in time. That doesn’t mean that the time won’t come when she will decide that drugs and motels aren’t all that great a life.

    It might help to call and talk to one of us and we are usually available Monday – Friday or read additional notes for families on our website.

    Again, you have our support with a very very difficult situation.

  • Ruthie

    March 29th, 2009 at 8:07 PM

    Thank you for your words of wisdom. This is just what I need during this difficult time, someone who know’s what I’m going thru.
    Today was another very difficult day. After loosing sleep last night over our daughters situation, hating the fact that I MUST be strong and not enable her any more and also realizing that although I must be strong with/for her, I must also allow myself the time to grieve. As most of you probably know only to well, it is such a feeling of loss and uncertainty right now. I find my emotions going up and down. My fear that I may loose her forever is almost to much to handle. My husband has reminded me that we must step back and allow her to get to a point of her asking for help and although I do realize this in my mind, I wish I could realize this in my heart.
    I now realize that my daughters hatred and anger towards me are because I chose early on to not believe her lies and have pointed this out to her when she would call for money. Maybe I should have been like the rest of my family and just shut up and not said anything except that I would not help her but I just could not bring myself to listen to her obvious lies and not comment back. I have learned since that I must make any phone conversations with her short and sweet and to the point. No more calling her on her lies, just say no to her request and let it go. It has actually gotten to the point to where I have chose not to even answer the phone when I see it’s her calling and not respond to any of her constant text messages. It makes it easier to not hear any more sob stories or lies and just let it go. I have made it very clear that the only help I will give her is rehab. I just hope that message sticks with her when/if the time comes that she realizes she needs it and wants it.
    Thank you again for your words of wisdom.

  • Monique

    April 4th, 2009 at 1:52 PM

    I received a call last night from my 25 year old son. He was crying and told me that he needed help. He has been on and off drugs and alcohol since the age of 15. My son has a heart condition and I am so afraid of getting that call. What can we do to help him? I am 50 years old and have a 16 year old daughter living at home with us. I desperately need some help. He has tried to kill himslef once and is trying to change his ways.

  • Ruthie

    April 4th, 2009 at 11:54 PM

    Monique,I truly feel your heartache. In my own situation I have had that same call from my daughter on more occasions than I can almost take. On the last call she made to me  with this threat I told her I was calling 911 to get her the help she needed since she had denied my help in getting her to a Psych.  My medical training has always taught me to take suicide threats very seriously so of course I did with my own child.  I was totally shocked when her entire story changed after I said I was calling 911, so much so that  it almost floored me.  To date I have not received another call from her regarding that subject. She had cut her wrist in her late teens and I did the same thing… called 911 and got her into counseling so I believe she knew I was serious about calling. Luckily, when she did cut her wrist it was a superficial scrape but the undertones of her actions made me realize that she needed help.  Most people who have existing mental disorders, the use of drugs or alcohol only amplify the disorder.  I consider myself lucky that to date, her threats appear to be just that… a threat following my denial of money.
    It was difficult to get her help then and even more difficult to do this now when our children are grown and can make decisions for themselves. We can’t force them to get help unless we have a court order and it leaves us to have no choice but to call 911 so they can be checked out and if the police feel they are unstable, they can do a 51/50 lockup for their own safety and hopefully get them the help they need. My feelings on this is that in my own situation, I felt that if a third party went in there such as the police, if nothing else they would find her under the influence or the drugs in her posession and she could be taken to jail for that alone. Although I don’t want to see my child in jail, for me, it was far better a choice than to possibly have her really go through with her threat. If the police intervene, a judge can also give a court order for them to go to rehab while on probation and if caught with drugs or alcohol while on probation, they are in violation and can go back to jail.
    Although this choice was what I felt most comfortable with it may not be for everyone.

    My prayers are with you in this most difficult time.

  • Monique

    April 5th, 2009 at 3:33 PM

    Thank you so much for your input Ruthie. I talked to my son today and he sounded much better, I know that he is trying to get clean. He told me today that he has got to get his life together. I also told him that I am here for him when he needs to talk, but I would not send him money for drugs or alcohool. He said that it was up to him to get better and he promised me that he would get better. I also told him to live in the moment and not in the past or the future. When he said goobye to me and said that he loved me, I know that the day will come for him to be better. I also told him that we loved him and that would never change but I would not be the one bying his drugs, he did not want money he said and just before hanging up he said again that I love you and I will change.

  • Ruthie

    April 6th, 2009 at 4:21 AM

    I am very glad to hear that your son realizes he is in need of help and has the desire to get clean. That’s a major start. I know first hand how difficult it is to hear your child crying and upset. As a parent it breaks our hearts. Although we must be strong as parents it does not mean we don’t hurt. My last conversation with my daughter involved me being strong and telling her that the only help I would offer her was rehab and holding firm to that but, strong or not, once I hung up the phone I cried my heart out. Not only does it hurt that we must see or hear our children in this situation but also the hurtfull words they can say to us . I try to find peace in my heart knowing that I have planted the seed that we would help her into rehab once she makes the choice that she wants to change but I am still waiting for that call that she is indeed ready. It can’t come soon enough for me. I want my daughter back and our family whole again.
    I wish you the best with your son and hope that all works out well for you and your family. As difficult as it is, we must all continue to hold hope that things will change for the better.

    Take care.

  • Dawn

    April 10th, 2009 at 7:05 PM

    I am the mother of a 22-year-old addict, and a 20-year-old with mental health problems. I won’t tell their stories now – you could just photo-copy all these parents’ stories, we are all so much alike. There are more common denominators than differences.

    I am working on the detachment, I am not enabling, I am protecting my relationship with my husband and also guarding our finances. I know there is not much more I can do. What I need now is some HOPE. What are the common denominators in the people who do recover long-term?

    Right now, I have almost no hope. I think if I had a glimmer of hope, and maybe knew something I could do that would be positive, life would be more tolerable.


  • Ruthie

    April 10th, 2009 at 10:00 PM

    Hi Dawn,As I’m sure most of us parents of Children addicted have done, I have read so many statistics, reports, etc. to find just the same answer.  Some say alot depends on what drugs they are on, etc. but from what I have read and seen first hand, it tends more to be their desire to be free from  the disease that matters the most. We all hear that someone must reach “rock bottom” before they are willing to get help and yet again, in my own situation I have seen my daughter hit what I would consider “rock bottom” on several occasions but still not asking/willing to get help. What gets me thru my own situation is that I use my best friends husband as an example.  He was an alcoholic for years who had been in and out of jail over a span of several decades.  We all knew the “real” person he was when he was not drinking but little hope was held that he would ever change. All of the sudden, one day, he just made a conscience decision that he was not going to do that anymore and got into some very intense counseling.  When I had questioned him once about this, his response to me was that he finally realized that he needed to deal with his “ghost”. He had experiences in his life that he couldn’t deal with and found it easier to just escape by drinking.  All those years he had been running instead of dealing and it got him no where.  That was almost 10 years ago now and we have the wonderful friend back that we always knew was there.  When I start to feel very discouraged about my situation, I call him.  He has been a rock of not only support but hope as well.  I’ve seen first hand that it CAN happen! I am a true believer that no one can do this alone. My belief system is that anyone that makes the decision to change needs counseling along with medical supervision to make the transition back into the real world as easy as possible. Dealing with whatever they are running from is a MUST in my book. While in my own situation I found it hard to believe that our daughter would have anything to run from since I feel we gave her the best life possible, the reality of it is that I truly don’t know what all she has gone thru in her life. She has put herself in some very bad situations and God only knows where that took her. She spent her teen years running away and trying to grow up too fast and I really don’t know what could have or did happen during that time period. This is where as a parent we want to just reach out and hug them and let them know that they can talk to us about anything and we will try to make it all better but if their running from their own mind, only they can make it all better with the help of a good therapist that they can talk with open and honestly and feel no guilt or shame in expressing their feelings and experiences with. Also, no matter if its drugs or alcohol someone is using, the need for medical supervision is a must. Detox from any of these substances can be life threatning and they need to be detoxed gradually to avoid any serious side effects of quiting.
    I believe there is always hope and we must hang on to that hope. I would be lying if I said I don’t get sad and hurt and all the other feelings we parents have when we see our children going through this but to give up hope would just bring us down even more than we already are. Again, in my own situation I have found this easier to do once I distanced myself from my daughters problems and just put the message out to her that we will get her help once she is ready and will not help her with anything but that.
    My heart truly feels for you at this time but I want to encourage you to keep the hope alive. I have seen first hand that it can happen.

    Take care.

  • Monique

    April 11th, 2009 at 7:31 AM

    Talked to my son on Wednesday, he told me that he has been going to his meetings and is also in contact with his sponsor. It is a big relief to me and his dad and sister. He also told me that he went to put the money down at a College so that he can continue his education and wants to be able to help others in the future. I told him that we will support him with this decision and would pay for his education but the money would go directly to the college and he was happy with that. Is it a bad thing or am I enabling him again?? I just want him to be happy. I love my son so much and have been through so much with him? He is so kind and thoughtful to other people and has such a big heart. I hope that he means it and that I can go to sleep at night and not worry and cry myself to sleep.

  • Ruthie

    April 12th, 2009 at 12:50 AM

    I’m so glad to hear that your son is getting the help he needs. I’m happy for you and your family. I’m not sure if it is enabling your son by paying for his education since the money would be going directly to the school but I do think you should be able to stay in contact with his counselor and make sure he goes. If for some reason he stops, you can then have him drop the classes by the designated date so you can get a refund of your money.
    This will require alot of work on your part. Besides paying for the units there is also books, etc. to consider. These items will need to be purchased as well and as you said, you will not give him the money directly which means you will need to be there with him to purchase the materials for him if he can’t do it himself. If he’s working or has some source of income, maybe you could come to some understanding that you will pay for the untis while he pays for the materials?
    I do hope that he starts off slow since his recovery should be first and foremost. Having too much responsibility and stress in his life could lead to the same old habit of escape again… As all college grads know, the studying, test and finals can be quite stressfull. I would like to think that his sponsor will remind him of this so he takes it slow at the start.
    He has made the right start by going to his meetings and staying in touch with his sponsor and this makes me very happy for not only him but your family as a whole. I wish you and your family the best.
    As for my situation, my daughter is coming over tomorrow for Easter dinner. I was surprised she wanted to come over since she was so angry at me for calling her out on her addiction and my suggestion of rehab but, if she wants to be here as part of the family for the holiday, I will welcome her with open arms. Although I must be strong, I am still a parent who wants my child to know that no matter what, I will always love her. On a brighter note, she has gotten her job back and is working just limited hours so she can attend her counseling and also just purchased a new/used car. Although I can’t dwell on the past, my regret is that I didn’t put my foot down sooner and step out of the enabling picture and force her to do things on her own. I won’t dwell on the past or the could have, should have’s, would have’s and just continue to move forward from here. Good or bad each new day is an opportunity for a brighter future. Some days are better than others but my hope continues on no matter what.

    Happy Easter.

  • Mary Ellen & Ed

    April 12th, 2009 at 8:39 AM

    In reading and writing about all of the difficult situations parents face with their drug and alcohol abusing children – children of all ages – it is also heartening to read about those of you who have seen posative changes. It’s easy to forget that many people do in fact leave their self-destructive behaviors behind.

    Part of the on-going problem remains, however. There is so much mythology that has been peddled as fact that it’s hard to know what to believe. “Bottoming out” is one such myth. This one is based on the equally false notion that drug and alcohol abuse are “progressive diseases.”

    Equally unfounded notions include the idea that abuse and addiction are diseases – certainly abuse isn’t – and that most current treartment programs are effective – they aren’t. The vast majority of treatment regimens are counter-productive – creating and justifying more abuse than they end.

    What does work? Unhappily, nothing works predictably. It simply isn’t possible for one of us to change another’s behavior. But we can support posative change (paying for college directly to the college is an excellent example) and refuse to mitigate negative consequences.

    Another important possibility is to do your own research – real research, not treatment program marketing hype. You can find links to independent research on our website and learn what actually does work. You can also find help on this site, listings of professionals who do real treatment for real people.

    Behavior change is a difficult process, and most of us don’t start until we feel sick enough of how we’re living to take a chance on the possibility of an unknown but better future.

    Remember that drugs and alcohol do provide predictable and effective short term relief and that switching to a long term perspective is hard – as any smoker knows.

    But successful change is possible, even likely, with the right information, assistance, and willingnes to wait – hard as that is.

    Remember, most drug and alcohol abusers do “age out” of their misuse.

    So, again, beware of false promises, myth based “powerless lifelong recovery”, and other indications that you are being “sold”, not helped.

  • Debra

    August 25th, 2016 at 3:19 PM

    A little history. I am mother of a 42 year old son and since junior high school I have been bailing him out. He has never been arrested or in jail, but has had several failed marriages and relationships over the years due to his inability to keep a job and consistently stay off drugs. This past year he stole $5,000 dollars from me and his step-father and at that point I told him he was out of my life until he got clean and sober and made restitution for the money. He moved in with yet another woman and did drugs for another year when he called and said she left him and he was stranded. He had no car, home, money or job, so I agreed to pick him up, but only if he was willing to go to the Salvation Army men’s shelter and rehab program. Currently, he has been in rehab at the shelter for about 45 days. He says is doing well and just informed me he has committed to the 12 month program, as he did not feel the 90 days would be enough. My concern is how to encourage without enabling. I am meeting him for the first time in two days to take him to lunch. I know his clothes were stolen and he has no money. I plan to take donations of men’s clothes, etc. from our neighborhood for the shelter, but should I give him a few dollars for cigarettes etc. I hate contributing to such a bad habit, but with trying so hard to kick the drugs, is it to much to expect him to give up cigarettes too? I want to encourage and be there for him, but do not want to fall into the trap of enabling. He seems to be very serious about changing his life, but I have been down this road so many times before. Please, anyone have any advice?

  • Diane

    August 30th, 2016 at 8:14 AM

    My son is 31 and on his 4th dwi, we stopped bailing him out on his third and now 4th, he thinks he might get some prison time. He’s been an drug and and alcoholic for maybe 10 years now! He came to me and ask me for lawyer money and said the only reason he drinks because he’s afraid of going to the slammer! Talk about manipulation! I said no, we couldn’t afford it. I am scared and out of my mind because I have to let him go and let him hit his own bottom and be responsible for his own actions? I can’t let him take us with him. I started going to Alan-non and hate that I have to go, but it is helping me to help myself, once I’m there I get a lot of help out of the group and Everyone there is going through the same thing in different ways. I blame myself for his addiction. I know its hard but I have to survive this one day at a time. I’m not a big religious person but, God bless you all!

  • Laura

    March 20th, 2017 at 3:46 PM

    My son went through this Program through Salvation Army and he needs nothing in there they give him everything and he will earn it through work. Great program BUT they do get out and it has only been a year and my son is right back to how he was when he went in. So I am just sad these drugs they are choosing are so brain damaging it will be a life long fight.

  • Angie

    August 17th, 2018 at 11:38 AM

    I am so thankful that I found this site. I also have a 42 year old son that has been struggling with alcohol addiction. He just got out of the hospital 3 days ago. I have always been there for him hoping that it would be the last time and it isnt. His drinking got so out of control this time do I pulled away from him and haven’t spoke to him in a month. This is so different because I have never done this before. Instead i am now going to Alanon meetings for the support. I feel so guilty and his friends are telling me he feels alone and like I have given up on him. I love him very much but I can’t keep doing this anymore. I am finally allowing God to take the wheel and help my son make the right choice and get help. I am 65 years old and it is taking a toll on my health so I had to make different choices for me. This is years of trying to keep him out of shelters or the streets by paying for hotels every time he walks away from jobs and apartments. I pray i am doing the right thing this time because his drink I g has only gotten worse.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story and God bless your son and your family.

  • Tammy

    June 30th, 2019 at 6:03 PM

    My husband was sober for 11 years thanks to AA- he stopped going and started drinking and using drugs after about 2 years. It was hell. He died in February of an overdoses and staying with the thought in his mind that he had it in him to overcome it. They are powerless over the use of alcohol and drugs – it will overtake them and ruin their lives. It will take what they give. You obviously don’t know how AA works and that the sobriety rate is 95 percent for those that are real members and work on their recovery through the 12 steps. They want recovery and don’t believe the lifelong lie that this time will be different but keeping the truth before them always with the support of others that battle the same Mindset— without each other they will continue to believe they can drink like other people – no one wants to be an alcoholic or addict—yes they are responsible and accountable but their brain is still not wired like ours when we pick up.

  • Dawn

    April 13th, 2009 at 7:43 PM

    Thanks, everyone. I feel strength in the fact that I am not alone in this. I also feel dismay that the problem is so widespread.

    This is the most painful situation I can fathom, and I appreciate you all taking the time to respond to me.

  • John Marconii

    April 14th, 2009 at 9:31 AM

    Ruthie I had an EXACTLY same situation to yours, dot in dot, but my daughter is 27 and now she also joined escort service. What else could be worse? If you wish to contact me, it would be my pleasure to share my experience and to listen to yours.
    I do not agree with some of you here. Talking about genetics addiction etc. that’s (in my opinion) it is a complete nonsense. Neither I or my wife we have never ever (and not our parents, or grandparents) taken any substances at all. We’ve immigrated about 20 years ago to the US from one of the country in Eastern Europe. Our life values and traditions are quite different then what our daughter has had learn here. Her complete education (including some private schools) was done here in the US. We (in on the other hand got our degrees in Europe). Someone might ask what that has anything to do with the described above situation. It does a lot! In my opinion and I highlight that in my personal opinion the ones who should be blame for a fate of our children are:
    • The government itself. Why? Because of lack of a real and true engagement in the life of those young souls. In the US there are many restrictions but almost NOTHING done to show them (the young people) the alternatives. The US is maybe…and again maybe the strongest military power in the world, but at the same time its people are very isolated, misinformed and having problems with social interaction. So called American Dream is just a simple utopia and propaganda that fits well an so called élite, but just looking at the statistical data taken from many European countries, it is obvious that the quality of life over there I higher than in here. That Dream was a true reality maybe 50 or 70 years ago, but not now.
    • The schools and the whole educational system. I’ve watched my daughter progress in school and she was one the best students through the whole education circle, but I’ve seen so many (in my opinion) poor methods of teaching here. Besides the methods themselves, there is lack of discipline, lack of real competition (because it is too stressful for students = nonsense), lack of justified distribution of funds and much more. For instance those who are good with let’s say football are financially rewarded, others are not. That’s completely wrong!
    • Media = propaganda. American news are not really news at all, but “smart” prepared feed for masses. I’ve seen that before and I am resistant to that type of “information”, but millions are not and are easily manipulated.
    • Way of so called: “American Life”. Teaching our children that we’re the best, strongest, richest and the rest doesn’t count will create isolationism, pompousness, arrogance and in the long run enemies. Openness, understanding, respect, tolerance and proper cultural exchange, on the other hand will create much larger and on the bigger scale richness to all of us in every aspect of life.
    I do apologize any of you who might be insulted by my remarks. Some of you may ask, if I don’t agree with all that, why am I living here? And my answer to that is: I’m already making plans to go back to Europe.
    Summarizing this (in my opinion) this is what can be done to protect future generation. Shield them VERY GOOD, talk to them a lot, read them even more (forget about TV), teach them tradition and values in life, have discipline and be consequent. That doesn’t mean to beat them up, but have strict rules that have to follow. Travel with them all over the World (if possible), show them different cultures and values, show them how other nation live, teach them other languages (very, very important).
    How many languages you know – that many times you are a person said Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    Good luck to all of you.

  • Tammy

    July 4th, 2019 at 4:17 AM

    Alcoholics and drug addicts live in your country too. It respects no country. Good luck living back in your country- I hope you’re happy there and I pray your daughter find Jesus Christ and become whole.

  • Janet Chambers

    April 14th, 2009 at 2:50 PM

    I am the mother of a 25 year old daughter who is addicted to drugs (I don’t know which kind, but there are several), alcohol and gambling. To say the past 7 years have been hell is to put it lightly other than the year she stayed sober while she was pregnant with our grandchild (thank God). Our grandson who is now 4 is with his father.
    J has been in and out of our home for a couple of years now. For the last 3 weeks I don’t know where she has been. We have had contact via texting and phone calls. We do pay the $10 a month for a mobile phone because I just can’t stand not to have some link.
    She says she wants inpatient rehab. She has no insurance of course (she hasn’t worked in over a year) and wants us to pay for a private facility. She has never been in any rehab programs and while we are not poor, we are not wealthy by any means. I am trying to get her to try state funded or sliding scale programs at least for this first time and am getting a lot of “you don’t love me” and “my friend’s parents have done this for them”. I don’t know what is right. We have tried to temper the “tough love” with being helpful but this is new territory. I don’t want to make her worse, but I don’t want to be an enabler either. I feel like this is something she will have to for the most part do on her own. Am I way off base?
    Like many other unexpected addicts, this is a young woman who was a high school honor student, who held down TWO part time jobs, who had a BRIGHT future ahead of her. I don’t know what happened, but it is all wrong now. We also have a son who is getting ready to graduate from university next month. Whatever happened to J did not happen to our son, so I just don’t know what to think.
    Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thank you, Janet

  • Mary Ellen and Ed

    April 14th, 2009 at 7:27 PM

    It’s always very difficult to decide what to do, and where to draw the line. It’s especially so when there is, as always, too little information to go on. But there are a few realities:

    1) those who are motivated to change usually manage it;
    2) those who expect others (parents, friends, employer, counslors) to invest in them first rarely accomplish anything;
    3) pick rehab carefully – since she is bright and capable her best shot will be at a place that values that and builds on it – not any of the usual AA/NA based places that disparage intelligence and independence;
    4) long term residential is usually counterproductive – the drug abuse has developed in context and will only be fixed in context (not that a change in geography isn’t helpful and even recommended);
    5) additionally, she didn’t consult you about becoming a drug/alcohol abuser – and it was her choice – so she doesn’t have a lot of room to demand particular placements.
    6) watch out for anyone pushing the long debunked “disease” model or who pushes “powerlessness.” Smart users quickly learn to use these false concepts to manipulate their families.


    If she is actually motivated and invested she will succeed. There are usually some fits and starts along the way, but it’s more than possible.

    To educate yourself, pick up a copy of Changing For Good so that you will better understand how real change occurs and not be misled by rehab sales reps.

    Read through the Smart Recovery website.

    Good luck to you, and to her.

  • Ruthie

    April 14th, 2009 at 8:09 PM

    please see the text from Mary Ellen and Ed.
    In my own situation I contacted the County and found avail. help when/if my daughter ever decides to go. If there is no income such as in both our daughters situations, there is no charge (so i’ve been told). I have gone so far as to get the necessary info for her if she wants it but I won’t make the call for her or pay thousands of dollars either (in California where I live the cost of rehab can go as high as $10,000.00). During my own research I found that Counseling and Psych was also avail. at no charge to my daughter due to her income and this is something she has been doing for the past several weeks now or should I say, since we cut off the money supply and the help. For her, finding a good counslor/Psych has helped with alot of her issues . Again, I gave her the info but did not make the call for her; this was for her to do if she truly wanted it.
    I also think that if they WANT to change then they will. No one can make that choice for them although I wish it was that easy.
    My daughter did come over for Easter and we had a wonderful visit.
    We to have another daughter who was an honor student. At the age of 14 she wanted a pair of $160.00 shoes and when we refused, she got her work permit that same week so I hired her in my office to earn the money she wanted for those shoes. That was the last pair of expensive shoes she ever bought! I still chuckle inside when she shows me a new pair of shoes that she is happy with that she bought at Walmart :)
    My point is that children are just like any other person we would meet… all individuals with thoughts of their own. Their choices are THEIR choices.
    I can’t tell you how liberating it has been to say no to our oldest daughter. It is such a tremendous weight lifted off our shoulders. At Easter, I couldn’t help but notice that she had her nails professionally done along with new highlights in her hair. In the past I would have been furious that she could spend money she didn’t have to get this done but at Easter, I said nothing because I know I won’t be there to pick up the pieces when her rent is due or car payment and she dosen’t have the money. These are HER choices, right or wrong and I hope that she learns along the way.
    As for the drugs, she still denys it even after I found her with it several weeks ago but, as I have explained to her, I will be happy to talk with her about anything but money issues and when she is ready for help, I have the info avail. but I will not bring it up to her again. I planted the seed and realize thats all I can do.
    John, I do believe what you say as far as “genetics”. My family and my husbands family are from another country and both our families, including ourselves have spent our lives trying to better ourselves to be able to have a better life for us and our children. THAT is the American dream. Our belief is that our parents left their country to come to America where jobs were more avail. and the opportunity to work IF that’s what your desire was. I can’t imagine NOT taking advantage of that opportunity. We have always instilled hard work and education in our children as did our parents. Maybe that’s why it blows my mind that our daughter would rather be homeless, no groceries and yet would rather sit around and get high on drugs rather than take total advantage of the opportunities that not only are avial. but that she had at one point. I thought after her teens years were behind her that maybe she had learned a lesson and would never want to go back to that way of life but i guess I was wrong. That’s the sad part. I see so much potential in her. She is so caring and giving and just has the kindest heart but does not seem to care that much about herself. This is what I wanted her to get counsling for. I want her to know how precious she really is and feel that away about herself. To have self worth and self esteem and to respect herself and her body.
    As one parent to others… God bless us all and our children.

  • Carol R Cann, MA, LCPC, CADC

    April 14th, 2009 at 9:30 PM

    Hi Janet,

    I am sorry to hear of the situation with your daughter (and, of course the similarly-difficult situations of the other parents who have posted here). Since you have asked a specific question for advice on rehab programs, and this is something I have a great deal of experience with (as a counselor who works with adults who have substance use problems and their families) , I will give an opinion — based on the information you have shared here.

    It’s great that your daughter has decided to go into inpatient rehab. Most of the private ones are incredibly expensive but that does not necessarily mean that they provide better care — just plusher surroundings. Please do not allow her to “guilt you” into thinking you aren’t demonstrating love by not paying for something you will be financially-stressed to do. I don’t know where you live, but I do know that around the Chicago and Milwaukee areas (where I am), there are some sliding-fee programs that are quite good; you could probably find something similar in your area. Part of coming to terms with her addictions will be experiencing the consequences of her choices and behaviors, which could mean a state-funded or sliding-scale rehab program. No one (including you) owes her a luxury rehab stay. An inpatient rehab program is a great way for a person to get clean and sober and get a concentrated look at what recovery might mean. It’s a great experience to be with others in the same situation — there will be young and old, male and female, professionals and laborers — all in the exact same place, learning how to begin to live without addictions. And I mean it when I say “begin to live without addiction,” as the first 28 days is only the very first step. But an inpatient program can help a person bond with others, learn some of their deeper issues, and get some ideas about tools for staying clean and sober in the future.

    Support her choice for inpatient rehab but hold your ground on finding something you can afford — that is already showing her your concern.
    Good luck and have courage.

    Carol R Cann

  • Janet Chambers

    April 15th, 2009 at 5:21 PM

    Thanks to all of you for your responses. They are so very helpful. I have support in the family, but YOU know what I’m going through. I texted some numbers of sliding scale and state funded rehabs to her. I think you are all correct. That is all I can do other than provide the transportation to the rehab. SHE has to do the work.
    Thanks again, Janet

  • Dawn

    May 14th, 2009 at 3:06 PM

    I am seeking advice/support from all you warm, caring parents. My previously-mentioned son is trying (for the second time) to detox with Suboxone by himself. He doesn’t want inpatient or outpatient treatment. The last time, he says he was clean 8 months. He lives with his dad, and has pawned all his belongings, and many of his dad’s in support of his habit. His dad keeps him as isolated as possible in a gated community, no car, limited phone.

    My son now wants to come stay with me. He says a change of scene and location (a couple of miles from dad’s) will help, and he knows I will provide food and pleasant surroundings. My HEART wants so much to bring him in and “help” him detox, but my MIND knows that he probably wants more freedom to meet with dealers, and that he is very likely to steal from me, which he has never done so far. In a weak moment last week, I said he could come, and now I realize I probably made a mistake. How do I tell him? I hear he is very excited about coming to my house. I do not want to be co-dependent. But, the mom (and R.N.) in me wants to provide an atmosphere of healing. Since I already said “yes”, I need a script to go back on my offer without making him feel hopeless or unsupported. He is always very respectful and sweet to me. He always expresses regret and shame about his oxycodone addiction. He is not rebellious or argumentative with me. How do I talk with him?

  • Mary Ellen and Ed

    May 14th, 2009 at 4:47 PM

    You’re not in an enviable situation and there is much to consider. Frankly, his father’s “solution” of isolating isn’t exactly helpful. That’s assuming responsibility for your son’s behavior which makes it quite easy to return to using.

    You might want to consider a third alternative. A written agreement between you and your son under which he can stay with you for a defined period of time, contributing what he can (in chores if not cash), and that he will leave immediately if he does this or that or whatever. Think very defined pre-nuptual agreement with every detail spelled out and with his resonsibilities and consequences spelled out.

    There is usually a middle ground between being a chump and being hard hearted. Think of help that supports progress in an adult, not those activities which discourage growing up or reward staying drug abusive.

    Adult help, adult expectations, etc.

    And our best wishes to both of you.

  • Dawn

    May 15th, 2009 at 2:08 PM

    Thanks so much. On the way home from work, I was thinking of this very thing, but wondering if I sounded like a naive fool to try. The thing is, he has done nothing to me (so far). No stealing. I want him to live more as an adult, not a captive child. He can’t get a place of his own (yet), but how will he ever?

    Just one big worry – is it even possible that he can detox AND stay clean on his own? Is relapse inevitable? Should I make counseling or treatment one of the items on the contract?

    Has anyone out there had similar experiences?

    Thanks so much.

  • Carol R Cann, MA, LCPC, CADC

    May 16th, 2009 at 8:30 AM

    Dawn, you mentioned that your son is “detoxing” on Suboxone. There are a few things about this that you might be interested in knowing. First thing, Suboxone is available by prescription only (legally), so he ought to be connected with a doctor who is certified to prescribe this. (They have to take a special course and pass a test.) Suboxone is the brand name for buprenorphine, which is something like methadone, in that it is a controlled substance prescribed by a professional that replaces the opiod the person was addicted to with something that also causes dependence but is less “abusable.” Suboxone is meant to be given as a part of treatment, such as counseling, setting goals, learning to avoid triggers and situations where using might take place.

    Of course, there is no way to predict whether or not your son will be successful in his plan (each person is unique and their ability to overcome addiction is also a unique property); but generally speaking, his plan does not sound as though it will maximize the potential for recovery. The agreement spelling out responsibilities and consequences seems like a beneficial structure in the present; however, if he is not involved in a treatment program to help him learn tools to handle stress, emotions, and future behavior, it sounds like a “set up” for him. Good luck to both of you.

  • Mary Ellen & Ed

    May 16th, 2009 at 6:49 PM

    It’s important to also remember that people leave their abusive and addictive bahaviors behind in many different ways. The most important components to change are:

    1) Believing that he can;
    2) Being self-motivated;
    3) Being supported by family and peers;
    4) Having access to good professional support;
    5) Having access to good medical support.

    Good support is not what’s available in most treatment programs. Good help stresses self-empowerment, not “powerlessness”; does not adhere to a disease model; and has actual trained professionals who use CBT, assertiveness training, nutrition, relaxation, and the development of alternative coping skills.

    Regardless, people recover – fully – in unexpected ways all the time.

    For your part, clear expectations and consequences are most important. Remember, being the drug and alcohol “police” is a sure route to disater. He is responsible – for developing the habit, and for leaving it behind. It was a choice he made. He can also choose to quit.

    Good luck.

  • Dawn

    May 17th, 2009 at 4:08 PM

    Thanks very much for your replies. My son has no insurance. This is a big problem, but I could not afford his COBRA anymore, and he was using the insurance to “doctor shop”. We live in So. Fla, the HOTBED of oxycodone addiction. The doctor who gives my son his suboxone is licensed and has taken the requisite training, but he offers no support – in fact, he is one of the doctors who supplies oxys to people. The type of treatment all of you recommend is not available to us, as it is expensive. The free treatment around here is based on AA/NA, and is full of parolees and street people. (New connections!) I am an RN, and am very aware of what suboxone is – I don’t like it, but he is afraid of detox symptoms and feels he is not strong enough to do it without it. Anyway, I drew up a contract, but he has not contacted me or returned my calls. I think he might have relapsed, or he would call. I will save your comments, Carol, Maryellen, and Ed, and refer to them 1) to help me get through this and 2) in case my son gets serious and I am in a position to try to help.

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your time and knowledge.

  • Mary Ellen & Ed

    May 17th, 2009 at 11:42 PM

    You might also look for a “Smart Recovery” meetings in your area to refer him to. Smart is research based and meant to be short term, not forever.

  • Dawn

    June 10th, 2009 at 6:48 PM

    An update for all you caring and supportive people out there, and especially Mary Ellen and Ed:

    My son came to my house to detox off suboxone (which he and I do not recommend for others!). It has been a very rough two weeks, but he is now out of the woods. It is his 18th day clean (from everything). He is feeling much better, has been out with family members, got his hair cut. We found a Smart Recovery outpatient facility nearby and he is going to call them. He is very determined, hopeful, and excited about his future.
    His good friend was recently clean for 30 days, took one oxy and relapsed, and he was very affected by that. He says that he will NEVER take the “first one” again! I pray he can do it. He has a lot of loving family members, and says he will get into counseling. He broke off all relationships with dealers and most of all, doctors, who were supplying him.

    I am actually very hopeful. He is back – his personality is restored, and he is my son again. I am ever mindful that this will be a lifelong struggle, and he may slip again, but he is very, very determined, and wants very much to succeed. His birthday is tomorrow, and he says it is like his actual BIRTH day – he is starting over. PLEASE say a prayer for him and for all other addicts – for their strength to fight this thing.

    Thanks again to all of you.


  • diane

    June 20th, 2009 at 7:36 PM

    Dear Dawn and Son,
    My prayers for you both. If he doesn’t cheat, he will never have to worry about going back to that hell again. Have strength, you and only you have the power to take the power back. Good luck.

  • Anon

    July 30th, 2009 at 12:39 AM

    My heart tugged a little reading some of these posts. In the event it helps anyone:
    I was addicted to pills. It started out with a prescription that was poorly monitored and prescribed, which spun out of control into a full-blown addiction to the drug and others. My family was at wits end for a year, shouldered many unpredictable bills, and weathered many episodes of withdrawal, relapse, and lying in that time. Two family members took me in at different times, one for a week, one for the months when I made it through and actually quit. More than 3 years later, I’m ‘clean’. I don’t think about returning to the drugs. Sometimes people really do get better. But ultimately, the addicted person has to be ready. You won’t know when that moment comes, and you may face many false starts and lies. I wish I could remember enough from that period to tell you what happened to turn things around, but I remember my family not giving up on me- and setting firm limits. Most cut contact completely, one or two made very limited contact with me. They also attended something like NA and NAMI to help themselves through it. I feel what many of you are going through, best of luck.

  • diane

    August 1st, 2009 at 7:55 PM

    Anon, Hope you are still working for your sobritiy. I’m still suffering the loss of my daughter and really need to know you are still trying to suceed in overcoming the beast that took my child. I know it must be very hard. you have my prayers.

  • Janet Chambers

    August 9th, 2009 at 1:46 PM

    I have used this website as a help to me through my daughter’s addiction. She passed away July 31. The cause of death hasn’t been officially determined but preliminary tests indicate overdose. Jennifer was in rehab and clean for 3 months prior to her death. It was like having my daughter back. I’m so grateful we could have that time. Thank you so much for the advice and support you give others. Above all, NEVER give up.


    August 10th, 2009 at 3:05 PM


  • diane

    August 15th, 2009 at 9:41 PM

    Janet, I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter.

  • Ellen

    August 19th, 2009 at 10:50 PM

    Wow,like so many others here, I could fill in my sons name for these stories. He is 30 years old, and I honestly can’t say “how long” he has been using. I know at least since he was 17. He has had ups and downs, but he has really gotten bad. I do NOT give him any money, or help, because I have read enough to know that this would just enable him. But unfortunately, my husband doesn’t know this. He keeps helping him and it certainly puts a strain on the marriage. We have 2 other children who are wonderful, and learned from seeing their older brother, what a mess drugs have made of his life, and have thankfully steered clear of them. I know he is doing heroine now. Again, I read these posts and feel so many of the same feelings. I understand thinking that maybe if he were dead, it would be better, and I feel terrible for feeling this way. Or if he was in jail, that would be better. I can NOT change my son, HE MADE these choices, and by doing so, not only ruined his own life, but so many in my family have suffered because of his bad choices. It is so frustrating because he had a promising future. But not anymore. I just wait for the phone call that he is either in jail, or dead. And from reading all these posts, I feel I am not alone. My pastor has recently told me that I should start attending the Alanon meetings, and I think I will try this, cause I feel like I am starting to go over the edge. I pray for my son every day, and he will have to make the choice to want help and even admit that he has a problem.
    Thank you for all of your comments and postings. It does help to know that I am not alone in all of this.

  • Tracy

    August 24th, 2009 at 6:42 PM

    Wow. I needed a dose of this. I have taken this stand with our 29 yr old daughter who has been a drunk since age 15. I have temp.custody of her 9 month old daughter. She stayed drunk pregnant,had an accidenet drunk at 7 month pregnant breaking her leg in three places and other injuries falling down stairs. Drunk first week after baby born. Crashed car drunk midday last May. I went before a Judge and took the baby away. She is a hateful,manipulative,wreckless,vile,irresponsible,impulsive,wretched,white trash person. My daughter. And guess what…Everything she has ever done wrong is everybody else’s fault. Everything. Before the baby was born I spent half her life pulling her out of the fire. I am done and over her. She can hit the wall now and I will not be there. Not now nor ever. My wish for Christmas is that I will never have to see her vindictive evil face again. The County Social Workers (Clowns) enable her and believe anything the pitiful little drunk tells them including that her father,me, and our college educated other daughter drove her to what she is. This sorry excuse of a daughter is in the 82nd Airborne! God help this country. Maybe there is room for her on the next plane to Iraq.

  • Tracy

    August 24th, 2009 at 6:49 PM

    I forgot to add that she has been arrested twice since Easter for drunk driving,wreckless endangerment,fleeing drunk driving arrest(chased in her car after being stopped.) Had to be pepper sprayed to arrest her and restrained. Pretty much drunk every day. Her car has been seized that she owes $18,000 on. Crashed the car before that one drunk just a few months earlier. Drunk, drunk, drunk, pretty much everyday and boy look out for the weekends. All of this is my fault.

  • Janet

    August 25th, 2009 at 8:07 AM


    I understand how you feel. Believe me, I understand. My daughter was addicted to drugs, alcohol and gambling. I say was, because she passed away July 31, 2009. It was probably an overdose, but we don’t have the final report yet. She had been released from a rehab (actually, kicked out) 10 days prior to her death. We had reconciled somewhat while she was in rehab, but it was still a bit rocky. Before her death, I was so angry with her.
    Jennifer wrote in journals a lot. I have been reading them along with her worksheets from rehab. It has given me new insight into her problems. I’m not condoning them by any means. Jennifer was a master manipulator and had been all her life. Jennifer was bipolar and had she been properly medicated, I know the circumstances would have been different. She was just diagnosed last year and it takes so much time to get the meds and the dosage where it needs to be for each individual. When she was ‘in remission’ as I call it, she was a bubbly, loving, caring, lovely person. When she wasn’t, wow, Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde. I now know for certain that she was a tormented person.
    While I agree that your daughter shouldn’t have her child, you can never give up that hope. Miracles happen. Our grandson (4 1/2 yrs)has been with his dad for the last year and a half. We even wrote a letter on our son in law’s behalf.
    Basically, what I am telling you is that as my husband always said, ‘while they are on this side of the grass there is hope’. Because, once they are under the grass, it is over.

  • Tracy

    August 26th, 2009 at 10:17 AM

    I am so very sorry that you lost your daughter. We have had the fear of this happening someday to our daughter. This past weekend she spent drunk out of her mind and says her husband beat her up. Lots of phone calls to me which I did not take and my sister who barely listens to her anymore. She checked herself into the army hospital Sunday saying that she could not live one more day without her daughter and that is why she drinks! The only reason she checked herself in is that her car has been taken away, her husband left,no one else will have anything to do with her. No one to share her turmoil and drama. So off to the hospital she goes for the attention she can get. And sympathy. She doesn’t have her daughter because she is a drunk and now I find out a coke head too. I have not and will not accept her phone calls. She needs to hit the wall at warp speed. She will stay clean as long as the doors are locked. When she is out of there the drinking will continue. I hope she proves me wrong. It will take a miracle for her to live a decent normal life. This is my prayer,for the Lord to deal with her. Looking back, my daughter has had problems her entire life. Never fit in or followed rules. Kicked out of every school,grammar,jr.high,high sch.Ran away multiple times,fighting,arrested for assault at 16.Could write a book on the hell she has put this family through. Frankly at 29 yrs old I will not participate in her life anymore. Drunk or sober I don’t care. I feel nothing but distain for her. I guess she will miss that plane to Iraq. Too bad.

  • LIN

    August 28th, 2009 at 9:04 PM

    gosh, I am coming to grips with how many families truly do deal with the same problem. I wonder how many of the people who have commented, will have positive outcomes. I am the mother of a 26 yr old, who over the past 9 years has battled coke addiction, alcoholism, and just destructive behaviors. She lives off of social security as she does have diagnosis of bipolar. she has done the gamit of psych doctors, therapist, meds of all kind. none of it seems to have helped. she was off the coke for awhile, but now back on. she doesn’t seem to be able to function unless she has a man in her life. both of her last 2 boyfriends are now in jail for one thing or another. I go to counseling trying to detach, as I was an enabler, and now see the harm in it. I am at the point, I don’t think she will make it. It just seems endless. She does nothing, not productive in anyway. She tried school, but quit, she tries jobs, but quits. Theres nothing left to try, we just wait for the other shoe to drop.

  • Tracy

    August 29th, 2009 at 12:27 PM

    I certainly understand where you are with your daughter. Our daughter is a talented artist or should I say, was a talented artist. Dropped out of college,quit or got fired from every job.(Never her fault) Joined the army and straightened up as long as she was in basic training and no way to get alcohol. As soon as she had some freedom- straight to drunk all the time. As of yesterday she is in a 28 day facility for alcohol abuse. What a waste of time and resources. She will be sober for 28 days. Unlock the door, turn her loose and she will be waiting for the liquor store to open. I have totally detached myself from her for good. Alcoholism is not a desease. Cancer is a desease. Calling it a desease allows insurance to cover the cost of the destruction that follows. Calling it a desease takes away the personal responsibility from the drunk for being a drunk. An alcoholic can decide not to drink anymore. A cancer patient can’t decide that he wants to stop having cancer. Alcoholism is a self inflicted addiction. I am raising her 9 month old daughter. I have had her for 3 months. I have already spent $7,000.00 in legal fees to remove her daughter from her and we haven’t even gone to trial yet. If it takes everything I have and the rest of my life, I will keep my grandaughter away from her because she will ruin her life if she doesn’t kill her with her reckless choices. I just wish she would go to the other side of the world and forget her way back. Forever. We too are just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

  • diane

    September 5th, 2009 at 6:53 PM

    tracey, I know you are angry. It’s o.k. I also was. Shanna is now dead. Her kids are without a mom. My daughter, that was sick, cannot fix herself, is dead. She would’t or could’t help herself. She still had a sweet heart. You will also miss the times when she was around. You will probably out-live your daughter. That is not a preferred option to being a mom. Reality is harsh. It is for me. Try to remember a kiss, a hug, a scent. She will always be your daughter. Sick or well, she is your offspring. I think this diease is like cancer. I don’t have it and i guess you don’t either. Your grand kids may. Hope not.

  • Tracy

    September 11th, 2009 at 6:46 PM

    Diane, I am so honestly sorry that you lost your daughter, Shanna, to addiction. I will probably be next on the list to have lost a child to this. Please tell me, what happened? Shanna had more than one child. Oh God. I am so so sorry for you and her children.
    My daughter, Susan, also, way back had a sweet heart….. It turned rotten with liquor. She turned into a vile,vicious,rotted human being. Not a person of value, but a- from -the -core- rabid, worthless, parasite, useless, destroyer,thing. This is a child I stood up for so many years. When everyone was sick of me and washed their hands of me for sticking up for her. I was there for her. No matter what. Fourteen years of it and a baby put through it is “Enough” When she stayed drunk and pregnant and then drunk after her daughter was born a “Switch went off in my brain that said ” This Is Enough.” I am the hell done with her and her “Crap”.
    Done I am. I have her daughter. It will take a Judge to tell me she has to go back to her mom. In fact it will take an act of God for me to give my grandaughter back to that piece of trash. I will be on a plane to the other side of the world before I will give her back to that destroyer.

  • Tracy

    September 11th, 2009 at 6:50 PM

    Let me clarify one thing I just said. I will not be on a plane to the other side of the world with my grandaughter. I just wish I could. Wishing is one thing. Doing is another. I won’t be as stupid in my decisions as my daughter is.

  • diane

    September 19th, 2009 at 1:45 AM

    Tracey, I too, believe in turning your back on your daughter. I had too also. Some day maybe she will hit bottom. Some people do. It doesn’t mean you ever have to forgive her. People don’t realize, some of their actions can never be forgiven. Keep your grandaughter safe, but always know if she ever cleans up, there is a chance she can get her back. You may need to take that plane. Good luck.

  • Tracy Smith

    October 25th, 2009 at 9:26 AM

    Forty eight hours after being released from a 28 day alcohol rehab center my daughter was drunk. She “borrowed” a friends car, hers is impounded and will be auctionsed off, bought her liquor and went joy riding while she was drinking. Drunk, crashed the car. She has been in jail for 4 weeks awaiting trial. She has twelve charges in three counties pending against her. Three of them are DUI’s , three are driving with revoked license, one resisting arrest, two wreckless endangerment,on and on…………..more crap. She is going away for some serious time. The army has her listed AWOL and is discharging her. So far she has lost us,her family, her baby, her car, her career, her drunk,stupid,husband,friends, her apartment and all of her belongings. She is sitting in jail with drug addicts,prostitutes, her kind of trash. I spoke on the phone one time with her and all I had to say was that she held the top spot for the worlds worst mother and she was right where she belonged. No more contact. I hope they send her very far away from here. Her daughter will turn one year old next month. I have had her longer than her own mother. We will have a birthday cake without her mother. So sad.

  • Peggy

    October 26th, 2009 at 10:09 PM

    Can you recommend a list of some good treatment centers with long term (6 – 12 months) aftercare programs?

  • Tracy Smith

    November 1st, 2009 at 7:16 PM

    If you are asking to recommend a long term treatment center with long term aftercare programs for my daughter I really would not recommend wasting the resources on her. If this recommendation was not for my daughter then I apologize. As a matter of fact she has been released with time served after 4 weeks of incarceration for crashing a car drunk ,again, with three DUI’s pending, includeing numerous other charges. They let her go! I am so dissapointed. That drunken fool will driving again this week and pray God she doesn’t kill somebody in the process.Please, if anyone is listening to me, She is facing 12 charges in threee counties which include three DUI’s for drunken driving, has crashed two cars drunk. They let her out because she hasn’t yet been “Convicted” of three DUI’s! I pray she will not drive drunk and destroy some family of a loved one. The laws are so incredibly unfair. They let this piece of trash out to maybe destroy some innocent life with her drunken ass.

  • mdougherty

    November 11th, 2009 at 7:10 PM

    I have fallen into the same hole again. Running around trying to make it better. Telling myself everything is ok. But the signs are there. I feel all twisted up inside. I feel dizzy, unable to digest my food properly, worry is all I know. My daughter she is an addict and I have to accept and face the reality of the devastation that is her life and the life of my two beautiful grandchildren. One in a loving foster home and the other just a sweet newborn and what chance does he have with a father who is a heroin addict, a gang member, who has no job and he was just released from prison on a domestic violence charge from his former girlfriend. This is what my daughter chooses. So what do I do fade away, move away, accept this as a lost cause, Me who believes in Miracles and the power of Positive thinking, Me who teaches that prayer and faith are everything….but now what?! I feel so terribly alone and yet I read others stories and my heart goes out to all of you.

  • Dawn

    November 12th, 2009 at 4:11 PM

    When I first encountered this site, I was looking for hope, like everyone else. I was so scared by all the statistics and stories, and the fact that we live in South Florida, the oxycodone capital of the world!

    Anyway, In June, I reported that my son had detoxed and was doing much better. I am happy to report that he is still doing great. He had a difficult time finding a job because of his history of joblessness and the economy, but he has found one: full time, with benes, low pay though. He is ecstatic! He had several drug tests while job searching, and passed all of them!!!! He has nice friends now, including a very sweet girlfriend (clean). He tells me that he no longer has cravings, and would never go back.

    Now, I am not the most naive person on the planet. But it has been 6 months, and he has weathered some very bitter disappointments and not gone back to drugs. I have hope, finally. My son is back! Not perfect, he is 23 and acts about 18. But, he is making progress. He has crushing debt from his old days and may have to declare bankruptsy, but at least he is healthy and happy, and now productive.

    I am not bragging, and realize that not everyone will be lucky to even have a respite like I have had. But, I wished so hard for someone to give me at least one happy, hopeful story. I hope you all find some hope in my story, and I pray that we all have happiness in the future. Thanks everyone for the support. We are all in this life together, and we have to help each other.


  • Mary Ellen and Ed

    November 12th, 2009 at 4:23 PM

    Dear Dawn,

    We’re extremely pleased for you and your son and would also like to note that your story is not all that uncommon. Yes, we hear about the disasters, failures, and unending dashed hopes, but the reality is that we don’t usually hear from the successes and triumphs – these folks are busy building lives, not dwelling on the past.

    In our work with families and clients we see well over half on them succeeding – about 10 times the rate of traditional treatment – and we do write about what works, and what doesn’t. And please don’t forget that more people recover – really recover (not “in recovery”)on their own than any other way.

    So again, congratulations, to both of you and thank you so much for taking the time to write what so many need to hear.


  • Taylor

    November 13th, 2009 at 3:39 PM

    I just found this website, I have a 22 year-old daughter and just learned she is not only addicted to pain killers, but also selling them, I am flaberghasted to say the least. I live 2,000 miles away but noted that in the last month her attitude had changed on the phone, she didn’t want to talk for hours like she did in the past and the nightly phone calls stopped. On Tuesday of this week I recived a phone call saying she was being evicted on a ten day notice and asking if she could come here, of course I said yes. then I recived a restricted phone call from a friend of hers telling me that my grandchildren were uncared for always with a babysitter who had no idea how to care for children and that they were calling CPS unless I intervened. I made a few phone calls to others who knew my daughter and everything, mentioned in the phone call seemed to be truth. People had been giving her money to pay her rent, bills and giving her money to pay for stuff that she needed for the girls. She had never asked me for a single dime, but gifts I had sent the grandchildren seemed to disappear always with excuses. So I stopped sending material items. My daughter was anti-drugs, we had two family members killed by dealers due to their own drug additctions so this totally floored me to find out she is not only using, but also selling to make her rent persay. As a grandmother I had no choice but to call the grandparents who lived in the area and ask them to check on the girls, the girls were removed from the home that night and are now in a safe place. My daughter is angry at me and won’t talk to me which hurts. I kept having dreams that my daughter was dead, but couldn’t put my finger on it, my intuition was always going off over the past month, but due to the distance I couldn’t just get in my car and go visit her. The amount of phone calls I have made this week are more then any mother should have to make to get to the bottom of her activites. But to know hat my grand children were suffering because of her addition really angers me. We did send money to the other grandparents so they could buy the girls the things they need, but I know it is not enough when they need everything. I just don’t understand how a mother who loved her girls so much could just change like this. It’s frusterating and confusing, and I will not support her or her addiction and have asked others not to. All I can do is pray and hope that one day she will wake up before it’s to late.


    November 14th, 2009 at 5:07 AM

    Hello, I haven’t written anything lately, I have been so depressed. My youngest son, who is 25 is living on the streets. I cry myself to sleep every night, I don’t know what to do. He is an alcooholic and drug abuser. The last I heard from him was in an email saying that he had nothing left and there was only one other thing left to do. I love him so much but I can’t let him come home. I have a 17 year old daughter and I have to think of her. I am also so afraid of getting that call. Please if there is anyone out there that can give me some advice I would appreciate it…….

  • Sharon

    December 2nd, 2009 at 12:44 PM

    I also have a 28 year old daughter who is addicted to pain pills and probably a lot more. Her father died from the same thing 4 years ago. Since then, she has spiraled out of control. I had a total meltdown last night. I went home and she had crawled thru a window to get into my house. Reading these letters and comments have helped me so much. I know I must save myself. I cannot help her at all. She has cursed me and blamed me. Told me I am a terrible mother although my other daughters are calm and loving. But her statements have held me hostage for these last years. Thanks to your letters and comments I feel the strength to get tough and save myself.

  • Maria

    December 2nd, 2009 at 2:31 PM

    I have a 22 year old supposedly recovering addict daughter who I know is back to her old ways. She still lives at home and doesn’t make enough money to move out. I am sick all the time just being around her- I literally cannot stand the sight of her anymore- she is nothing but a manipulative, lying, good for nothing. I want to chnage the locks so that she has no access to getting back into the house. Unfortunatly this will kill my 90 year old father but I can’t survive one more minute with her in my life. Any suggestions? This has been going on for years. She went to rehab in April and was good for about two months but back came all of the behavior. I know this is sick- but there are days I wished she had died in that car she crashed while drunk. The thought of going home now is sickening.

  • Mary Ellen Barnes, PhD

    December 3rd, 2009 at 10:59 AM

    That is just a horrible situation you find yourself in.

    I would go ahead and change the locks. In reality, it really won’t kill your father. He won’t be happy, but he will survive. You do need to think about yourself and your own well being. Your daughter has no reason to change. By giving her a roof over her head and food, etc, she doesn’t have to make any more money than she is currently making. Why should she? Her basic needs are being met and she has enough to buy her drugs. She is legally of age, change the locks, kick her out and let her fend for herself.

    If you don’t take care of yourself first, who will? And who will care for your elderly father? Your daughter has made her choices. When she gets tired of living in a car, maybe she will change, but she sure isn’t going to when there is no good reason to change.

  • Lynn

    December 4th, 2009 at 7:46 PM

    I have been looking for a support like this blog for years . I have a manic depressive daughter who has hd issues for the last 17 years drugs, alcohol, self mutilation, suicide bulimia ect ect and now my younger daughter is an alcoholic. I never thought this could really happen to one couple. Our lives have been hell every weekend, holiday summer vacation ect ect for years. I realize I am rambling on and on. I am even too tired to look back on this entry and look for mistakes it just helps to know that others have made their adult children leave home. We hardy see our girls any more and the last few years have had no holidays. My heart goes out to all of you mothers and fathers alike that walk around each and every hour with a hole in your hearts. Please keep writing as I know this helps all of us.


    December 5th, 2009 at 5:48 AM

    Hi Lynn, I am one of those mothers. This year I will not be seeing my Son during the holidays and it breaks my heart. He is living at a mission by his own choice. I love him so much, but he has to do this on his own. We where willing to borrow $4000.00 last month to help him get clean, but his answer was no that he did not need to be in rehab for 4 months. We now know that his addictions are more important to him. We have all tried for the last 11 years, but we have decided to stop enabling him. As a mother that went through surgeries after surgeries to keep my son alive this is heartbreaking. I cry at the drop of a word. I also love this site, because it lets me talk to people like you that know what I am going through. I pray that someday that my son will get clean and come and give me a big hug and say that he is back…..

  • Ed Wilson

    December 5th, 2009 at 9:09 AM

    Your sitution is very sad and difficult but you don’t have to go through the rest of your lives forgoing holidays and, yes, even joy. There are tens of thousands of children and families you can “adopt” to varying degrees, places to volunteer, lonely peoploe in your neighborhood.

    I am not writing this without experience. Without the old men who took a bit of time for me, the neighbor woman who listened occasionally, I would have been, well who knows?

    So, celebrate what you can, when you can, and with whom you can.

    Your “family” can be far bigger than just your children. And you don’t need to continue to punish yourselves for their choices.

  • Lynn

    December 6th, 2009 at 7:33 PM

    Hi Monique, thanks so much for writing to me. I also cry at the drop of a hat. I have always been very senstive but now it is embarrasing. Movies, stories most things set me off. I too hope that you son comes home to you. I also dread that phone call. Today I watched a movie where a mother was called to the hospital and her adult son was in an accident (drinking) and died minutes after she arrived. I sat there and pictured this being my daughter. I hope I didn’t do the wrong thing telling you this it’s just that I am so prfoundly sad, it cames in waves. I always thought it would be my older daughter that I lost b/c she is the one who attempts it. Now the thought of losing my baby freaks me out. She has high blood pressure and blew off the second half of a physical that I sent her too, so I never know what will happen to her. I’m sorry for rambling.
    again thanks so much for writing to me.


  • Harriett

    March 4th, 2017 at 9:48 AM

    Thank you, thank you for this site and comments. It helps me to know I am not the only one. My sleepless nights, guilt, waiting for “the call”, me wanting to believe the manipulators lie because that would be easier than what I know in my “gut”. On thing I STRUGGLE with that noone else has mentioned is bitterness and jealousy. I pray about it daily. I’m so jealous and resentful of families all around me with “perfect” children, they have no idea what this misery is like. I catch myself being so envious instead of happy for them. My second child is perfect, freaking perfect. Yet, bc my first born is a disaster I have no joy. Am I supposed to thing that one out of 2 is ok???? I can’t because a mother’s love is too much. Again, thank you for all of you parents sharing. It has really helped me. All my friends and coworkers just don’t have kids like mine, and I feel so alone and angry.

  • Lynn

    December 6th, 2009 at 7:42 PM


    I know you are right there are many who can use a bit of love and understanding. I work with the autistic students and I know people have it worse than I do. I always try to be the kindest to all people always have. I have to say both of my girls are have kind hearts. I am glad someone reached out to you. I will consider your suggestion, we are just very tired. Every life impacts another doesn’t it?
    Hope you are ok and continue to be.


  • Mary Ellen and Ed

    December 7th, 2009 at 8:45 AM

    Dear Lynn,

    I do understand the exhaustion on top of everything else. My adopted son, 40, has FAE and while he is artistically brilliant, he will never make the sort of emotional connections I wish for him. My adopted daughter, 36, Is “okay” but, again, the damage done by her birth mother and a couple of other women, is irreperable beyond a certain point.

    My relationships with them will always be distant but that has not prevented me (after years of mourning and bitterness)from becoming the sort of older man who nurtured me.

    We cannot force change on others, but we can change our own behaviors and thoughts and feelings and create a good life for ourselves and those around us.

    I hope you find that for yourself.



    December 8th, 2009 at 2:46 PM

    Hello, Lynn, you are not rambling on. I am happy to get your emails, it helps me a lot to know that someone cares and I feel for you also. I know that Ed said not to be unhappy about not seeing my son during the holidays, but it’s not only not seeing him it’s wondering if he will be alone for Christmas. Christmas has always been such an important time for me because we would go to Ottawa at my other son’s house and spend it together with my kids and grandchildren. This year my other son is not having him over because he does not want him around his children, he is always high and the kids don’t understand. I hate thinking of not seeing any of them. See it is me rambling on now. I am trying to get into the Christmas spirit but I am having a very hard time. Thank you for listening and please keep in touch, have a great holiday and talk to you soon…

  • Lynn

    December 9th, 2009 at 7:59 PM

    Monique, I know what you mean about the holidays. I have always loved them since I was a kid, me more than my sib, not the gifts b/c we were not from a family with money at all just the whole feeling. I feel for you not knowing where you son will be. Are you not seeing your other son? I probaby wont see either of my girls and that is most difficult. I am getting used to it, I just cant wrap my mind around the fact that I have 2 girls and dont see either of them. we loved them to death. today was such a hard day I could hardly get to work, but that has been going on for years, I know you dont mind but I am so depressed and have been for since my 28 year old daugher started all this when she was 14. I kept waiting for it to end, never thinging that this could really go on and on, that there had to be an end, and now my other one is an alcoholi, I keep saying this cant be. Wow was that a run on sentence, too tired to correct the grammer. How do you get though the days? Is the mission near you? That was very generous of you to offer that money to help him. It does sound like in spite of his problems that you have a good relationship with him.

  • Lynn

    December 9th, 2009 at 8:01 PM

    Monique, It was me Lynn who wrote you and forgot to sign.

  • Lynn

    December 9th, 2009 at 8:09 PM


    So you also have two adult children that have broken your heart or whatever. I don’t know what FAE is. What a wonderful person to adopt 2 children. My mom was an orphan and was in an orphanage (but she told us it was fine) later they put her in a not so great place, until her aunts took her out at 16 b/c then she was able to work. My point is that you did a wonderful thing.
    I just dont know how to get past the grief and worry.


  • Monique Cousins

    December 10th, 2009 at 12:05 PM

    Hi, Lynn, I don’t know if I will be seeing my other son and grandkids yet, he just started a new job, so he does not know if he can come. I am on lunch right now so I will sign off nad talk to you later. Monique

  • Allison Johnson

    December 22nd, 2009 at 1:16 PM

    Reading your posts today makes my heart ache. My brother is 2 years younger than I and an alcoholic/drug addict. He has been this way since high school and is now 28 years old. In addition, he is bi-polar. THe saddest part as a sibling is that I suffer twice thru the loss of him and watching his demise and thru watching my mother suffer the pain and worry of not knowing how long he will live. If we get a late night call – we are afraid. If we don’t get one – we are afraid. He was just sentenced to prison yesterday and I am almost relieved to be able to know where he will be for a few years and to know that he will be fed and clothed during that time. As a mother of two young children, I share the concerns of the first poster that I want to prevent this from happening to my beautiful children. I watch them play and wonder what makes one child an addict when another is fine. My brother was my best playmate and now he is gone – the person he has become is a stranger to me. How do you stop that from happening when there are no signs until it is too late?

  • Lynn

    January 1st, 2010 at 6:19 AM

    Allison, I just wrote you a long response and lost it when I went to send it. I will write again.

  • Lynn

    January 15th, 2010 at 7:02 PM

    Monique & Ed, was wondering how the both of you were. Have checked many times and no one seems to be writing. Hope all is well.


  • Ed Wilson

    January 15th, 2010 at 10:00 PM

    Mary Ellen and I are fine, busy with our practice and except for answering the ongoing threads are not posting new articles here. You can read our weekly postings at our website by clicking the Newsletter tab.

    Thanks so much for asking and for your continued interest.

    Warm regards,


    January 15th, 2010 at 10:41 PM

    Hi, Lynn, all is well with me. My son is now living in Toronto with his aunt and waiting for a place in rehab. He calls me evrery week and sometimes twicw a week. I went to see him during the hilidays and he looked so good. His aunt has set the rules and he abides by them. He actually called me tonight and told me that he is seing a cardiologist on the 29th of March. I don’t remember if I told you that he has had heart surgeries and wears a pacemaker. He will be 26 on Sunday and told me that he wants to go to rehab for himself and not for anyone else, that made me feel so good. He said that when he gets out he wants a better life than what he was doing. He also said to me that he has to get rid of some heavy chains that he has been carrying with him and he need professional to help him. My son has a big heart and tends to take a lot of peoples pain on himself. He has a great soul and I hope and pray that this is it for him. I love him so much and want him to be happy. Lynn thank you for keeping in touch, this site has helped me a lot. Just writting things down is a healing thing. Take care and I will keep in toch with you. Monique

  • Dr. Copper

    January 30th, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    Two weeks ago my son was locked up the Washington, D.C. jail for drug possession. He is 35 years old and has not really worked a day in his life. He no sooner got into jail than he was caught with a pill and tossed into detention. I did get one letter from him and it was full of the usual excuses, i.e. a lying cop, a judge that could not read body language, lack of progressive drug laws in the district, etc. He is trying to make me believe that he is only in jail for a minor marijuana violation. My former wife called me and read me his charge sheets which she found in his pile of unopened mail. I did reply to his letter and told him I know how he got into jail and that I will no longer enable him and his drug habit. He was caught with heroin, cocaine, and various other illegal drugs. He was in a state funded rehab center but was expelled for a bad attitude. My ex spouse feels guilty and may continue to finance his drug habit when he gets release in June. Regardless of what happens he will not use me again.

  • Lynn

    January 30th, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    Monique, so nice to log on and see the note from you. That is such good news about your son. I can almost hear the joy in your voice being a mother. He sounds ready and that is 90% of recovery. I wasnt aware about the pace maker at 26 wow, but seems like he wants to take care of himself. 26 sounds about right for maturity to kick in for some so it really sounds promising. I only wish the best for the both of you. I will also keep in touch.

  • Lynn

    January 30th, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    Ed, Warm regards to you too. I will look at your threads.
    all the best to you.

  • Marie

    February 11th, 2010 at 9:14 AM

    I have a 23 year old daughter who is addicted to heroin. She has two children ages 2 and 4 that I am most likely going to take custody of. I am currently in therapy with an addictions counselor to help me stop being co-depemdent. My counselor is wonderful. The problem I am finding more and more difficult to bear is my fear of burying my daughter and knowing what she is doing is putting her in harms way. I have been snowed in the last two days and although I am not the crying type all I can do is cry. The emotional pain I have feels like I am dying a slow death. I have been taught ways to deal with this but for some reason can’t get to that point. Could this be a grieving process? Is this something I must allow myself to do in order to move forward? God bless all of you and me in hopes we can find solutions to this growing problem.

  • Mary Ellen and Ed

    February 11th, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    Dear Marie,

    What you describe isn’t an uncommon response to a nearly intolerable situation. You are having to deal with a situation that none of us envision when we contemplate becoming parents and grandparents and we grieve not only for what is, but for the loss of our own imagined future. Yes, you are dying a slow death, the death of expectations which will now go unrealized, and replaced, for now, with only terrible decisions to be made and the dread of what your daughter is doing.

    Eventually you will begin to replace old expectations with new ones and you can choose how to feel about the changes. A good CBT therapist can provide good short term help.

    There is also the possibility that your daughter may recover from her addiction as do most who are her age, but that’s not something to count on and wait for. Just know that it is a possibility and hope that she eventually gets help and that it’s real help, not what passes for treatment here in the U.S.

    Yese, grieve, plan for an altered future, educate yourself about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, do some assertiveness training to off set the enabling, research effective treatment options in case she ever asks.

    Mary Ellen and Ed

  • Lynnie

    February 28th, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    Hello – A friend sent me the link to this site and I saddened to hear all your stories, but reassured to know I am not completely alone. Two days ago, my husband and I had to kick our 23 year old son out of the house. He has a history of alcoholism and drug abuse,including crack cocaine, pot and xanax. We thought he had been doing better, in November he got a DUI and we brought him back home to live with us, we thought to help. He has been attending AA meetings and seemed to be on the road to recovery. Last week, we went out of town, leaving our son alone for the first time since November. We returned to find my husband’s rifle missing. I had noticed my son’s behavior and attitude had changed the past couple of weeks, but assumed he was just depressed/bored whatever. I am now firmly convinced he is using again and stole the rifle to pawn or trade for drugs. He completely denies it. My heart is breaking because if there is the smallest possibility he is innocent, I will never forgive myself for what I have done. But logic tells me he has done this horrible thing to us, again, we thought the days of lying and stealing were over. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I cry all the time. I picture him cold and hungry, angry and confused. Please someone tell me I did the right thing.

  • Ed Wilson

    February 28th, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    Sad though it is, you did the right thing. The sad part is that you are questioning yourself over the possibility that there is a grain of possibility he didn’t pawn the gun. Reality is that he is the one who needs to prove he has changed – he’s the one who needs to accept that he is on “probation” – not you or your husband.

    That’s the trouble with AA/NA/CA/ etc.programs and treatment – the main thing they teach is how to be a better con artist, how to guilt and exploit family members, and how to avoid responsibility.

    So, though horribly hard, remember, your son’s alcohol and drug abuse were and are his choice. You didn’t cause it, you can’t fix it. You shouldn’t support it.

    He’s made choices and he can make new ones.


  • Monique

    March 2nd, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    Dear Lynnie

    I was at the same place you are at now. we have a 26 year old son, that put us through the same thing. It was an ongoing thing for 13 years. I cried myself to sleep and I was a walking Zombie. The last time he went back to his drugs and alcohool, I used what tehy call though love. I said no more money, if that is what you want to do with your life, then I won’t be part of it. I told him the only way that I would help him is when he was ready to go back to rehab. I will say is was the hardess thing I ever did as a mother. i also learned that they do not go hungry and that they always find a place to stay. I learned this through therapy, that when you are a user you always have friends. The therapist also told me that when he calls and says that he is hungry to bring him food and never give him money. I am happy to say, my son is waiting to get into rehab, he is clean since before Christmas and he even quit smoking. It has been a long and difficult time for all of his family, and yes I was afraid to lose him and I pray and hope that he will stay clean. do not give hope and stay strong and please do not let him come back home, they are the best liars and they do steal fro mthe ones they love, because it is the addiction doing this and not the person who you thought they were. I hope that all works out for you and stay on the site, it really helped me through some difficult times. Monique

  • Ruth

    March 17th, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    I have been looking for a good website for my ongoing problem with my 31 yr. old daughter. I am hoping that you can help me.

  • Ruth

    March 17th, 2010 at 2:08 PM


    I thought I submitted a comment. Oh, well, my comment is: “What do you do about an adult addicted child?”

  • Lynn

    March 20th, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    Ruth I just wrote a long message and lost it. I have problems with a daugher about the same age and it is on going and always will be. If you would like to share Im sure I can relate. I have had it all, not to sound like a martar, sorry to say it is true. A horrible heart breaker. A hole in my heart that will never heal


  • Ed & Mary Ellen

    March 21st, 2010 at 10:02 AM

    The question is always a variation on the same theme: “How can I force someone else to change their behavior?”

    The answer is always the same one nwe all hate to accept: “We can’t!”

    The best we can do, and 95% of parents refuse, is to stop REWARDING bad behaviors!

    At lesst when you quit rewarding the behavior you calim to hate, the child (of any age) will have less reason to continue the behavior. It isn’t all that complicated.

    Yes, you’ll have to give up your illiusion of control, but it’s pretty obvious you don’t have any anyway.

    So, give up pretending you can change her/his choices and at least you can also stop feeling respinsible for those choices. You arenh’t. They are. Respond accordingly.

  • sue wilkerson

    March 23rd, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    Hello all, I was searching the web looking for some support for myself as I have a 23 year old son who has struggled with addiction since age 16. He was a victim of a stabbing at 16 and not wanting to receive therapy for this,chose to do drugs.He is real bad.He has been to detox 2 years ago and also been on methadone for 2 years- 115mg per day. He relapsed about a month ago and I asked him if he wanted help. fortunately he did and he is now in a detox and then a 10-20 day inpatient program after that.I will attend a family meeting on thursday with him at the facility and he has also expressed a desire to go on to a longterm care facility after that. I hope he follows through with that.I feel for all of you on this website and all the stories sound just like mine. i no longer support my son financially, his grandmother will. i called her today and told her that it must stop. he relapsed this last time after he met a girl that was also addicted to drugs and has since been arrested and is in jail for at least 90 days. my dilema is that he wants to try to contact this girl in jail and wants money to use the phone at the detox to call this girl’s uncle to get her id number. i’m afraid to piss my son off by telling him that i will not give him money for that but i do want him to have money to call me and let me know how he is doing. i’m also hoping that as he starts to get better that this drug addicted, stripper will not look so appealing because i feel that she will hinder his recovery.

  • Melinda

    March 30th, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    It’s all just so sad. I have a 23 year old son who has been addicted to marijuana since he was 16. He is very intelligent and can be so kind. He chose to steal money from me when I told him I would not pay for his phone bill (again). I have given him over $5000 in some way or another to either pay bills, food, debts, or cash. I have recently come to know that the money has got to stop. He quit his job 5 months ago and has made little attempt to work because he can’t pass a drug test. He lost his driver’s license over a year ago because of the drugs. My question is how do I deal with essentially not having my son in my life? I don’t trust him in my house and honestly I am angry and so sad about the whole deal. He refuses treatment and continues to life with 2 friends. I feel so guilty that I have money and fun and a successful life when he is telling me he is starving.

  • Ed

    March 30th, 2010 at 9:30 PM

    Sad as it all is, it is just a bit easier when you remember that his drug use is his choice – no one is forcing him to choose that life, nor are you or anyone else required to fund his selfishness.

    As for living your own life? You’ve earned yours as he is his by the choices he’s made.

    Perhaps some day he will make a different choice – but don’t reward him for his terrible choices by financially supporting him.

  • Dawn

    March 31st, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    I am so sorry for what has happened to your son and to you.
    But PLEASE listen to Ed’s comments and BELIEVE that he is right!!!! I have a 23 yr old son who was addicted to oxycodone (consider that your son is doing more than pot).
    He finally detoxed and has been clean for almost a year now!
    He has a good job and a nice girlfriend. I DIDN’T DO this for him. He did it. But, he did it when I finally stopped helping him and giving him attention. He came to my house, asking for drug money, and threatening to “do something crazy to get money”, and I deflated his tires, called the police, and had him committed overnight to a mental health center. He had withdrawals there, and a very miserable night.

    When he was released, he got high right away, but a few days later, he decided that he was done with it all. He broke his drug ties, and came home. He holed up in his room here and detoxed with my help (I don’t necessarily recommend this part, but I am an RN, and I felt able to do this). He had a VERY rough time, but has not relapsed since then.

    This is an unusual outcome, I know. I also know that there is no guarantee that he will remain clean. But, I know FOR SURE that he would still be addicted if his family had continued to support him.

    I have my son back – he is the old kid I remember. He is a good worker, very responsible, and fun to be around. I pray every day that he will stay that way, but then all parents pray every day that their kids will be safe from all sorts of dangers. Remember that this danger is avoidable, and is ENTIRELY his choice – not yours. It is not like a car wreck or cancer – he is NOT a victim.
    Please live your life happily, and enjoy the comforts you have earned. When your child sees you happy and comfortable, he will want that, too. When he sees you miserable, he will justify his drug use with, “The adults in my life don’t use drugs, they do all the “right” things, and they are still miserable. I might as well get high and get some enjoyment out of life”. Show your son that a drug-free life is FUN.

    Sorry this is so long. Good luck to you, and to every parent who is suffering. And please listen to Ed and Mary Ellen – they are RIGHT!

  • Ed

    April 1st, 2010 at 9:24 AM

    Thank you, Dawn,

    And we’re glad yours is looking like a happier ending than many, but the odds are still pretty good that most young adults will come back to life if they get the right sorts of encouragement and support.

    Too bad that there is so little access to what really works to increase the odds. That’s whywe spend ao much time working with families before, during, and after the treatment process.

    Thanks too for helping us.

    Ed & Mary Ellen

  • Nancy

    April 3rd, 2010 at 9:20 AM

    Good Morning. It’s the day before Easter and my 55+ year heart is very sad for all of you, and myself, who are struggling with an adult addict. My daughter started using drugs and alcohol when she was 14 and, although she is married and has three children, continues to “binge” when she’s upset. I have been a single mother since my youngest child was 3 months old and they’re all in their 40s now. Looking back, I realize I should have sent my daughter somewhere else when she began to challenge my parenthood but I felt so guilty about all I hadn’t “done” for them that I thought it was my fault. She basically took over our house with her bad behavior. Over the years I’ve let her move back in with me, sometimes with my Grandkids, to help her get back on her feet. She’s back on her feet and I’ve been emotionally and financially bankrupted three times. This time I’m going to take care of myself.

    As with many addicts, she is a very friendly, outgoing person. VERY manipulative. My sadness now is that she has convinced my sisters and brother, as well as my other two kids, that it’s all MY fault and because of that and other family problems having to do with my aging mother, I don’t see any of my family. She has her sister, and my oldest and youngest sisters, “enabling” her now. It’s a tragedy and I’m appalled that a child will work so hard to destroy her mother, who worked so hard to provide a good life for her, rather than overcome the addiction. My spirituality tells me to leave it in God’s hands but it isn’t easy, especially during holidays.

    Thank you for sharing and listening.

  • Melinda

    April 4th, 2010 at 9:35 AM

    Nancy, I think it’s human nature to blame ourselves. My supportive husband tells me all the time that I am a good mother. I grew up with an alcoholic mother and my first husband was a drug addict and now my son is addicted. I went to mass today and silently repeated to myself to “let go and let God”. I tried to force my son into change by making him to outpatient treatment when he was 16. I realize now that I should never have continued to bail him out financially. He must change himself

  • Sara

    May 10th, 2010 at 4:56 AM

    I find myself barely existing day to day in a life filled with addiction. I have 3 adult children all of which are addicted to prescription medications. My oldest son is 27 my daughter 25 and my youngest son 22 years old. We have faced near death auto accidents, legal charges, stealing from our home, and the daily verbal abuse from them. Most days I don’t even want to get up and face another day of this tormenting life of dealing with their addictions.

    I find when I “cut them off” they cut me off. My oldest son went for almost a year without speaking to me because I stood up and said no more help unless you get help! He didn’t get the help and is now back in our home no better than before. My daughter was in an accident and will never be able to have full use of her leg after 13 major operations on it. She has depleted 90k dollars in about 3 months which was money from the accident. She also lost her auto in a drug raid that she had just paid cash for.

    There father committed suicide 9 years ago because of a drug addiction. My biggest fear is they will do the same, and they know this. I have allowed them to ruin my mental and physical health to the point of having no meaning or direction of my own life. I am seeing a counselor but not much seems to help. I know I’m not the only parent to face this awful situation I just wish I knew how to deal with it better!


  • Ed

    May 10th, 2010 at 8:07 AM

    Your situation is certainly a sad one, but you seem to know that you have only two real choices. First, you can stop rewarding your adult children for their self-destructive choices and behaviors, or, you can continue to protect them from the logical consequences of their choices, as it appears you did with their father, and have them follow the same path to the same end that he did.

    I know. You keep thinking there must some some third choice that will allow you to force them to change.

    Sorry. There isn’t. The only person you can change is you, and it appears you are at least as unwilling to change as they are.

    Remember, you are the one who taught them how to treat you, with help from their father,and you can retrain them as you retrain yourself.

    They are adults, their choices are theirs, but you can still influence them by you own example. So far, it appears you’d rather go down with them than take a chance on an unknown outcome.

    Our suggestion? Take care of yourself and let them do the same and see what happens.

    Need help doing that? That’s what we do.

    Dr. Ed Wilson

  • Adele

    May 13th, 2010 at 8:08 PM

    I feel as though I have lost my parents and my children have lost their grandparents due to my brother’s drug and alcohol problem. My uncle alcoholic uncle committed suicide and had warned my dad that he’d do this; so, my brother now uses suicide threats as a means to control my dad. My brother is bleeding my parents dry, as they raise the son whom was taken from him and his girlfriend years ago by DSS. They are no longer interested in anything but my brother and my nephew. I know that they have a lot on their plates, and I try to understand, but it’d be nice to have them there for me at important moments in my life and my children’s lives. They are letting my sister and her children down in this same way. At this point, I feel like I have to give up and realize I have lost my parents to my brother’s problem; they are still people in my family whom I love. They just won’t function as parents any longer. This is the only way I know to rationalize this and go on with my own life. We have tried to talk to them about how they are only hurting my brother by continuing to support his behavior, but they simply will not stop. They will not even admit out loud that he has a problem, despite numerous arrests and mountains of evidence.

  • diane

    May 21st, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    My son is 23. He has spent all the money in his college fund and is still 41 credits short of graduation. He has loans to pay back (we are paying back the ones we cosigned early on) and they will come after him after 6 months. He has no money to continue in school.

    He is the oldest of four children. We still have 2 in high school and another in college. The others all work, contribute around the house, have plans and goals and pay their bills. This one lived off a college fund his grandfather set up for him. He went to Europe, paid the leases for new cars and moved away to college, only to come back with few credits the last two years. He really never left home. Even though college was an hour away – he would come back every weekend and extended it more and more. He always had some sob story about how awful his roomates were and how he couldn’t be with them.
    This story could be so long. We have suffered with his borderline personality disorder and his severe depression since he was little. He never complied with treatment – he refuses to take the drugs “we are trying to stuff down his throat.” He has caused terrible property damage – he is an alcoholic now, he is abusive to everyone in the house. He blames his “genetics” and his lack of a proper “skill set” for why he can’t work or finish school.

    He has only had one job for a summer at a pool as a pool attendant. He laid on his butt and surfed his laptop the whole time. Now, he tells us he has jobs but we go to where he is supposed to working and nobody has ever heard of him. All the talking, pleading, trying to get help, giving time and space, making him uncomfortable etc. – none of it has worked. Last fall – he tried to hang himself and was hospitalized for a week. I don’t know if it was a serious attempt or just a bid for attention but it has scared me to death. He stopped seeing his shrink and he constantly tells me he is going to kill himself if we don’t back off. He is using this for emotional blackmail. Since he is 23 I can’t talk to his doctor or anyone about him – HIPPA laws. I tried calling suicide crisis hotline and they sent me pamphlets.

    He says he is moving out in a couple of days and he is going to spend the rest of his college fund and then kill himself. We can only call the police if there is an immediate threat (i.e. we find him unconscious or with a gun). He has a 160 IQ and he can talk in such a way – we look crazy and not him to doctors and authorities.

    This is the biggest nightmare I can even imagine. It has torn me apart (I just had major surgery a month ago). It takes away from my relationship with the other children and always has. My husband’s brother committed suicide at 20 and he just says that I will have to learn to cope as he did. He just can’t see a way out. He always said that this kid puts us in no win situations – damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

    This sick adult man-baby just told me I am getting what I deserve for giving birth to him and not using a hangar when I had the chance. I really have always spent so much time with him trying to nurture his interests and gifts – he is so bright but now all I see is the horror of his mental disease and addiction. I am heartbroken and lost. Thanks for listening.

  • Ed & Mary Ellen

    May 22nd, 2010 at 6:46 AM

    Your situation is, as you say, a parnt’s worst nightmare. Still the question remains, since he is going to go wherever he is heasded, how many of the rest of you is he going to take with him? It appears his father isn’t going, but you are ambivalent.

    Your son is not a child and he can only hold you hostage to the degree you allow. Yes, it’s tragic – but so is allowing him to rob you and rest of your family, and for you to aid and abet him.

    Really, it comes down to the fact that you can’t save him and he isn’t interested in saving himself. So, who do you reard? The blackmailer or the children who are growing into responsible adults? Can you see that so far you are rewarding him and punishing the others?

    Please, smart borderlines, if that diagnosis is correct, are not “fixable”. Even early interventions are only effective in training a few of the less capable ones.

    He is a master manipulator – as you know. He is not an addict, that’s a choice and a role that he has learned to add to his cast of charactors. Don’t be taken in by treatment industry hogwash.

    Your husband is right, it’s time to say goodbye, wish him well, and turn your attention back to your family. You can’t know what he will do, but you can rest assured he will destroy you and your other children if you continue to allow and reward his behavior.


  • Diane

    May 24th, 2010 at 9:56 AM

    Thank you for your reply Ed. Like the name of the blog “Freeing the Parents of Adult Alcoholics and Addicts”, I need to hear that from someone. Everyone in my life feels bad but is pressuring us to “do something for him.” We’ve done everything within our power and within the limitations of our resources.

    We’ve offered him treatment, paid for doctors visits for meds, psychiatrists,etc. We let him live here, rent-free, so he had time to “pull himself together.” We’ve taken a hard line and told him to go to school and stay there – make a life (that’s when he attempted suicide).

    He had every opportunity in life. He had financial backing for school (a generous trust from his grandfather) that he blew on booze, trips, cars and living expenses that he should have had a job to cover. This is not a sad tale of poverty, abuse and lack of real opportunity.

    He is a master manipulator. He goes to my mother and gets $20 bills from her because he needs “gas money” and of course we won’t give it to him. She keeps thinking that if she gives him money like this, he will use it to go get a job, school etc. and of course he never does. But, she keeps giving, because she feels sorry for him and is afraid he will hurt himself again. I think his attempt was his way to buy time and sympathy and certainly to back us off – because we had completely had it by that time.

    Now, he was able to drop out of school again and move back home. As I write this, it is 1pm and he is still sleeping in his bed – in a room he has totally ripped up – dirty clothes, dishes, bottles, trash everywhere. I told him he had to clean up his mess if he is going to live here he told me to “F off”. When I got angry about that treatment, he started crying and pleading to be left alone, because his life “sucks” and he just wants to go to Zurich and be euthanized. Nice. You are so right. While all this is going on, his siblings are at school, going to after school jobs and activities and doing chores in the house.

    I am just so tired of fighting this. The thing is … he really has no money and no where to go if he leaves. If he does kill himself, I don’t know what that would do to everybody. We still remember the extra bright, active boy he once was. Because he is an adult now – nobody will talk to us about this. He has to do it – but he has no interest in doing so. We thought about going to court but I don’t know anything about that process, how much it costs, and I’ll bet he’d walk away – he has fooled a lot of therapists so far. One told me I had the problem and asked me about “all the drugs I took in the 70’s.” Laughed when I told him “none.” This is supposed to help my son?

    thanks for listening again, I think I’m going out of my mind with all this.

  • Ed

    May 24th, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    Since Mary Ellen and I started this blog a couple of years ago it has engendered a lot of stories of anguish as well as the sad truth – it is impossible to force someone else to change.

    The difficult companion to that reality is that most people don’t want to change – especially when they are succesful at manipulating others to assume responsibility for them.

    But that’s not a cure – merely a postponment of the logical consequences for everyone – with everyone the worse off for the delay.

    Yes, there is guilt associated with wondering what we did wrong, though the answer is usually, “nothing”. It’s harder, but more productive, to keep your attention on the offender, and what he/she is doing wrong, or not bothering to do at all.

    While I’m not given to Bible citations, I do occasionally note that the “prodigal son” was welcomed home AFTER he cleaned up his act. Seems like a good plan.

  • Diane

    May 24th, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    Amen to that Bible quote – a lot of wisdom in that story and along with the realization that the story I tell is ages old apparently.

  • Mya Nameo

    June 7th, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    I don’t know if telling the Reader’s Digest version of our story will help, but here goes!

    Our daughter went to a college with an open drinking policy, and promptly dropped out after 3 semesters. She then found a series of level-entry retail jobs, then joined the military. She came home with a broken military marriage to an alcoholic, a toddler, and another baby on the way. Things went downhill from there.

    She wanted $$, and would use the kids, even at one point threatening to kill them then herself if we did not capitulate. This was the point where we started collecting our evidence in an effort to save the kids. In their innocence, the children were extremely helpful.

    Once we had enough evidence, we literally took the kids from her, presented our evidence, asked for temporary custody and gave her and her ex-husband time to get their lives together. They chose not to do so.

    Long story short, we decided to adopt our grandchildren. Both parents did not wish us to reveal our evidence in court and signed away their parental rights. Our attorney guided us through the process. The children have been doing well for over 6 years and have no signs of fetal alcohol syndrome. Our ex-son-in-law has not come back to attempt to claim the kids. He married somebody else and had children with her as well as several out-of-wedlock children. Our daughter is living with a man and has another out-of-wedlock child. As far as we know, she is still drinking and does casual labor. She has threatened twice to try to regain custody. We moved out of the area.

    It hurt a lot to have to resort to this. I know my husband would much rather be Grandpa instead of Daddy all over again. I would love to see my other grandchild. But it is a relief to choose not to be held hostage to our daughter’s choices, and it is a blessing to know that the grandchildren we adopted have a second chance at life.

    Dr. Barnes makes a great deal of sense. It’s nice to know somebody with the authority to back up her opinions thinks we did the right thing.

  • Ann

    June 7th, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    I am just so fed up I could scream. My 32 year old sister-in-law is a drug addict fully supported by her parents. She started dabbling in street drugs at 14. My husband, her older brother, repeatedly attempted to address the situation with his parents, to no avail. By the time she was in her 20’s, she was arrested several times (had to change her major in college because of her arrest record), had totaled more cars than most people I know have ever owned (all provided by mom and dad!)and had a child (It took several DNA tests to deduce who the father was). Yes, she was using while pregant. After money spent on lawyers, cars, record expungement, etc., she has now traded her illicit drug addiction for a more “socially acceptable” prescription drug addiction. AND THE STATE PAYS FOR IT!! That’s right, medicaid pays her “Pain Doctor” and for her morphine, oxtcontin, xanax, etc. She has been feigning a back injury for years and now that the MRI shows nothing is wrong, her next move is “I’m mentally ill.” If she gets disability then everyone will get off her back about getting a job. MOney will roll in every month and her meds will be free. She lives at home with her parents and stays stoned all day. Her parents raise her son, pay her bills, feed her and absolve her of all responsibility. She has convinced them she is truely in pain and not an addict. The only job she’s had in the last 5 years was used to pay for her other pain doctors and all the meds they prescribed. This way she could get twice the meds; one paid out of pocket, one through medicaid, no one doctor knew about the other. Different pharmacys. It was a science. As you may guess, being high on twice the meds didn’t leave her employed long. Finally, after 17 years of addiction she agreed to go into detox/rehab a few months ago. Mom and Dad picked her up after a week and all she came out with was the phone numbers of new drug contacts she met in rehab. Within 3 months of getting out of rehab to meet with these new “clean and sober” friends, she has totaled one car, cracked up 2 more and gotten arrested (I suspect she was going to sell a few oxys to get the money to obtain another prescription). I get angry because everyone exists in such denial. My husband had talked till he’s blue in the face about what her addiction is doing to her, her son (who sees his mother like this all day and is already supervising her vigilently to ensure she is okay), his parents. Nothing! He has finally reached his breaking point. After my children and her son witnessed her assault my father-in-law, we have decided we will not be around her. Unfortunately, because she lives with my nephew and in-laws, this includes them. It has caused a rift, but we will not back down. It is not out of spite or anger, but the realization that no one involved in the situation is willing to do what it takes to improve it and it’s just too hard to watch and be unable to force the change. The old “you can lead a horse to water” scenario. We have talked to them sooooo much over the years, supported them in encouraging them and her to get help. They’ll waver a bit and move toward help but then suddenly stop. We realize, they do not want it, so we will not be a part of the insanity any longer. My husband is feeling such a loss now. He grieves his sister, who has been lost to drugs for 17 years. He grieves over the loss of connection he had with his parents because ALL they can focus on is her. How can you have a conversation with someone who is always looking past you to the addict? How do I explain the sudden change to my two gradeschoolers? I have found so very little on the effects drug addiction has on the siblings of drug addicts. My husband has always prided himself on being the best person he can, hard working, family oriented. But even as an adult, he still seeks after his parents love and attention and their response is “well, you’re so together we don’t have to worry about you”. It hurts him deeply. He hasn’t just lost his sister, the addict, but his entire family. It hurts him to know they are aware of how he feels but cannot break their addiction to the addict to give him the love, respect and attention he deserves.

  • Mary Ellen Barnes, PhD

    June 8th, 2010 at 10:10 AM

    Ann: I am so sorry you and your husband have to go through this. I know how it feels since I went through a similar but less severe, situation with my brother and our parents. You do lose your parents and your sibling and there is little that can be done until the parents are willing to stop what they are doing. I know you realize this and that it doesn’t make you feel any better. But until they are willing to change how they relate to your sister-in-law, nothing will change. She certainly isn’t going to change – it is working too well for her to do that!

    I don’t know of any research or books about the effects of addicts/addiction on siblings and families. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any, but I just am not familiar with any. Maybe someone else reading these posts will know of something helpful.

    It is a terrible loss that your husband has experienced – he has, in effect, lost his parents and his sister and it is worse than if they were dead, because they are there but he is invisible to them. And it is terribly unfair. He is being punished for being “the good one” and his sister is being rewarded for screwing up.

    I think you are doing the right thing. If you join the family in their craziness, it will just make you two crazy also. Save yourself and your children and try to be the family your husband needs.

  • Sandy

    June 22nd, 2010 at 7:09 AM

    I am so glad I found this website. My story is like so many I read here. My daughter is 25, and is right now sleeping in her bedroom- in our home- drunk, unemployed, just dropped out of college— again—- and can’t seem to get her life together. I thought we were ‘helping’ her by providing her a place to live while she got her life together yet again. She is an alcoholic, and has been told she could not drink in our home. We just found that she is again drunk, drinking alone in her room. She has no money and we do not give her money- so I don’t know how she got the vodka. My suspicion is that she either stole it, or more likely- spent yesterday when she said she was job searching- begging for cash.
    It is so sad- like others, she is/was a good person, but began drinking in high school, lived through several car crashes, has rarely held a steady job, refuses help, lived away from home from time to time with one deadbeat friend or another- and when she couldn’t pay rent, moved back home. Today, she said she would just become a prostitute so that she could get her own place and live without us coming in to her room. She said she gets drunk every day and we need to leave her alone and get out of her business. She owes money to who know where- including court costs for DUI’s that have now gone to collection and doubled.
    Needless to say, we paid thousands in the past for lawyer, fees, phone bills, cars, college, medical help, psychologist, and on and on. We quit paying about 5 years ago, as it was obvious our financial help was not saving her from her own bad choices. She refuses to see a counselor or a doctor to get treatment of any kind.
    My husband has told me over and over that she is making her own choices. I am the one that feels the guilt. If only I had been a better mother, had not worked so much, what did I do wrong, etc etc etc.
    My daughter recently went back to school, had a job—- then got a financial aid check for ‘living expenses’, and with this money she started hanging out with her deadbeat friends, drinking, partying, and then…… the inevitable started all over again- dropping out of school, quitting her job, now back doing nothing but sleeping and watching TV.
    My husband has said ‘at least we know where she is’. He goes to work each day and as I work at the local high school, I have the summer off. I am her with her sleeping, doing nothing, treating me with contempt, and watching her continue on this path of self destruction.
    I will talk to my husband (her father) tonight about what we need to do now. I think we need to save ourselves— but how do we get her to leave without destroying herself? She has nowhere to go. She can’t live in her car as she has no car and no drivers license for the past 4 years due to 2 DUI’s, unpaid court costs, and 2 totaled vehicles.
    It is sad and I live with a constant pain in my heart.

  • diane

    June 22nd, 2010 at 3:52 PM


    I so relate to your story because as you probably read I have the male version of this in my home. He also drinks alone up in his room, sleeps to one or two and treats us all with contempt (unless he’s getting his own way). He has also dropped out of college and tells us he applied for loans to go back but I have not seen any evidence of this. He has other loans out and they will be looking for him soon. We are paying back some earlier ones we cosigned because they will fall to us anyway.

    I don’t know about your daughter but he will not work. He told me he would rather die than do menial work. He thinks he is above usual college jobs like waiter or laborer. He is quickly running through all that is left of his college fund and he will be at least 1.5 years short of a degree. He keeps telling us he is out looking for work but we suspect he is sitting in a bar. My favorite is when he tells us he is working at a job and then we go there and they have never even heard of him. He lies like this all time. Or, he tells us he has been hired but there is a hold up with his background check. Anything to buy time and keep us off his back for a while.

    He just keeps telling me if we kick him out he will kill himself. He has already attempted once – when we told him he could only come home one weekend a month last time he was up at school. He told me he will get a stronger rope this time. It’s so horrible. I have three others who need me and need our support and so much energy and resources are going to this one. I feel so much for you. Maybe we should get them together. This is such a heartbreak.

  • Amy Chambers

    June 29th, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    i’m so glad i found this site! my story is alot different but all the same painful. and i hope i bring someone just a little hope for thair addict child to return to them. i used drugs for 15 yrs myself. i used meth. i did everything to my mom that i have read on here and i do mean everything. i worked my way through nursing school and when my husband left me for another woman i started spiraling down and just wanted to be comfortably numb from the pain and it took over my life. i went from being a charge nurse, having my own house, a nice car, and supporting two wonderful boys by my self to being homeless and then in prison for two years. and through it all my mom and boys never turned their back on me. my mom tried the tough love but was not very good at it probably b/c i’m an only child and she has never been married and she loves me so much…by the grace of God i was set free of this burden on 7/5/07. please don’t get me wrong i take full resposibility for all my actions and choices. i had every opportunity to get clean both by my family and by the state of texas and i chose not to. but the reason i’m so glad i found this site is b/c my youngest son has chosen to follow in my foot steps. it is breaking my heart to watch him make the choices he is making and i just needed to know someone else was out there going through the same hell i am and my mom for the second time. i know i have to stay strong and protect the rest of my family but it still doesn’t make it any easier on my heart. i pray for all the people on this site and their families members.

  • jenny

    July 12th, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    My husband is the adult son of a recovery alcoholic and addict. His father is currently living with his parents after losing his apartment, a suicide scare, hospital and outpatient recovery stay. His father now says he is all better but his only therapy now is attending AA meetings. He is not seeing a therapist. He has hepatatis c and severe asthma and had to retire from his post office job last year. My husband wants him to ensure he can stay clean by getting a part time job, volunteering or finding a hobby and he wants him to see a therapist at least once a week. Until he does these things, my husband doesn’t want to see his father or let his father see our daughter. This has been an ongoing issue for most of my husband’s life. My husband was mostly raised by his father’s parents and they are now turning their back on him saying that he is hard-hearted to be so tough on his dad. It’s so painful for my husband but he has been hurt so many times by his dad before – he can’t get his grandparents to understand. Any advice?

  • Ed

    July 12th, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    Hard as it is to manage, you husband is right in this case. In this instance it’s less important for the grandparents to understand than it is for you and you husband to be clear yourselves.

    Think of it as a case of two separate familes, the grandparents and their son, you, your husband and daughter. They are, perhaps, defending their “child” and also, maybe, easing any guilt they feel about the situation. You on the other hand need be concerned primarily about the welfare of your daughter and yourselves.

    Your husband’s requests are quite modest and reasonable. Remember that attending AA has less than a 5% “success” rate even for a year. Staying sober, for almost everyone, requires far more time, effort, and attention than merely attending meetings that usually lead straight back to drinking.

    In the meantime, focus on your family and avoid getting sucked into the no-win situation that the grandparents are trying to lure everyone into.

    As always, keep you attention on the most vulnerable person – your daughter. That’ll make it much easier to remain firm in what are, I repeat, really modest expectations on your husband’s part.

  • diane

    July 15th, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    I am so heartbroken today. I have written about my 23 year old son. He is an alcoholic and we know he is mentally ill as well. He has been diagnosed as a Depressive with OCD tendencies and it has been suggested that he borderline personality as well. He has a 160 IQ so in his mind -he is smarter than anyone trying to help him.

    Things have just been getting worse and worse at our house. He ran out of money and now he won’t even get out of bed. He drinks NyQuil at night because he can’t “sleep”. He has bashed himself in his head and face and has a black eye and a gash on his forehead. He is starting to look psychotic and the other kids are afraid of him.

    I made arrangements for him to be admitted to a very respected addiction program in our area. They said they would work with his depression and other issues concurrently. My insurance will pick up 100% of all of this. He was supposed to go in tomorrow and we are playing hardball now. We told him he either complies and goes into the hospital tomorrow or we are putting his stuff in boxes and he has to leave our home immediately. He also has to stay the course in the program or he can’t come back here either.

    All week he told us he would comply. Then, today he slept in til 4:00 pm. A friend of his came over and he flipped out on me in front of him. He told me he wouldn’t go to the hospital now or ever and that we would never see him alive again. He said he will live out the rest of his short, miserable life at his friends house. I held my ground and kept repeating that he needed to keep his appt. tomorrow but he just got angrier and angrier.

    I asked for a phone number he could be reached at (he has smashed so many cell phones) but he refused to give me one. His grandmother is very ill and I told him I wanted to let him know about her. He asked why should he care? I reminded him how much she has done for him. She always gave him money when he went over to see her and she helped finance several trips. He said “She didn’t support me when it really counted.” He just wants someone to give him thousands of dollars – which he would probably just drink anyway.

    I need to know I am doing the right thing. He is destroying our family and he is destroying me physically and emotionally. I have three other children and I can’t stay in this sick circle he has had me in for so many years now. I feel like this is some kind of endgame and it is so frightening and devastating. He said we never gave him any support and that is such a lie. He always had everything he wanted and we have given him so much time and space to work on his issues but all he did was lay there and bitch and complain and drink.

    Thank you for listening and let me know if I am doing the right thing. The program I have him set for is an inpatient hospital setting, very old, very renowned. It is not some dump. He has already attempted suicide once, but it seemed like a bid for attention more than a serious attempt. He has told me since then that he would kill himself at least four times a day. It horrible when your world spins out of control like this.

  • Ed

    July 15th, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    You’re doing the right thing. Yes, he’s smart, but simply using that to manipulate you and others and avoid growing up and assume responmsibility for himself. No, you do continue to reward him for his behaviors, or to punish yourself or the rest of your family for being appropriate responsible people

    He may kill himself. It’s possible. But “supporting” him will only delay that, not prevent it. If he is going to go that aggressive way – and that’s what it would be, an act of aggression, not depression, then that what he will do and it’s his responsibility, no matter how sad.

    The hosp[italization may help, it may not, but at leat you will have the small comfort of knowing you did what you could. Now it’s time to turn to the rest of your family and wait and see..


  • diane

    July 15th, 2010 at 11:20 PM

    Thank you so much Ed. I need to hear that. My husbands sister keeps calling here with more “suggestions” on what to do. She has spent years in al-anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics even though her alcoholic mother has been dead for 22 years. She has discussed our situation in her meetings and they have advised all kinds of interventions and steps that we either have already tried or we know won’t work or we can’t afford.

    She has indicated that we are not doing enough for him unless we tase him and take him into an emergency room or call the police to do the same. He has said he would not cooperate with another hospital behavioral medicine program and he would fight the police, which could end very badly. All her “help” is doing is making me feel inadequate and helpless and I need the strength and courage to stick to my guns right now. I think I made the only reasonable decision based on the individual circumstances in our case. I just need some of this “help” to stop and some quiet support to take its place.

    She is so afraid history will repeat itself (her alcoholic brother killed himself at 20 and he was living with her at the time). Her mother blamed her and it’s like she’s trying to go back and right a wrong now. It’s all such a mess and I can’t believe my son would put everyone through this again.

  • Ed

    July 16th, 2010 at 5:01 AM

    Hang in there – your sister-in-law obviously has her own separate problems, and Alanon is a very poor place to find help, as is ACOA – both usually suppoort whining rather than fixing, unhappily and also the debunked “disease” and “powerless” models that your son exploits.

    Remember too that even if he could be forced, outcomes are not good. Even the “best” programs have success rates below 5% even with willing clients (the stats they cite are creative in the extreme, too).

    Your son’s behaviors are choices, his choices because they have “worked” for him so far. He is manipulative and abusive and that may never change. But you and your other family members can best cope by maintaining a united front and hope that at some point he makes other choices.

    As you have seen in the past, detachment and firmness results in escalation but that will only work for him if you give into the escalation. Otherwise he’ll have to do something else and, yes, that unpredictability is frightening, but the predictable results of continuing are even more disasterous for everyone in the long run.

    Again – our sympathy over a very very painful situation.


    June 16th, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Dear Ed, I was reading your story and that is pretty much where we are. However, I am seeking counseling for myself at this point and don’t really know where to start. This is how I ran across your story, because I am trying to find a counselor here in Phoenix or Tempe Arizona to assist me. I am no longer looking for counseling for my adult children.

    Please help if possible.

    Thank you very much.

  • Sandy

    July 16th, 2010 at 8:56 AM

    Diane- I am certainly no expert as my daughter continues to have problems with alcohol- A few years ago, however, my son was immersed in smoking pot. He has thankfully now moved on and is living a productive life. At that time, we were at our wits end as he had quit school, did nothing but get into trouble, etc etc etc. We did call the police at one point as my son continued to bring pot into our home and refused any thought of rehab.
    Long story short, the police came out and arrested him for possession, which then led to a whole new layer of problems. It did not ‘shock’ my son into quitting drugs, and he still refused rehab. Getting the legal system involved on top of everything else was a nightmare.
    I know you are going through your own nightmare. You are in my thoughts.

  • diane

    July 16th, 2010 at 10:35 PM


    Thanks for your advice – it helps to hear other people’s experiences. I suspected as much with the police. The police in our area don’t seem very helpful at all. They are very authoritarian and my son is oppositional-defiant so I can’t see where that would end well at all.

    It’s terrible that they would arrest your son and put your family through all that when you asked for help. They seem almost robotic anymore because of all these “zero tolerance” laws. I’m glad he was able to come out of all that and each time I hear a success story it gives me that much more hope that we can get through this. I rescheduled his appt. for Tuesday and I hope that he comes back by then and is willing to try it. He wanted so bad to go out with his friends this weekend and since he has no money and no car right now – they will soon tire of him anyway.

    We are sticking to our guns – go to the hospital, give an honest effort to get help and we will talk about letting him back in until he can get a job and another situation. If not, he needs to stay out there because we can’t do this anymore to ourselves and our kids. You are in my thoughts too, as is everyone on this board.

  • Melinda

    July 22nd, 2010 at 8:03 AM

    I posted back in March 2010. I followed Ed & Mary Ellen’s advice & stopped giving my son money. He had quit his job & when he got evicted he moved to a small town to live with his Dad. He was isolated with no job, car, money or friends. He went fishing, running & soul searching & spent 2 months getting clean for the first time in 7 years.
    I would never have had the courage to cut him off financially if I had not read this page. I am someone who is always fixing things. I really needed to back off & let him find his own answers. He has a job & desire to pay back his old debts.
    I tell him that I am proud of what he is doing. Sometimes he looks at me like I am a stranger & I don’t understand it. He has actually said that he feels weird around me when he hasn’t seen me in a couple weeks. I talk about mutual friends, family, books & movies we both like. Is he unconfortable because he is coming out of his fog?

  • Ed & Mary Ellen

    July 22nd, 2010 at 9:41 AM

    Basically the two of you have to develop a new relationship with each other and this will take time. “Children” always have trouble not regressing around “parents” and the two of you now must create a new relationship that doesn’t have either of your reverting to your old destructive patterns.

    Yes, it’ll be weird for awhile – as is the case with any significant behavioral change.

    So, give yourselves time and see what develops and don’t expect things to evolve to a new “normal” for a year or more. After all, what’s important is that he is finding a new way for himself that doesn’t involve self-destruction and that should be enough, especially for now.

  • CR

    July 22nd, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    My 74 & 80 year old parents live within 60 yards of my 48 year old alcoholic brother. He has begun stealing from them (alcohol that they have for cooking and/or unopened xmas gifts of port that are around and other items that he just wants for himself). He is prone to rages as well and smashed his own computer, cell phone and regular phone the other evening. He also frequently calls them on the phone or yells at them in person. So they are frightened of him – but they also still help him by taking him to doctor appointments ( he is not allowed to drive, thank goodness, due to DUI conviction) in addition to everything else. What do you recommend they do to protect themselves if they decide to take a stand and cut him off – they can’t move from their home. My suggestion was to call the local crisis center but they are more geared toward family with teenager abuse problems. Would love a starting point.

  • Sue

    July 27th, 2010 at 8:44 PM

    I have a 31 yr old daughter. She held a good job for many years and was also three months from becoming a nurse. She has a 11yr and 3yr old daughters. Then she almost died from heroin. She was in rehab for heroin for 6 months (I had custody of the children) and appeared to do well for almost a year.
    She also has type 1 diabetes and possibly lupus. I get so frustrated because she blames everything on her illnesses. Such as she lives in filth and does not take good care of her children. Our family have tried so hard to be supportive (not enabling). She is selfish and will buy cigarrettes and things for herself instead of the children. I found out she actually left the kids in the middle of the night to run over to her boyfriends house. She doesn’t follow through with anything and most of the time lays around on the couch. The 3yr old doesn’t get her hair combed or clothes changed.

    Four days ago I told her I wasn’t going to take the children home because they deserved better. I told her when she wanted to clean up her act and start acting responsible, the family would be supportive, but until then I was keeping the kids and she could set up visits. She hasn’t called yet. I know she probably will soon. She loves her children (or at least she once did). I’m so confused. I’m not sure what to do at this point. I guess I should get an attorney and take legal action. She would probably sign the children over so she wouldn’t have to deal with court. The whole family misses the woman we once knew, who was thoughtful, caring, loving and responsible. I’m starting to think we will never get her back. Does anyone have a good story of their adult child who finally overcame addiction? Any advice would be appreciated also. Thank you.

  • Ed & Mary Ellen

    July 27th, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    The best advice we can give, and it runs through this entire blog, is to remember that your daughter is making choices. Addiction is a choice, not a disease, and she will continue to choose that as long as the short term benefits outweigh the short term costs. So,me will choose that life style until they die. Others tire of it and change.

    It seems you are doing what you can, protecting the children but not her, and refusing to be manipulated. We know that that is very hard. But it all you can do.

    Someday she may make another choice –

    Ed and Mary Ellen

  • Dawn

    July 28th, 2010 at 5:08 AM

    Sue, I understand your need to read at least one “happy story”. You are in a heartbreaking situation, and you are doing the right thing to save your grandchildren. If you look backwards in this thread, my letters numbered 57 and 79 tell my story. It is a hopeful one,and I hope it helps.
    My son continues to do well. He has a better job now, but it is a hard one, in sales, and it requires a lot of self-motivation. He has had some personal ups and downs, and is still drug-free. I still worry about him daily (but I don’t tell him that). There have been no signs of him returning to his old ways, and he feels grateful to be back to a “normal” life.

    What worked for him, I think, was two things: 1: he decided that the lifestyle he was in was too much to maintain, that he couldn’t stay on the rollercoaster of trying to find drugs. When we completely stopped helping him with money, that was a big factor in his deciding this. 2: he did have a very nice childhood, with a good family, like most of the people I read about here. He remembered that, and saw others around him enjoying sober lives. He wanted it back. The old, “normal” life was a target for him. That is why I think instilling values early is so important. It gives the person something to come back to.

    Anyway, that is our story for now. No one knows what the future will bring, we all just do our best.

    Best of luck to you. Enjoy your grandchildren, and keep them safe if you can.

  • Patty

    July 28th, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    I wrote the comment about my daughter comment to me are welcome. to my email

  • Patty

    July 29th, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    I wrote a comment about my 18 year old daughter it is posted on another page for some reason. She is addicted to herion.. I have horror stories from when she lived with me. I too had to kick her out of my house two years ago. her being a juvenile then she went to live with her dad till she was 18. While she lived with me which was all her life..she started using herion when she was 15. I had her in rehab, couceling and also had her live with friends away from our neighborhood that she was getting the drugs. Nothing worked .. she went back to the drugs over and over. She now lives with a guy and he has the same problem. I have remarried and have alot of support from my husband.. My daughter is not allowed in our home as long as she uses drugs and lives this lifestyle. I do talked to her but she blames me for her bad life and tries to make me feel guilty for her bad choices in life. she never finished high school because of her choices. it has been one heart break after another. If there is alternative help for her other than rehab. please let me know.. I don’t have the financial means ,but she does have a medical card. I would refer her to anything different if it would help her, if I can get her to listen.. Please comment back…

  • diane

    August 14th, 2010 at 10:11 PM

    I don’t really know much about heroin addiction except my kids tell me it’s the new cocaine. It’s seeing quite an upsurge and when my son was in rehab the younger people seemed to all be addicted to it.

    I really don’t think it matters what the substance of choice is -it’s all a heartbreak. We love our kids so much and spend so much time trying to keep them from harm and then they make these horrible choices. They back us into a corner where we are damned if we do and damned if we dont’.

    We sent our son to a rehab hospital for alcoholism recently. He went and they released him after ten days. He was supposed to comply with an Intensive Outpatient Program where he went back for twelve hours a week. He did say he procured a job and for about two weeks we were hopeful. Then, last night he started acting his old self again. He was obviously drunk and very angry and violent. He knocked me around a bit and just went back to his old mantra of blaming everybody else and screaming about how empty his life is. He told me he just wants to die- he has attempted suicide in the past.

    We found four new bottles in his room and he told us he chooses to drink and we can’t do anything about it. He said the program was a joke and he feels justified in drinking because he has nothing but the alcohol. He railed about not having a girlfriend like his friends. He is good looking enough but he has such a horrible personality -who would put up with him? He has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder – even a lot of therapists won’t work with this. They let him out of the hospital after the minimum time – they couldn’t stand him either.

    I feel so trapped with him. He screams and drinks and blames everybody for the fact that he now finds himself penniless, friendless and hopeless. He never did work and he never finished school and he alienated all his friends. Now we feel trapped with him and he with us because he has no other option. He is getting physical and suicidal again. The help he got was only a temporary reprieve.

    My husband and I are going to see a psychologist. We need help to deal with all of this. I suspect one day he will kill himself and he hangs it over our heads every day. He left tonight to go to a bad neighborhood and do god knows what. He told us he hopes he gets shot there. I know now I have done everything and I have to let this play out for all our sakes. It sounds terrible but if he kills himself, at least I will know where he is. We all need to heal now – and I am going to concentrate on that and hold on to that little glimmer of hope that something will hit him and he will come back, changed.

    I hope you have better luck with your daughter – you are not alone, get help for yourself so you can be strong.


  • Sandy

    August 15th, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    Diane- I am so sorry to hear how things are going with your son. Things with my daughter are no better- We got calls from her twice last week to come and pick her up- she was drunk and said she was planning to ‘just sleep in the park because you don’t want me at home’, but she got scared. We rescued her- again. She refuses medical help, counseling, and rehab. In addition to her drinking, she has an eating disorder, so I know her general health is declining.
    I am where you are- I know I can’t ‘save’ my daughter. She has to save herself. My husband, however, isn’t there yet. And keeps trying to talk to her and encourage her to ‘get her life together’. Those talks have been going on for a couple of years now, and things are no better– in fact they are worse. She is miserable, hurting, self-destructive, and almost daily gets intoxicated for whatever reason.
    I don’t have any answers.

  • Patty

    August 16th, 2010 at 6:42 AM


    Wow, I know i’m not alone. I know about all the abuse. My daughter used to be very verbally and physically abusive to me when she lived with me.. Still to this day sometimes when she calls me i hear the same thing ,,either she is dying and I don’t care or she wishes she was dead .. The guilt she tries to lay on me.. That all her “bad choices are my fault” I don’t care and I won’t help her ,,That I am not a mom I have abandoned her . wow this has been going on for a while. I pray everyday that she will get the help she needs. She is supposedly going to a methadone clinic, seeing a councelor 3 times a week.. She tells me her councelor feels sorry for her and understands why she does drugs.. because noone especially her mom doesn’t care about her.. wow this is what she tells me now.Trying the guilt thing again, because she needed money and I refuse to give her any. She got a waitressing job recently, so we will see. she never has been able to keep a job. She is only 19 and has totally ruined her life. I only hope she can find the help and get better. I have done all I can fore her someday I hope to have a relationship with her. Right now I can’t even have her at my house . That part really breaks my heart. But I am standing strong on this . Thanks to my husband. As I say all I can do right now is pray everyday that she gets help..
    I don’t have any answers either . I just take one day at a time. I have faith in God. It hasn’t gotten any easier not having her live with me or being at my house . except i don’t live with the abuse anymore.. I’m still her Mom and I still love her and It still hurts everyday that things are the way they are.

  • diane

    August 17th, 2010 at 10:07 PM

    Sandy and Patty,

    It’s a terrible mess we all find ourselves in, isn’t it? As Patty said, we are all mothers and we all still love our kids. That being said, some days I just hate him. I hate him for not trying, for putting us through this hell and not trying in spite of everyone who is trying to help him.

    I went up to his room today to retrieve some things that he had “reappropriated” from others in the house (laptop, ipod, clothes, money). He was in his bed at 3:00 in the afternoon. The blankets were over his head, he obviously hasn’t showered in days or shaved. The room was oppressively hot and he didn’t bother to open a window. The room smells like hot urine mixed with body odor, wet towel and stale whiskey. He has dirty dishes piled all over and trash on his floor. The carpet is ruined. He just threw stuff at me until I left his room. All the time he was yelling how I “hassle him” and “emotionally abuse” him and “belittle him.” He really expects us to put up with him not working, not finishing his education, his drinking binges, his rages, property destruction, abuse of family members etc. etc.

    He had the nerve to go to my parents home and tell them that I was a “menopausal shrew” and that I needed to go on some hormone therapy. He told them I scream all day at him for nothing. My mom actually bought all this. She told me to go to the doctors and get some hormones. The day he did this he was wearing a suit and tie and he told them he had procured this great job. He asked for some money to “tide him over” until his first check. She gave him money and he ran straight to the bar and the liquor store. I told her there is no job and that he refuses to even look. She is having such a hard time with all of this. He was always her favorite.

    We are all in the same boat. We keep rescuing them and believing this can all change. The thing is.. I believe it can but I don’t believe it will any longer. I have had those long talks about his life with him and have come away feeling so much better, just to be pushed off the cliff when he goes right back to his old ways and I realize I’ve been had again. Something has to change. My husband told me tonight he can’t put up with this for much longer. I worry about where all this could lead in terms of my future with him. We were happily married once, but this is taking a horrible toll.

    Mary Ellen and Ed have given me great advice. I put some of it to use when I gave him the ultimatum about going into rehab. Now that he is out, and already relapsed and we can see he doesn’t WANT to change, I need to find the strength to put the rest of the plan into motion. He has to go. We can’t keep allowing this mess in our home.

    Good luck to you all in your struggles. I hope someone will have some good news soon.

  • Ed & Mary Ellen

    August 18th, 2010 at 8:07 AM

    Unhappily there are no good solutions – just the necessity to choose between a number of really difficult and unsatisfactory choices. But it is important to remember that your child’s choices are just that, choices. He or she is not “powerless” or “diseased” – on this point the research of the past 40 years is clear- and as long as these choices are rewarded, and the logical consequences averted, your child has no reason to change.

    Equally unhappily, most “rehab” programs do little to change the behavior – indeed, in most case, they will simply teach you child to be a more skillful manipulator.

    There are, however, roughly a dozen programs in the U.S. which do have better success at changing behaviors than the 5% or less rate of AA/12 Step based programs. There are good reseidential programs in N.Y, Iowa and S. CA and good outpatient programs here in CA. Look for ones that encourage family participation so you too get the help and relief you need and deserve.

  • Dawn

    August 18th, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    To Sandy, Patty, Diane, and all the other moms and dads:

    My son was an oxycodone addict and very much like you all describe in your posts. He has now been clean for 14 months, and has a really great job. He is living in an apt. we own, and gradually taking over the bills (I wish he would take them all over, but he is paying off debts that are mountainous). I have no guarantee that he will continue on this path, any more than I know I will not develop cancer, or he will not be in a car wreck. I just live with the happiness that recovery IS possible.

    I DID NOT cause his recovery, but I stopped allowing his addiction. As soon as we cut off his support – especially money – he found the motivation to change his life. One big factor, according to him, is that he had a very happy childhood, and we are regular middle-class people. He wanted to get back to those happy, secure feelings and the lifestyle he used to enjoy. It was complicated, because I am divorced, and his dad did not want to stop taking care of him. He moved in with me to detox. After that, he was still a slob, and did not clean his room or help me in the house, but he got a job and stayed clean. He was like a typical teenager but in his 20’s. He now takes very good care of his living area and has a better job (like going through the growing up period late).

    I don’t want to give you false hope, but it is very important that you STOP supporting him/her, and STOP letting them abuse you!!!!!! You and your husbands need to focus on what makes you happy and building your relationships. If you make your lives happy and serene (appearing), it will give your children something to aim for, like a beacon. If you allow them to destroy your life, you just reinforce in them the feeling that it is all hopeless, anyway, might as well get high.

    Sorry this is so long, but we have had to take this road with this son, and to a lesser extent, a daughter, and it works! Some people will never get help, but that is not your fault. Enjoy your memories of your children when they were little. Then, think of this “child” as someone entirely different. Build your life and provide an example of what can be.


  • Sue

    August 18th, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    It is so nice to read all of your posts. Not that I would wish any of this on anyone, but it’s good not to feel alone. My daughter continues having her ups and downs. She does get random drug tests which come out clean. I wish she could come out of her depression. I will continue to be supportive, but I will not enable her!

    Oddly enough…I am also a social worker. I was working with a mother last week who is doing very well turning her life around. She used alcohol, heroin, cocaine, uppers, downers, etc… She lost her childen and is now working to regain custody. She is working, attending college, taking “Getting Ahead” empowerment classes, and counseling.

    She said, “you know, when I was using, not working, and laying around, one little appointment seemed to overwhelm and stress me out. Now that everyday is filled with appointments/work/classes I feel I can handle everything”. I asked her what was her turning point and she said it was when everyone quit helping her be an addict. Her family quit paying her bills, lending her money, giving her rides, giving her a place to sleep,they took custody of her children, and quit paying for attorneys. Eventually she didn’t have money to get high and didn’t like being in jail. Once off the drugs, she was able to think clearly enough to make better decisions. Eventhough she is doing good, they still are not financially helping her. She walks or rides a bike everywhere. She still has scheduled visits with the children. Instead of cursing her family as she did in the past, she says she understands why they are not helping her and she respects and appreciates them and wants to work harder to earn back their respect. I just wanted to share this story with all of you. They have to be accountable for their actions and suffer the consequences – when we get in the way of this process, we are only making it easier for them to continue their destructive path.

    I try hard to be strong. I don’t care of the excuses of, I lost my money, someone stole my perscription, someone stole my foodstamps, someone broke into my house, I need cab money, can you buy me ciggarettes, I need shoes, I need asprin, my electric is getting disconnected, I need cellphone for safety, I need a place to sleep, bla bla bla… I do not give her a penny or buy her anything. It’s hard. I love her.

    Each of you are in my prayers. I pray that God take care of his children. They are His before they are ours. I pray God give us strength, knowledge and wisdom to go forth each day.

  • Sue

    August 18th, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    I had one more comment to share. The best nights sleep I’ve had is when my daughter was in jail or rehab. I knew where she was and that she was safe. I was calm and relaxed–she was stressed out and upset. (hmmm, there’s a switch) I did everything I could to help the process of arrest. I didn’t bail her out. I also requested to talk to the judge and asked him to make her unbondable and give her the max time in jail. She was charged with a misdemeanor but spent more time in jail than the seasoned criminal. I didn’t get her an attorney. I let her go through detox in jail. I didn’t give her money in jail, When she called me, I would hang up anytime she talked disrespectful to me or raised her voice. I trusted God to get us all through it. It may sound like I’m heartless, but I wanted her to hit bottom so she would start to re-think her life. If I have to, I will do it again (because I love her and I want to also keep my sanity). If you are working harder than your child. STOP Turn it around! Good Luck to all!!

  • susan nickey

    August 30th, 2010 at 4:44 AM

    As they say, misery loves company. The comments I have found here have been helpful in giving me the strength to use the Marchman Act to involuntarily commit my 28 year old daughter. It truly is a matter of life and death for her at this point. Unfortunately, she left the treatment facilitly after 24 hours, but the sheriff is actively looking for her. We intend to cut off all personal contact and financial assistance with her after she has had this last opportunity to make some attempt to change her lifestyle. She has chosen not to accept the life line being offered and we have chosen not to subject ourselves to her downward spiral and self-destructive behavior. The daughter we once knew no longer exists, our family is broken, and I truly believe that she will not find peace until death.

  • Patty

    August 30th, 2010 at 7:11 AM

    Yes it is true what you say Susan , well everyone’s stories have something in common. I too cut off my daughter . She is only 19, but I had to do something when nothing was working.. She is so abusive to me. That I could not take or the pain of watching her distroy her life and try and distroy her family too. Our family will never be the same, but we are strong and must move on. after so long I started excepting phone calls from her only to find out nothing has really changed. I just don’t need to put up with her constant guilt trips when I know none of this is my fault. three years of pain.. I am remarried and my son who is nothing like his sister (thank god) is a senior in high school. You would think she would want to change to be a part of our good lives. but it has been two years almost and she hasn’t changed.. so we keep strong.. I pray one day she will change and can be a part of our lives again.. only time will tell . Only she can take this pain away, by changing how she lives.. I will always be her mother and always love her, but I cannot watch her distroy her life knowing she is hurts bad enough..

  • Melinda

    August 30th, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    My 23 year old son turned things around 4 months ago. Yesterday one of his friends died in a reckless accident involving 2 of his other close friends. We are both so stunned because he could easily have been involved if he wouldn’t have changed. I feel for everyone & I am so thankful that I still have my son. He has a new outlook on life & he has a good job & most important he seems to be happy. We are rebuilding our relationship & I am at peace. I will not dwell on the past or the future but enjoy the good moments that we have right now. I will say it again that the main turning point was when I got on this site & stopped giving him money to buy drugs. He had to change. Words cannot express how grateful I am for this advise.

  • Ed & Mary Ellen

    August 30th, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    We are always, of course, pleased when someone writes to share good news about a child’s decision to make a different choice.

    But please remember, you can make another choice for yourself and your other children, regardless of the outcome for the abusing – and abusive – child. It vis their choice after all despite 75 years of propaganda to the contrary.

    Yes, if you don’t support the abuse, he or she may choose a differnt life. They may not, but you don’t need to become as self-destructive as they. Don’t let them take you with them.

    Ed and Mary Ellen

  • diane

    August 31st, 2010 at 8:49 AM

    Susan, I can relate so much to your last comment – that you believe your daughter will not find peace until death. I have come to believe this about my 23 year old son and it is certainly something he screams at me every night in his drunken rages.

    The update on my son is that he got an excellent job a couple of weeks ago. As I mentioned he is very high intelligence and when sober, amazingly articulate. I thought this would give him a huge boost – the success he needed to stop being so depressed and using his “miserable” life as an excuse for his drunken binges.

    He now tells us that he has proven that he can drink like he wants to and still hold a great job in management. I guess my point is that he just got the job – he hasn’t held anything for any amount of time. Last night was another fight (3 in the am) because he wanders the house most of the night with his “insomnia” and his fifth of whatever. I try very hard not to answer him – but he gets in my face and screams and accuses us of everything from abuse (so not true) and now abandoning him, leaving him with nothing in his life.

    He is angry because he has been evicted. I found some apartments for him, gave him the info – am willing to write a check for the security deposit (I’ll never see that back the way he lives). We told him to choose. If he was working (his job is about 50 hours a week) he had the option to stay until mid – Oct when the apt. he wants will be ready. However, he is still drinking, destroying my home and my peace in spite of his great job. Now, he has to leave after his first paycheck by renting a room by the week. That will be this Sunday. I just can’t watch this anymore. We highly suspect he will screw this job up and I want him out when he is still getting paychecks.

    His drinking is so bad that my husband says it is at the level his mother was at before she died. I told him he will soon have the liver and heart of a person twice his age and he said that was what he wants -to hasten his death so he doesn’t have to live in this world longer. He won’t continue to see the therapist he was assigned in rehab – he stopped going to his outpatient therapy appts. He keeps saying just what Ed and Mary Ellen say on this blog – he is drinking because he chooses to. He considers this all a very valid lifestyle.

    I am glad to hear Melinda say her son seems to have been shocked back to some sort of reality. I hope and pray that mine lives long enough to snap out of this. We don’t hold a lot of hope that someone with his lifestyle will be able to function in a position of responsibility for very long. I read that Borderline Personality Disorder (his diagnosis) will often burn itself out by the time the patient is 30 or so. Since he is not yet 24, but this bad off already, I don’t know if he has that long to wait.

    Hopefully, being on his own will teach him some things.


  • Kathy Fox

    August 31st, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    I just got back from trying to pick up my son’s few belongings from some terrible Motel. He has been arrested
    again – this time for theft. He is 23 and is a Heroin
    addict. I love him so much and will never give up trying to
    help him but I can no longer pay for the drugs, attorneys and fines. I am working two jobs and barely able to pay
    my bills at this point. I really believe I had to get to this point because if I had it I would still give him money -I just no longer have it. I really need a lot of reassurance because I want him back so badly. Before the arrest, I offered to let him come back home for a short period ( a week or so) until he could get back in a rehab. We argued about the choice of rehab and he said it had to
    be the one he wanted – The one I had chosen was too long. He wanted to be out so that he could hook back up with his addict girl friend. I feel so angry and upset and any other emotion you can think of. Thanks for any advice or help you could offer.

  • Patty

    August 31st, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    Kathy I can relate to you… I know everyone’s problem’s are bad, but my daughter 19, is a herion addict too. It is one of the most dangerous addictions there is . well if they are iv users. You just never know when they will get a hot dose and overdose and die. That is what I lived with for three years. She hasn’t lived with me for 2 years, but that doesn’t stop me from being heartbroken and worry. when she does call it kinda relieves the worry for that moment.. I donot support her in anyway and haven’t for years. She hasn’t changed her life, but I donot put up with her constant disrespect and abuse anymore . She is supposidly going to a methadone clinic and counceling and has gotten a waitress job. only time will tell me if her life has changed . She is still with a guy that also has the same problem. They both have stole things , she used to steal things from her family when she lived with us and sell them. Her and this guy stole , just haven’t gotten caught yet. He is no good for her if she wants to be clean. So when she is free of those type . Then I will start to believe she is serious. It is so heartbreaking knowing she lives this way, but I am trying so hard to keep strong for my son who well in my eyes is perfect. and I have a new husband who supports me alot and keeps me from caving in where she is concerned.. I will always love my daughter , even if she says and tells the world I don’t care someday I hope she understands. until then I stand strong.

  • Kathy Fox

    August 31st, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    My son is such a sweetheart – almost never disrespectful but
    is very determined when he needs money. But there has been alot of theft and forgery and the list goes on. He has only been out of the house a short time and lived with his brother. His brother could be a great role model for him and loves him and wants to help him as much as I do. He said he couldn’t stay there anylonger and moved into this motel – Wow what a place. Can’t imagine. I am trying to stay strong though the only thing that keeps me strong is that I know it wouldn’t help him if I caved in. I am so worried that it is never going to change – he is an IV user. I feel so hollow inside – apart of me is missing!

  • Patty

    September 1st, 2010 at 8:48 AM

    We can only pray as you know they have to want to change and it is such an awful drug to get away from.. I have watch my daughter distroy her life because she chose to use . She never finished high school. I told her it would be a start getting her GED, while she says she is going to get it, time just keeps going on. I want her to get better. I wish I could help her, but like I said she is very disrespectful to me at most times. There are a few times I talk to her where we get along ok, but not many. She blames me for everything. Yes I feel the same way, like apart of me is missing I pray she recovers and gets clean I want to have some kind of relationship with my daughter,but as long as she lives this horrible life I cannot . I pray for her everyday, It just seems like alot of days have went by and nothing has changed. Keep strong.

  • Gracie

    September 7th, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    Thankyou for this great resource to share. I can really relate to many situations that people are going through, particularly those feelings of hopelessness and despair. Although, dealing with a parent who is not in recovery is still a challenge I’m not totally swamped with those feelings like I used to be.

    I guess maybe I don’t understand the negative view of recovery groups. I have been in Alanon for 23 years and my spouse has been sober for 26 years in AA.(we’ve been married 22 years) Obviously our experience with recovery groups has been good, although honestly things have changed a great deal over the years, and not always for the good. The PRINCIPLES of the program have not changed and they really work…..however, our culture has changed, which has affected the fellowship part of the program.
    My experience is that the Alanon program has absolutely helped me so much….I can really say I think if I had not changed my behavior I don’t know how I could have continued the way I was going. I am the youngest of 4 children. My mother is a drug addict and I was her chief enabler…however, through the principles of the program I was shown how to turn loose of the situation and start living again. (however, I had to do the work, they couldn’t do the heavy lifting for me)
    I don’t really have a question, but I did want to give a plug for the principles of the 12-step program. Also, powerless was never meant to mean helpless. If anything, a person who is recovering (at least in my experience) has more accountability, not less. Powerless means that to continue the way one is going is never going to work. Surrender and change are the only way out for the person with the addiction. This also applied to me. I had to quit allowing myself to feel sorry for my mother and to quit being lazy emotionally, which is what I was. She could wrap me around her little finger with a combo of tears, threats to harm herself or either me, and lots of other tricks. Changing the situation was probably one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. The flood of emotions and guilt really felt like it would destroy me at times….but it hasn’t and it hasn’t destroyed her either. I can’t say she has changed except she doesn’t dump on me anymore (and she is very bitter about my stopping that behavior in her towards me) but i don’t have the emotional hangovers I used to have, or the waves of depression I used to have from the anger of letting her use me. One thing that helped me was to realize that I was exaggerating what would happen when I started saying no to her….it was ugly, BUT the world did keep on turning:) and the sun came up and each time it got a little easier, and I got a little stronger.

    I must say I am so glad that I got my life back because I truly believe that God never intended me to live my life that way. Sometimes when I think about how things were, I can’t believe that I lived like that or put up with that stuf. I guess the further I get away from it, the stranger it seems. I know that today I would never allow those things to be done to me. Today things are healthier for me and I am growing and I know that the Alanon program has helped me to get strong and start living a more positive life no matter what other people choose to do.
    Thanks for letting me share.

  • diane

    September 7th, 2010 at 9:53 PM


    Thanks so much for sharing your story – I found it very helpful and it comes from a place of so much experience. We have Al-Anon meetings close to our home and I have been wanting to check them out. This gives me the impetus to do that because you described the very result that I need in my life.

    I need to stop feeling so guilty about changing my behavior toward my son and he is a master manipulator trying to keep me feeling guilty and responsible for his choices. I could so relate to the part where you said you felt that this could destroy you or destroy her – that’s where I have been living for so long. I have made a lot of changes to how we handle this situation but he is still living in our house.

    He has a very good job now, works a lot of hours, but he still has a bottle in the freezer which he comes home to at night. We don’t know how long the job will last if he keeps this pattern – we are desperate to get him out of our home and out on his own. Thank you for your post, it made a difference to me. I will check out the meetings – he won’t continue to seek treatment and help but I need the support and camraderie that is offered there.


  • Gracie

    September 8th, 2010 at 9:35 AM


    Our group has many parents with children of alcoholics/addicts and there is alot of support there. Even though I have found much support and comfort with many of the members of Alanon, it is wise not to expect too much. They are people like you and me who are not perfect, and doing the best they can. I see many people who expect the people at Alanon to have some magical formula and fix their problems without them having to do anything.

    What has really helped me is to focus on the literature (especially the older literature which has the undiluted program) as well as other resources that are phychologically sound. Alanon is just a part of my program of wellness. I have worked (and continue to work) especially hard with many cognitive therapy books as well as a small group of people from my church who are dealing with this same issue. My spouse is a Master’s level counselor, so we spend alot of time and energy in the growth and healing process and that has been what has worked for me. Change takes alot of work, but it is SO worth it. A good counselor who will guide you in a healing, growing process is invaluable. But even with much support, you must do the work. I look at it as if I were taking a class in school. If I don’t prepare, do the work, etc. I’m probably gonna do lousy. Its not exactly like that, but kinda :)

    I see alot of people in Alanon and other places who are miserable, but they are unwilling to invest the time that’s necessary to change. In other words, I guess I’m saying to find what works for you. When I first came into Alanon it was very different than it is now. Many of the ladies (and occasionally a male; there weren’t many men back then) had a different mindset. They were very solution oriented. And obviously they would do what the program would say and it worked. I think this was when people used to think Alanon was magic….it seemed to be because it worked so well. That was my experience. However, many times nowadays, people come in the program and they know everything and then they start telling you why they are different and the rules don’t apply to them, and obviously they don’t get good results and then they leave and tell everyone, “well I tried that and it doesn’t work”.
    I just had to go on and do this without my parent ever wanting to get into recovery (My husband and I took her to several AA meetings, introduced her to people, bought her the literature, etc but she wasn’t interested), but am I ever glad I went. My oldest sister has joined me (which I never expected) and we have re-established a friendship which has been a true joy. So even though I didn’t get exactly what I wanted (sober mom) its ok, cause life is good.
    And your life is good, you just have to go and get that good life for yourself. Just believe that there is a solution that will work. It may not be easy to find. You may have to try something and re-try many, many times, but it is there. Believe me, I did not see how in a million years I could ever solve this problem, but its working out.
    Best Wishes,

  • Charlotte Potter

    September 21st, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    I have a stepson that is 22yrs old that is an addict to pot and probably more. He has been arrested 4 times all for possession. He currently lives with his grandparents because my husband and I kept too close an eye on him, as my stepson said. While he lived with us, I made him sign a contract agreeing to our expectations and if he failed a drug test, he would be asked to leave. I feel his grandparents are enabling him by letting him live with them, giving him money, providing food and place to do laundry. He has not worked for over a year nor does he show any motivation to do so. My husband and I constantly disagree on the next step in dealing with his son. It is putting a strain on our marriage to the point I feel like walking away. My husband is in denial that his son has a PROBLEM. I do not know what to do except keep my mouth shut. It is tearing me up inside and maybe my marriage. Any advice for a step-parent of an addict?

  • Edward Wilson

    September 22nd, 2010 at 5:49 PM

    As a step-parent I do appreciate the difficult position you find yourself in. However, over the years Mary Ellen and I have consistently offered the same suggestion: stay out of it.

    Again and again we note that we step-parents are not in the child’s life by their choice and it is important that we do NOT assume parental roles. This just makes us scapegoats and we end up being the target for children, parents, and grandparents alike as they use us to avoid dealing with problems.

    Yes, it often gets to the point of walking away and is, at times, the only thing to do – but for your own health, not with any hope that it will leverage anyone else into doing something different.

    Again, detatch and focus on your own life and let the others deal with their own problems. Refuse to engage in what’s obviously a “family” problem and don’t end up being a distraction, diversion, and/or the “bad guy”.

    Dr. Ed Wilson

  • Patty

    September 23rd, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    I got a phone call from my daughter yesterday .. She was threatening to kill herself and saying her messed up life is my fault.. well this is nothing new. She recently got picked up by the police and she was so high they took her to the hospital I’m not sure of any charges.. she wasn’t even going to tell me. My husband works in the same town as she lives in I live about 40 min away from her. I guess i am in need of advice.. if anybody has any.. It hurts me so bad when she calls and says all those things to me all my wishing and nothing ever changes.. should I quit answering when she calls me I don’t know what to do her birthday is in 2 weeks and I am refusing to go see her Is that wrong?? boy I think she has done laid a guilt trip on me again.. I know this is not my fault.. but It hurts so bad to hear her talk like that over and over.. she won’t get the proper help.. any advice?????

  • Sandy

    September 23rd, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    Hi Patty- I totally understand- You don’t say how old your daughter is, but I take it she is an adult. As such, she is making her own choices, no matter how self destructive they may be. That isn’t your fault. We have to take a stand and not let our children’s poor choices ruin our lives also. We can’t MAKE them stop drinking, using drugs, etc.
    My daughter also has been picked up by the police. Once taken to detox (drunk tank), and another time to the hospital as she was too drunk for detox to take her. I guess no ‘charges’ were filed against my daughter by the police, but she has received bills from ambulance, hospital ER, and ER doctor. I found out about it only because the bills were sent to our house, where she still lives off and on. My daughter says she doesn’t intend to pay the bills as she would have been fine if they had left her alone—- she doesn’t get it that you are not ‘fine’ if you are passed out alone and unresponsive in the city park.
    It is all so sad. I am finally to the place where I do not blame myself, but I do feel sadness. What a waste of life-
    I hope your daughter doesn’t follow through on her suicide threat, but again- that is her choice. I hope my daughter doesn’t die before she accepts the help (counseling, rehab, medication)we have offered. Her excuse is that rehab doesn’t work. Well, sleeping in the park and being taken to detox or being too drunk to be taken to detox and taken to the ER instead isn’t working either. Sandy

  • Patty

    September 24th, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    Hi Sandy
    It’s nice to have your support. My daughter is 19. She dropped out of school when she was 16. I have had her in rehab well as much as I could , when she was living with me she stole hundreds of dollars from me and her brother that we worked hard for , stole items and sold them for herion.. When I got the law involved she went to rehab because she thought she had to by the judge. she got out and she stayed with a family that was trying to help her, she was clean for 8 months, she wanted to come home so I let her , a month later she was doing it all again would not listen started stealing again and took off to stay with the guy she is still with today, being under age I threatened to call the police so she went to live with her dad, she wouldnt abide by his rules either and snuck out of the house all the time.. when she turned 18, she moved in with the guy who she is still with, they are supposidly going to a methadone clinic and getting clean, but after the other day I will never belive her she lies to me and is very mean to me when she calls… typical of a herion addict. I cannot let her live with me I will not go through that pain again, she tells me I have abandoned her I don’t see her very often, It is too painful to see her while she is like this.. It hurts so bad to see her waste her life.. I’m sorry if that makes me a bad mother but I can’t enable her or see her.. I honestly pray somedays that she would go to jail it could save her life.. I am tired of the endless worry. I want to live my life…Patty

  • Kathy

    September 24th, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    Thanks, Patty – I really appreciate your comments – I had a little trouble getting back -sorry for the delay in responding!! I just read your response to Sandy!! I really hope for you, Sandy and I that peace will come. My son is still in jail – more charges have been added to what they charged him when he was arrested. When I go to see him – He looks like his old self and sounds so full of hope but I can’t help remembering the times in the past when he sounded the same way. I still can’t help hoping that this will be the time that he makes it!! It sounds terrible but I don’t worry as much – I know he is safe!! and not using. I wonder is jail the only place that keeps him on the right track????

  • susan

    September 29th, 2010 at 5:05 AM

    To Patty and Others: I understand completely how much it hurts to have contact with your daughter due to the lifestyle she has chosen. I recently made a decision to cut off all contact with my daughter after offering her one last chance for recovery. I borrowed thousands of dollars from family, raided my 401(k) account, so she could be admitted to a private detox/rehab. She walked out after six days. We had a long conversation before she left treatment, and I warned her that if she did not stick it out, her family no longer wanted anything to do with her. While she was choosing to return to her life as an addict, we certainly were entitled to choose to move on without being subjected to the pain and drama she creates on an almost daily basis. She attempts to contact us by phone constantly, but we do not answer. We have instructed security personnel in our gated community that she is not permitted to enter. I have only seen her once in the past three weeks, and her physical appearance and behavior was heartbreaking. I am finding some peace and stability in my life since I cut her off. I probably should have done it long ago. She is no longer a topic of discussion between family and friends. She no longer dominates my thoughts. She is an adult and is finally suffering the consequences of her behavior. She has no job, no money, no telephone, no car, and in two weeks she will be homeless as we stopped paying her rent. She is the only one who can control her destiny. I finally got off the roller coaster, and she is free to do whatever she pleases without family intervention. It gets to the point where you have to save yourself, and I’m there.

  • Diane

    September 29th, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    To Patty, Sandy and Susan,

    Hang in there. I have also hit the wall with my son and he finally moved out last weekend. He does have a very good job now and he has been going. But, he also is continuing his drinking (we have cleaned out so many fifths) and he has a fifth of gin and a fifth of Tequila in his freezer right now. But, at least it is now in his own freezer and he is no longer turning our home into a sideshow with his behavior.

    No more 3 am fights that turn physical, no more listening to him smashing the walls and furniture downstairs, no more listening to him wailing at the top of his lungs about his “shit life”, no more of his chasing the other kids out of “his space” (which is our family room), no more worrying about the house burning down (he smokes pot as well), no more listening to his lies, no more putting up with his interference with the younger boys and his poor influence in the house.

    He signed a year lease and we helped him set up – gave him some stuff etc. We are now done. He gets no more. He has taken far more than his share and I can now concentrate on the others. He works long hours at his job and he hates every minute of it. He goes to work hung over every day and he may not last. But, there is a glimmer of hope that he will learn what it takes to live in this world after all. The last time we tried – he tried to hang himself. I try not to think about that and I know it could happen again.

    But, it is time to reclaim our lives and to finally have some peace. He has taken so much from our family and from me especially. He is a manipulative, depressive person who has decided that alcohol is the way to handle his problems. Rehab didn’t work – but it did give him and us a “time-out” and we used that opportunity to make another plan and truly end this cycle. So, even though he is still getting drunk every night – some good came out of it. We now know we did everything we could and he is now an adult who needs to take responsiblity for his own decisions and actions. Hugs.


  • Connie

    September 29th, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    Susan and others,
    I keep you all in my prayers. I know how difficult it is seeing our loved ones deteriorating mentally and physically. I keep praying to God. They are His children before they are ours. He loves them and I pray He takes care of them and gives us all strength, wisdom and knowledge as we continue to live our lives.
    Hugs to all of you, Connie

  • Gracie

    September 30th, 2010 at 8:57 AM

    Upon reading several comments, it just reminded me of how hard it is to take these actions. It just is NOT easy. Anyone who has dealt with loving someone and worrying yourself sick about them, knows it.

    Some days I would just find a slogan, prayer, something to help me get through it. “This too shall pass” was helpful alot. [also “Easy Does It” was good for me on days I was blaming myself, or someone else, or trying to force a solution] plus my own private prayers and scripture that was personal and helpful (and encouraging) to me. The main thing is to find what works for you. I have found for me I need that extra dose of spiritual encouraging words and I have learned that it is good and healthy to take care of your needs. I used to feel almost embarrassed that I needed this. Now I know that I have a right to a good life. I also have a right to remove myself from a constantly chaotic environment. It took me a long time to really believe and act on this, though.

    I also found journaling sometimes saved my sanity. (this doesn’t work for everyone) Sometimes I could talk to people, but not always….those times I used journaling, reading uplifting and encouraging material really helped me to relax and quit (? maybe lessen is a better word than quit) my worrying and obssessing. Getting involved in activites that I enjoyed was important too. When I first started making these changes I was overwhelmed (mad, sad, etc) about how I let this one person and their daily soap opera become the center of my life.

    Some days were worse than others, and bad news would always send me in a tailspin. But it has gotten better…so much better. I just applaud everyone for having the courage to move in a positive direction.

    My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is hurting.

  • Diane

    September 30th, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    To Connie and Gracie,

    Thanks and hugs to you as well. It helps to hear from everyone else here on how they cope and how they are staying strong.

  • Sandy

    September 30th, 2010 at 8:05 PM

    Diane, Connie, Gracie, and many, many others: I so appreciate you sharing your stories, as it helps me realize I AM NOT ALONE.
    Right now, my daughter is back living at home, and she is aware that this is her last chance. She is on some anti-depressant medication that she has need to resume for years. She has to come home every night, and find a job. She is to give us her paychecks, which we will put aside so she can have enough money to move out. As long as she is here, and required to come home every night, she will not be drinking. It is great for now, as she is happy and healthy and not drinking. She doesn’t yet have a job, so no money for alcohol, and she knows that if she doesn’t come home- even for one day- she is out.
    I pray she stays on the medication as that seems to help, but I suspect that as soon as she is out of our home, she will go back to drinking. She has made that much clear. She refuses counseling or rehab.
    The week before we allowed her back home, she was taken to the ER by the detox place as she as ‘unresponsive’ and sleeping in the park. The didn’t take her to detox as she was too far gone. I guess they don’t want people having cardiac or respiratory arrest while in detox, so if you are that far gone, they take you to the ER. My daughter has no insurance, so now has a $1500 bill for that visit.
    She has that, along with many other bills and collection notices as she has quit every job she has ever had and ended up at those ‘Quick Cash’ places to get $$ for alcohol.
    It is all so sad- she is pretty (so far), intelligent, and funny and happy when she is mentally stable, but going off the meds just leads to drinking daily, ending up in the park or at some new ‘friend’s’ place for days/weeks in an alcoholic stupor.
    What a waste of life.
    Thank everyone for sharing their stories. It is a solace to know that we are not alone. Sandy

  • Connie

    September 30th, 2010 at 9:37 PM

    My Daughter is not acting right again. I am so tired. Sometimes I feel and think the unthinkable, but I’m going to write it. It’s not all the time, but sometimes, I feel if my daugher would overdose, peace would finally come…for her and her children and our family and friends. Gone would be the worry, fear, stress and the roller coaster of emotions that we keep riding on. She would be at peace.

    Sometimes I feel my daughter died several years ago and a demon inhabited her body and keeps toying with my emotions. Waiting until I am at my breaking point and then cruelly dangle glimpses of “the daughter I once knew” in front of me to tease me to continue this journey from hell.

    I feel guilty when I have these thoughts. They are not thoughts a loving mother should have. They are not words I can say out loud, especially to people who do not understand the level of pain addiction has caused our family. I pray and confess my thoughts to God. I ask His forgiveness. He helps me most when I am at my weakest moments. Connie

  • Diane

    October 1st, 2010 at 9:31 AM


    Please don’t beat yourself up over these thoughts. I live in that place. My son tried to commit suicide about a year ago. I was in shock because I didn’t think something like that could ever happen to us. He got so drunk and was taking prescription drugs at the time. My life has never been the same since. He was placed in a behavioral medicine ward of a local hospital and spent a week there. But, he came out and said it made him worse.

    I was shook to my very core. But, sometimes, during this last year, I have had these terrible, creeping thoughts that maybe it would have been better had he succeeded because at least it would be over and we could move on. He spent the next 9 months threatening me multiple times a day that he was going to do it again. I had nightmares every night about it. My younger kids were afraid to check on him in his room (where he would sleep to 5 pm and not respond when we knocked) because they were terrified to find him dead.

    My husband’s older brother committed suicide at 20 and it was just devastating to their family. This child of mine is so like his uncle – he is an alcoholic with an addictive personality. He also has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. He has an extremely high IQ and over time, has chased away almost all of his friends. He is very good-looking but considers himself ugly. He tells us over and over that he does not want to live.

    I have actually visualized his funeral in my mind. I am struggling so hard so I can cope if the time comes and some days I am convinced it’s just when. I have three other children and a husband and I don’t want to let him take me with him. After my husband’s brother died, his mother became a terrible alcoholic and she died 10 miserable (for everybody) years to the day he did.

    He also sometimes has glimmers of his old self. He moved out recently, but now I am tortured because the last time he did, he attempted. He lives close to us, and one day seems fine, the next very depressed. He is still drinking, going to the bar every night – but he refuses any kind of help or medication.

    I know what you mean about feeling like a horrible mother/person. But, I think we are just trying to prepare ourselves for what could happen so they don’t take us down with them. The most helpful thing anyone told me thus far was to separate the memories I have of him as the child he was from the the adult he has become. He is not the same. His life choices and dispositions have killed that bright, eager beautiful child I raised and this addict, a shell of a person really, is what has taken his place.

    I have hope now for him. He has a good job that I pray he can retain and he says he is looking for an even better one. He signed a year lease and I am hoping he finally engages in his own life and finds a reason to live. We will continue to support him in a way that is appropriate for parents to an adult child. He lives close to us so we can try to keep tabs on him in some way.

    I know what you mean by what you said but I think only someone who has lived this could possibly understand. We get extended family who are full of advice and always butting in about how we have to “do something” and “whatever it takes.” They just don’t understand how much we have already done, risked and suffered and the pain it has taken to get to this point.

    You and I are terrified, exhausted, heartbroken, and becoming resigned. It is a self-preservation mechanism and we crave peace in our lives and in our minds and hearts. If something happens, at least we would know where they are and that they are not cold, hungry, tired and hurting anymore. That’s the point and it’s a fine line on the edge of a cliff that we walk every waking moment.

    Hugs to you and I hope we have better days ahead.

  • Connie

    October 2nd, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    Thank you Diane. I know people on this site understand each other. This is something you must live through to fully understand. That is why I appreciate everyone who posts and share their intimate details of their pain.
    I hope your son will continue to do well. I will keep everyone in my prayers. God Bless

  • Gracie

    October 10th, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    Connie, Dianne, Sandy & others,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you. These are some difficult moments to go through. I have another family member who is going through this with an adult child and I try to share my experience with them. There are many similarities, but the main one is we love someone who is self-destructing and we can’t change that.

    Lately I’ve been reading a book about how to get this train wreck (me…lol) back on track…..well, basically that’s what the book is about. Its really helpful, but its written for parents with adult children. I just change it to fit my circumstances, but the principles are the same. I love it, cause one thing is says is….”Don’t be quick to blame yourself, even if you spoiled this person. You have the right to make mistakes and your not a parental failure if you made some mistakes.
    You have the right to make mistakes the same as everybody else. Behavior is learned! Your child (or anybody else) can learn to develop self-control in his or her life as well as avoid it. Most of the happy, productive people we know today are that way because they worked at it. They overcame. “….

    I am hanging onto this because it gives me hope when I continue to get really bad news. This week has been hard. My oldest sister and I are trying to stick together on this, but it is hard. My mom is really in bad shape, however, nothing is really new about that. What is better is ME. She has a choice, even now. That is true and it will always be true, even though she blames her problems on everyone…it doesn’t change the fact that her problems are of her own making….no one has done this to her, she did the whole thing to herself.
    For me, I am doing my life and actually things are going good. My hubby had back surgery and everything went very well and he is doing good. You know, life goes on and even though addicted people think they are the center of the universe, they aren’t. I am still having to teach myself that my life can be good, even if her life is lousy (she thinks). That nagging guilt is a little better, but still lingers sometimes.
    thanks for listening,

  • Charlotte

    October 10th, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    I am a stepmom responding to what Ed said that I should stay out of the family problems. I know I am a step-parent and that my addicted stepson did not choose me to be in his life. I helped care and raise him since he was 10 yrs old. I feel like I have a say in what goes on in our family and that involves my husband’s son. Why do you say to stay out of it? I have been involved in my step-son’s life for over 13 yrs. Why shouldn’t I have an opinion, because at this pt I am the only one that is NOT in DENIAL that this kid has a problem. Every family member thinks that this kid does not have a problem. You tell me that an adult of 23 yrs of age that has been arrested 5 times in 4 yrs all drug related. Has no job, no home, no money, no motivation, no skills. He claims he is always THE VICTIM. He always makes bad decisions and is selfish and does not even see what he is putting the family through. The addicted step-son thinks that smoking pot and taking RX drugs is OK. His friends are all losers and probably do drugs also. He parties all night and sleeps all day. He seems to find money for partying and drugs and cigarettes. He currently stays with his grandparents because we keep too close an eye on him and he wants to be closer to his “friends”. It seems that each time he gets into trouble with the law, he is with his loser friends. We are just waiting for another phone call, that he has been arrested AGAIN!!!!

  • Lou

    October 14th, 2010 at 6:35 PM

    Tonight I met with friends, planning a weekend away, after working all week and planning this time away I felt very happy. Then, an hour after getting home, my son calls, from jail, telling me he needs me in court tomorrow morning. He’s been arrested, and of course, it’s not his fault.
    Should I leave him in jail? This isn’t the first time this year. I helped him in March.
    I know this isn’t a good bio for all that has happened in the past, but he’s 37 and he should be working, in a home of his own and not calling me from jail.
    Thanks for listening.

  • Ed & Mary Ellen

    October 14th, 2010 at 8:48 PM

    Why would you want to rescue him from the consequences of his choices? An if you do, why would you expect him to make different choices in the future?

    No, you can’t make him change his choices, but you don’t have to validate the ones he’s making either.

  • Diane

    October 15th, 2010 at 9:46 AM


    I didn’t have to deal with jail in my situation but I can tell you that the only time I have seen progress with my son is when I stopped stepping in and helping him out of his bad choices and decisions and started treating him in an age-appropriate way.

    We ended up telling him he had to move out and he couldn’t come back to live here – now he has a steady job and he has signed a years lease (so he can’t just quit because he doesn’t like working). He has plans to finish his degree and he seems much better all around.

    I suspect he is still drinking every night but I stopped worrying about it because I can’t change his behavior, only mine. If he is, he will live with the consequences or he will have to figure out how to drink and do what else he has to do. I don’t like it – but I won’t have to watch it and let it eat away at me any longer.

    At 37, I would say that your son has to live up to his responsiblilites and consequences as an adult. You can try to support him in ways that are age-appropriate for a father to a grown son. If it were me, I wouldn’t be able to afford all the legal bills that something like this would cause anyway. Maybe you could bring him court clothes and show up for his court appearances. But, it’s not up to you to rescue him from this situation. Maybe if he knows he won’t be rescued – he will stop making these self-destructive choices. I hope so.

    I know this is hard. We walk on the edge every day – but you need to be freed of this by the time your child is approaching middle age -that’s for sure!


  • Sandy

    October 15th, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    Lou- I understand your pain and indecision- however, if you keep rescuing your son, he will keep expecting this. My daughter only began to move in a (mostly) positive direction when she came to realize that we will NOT rescue her again. She is an adult, and her life is her own and is the result of the sum of her choices. We will not bail her out financially, or bail her out of jail. We do not give her money. At present, she is living with us, but she knows that this is it. If she becomes unemployed again, or if she gives us any reason to believe she is drinking again, she will need to move to a shelter. We are finished with the rescuing, and we are at peace with that decision. All the fixing, rescuing, etc did nothing but caused her behavior to continue and to escalate.
    Of course, it is your decision whether or not to rescue your son again. Once you take control of your own life and make your son take charge of his own life and be accountable for his decisions and choices, things may improve.
    In life, there are no guarantees- but continuing on the same path of rescuing will likely mean he will continue to be helpless and expect to be rescued.

  • Edward Wilson

    October 16th, 2010 at 6:24 AM

    These are all excellent points, Sandy, and I would only add that the son isn’t helpless – but merely playing at being helpless because it’s how he’s avoiding growing up. We work with many clients in their 20s and early 30s and their families and the issue is always the same one – “I shouldn’t have to grow up”.

    There are several excellent programs (and hundreds of dreadful ones) in the U.S. that can help. At least 3 are reasonably affordable. But the key remains – as long as you rescue them, why would they choose to grow up?


  • Kathy

    October 18th, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    Hey, Lou –
    You have gotten plenty of good advice – I went to court to support my son this morning!! There is no bail but I wouldn’t pay it if there were. I felt sick on my stomach after leaving the courtroom. The court process is going to be a slow and long one. I expected it but still have so many emotions.
    This is such a tough situation. Just wanted you to know you are not alone and let us know what you decide and how it goes.

  • Maree

    October 20th, 2010 at 5:03 AM

    my 32 year old daughter is in jail for the third time, its an example of the level of disfunction in her life. She is an addict, and has been for the last 8 years, its been a long walk in hell. Of course nothing I do has helped, I have had custody of my 13 year old grandaughter, her loyalty to her mother is unbelievable,after a year I let her return to an unsafe and totally inappropriate household, she kept emotionally fighting me to return to her mother, it was a no win situation.
    In the last 10 years I have experienced suicide (of my grandaughters biological father, yes drugs involved) I experienced fraud of a large sum of money, and eight years of addiction from my only child, an adult child. My confidence in myself is shattered, I feel isolated and alone. Thank God for this website. Amen

  • Diane

    October 21st, 2010 at 8:53 AM


    I think it’s wonderful that you took custody of your grandaughter, you tried to do the right thing for her. At least now, she will know that she can turn to you if she needs someone. It’s not your fault that she was so loyal to her mother – addicts can be so manipulative and so charming. Your grandaughter is probably caught up in taking care of her mother. When she is a little older she may come back to you.

    I’m sorry you have to go through all of this. You have to let go of the idea that there is something you can do about it. Your daughter, at 32,knows that her life is a mess. She also knows what is causing it. All you can do is be there if she ever comes to the realization that she has to change. She has to decide this for herself. The more we struggle and step in, the worse it gets.

    I hope that things get better for you. Don’t lose confidence in yourself, you are not the addict, you are not dysfunctional, you are not the one going in and out of jail. This is so hard – these are our children. We can stop them from making self-destructive choices when they are young but we quickly lose that leverage – and all we can do is hope and wait for them to truly grow up and take responsibility for their own actions and choices.



  • Maree

    October 21st, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    Thank you so much for you support Diane, I feel like at least there is one person in the world that has heard me, thank you. My daughters lifestyle is only the centre of the tangled web, it also inpacts on my physical health, high blood pressure, I can no longer cope with stress in the workplace, I am a nurse, unfortunately the two go hand in hand, I am considering down grading to do anything that gives me peace, obviously that will impact on income but that has been pretty shattered in the last 8 years anyway. Do other parents find that their lives become shadows of what they once were, or is it just my circumstances.

  • Susan

    October 21st, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    Hi Maree. You’ve got plenty of company, not to worry. My husband just turned 60 and I am close behind. We have been emotionally and financially drained by our 28 year old addict daughter as well. I swear she would take our last dime and drive over us on her way out to get a fix and not look back. As you mentioned, eventually our children’s behavior causes us to be physically ill from the stress of the day to day BS they subject us to. There are no children involved in our situation, and I am thankful for that. It must be terrible to have to worry 24 hours a day not only about your daughter, but your granddaughter as well. We own a business with our daughter, a joint venture entered into during a time when she was in recovery. What was her dream has become our nightmare, and makes it very difficult for us to cut off all contact with her. Since she has abandoned the business leaving us holding the bag, we cannot even take a vacation. Our lives are a mess!

  • Maree

    October 22nd, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Susan, what is this universal joke we are caught up in, through no intentional choice of our own, there must be something wonderful waiting for us somewhere somehow. Recovery is a scary place it seems, yes there has been small windows of clarity and self recovery for my daughter, however the fall from grace is cruel and has left me gasping for breath and sitting on the toliet for the day. Yes the long term stress certainly crucifies. You have given your daughter complete faith and love in following her dream, and what parent whos child is in recovery wouldnt, to return to a sane life and have our children back, the way they were before the drugs twisted their personalities we would give away all possessions, and we virtually do. Thank you for writting to me, I feel strength and support, the best gift.

  • Diane

    October 23rd, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    I’ve had such a rough day today. My almost 24 year old son, is a long and complicated story, that I have told on here. I have mentioned that we put our foot down, supported him while he was in a treatment center for alcoholism, and then let him move back in to get his life together.

    Well, that didn’t work because he started drinking again the first day back and he became impossible for us to live with. The screaming, property destruction, refusing to work or contribute anything to the household, bullying the younger kids etc. We kicked him out of the house and thought that he had secured himself a decent job. He signed a year’s lease and we did some survellience and he was working. He even had printed business cards.

    Now, it seems he either quit that job or got fired. He told us he just switched jobs and was making about the same money in his new job. We found out today that this is just another of his “fake” jobs – he has had so many. He has been saying strange things on his facebook and not answering his phone. We went to his apartment and buzzed and buzzed and even though his car was there he didn’t answer.

    We feared the worst and used a key (he didn’t know we had an extra) and his father and I went in. He was in the apartment and it was a terrible scene. He has completely trashed it in less than a month. He obviously has been kicking his tv, stereo equipment and computer which were in pieces on the ground. There were clothes, bottles and trash everywhere. He never opens the blinds just sits there in the dark. It was horrifying but this is what he was doing in our house when he lived there.

    He was so furious that we had a key and let ourselves in. He was screaming at us and irrational (I’m surprised that nobody called the cops – walls are thin). He told us he is living off his “investments” and he cut back his hours to part time. All lies and we know it. He looked a mess. I tried to calmly talk to him – tell him how afraid we were for him. He told us it is his life to live or die and we needed to leave him alone to do it. My husbands brother committed suicide at 20 and this one has already tried once.

    I realized that he is right. It is his life. We have done all we can. I can’t keep trying to keep him alive as it is taking everything from me and from the rest of my family. We really didn’t have a right to come into his apartment and if he had called the police (he threatened to) we would have been in the wrong.

    I told him that I was done. If he wants further contact with us – he will have to initiate it. I won’t be calling him (usually he won’t answer) or texting or IM him to see if he is ok. I won’t be cold-calling him anymore just to be ignored and I certainly won’t be coming into his apartment without his consent. I won’t keep asking or wondering if he is ok because I iknow the answer – he isn’t and he won’t do anything about it. I told him he could come over when he wants and ask if he needs anything. He can come over to watch sports with us or his brothers and sister. He came in last night to our house and wouldn’t even talk to his sister – she said it was like he was looking right through her.

    He won’t stop drinking. All rehab did for him was introduce him to drug dealers whom he has befriended. He won’t work. He won’t seek any kind of help. We won’t be part of it anymore. I am very sad today and have a social function to go to this evening. It’s the last thing I feel like doing but I will forge ahead. I want to live, I want to have a normal life, I want to look ahead. I want to enjoy my other kids. I am so tired and sick of all this.

    Thanks for listening,


  • Sandy

    October 24th, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    Diane- I’m so sorry to hear this about your son. After I wrote my last post, my daughter also ‘fell off the wagon’ and has again been drinking. We had made a deal with our daughter that if he began drinking again, she would have to leave.
    She called drunk one night after work, told us she would not be home, and would be back in a couple of days to get her things. She knew that this was the consequence.
    When she came to get her things, we asked her plans. She said she had met a guy who lived in an apartment downtown (meaning sleeze low rent apartments for druggies/alcoholics in our town). He was ‘older’ and was going to ‘help’ her. She didn’t know his last name, just that he went by Dwight.
    She didn’t know where he worked, or IF he worked. Our daughter kept saying she would have her own room and would not have to pay rent for awhile. Dwight was her friend.
    Well, this was just too stupid- our daughter is 25, attractive, and seemed to fall for this guy Dwight’s line. To us, it sounded like he was some kind of drug dealer, pimp, or some other kind of perv.
    My husband couldn’t take this, and to some extent, I couldn’t either. We told her she could come back, and my husband made the deal she could go out and do what she wanted once a week. Not my idea of a good deal, but I couldn’t say no. My husband was so devastated, and if something horrible happened to our daughter if she moved in with this guy, he would blame me. I probably would also.
    So, we are back on the merry-go-round.
    My daughter came home yesterday after he ‘day off’ where she can do what she wants. She came home drunk, smelling horrible- like old booze, and she slept all day.
    She is working, and we are saving her paycheck so she can move out. I don’t see any solution to this nightmare at this point. She is making spending money giving plasma twice a week. We have tried to get her to stop this, but since she will only work part time- says she ‘can’t find’ full time work, she gets $$ from the plasma center downtown.
    I am able to kind of compartmentalize her now, and not let thoughts of her sad life consume me. But— it is all such a waste.

  • Diane

    October 24th, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    I like what you said Sandy, compartmentalize. That’s a good word and a very good philosophy. Otherwise this crap just takes over your whole life. We are left to sit and wonder what will happen to him when he maxes out his credit line and can’t pay it back or pay his rent and bills. That is coming.

    My father has offered to pay for a family attorney to help us figure out what to do. We know other people who have adult kids on some sort of benefits because they are addicts and mentally ill. I know my son is mentally and emotionally ill. He has been in double depression for many years now and is borderline personality and perhaps bipolar. He simply can’t function in the world.

    I hope things get better for you very soon – I am going to see what I can do – he is paid up til January on rent so I don’t have much time. I would rather see if Social Services works with this kind of thing – otherwise he will just be sitting on my doorstep in January.


  • Diane

    November 1st, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    Just wondering if anyone saw the study that came out describing alcohol as the most dangerous drug. For those of us that have experienced the ravages of alcoholism this is hardly a surprise. I have watched so many just in our circle of family and friends that have struggled so hard with this demon and several that have lost their lives. My son is the latest casuality as he chooses this “socially acceptable” addiction as his primary drug of choice.

    I always find it interesting when they are trying to analyze things of this nature – all the drugs are devastating and it just goes to show you that an addict is an addict whatever their preferred method of destruction may be. The article on this study can be found at

    Any thoughts from the experienced contributors here?

  • Dale

    November 26th, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    I am going through a situation with my older daughter (42) mother of five; she is out of control, blames me for every problem she ever had and I am afraid she will die of an overdose or acute alcohol poisoning. This article was of some comfort because it reinforced what friends have been saying: that she is choosing the behavior. I raised 4 children and thankfully the other 3 are non abusers; but my son has cancer and between the two issues and a distance of 3000 miles, I am riddled with anxiety and tension all the time, to say nothing of depression. Thanks for the opportunity to view this situation a different way.

  • Dawn

    December 11th, 2010 at 8:19 PM

    So ironic, the last time I posted, I told of my son who had been clean from oxycodone use for 14 months. Around the time I posted that, he relapsed! I gradually realized what was going on, but he finally told me last week. He is currently at my house, detoxing. (I am an RN, but I don’t recommend home detox in most cases). Anyway, I always tried to be the voice of hope, now I feel fairly crushed. He still has his job, but it may be dependent upon his being able to work on Tuesday. He is on thin ice for poor performance (sales job). It is so difficult for the non-addicted person to understand how a person who is free of the physical part of dependency could even THINK of using again! He was depressed over a breakup. I know that many more depressing things are going to happen in his life, so now I wonder if he will ever be clean. I still stand by my belief that we should not help our loved ones be addicts, only help them do positive things. He was great during those clean months! I am pretty devastated right now. Hope my next post will be more positive.

  • Sandy

    December 12th, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    Dawn- I so understand your pain. Since my last post my daughter has been taken to the ER for drinking and being found passed out in the park. After that, she went to rehab at our insistance- she left after 3 days. We took her to a place 300 miles away thinking she wouldn’t be able to call a friend to pick her up, but she ended up calling a cab from the rehab place and her first stop was the liquor store. Some lady (an angel) found her passed out in the bushes behind a Taco Bell, and took her home and called us to come and pick her up. We made that trip, brought her home, and she again left our home after a week and moved in with 2 guys she met ?? who would buy her vodka and cigarettes and let her stay at their place for free. Writing and reading this saga it sounds too incredible to be true, but it is. We are nice middle class people, married, no fighting or abuse or anything in our family, we weren’t overly strict or anything weird, so this is something we just can’t fathom. Our daughter is 25- never held a job more than a couple of weeks, went to college and dropped out on two different occasions due to alcohol and not making to class, she is attractive, intelligent, etc etc etc. So much potential just going to waste. Last night, a dear friend of hers again talked her into ‘coming back home’ to get her life straightened out. So…… she is here again, asleep and no doubt hungover. She will have alcohol withdrawal as she has been drinking a fifth of vodka a day. It is tragic that these young people are throwing away so much. They have to be in pain, but how to save them if they don’t want to be saved? I just hope my next post is not worse. I keep thinking things can’t get worse, that she will have hit bottom, but her lows just keep getting lower.
    I think my daughter may be suicidal at this point as she believes things are so awful she has too far to climb out. We offer love, rehab, medical help, counseling, etc but so far she refuses. I think if we fear she will harm herself, we can get her admitted to a locked in hospital situation, but that is only for 48-72 hours, and we would have to get her there. It is a sad roller coaster. I am going to go to counseling myself to try and at least save my husband and myself from being sucked under also.

  • Edward Wilson

    December 12th, 2010 at 7:17 PM

    The really hard part of these stories is that these children are making choices. They aren’t diseased, or powerless, or dumb, just making awful choices which, to them, seem preferable to growing up. That is, after all, the alternative.

    Happily there is one program in the country which has excellent success rates with young adults. That is the Jude Thaddeus program in up-state N.Y. ( and we regularly refer parents to them.

    They also have an excellent home based program which allows you to understand what’s going on and how you can at least save yourself.

    Dr. Ed Wilson

  • Dawn

    December 12th, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    Thanks, Sandy. I am so sorry for what you are going through. My mother was like your daughter: beautiful, intelligent, accomplished, and alcoholic. I hate so much to see this play out again with my son. He is now finishing his third day of detox, and feels much better. I have to go to work tomorrow, so we will see. He has to go to work Tuesday. His dealer has already been calling him, lowering his prices, etc. How can I help him avoid temptation? I just wish scientists could figure out what turns “on” and “off” the addiction part of the brain.

  • Diana

    December 13th, 2010 at 8:17 AM

    Hi, to everyone
    I have been looking for a long time for this kind of site. People whom i can relate to. I have felt so alone. I have adult children who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. My daughter, who is 34 and a half is in jail now and has been since june 21 of this year. She has been sentenced to 10 years, of which she has to do 5 inside and 5 probation. She pulled out in front of abunch of motorcycles in spring of 2009 and killed a woman. She had been a functioning alcoholic and then got addicted to pills. I now know where she is and that she is not going to overdose. Thats not my only problem. I have a son who is 26. He works hard everyday. He is a waterman. He drinks daily. Smokes pot. He lives in a mobile home his step dad and i fixed up for him on our land but away from us. He has lived there for over six years. He is destructive when he drinks. Blacks out and does not remember things. I have been living a nightmare. I have gotten so many phone calls in the middle of the night because of fights during a party at his house. He calls and is screaming, crying, crazy. It is heartwrenching, and scary. It is worse on weekends. Thats when there are more parties. I had to resort to unplugging my phones so i could stop my heart from racing. I have been doing this for about 2 and a half years on friday and saturday nights. Now i have to do it on sundays. Cause sunday is a drinking day for the people he hangs with. It has even creeped into the week. I am so startled by the ring of a phone. My heart seems to never stop racing. I feel there is no end in sight. I have enabled him. He makes good money and blows it all. I am so tired of all the worry. It is causing great problems with my life. My marriage. I have depleated our savings doing just that, trying to save them. He had a wonderful girlfriend one time who after two years had to walk away. The drunken rages got to be more than she could take. Ihave wished i had the ability to walk away… But how do you walk out of your childs life? His dad is a drunk as well. 55, and lives with his 88 year old mother. He buys food. thats it. So my son has NO support system except me. He is my heart. But my heart is broken. I am down in the dumps, would rather be alone with myself. It has taken a toll on my marriage. Sometimes i just want to walk away from them all. But i have no financial means to do that. And i am not working. I suffer from migrains. I just feel like i am sinking and there is no way out. I don’t want to go on like this. I am missing out on my own life and making myself sick. But, i am glad i stumbled upon this site this morning. People to share with. Thankyou..

  • Edward W.Wilson

    December 13th, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    Unhappily, it isn’t the “addiction part of the brain” that needs turned off … it’s the myth that these people aren’t making choices, choices whose short term rewards they have decided to substitute for those of the long term. They have chosen, and continue to choose, self-medication over getting a life and living a life.

    But don’t be mislead by all of the propaganda out there that passes for help – and don’t excuse or accept behaviors based on false ideas like “powerlessness” and “diseases”, both have been debunked repeatedly over the last 40 years but both keep coming back, pushed by those who will do anuything to prevent people from recovering.

    You adult children can recover – but they have to want to, and they have to be willing to put in the effort it takes to actually create a life. You can help them best by not helping with anything other than acknowledging actual measurable progress.

  • Linda mcdonald

    April 5th, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    I don’t believe my 32 year old daughter can”recover” from lying,cheating,manipulating,pitting people against each other for entertainment,addictive behavior and abuse…..arrogant,sense of entitlement…she was born that way….yes,drugs and alcohol make it worse,but it doesn’t make it go away…..she is in her ninth month of Recovery….from alcohol…and drugs….now her brilliant mind is even sharper and better able to play” God”……she plays games with her P.O.,her counselors, dr.s…others in her groups….and enjoys it….she loves the attention…of coming clean and recovery ect…..she thinks she is the best story ect….and people are entertained by her…I don’t really know how much she suffers…she is a little sad sometime. That she hasn’t used her intelligence and education to make herself appear successful…..and money is very important to her…..not just the stealing and pawning…and taking support money for drugs and alcohol…she’s not doing that any more…it’s the power and control money gives…..I have people in my family with head trauma,war related PTSD …including two sons….mother and another daughter bi polar,…social anxiety disorder…panic attacks….true alcoholism….depression …there have been varying degrees of success and recovery…..but this daughter is different….how can you “recover” from something you have always been …..and just comes natural to you and you like it? I have empathy for everyone here….my daughter has torn apart any relationship I’ve ever had….I don’t enable….and she knows I won’t….plus I am an honest person…she hates honest people and thinks they ate stupid….so she try’s to punish me for that.I DONT BUY INTO IT…IT JUST MAKES HER MORE HATEFUL!!!. I take care of her kids,because otherwise she would leave them with users and a abusive people….otherwise we have no relationship. When I accepted there could be no recovery in this case, things seem less rocky…I am a positive person and have my hope and faith. This daughter does not like goodness and truth…..she believes they are weaknesses ….so why waste it on her .?

  • louise

    October 17th, 2016 at 3:29 AM

    Dear Linda, your daughter sounds very much like my son who at 18 was diagnosed with ASPD or antisocial personality disorder. You can look up the Hare test for this on google. It unfortunately did explain a great deal to me. Sometimes, however just some measure of understanding can help.

  • Connie

    December 14th, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    I feel your pain! We just want responsible adult children! I stuggle a lot due to my daughter having a 4 yr old. It’s hard not to enable my daughter while making sure my grand-daughter is ok. I buy all my grand-daughters clothes and toys. I want her to have as normal of life as possible. I won’t allow her to go to preschool without clean, proper clothes. If my daughter didn’t have children, I think it would be so much easier. I also have my grand-daughter as much as possible. I don’t give my daughter any money and I don’t pay her bills. If utilities get cut off – they stay off until she figures out a way to pay the bill. I don’t give her any money. She seems to be drug/alcohol free. She is constantly tested by the probation officer. But I think now it is depression and her brain is not the same. She still needs to make choices. She could get a different Dr. or take better care of herself (she has type 1 diabetes). Whatever the reason – she is not making good choices – and it is CHOICES!
    We all have to make choices. I get depressed, pissed off, upset, angry, sick, tired, etc… but I choose how to deal with these emotions. EVERYONE makes choices – Sadly most addicts don’t make the RIGHT choices. As long as you keep making it possible for him to continue his lifestyle- he probably won’t change.
    I know it’s hard. I have to work hard everyday to detach myself from my daughter. I hope one day she can be happy again but it is her decision. I know if I choose to make life easier for her, it will help her not to become responsible. If there is a day in the future that she does something against probation – I would turn her in immediately. If she would ever cause a disruption around me or at my house- I would have her arrested. if she called and harrased me- I would press charges.
    You deserve a life – Put his choices back on HIS plate. You should fill your plate with enjoyable fun things :) and start enjoying life:)

  • Connie

    December 14th, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    One more thing…you are not his support system. You are just someone he uses. A support person is someone who is there to support good choices and encourage them when they are progressing. You can let him know you love him and are a support person when he makes the right choices. You are not leaving him…you are just not going to enable bad choices.
    If you want him to be strong and make better choices – YOU must set a good example by making better choices yourself, by not enableing him.

    I’m not saying it’s easy – I have stumbled a few times myself, but I get right back on track. I have support people who help ME make better choices when it comes to her.

    My daughter knows I will have her arrested if she makes a wrong choice – but she also knows I love her and support her when she makes right choices.
    I will keep you in my prayers!! God Bless.

  • tina

    December 30th, 2010 at 7:30 AM

    I know everyone’s pain as well. We have an adult son with a drug problem. He has been arrested and is now off of his 2 years no more legal problems. He has went to outpatient rehab daily and as a family we went on family day. We had an intervention and it went surprisingly well. he went no problem and was gone for 7 months. now he had issues in treatment but he did well. Then he came home and was fine for a while but soon went back to sneaking and smoking and using occasionally. we did drug test him randomly. We asked him to sign his self in for help and he didn’t want to do this until after new years eve. if he was telling the truth he would go now and not have to wait. we kicked him out and it is very hard. it has only been 24 hours. he has called and texted us several times. he has no car and is now needing rides from “friends”. Hopefully no home, food, car, money, job will wake him up to get the help he needs. I believe after witnessing this that the craving is there and the seeking for this is an illness or disease. it does change the way the brain works. i am very sad and scared. i would not wish this on my worst enemy. we have 2 other children who are great. he compares hisself to them. we dont do this he does and we tell him to stop doing that. i think he is jealous because they have boyfriends or girlfriends and a job and a home. he wants a girlfriend so bad. we tell him to fix himself then he can get a job and he will find a girlfriend later. not to rush into things. all of our children were rasied the same so who knows why one person becomes an addict and the others dont. our children were involved in sports we as parents are involved with them. we gave them love and support. i had 3 kids within a year and 3 days. Twins in case your trying to figure this out my oldest was 1 year and i had twins. my son with the problems is a twin. it hurts his sister deeply. well thanks for letting me vent.

  • Lori

    January 3rd, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    This site has saved me today! Our 22 year old is an addict and has been verbally abusing me and our lives for over 2 years. On any given day I will receive texts that I do nothing for his life, I suck at being a mother, I never should have had him, he needs us to pay for his truck to get back on the road and lawyers fees for a hit and run (I am sure he was high or going to get high), etc. He will say “you will be sorry if you don’t help will see how depressed I was and you will have to live with it, I will kill myself, etc”

    We have tried and he has been in detox, outpatient rehab (dropped out after 3 days) and I even called police to meet me at the house when he threatened to hang himself because I was going to shut cell off for badgering me while I was at work. I begged them to keep him for 5 days (which they did) I don’t know what else to do except to save ourselves. I don’t want him living with us any more. I cannot watch this go on. He ruins every holiday, every birthday, every cookout, every event. I am just soooo done with all of this. Thank you for making me know I am not alone!

  • Sandy

    January 5th, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    Lori- I so understand your pain and your being fed up with your son’s abuse of himself and of your family. My daughter is 25, and has moved out, back in, our again, back in, etc etc. A few weeks ago, she left again, and we are hoping that it is for good. We keep giving her an opportunity to ‘get things together’ and to live with us until she is on her feet again, but that never happens. She moves back to take a shower, do her laundry, eat, watch cable TV, and get somewhat healthy. After a week or 10 days, she decides to leave again. She always says it is just ‘for a night out’, but then she is gone for days/weeks and we don’t know where she is or who she is staying with. She is a severe alcoholic, and drinks to the point of passing out, she is then found somewhere unconscious, taken to detox or taken by ambulance to the emergency room, etc etc. She has thousands in unpaid medical bills for ambulance, ER, etc as people find her passed out and call 911. It is a seemingly never ending cycle. Meanwhile we worry, stress, feel guilty, put up with her free-loading on us, etc. On the other hand, we see her potential, want to save her from ruining her health, dying, being molested or murdered when she is found on the streets……. It is horrible. She has no job, I do not know how she gets money as we do not give her any. I know she donates plasma for money 2x a week. Not sure what else she does. We don’t ask anymore.
    So- you are not alone. Sounds like your son knows how to push your buttons- He is old enough to be on his own, and should be. Maybe time to tell him he needs to get his own place- he is an adult. No longer your responsibility to pay for his sell or his vehicle or anything else for that matter. Time to step back and realize he is making his own choices and as hard as it is to watch, it is time for him to deal with the consequences of his poor decision making.
    The tough love thing is tough for the kids and the parents. Heartbreaking to watch- but we are able (after years of living with our daughters poor decision making) to live our lives separate from her. It is a relief. Finally.

  • Lori

    January 6th, 2011 at 8:59 AM


    Can you give me some ideas on how to remove them from the home? I really think that would be the best thing for us..and could possibly be for him. He will leave after a blow up and then just waltz back in when the time is right (usually when we have company over or are not home) and then he will charm his Dad and the cycle starts all over again. I know he is depressed and quite possibly he COULD really commit suicide..but aren’t they doing that each and every day slowly but surely any way?

    Thank you for showing me I am not alone. These blogs help sooo much. He keeps calling himself “my should do more for your child, you don’t help your child” well…I have said – you are not a child any are an adult. You are responsible for yourself. He has worked approximately 10 weeks his entire life. I am sure drug dealing was his way of life and now I think he is completely out of resources (besides selling Suboxone that I pay for) I just don’t know. My husband and I often say that work is a relief just to get out of there (but then again I get the texts all day long – not my husband..he knows better with him)

    I read last night that a rehab counselor once told a parent that not following through with your threats/promises to these addicts (like I will shut off phone, pull section 35, you will need to leave, you cannot use car anymore, etc…I have done it all!) is the #1 reason for readmittance/relapses in this age group – that was sooooo enlightening for me!

    Thank you for posting!!!!!

  • Edward W.Wilson

    January 6th, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    Removing an adult child from you home is no different than removing anyone – you call the police and have them removed and, if necessary, you get a restraining order.

    And the counselor you mentioned is correct – the biggest problem in effecting change is that parents, spouses, children, etc., don’t follow through while also rewarding the self-destructive behavior choices with free housing, food, cars, and cover. Why would anyone change their behaviors when they are being rewarded for them?

    Remember! You child’s behaviors are choices! Not some mythical disease!

  • Lori

    January 6th, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    Thank you Ed! We definitely do provide free housing, food, cars and cover. In fact, just recently I was horrified at the requests coming to me for SPECIFIC food in the house..including Mike and Ikes and Sour Patch Kids- Sure…let me get the food you crave when consuming opiates!!! That was a huge eye opener as well…this is INSANITY! You are correct..the behavior was a choice…and now he is trying to put blame and responsibility on US! Just today, texts he hates me and needs to get to the doctor and its MY fault he has been sick without subs for 4 days. The abuse is endless. Will the police remove him without cause? Can we have it done from the proof of the abuse via text alone? Will this be sufficient?

  • Edward W.Wilson

    January 6th, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    He is trespassing and you have asked him to leave. When he doesn’t, call the police and ask that he be removed. They will ask him to go, if he refuses they will remove him IF you agree to press charges. DO NOT DROP THE CHARGES!

  • Sandy

    January 6th, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    Hi Lori- Ed, as always, has great insight.
    I am not expert, however, in our case- we gave our daughter a date- like ‘the end of the month’, or ‘in two weeks’, and STUCK WITH IT as far as providing money, support, transportation, cell phone, a place to live, other ‘help’, etc. That was years ago. She still has issues and her problems are not solved, however, now her issues are not (mostly) our issues. Her choices put her in the situation she is in, and there is nothing on this earth we can do to make her change or help her change until she makes the choice to help herself and quit drinking. Right now, she has made it clear to us she does not want to quit. So, her life is what it is.
    I would say tell your son that you will not have your phone on at work, and stick to it. You can tell when he is texting or phoning you by the caller ID, so if you want to leave your phone on, just don’t look at or respond to him while you are at work- or anywhere else where you don’t want to be bothered. His ’emergency’ is not necessarily your emergency. His need for money, to tell you off, or to nag you is not anything that needs to be handled while you are at work. Let him know that while you are at work, with friends, or whatever— is time that you will not be accepting communication from him. Let him know ahead of time, and STICK WITH IT!!!! Don’t let his behavior and choices drag you down and have such a negative effect on your life. Right now where he is, giving him money isn’t helping him become independent.
    Just my thoughts on all this mess we find ourselves in.

  • Myra

    January 14th, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    I have been reading all the posts today and I can relatye to them all.My son is 29 and he is an alcoholic and a drug abuser.He is in denial when it comes to his drinking and blames me with everything that is wrong with his life.I am the one who needs help he says because I “project” my inadaquacies in my life on to him.He has been abusing alcohol and drugs since he was 17.He moved out at 18 but has never been able to support himself for more than a year at a time because of his choices.He cannot hold down a job.He has been back at home now since June of 2010.He lost his job and could not pay his rent and we allowed him to move bacj home.I wish that we had said no.My husband and I have asked him not to drink or do drugs in our home and we refuse to give him any money,but he still gets drunk.Last night was bad.I hate the fights and the cruel words that come from him.I hate hearing that we are the problem and that we don’t respect him when it’s the other way around.I am afraid of him,afraid that he will attack me when he is drunk.It’s awful to be arguing with a grown man in your kitchen at 6 a.m. in the morning because he is drunk,loud,and reeking of alcohol.His dad and I are supporting him right now..feeding and sheltering him and we get nothing in return.He has no job and no car.He has been arrested a half dozen times and convicted of one DUI.He lost his driver’s license because of his arrests and has to get a ride everywhere.We refuse to take him to the store to buy alcohol,so he rides his bike.He keeps telling us that we are trying to supress his creativity and we have no idea where he is “coming from”.My husband and I both feel that he needs to be in some type of rehab,but he feels that he does not have a problem.He is in denial.This young man is so smart and gifted,but he chooses to throw it all away on alcohol.He was fired from the last part-time job he had because he went to work drunk.He is truly pathetic when he is drinking.
    we have a 31 year old daughter who is very responsible with her life.She is married and works full-time and she and her husband are raising a beautiful little boy.She keeps telling me that we are enabling him and we need to kick him out.I don’t know what to do,but my home is not a haven of peace anymore.Sometimes I wish he would go away and not even tell me where he is.Right now,I don’t think I would miss him.I feel so bad about thinking such thoughts,but I’m so disappointed in him.He hurts me so much.

  • Gracie

    January 14th, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    your situation is really tough and my heart goes out to you. I had to make some changes in my behavior before things in my situation started to get better. It was so hard to do, but things are so much better today.
    You do not have to live like this….you and your husband have the right to a good life. however, in my situation I kept waiting for the alcoholic/addict to change and that was NEVER,EVER going to happen. It wasn’t pretty, but looking back I thank the Lord I just went for it and took the steps to change the situation. If I hadn’t I would still be stuck in that pit I was in with no way out. Its really hard to do, but you will be so glad you did.
    take care,

  • Maree

    January 15th, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    Gracie, I have arrived at the same place as you, understanding that it is only my behaviour that can be changed, none of us are perfect, even if we are totally sober and drug free we all have our faults. I had a huge break through with my daughter who is a I.V. addict this christmas, I wrote her a long letter and acknowledged the weaknesses in my parenting skills, I acknowledged how I was so hurt when she was sexually abused as a child I didnt know how to help her with her pain (her alcoholic father did this to her)I gave her the letter as well as sat with her and told her what I had written. I endeavour to stay as nuetral as possible with any dysfunctional behaviours. Yes things have settled down alot over the 8 years this has been happening, there is still alot of emotional work that needs to be done ongoing.

  • Maree

    January 15th, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    I didnt finish my blog but must of clicked something I shouldnt of. In essence we can only change our behaviour and although I have known this all along, its a biggie to crack, finding a way to initiate this is difficult and takes heaps of courage, the recent contact has brought my daughter and I closer than we have ever been since she has been a child. I am grateful that she has some ability to meet me on this level. I think our addict adult children offer us the chance to look at our own behaviour and reactions. I did some therapy called “Family Constellation” last year and in a nutshell I came to “What if today is my last conversation with her, my last phone call, the last christmas” cos O.D. is always a possibility. Now I honnor and respect what connection I have. I have also moved on with my life and am nuturing and honnoring myself, gives us both room to grow. My heart goes out to those who are living in the eye of the storm, I was in that place for 8 years, I know 1st hand what choas emotionally and financially it causes, things are slowly changing, Amen

  • Judy

    January 20th, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    Hi Everyone, I am finally reading what I know and believe to be true…some validation at last. I send my deepest best wishes to all of you that are suffering. My son is now 43, he has been a drug addict since he was 25. He started off as a heroin addict, at 30 he flipped his car 3times and was flight lifted to the hospital with a 20% chance of survival. He returned to drug use brewing up “cocktails” with his pain scripts and illegal drugs. After 7 more years he was back to full time heroin use and living in a storage shed. I stepped in at that point and he and his girlfriend came to my home…big mistake. Long story short, I got rid of the girlfriend when he was in jail, but he met another in “treatment court” who got pregnant, delivered a drug addicted child who wound up in my care. I have cared for the child as a mother, fighting both my son and the “egg donor” for 3.5years. No one will help me continue to protect the child from her fathers drug use, or help me get legal custody of her. I am growing older and am so afraid for the child…and so alone. Thank you so much for sharing your stories. It is a comfort. Bless You all

  • hydee

    February 7th, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    You have all given me hope. From reading all the messages on this blog, I came to the conclusion that I am enabling my 23 year old son and have been for a long, long time. My son’s father committed suicide when he was 4 years old. I remarried a military man who I always thought was too hard on my “poor little boy” who had been through so much. Granted, my husband was pretty hard on my emotional little boy, but my intervention just started the whole ball rolling. And let me tell you what, my son figured out just how to use me to get what he wanted. As he got older it got worse.
    My son is my only family and the fear of losing him scares me into allowing him to emotionally blackmail me. I keep hearing myself make excuse after excuse for his behavior. He always chooses his friends and his pot over us.
    He has been in and out of jail since he was 16. Each time I convince my husband that we should bring him home in hopes that all will be well, and it is for a little while. Then he turns to smoking pot again which in turn leads to other things as well. He has lied to us, cheated us, stolen from us, and emotionally drained us. He has driven a wedge between my husband and I.
    This last time, january of last year, he took my car while my husband and I were out of town. He went to make a drug deal. He got caught. My husband started his “wish he would just die or go to jail” rant and I cried. After his arrest, we did not talk to him for months. He lived far away from us which made it easier. He seemed to be getting his act together and asked if he could come home as part of his pre-trial agreement. He had been doing very well. But broke our trust when he took the car without permission and put it into a snow bank.
    I was all ready to make excuses, keep the truth from my husband, and cover up for my son to avoid the inevitable. Then I searched for some good advice. Though I fear loosing my son, and fear he will do something stupid like his father did, I faced the fact that I have to save myself. This blog gave me the courage to act. I know I AM A GOOD PARENT, HE IS THE ONE MAKING THE CHOICES, and kicking him out of the house does not mean I do not love him.
    I calmly packed his things. I took them over to his friends house. I calmly told him that he had broken our trust for the last time. He tried emotional blackmail, pushing every button that has always worked in the past. I held my ground and kept repeating “I am a good parent” “I do love you” “you have made the decisions that have put you in this situation” and “this is my decision”. I felt like an addict who took the first step into sobriety. I know it will not be easy. He tried texting me and I responded the same way I responded when he emotionally attacked me.
    Thanks for the advice.

  • Edward W. Wilson, PhD

    February 7th, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    It’s always easier to give advice than to act on it – but acting does free us as parents and frees our children, of whatever age, to grow up, or not.

    As a father whose daughter has elected to “punish” me by cutting off contact these past dozen years, I can say that we survive these attemptd to manipulate and punish. Especially if we get good at taking care of ourselves and others.

    So, again, turn your attention to where it can do some good and don’t try and change someone who isn’t apt to change until their manipulation no longer work.

    To quote Lewis Thomas, M.D., “Sometimes the best we can do is to stand quietly in the corner wringing our hands.”

    Though I suggest we can get out of that corner, stop watching our self-destructive child, and turn our attention elsewhere.

  • Gracie

    February 7th, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    Maree, Judy, & Hydee,
    My thoughts are with you all. Personally for me, I really have to stay positive about the situation. My mantra (especially on “blue” days) is , “I Can Do This”. Wow, can this be difficult to do, but when you kinda get backed ina corner, that’s the only option, as far as I’m concerned. I think that I was as addicted to saving my mom, as she was to her drug of choice. It was just one big ole sick situation, really.
    I’m so glad that its better now than it used to be, however, always know that feelings follow action and it sure as heck doesn’t “feel” good when you first start. As I wrote previously, when I started to detach from the situation I really felt like those bad feelings would just swallow me up. Today, I stay away from that despairing, hopelessness….which really wasn’t the truth anyway. The truth is people make choices and they are always free to make different choices. If they don’t like the situation, they are free to change their choices in order to change their outcomes. Others choices don’t dictate my behavior. And my behavior is a reflection on me. Others behavior is a reflection on them.
    Truthful statements like this have really helped me to get my sanity back over the situation.
    Make sure that you are telling yourself the truth about your situation. For instance, I changed telling myself something was “awful” (or horrible, disgusting, etc) to “unfortunate” or “unpleasant”. It just doesn’t have the same emotional fallout. These are some of the things that worked for me. Also, journaling was and is important for me as well as talking with others whom I feel can understand and keep confidences.
    Please know that you are not alone.
    Take care,
    PS…Great comments as always, Dr. Wilson.

  • Edward W.Wilson

    February 7th, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    Thank you, Gracie, and for those of you struggling with the managing of your thoughts and emotions, please remember that our thoughts and actions create our emotions – not the other way around. We always refer clients to threeminutetherapy. com for a really good introduction to CBT written for people, not therapists (well, okay, we therapists are people too, sometimes, but I think you get the drift).

  • hydee

    February 8th, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    My son has resorted to telling everyone that his parents have given up on him. I am hoping he doesn’t actually believe this. And if he does actually think this it worries me. But I know I can’t give in.

  • Edward W.Wilson

    February 8th, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    These so-called “children” will continue to manipulate, abuse, and pressure parents until it no longer works. Then they may try something else – which is called growing up – but they never will as long as they don’t have to.

    Rememebr the Biblical prodigal son? He cleaned up and then he came home. That’s the right order.

  • Gracie

    February 9th, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    Just speaking for myself, the best day for me in a long time was the day I “gave up” on the situation. That is, I gave up this idea planted in my mind that Somehow, Someday I could find a way to fix another human being. I was totally obssessed with the idea and planned and plotted constantly how I was gonna “fix” her and all her problems. Money couldn’t fix it. Endless hours talking and trying to convince her how to change didn’t work. Giving in and letting her have her way on everything was a disaster. Nothing ever worked. It was an exhausting way to live.
    It was and is still a very freeing concept, To turn it loose, To Let Go. But the thing is, its the only thing that will work. You cannot change another human being no matter who they are. No matter how close you are to them or how much you want it for them.
    However, we all have to get there when we get there. The old saying applied to me…I didn’t change until I just got so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I still remember the day when I had just had it. That was 8 years ago. Words cannot describe how much better my life is today than back then. She also made threats to harm me and herself. Thankfully, none of that ever happened, but the point is, it could have happened and there is no guarantee when you start taking care of yourself that things will get better. In fact, for me things got a lot worse for a good while, before they got better.
    Really, the only way that I got through it, was I was just determined to not quit. Somedays were ok, other days were a nightmare, but no matter the pressure I just didn’t quit.
    I sometimes think maybe there could have been an easier way to deal with the situation, I don’t know. But I don’t think these situations can be dealt with in a “prettier” way. Drugs and alcoholism are just one ugly beast. So just have to take care of yourself and your family the best you can.
    One thing I held onto that someone told me during all this, was, “It gets better”. This has proven to be so true for me. Once I started doing the right thing and making good decisions, I can say it has definitely gotten better.
    Praying for you,

  • hydee

    February 10th, 2011 at 7:46 PM

    Thanks for all the support. So far I stay strong and stick to my guns. Thanks for the prayers. I am working hard to “Let go let God” to coin a phrase. I will hold to the thought that “It gets better.” I know that I have no control over anyone else’s actions. I only have control over how I react to them.

  • lori

    March 5th, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    My son has been drinking and drugging since he was 15. Things really came to head when he was 19 and we found out he was using heroin. Since then we have tried 6 different treatment programs (2 out of state) and he has detoxed 10 times after relapsing. This past January he began drinking yet again. He got out of rehab the middle of December. WE detoxed him and said we had had enough and told him he could not come home. He is 21 now. He lived in his new recovery home for 2 months. He found a job and things were going well until he met new people at work and started partying with them. He left on a Friday night and turned up at our house on a Monday, after driving the car home drunk. We said we would take him back to detox but he would need to figure something else out because we needed to start focusing more of our time on our two other kids. I’m so worried that by not supplying him with a home is signing his death certificate. I try to keep reminding myself that when he is home he is always drunk, wetting the bed, puking, not working and basically doing nothing at all productive. I just need some words or encouragement that my husband and I made the right choice and should stand strong. Thanks

  • Ellen

    March 6th, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    Iori, your story sounds so much like what we have gone thru with our 33 year old child. For 18 years we have endured rehab and jail times with the hope always that this time he has hit bottom. It has not happened, so thanks to this blog over the course of the last 2 months, I have finally realized that I can do nothing for my adult child except let go totally. We have supported him financially and emotionally with the hope that he would realize that life has so much more to offer, but he is “broken”. I hope you and your husband have the strength to say no to your adult child sooner than later as it definitely will effect your other children. Our other child endured years of me being distraught and sad over his big brother. Having your child become an addict is a heartbreak, and has taken its toll on our family.

  • Maree

    March 7th, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    Lori, my heart goes out to you for the huge effort and love you have put into helping your son make better choices in his life. As a veteran of this I encourage you to lessen with time this focus on your son and transfer this to yourself and the rest of the family. This does NOT mean you love him less. I would love to write a longer blog but I have had bone surgery re broken bones in right wrist.

  • Sandy

    March 7th, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    Lori- I so agree with Ellen. You are doing the right thing in standing strong and not letting your ADULT child move back home- yet again. You have other children to consider, as well as the mental and physical health of you and your husband.
    We are finally seeing that our daughter’s alcoholism is not worth sacrificing our life for. We have offered help- financial and emotional, we have taken her to rehab (she stayed only 4 days), and we have waited many nights and holidays for her to ‘come back’ to our family. She keeps choosing alcohol over her friends, many jobs, college opportunities, and a relationship with her brother and niece.
    Currently, she is living with a 55 yr old disabled man (she is 25) who evidently allows her to not work, stay drunk, and live off of his disability check. It is heartbreaking.
    We are regular middle class people who are educated, have always held jobs, and provided good, stable home life for our family. I don’t know what happened and why our daughter has chosen this path. I sometimes feel guilty that we have succeeded in moving forward with OUR lives- and not continued to try to rescue her. All I know is that we tried that for 7 years, and nothing worked. She continues to choose alcohol over all the good things life has to offer. She has been taken to the ER numerous times for alcohol poisoning, she has been found unconscious from alcohol on several occasions, she has been fired from countless jobs for not showing up, and has ruined several holidays by just not bothering to show up- too drunk or hungover. We have finally given up- we are here for her if she ever decides to take the offer to ‘sober up’, but so far she just says she likes to drink and she doesn’t want to quit. So be it.
    We are sad, but no longer suffering and ruled by her addiction.

  • hydee

    March 10th, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    Lori, at the beginning of February, I told my 23 year old son that I could no longer support his addictions and he would have to get a grip. I threw him out of the house even though his father killed himself over drugs. I did not have any contact with him for over a month. Which almost drove me crazy. But, Life is full of choices. He made choices. I needed to start making choices for my own welfare. He reacted with emotional blackmail followed with some poor, poor, pitiful me. I just kept telling myself “I am a good mother, I do love my son, I love myself, and he has to choose life and sobriety.” I can not do it for him I hope he can do it for himself. It was definitely the right thing to do! I worried and was scared every day that I would get a phone call I could not handle. The bottom line is, he was going to choose to live or choose to not live and he was going do it in my home or out of my home. But, when he was in my home his choices were slowly destroying my life and tearing my family apart. He finally called 4 days ago and was ready to be civil. He did not try emotional blackmail. He told me he is getting it. He tells me that he is clean. I finally met him for dinner 2 days ago. He paid (WOW) and I could tell that he was clean (for now). He knows that I stand my ground. He has come to the conclusion that we will not save him, he has got to do it. But this kind of conviction has happened many times in the past. But, because he is out of the house it makes the yo-yo clearer. Be strong and choose to take care of you. Let him make choices.

  • Amy

    March 15th, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    I just came across this site today, and was reading all the comments, and felt like I was reading about mine and my sons lives.

    I don’t know what to do anymore, I feel like my next step will be planning and paying for his funeral. I understand that I can’t make him stop that he has to want to do it, but how do I protect myself his siblings, his daughter and the rest of the family from this heartache? I will lose my mind if I lose my son to this addiction.

  • Lila

    March 20th, 2011 at 4:08 AM

    What a blessing to have found this website. I have felt so alone, trying to cope with this family disease.
    I had a twin brother who passed away 1 year ago on the 21st and I couldn’t help him with his drinking.
    I watched the jperson I spent every moment of my life on earth die in front of me. We loved each other so very much and my heart has a hole from his death. 3 weeks after his death my 32 year old daughter tried to
    kill herself because she is addicted to cocaine. This last year has been like living in a trance, not believing life can be so hard. She is divorced and has
    2 beautiful daughters who are staying with me for now.
    Their father is only a part time parent. My daughter is always in trouble with the law and has broken probation twice. I don’t know where she is now but do know there is a warrant out for her. We made her leave the first of the month after we found drugs in our home. We have tried several times to help her but
    she wants to be her own person. No one is going to tell her what to do, and all the choices she makes are wrong. We have totally cut her off of money and we have her car which we purchased for her, one of many. She has gotten violent several times and stole
    from us many times. We just can’t do it anymore. Her older sister and family have paid the price for our enabling her. Yet, they are beautiful in trying to be
    there for us. My concern is for my grandaughters. How do you explain to a 8 and 11 year old about their Mother when you don’t understand yourself. I also have an older brother who is an alcoholic and has been sober for 25 years. I know there can be hope, but I also know there can no hope. Thank you so much for this website and I pray for all of us as parents and siblings and sons and daughters God will give us the strength and peace we all need.

  • Ellen

    May 22nd, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    I am wrting again to help myself stay strong. I had lost contact with my son for many months until last week when a call came from him wanting our help while he is incarcerated for cocaine possession. My heart has an open wound again, and I really do not want to help him, but I am an emotional wreck. Any advice out there?

  • Donna

    June 3rd, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    I’m just a wreck about my son. My marriage is at stake because I’m the “enabler.” I hate what drugs & alcohol do to families. How do I summon the courage to kick my son out? I don’t know how people do it. Maybe I haven’t come to the last straw yet. My life is filled with disappointment, fear and dread.

  • Ellen

    June 4th, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Donna, I understand exactly how you feel and I do not think there is a last straw until you decide it is. Do not let your son also ruin your marriage. He has alreay ruined your life with disappointment, fear, and dread. I struggle each day with the lost family my drug addicted adult son has given us. He can never realize how many people have deep saddness and broken hearts because of his actions, and any hopes for tomorrow have been taken away. We as parents have to have our lives back, although I don’t think I will ever really be happy again. There has been too much hurt. I have to remember that my son is an adult and made these choices without asking my advice.
    Stay strong and let your son know that you can not support him any more.

  • Donna

    June 10th, 2011 at 6:29 AM

    Thanks for the words of support, Ellen. I don’t want to let this ruin my marriage. I just seem to get defensive if my husband makes certain remarks. He can easily be strong and manage his emotions, whereas I tend to feel weak and broken-down. I do get angry with my son and try to set boundaries, but after years of legal & rehab stints, feel like my only option is kicking him out. I cry as I write this- knowing I will fall apart (I’m barely hanging by a thread now)if I have to do that. The thought makes me physically sick. He is such a good kid and so sweet when he’s sober. It’s horrific watching drugs and alcohol suck the soul out of your child.

  • Donna

    June 10th, 2011 at 6:38 AM

    I’m really glad I found this site. I spend so much time pretending to be happy and that things at home are “normal.” Nobody talks openly about this stuff. I mean, how can you? People talking about their successful children in college and then you chime in with your horror story? I also feel that many people who haven’t lived with an addict don’t understand the emotions involved. It’s nice to have found a website where people to give support, advice & encouragement.

  • Ellen

    June 15th, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    It is even difficult for us to talk with the “successful” sibling about our drug addict son…I think he still feels like we give more energy to our “broken” son than we do to him. It is so hard to strike a balance between children, when we all know as the parent you are only as happy as your saddest child. People that have not been thru this cannot understand, I only hope for them that they never have to.
    I have to remember that addicts are master manipulitors and will say anything to get what they need. I’ve been taken into this too many times and now want to be free of the monster that drugs created.
    The new ads for a drug free America are right on. Seeing your child literally become a different person is frightening and so hard to know how to deal with.
    All of you out there, please keep writting. This has been a great help to me being able to cope with the lives drugs have impacted.

  • Ellen

    July 25th, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    Don’t ask WHY… it will make you crazy.

  • Brandi

    August 7th, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    I have been dealing with a drug addicted daughter for over a year now. She is almost 30 and has two children that she doesn’t bother with. I don’t know if she will ever turn her life around and this waste fills me with sadness. I loved the girl I knew but I realize that girl doesn’t exist anymore.
    If she turned it all around today, I really don’t think that I would care. There is such a selfishness in drug addiction that I find it intolerable. Really, how could you ever forget the painful road you must travel. For me, another name for addiction is selfishness. I, my family, my grandchildren don’t need to be abused. I have only one thought left, drop dead.

  • sandra perry

    August 13th, 2011 at 12:55 AM

    my son is 25, living at home with no job. associates degree that took 6 years to get. drinks and smokes pot every day. says he looks on craigs list every day for a job and can’t find one. stays out late every night with like friends and sleeps 1/2 a day each day. This is driving me and my husband crazy and when we try to talk to him he gets upset and we fear he will commit suicide. we don’t know what to do and it’s eating us up emotionally and physically.

  • Brandi

    August 14th, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    I would start with a plan. Give it a timeline. If your son is mentally unstable, he should be committed to hospital. If they are a threat to themselves or others, this will get him assessed.

  • Kathy

    August 16th, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    Thank you so much for this blog post. My husband and I are two days from cutting off my youngest son. At 26 he’s addicted to synthetic marijuana or who knows what. He’s also an alcoholic on Antabuse. Money, time, heartache, health, good regard, peace…all have been sacrificed to manipulative promises and excuses. Our marriage is next. It’s not as old as my son’s problems. It may even be a product of my own altered mental state from years of trouble with my son, but that’s another topic altogether. Thanks again. I’ll be rereading this page and the comments over and again for a while.

  • Kathy

    September 5th, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    Donna, of June 3, 2011: How is it going with your son? Your situation is exactly like mine. We finally put my son out two weeks ago. He ended up in county jail on a warrant from some previous mischief because he was panhandling at the local gas station. That kept him off the street for a week. He’s out now and came by to visit his dog, check on his belongings and beg to come back…while skunk drunk and under the influence of something else too. He’s thin, sunburned, dirty. He’s lost a bag of clothes. He won’t even take his clean-up items with him or fresh clothes. I had tucked some non-perishable food in his bag with some pre-wrapped plastic utensils. He wouldn’t take that. He’s not event trying to hobo it. I feel like it’s a big “pity-me” behavior. Can he be so dumb about camping out after being raised by me? It was difficult but necessary to firmly make him leave again.

  • Donna

    September 9th, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    Hi Kathy-
    Things got much worse. Car accident (shook him temporarily) which totaled our car and luckily no one was hurt. Started drinking and whatever else shortly thereafter. Ended up in jail for not appearing at court for a previous drinking charge. Out not yet a week and drinking again. He will sometimes go several days sober and is very pleasant, but when he drinks, all hell breaks loose. I’m always on edge.

  • Tanya

    September 11th, 2011 at 6:47 AM

    My son is 32 and I’m 61 although I feel like 80 and am really noticing the wrinkles and worry lines these days. The worry, stress and pain of loving an addict is almost unbearable and the emotional and financial strain is incredible. The black cloud is hovering overhead no matter how hard I try to find joy. My story is like so many others; my son began his defiance and deviant behavior at around 14 and has never learned how to be a responsible adult. He has been in and out of treatment centers– some mandated by the courts, some paid for by my ex-husband and some paid for by me. He has wrecked every car he’s driven, was addicted to heroin for years and is also an alcoholic. He’s currently in county jail doing time for a third DUI. I retired 4 yrs ago and have depleted a good-sized chunk of my retirement savings trying, on several occasions, to help him get “on his feet”. He just keeps digging the hole deeper and deeper. He says he wants to stay clean and build a nice life for himself, but nothing ever changes for long. I have told him I’m finished and I mean it. I will research county-funded programs and that’s it. I will no longer transfer my hard-earned funds into his account so he can do nothing but get in trouble. I grieve about what a sweet child he was and how smart he is and it is so difficult to let go, but I know i have to take care of myself and let him take care of himself. I don’t want to have the same relationship with him anymore; I feel used and abused and it makes me so angry with him. I need to stay close to this website in order to stay strong. Thanks to everyone for all of your helpful posts.

  • Tanya

    September 11th, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    I neglected to mention that my son suffered two seizures last year and ended up in the hospital both times. This year he was diagnosed with Disseminated Candidiasis, which is a fungal infection that spread through his bloodstream and progressed to his optic nerve, causing loss of vision in his left eye. Unchecked, it could have spread from the optic nerve to his brain, resulting in death. He spent a week in the hospital on IV medication and had to have eye surgery to save his life. His father paid for it because, of course, he has no job and no insurance. This infection was caused by mixing heroin with lemon juice and injecting it. He also had Hep C several years ago and was on medication for quite some time. He may still test positive for it; I don’t really know. As I said in my first post, he’s in jail. I’ve talked to him a few times and haven’t noticed a change yet. He thinks he is being treated unfairly because he’s in jail with men who are there for robbery and assault– all he did was go out, have a few drinks and get behind the wheel. When will he admit he’s messed up his life and he’s suffering the consequences of his actions? When is something his fault? During our last call, he went on and on about how dangerous it is in there and how I don’t understand what it’s like– he’s locked up in a cell!! What does he want me to do about it? I finally told him I couldn’t talk to him anymore and I hung up. I’m just tired of being so enmeshed in his dysfunctional life. My mother was a rage-aholic (who probably suffered from Bipolar). She committed suicide just 11 days before my son was born. My ex-husband is a control freak and I finally set myself free from that relationship 23 years ago. Now, for the past 18 years, my son has been drinking and drugging. There’s never any peace. I know this must sound like a pity party and maybe it is. I’m just tired of the pain.

  • Ellen

    September 13th, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    Tanya, It does not sound like a pity party! Any parent that has an addicted adult child understands the pain you are feeling. I have become numb, and wonder if I will ever have any true happiness.

  • Tanya

    September 14th, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    Thanks, Ellen, I wonder the same. Like you said in an earlier post, it’s difficult to be any happier than your saddest child. When they hurt, we hurt. The guilt never goes away either. No matter what I do, I agonize over whether it was the right thing to do. I think I’ll try doing the exact opposite of what I’ve been doing because the old way certainly hasn’t done any good!

  • Tanya

    September 23rd, 2011 at 6:46 AM

    I hope that this blog will stay active, but it looks like it may be fizzling out. Is there another blog that some of you have switched to or have things settled down for most of you? I was so happy to have found this site, but I’m disappointed in the lack of posts recently. How are things going for you, Donna?

  • Ellen

    September 23rd, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Tanya, I am also disappointed in so few posts. I check almost daily to see if anyone else has some words of wisdom. My 34 year son is on probation again,(cocaine possession) and as usual he says this time will be different, but the old behaviors creep right back. The only time he really wants to talk with us is when he is incarcerated…probably because we are the only ones that would stil pay to talk with him. As a worn out mother, this is going on 19 years, I am still trying to let go of the pain he has caused.

  • Tanya

    September 24th, 2011 at 6:32 AM

    Ellen, i searched for other blogs and didnt find any, however, I read an article written by Michelle Dunbar that may be helpful. After reading it, I was thinking we need rehab too– for about 3-4 days. Wouldn’t it be nice to get away from all of the stress and focus on changing our behaviors for a more positive outcome? We could break out into groups and do some role-playing and then have professionals role-play the healthier way to react, respond or whatever? And, when we leave to go back in the real world, we could exchange phone numbers and email addresses with other participants as well as the counselors so we could keep in touch and support one another when we put what we’ve learned into practice. Since we can’t change the addict, we could put our energy into changing ourselves! Regarding your post, I don’t know if there is a way to let go of the pain. As soon as I think things are moving in a positive direction, my son has another crisis that throws him and those who love him into another tailspin. If he got sober and stayed sober for several months, there might be some healing. But car accidents, arrests and illnesses don’t create a healing atmosphere for anyone. I’ve bailed my son out of jail 3 times in the past year and I’m done doing that. For one thing, I get hung out there for the entire cost of the bail if he doesn’t make it to court until the case is resolved. He’s in county jail in CA and missed his court date in TX. The judge is angry and is threatening to forfeit the bond. It’s just one thing after another and he’s created such a path of destruction in his wake– I can’t keep up with it anymore. It’s just a bottomless pit.

  • Donna

    September 27th, 2011 at 6:57 AM

    Hi everyone, I tend to not write when things get really bad because the pain becomes unbearable and I just want to crawl into a hole. I find it increasingly difficult to stay strong. I’ve been to a couple Al-Anon meetings, but by the time everyone introduces themselves, the meeting is over. I am afraid to feel happiness because it is always short lived. I am always dreading the next crisis- which always comes. I feel like there is very little support for parents of addicts.

  • Diane

    September 28th, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    Tanys, Donna and Ellen – I am still here as well. Like Donna said, when you are surrounded by so much pain – you just need a break.

    My son will have his 25th birthday in a couple of months but he won’t be celebrating here. I have tried for the past year to remove him from our home – he keeps coming back, crying, pleading, telling us not to sign his death warrant. I relent, he comes back and it all starts again. My husband stopped coming home every night- my daughter is looking for an apartment (and she has two more years of engineering school) One of my twins went across the country to stay with his aunt and cousins and the other makes himself so scarce that he is like a ghost. They are all sick of this dysfunction and pain. They are angry with me as well so along with the unrelenting guilt from #1, I can add all this to the soup.

    He is also in trouble with the law – was pulled over twice in as many days for drunk driving – but of course it was all my fault because I kicked him out when I caught him sucking down cheap Vodka yet again in our home. He refuses to go back to rehab, refuses to get a job, all he does is sleep all day, get up and surf the most disgusting porn sites all evening and wait to go to the bars he frequents every night. He comes home-drinks another pint or fifth and we start all over again the next day. He recently told us he needed money to move to Florida to live with friends who were going to help him get a job. We had to fix his car (transmission blew) and put $1800 into that and gave him another $800 in cash to get there. My sister (who doesn’t have a great income) bought him food and gas cards for the trip. We found a paper that showed he sold the gift cards to a place that gives you 65% for them. He has now taken to pawning anything he can get his hands on. Needless to say he never went to Florida but the money’s gone and we only got 3 days away from him.

    I snapped today and threw him out. We gassed his car and gave him $20. We have a family friend who lives alone and will take him in-and try to work with him since he has had his own struggles with addictions. My son told me he will have to sleep in his car because he would never live in a trailer park (this guy has a manufactured home in a section of a trailer community). This actually amused me – the car would be so much classier? And THAT car to boot?! He is right now as I write this – writing me his “poison text messages” full of threats and recriminations” He is a pathological liar, a late-stage alcoholic, a drug user, and the laziest human being ever born. I knew the party was over when he was grabbing me and begging me not to “throw him away” and threatening to kill himself for like the 1000th time and I couldn’t feel anything – maybe a little disgust. We have offered him help – we have given him years of chances and now – it truly is him or me. I can no longer be party to the suffering of the rest of my family (including my parents whom he has bled for money with his stupid lies). We won’t pay a nickel for his legal troubles – though he is representing himself at his trial. He is very high IQ and expceptionally articulate – he would have made a good lawyer and we encouraged him to pursue it before he spent almost his entire college fund on booze. We all need to hang in there – I am turning off my phone – these messages will come in all night long – Hugs to you all – I wish we all weren’t in this hell. (Must go and clean out the 15 bottles I found stashed under my cushions in my study)

  • Diane

    September 28th, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    I forgot to mention that all summer he had us buying the story that he had joined the Navy and he was shipping out for boot camp in Sept. He had a friend print and sign enlistment papers that are actually on the web. He was going to be in intelligence operations and was going to be a super spy because he tested so high on tests. He even had me drop him off at a recruiters station for the testing. It was pretty good – I told the family and he let me go ahead and do it – you know- he finally cleaned up and everything was going to be ok. My father (WWII vet) was so proud. All of it lies – designed buy him more time and get more money out of us. His answer when we discovered the hoax- he does what he has to do to survive and we drive him to it.

    So it was the Navy, then Florida- two weeks ago he said he had a job at the airport – today- an Apple hiring event-none of it true. It’s always the same pattern – He has a “job” – we wait for the background check to come back (takes weeks) we wait for the start date – he fakes going for a while- he needs money just til he gets his first check- we eventually find out he’s lying – he screams and yells at how we “micromanage” him – then he begs and promises that he does have something else in the fire and the process starts anew I can’t even count the number of fake jobs he has had but the landscape around here is littered with them.

    I am convinced we will be doing this when he’s forty and fifty if WE don’t call it quits. Which I just did – and his last text said: “This is simply wrong. I’m being forced into what is now, for the first time, a completely untenable position”- We’ve changed the codes and locked up the house- I won’t find him hovering over me at 4 am as I sleep on the sofa (because we are all afraid of him and afraid he’s going to burn us down with his 4-5 am cooking)I just hope he doesn’t show up and start banging on the doors and screaming (we’ve been there before)-the bars are closing now – I kind of expect it. Hugs – sorry I’m just a little wigged right now – hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in spite of it all….

  • Ellen

    September 29th, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Diane, Donna and Tonya, and all The hardest day is the day you finally say “NO”, but it is definitely the best for you and the rest of your family. Our addicted children have to figure it out for themselves, without our financial help. I will always be here for emotional support, but as I look back over 18 years and realize that the only time we were asked for help was help with money…not ever advice. My son, now 34, with a baby mama and a 4 year old daughter, is trying again to come clean. I wish him well, but he has to do this for himself and his “family”. I am not here to be abused or taken advantage of ever again… Hang in there, all of you out there that know that it is not something that we did or did not do to create this monster that is our child.. Give yourself a hug.

  • Diane

    September 29th, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    He showed back up today-right at dinnertime because he was holed up sleeping all day. My husband has stated he doesn’t want him here when he gets home and so of course, that’s when he shows up. He was so arrogant- let himself in, walks to the fridge- I yelled at him to get out. He is violating the rules laid down yesterday. He is supposed to contact his brother if he needs to get us any messages.

    He told me his phone is broke (he has been through dozens in the last couple of years) I told them that is his problem and he called me “horrible’ and ‘an fing shrew”. He told me he will not go to our family friend who is expecting him – and he won’t say where he did go. I’m ok with that as long as he stays out and follows the procedure for messages. I was on my computer and found out that he has been surfing so much porn – including fetish sites about masturbating in front of one’s sister and her friends I have a 21 year old very beautiful daughter and she has very pretty friends that stay here at times. I was so repulsed and disgusted. He walked in right as I was finding all this. He probably spends hours every night surfing these disgusting porn sites. His big reason for his drinking and failure to function is because he doesn’t have a girlfriend. He is very socially awkward and he has never had any self-confidence. But, to spend so much time on this – in lieu of looking for work or help for his problems is just too, too much.

    He obviously wasn’t looking for work today – my husband swears he has no intention of working He figured we would just go back to the status quo after he sleeps elsewhere for just one night. He needs to live with us – it’s free, free food, stuff to pawn, people to manipulate, very close to his bars, free internet and cable,people to fight with – I kicked him out so fast and let him know he is NEVER coming back to live here so he better figure out what he needs to do from here. I still offered him rehab or hospital to be evaulated for his obvious mental and emotional problems. Thanks, I just was very shook up again today. Need to stay the course but it’s hard to be this disgusted by and afraid of your own child.

  • Celia

    September 29th, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    I don’t even know where to begin. My son is 30 years old and is a veteran of the Iraq war. From the time he was 6 years old it seems that he has been in some kind of trouble. As he got older it just seemed to get worse. During elementary school he was kicked off of the bus on several occasions for fighting, then in high school, even though he was a gifted athlete, he was constantly having to be disciplined by staying after school and missed baseball/football practice so much that he gave up on both sports. He was kicked out of one private high school, but we were able to get him in another similar private high school. He graduated from high school on time and then was in and out of college for the next few years. He joined the national guard and is/was a pretty good soldier. He did a tour of duty in Iraq and returned home in 2009. Since then it has just been one nightmare after another with him. He was able to finally finish college and actually did really well when he returned from Iraq. Somehow…someway…I really don’t know how all this happened I ended up giving him money for drugs. This has been going on for 2 years now and I am just at the end of my rope. I have paid for 2 rapid detoxes which lasted for just a month or so before he was back on the pain killers, he has also been to a couple of different drs and tried the suboxone treatment. Nothing seems to work. As Diane says, he calls me all the time and blames me for everything. If I don’t give him the money he demands he comes to my office and confronts me. It is unbelievable the amount of money that I have given him over the past 2 years. The really bad thing about all of this is that my husband doesn’t know any of this. I’ve been afraid to tell him and the longer it goes on the harder it is. My son does not have a job and is always saying that he is going to get one soon. I wonder who wants to hire a college graduate that hasn’t worked for over 2 years. He, too, has threatened suicide and the guilt is just horrible. Now he wants me to pay for another round of rapid detox and I told him I just can’t afford it again and it doesn’t do any good anyway. I’ve begged him to go to a good treatment center where he can be treated and receive counseling and maybe even his insurance (which I am paying) will cover some of the cost. By the way, I am also paying all of his living expenses and repairs to his car. There is no way that he could live here at home….I could not handle it. I just am at the point where I don’t know what to do. I know that I need to tell my husband, but I just can’t at this time. This forum has been very helpful and it is a comfort to know that others are going through this and managing to survive. It is a very sad and sometimes desperate situation.

  • Diane

    September 29th, 2011 at 10:50 PM

    Celia-its so hard to be bullied and taken advantage of by our own child. We don’t feel like mothers anymore but just as a means to an end. I’m so rowing that boat right alongside you.

    Mine was also a difficult and oppositional child all the way up. I tried to get him diagnosed many times but was never told anything definitive except ADHD.Why he has struggled his entire life is certainly a lot more than that. It sounds like your son is also very bright and as he did get through military service and finish college. I know what you mean about employment prospects- they just scream of what they are by the gaps in their resumes.

    Mine never really started to work-he lies on his apps and resume-just like he lies to us. My husband told him the other day that he knew when he was lying-its when his lips are moving-that is the sad fact anymore.

    I’m just trying to cope with this new reality. He claims to be homeless and that it is all our fault and we will be reading about what happens to him in the newspaper. I wonder what that exactly means. We are actually worried that he could hurt one of us-he is so bitter and angry and he just doesn’t seem rational anymore.

    We think he does have some resources-someone has been giving him drinks and bottles and some cash for alcohol but he wants to live here and keep terrorizing us. The real terror is that this monster is my child like Ellen said. I can no longer reason with it, accept it, or change it. He has to WANT to change and he just isn’t there yet. It may be hopeless-he has Borderline personality disorder and a high number of them do commit suicide.

    Since he tried to hang himself two years ago he has been threatening us multiple times a day when not getting his own way-so cruel because my husband’s older brother killed himself at 20. This little nightmare played on that-we don’t believe his attempt was all that serious-just another manipulation. Your son has to think about his daughter now-hopefully, he will see that-somebody loves and needs him to be there and to be sober and clean. You can’t keep giving him money and taking on his responsibilites-I know I’m new to this hardball thing but there’s a kind of peace that goes along with reclaiming your life out of the abyss.

    I know the first weeks will be the worst. Can your son get benefits and treatment through the VA? I know they are used to this kind of thing-my uncle used to go in all the time for rehab. Hugs to you and your family and to Ellen too- I need someone to listen who has been there, friends don’t get it-they keep expecting there’s a magic treatment somewhere that we just aren’t looking hard enough. I talked to one family that spent half a million dollars on their anorexic/alcoholic/drug addicted Borderline Personality daughter. They were just told that her chances of survival weren’t especially promising and she ran off with a much older man who has three teen-aged kids. She is only 25. Iguess the moral is that we can’t buy our way out of this horror show even if we had the money. Hugs,I wish everyone moments of calm in a very powerful storm.

  • Diane

    September 29th, 2011 at 11:08 PM

    Sorry, I mixed up the two stories – it is Ellen’s son with the daughter, I take it Celia, that your son doesn’t have children? My eyes are pretty messed up- I have a condition where I’m growing new blood vessels behind my eyes and they bleed of all things. I have to get shots in eye every month-(like I needed that)-probably caused by high bloodpressure and autoimmune thyroid which doctors believe were kicked in by stress. I was worried about losing sight in my one eye altogether- a high price to pay for all this stress. I also worry about having a stroke-I have told him this but it doesn’t seem to worry him all that much. Anyway, I’ve got it now – Ellen has the granddaughter-Celia has the son who is a vet-and we all have big problems unfortunately-

  • Tanya

    October 1st, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    It is a painful road we travel and it gets so old and tiresome. I just wonder how all the stress will affect our health long-term. I keep reading that stress is the silent killer, but what can we do to alleviate it? Even if we put our foot down and declare we’re not going to put up with them and their antics, the worry and fretting never goes away. No matter which way we turn, there’s guilt on top of guilt. What is the answer to this hell we live in? If I put a smile on my face, it’s usually an act because of the dark cloud hovering overhead. I have had a little more peace lately because my son is in jail for a DUI– actually his 3rd. At least I can go to bed knowing I’m not going to receive a middle-of-the-night phone call from the police. My son uses our address because he doesn’t have a permanent address, so I get to see mail coming in from the Sheriff’s Dept, Constable’s Office, unpaid debts, unpaid fines, etc. He’s in jail in Ca and I live in Texas. Yesterday he received 3 citations and arrest warrants from the Constable’s office here! This is on top of 3 arrests in the past year. Never gets any better even after all the rehabs and money spent helping him “get on his feet”. I can’t even begin to imagine all the money spent on him in the past 12 years– I’m sure it would be enough to buy a little summer house somewhere. I can buy my daughter nice, fun things for her birthday and Christmas, but the money spent on my son is always to help him with a crisis. I feel for all of you. Even though our circumstances are somewhat different, we all suffer the same pain and heartache.

  • Donna

    October 2nd, 2011 at 7:04 AM

    I feel similar in that, once my son is out of our home (which will tear me up) I will still have no peace of mind. I am so stressed and sad. My son is currently working, so I’m fortunate in the sense that he does not steal from us. But the constant worry and regular outbursts and dysfunction are getting worse. I am not suicidal myself, but DO NOT want to live- there’s a difference. I just see a future of misery. I cannot see any happiness for myself unless my son gets better. This disease is horrible and the resources are a joke.

  • Tanya

    October 2nd, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    I’m with you; I have not found any helpful resources. I’ve tried Alanon meetings a few times at a couple of different locations, but have never walked out feeling better than when I walked in. In fact, the last meeting I attended made me feel worse. I walked in, sat down next to a young woman, said hello and she pretty much ignored me. A few minutes later, a woman walked in and the gal next to me abruptly got up and went and sat down with the woman who had just walked in. They hugged and it was obvious they were friends. It occurred to me that the gal next to me was actually saving the seat I sat in for her friend and that was why she ignored me when I sat down. I never went back! I had asked a couple of women on previous occasions about getting a sponsor, but it appeared that most of them were already hooked up with sponsors. It wasn’t a place where I felt there was anything to gain by continuing to attend the meetings. I’ve also talked to a therapist a few times, but just felt like I was voicing my problems and feelings out loud. I need answers, help and support. Where on earth do I find it? “Let go and let God” doesn’t work. I’m financially and emotionally spent.

  • Ellen

    October 2nd, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Resources are a joke, and “help” from the legal sy stem, like Theraputic communities, only taught more tricks, just like the program “D.A.R.E.”
    I have physically lived far away from my son for over 8 years, but that does not help. His problems are with us no matter where we are, I guess because I still want to have a happy family. I have tried my best to know that the regular, boring, happy life that could have been will never happen, so I must go forward and figure out life without our son.

  • Tanya

    October 2nd, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    Ellen, we all want to have a happy, “normal” family but it seems to be out of reach. I can’t imagine the day will come when my son has a happy, satisfying life and, until that day comes, my happiness is put on hold. As mothers, we want our children to be happy and live productive lives. I love my son and always will in spite of the pain. I can’t help but think of him when he was a small, innocent, inquisitive, sweet boy. He is still that sweet, compassionate boy, but drugs and alcohol are destroying him. I don’t know how to live with him and I don’t know how to live without him. Will there ever be any peace? I’ve come to the realization that I may very well outlive him and that’s such a sad thought.

  • Diane

    October 2nd, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    This is all so unbearable for all of us. My son is living with our family friend – who came over tonight for dinner. This man is very kind for taking him in and he feeds him and gasses his car but he will not give him cash. He told us he tries to talk to him – (he has had a brother and sister die from drugs and alcohol). He is frustrated with his lying and his constant need to go to the bars until close. We thought he wouldn’t go every day because he now lives much farther from the bars but he is there like clockwork. The gas is supposed to be for him to “jobhunt” but he told us all again that “why should he look for a job – nothing matters anymore anyway – his life is over.”

    He has been at this for so many years now. I can’t remember the last happy day he had – maybe never. He was a very intense and gloomy kind of kid once he entered school. The only time he is somewhat satisfied is if he is getting his own way. Right now, that would mean- he moves back in with us – we give him money and gas – we don’t say squat to him about anything he does in our home-no matter how heinous (drinks all night- sleeps all day-brings bums home to sleep off their drunks at our house because they can’t go home to their wives/girlfriends/parents like that nor do they want to be pulled over) If we meet all his conditions – he would be partially placated. It still wouldn’t take care of his seething jealously and bitterness toward any of his siblings or peers who have made something out of their lives and whom he has cut off all ties with.

    Tanya, I also feel that I will outlive him- he has already attempted suicide once and he threatens to do it again several times a day. I’m numb to it now – another manipulation tactic (but I can never be sure). If he doesn’t take that route – he will be dead within ten years from the rotgut he is ingesting mixed with the prescription meds he procures, his poor diet, his drunk driving, or maybe just beaten to death for debts he can’t and won’t pay. He is facing court on Oct. 11 – believe it or not – his first DUI. I guess he stands a good chance of getting it thrown out – so I expect he will be at it again. I agree about the resources – I have read tons of books – but NOBODY can help. I really want to know what happens to people like him – no income, mentally and emotionally sick, addicted and unreachable. Unfortunately, I think I already know.

  • Tanya

    October 3rd, 2011 at 12:17 PM


    I guess our addicts are all committing suicide in a way. They’re certainly not doing anything that positively impacts their lives. My son will get high on anything– alcohol, pills, heroin and even cocaine. We’ve been told he’s in the category of addicts who are the most difficult to treat because he will switch addictions if he gives up his drug of choice.

    I wish I had words of encouragement for you. I’m surprised your friend is still allowing
    your son to stay with him even though it doesn’t sound like your son has any intention of getting a job or getting sober. At least he’s honest about his activities. Maybe you could
    look into shelters in your area and give him a list of the resources available if and when he decides he wants to live. How can he think life is over at 25? Hopefully it’s just a manipulation tactic, but I know it’s devastating to hear him say those things.

  • Celia

    October 4th, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    Well today was a typical day for me and my son. He always calls around lunch time demanding money. Yesterday he swore he had an appt today for an assessment at a local drug treatment facility, he just needed one more day of money and then today it would be over. I knew it was just a lie, just like everything that comes out of his mouth is. Of course, I had to give him the money or he would have come to my place of business and “make a scene”. He said “Don’t make me have to come up there”. Then today he says he can’t go to the treatment center because he actually has something he must do on Oct 15-16. He demanded $1,500 and said I wouldn’t hear from him again….he’s really going to do something about it this time. Yeah…whatever. It is just unbelievable how these drug addicts are. It is always all about them and their needs, forget anyone else. I just don’t get it and I don’t understand why someone wants to live their life with no future, no hope, no concern for anyone but themselves. I don’t understand why he goes back to the drugs, even after the detox. I don’t understand anything about drug addicts and then they want to blame everything on anyone but themselves. I am so sick of my son and the way he treats me. I know that I’ve been an enabler and the guilt is just overwhelming. I wish I knew how to stop this insanity.

    Thanks to all of you who have written on this forum….it is so helpful to know that we are not alone. I hope that each and everyone of you can find some peace…somehow.

  • Dianeuulli

    October 4th, 2011 at 10:32 PM

    $1500 must be the magic number. That’s the exact amount that my son keeps telling us is what he needs and he will leave us alone. I reminded him he’s gotten way more than that recently – and he told me we didn’t give it to him when it really counted. He needs living expenses and enough to start a new life and apparently, that is costly.

    I feel for all of you – Tanya, Celia, Donna, everyone here. It’s the same horrible story with slight variations for age, sex and substance. Addicts are liars, manipulators,destroyers. They make us “hate” them and then we have to live with the guilt of feeling that way. I mostly wish my son would disappear. That way, I could imagine he was pulling his life together and he will be ok. Reality just completely sucks.

    Our family friend is beginning to think he is a sociopath because he is such a user and he doesn’t care about the pain and hurt that he leaves in his wake. He called me again tonight pleading and threatening to be let back home so he doesn’t have to live in the ‘trailer park” in what he considers to be a town he is too good to live in. This from someone who doesn’t work and really never did. I listened to him berating me for 30 minutes- we are horrible people, we never loved him or showed him the slightest affection, we favored the other kids, we have abandoned him, we never really helped him, we are cold, callous and cruel,we are leaving him to die blah, blah, blah…. so sick of him, we have three other younger kids who do not act this way at all. They are being cheated of our time, attention and financial help with college. All so we can keep getting nowhere with this sick individual who won’t even try, who devalues his life.

    My daughter is just so sick of it. She recently lost a good friend at only 21 years old. He drowned in a tragic accident. She said how much this young man wanted to live, how happy and full of life he was and then she has to listen to her brother scream and beat himself and talk about how he hates life and just wants to die. It’s maddening. She was downstairs crying the other day because she feels so resentful of him and she refuses to live in the house if he is here. But, then she feels scared and guilty that something might happen to him and she feels she will have contributed to it somehow. He says he hates her because she is “a bitch” and “a princess”. She has worked since 15, sometimes two jobs and she is an engineering student working full-time and going to school full-time this semester. His brothers work and go to school and pay for their own cars, gas etc. I was so heartbroken to see how hurt and exhausted the other kids are at so early an age. I told #1 tonight he can’t come back here. He just kept threatening to “sleep in his car” and that he will end his life soon because he is tired and he won’t live a “compromised life.” What a position to be in.

    It is horrible, heartbreaking, and often feels like death. It is a black veil over all our lives – over the lives of all who live with and love addicts. I agree with what everyone has written – they are committing suicide but it’s a slow, tortuous one and they are trying to take as many people with them as possible. They blame and use anyone they can. We can’t be held hostage to this and we have to draw a line and hold that line. We don’t deserve this and neither do our families. I have decided to risk his anger, his threats, his actions which will either lead to something better or something worse. I just know it will be different and right now, that’s good enough for me. Love and Hugs- keep safe and warm –

  • Tanya

    October 5th, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    You are doing the right thing, Diane. As Mary Ellen Barnes stated in her article above, you don’t have to stay stuck in the addicts world of insanity. Try to remain strong and dont give into his threats. If he wants to sleep in his car, let him. He has no right to bleed you to death and demand a free ride. Why exactly does he think he deserves better than a trailer park? What has he done to earn anything? I’ve been there with my son too, and I don’t know where on earth this sense of entitlement comes from! They don’t think rationally because they aren’t rational– their brains have been re-wired or something. We become just as dysfunctional as they are when we give into their threats. The most I’m going to offer my son is a list of resources to help himself and possibly a ride or bus fare to get there. I want a life for myself whether he wants one or not.

  • Donna

    October 6th, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    I honestly think any kind of mental illness/addiction is much worse than a physical ailment! When that’s the case, you have all kinds of support and sympathy and people wanting to help you “get through it.” With addiction, you’re just ostracized from the community! It’s horrible! I’m so glad people post here because I now know I’m not the only one dealing with this unbearable emotional pain.

  • Tanya

    October 6th, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    You’re so right, Donna. I’m embarrassed, humiliated, ashamed and guilty. I see my nieces and nephew making something of themselves and I’m so proud of them. Where did I go wrong? If my child had cancer, it would be an “acceptable” disease and there would be lots of support and empathy from friends and family. My brother-in-law said, “He could get clean and stay clean if he wanted to”. My response was, “Why can’t you lose that weight you’ve been wanting to lose and keep it off”? I don’t know where I’m going with this and I don’t know the answers. I just feel deeply for all of you who are dealing with the same problems. I just wish we had help and viable solutions. I feel like I’m always going in circles and I can’t seem to get off the merry-go-round.

  • Donna

    October 8th, 2011 at 7:19 AM

    I feel like I’m on the merry-go-round, too. I’ve pushed my son into out-patient treatment and counseling numerous times. I’ve sent him out of state to live with different relatives to see if a new place and fresh start was the answer. He’s had stints in jail where I thought that would scare him straight. He’s been in the local emergency room several times for alcohol poisoning and being found unresponsive curled up on the ground in the park. These should be him “bottom,” right? Wrong. That terrifies me. What’s left? Death? Our insurance company denied in-patient rehab because they didn’t deem it “medically necessary.” Are you kidding me?!! That was after pleading with and threatening my son that it was his only alternative if he wanted to live at home. So, as always, we are back at square one- still on the merry-go-round. I live in fear of what the next crisis will be. I worry about my marriage. I worry about my own sanity. I feel hopeless. I feel like I will never be happy. Thanks for letting me get all that off my chest.

  • Tanya

    October 8th, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    We’re cleaning out the hangar and I found a box of my son’s things. It was still sealed and mailed from CA 5 yrs ago when he was between a stint in jail and treatment. I ran across a letter he wrote his step-sister ( and never mailed) when her father was dying. It was so philosophical and he had such resolve to get sober, stay clean and make something of himself. He regretted not being there for her and admitted it was due to avoidable mistakes that he conscientiously made. He said the lost time, missed holidays, missed birthdays, missed reunions, missed conversations are huge regrets and he had no option but to learn to live a life free from the depths and confines of addiction. As a practicing heroin addict actively engaged in his addiction, he’s leading himself down a one-way road to which the ends are always the same; imprisonment, institutionalization or death. He said he passionately hates the first two and there are countless things he wants to do with his life before he comes face-to-face with the third. He had such resolve to stay clean and make something of himself. He said it was such a critical time in his life and in his recovery from close to a decade of heavy IV heroin and cocaine abuse and this is life or death for him– from what can only be described as nearly inescapable heroin induced comas to violent cocaine induced seizures to various street-level criminal activities, he’s been places he simply should not have lived to tell about it. He said if he goes on another sick run, odds are he’s not coming back because you only get so many chances until you must find a way out of the game or it swallows you whole. It’s so difficult for me to understand all of this because he continues to go down that same path even though he seemed to be so determined. It’s five years later and he has had a major medical problem causing blindness in his left eye because of shooting heroin with lemon juice. He has also had seizures. He’s in jail for a 3rd DUI. I know he wants to do something with his life, but here we are again, 5 years later, and he has even more legal problems than he had at 27 and he’s not nearly as healthy. When will he get it? I just hope it happens one day soon. I’m exhausted.

  • Sandy

    October 9th, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    I have not commented lately, but I have been keeping up with everyone’s comments and struggles. As for me, my daughter is the same. It has been ANOTHER 6 months, and things are the same. She finally got a job- one she had applied for and tried to get for 5 years now. Well, same old same old. After about 3 weeks, she drank before work, ‘freaked out’ at work – afraid everyone could tell she had been drinking- so walked off the job. That was that. I had hoped that since she had something she had wanted for so long, maybe she would work hard to stay sober and start building a future. But…. no. She has had inumerable jobs over the past 8 years. She had one for a year. The rest, a month at most. It is amazing to me that she keeps getting hired. No one must be checking references. She is still living with a 55 year old guy who lives in an apartment downtown. She is 26. It is rent subsidized and the guy has no job, just SSI disability. No one in that apartment building works. Just a bunch of drunks and druggies. They get food stamps. It is so pathetic. It makes me sick when I think about it. She has no phone, so I have to call the ‘boyfriend’s cell phone (that his mom pays for) to check on her. His mom must be 75 or 80 years old- and she is paying for her son’s phone. I call less and less. It is just depressing to talk to someone who is drunk.
    At least she moved out of our home. We kicked her out a year ago. She knows she can’t live here. Neither my husband nor I can take it any more. She lost her driver’s license due to 2 DUI’s, so that is a blessing. At least she won’t be able to drive and hurt anyone. Since she totalled her car- due to drinking and running over a median- no vehicle either.
    My husband refuses to talk about her, he says he can’t take it. So, I still feel the guilt, but at least we don’t have to see her killing herself every day.
    All I can say about that is that we have to save ourselves. I hope you will all keep that in mind. We tried to save our daughter, all we got was abuse, calls from the ER, the detox center, bums on the street that she was passed out somewhere, pain from watching her sleep all day, drink and hide bottles, and fail to thrive. Since we made her leave, we at least have our marriage, our son, and our beautiful granddaughter. We’ve given up on the normal, happy, family vision. She has been out a year now, and things are better. Not for her- she is the SAME. But, it is better for us and what remains of our family.
    You are all in my thoughts and I truly feel the pain also.

  • Tanya

    October 12th, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    It is sad, isn’t it? We’re no doubt all from middle class families who work hard, pay our bills and struggle to make life better for the next generation. Our other children (for the most part) are hard-working and self-supporting. We berate ourselves for failing this child who is an addict and and feel guilty for somehow failing them. There never seem to be any answers for our particular, unique situation. We’re dammed if we do and dammed if we don’t. Money goes in and nothing comes out– rehabs don’t seem to work and promises are made and broken as often as the seasons change. I believe that I’ve brought a “gift” into the world and yet the liability outweighs this precious gift. Nothing but trouble and heartache for so many years. He knows his chances of getting and staying sober are slim. But it seems that he does nothing to increase his chances for success.
    It’s just a sad story that never seems to get resolved.

  • Carl

    October 14th, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Were we too harsh? We have a 29 year old daughter who has been an alcoholic since high school. She is college educated, attractive, and has traveled and worked around the world. She has been diagnosed with a mental condition and is on medication but we also have been told that it may be attributed to her chemical dependency. She often refuses to take her medication and drinks excessively. During the past several years she has lived at home and is unable to maintain a job.
    We are supporting her and unfortunately her habit as she sneaks and hides her bottles. She was recently sent to jail because she physically attacked our other daughter when she was visiting us. She has physically attacked both my wife and I and she can also be verbally abusive when she drinks. Earlier this year she had completed a 30 and a 90 day rehab program. Both times she went back to drinking.
    Meanwhile, we bailed her out of jail after 24 days. We believed the jail time would be a wake up call. Prior to her release she was in agreement to go to another rehab center for 30 days and then go into a sober/transitional living arrangement about 60 miles from our house. She was also informed that she couldn’t stay at our house again until she was clean. She lasted 5 days at the treatment facility. Unknown to us, she had several drinks before arriving at the treatment center where she tested positive. We had driven her there. She later refused to follow their program and became verbally abusive toward them. She was recommended to go to their other treament center which was more restrictive. She refused, was asked to leave, and she called us up to take her home. On the phone with us she denied that she had a drinking problem. We tried to encourage her to go to the other treatment center but she said she’s done with these treament facilities. We said she couldn’t come home. Her mother tried to speak with her but she hung up on my wife. We told her we would not pick her up to come home. Afterwords, my wife suggested to me that we drive my daughter’s car and my car to the treatment center with her clothes packed and we would tell her to figure it out and leave. I suggested that we wait, and that evening if necessary, she could sleep in one of the local casinos. My thinking was that she would either try to go back to the treatment center with an apology or she would agree to the more restrictive facility and call us back. She did neither and took off with no cell phone a small suitcase, and $20. We haven’t heard from her in three days and yesterday we did file a missing person’s report with the police. We are now concerned for her personal safety. If she was given the car, my wife said that she would be so angry that she might be drinking and driving which she has done before. Now I am second guessing my decision and both my wife and I are extremly upset and are having difficulties holding back the tears. We have no way of contacting her nor would we permit her to move back with us because of the abuses.
    We would sincerely appreciate any comments and ask anyone if this was too drastic to leave a daughter stranded like this?

  • Tanya

    October 14th, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    I’m so sorry for you and your wife. I empathize with you because I know how difficult this is. We have been in similar situations with our son where we anticipated he would make the “right” decisions and he didn’t. I pray your daughter is safe and she will stop denying her addiction and ask for help. Perhaps she is punishing you for not going along with her plans to move back in with you. She can’t live with you– not with her history of being physically abusive and also because she can’t be trusted to follow your rules. I wish I knew the answer, but unfortunately I can only listen and feel your pain. I don’t have the answers for my situation with my son either. I just pray you find your daughter and she decides she wants help. Good luck.

  • Carl

    October 14th, 2011 at 10:23 PM

    We had no idea that this site existed until today. I am currently reading each response and also yours. We also experienced some of the same situations as you have with Alanon, AA , and therapists. We feel the pain that you are having. Your son has had a very difficult journey. Our daughter has been in two expensive rehab programs and one on a sliding scale based on her income. What I have learned is that many of the counselors are recovering addicts but have never experienced the pain of a parent. It is not their fault, it’s just the way it is. I am beginning to learn It really is about choices and the journey the child endures. The least expensive program can be the most successful if and when the addict is ready. My wife and I are our best therapists for each other because we have been married nearly 40 years and love and care for our daughter. We are feeling the pain and we are caught in that emotional box. No matter who the parent is, we all want what is best for our child. This blog is helping me emotionally as well as our friends in our inner circle. Having read through many of these blogs, I know we are guilty of enabling our child often out of fear. We are so concern about are daughter’s safety and are waiting to hear from her…..You have said what our friends have shared with us that she is punishing us for not allowing her to move back in with us………Thank you for sharing with us…

  • Diane

    October 18th, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    To everyone and welcome Carl,

    I held my ground about kicking my son out for about a week and a half. Then, he started to worm his way back in with the same stories, the same lies, the same pattern and I wanted to believe so much that he was different, seeking help, wanted to change, blah blah blah. I was warned by everyone around me.

    He is a very accomplished liar. He will look you in the face and he will stick to his story and he will get so incensed if you don’t believe him (you don’t love me, you believe everything my siblings say but not me, you are marginalizing me, you are vindictive, you want me to die out there, you make me lie just to survive etc) he has a million of them. I let him back because he is now on a restricted license for two months and he has a lot of court costs and DMV costs associated with his OWVI.

    He says if he is put in jail he will hang himself something he has “tried” before. Then, two days ago he was broadsided in his car and it completely smashed up the driver side rear door. He told us the accident happened in one location but we found out it was very close to all his “haunts”. He says not his fault, the other driver got the ticket so we asked for the police report which he has yet to produce. We fully expect to get his ticket in the mail. He did not have collision on this car so we got the wheels fixed and made sure it runs – but what a smashed up looking heap. We had just put 2500 in his car so that he could go to Florida for a job – a trip he never took.

    Now, he says he has a job at the top restaurant in the state. He is a prep cook but they of course love him and want him to wait tables- his prep cook job pays at least $30,000/yr and if he waits table it goes up to $80,000. All these numbers are courtesy of him. He says he got the job because the head chef hangs in the bars he frequents and he has this connection. Mind you, he can produce no proof, no schedule, W2 form, ID badge, apron, nothing. We’ve been driving out there when he says he is working but his car is never there so he says he is riding with the head chef who conveniently has the same hours as he does. He also says he is starting a second job with the airlines on Monday – also well-paying but we just got a message that they would like to set up an interview – when I confonted him about that lie – he told me that he knows he will get it. I guess he’s just that awesome.

    So, the last two nights he’s been sleeping here – comes in at 4 am knowing that I won’t kick him out because he is drunk and on restricted license; we have found 3 bottles; he comes in reeking of booze and obviously hopped up on something; he is using my computer to check work related emails but the history is full of the adult webcam and porn sites. All of these things are violating the contract I wrote up and he signed that if we helped through to the first of the year he would work, pay his fines and work on his debts, save enough for some kind of car, never drink in our home, be in by 11 on weeknights or 12 on weekends unless working, no more porn on our computers, and no more lying to us. He has violated all provisions of this contract in less than 12 hours time!

    Truly unbelievable since he cried and begged to be let in so he won’t have to sleep in his car -he has a place to go with a family friend to sleep but he finds it unacceptable. I feel like I let my family down again because I bought his line of bull and I convinced everybody I had the situation well in hand and he could sleep here for a few months while he worked and settled some things. He doesn’t intend to work and settle things he just keeps making them worse and worse.

    I threw him out again this morning – He told me he will die on the streets or in jail. He is trying to make me (the weakest link) responsible for his messes and his choices and to compromise our lives, marriage, peace and sanity and future to his terrible addiction and babyfied approach to his own life. As you said Carl, punishment – they try to punish us when we won’t be used or when we won’t enable any longer. This time standing firm and true (the fourth time I’ve written that on this site). Peace and Hugs

  • Diane

    October 18th, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    Just another question- he is sticking vehemently that he has this job at a 5 star Zagat rated restaurant- the kind that only seats 15 tables a night, you need reservations 3 months in advance, have to wear jacket and tie. He has never worked in a restaurant, never studied culinary arts or even had a cooking class or even home ec and he can barely boil water at home. What are the chances they would hire him for “kitchen help?” He doesn’t know a roux from a stew! I have to say his fake jobs are getting classier though!

  • Tanya

    October 18th, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    I would say the chances are very slim! My son has waited tables at several nice restaurants and it’s hard work. He would always bring aprons home to wash and needed new pants, new shoes, new shirts, etc. You have to start somewhere, but I don’t see how he could start at a top-rated restaurant without prior experience. My son’s first restaurant job was at a Chili’s. He hasn’t waited tables in a few years now and said it would be difficult for him to get a job at a really nice restaurant because there’s a lot of competition and he hasn’t had recent experience. Unfortunately, I think your son is telling you what you want to hear. It also doesn’t make sense that his car wouldn’t be there when he’s supposedly working! How stupid do they think we are? I think we just want so badly to believe them.

  • Donna

    October 19th, 2011 at 6:34 AM

    For me, the hardest thing to accept is how different my son is when he is sober- such a pleasure to be around! It’s that knowledge- that he does have a chance for a happy life- that makes it soooo difficult to watch him self-destruct and dig himself deeper into that hole of addiction. I feel so desperate to get him out of that hole. It is so painful to watch what he’s doing to himself and his life. The pain is unbearable at times, causing so much emotional distress that has begun to manifest in physical ways (sick more often, heart palpitations, etc..) Whoever previously wrote the phrase, “you’re only as happy as your saddest child,” hits the nail on the head!

  • Carl

    October 19th, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    Diane, I know what you are going through and no one size fits all. Our daughter is completely different when she is not using alcohol and using her meds correctly. We do have some good news. On Thursday of last week we filed a missing person’s report. On Saturday morning we had received the police report that the Highway Patrol had picked up our daughter who was walking along the highway the day before the report, and had taken her to our home town and dropped her off. My wife and I spent three days looking for her at the various homeless centers, walking the streets, and showing her missing picture profile. Although this is a different topic, walking with the homeless was an experience. I had no idea the thousands that were being fed, the respect they had for each other, and how thin the line is between the have and the have nots. All ages and genders were represented although men out numbered the women by a 3-1 ratio. Who knows, they may be in a safer environment than us. Enough said.
    My wife and I were continuously second guessing what we had done by not picking her up. She had no cell phone, only $20, and no friends. On Tuesday we had spoken with the Highway Patrol Officer who said that our daughter looked ok but exhausted, and said she would have a ride when she arrived in our town. What shocked us is our daughter had walked the entire distance, day and night, from Lake Tahoe to Carson City, NV covering nearly 35 miles in temps. in the low 30’s and walking through a steep forested mountain pass. She was still missing. Yesterday the local police had recommended that we file a medical warrant with a judge. We gathered her medical records together and decided to visit the local rehab/psych facility where she was once a patient for additional records. For whatever reason, my wife shared our daughter’s missing picture profile with one of the secretaries. The secretary left the room with the picture. Ten minutes later I RECEIVED a call from our daughter. She had admitted herself to this rehab program. She was there at this facility. My wife and I were overcome with emotion. Remember she was thrown out of the other facility and walked almost the entire distance to our home town with the exception of the police ride. She told her mother she is going to stay as long as it takes to get well…
    Although our drama has had a happy ending, we know that for our daughter it is going to take years for her to get over her addiction and to correctly take her meds. What have we learned from this? That we rolled the dice and her guardian angel was there. We could easily have found her in a homeless shelter or receiving that dreadful midnight call from the police. That’s what I mean that one size doesn’t fit each person’s situation. We also know that our daughter is an adult and whatever choice she makes, will have a lasting effect. Like many other parents, we have been through tough emotional times where you begin to second guess one’s decision and allow ourselves to become the victim. Its tough being a parent in these situations..too many emotions come into play from their birth to the present day. My wife and I will always be there for our daughter but we will NO longer enable her and reinforce her addictions by giving her money out of our own fear. It would be better to give money to a stranger for their addictions than to give it to your own kids. At least you do not have to feel guilty and fall into their traps. Our daughter may fall off the wagon again but we are praying that we are strong enough to make the right decisions so that we can have a “normal” life…….I will keep everyone posted…..

  • Tanya

    October 19th, 2011 at 8:57 PM


    Thank God your daughter is safe and in rehab again! You must be at peace finally– knowing she is well and has made a committment to get sober. I can imagine it feels pretty good to go to bed and get some sleep for a change. I’m happy for you and hope all goes well for your daughter’s recovery.

    It’s difficult to admit that I am more at peace with my son in jail, but it’s true. I’m sleeping well for a change and not waking myself (and husband) up yelling at my son. I felt so trapped with the money situation and guess there was a lot of pent up anger and frustration. I never used to talk or yell in my sleep, so I think I was getting close to the breaking point.

    I feel your pain, Donna. My son is the same way when he’s sober– sweet, loving, intelligent, funny and sensitive. He never gets mean when he’s on something, but I can’t stand seeing him drunk or high. It’s just disgusting and so disappointing. They have him on Prozac for depression and OCD and I’m praying it will help him. So far, he said he can’t tell the difference. The doctor told him it can take several weeks. It would be dangerous for him to stop suddenly when he gets out though, so I sure hope they give him enough to last a few days when they release him.

    I don’t know yet when he will be released or when he will get into rehab. He had another court date today, so I’m hoping to hear good news when he calls tomorrow.

  • Carl

    October 21st, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    Tanya, I am glad to hear that you are able to get some peace. Something like this can break up almost any marriage. Although my wife and I have been married for 39 years, we have stood together through the difficulties of our daughter. We are now recovering from everything we have been through with our daughter. We will always be there for her, but she must make the decision to stay clean. My wife and I know that we can not, and will not, enable her. We are sharing ideas of what we will do if she decides to use again. It is going to be a long haul but we are working on a game plan. I hope that you son has that burning desire to go to rehab and really wants to get on with his life. One thing we will eventually ask our daughter is her game plan. We will be the first to know if she alters her goals………

  • Sandy

    October 22nd, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    My husband and I made the decision together- after 8 years of struggle with our daughter- that we had to save ourselves. We cannot save her. It is up to her to break away from her alcoholism and her addictive behavior. For 8 years we rescued, talked, supported and probably enabled, her behavior by helping her over and over ‘make a fresh start’. Each time we were let down as she would eventually choose drinking over living a happy and productive life. At some point, we both agreed that we were finished with enabling. She is an adult- 26 years old now- and all our bailing out and providing rehab has not done a thing. She walked out of rehab, refuses counseling, is still drinking, not working, and choosing to continue in this self destructive lifestyle.
    In order to preserve our marriage, our security, and our happiness and the happiness of our other child- we have decided to let our daughter find her own way. We are still here for her- but she needs to come to us for help. We will no longer seek her out to push her to ‘get help’. She obviously doesn’t really want to change. We love her, we will provide (if she asks) a safe haven and medical care- but on our terms, not hers. She needs to want to change. So far it has all been at our initiation, and she has always told us she doesn’t want to quit drinking. She says she can handle it. Well, she can’t. Until she wants to quit and commit, we are saving ourselves. It is a sadness- continual- but we know we have other things to live for, and we refuse to let her misery ruin what remains of our lives and the lives of our son and his child- our grand daugher.

  • Donna

    October 28th, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    WOW, I admire the strength some of you have. I’m hoping to get to that place. Right now, it feels like I’d be giving up on my son. Believe me, I know that’s not the case, but it doesn’t “feel” that way. I am slowly working on detaching, but it is a very difficult process. I have alot of mixed emotions. I am hoping he finds the desire to battle these demons. I just can’t imagine ever being happy while he is struggling with this.

  • Ann

    October 31st, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    Thanks to all of you. What a blessing that I found this in the middle of the night when I have been beside myself. My 42 year old daughter has left again to be with her loser boyfriend and has left her 2 sons at home with me. She was only going out for “a minute”. I have allowed her to move in with me in order to help give her sons a stable environment. Now she uses me to go out. However, I believe even if I were not in her life, she would leave her sons alone (ages 13 and 15). Both my daughter and her 46 year old boyfriend are drinkers. If it weren’t for her boys, I wouldn’t have anything to do with her. But what can I do when my grandsons are wonderful and didn’t ask for any of this? Thanks again so much for the great comments on this site. :)

  • Ann

    October 31st, 2011 at 4:43 AM

    Also, what is it when I have paid $30,000 just since Feb. to provide for her son to attend a private high school, for her attorney fees to get more support from her ex., clothing for her and her other two sons,etc. that she confronts me as to “lording” my money over her? When I told her that her loser boyfriend could not live with us anymore, she calls me a very mean person. She loves to tell me that I was not a good mother too, when I really was. She loves to say “well, you drink too” when I may have a glass of wine out to dinner. How does this all work?

  • Celia

    October 31st, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    I hope that this doesn’t offend anyone on this forum but I would like to say a prayer for all of us and our children:

    Dear Heavenly Father,
    We thank you for this beautiful fall day and for your loving kindness. Thank you for your grace and love and the sacrifice of your son so that we could all have eternal life. Please be with us each day as we face a world that we don’t understand. Be with our children and please give them the strength and courage to overcome their addictions and become functioning members of society. Give all of us the strength and courage to say NO when we are so scared and afraid. We are all in a world of darkness with our addicted children and can only pray that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We all love our children and want only a good and decent life for them and for us.
    These things we ask in Jesus’ name and for his sake.

  • Tanya

    October 31st, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    Ann, you WERE and ARE a good mother and you are also a GOOD grandmother! If you were such a bad mother, how on earth could she leave her beloved sons with you? That makes absolutely no sense! They love to blame everyone else! Quit spending your retirement on her though– that is a bad move. Take care of your grandsons and take care of yourself. Let her take care of herself. She’s depending on you to still be her mommy and take care of her need even though she abuses you. You must take care of your own needs!!!!

  • Ann

    November 1st, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    Thanks Tanya for your kind words. The latest in my scenario is that my daughter contacted a therapist for a possible joint session for her and I to “set some ground rules” because I told her the money for her is cut off starting immediately. I did this after reading all the letters on this blog. I told her to attend if she could afford it ($150 per hr.). I told the therapist, “no thanks” to talking about “ground rules” until my daughter wants to address the elephant in the room. And, Celia, thanks for the prayer…no matter what denomination we all are, a little prayer can always help especially with today being All Saints Day! And for all of us, a quote from the therapist’s e-mail “Hang in there!” Thanks again to everyone who has written on this site. Truly a godsend for me. :)

  • Marge

    November 7th, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    Is alcoholism a disease? My nephew just cannot seem to quit and I know that it runs in my family. He has taken just about all of my sister’s retirement money for rehab, etc. Should she just say NO and see if he survives?

  • karen

    November 12th, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    Hi everyone. Just spent last night and this morning reading every post on this site. Thanks to all of you because it helped me. MARGE…I am a recovered alcoholic/drug user. I have always heard that alcoholism is a disease. It never felt right to me though. However, alcohol, like many drugs, is addictive. If you use addictive substances often enough you get addicted. It certainly causes diseases. It doesn’t really matter though to me. It’s all about deciding to get help and to stop using whatever you use…alcohol/drugs etc. Even smoking. Way more people die from smoking than drugs and alcohol. The difference is that they don’t make life a living hell for everyone around them. I have a huge extended family. Many alcoholics (in recovery for the most part) and many young drug addicts/abusers who are not recovered and don’t want to be. Now my own daughter is using drugs and it is more painful for me to watch her destroy herself than anything I have ever gone through. I would do ANYTHING to help her. But there is NOTHING I can do because she doesn’t want help. She doesn’t think crushing pills and injecting them into her body is anything to worry about. She is 20. Extremely beautiful and talented. She is smart and has always had many good friends. Well, like all of your stories, I have watched her change in the last two years. She has dropped out of two schools. Lost many jobs. No more good friends. Nothing in her life lasts long. I get mad at her and then I remember where I was and I know that when you are “in it”, you can’t see straight. Yes I did have “lucid” moments. But then I would “forget”. I mean really forget! No one who hasn’t had to overcome an addiction can really understand this. Yes I was powerless while choosing to continue to use. I couldn’t fix myself while using. Does that make sense? I was powerless as long as I continued to drink and use drugs. I had to be willing to stop. Just willing. And once I made that decision I was really on the way to recovery. And that was before I even got to an AA meeting. Get a copy of Alcoholics Anonymous – The Big Book. Written before all the treatment centers came around. It is all about becoming willing to go to any lengths to get better. It’s all about taking a very hard and honest look at yourself and facing the fact that you are a big baby, selfish, immature, self-centered to the extreme. It’s about deciding to surrender and give up the battle so that you can win the war. I think some of these posts reflect a misunderstanding of what AA (the original) meant by powerlessness. I am powerless over lots of things. Only an egotist would say that he has control over everything he does and can do anything. I’m so exhausted. I know what I must do. I must get my hair done and buy new clothes. I must find meaningful work and friends. I must continue to grow and pray and find peace in my life. I cannot hang my life on hers. Not easy to do when it’s your daughter! And I love her so much. And I always will! I CHOOSE TO! I can choose today. I will not give her money or enable her any longer. I will tell you this. The anger and blame directed at us parents is the child’s own self-hate. I pray for my daughter and my nephews and all these young lost children. Thanks

  • Tanya

    November 14th, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    Thank you for your insight, Karen. I’m sorry about your daughter and I’m sorry we all have the same struggles with our children. We love them so much and want to help, but it’s so difficult to understand the fine line between helping and enabling. The “disease” theory is probably what we want to believe because we see how addiction runs in families and it’s easier to think of it as a disease opposed to “choice”. It helps to hear your perspective and I appreciate that. I just pray my son makes the choice to live as you have done and hope all our children make that same choice.

  • karen

    November 17th, 2011 at 12:48 AM

    Yes there is a choice to be made. At no time do I think that a person cannot choose to be well. It can be extremely difficult to stay sober as many must deal with “craving”. With addiction comes alterations in the brain. Medical help is necessary for many. Let me tell you something that is true. It will take everything you got to overcome addiction, at least in the beginning. Also you all should know that the experience of powerlessness occurs during the course of active addiction. EVERYBODY tries to stop or moderate their use over the course of months, years, decades. NOBODY sets out to become an addict/alcoholic. NOBODY!!!! Why some and not others???? It’s not as simple as this site wants you to think. However an addict can get well if he/she is willing to do whatever it takes.

  • Barbara

    November 21st, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    Thank you for this, it took me a long time to go through these emails. Every child is different, and everyone has different needs. After working with so many young addicts and troubled youth, I know that every case is different. I strongly believe and tell friends/family of addicted loved ones to help the addict as long as they are helping themselves. But there is also the time when the seed of recovery needs to be planted, and that can be done with the help of the YOU. Addicts get in a denial factor, that is hard to see when they have blinders on.

  • Kathy

    December 5th, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    Hi Ladies,

    It’s been a wicked couple of months since I last posted. I’ve read over your posts tonight as I am awake with a case of the worries over my son. My gosh our stories are all so familiar. Each one of yours hits me right in the gut.

    So, since I last wrote hell broke loose. My son became more and more violent in response to any requests we’d make of him and to any denials of money, transportation, time listening to his bullshit. Out of pity, we hated calling the police so things went on too long and too far.

    Upon realizing he was going to push us into the pit of assault and battery charges, we finally took it all into our own hands. We packed his clothing and toiletries in bags and made him go. It was horrible. He cried, he wheedled, he begged, he put his body in the door and tried to prevent my closing it. We put the police on speed dial because we fully expected the violence of desperation. As it was I had bruised arms from his response to my trying to get him out the door enough to close it! I’ve never felt like such a pitiful piece of work in my life, having been degraded to the point of physical exchange. Mind you, my son is six feet, two inches tall and a very wiry 160 pounds. I’m all of five-five and a round little dumpling.

    He left, but he’d be back at the door night after night, or calling me at home or the office with the begging, wheedling, promising. I thought I was a nervous wreck before, but wow, that was nothing compared to this. Finally on the second or third night of a set of wet, heavy snowstorms he was picked up behind a shopping center a couple of miles away, apparently extremely drunk and feet slightly frostbitten.

    The police dropped what was left of his belongings at our home. The warrants from screwing up what should have been a pretty straightforward probation landed him back at County for 60 days.

    I visited him there once and never went back because after the first few minutes of fairly lucid exchange he dove right back into the manipulative talk. He tried calling many times, multiples in a row! I was so glad for the blocking program I’d purchased for my cellphone. He even dialed my work number so frequently I had to direct all calls to voice mail to screen them.

    A couple of times I took the call and wished I hadn’t. The whole purpose was to work on my emotions. He’s become quite the psychopath, really. All that matters is him! After the 15 minutes my brain would be thoroughly addled and my heart rate dangerous even though I’d beg him to please stop, to understand, to do right.

    Throughout all this, I’ve seriously considered hanging myself from the huge tree in the back yard a number of times, or with the dog leashes from the basement ceiling, just to get relief from the pain of it all. Dammit, I’m not going to fold. He knows there is life insurance and sometimes I wonder if that’s what he wants. It’s a miserable feeling.

    Since my son’s been released he hasn’t come to the house, thankfully, but the abuse doesn’t stop. He’s called all my phones and I’ve erred in answering a couple of times. Begging, wheedling, promises that he’s a new person, flattery of asking for a pie, pulling at heart strings that the guy who took him in was putting him out because the guy needs rent money for the room my son occupies. My resolve wavers silently while outwardly I repeat the “sorry, I love you, can’t do any more for you” magic.

    I admit I really considered coming up with $375 to buy him a month. Thank goodness I was smart enough to not mention this to my son…he’d have grabbed onto the idea like a pitbull and tortured hell out of me until I either did it or involved the police. No matter to him that I’d be pinched for a month or more to make up for it! All that matters to him is him.

    It has become a two-person attack on me; my son knows, from years of seeing his father do it and from his own experience, that enough haranguing will wear me into submission. Not only was my son calling, but also the guy has called. I have determined there’s collusion to shake me down. So the last time I got a call from “the guy” I told him that I think well of his charity to my son, but that I would not be rescuing the 26-year-old young man who has decided not to try to help himself. It’s been a few days since either has called and I am so relieved but wondering when it will start up again. Or worse, will my son come to the office?

    As I write now, it is very very cold outside…and you all know where my mind wanders. Finally the sleeping pills are taking effect. G’nite…

  • Donna

    December 18th, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    I’m sorry about your son, Kathy, and the pain you’re going through. I know it all too well. It’s a sickening horrific kind of emotional pain wrought with fear, anger, deep sadness, grief, loss, guilt and many more. Having to force yourself to be “cold” toward your children is unnatural. I hate this disease like no other. I would much rather my son had a terminal illness. This is like watching a slow torturous death for years. Some get lucky and get to see their child choose sobriety. I hope some of us fall into the lucky few. Best to you, your son and your family during this extremely difficult time of year.

  • Tanya

    December 25th, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Merry Christmas to all you strong, loving and caring parents! I hope your Holidays are wonderful and that the New Year will bring more happiness than despair. My son is sitting in a jail cell, which has to be about the most depressing situation to be in at this time of year. At least there’s one bright spot for me; I don’t have to worry that he will kill himself or someone else in a car accident! I do pray 2012 will be a better year for everyone and that our addicts will finally turn their lives around!

    Have a blessed Christmas and wonderful New Year!

  • Sandy

    December 25th, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    Merry Christmas to everyone. I know many of us are suffering on this day- and this website is here to remind us that we are not alone. My daughter did not call, or return my calls today. No doubt she is drunk, alone, miserable, crying. We are in another state, and she was invited to come- with us paying for the ticket, of course- and she said she could not leave. Leave what? No job, sleeping on someone’s couch in a subsidized apartment downtown where other addicts or losers are living on public assistance or SSI. No family nearby,no church, no happiness. She has tried to commit suicide twice this month and calls to cry that she hates her life and has begun cutting herself. It is a nightmare- she is beautiful and her physical beauty is something she has tried to maintain. Now she is scarring herself, her teeth are stained, the effects of her abuse of herself starting to show. She knows she is an alcoholic but continually tells me she doesn’t want to stop.
    Sorry to be such a downer on this blessed day- every holiday I cry. I can make it though most days and put my daughter’s pain in some compartment and only look at it occasionally. On every holiday, I wake in pain and spend the day trying to be secluded so my sadness does not effect others. I have cried off and on all day. Thank you for all being there and sharing. Our children cause us so much pain. I know they are in pain- but how do we cope with the guilt and pain and helplessness we as parents have to deal with?

  • Desiree

    December 25th, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    i hate that i understand what you are all going through. My son is at a hotel right now doing drugs. He will be 23 next month. He has juvenile diabetes. As a nurse and emt, i know that diabetes and drug abuse is a bad combo. I agree with Donna, i feel like my son is committing suicide slowly. i’m pretty sure he will die and what hurts me the most is when will this be? tomorrow? next week? next year? a mother sees this happening and wants to save or protect her kid but can’t! this is the worst feeling. in my career i see people of all ages dying from illness that they didn’t ask for and i have this kid who doesn’t care about himself. My heart breaks for him. i say to myself: “where did i go wrong?” his twin sister holds 2 jobs and is a full time student. my 12 year old is an outstanding student and child.
    all i do is stress and cry

  • Karen Lewy

    December 26th, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    Watching your child “adult” or not get lost in the world of addiction is something I would never wish on any parent. The roller coaster of emotions and the fear of “what if’s” is torture. I take each victory as it comes and try to stay focused on understanding the war against the enemy. Separating the sin from the person helps you stay focused on the person that needs to be freed from addiction rather then the drug induced behavior of the addict. (Love the person, Hate the sin)….addiction is becoming an epidemic in this country and the “successful” resources for help are just not available. I pray, lean on God’s word for strength and continue to persevere to help my adult child be free from this bondage.

  • Jillian

    December 28th, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    I kind of can’t believe I’m posting here…out son (21) is a heroin addict. He is living out in the country w/us now, so cut off from drugs for the time being. He’s gone thru the physical w/drawl & now we’re on the mental part. He says he wants to stop using (I’m still shocked he actually shot up w/heroin for a yr. & we NEVER knew). What do we do now? He’s (& us) are seeing a counselor. Since he’s thru the physical w/drawl and has been out w/us for about a month, does he still need outpatient? I’m afraid for when he can finally leave us & go to the real world. I feel so guilty for now realizing this sooner. My husband and I are having a tough time. ANY advice will be sooooo welcome. Thanks.

  • Jillian

    December 28th, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    sorry for the couple of typo’s. I’m feeling guilty about everything as of late…

  • Celia

    December 29th, 2011 at 8:39 PM


    I’m am glad that you have posted about your son. Be thankful that he has made it through the physical w/d and that he is participating in the counseling. I would think that he probably will need to be in counseling for quite a while. My son has been through detox 3 times now in just over a year and has gone back to prescription pain drugs every time. He says he doesn’t need counseling, but obviously, he does.

    To all of the other parents out there I am so sorry that very few of us are having any success with our adult addicts. Every day is a nightmare for me and my son continues to drain me of money each and every day. He still doesn’t work and says to me that every day is the last day and he will get help tomorrow. It is all just a lie and a delay tactic. I’ve told him that he has 3 choices in life:
    1. Die an early death from drugs
    2. End up in jail or prison
    3. Choose to deal with his addiction and try to get his life straightened out.
    He is 30 yrs old, a college graduate, and Iraq War veteran and really a bright, personable, and handsome young man or he was all of this….but he seems to have no ambition, and his only goal in life is to obtain drugs to feed his addiction. I am so tired and stressed with all of this, I just don’t know what to do.

    I wish he would just go somewhere and leave me alone so I can have some peace. Sandy & Desiree…be thankful that your children are not bullying you and demanding unbelievable sums of money from you everyday. I know you probably wonder why I have continued to give him money for his habit…it is due to him threatening me and saying he will come to my work and make a scene if I don’t meet his demands (he has done this before). I feel like I’m being blackmailed by my own son.

    God help all of us. We need him.

  • desiree

    January 4th, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    Jillian, My son went into rehab last week. I’m pretty sure he went in to avoid jail and/or to have a bed (it’s getting cold out). whatever the reason, who cares, he’s in there and i can only hope that he will “see the light”. i would never judge you nor do i think anyone on this panel would as we all seem to be going through the same ordeal. My son has and still steals from me and family and whoever he can to support his habit. My mother in law has had to close her bank account 3 times with losses up to 40,000 dollars including jewelry, some necklaces worth 9,000 dollars. I used to give my son money or even gift cards but he would sell the gift cards. I am giving him tough love and he( when he is well) respects me but when high, hates me. I’ve been going through this for over 5 years now so i guess you can say that i enable him less and less but still, it is tough because he is my child. I am going to be going to my first support group on Friday night. I think it can only help. I believe that the 3 choices you wrote are true for your child or any child going through this.
    Be well….

  • desiree

    January 4th, 2012 at 1:47 AM

    sorry i guess i was directing toward Celia, lol not sure

  • Tanya

    January 15th, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Well, my son is out of jail and he’s here at our home. He was in jail in CA for a DUI, but missed a court date here in TX for possession of marijuana due to the fact that he was incarcerated in CA. The judge here wasn’t happy because he went to court the first time & asked for a court-appointed attorney. She told him to bring proof that he needed one and he missed the first date she set, so they had to reschedule. He made the next appt, and the judge agreed to the attorney, but there wasn’t one available that day. They reset the date, but he was in jail in CA then. So, the judge issued a warrant and there is an inactive bond forfeiture. They sent extradition papers to CA, but somehow it fell through the cracks and CA released him. He flew in Thurs night and called the court Friday morning. The clerk told him he can walk into court with all the paperwork, but the judge will most likely have him taken into custody! The clerk said he would be better off to hire an attorney to show up with the paperwork & give the judge a chance to look it over. He called an attorney & the attorney told him he could represent him, but he may have to go in for a day for booking, but they would probably consider his time served in CA and he would most likely be released the same day. My issue is this– he has a total of $1000 in unemployment benefits and it will cost him about $500 for an attorney. He has no job, no place to live and this money would help him get into a sober living home and help support him until he can get a job. I can’t imagine that he would have to do more than 2 wks or so in jail for 0-2 oz of marijuana, but he is adamant about the fact that he is NOT going back to jail!!! He is on a wait list for a county bed in a good rehab in CA and had planned to come here & take care of the court case, then go back to CA and get into sober living, find a job somewhere and wait till he can get into the rehab. Now I see all of that going out the window. I have helped him so much financially in the past, I just can’t go down that road again and have told him that repeatedly while he was incarcerated. I don’t blame him for not wanting to go back to jail–he was there for 4 months and has been sick with bronchitis and sinus infections the entire time. He’s still sick. He says he wants to stay sober and has made up his mind to stay off drugs and alcohol. I believe that’s what he wants, but he has never been able to stay sober, so I don’t see that happening without a good rehab. Maybe I’m crazy because he has already been to several rehabs in the past. I told him earlier tonight that he needs to be somewhere else by next weekend and he said ok. I told him I don’t want to argue with him about jail vs hiring an attorney, but I have to set boundaries for myself and I haven’t figured out just what I’m willing to do to yet; I just know I can’t be his bank or go back to the way things were before. I’m leaning toward offering to pay the first 4 weeks in sober living, which would mean he has about $500 to pay for food, cigs, transportation, etc. until he can get a job. He has a felony drug charge on his record and he always uses that as an excuse why he can’t get a job, but I know there has to be other felons out there who work! He is 32 yrs old and has been drinking and doing drugs since he was 14, so he missed all those years when he should have been maturing and learning how to be responsible. He has just made a mess of his life, but he is not a bad person. I don’t want to enable him and I don’t want to do for him what he can do for himself either. There has to be an end to the help.

  • Tanya

    January 16th, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Pretend I never sent that last post! What to do without enabling is always a struggle. I’ve just decided to see what he does. If he helps himself, I’ll help him. If not, I’ll drop him off at a shelter. It’s not my problem to figure out his life and I don’t need to be tormented about what to do or not do for him. If he makes positive strides, I’ll consider helping. He’s going to reap the rewards or suffer the consequences of his actions.

  • des

    January 19th, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    It is so tough to “not”enable. My son was just in rehab (lost count on how many times he’s been there). This particular rehab has alot of support for families. I learned so much. I learned that i’m “sick” because i’m addicted to my addict. I learned that throwing my son on the street forces him to go into rehab and i know he is initially going for the bed and/or hot meal but my feeling is, whatever gets him in there then maybe he will “see the light” so to speak. Nobody can judge a family member going through what you and I go through. Each person and family is individualized and what works in your situation may not work in mine. I do feel that the support groups out there for families is KEY to helping you and i cope.

  • Verla

    January 24th, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Well,I have been searching for some answers now for so long, it is actually nice to hear that others are in similar boats…
    My daughter is 31 and is addicted to cocaine and now I believe prescription drugs. Five years ago she was pregnant and was with us during her pregnancy and didn’t use. Her boyfriend got out of jail and the lies began…she had the baby (they got married and were living with us). I went away for a couple of weeks to come home to basically a empty house, they robbed us blind and stoled our truck and took off, withthe babe. Needless to say we have been raising out granddaughter for five years now. Meanwhile shehad another child three years ago, she has been living in a different city from us, so she said that she split up with her husband, got a job and was diagnosed with bi-polar. Eventually the wheels fell off and she freaked out at work and didn’t go back. Next she got another job, then her little son got sick and possibly had a cancerous growth on his lungand had to undergo two different biopsies. Then she felland broke her arm, so on and so on, I was SO STUPID, thought if she didn’t have any bad luck she wouldn’t have any luck at all. Anyway she came to our house for Christmas, wheels fell off, she ended up in the hospital going through withdrawls Social Service, removed her son from her care and she had to leave. I also found two needles in the room they were staying and pills. The littleone stayed with us but they wanted him close to his mother in order to maintain a relationship (she has none withher daughter)so now he is with his paternal grandparents. During all of this we found out she has been living withher husband all through this time, during which she was asking everyday for help with prescriptions (five different ones)groceries etc….it was all lies constantly. I was crushed once again of how she could do this to her kids and to her family. No more. So much has gone on with her,how can a mother use her own child to get what she wants.He was so neglected it broke my heart.
    I have gone to AA but didn’t see any help there. Then have been searching for books on the subject but nothing there either, where can a person get help to help themselves!

  • Linda

    January 25th, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    I’ve read a few of these stories….my story is very similar. My son is 34. He has been nailing me to the cross since he was young. I divorced his father when he was 3 1/2 and I still think that he blames me for everything that went wrong in his life. He constantly lies, he does drugs, pain killers mostly, then he becomes violent. Throwing things, punching holds in the wall, breaking doors. He went to jail for 6 months when my parents called the police, for a domestic, and drug charges. He violated probahtion and was sent to jail…I thought that it would change him…it did..not for the good. He has a chip on his shoulder; can’t find a job. He is stealing, money, jewelry, forging checks. I called his father, I just can’t deal with it anymore. I don’t want to send him back to jail, but he refuses to go for help; and now he uses the fact that his probahation officer will send him back to jail if he goes to live with his father. It is cold and he has no money, no real friends, he own brother won’t let him go to his house. I feel torn. His father said that he was going to put him away. He needs professional help. I do know that…I’m am so sick. I have addiction in my family. Both my brothers, my father has been on pain meds since I was 10 years old for a back problem, and really that is when drug use was introduced to my family. My mom has gone through hell, still is now her grandson. I am with heavy heart when I say that he needs to be someplace that can help him, but not jail that is a horrible place. Any suggestions. The court system doesn’t help neither does probahation they prefer to send you to jail. No jobs. No money, desperate.

  • Tanya

    January 29th, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Same story here; just different characters. I’m so sick of dealing with someone else’s problems! When will my son take ownership and leave me out of his daily struggles? My husband (his stepdad) and I let him come to our place after he got out of jail in CA so he could take care of his legal issues here in TX. He slept till 9 or 10 every morning and postponed taking care of his problems here. He has a possession of marijuana charge here & missed his court date due to the fact he was in jail in CA for a 3rd DUI offense. He had to go to the jail here and turn himself in, which he finally did on Thursday. He has a court date here tomorrow & is hoping the judge will release him on time served in CA. He said if she doesn’t, he will post bail. He only has about $600 to his name, but he’s going to spend most of it to post bail because he said the jail is horrible here–nothing like Orange County where he was!!! I told him he will need to be prepared to go to a shelter if that happens because that money was supposed to help him get on his feet when he gets his legal issues resolved. He spent the other $500 on an attorney, so if he posts bond tomorrow, he will have spent almost $1100 on this legal issue, which still won’t be resolved and now he won’t have any money again. I can’t make him make the right decisions–he won’t listen to reason and that’s why he’s always in trouble. If just one time, he would say, “You might be right, Mom”, I might feel like I’m getting through to him. He thinks it’s okay to drive without insurance–somehow the laws don’t apply to him. I guess I will have to follow through with the shelter threat since I don’t think I should have to replace the funds he spent on his legal issues here. If I cave in, I’m right back to supporting him and I have promised myself NO MORE handouts. He has a drug felony on his record, but I know there are others out there who get jobs with a felony on their record. No more excuses. When is it time to live our lives???

  • liz

    January 30th, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    i have been dealing with my sons alcohol addiction for years he is 24. we have been through very searious court trial that i and my mom paid 30thousand plus dollars. it was not because of the drinking but he had been drinking and is the commen thread in a long history. There has been jail on more than a few occasions, dui 2 times in a month, drug arrest. i have bailed him out and not bailed him out. ect.
    where i am now, he was beaten in a fight and was in icu for 7 days. after he stayed with me and could now walk well or speak well. when he got back out to a sober living house he started using. he has been in and out of the mental hospital (they keep letting him out or telling him to leave and drinking wile i have been paying his rent and taking him to the ER every few days becouse of panic attacks, cutting, anxiety, ect. this was happing before he got hurt but is worse now. so , i have to chose to let go. the hardest part is that i am not sure that he has the mental capacity to do it he can’t seem to keep it together for even a day . the time before last that i was taking him to the hospital he jumped out of my car on the on ramp to the freeway. out of idias

  • liz

    January 30th, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    continued from the post earler one. after jumping from my car he was taken to the er then to the mental hospital released the next day back at the er that eve back to the mental hospital released. he paid his rent i drooped off his things he says he is doing well. he shows up at my house this morning at 9am and has been drinking. i tell him to leave give him the # to the mental health clinic and a rehab to see if there are any beds. i get a call from the er saying that he was brought in because he was found laying on the sidewalk and he is being combat of.
    i love my son, probably tomuch but there is nothing that i have not done and there is nothing that has worked …. i don’t know what will happen to him

  • CMG

    January 31st, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    It is heartbreaking to hear these stories. And mine is so similar. I too search for answers for how to deal with this heartache I have over my son. I too am torn. If this were a ‘bonafide disease’ like cancer, diabetes, etc., it would be so much easier. But I don’t think that people with those diseases lie, steal, blame their families and on and on. Like most of you, we have addiction on both sides of the family. Like most of you, I never thought my son would succumb to this.

    Over the past two year of dealing with finding out about his heroin addiction, my son has said such horrible things to me my heart just cannot take anymore. I myself have gone through over a year of family counseling to try to ‘understand’ but I feel the NA/AA ‘model’ is broken on so many levels. His father and his 1/2 sister have mostly written him off, yet I charge on like some half-mad general in the proverbial Custer’s Last Stand scenario, hoping somehow, someway I can help him, fix him, save him. I know it’s desperation and a fool’s folly, but my mother’s heart won’t let it go…

    I call this journey the Roller Coaster, because, over the past 5 months, my son had seemed to turn the corner, he had been on probation for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and decided (like many of these other kids) – the rules did no apply to him – he stopped seeing his PO. At that time he was living with his dad who basically had had it with him. He moved in with me and my husband. back in August, and turned himself in – was put back on probation….seemed to be doing well. Then, around the holidays, two of his friends (one of them very close to him), died from drug overdoses….and suddenly, he was out of control. I reached out to him being compassionate and he was nasty, abusive, full of resentment – telling me he hated me – telling me how he was angry for the divorce, for how I got along better with him than his sister (this is true) and on and on…

    The next thing I know – he lied to his girl friend (who is an absolute doll and one of the bright spots in his life), and she broke up with him. Now, he is living in his car. It is winter in Ohio…

    Two days ago, he said he’d be willing to get help…and his girlfriend agreed to allow him to stay with her as long as he agreed he’d get help. The thing is he is only staying with her when she is not working…or only sporadically. Meanwhile he is still in his car with everything he owns.

    Last night, I came home to find out that in all probability he came into our house (he knew the code to get into our garage – which we changed now) – and stole over $200….

    My husband texted him and again with the emotional roller coaster of a phone call – telling me he never took the money – but he’d replace the money he did not take cause he’s a bad person. I told him I did not want his money – I just want him to get help. We sent txts back and forth and his final one said he is done with everyone and everything and he just hopes he dies soon. I have no way as of this writing to know if he is alive or not. Until the next roller coaster ride/incident.

    I feel (as many of you do) held hostage. I feel like I am on a death watch and I cannot separate my emotion from my logic (I don’t even think I possess reason anymore). I don’t know what to do – I know cutting him off is the thing TO do…I cannot afford a funeral, and I don’t know if my heart can afford losing my son/my baby. I feel like a pariah, like I am the only one who does not ‘get it’ and I don’t feel, short of having him locked up (either in jail or in rehab) that he is going to turn himself around…but of course (regardless of the tenants of AA/NA) he truly does have to want this for himself.

    I pray all of you find peace and solace somehow through this cyclone we all seem to be going through. I pray your loved ones find health and healing. Keep talking and don’t turn inwards on yourselves…go get counseling to help you cope and to get access to a support group. I know it’s where I am heading today or tomorrow.

  • liz

    January 31st, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    i have read alot of your storys and still don’t know the answers my son has not been cruel or stolen from me and dose not have kids , thank god . but when you put in the mental illness that i truly can’t be sure is just a result of excesive long term drinking ,but that was the start of the cutting, panic, and er trips that i have lost track of the number of times 60+ at least in the last 3years. i just know that if he drinks there is no chance of him making it. there are really no resources for someone like him that he nor his family have no money to help. think that the drugs that they are putting him on are making it worse. there is no way to find out because he dose not go a day with out a drama i.e. drinking or er or mental hospital.
    i cry at the loss of the awesome person that he was and that he still wants to be and can’t fine the way to get back. he cries becouse he dose not know how to get back .
    god please let him find the way back

  • Jeannie

    February 1st, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    My 39 year old son is an addict. He left his 2 year old daughter with his aunt for 3 months so he could get his life straight. Instead he became homeless and took his daughter back so he could get “family shelter) How could he rip her from people who love her and she was finally stable and secure. Mercy House has put them in a hotel for a month. He is using her…she wasn’t the one homeless. He claims he wants to be a Dad…he has 3 older sons that want nothing to do with him. I took to the motel some clothes and food my granddaughter. She was SO happy to see me. I am so scared for my Brianna but legally there is nothing we can do at this point. Son will do drugs again, sleep all day and Brianna will be left to roam the motel room..that is dangerous. I’ve cut son off of money but soon he’ll ask and what can I say when he has Brianna?? He’d probably cut me out of her life!! I’m scared for her. She was finally so happy…how could someone use their own children!!!!

  • CMG

    February 2nd, 2012 at 3:04 PM


    Can you afford legal help? Maybe you should call protective services – they will take your grand-daughter and she will be safe and then the family can step forward and secure custody – then I would imagine be able to petition the court for full custody.

    I am SO sorry for your heartache. Reach out to the authorities there has to be help for your grand-daughter!

  • Tanya

    February 2nd, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Where do you turn to for help? I’ve tried Alanon, but never felt comfortable enough to continue for long. I’m kind of shy and even though I asked about sponsors, I never got anywhere with that. It didn’t take much to get discouraged and quit going. My son has 7 misdemeanors for 3 DUI’s, 1 criminal trespassing, 2 possession of marijuana and 1 for drug paraphernalia. He also has a felony conviction for drug possession. He’s only 32 yrs old, so that’s 8 convictions since he turned 19 (in a 13-yr period). He can’t hold a job even if he can get a job! I can see where an employer might overlook one conviction, but 8?? They’re all related to drugs & alcohol, so there’s no violence, but how could an employer ever trust him? He’s ruining his chances and opportunities for a decent future. Still trying to find a sober house so he can move out of our place.

    Jeannie, I agree with CMG. Try calling CPS and see if they will help your granddaughter. I know this puts you in a tough spot, but she’s so young and this is not fair to her. I hope you can get some resolution and feel better about her circumstances.

  • Maggie

    February 4th, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    Oh boy, I share all your pain. I am in the same boat with all of you. My daughter was born premature. She has horrible aniexty and depression most of her life even as a little girl. She cried and had stomach aches everyday when she had to go to school. Always complaining of not feeling well. In her Senior year the counselor called and said she talked with my daughter and my daughter saw no point or happiness in life. If I knew how to make my daughter care I would do it in a heartbeat. She is now 28 living with us. She had started pain pills 5 years ago. Then she got in to meth. She has been arrested 2 times. She has stopped the meth but continues the pills. She just stole some from her Father he just got for prostrate cancer surgery. He has had it with her. He is so angry. We are both tired of it. I feel like a hostage as many of us do as I have a niece die from a drug overdose and I have watched what that has done to my sister let alone my whole family. Sometimes I hate life. It seems so hard. I know I should kick my daughter out but I am sooo very scared she will go back to meth or just plain give up. I lost my Dad at the age of 6 and my Mother at the age of 28. I just feel I could never deal with my daughter although like my Husband says she is dying a slow death with the pain pills anyways.
    She has no insurance and we just do not have the money for any kind of help especially with my Husband just having cancer. I feel hopeless.

  • Lori Sisson

    February 4th, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    I have to be honest and say that I did not read all of your posts; so please forgive me if I step on any toes or repeat any advice. What I want to to say,and it came to me after reading the “hit” on Google, while searching for something completely different, but I feel I need to tell you something very important. MY 53 yr old brother, Rick committed suicide on October 16th, 2011. When “victims services” showed up at my door that ugly morning, all I could say was, (please excuse this, but it was the strongest, ugly thing that came to mind)…F__ck! I knew without a word what was to come next. they drove me to my mother’s where my family had gathered. Quite a disfunctional family I might add. All of us, silent, contemplating, ridden with guilt, sad, pissed off, confused, and dreading the upcoming days of not only spending time together, but sorting, and talking, and pushing away any quilt that…”Did I cause this”, was the last phone call, (that I didn’t answer), his final cry for help. My brother had lived with me prior to this but I had what I thought at the time, carried out tough love by asking him to leave. (I found things laying around the house that lead me to believe he was “cooking”. (illegally), I have a 12 year old daughter living with me still, no husband. All my beuatiful children love Uncle Rick- his free spirit, his fun- his willingness to teach, to spend time with mine and his own beautiful girls. But it had been many, many, many years of ups and downs. Rick had in the course of 2 weeks, years ago…lost his home, his family business (in-laws) where my brother worked as a renowned chef and amazing restaurant owner; and his wife of 20 years left him for a man probably 20 years younger. As you can imagine, this was a major blow. It was his wife’s family business, and Rick, his wife and their children were living in the old family home that my brother had lovingly restored with his own creative hands, He was in a place that was almost perfect. That was about 20 years ago, and he never recovered. Oh, he also held a management position in a large newspaper, that decided to downsize management, and in one day, without warning 5 managers were asked for their keys and walked out. (literaly). This was in the same 2 weeks. No joke! So…this gave Rick time to spend with his girls, going to their school events, teaching them cooking, woodworking, the lost art of pioneer living, which my brother adored. He spent time in the forest with the girls, and took advantage of the time with them. Unfortunately, life set in and bills began to come in, Child support was demanded and with 3 children and no job…the back support began to stack up. Some of you may know how this snowballs and you never seem to catch up. rick began to make poor choices and got into drugs and alcohol. (a trait common and widespread in my disfunctional family) (the alcohol part)…From there, he lost all his self esteem. He was devistated, found some letters from his ex wife, and found that she had been having a long time affair. To get ot the ending of this story. We all tried to help, My parents…not so much…they were too disfunctional and only criticized Rick for his life, and gave only with condition. Their way of Tough Love. I have never stopped feeling guilty for not picking up that phone and answering it, but quite honestly…I was having problems of my own,at that moment and just couldn’t deal with anymore sadness. That day!!!!!!! i could have and would have gotten over it. I know it’s not my fault, and I know that Ricky is in a much better place…I find comfort in that. I know he is not beating his head on the wall everyday, trying to get out of this blizzard that started with a simple snowball. My only thing that I wonder if I could have done was tried harder to get him into some sort of LONG TIME program that he could live, and regain that which he had lost. He may have taken money (which I didn’t have), and it may have taken Rick further away from me….But now…I would do anything to have Ricky here with me right now, even if it’s just to say…You are pissing me off, but I love you! So…I know it’s hard for you all and you wanna stop giving, stop enabling, avoid possibly (like I did), stop being there everytime He/She needs you. And that is so normal. It’s hard! But not only are there support groups for our loved ones going through this but their are groups for us who are against a brick wall with no answers anymore. PLEASE…find one. go to your church and don’t be ashamed to ask for help, resources are readily available, I know their is a ministry called forgotten man ministries and another couple prominent ministries that deal with getting these people off the streets and will actually keep them in their community, living with them, all biblically based, and encouraging. Although it is a bit of tough love at first cause addiction, withdrawls, will occur, but in the end….You won’t have “Victim Services” at your door, and you won’t be handed a “suicide letter”. Instead you will receive a letter of gratitude and love for NOT GIVING UP! GIVE GOD YOUR BURDEN AND HE WILL BRING SOMEBODY TO YOUR DOOR STEP SHOWING THE WAY. I will go to my grave feeling like I should have acted on this myself, but I was being too selfish in my own little problematic, busy, chaotic, jumbled, world. But If Ricky was here and well…He would be the first one to step up to the plate and help me! I love you all for the simple fact I empathize and want to enfold all of you in my arms, lifting your burdens and promising you that God or whoever you give your spirit world to….Just do it. Make a call. Don’t get a call!

  • Donna

    February 9th, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    I’m sorry you lost your brother. I don’t believe you were being selfish. I believe you were protecting yourself and your 12 year old daughter from the effects of being around addictive behaviors. Not that losing one person is any better than another, but… you could be writing about losing your daughter if she’d accidentally been around during a “cooking” explosion- which happens frequently around meth. It’s sad when the person who needs the help doesn’t go look for it. We can only do so much for them. Again, I’m sorry for your loss. You made the right decision for your life, unfortunately, he didn’t for his.

  • K. Chauncey

    February 10th, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    I am so heartbroken by the stories of parents, including myself, who are suffering miserably at the hands of their children who CHOOSE to use. My son has been in juvenile detention, residential treatment at the age of 15,dropped out of high school, just spent 30 days in county jail, is facing 3 felonies as an adult (19.5 yrs. old) ALL due to his obsessive/compulsive need to ingest, smoke, and inject lethal substances into his body. He now is facing Mount Everest which is his future. If he messes up ONE time he will go back to jail where he was forced to go through heroin withdrawl cold turkey. Guess what?? It didn’t kill him. He now finally is seeing the mountain ahead which is the painful future which is lightyears worse than any imagined trouble he was facing when he CHOSE to start using and escape his reality. I don’t believe his future is hopeless. I tell him this is one chapter and not the whole book. However, he does have a broken spirit, an awareness of his sin, a remorse from everyone he has hurt, and a desire to live a better life. He has told me NO ONE will ever stop using until THAT person wants to. NOW HE WANTS TO. I can only stand back and pray for my son, that he starts to WANT to have a different life. When he was forced to live in jail, (where he may still have to go), he decided using drugs and all that goes with it is not the answer. Sometimes the thing you want to stop happening is stopped when your child reaches the depths of despair. Isn’t that often when we seek God ourselves? I cam’t do anything about his choices but choose to forgive him and pray for his strong foothold for the future. I pray God lives in him even when life hurts. You see, God answered my prayers that my child would be safe and not use. He did answer; just not in the way I expected.

  • M Moore

    February 13th, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    i’m glad to know that i am not alone in this my daughter is a drug addict who has stolen from our home hurt her family with lies you’re stories help me see there are more out there like me who need help don’t know what will happen now hope she sees this is not the way

  • Jude

    February 14th, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    My adult son is 29 and been on and off drugs for the past 15 years. My children we molested and beaten by their dad “until they were numb” so it is not wonder two of them have chosen drugs and alcohol (mostly prescription pills)!! Doctors don’t seem to care that these drugs are KILLING people….they are in it for $$$$the almight dollar! Right now my oldest son is homeless and been sleeping some nights on my couch! I have a small one-bedroom apt and cannot afford a bigger place. Honestly, I don’t trust that he won’t rob me blind……isn’t that pathetic!! My dad and i are both enablers….but I’m learning how to stop! I hope! The problem lies in my guilt as to what my ex did in their childhood with the molestation and beatings. I wanted to leave but had no where to go and had no idea how to get out. My children paid a high price for my ignorance so I’ve always felt sorry for them and given and given and given to the point that they feel entitled!! It is a vicious circle. Will jail help an addict or an alcoholic? NO!!! Maybe a 2-5 year lockdown rehab like the Lubbock Corrections Facility. My son has no felonies, but does have the deferred adjudication and cannot find work because of background checks. Does anyone blame him for giving up? Please, if you know of any programs that will give someone a second chance please post it here. Thanks and God bless you all!

  • Chip

    February 14th, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    This is great and very helpful advice. Our 23 year old son has been addicted to heroin for the past 5-years. We have struggled with out patient treatment, residential treatment, living at home with verbal and written agreements. He has relapsed again and was recently arrested for illegal possesion of controlled substances.

    We finally stopped supporting him-he is alone and although with friends now will likely be homeless in the near future. We are willing to help if he seeks treatment. Forcing him to face the consequences of his own choices has been gut wrenching. He is addicted to drugs and has significant mental health problems. Our actions may force him to seek help or may hasten what has been a slow death. I believe we’re doing the best thing, but if he does die our lives, our hearts, will be so terribly damaged. I’ don’t know how we go on from here, but it does help to know others have similar struggles. Thanks to whoever started this and best wishes for all of you who have found yourselves dealing with problems we never could really be prepared for.

  • Joannie

    February 18th, 2012 at 6:40 AM

    I am the mother of a 19 year old girl who has just disclosed to me that she is injecting crushed pain-killers. She said she wanted my help to get clean, so I flew to the city where she lives and expected to be working with her to get her help. She looked like such a mess, lost tons of weight and her arms were full of bruises, red marks, and weird white bumps. I had just seen her a Xmas and didn’t notice this. However, a concerned family member pointed out to me THEN that my daughter had dropped to much weight and her pupils seemed strange. I dismissed this, being niave and never thinking my daughter would partake is something so horrible. Looking back, I should have noticed the remnants of crushed pill casing in the carpet at her apartment, and all the random shoelaces laying around the apartment for tying up her arm while injecting. It all seems so obvious now.

    We took her to detox, and she was using again within minutes of being out, and even right in front of us! During this altercation of trying to stop her I accidentally got stuck with a dirty needle in the leg. Knowing that my daughter had admitted to sharing needles, I now have the added stress of wondering if I caught anything in the process. I was in shock, and so upset about seeing my daughter using, that the danger of what had happened didn’t even hit me until later that night.

    Her stepfather and myself found her a great rehab for youth with a 6 month time line, and two years of follow-up. She agreed to go, and when the time came to do the telephone intake, she started to make up excuses. That was a week ago. She is still using, and has a circle of users whom she considers “great friends”. Its heart breaking and I was so foolish to believe “I can fix anything”…that was my attitude at first. I’ve since had to quickly come to terms with the reality of this addiction.

    My question to you all is this: While we have cut off funds to her, now realizing it was ALL going to finance her habit, and had to shut off her phone because the bill was $1,200, and looking over the bill we realized she had been using her phone to coordinate drug deals and little else. I am sick that I have no easy way to contact her, but couldn’t take knowing her phone was her lifeline to the drugs. Also, the level of the bill was clearly out of control as well. So having done all this, I am wondering how far a parent has a right to go to protect their daughter through even tougher measures. I have access to her doctors contact information (and she has recently been shown how to drug seek with fake pain problems at the Dr’s office and ER via older people in her drug circle)and also the contact information for her housing manager and PO officer (she was arrested for resisting arrest/public intoxication a few months ago – that should have been a tip-off to me, but like I said I was so niave). She had such a detailed explanation for why it all happened. She has ALL of these people believing she is clean and in compliance with all the rules. I feel like I should let these people know how much trouble she is in and that she is refusing treatment. I love her and my heart aches over what has unfolded, but I am also still in shock, have just found all this out. I’m not even sure I am thinking straight. But one line of thinking I have is, if she wont take help from me, perhaps these other people (Doctor, PO officer, housing manager) might be able to get through to her? Or do I have to wait and hope she sees the light at some point?

  • Chip

    February 18th, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    Hi Joannie,

    I’m sorry to hear of the heartache you have with your daughter. Our son has a similar problem with heroin addiction and other drugs. I wish I had answers to the problems we face. After lots of trials to fix the problem, my wife and I found that nothing we did could be of any real help until he wanted to get better, until he chose life over drugs. He is on his own now and we about him every day. I think all we can do as parents is tough it out until they decide they need help, then be there as much as we can to help them through treatment. Best of luck to you and others in our situation.

  • Joannie

    February 19th, 2012 at 7:36 AM

    Chip, thank you for your reply. This comment page has helped me immensely and I thank all of you for sharing your insights.

    I also believe my daughter has mental health issues, however she could not stick with one doctor or therapist long enough to be diagnosed or to benefit from any therapy. She has severe anxiety, insomnia, depression, and ADD. She has also had problems with authority and aggression since she was 12 years old. I chose to believe she just had a strong personality, and since she refused medication or therapy, I just hoped she would outgrow it, which was foolish of me in hindsight. If you don’t mind me asking, what type of mental health issues does your son struggle with?

  • Chip

    February 19th, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Hi Joannie,

    I’m not sure what the formal diagnosis is for our son. He suffers from depression, very low self esteem, lying to have others see him more favorably or avoid being caught. On occasion he has had outbursts of uncontrolled rage, but only a few times.

    Don’t blame yourself for being slow to recognize your daughter’s problems. In retrospect the pieces fall into place, but it’s not easy to recognize as problems unfold with greater frequency and severity. We missed lots of signs with our son that I can now see as a pattern that should have told us he was in more trouble, had more severe problems, than we were ready to face. Your daughter is so young, I believe we have to chose hope, hang in there for the tough times and be patient until they see the consequences of their own actions and want to change.

    I think what is hard for us is not understanding the degree of desperation our son feels or why he continues self destructive behavior when we know at heart he is a great guy and is young enough to put this behind him and do great things if he only chose to. Best of luck with your daughter, I know everyday is a challenge.

  • Chip

    February 25th, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    It’s been 2 weeks since our son has been arrested and we refused to let him continue to live at home. We’ve talked with him a few times – unsure where he’s living or how he’s doing. I know this is the best thing for him – to face the consequences of choosing heroin and other drugs. I also know that even if he seeks help and we get him to treatment, his chances of sustained recovery are poor. We miss him so terribly much. He is our little guy and I fear we have lost him. I almost died 2 years ago – this is so much harder, a battle we cannot fight for him, choices we cannot make for him.

    I lay awake wondering how did this happen? Some pieces fall into place, but for the most part we don’t understand how he feels or why. Nights are the worst for me. It is cold and wet outside. He’s likely with a friend and OK, but if so this is only a short term fix. Like other parents on this site, we fear the call that he has died. A large part of us will have died too if this is the ultimate outcome. All of us struggle through life at times and have to tough it out. I’m not sure that I have it in me to tough this out. It helps to know that other parents and kids are facing similar struggles-this site gives me a chance to put to words what my heart feels.

  • Joannie

    February 26th, 2012 at 8:29 PM


    Isn’t it the most difficult thing to have so much support to offer and a child who does not appear to want it. I am still struggling with my faulty attitude of ” I can fix anything if I put my mind to it”. Logically, though, I know this is one of those situations where all my determination and perseverance make no difference. Only my daughter can choose to fix this.

    Just three days ago I got into a physical altercation with her trying to convince her to go to rehab. I tried to stop her from going out to buy drugs. I knew it was wrong to try to stop her and yet my frustration got the best of me.

    In the end, myself and my parents were able to get her into a treatment center just two days ago, but she has been planning to leave the center both of the last two days. I know I have to let the professionals try to get through to her. Its so hard to just stand by and hope and pray. Some parts of the day I can detach a bit, and remind myself not to get swallowed up by this monster of a problem, but like you said, in the evenings I lose all my resolve and I can do little but miss her terribly and worry for her. I am dreading the phone call from the center telling me she has walked out.

    Thank you for continuing to post here, it is the only solace in trying to cope with this all.

  • Chip

    February 26th, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Hi Joanie,

    It is the start of another long night and I’m guessing, like my wife and I, you’re continuing to struggle with worries about our kids. It’s great that your daughter made it to rehab – I hope she becomes more willing to take advantage of what they have to offer. My wife says we always have to chose hope and I think she’s right (as hard as it is at times).

    I wonder if your daughter and our son could read the posts on this site if it would help them better understand how their choices effect those that love them so much. I suspect they already know this, but have rationalized it away to continue their preference for drugs above their own health needs and the impact to their families.

    Our son has shown no interest in residential treatment up to this point. His recent arrest may force him to enter a forced drug court program (18 months) that has a better than average success rate. This is my best hope for him now. If your daughter leaves her treatment program, there may be something along these lines that would help.

    I appreciate your willingness to share problems you are facing – helps me stay grounded and know we’re not alone in our desperation.

    Take care and best of luck as your daughter’s recovery unfolds.

  • PHarrison

    February 29th, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    I have a 30 yr old who has been an addict of some type since he was 17. I have the guilt as his father was an alcoholic, I traveled for my job and left him with his grandmother which also turned out to be a binging alcoholic, and then his father had an affair and we moved away and we do not hear from him at all for over 12 years now. My son is 30 cannot hold a job because he doesn’t go into work on time or lays out because he was out too late. He still lives at home. I furnished him a car, his car insurance, his cell phone and a place to live and eat. he lies to me and I know it and I still do all these things. He has been in rehab twice with no results positive. His father was a pathological liar and his father before him, is this hereditary like addictions? I threw him out tonight with no money, no gas and I will cut the car insurance off Monday and the cell phone or atleast that is my threat. he just now text me to ask if I could bring his cell charger to him and a sandwich as he doesn’t have the gas to get them and he found a friend to stay with. I told him NO. I know this is not solving his problem and making me crazy but I want out of this maze. He does good then he falls, I pay him out, he does good, he falls and I pay him out. I am 55 with no retirement to speak of and I cannot afford to keep doing this not for him or me. I have no health insurance and neither does he so where do you get counseling for FREE?
    What do I do and is what I am doing harmful or helpful?

  • Chip

    March 1st, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    We are following the same path that you are with our 23 year old son. Not easy, I ask myself the same question you do every night. Our son had times when he was doing better then times when things would fall apart for him.

    Bottom line for us was although it was comforting to have him stay at home where he was warm and fed, the reality was he was not having to face life – he was slowly dying.

    I believe letting our kids be responsible for their own actions and being there to offer whatever help we can if they choose life over drugs is all we can do. We’ve come to learn stopping drug abuse, dealing with underlying mental health issues has to start with our son’s choice, its not something we could fix with our own strength of will, choices we could make, completion of treatment plans that we want for them

    I hope the best for you and your son. Your sense of loss, of despairation, are shared by a lot of parents on this site. For me, it helps to know that we are not alone and that there is such a common thread in so many of our experiences.

  • PHarrison

    March 2nd, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    You are so smart to stop now at 23. I read the book A Beautiful Boy by David Sheff, it helped me to pull back and allow him to move forward or backward, but I did not go so far as to make him leave the house until this week. I gave him the number of the county facilities and he stayed there last night. He has called to come by and get clothes and shower which I am OK with but he cannot stay here without going for counseling and a job that I know. It is SO hard though as I lay in my warm bed in my house and have no idea what bed, if any he is laying in. But you are right we cannot change them they must change themselves. I must go back and reread this book as it gave me strength. I pray that God will give me the wisdom to do what is best for my son, not for me and I pray that he will do that for all of us out there in the same situations. It is good to know we are not alone there are others but also so sad to know how many others. God is constant though and he is available to us all. I so wish he would “fix” this so my son and yours and the others would make the choices they have been raised to make and have a wonderful llfe like we wanted them to have when we brought them into this world. No matter how old they get they are still your children.

  • Sue

    March 2nd, 2012 at 3:41 PM


    I so hope you are still reading here. Please, please call your local social services department. I know it is a hard thing to do – but your granddaughter has NO ONE to protect her. She is in a horribly dangerous situation. I had to make these decisions…I hated doing it and honestly – I waited till the very last minute I could. Your son took the little girl so he could get emergency shelter! Just that tells you he (in his drug lifestyle) would use her in a heartbeat. She has to be removed from there. Social services will place with family. Please give her a chance. She is so vulnerable. She could even be caught up in a drug trade. Protect the child. Your son’s decisions are out of your control – but, the little girl NEEDS your involvement…with all respect.

  • Chip

    March 3rd, 2012 at 12:07 AM


    Thanks for your posting and recommended read. I will get a copy of this and read it. I too question if our decision to not let our son live at home is best for him, or for my wife and I or for all of us. I believe our decision, and your’s, as hard as it is, is best for everyone.

    You’re so right, no matter how old they are, they will always be our children and we will always love them, always worry about them. We both seem to have lost our boys to drugs, like so many others on this site. Take care of yourself for you, your family and your son – easy to say I know, but somehow we have to tough this out and embrace hope.

  • Chip

    March 4th, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    Our son called tonight – desperate to come home, alone, scared, cold and hungry. Says he’s lost 20 lbs. and doesn’t know what to do. I told him he has to figure this out on his own, we can’t tell him what to do. He talked about going to a treatment center his MD recommends – told him his Mom and I would meet with him and his MD to discuss a treatment plan and after care. He said he doesn’t need treatment – would just be a warm place to go with food, but doesn’t want to go back to an Oxford House again.

    He asks how we could turn his back on him? I think he is desperate, but also manipulative. There is no doubt in my mind or my heart that if we let him move back home the same pattern of drug use, not working and not going to school would repeat itself. Although I think what we’re doing is best, I am tempted to try to fix the problem, help him find a place to live, give him money for food, set rules he would dismiss and I couldn’t hold him accountable for. So, my “fix” would at best delay his coming to terms with his choices about drugs, about living life – desperate fix for me, my wife, the rest of our family that wouldn’t help him.

    Although I know so many things wouldn’t help, I don’t know what, if anything, we can do that will help. I think this is a question that will haunt me …

  • Donna

    March 6th, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    The emotional pain of watching my child destroy himself is almost too much for me. I am barely able to cope with life right now. Tough love seems so unnatural (especially as a mom) and yet I know it’s probably the exact thing he needs. What a miserable way to live. I feel like it’s so unfair. It’s good to have support and websites for parents to connect with others who understand. The very few I share this awful story with don’t seem to understand addiction. Thank you for letting me vent.

  • Sally

    March 6th, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    My oldest son became addicted at 15. He is now 40 and doing a second round in prison. This time it is for bank robbery and kidnapping. Because we stopped sending him money in prison when we realized that is all he wanted from us, he is now threatening to have us killed for cooperating with the police over seven year ago when he was convicted. This whole thing is a living nightmare. The young son who was full of promise is gone and the son that remains is a living dead. I don’t seen any closer to this whole mess. At least people who lose children to accidents and illness have hope of an afterlife with their child. We have no hope only the daily struggle to stay above ground ourselves because we refused to enable. My heart goes out to all of you on this website. God help us.

  • Chip

    March 7th, 2012 at 10:49 PM


    Your problem with your son sounds extraordinarily hard. We are just now coming to terms with our son’s drug and mental health issues. He has not been in prison yet, but I fear this may be in his future. Any suggestions or thoughts that have helped you deal with this over the years?

    Best of luck to you and your family.

  • Sally

    March 8th, 2012 at 5:09 PM


    Accepting the fact that in the end it is your son who must come to terms with the consequences of his drug issues is really important. If you continue to protect him from the consequences he will never try to make a better decision. I don’t know how old his is but if he is in your home get him quality counseling for the mental health issues but know that unless he is a willing participant, it won’t help. Your only resource is giving him up to God and allowing him to live in the bed he has made. My son has drug and mental health issues as well. They will bleed you dry financially and emotionally. At some point you have to tell yourself that it is “ok” to save yourself and the rest of the family if the addict doesn’t want help. We have lived through 15 years of extortion, death threats, physical and emotional abuse. We go weeks without hearing from him and start to feel like life is going to turn around and then boom, more threats, etc. They will threaten to take there life if you don’t cooperate as well as yours or other members of your family. Keep in mind that when you chose to allow them to deal with the consequences of their actions which I believe is the only hope we have, be prepared to be hated by everyone who is still caught in the co-dependency loop. Until they have walked in your shoes they won’t understand.

  • Chip

    March 8th, 2012 at 11:48 PM


    Thank you.

    My wife and I have come to the same conclusion that you have – our son’s only chance to get better is to face the consequences of his actions. He has threatened to take his own life, but not harm our family. It took us 4 or 5 years, a lot of pain and attempts to fix his problems ourselves before we understood that no matter how badly we wanted things to change, it really didn’t matter – getting better, caring for his own life and family, has to start with him.

    He is 23, alone, homeless, cold and hungry. We think of him every day, hope he’s OK. We will always be there to help him if he decides to seek help and mend his broken body and spirit. Until then, we know giving him a place to stay or money is not a solution.

    We’re 1-month into this – you’ve lived with it for 15-years.Thanks for taking time to respond to my question

  • Jill

    March 11th, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    my 29 yr old daughter is a pill addict. She has found a doc who will and does prescribe anything she wants. I fear she will go to sleep and not wake up. My ex husband enables her (after she totalled her car in a pill induced haze, he bought her another)I can do nothing about that. He says its my fault (how it is “my fault” is not exactly clear). She wants to move in with me, but I cannot let her. I would have to lock up my own valuables, my medication and listen to a cussing/ranting/raging lunatic all the time. I cant do it anymore. Its agony

  • Chip

    March 11th, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    We are considering putting our 23-year old son through drug rehab a 2nd time for heroin and other drug addictions. We want to help-unsure this is the right time, he seems passively interested, but our sense is more this is a way to get 28-days free room and board. I may be too callous, unsure, this maybe what he needs to start the healing process.

    What have others on this site found? -how many times do you pay for rehab and how do you avoid it becoming a lifestyle or an easy fix when things turn bad?

    Thanks for any thoughts or shared experience.

  • Chip

    March 11th, 2012 at 10:12 PM


    Hang in there. I think your decision not to let your daughter move in with you is a good one- for your relative peace of mind and for her being responsible for the consequences of her actions. We have found some, most, doctors and counselors to be very helpful. There are however a few MDs out there that seem willing to perscribe drugs that have a tremdous abuse potential to people they know are already struggling with serious drug addiction. I continue to be dismayed at this, but have found it to be a reoccurring problem. Part of it may be to our addicts skilled ability to say the right thing, mimic the right symptoms to get the drugs.

    Best of luck to you.

  • Jessica

    March 12th, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    I am a mother of a 25 year old daughter who is addicted to alcohol and has also used a variety of drugs in the past. My daughter was sober for 2 years and has relapsed in the last 3-4 months. My biggest concern is she is the mother of a beautiful 17 month old son. This past weekend she text me saying she was in trouble and needed my help. When I text back I asked her what kind of help she needed. She told me she had been drinking. When she called me she said she was driving over to talk to me. I told her I would come get her but she insisted she was almost to my home. When she arrived she was intoxicated and had her child in the car with her. She has no DUI’s or any other arrests. Her record is clean. I have called someone in child protective services to see what our rights are as grandparents but have found out we have none until she has a history with breaking the law.

    She told us she was going to go to meetings and reach out to others for support. Needless to say she hasn’t been to a meeting yet. I told her today that I would continue to watch her son while she worked but other than that I didn’t have much else to say her because our relationship was now on a superficial level. I told her until she was ready to get help, I couldn’t have a relationship with her. We all know with tough love it hurts immensely and now I wonder if I did the right thing. She does depend on us a lot to help her with our grandson. His father is a drug addict and has never even seen his child. It breaks my heart that this is happening to my grandson who did nothing to deserve this and is such a blessing to our lives. If anyone has any ideas on how to cope, I am open to listen. In the mean time I will pray and try to let go and let God.

  • Elizabeth

    March 13th, 2012 at 8:13 AM

    Hello to everyone,

    I have four children, the oldest one is a 34 year old daughter. She has two children and a business that has always kept her busy. I am suspecting that she has developed an addiction to pain killers. As I reflect back, I think it started 5 years or so ago. But she has functioned as an adult for the most part and it has been such a gradual change that it has taken a while for me to get suspicious.

    Here are some facts of our situation:

    She had a terrible problem with varicose veins during her last pregnancy 7 years ago. At a gyn visit a few years later she was prescribed hydrocodone to help her with the leg pain the week before her period. She was thrilled with the benefits the drug gave her. After about 3 months of refilling the RX monthly, the doctor said no. I believe this was the beginning.

    Mood changes and occasional aggressive behavior with family members started a few years ago.

    Has been told that she has Sciatica and complains of her back all the time. Still works, tho. Makes probably close to $50,000 a year with her child suppport.

    Before Xmas she told me she needed a new start because her car has been malfunctioning and “was taking all her extra money”. She told me, instead of asking me, that she needed to move in with me for a few months. When I seemed less than thrilled, she got angry and said “I guess me and your grandchildren will just have to live at the Salvation Army.”

    She moved in for 3 months. When her tax money came and it was time for her to look for another place, she began to make offerings of staying with me “to help me out”. I graciously declined. Then she resorted to “I’m not leaving until I know you are safe out here by yourself”. (I am recently divorced and living alone for the first time in my adult life). Again, I reassured her that I was fine being alone and that she should go ahead with her search for a home.

    All the while this was going on I never considered she was using pain meds, much less buying them from others.

    Last week she started an unprovoked argument with me.

    She is BROKE all the time, despite living her for 3 months and making a good living. She doesn’t ask me for money, but she has ignored that she owes me for her cell phone bill which is on my account. I checked those cell records yesterday and she is texing and calling constantly to numbers I have never heard of.

    There are other things that are happening that have finally opened my eyes to what I think is going on.

    Here is my question: How do I approach her? She drinks wine EVERY NIGHT now. I fear for her life.
    She still does her job and takes care of her children, but I believe that if things keep progressing, I will start to see problems there.

    I do not want her to now have a key to my home. I would also like to deactivate her cell phone because I do not want a phone that is in my name to be used to make drug calls.

    I just don’t know the right approach to take or if I am just being paranoid. I am so angry with her right now for the way she talked to me last week after all I have done for her, but I know this could be a life or death situation and I need to face it head on.

    Any words of wisdom is appreciated.

  • Jill

    March 13th, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Chip, i dont blame the doc (she is a great liar). I am so afraid SO afraid of her not waking up one day. My ex is oblivious to this. Her drugs make her raging angry. I am the family scapegoat, having divorced her father after 28 years of marriage (verbal and emotional abuse). So i get the worst of it when she is on a bender. Funny..she doesnt rage at daddy who gives her money , cars and everything else . She rages at me who refuses to enable. I pray for Gods help

  • Jill

    March 13th, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    My daughter is unemployed and uninsured. there is no place to go for help. I cant pay for treatment for her (if indeed she agreed) . I am unemployed myself.

  • Chip

    March 13th, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Our experience has been that if you suspect your daughter is using drugs and/or dealing them you should be concerned. We also saw this with our son – short phone calls to seemingly random cities. To this day, we don’t kow what the calls were for. You might try working with a counselor as a condition of allowing her to stay with you, set up specific rules, expectations and consequences in a written contract and then be prepared to follow through. We did this with our son, he broke the contract and has been homeless for about a month.

    I think there are few universal good answers out there. For us, one thing that clearly wasn’t working was to have our adult son live at home. Took us a long time to come to this conclusion and it is hard every night wondering where he is.

    Others on this site may have good suggestions for helping your grandchildren – makes a very tough situation incredibly harder.

    Best of luck & hang in there.

  • Tanya

    March 15th, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    What is so sad is that the addicts not only destroy their lives, but they destroy the lives of those who love them. When will there be peace in my life? I’m so tired of the roller coaster ride, but I can’t seem to get off. The emotional and financial stress never ends. My son is 32 and this has been going on since he was 14. Rehab after rehab as well as 2 or 3 stints in jail for drugs and DUI. There’s no point in going into the details; but he’s supposedly sober and my intuition tells me he’s not. My friend’s son-in-law gave him a job because he can’t seem to get a job with a felony and several misdemeanors for alcohol/drugs on his record. He’s only working a few hours a week now, but is supposed to go full-time soon. He owes money to the court, his car insurance is due, and he needs to go to the tax office and transfer the title & pay the tax on the used car (which my ex-husband loaned him the money for). Who gets hung out to dry on all these expenses right now? Me, as usual. Who has to pay for his room & board right now? Me. How long will it be before he is making enough money to pay for everything by himself? Who knows… probably never (as usual). I’m so angry and distressed over being right back in this trap I swore I’d never get into again… and I have no way of knowing if he’s sober. Of course he says he is, but addicts don’t know how to spell honesty & integrity. I’m so tired of waking up in the night worrying about him. How do you not do these things to help when he’s working and supposedly trying to get his feet on the ground and make a life for himself? I feel trapped, used and have a terrible sense of foreboding. There aren’t any answers. If I don’t help him, he won’t be able to keep the job and he’ll be on the streets. There’s no guarantee he won’t lose his job and end up there anyway even with my help. I’m 62 and retired, which means the funds used to help him are my retirement savings! It seems so unfair to have lived my life as a responsible adult only to have to share what I was able to put aside with my addict son. As I said, this has been going on for many years, so he’s into me for thousands and thousands of dollars. I’m not really asking for advice; I’m just using this venue to get some of this off my chest and try to get out of this funk I’m in.

  • Claire

    March 15th, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    I read this article and the comments that followed and it has given me the strength to continue. My husband and his son are in a disasterous co-dependent relationship. His son is a 29 year old druggie and has been since he was 13. He has been a meth addict for over 10 years, has lived with his mother, who enabled the behaviour to continue. He would pop up in our lives occasionally at Christmas or birthday to get what he could and ignore us the rest of the time. His mother finally moved away and left him behind, it was apparent something was going to happen when he started chumming up to his father. Now he is facing charges for domestic violence and has “turned to Dad” to help him straighten out his life. I think everyone who reads this blog knows full well that he is only playing on my husbands guilt and sucking our money from us. My husband has given him a place to live, gives him money, and helps buy food (even though he has food stamps) When I try to discuss it with my husband it becomes about me trying to keep his son out of our lives. I try to explain all that was in the article to him but he won’t listen. addicts are the best manipulators and if you are a parent with any guilt feelings at all, they will use them to suck anything and everything out of you. No one changes anything without strong motivation, and these adult children have no motivation to change. They have low expectations in life and don’t think like we do… I will keep trying to get my husband to listen but when the final blow up happens, and my husband pushes him away, as I predict will happen. I will help him work through his feelings, but after time has passed I am going to have to give my husband an ultimatum… no more assistance to his son until he is clean, working, has a place to live, and can prove all of it.

  • Chip

    March 15th, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Hi Claire,

    I don’t know if this will be any help. What you’ve said above about adult addicts, manipulation and guilt is exactly what my wife and I have found to be true with our son. I think for each of us there is a breaking point, one lie too many, heartaches that we can no longer take, that bring us to the realization that enabling an addict hurts everyone. Your husband sounds like me, slower to see this and struggling to come to terms with the stark and harsh reality that the only, albeit fragile, hope is to stop supporting them and let them be responsible for their own actions.

    My wife’s patience and support as I’ve come to accept this has meant everything. To the extent that you can get help from a drug counselor, this might help you guys get on the same page. Best of luck to you and your family.

  • Mary Byrd

    March 19th, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    I am trying to learn how to cope with my 26 yr old daughter who has recently been through dextox and rehab.

  • Chip

    March 20th, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    I’m writing this to our son – a message he is unlikely to ever see.

    Throughout all that our family has been through, there have been some hard fought lessons. Read what families on this blog have been through – tremdous heartache and loss. We all love you, we all hate what this addiction has done to you, to all of us. Like so many things in life, I know your addiction isn’t all because of mistakes you’ve made. If anyone should share it the blame, it is me.

    That said, you are the only one that can fix this, all our plans, fixes, next steps that make sense to us are meaningless. At sometime you will have to choose to fight the hard battle to save your life or loose it through selfish inaction. We’re going to be spending money to send you back to rehab again – money that could have gone to college, to buy a car or take a trip or…? If this rehab starts a healing process that you can maintain it will be an answer to what seem like endless nights of worry punctuated by heartbreaks. You can choose to live the days you’ve been given or to ignore them. We choose to hold onto te good times, we choose hope for a better tomorrow. We also chose to recognize the outcome is your call. You are always a part of our heart, a piece of our soul and spirit.

  • Joannie

    March 21st, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Hi Chip,

    I am back on here after 4 weeks when I wrote that my 19 year old daughter had gone into a 4 month treatment program. I must say, sadly, that after 28 days she is walking out of the program. During the last 4 weeks she sounded so calm, excited about life and the opportunities ahead of her. I was feeling so encouraged and took the risk of being hopeful myself, that somehow this treatment would give her back some of the peace of mind she had clearly lost.

    Instead she tells me she is packing to leave, to return to the same bad friends, dangerous boyfriend, and an apartment that is not safe. It was an expensive program, and one of the most highly rated in our area. I think I now see even more why parents here and on other comment boards, say that your child must want the sobriety just as much as their parents do – otherwise it may not be successful.

    While I haven’t received the call yet that she has left the facility, I expect to get that call any hour now. I did most of the leg work and financial finagling to get her into the treatment program, and realize now that once again I have stepped in and tried to “fix” all her problems. Its so hard to learn how to be a parent while also letting your child “choose their own path and the consequences that comes from those choices”. Like you Chip, my daughter suffers from depression and other mental health issues that I believe hinder her ability to climb out of this mess on her own, and so I question where to draw the line everyday.

    I wish every single day that I had someone to give me direction on this, as each step I make I feel like I am somehow making everything worse. I second guess every conversation, every goodbye, every thought. It’s truly exhausting. I find my mind scrabbling to somehow think of some “solution” that has previously escaped me, despite know this is a faulty frame of mind. Uggh.

  • Tanya

    March 23rd, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Everytime my son calls my cell phone, I panic. When he says he’ll call and I don’t hear from him, I panic. It’s one crisis after another and I’m too wrapped up in it– too wrapped up in his “stuff”. I want out, but I don’t know how to get out. The nice used car that he bought via a loan from his father just one month ago now has a couple thousand dollars worth of damage. He said his car was backed into a space at the apartment complex where he’s staying and someone backed into his car when he was sleeping. It was obviously a truck, but no one left a note and he can’t prove who did it. I want to believe him, but it’s just impossible. My gut tells me it’s just another story. Who knows? Every car he’s owned has ended up a piece of junk. He still has the job, but unfortunately it’s not their busy season, so he has only worked a few hours the past couple of weeks– definitely not enough to survive on without financial assistance. Our relationship is so unhealthy– him asking for money and me angry at myself and him for helping him. If I don’t help him, he won’t be able to keep the job. If he can’t keep the job, this whole effort the past 3 months will have been for nothing.

  • Chip

    March 25th, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    Hi Joanie,

    Thanks for your note. Sorry that rehab hasn’t worked for your daughter. Don’t feel alone – my understading is that success rates from rehab at even the best facilitIes are poor, something like 50% of those in top end facillities relapse within a year. The good news is that although many people relapse, the rehab does give them tools to better catch themselves and a greater likelihood of turning things around.

    We are working with our son and his MD to see if he has an honest interest in rehab. If he does, will help make it available for him. He has been homeless for about six-weeks now because we won’t allow him to return home. He’s very angry and feels we’ve abandoned him. Don’t think he’s really ready to start another treatment program, but have to try one more time.

    Best of luck – hope rehab helps your daughter deal better with her addiction.

  • Jeanie's

    April 1st, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    I too am a mother of a drug addict and have reached my limit. He came home completely
    Stoned on meth,cocaine, clone pin and more. His pupils were the size of baseballs. Furious and without a second thought, drove him quickly to local emergency room to get real help, which was to tell the peychiatrist to admit him in psych unit until he decided
    Residential long term treatment is a better choice. He is leaving Thursday. If he walks out of there ibwillnnot rescue him my conclusion after researching opiate addiction rehabs success rates and nobody regulating halfway houses is a complete joke.
    I taught him where to go for help, hospital Medicaid etc.
    It’s time to go after the pharmaceutical companies. Sue them for misleading information regarding the intense addictive qualities of these opiate drugs. I am getting a power of attorney form to release llmof his medical info and starting a lawsuit. What are ll of you waiting for. Many of our kids, adults, family got addicted from a normal injury.

    Wish you ll the best, I blame perdue pharmaceutical and many states in this country are suing them also.
    Where is the class action suit from us moms. Are we all slep on this one?

  • Chip

    April 3rd, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    As I read through the stories on this web site I continue to be amazed by the commonality of the pain and loss so many feel. In our instance I believe our son’s addictive behavior is a very real, life threatening issue, but is also a symptom of underlying mental health issues. I find myself ill equipped to deal with either. Over the lastb10-years we have tried to help our son with our own plans, goals and largely minimizing the severity of his problems. Although I believe our efforts were helpful in demonstrating our love and concern for him, they were mostly meaningless – attempts at times to insulate ourselves from his harsh realities.

    We are hopeful that he will begin rehab a second time. Although we know the statistics for sustained recovery are low, we choose hope. There is tremendous potential within him to good for himself and to help others. We hope he is successful in finding this.

    There are a few things I’ve learned along the way. Everyone’s situation is unique, but I thought these may be of some help to others. If nothing else, it helps me to lay these out:
    1.) only he can decide if it is worth the sacrifices to not be addicted and to fully engage in life;
    2.) as much as we want good, healthy, positive outcomes – we have no control over what he chooses;
    3.) not enabling him took a long time for us to realize it is best for him, even though it is tough for us;
    4.) there is a very real possibility that he will not change, have a short and largely self centered life;
    5.) this is a lifelong challenge for him and all that love him, not an event that can be changed by rehab alone;
    6.) it is possible to love him deeply while hating the behaviors and actions addiction has led him too;
    7.) we cannot let this problem become our own addiction, we must be there for each other and not sacrifice precious time with our other kids;
    8.) we must be resolute, clear and compassionate in dealing with him. Our focus needs to be centered on how he plans to work is way out of this;
    9.) although there seem to be many things not to do, we continue to struggle with what the right path is;
    10.) inspite of our efforts to understand him, what drives his decisions and the internal turmoil he faces daily, we really don’t understand and likely never will;
    11.) getting to this point has taken time, willingness to frankly address reality and a lot of soul searching, and
    12.) what helps us stay grounded is talking to each other about him, his issues and what we can to to help without enabling him.

    Long winded I know. I hope some of these thoughts are helpful.

    Best of luck to all that find themselves on this site.

  • Donna

    April 5th, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Those are very good points, Chip! I struggle with fear and worry every day about what will happen to my son. The emotional pain can be unbearable at times. Even with all the hurt he has caused our family, I still can’t look at him without seeing my “little boy.” It’s heartbreaking. Finding the line between enabling and helping is very difficult. It feels so unnatural for me as his mother to turn my back on him. Some days I am angry with the world that this is happening. I hate to feel so sorry for myself- I really for sorry for him- but I feel such despair.

  • Denise

    April 15th, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    I found this information and blog just 2 days ago. I then spent hour after hour reading every comment and I can hardly believe how many other people are out there just like myself. Our story is so similar, a 36 year old daughter who has been an alcoholic for close to 15 years. She has been troubled at different times in her life, and after reading so many comments, I have been able to get it down to 2 incidents in her life that seemed to have an impact on her self esteem and some of the choices she has made since then. She too, was a very bright and talented little girl, an honors student until early high school. When she was 11 we found out that our 9 year old daughter had a very large brain tumor. She needed of course, a lot of medical tests and eventually surgery. This was completely devastating and consumed much of our immediate time during the days and weeks afterward. During this time I still needed to tend to the other children, ages 11 (Trish), 6 and 4. There was always someone ready to offer a helping hand from babysitting to dinners, etc., as my husband was the pastor of a small church. That brain surgery ended up being 2 surgeries over a 3 year period with a lot of special care and a near constant seizure problem. Trish told me shortly after that it bothered her that we left her to care for the other kids while tending to our other daughter. Well, of course we never did that! She was only 11 years old! Like I said, there were plenty of people who volunteered their time for whatever we needed. Several years later she became pregnant while a high school senior. She did counsel both sides of the abortion issue and whether or not to give the baby up for adoption. She chose to have the baby and later stated that though pregnant way too young, it was one of the most special times of her life. Within a few short years the drinking began, slowly at first, so slowly we didn’t realize what was happening. She never attended to her baby’s needs as one would with a motherly instinct and I chalked that one up to a young mother who wasn’t prepared for the stresses of a baby. She still lived at home with us at the time and when the baby would cry at night, instead of feeding him or caring for him she just left the room to sleep on the couch. Even the youngest of my children, by then a ten year old, would wake up and offer to care for him. That was just the beginning of what I saw as troubling and self-centered behavior. It became much worse and so did the drinking. Eventually she started a fire in the kitchen while cooking one night and nearly brought the whole house down, literally. The years have gone by, she has been in and out of inpatient treatment, both willing and court-ordered. As soon as she is free from her 28 day program, she will be downing vodka within minutes, hours at most. She has escaped death so many times, with a BAC of .50, having to be intubated after drinking rubbing alcohol, etc. She has slept on park benches has attached herself to a loser boyfriend who is a dozen years older than her and is now living in his car. Every time we have let her back home it is always the same, lies, denial, hostility and theft. She always, always denies this and will blame everyone but herself. After another ruined holiday at Easter I finally reached my bottom (she apparently has not)and after an ugly screaming match between her and her youngest sister over her wanting to hold the younger sister’s baby while she was drunk, I sent her a message and told her that we are done with holidays and any family time until she really mkes a wholehearted effort to change….not just going through the motions, but real true change. She sent back a message that I will never see her again, sober or otherwise. While I should be shocked and saddened, I feel a strange sort of relief, which is horrible and an incredible sense of regret. It is so hard to look back over the years and remember her as a baby, toddler, grade school student and beautiful, popular talented teenager. Something went wrong somewhere. It is so hard not to blame myself for something I may have done wrong, although the other kids are all college educated, well adjusted and successful people. This blog has helped me to realize that I am far from alone in dealing with this very, very difficult and all consuming problem.

  • Chip

    April 15th, 2012 at 10:18 PM


    Like you, I find a lot of comfort in knowing others are facing similar struggles. I think it’s only natural that every parent in this situation looks back to see what did they miss, how could they have helped more? All of us have made mistakes as parents, but in the end our kids, like everyone, have to make their own choices in an imperfect world.

    There are so many times that we think of our son when he was little – such a cutie. There is a sense of loss, an emptiness we feel when we try to reconcile what addiction has done to our son and how his choices have given him no self esteem. We try to embrace hope and at the same time live with the reality that, at least for now, we have lost him. Understanding that true,meaningful and lasting change has to start with him has helped us a great deal.

    Best of luck to you.

  • Denise

    April 18th, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    Chip, thanks for your reply. Like you, I am trying to balance the realistic with the optimistic. I will never give up hope for a miracle, and at this point it would be a miracle. At the same time without at least the desire to change, I feel that we are facing the end and how can you prepare yourself for that? I feel so badly for all of the parents and their loved ones on this blog, including you and your son. I will admit, like you said, that the choice lies completely in the laps of each and every one of these “kids” and though that does not alter the outcome, it helps to know that the choice is hers and I cannot do it for her. She and your son may never change, but without letting them go there is no chance for them to change, At least this way I have the peace that I have done what I can and hope that in a lucid moment something from her upbringing will come back to her like a shining light to guide her in the right direction. I will be praying for her, and for you and your wife and son, as we travel this very difficult road together.
    Take care, I will check in soon

  • Chip

    April 20th, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    Thanks Denise,

    My wife, our son, and I met with a counselor this week to talk about getting him into rehab again. He is very angry with me for turning him into the police and at both of us for not allowing him to come home. I know his anger is a small problem in the big picture – still hard because we used to be so close.

    Thanks for your kind words and thoughts. As I read the struggles you’ve endured, your younger daughter’s serious medical problems, your older daughter’s drinking problem and it’s impact to your granddaughter I think how hard this must be for you and your family.

    I hope your daughter chooses to seek help and focus on her daughter. As parents we know how special and fleeting our time is to be with our kids.

    Best of luck,


  • Sandy

    April 30th, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    I haven’t written for awhile, but I do check the site frequently. My prayers go out to all of you. I, too, continue to struggle as my daughter is still non-functional due to her alcohol abuse. She is 26, physically very pretty, and she,too, used to be an honor student. She hasn’t had a ‘real’ job in 7 years- she has dropped out of college 4 times, and has quit multiple (maybe 20?) jobs over the past 7 years. She is able, somehow, to get waitress type jobs again and again, but only works a few days before she shows up drunk, doesn’t show up at all, or who knows what. The last time she worked was 10 months ago.
    I feel the same pain as all of you. It is heartbreaking to see her throw away her youth- and probably her future. My husband and I are happy, have always worked, and we were as good a parents as we knew how to be. I really do not know what went ‘wrong’ with our daughter. We have tried to rescue her many times, all to no avail. She walked out of rehab after 4 days, she refuses to even try AA. She has slept in the park, been picked up and taken to detox many, many, times. She has been taken to the ER by friends several times as she was passed out and non-responsive. She does not drive as she has totaled her car twice, and due to 2 DUI’s, has had her license revoked. We finally told her she could not live at home unless she was working or going to school. She moved out and into a relationship with a disabled man getting government aide that is 55 years old. Did I mention our daughter is 26? She is living with this man as evidently he enables her or at least allows her to drink and continue to be non-functional.
    All of our situations are sad. We see our children with such potential- and they are throwing away their youth, their future, their health……. and I have come to believe that we cannot ‘save’ them.
    I have heard time and again that a mother ‘can only be as happy as her saddest child’. I DO NOT believe this anymore. I am often sad, I am heartbroken, however, I have finally reached the place where I can be happy, and I will not let our daughter ruin my life anymore. Seven- almost 8 years– of sadness is enough. It is up to her now. I have a husband, a son, and a granddaughter. They deserve more from me.
    I am here for my daughter, and I continue to try to encourage her- but I have resigned myself to the fact that recovery may not happen for her. I hope it does, but I can’t continue to beat myself up. I am choosing to be fully there for the rest of my family. This may sound harsh, but it is survival.

  • Angel

    May 9th, 2012 at 8:08 AM

    With tears streaming down my face I am so thankful to findout that I am not alone. My 18yr old son is a drug addict. My husband and I have four other kids at home still and I am struggling trying to cope with this whole “tough love” stuff and be the happy mom for the rest of my kids. He does not live at home and though I recently bailed him out of jail I have cut him off since financially etc… I am ok w/ that. What I am not ok with is the heartache and tears and constant worry everytime the phone rings. He is 6’6 and should weigh 240 but looks like he weighs 150lbs. He looks so bad. I know where he is staying doesnt have water etc… It hurts me so bad knowing my “baby” is living that life. I know I cant fix it, everyone has told me to let go and told me he has to make his own choices etc… I know that. I just hurt and I am tired of hurting. How do you just turn off 18 years of mothering?

  • Kathy

    May 10th, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    I’m back. My son, left jail, went to the streets and ended up living with a man who took him in. Of course the guy wanted sexual favors and they ended up in fights over it because Glenn just wanted a friend and someone to lean on; he isn’t gay or a gigolo. He’s worn out the leanin’ post here. The arrangement, although tumultuous, worked out for some months but ended recently when my son went wild over his cousin’s suicide. It drove him to imbibe in alcohol plus who knows what. He was outright belligerent and got really weird. He made horrible remarks to me, my husband, my sister (the grieving mother). Then the next day, he was calm again, winding down off whatever he was on. He was the good guy, but we can’t trust it and that was proven when my husband checked his taking of liberties at our house. Another blowup, more threats, police again. Just like Mary in #369, I jump when my cellphone rings…and when it doesn’t. I haven’t heard from him for four days, and worry while at the same time having ambivalence about when he will finally call. There’s always a want or need besides my loving conversation. I told him this last time, I love him dearly but don’t have to prove it by letting him put me through hell. The problem is, even when he isn’t here, he does.

    To Angel in #379, you don’t turn off the mothering easily. It’s the hardest thing to be forced to do and I still haven’t turned it off completely. It’s not right at all that we are put in the position we’re in. The fact that these addicted offspring are not mentally well doesn’t make it any easier. Which came first, the mental illness or the addiction?

  • Diane

    May 11th, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    I haven’t been on for a while but am writing because tomorrow is my 28th wedding anniversary. I remember so clearly when it was the 25th anniversary. My husband and I were sad because we couldn’t afford to take a little trip to celebrate because our finances were in a shambles because of all the money our oldest son had siphoned from us due to his alcoholism, mental and emotional problems and other addictions. We also didn’t dare leave our home with him prowling around with his scummy friends and his anger and bitterness toward us and the other 3 kids.

    So here it is three years later and we still can’t afford that trip and we still don’t dare leave our house. He has just gotten out of his 5th rehab which he now uses like a hotel. He lost his car to impound fees- broke another phone- he doesn’t work- he is now living in a halfway house\intensive outpatient program that he makes sound like Turkish prison. He is still harassing me for money daily, still lying, still drinking and\or drugging – the last three years and hospitalizations have just taught him more tricks and introduced him to more sick people.l

    Most recently he was living in a cheap motel (that we were partially paying for) with a 40 year old bipolar alcoholic who gambles every nickle of his disability check. Bothof themwwere pawning their possessions to buy their “suppplies”. My son was cleaning up this guys vomit (pancreatic fluid as he is a late stager) and I thought he couldn’t sink any lower. He got out of the rehab hospital after 15 days and was in the bar three hours later and every night since.

    He decided that since we are paying $400 a month for this program housing we might as well pay for him to rent a room for him on a private basis and he will of course get a job as soon as he settles his ongoing court issues. I’m just so tired-he has taken so much of me for so long. I told him today that his grandma is dying. She took care of him when I worked and she has given him money and free cars etc. His only response was “Who do you suppose will get her car?” I was sickened – we all need to get well because in all likelihood they never will. I made clear to him he will never come back here to live. He is still transferring his consequences to us and laying on the fear and guilt. I am often amazed my husband is still with me. He truly has given up and is frustrated that I just can’t cut him off entirely because I am tortured by the thought that the next time he will mean it and I will get my son back. So much pain – so few understand..

  • Darlene

    May 15th, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    I read this on the morning after my wallet has disapeared. Feeling beaten down and hopeless AGAIN after a night of his partying on my work night. I have had 3 hours sleep an dnow sit here at my desk exhausted. I have proof now he isusuing herion. Last Sunday he stole his grandmother’s debit card oand used it until we discovered it gone. He een took time to “help” look for it. I am struggling to make the decision to call my 23 yr. old son’s proabtion officer and say come get him.
    But WHY is it so hard…? I am living in hell and wake every morning to face another day of battle, manipulation and deceit. I have an 18 and 15 yr old at home who knpw they cannot leave any item of theirs unguarded.
    This stress of the purse hiding, arguments and general BS is killing me. I no longer enjoy life or even laugh. I dread going home to the place I pay the mortgage on, yet am afraid to leave it with him there.

    Send up a prayer for me will ya? I need the strength to stop the madness befire it buries me.

  • Diane

    May 16th, 2012 at 7:45 AM

    OMG Darlene – you have my thoughts and prayers – been there with the missing credit and debit cards – last Christmas he stole our Christmas gifts (cash) from us – He is no longer allowed in this house but everyday he tries to get back in. Yesterday,he didn’t show up again for appointment with his PO – and he already has a warrant from a different jurisdiction. He actually told me that if I want him to handle his court issues I will have to pay him. He wants enough to be able to have a life when he gets out (he isn’t facing more than a couple of weeks max). He is just a sick, sociopathic personality anymore – there is no reaching him. Unfortunately, this is still his address of record so my 19 year old twin boys are being pulled over n front of our house as they are looking for him. It is so upsetting and embarrassing – the neighbors don’t even look at us anymore. I feel so much for you – I still love him but I hate him – I know I’m supposed to say I hate his behavior but it’s all getting jumbled the longer this drags on.

  • Diann

    May 18th, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Just found this website this morning. I’ve been searching for advice as well. Can relate to so many of the stories. However, I am just the ‘significant other’.

    My other half (SO) has a 26 yr. old married son who is addicted to K2/Spice and now prescription meds. His father and I have been happily dating almost 2 years. My (SO) has 3 adult children, two of which are highly successful and have their own families. The youngest, his son has had issues since birth. Born with a unilateral cleft palate, he had 12 surgeries to correct before the age of 12. Parents divorced when he was 15. The divorce was not pretty. His former spouse had found greener pastures and the son is the one who revealed it. Being a lawyer and through a bitter divorce, he ended up with custody. There is contact, but to this day, the son does not have much respect for his Mother.

    Little by little, my SO started sharing stories about his son. Like all parents he has lots of fond memories, sports, fishing trips, holidays, achievements etc. However, the wonderful stories stop around the age of 17. Starting from 15 – 20 they’re mainly about hanging with wrong crowd, smoking pot, car wrecks, poor choices, being bullied, dropping out of sports, moving residences to get away from a certain crowd to even retiring at a young age to be a stay-home, full-time Dad.

    From 20 – 24, my SO dedicated his life to getting his son on the right track. He had counselors, prescribed antidepressants, got him involved in cycling, fishing, working out and eventually into college. He was at several schools before making it. It was there, he met the mother of his first child. She and her father both drink, smoked pot and he’s a convicted felon. They decide they want to have a baby, and did so in 2003.

    With great anticipation of a wonderful life together, but no means of employment, they ended up moving back and forth between his Dad, Mom or her Father. The relationship became abusive and ultimately, my SO gets his son out of it with full custody of the granddaughter.

    The son and granddaughter moved in with his Dad. But, before the final custody papers were signed, the son had a new girlfriend. Life was looking up, he was in college. The son and granddaughter moved in with the girlfriend and they married in 2008. They had their only child in 2009. As responsibilities rose, so did problems. Both of them were ‘funded’ by their parents through college. Now, they have to work, raise their family, just like you and I.

    Before the child’s first birthday the marriage was on the rocks with fights, verbal, emotional and physical abuse by the wife. The son started drinking, smoking, running away and ended up getting 2 alcohol related DUI’s which his Dad got reduced.

    Looking for a fresh start, both are teachers looking for work and moved in with my SO who also recently moved here from another state.

    Christmas 2010, I met the son and his family at my SO’s home. Very strange dynamics. You could cut the tension with a knife. The hair stood up on my arms. My SO later explained he had had words with them for not handling responsibilities that they’d agreed to in order to live there while saving up money for their own place. I thought that was understandable, but the tension was always the same while they lived there.

    It was obvious the wife couldn’t stand my SO. It was also obvious that the couple were having difficulties. The worse part to me was how poorly the son’s wife treated his daughter. She was fine with her child, but treated the daughter like an unwanted step-child.

    Both very secretive, moved out without notice and left a huge mess. I helped my SO clean up. That’s when, I found about 10 empty prescription pain killer bottles. I showed them him, and he explained his son had knee surgery recently and they were just leftover and threw them away.

    I believe, his son was in trouble then and well on his way to where he is now.

    At first, they appeared to be ok on their own until the granddaughter told us ‘Dad is living in a tent in the back yard’…About every other month, the son would show up on SO’s doorstep with his granddaughter – usually in the middle of the night or when she should have been in school. He’d say…his wife had done this or that. They’s stay for a couple of days, things would settle and they’d go back.

    Now, what was every other month is almost daily! Since last August, there’s been 6 arrests including battery, domestic violence, DWLS, child abuse, DUI drugs. He has multiple traffic offenses in 4 surrounding counties. And instead of further arrests, we’ve received compassionate calls from police, asking to pick up his son and granddaughter whom they found passed out on the side of the road.

    He’s unemployed. If you give him any cash he goes straight to the head shop for K2, cigarettes. His wife won’t allow him to be alone with their son, doesn’t really care about the daughter. He’s pawned almost anything he can find. His daughter’s Mother makes state ordered child support payments that he uses for cigarettes and doctor shops for pills. He lied to everyone saying she wasn’t making payments, but the family found bank receipts. I could go on and on….

    My dilemma is: My SO and I almost parted ways, because he felt I was being too critical of his family situation. It was heartbreaking. I did some real soul searching and told him I would support him and his decisions, which I have. He has opened up and shared with me some of the most recent events and his discussions with his son. He’s still trying to be his advisor and protector but told me there be no more financial help.

    This past week, we got a call at 1:30am, the police had his son and granddaughter stopped and wanted us to pick the granddaughter. Needing 2 drivers, he asked me to go with him to bring back the son’s vehicle.

    Upon arriving, the vehicle had a flat, had run out of gas, battery dead, the son was passed out in the back of the cruiser had no money and lost his phone, license and debit card. The police had sat with the granddaughter, gave her crackers and a banana and did her homework with her while waiting for us to arrive.

    The woman policeman, told us she has a 4 month old and decided to release his son. Pulling him from the back of the police car, he wasn’t even able to stand on his own. They put him in the back of the car I drove and we followed a tow truck to get the car serviced so it could be driven home. Got home at 7am, the son never woke. He doesn’t remember being there or where he was.

    At 5pm, the son woke, and immediately asked his Dad to take him to his car and for the keys. My SO said No, I’m tired. I’ll pay for a taxi and you can go get your car. It is parked across the street in the lot from where you had a flat tire. He got upset and walked out to a convenience store and called his wife. She came over, they talked for awhile and announced they were going home and would be moving again soon.

    My SO asked if he could keep the car in my spare garage. It’s still there. But this morning, he left early to pick his son up and drive him to meet with lawyers to represent him on the 3 latest charges.

    I want so badly to contact DCF, they already have an open file on him. But, I’m fighting with myself because the son is very much in denial and my SO continues to bail him out even though he says he won’t. Just don’t know what to do.

  • Donna

    May 22nd, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    My emotions are all over the place. I feel extreme sadness when I see my son destroying his life. I feel angry that our family has been afflicted with this illness. I feel fear for what the next crisis will bring. I feel grief for my “lost” son. I feel ashamed for the way my son acts. I feel guilt for feeling ashamed of my own child. I feel helpless, hopeless, and often tired of the struggle and pretending to be okay.

  • Joannie

    May 29th, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Donna, you said that so well, your comments capture every single emotion I have experienced since I found out my only child has been abusing painkillers and stealing to support her habit. Thank you for writing that, it really hit home.

  • Vicki

    May 30th, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    After reading some of the posts here, I’m sort of glad others can relate with what I’m dealing with; yet at the same time, I am so sad because so many “others” can relate. It grieves me to know there are so so many families dealing with drug and alcohol addictions.
    My daughter is only 18 and already on the wrong path. I was shocked because we had the drug talks, the drinking talks, the sex talks. Now I am not sure she got any of it. She has been using meth and marajuana for over a year (I suspected but never could prove it and she denied it). She left home at 17 twice to live some boy and both times it failed. Both times she called to have me come get her and I did. But she has no respect for me or my home. When I found drug paraphanelia in her room, I gave her a choice of rehab or jail. She did not choose rehab. She was arrested and her boyfriend bailed her out. She lived with him at his grandparents about 3 months before they were kicked out. She called me to come home. I drug tested her before bringing her home & she tested positive for meth and marajuana. So I took her to a halfway house that helps addicts. She is in for 1 month. She wants to come back home.

    She has no high school diploma, no money, no job, no car, very little work experience. I know and you know, she will have a majorly hard time making it on her own. But I fear if I bring her home, she continue with the drugs. We live in a small rural town…she knows every addict and dealer. And I think she will just run me over and disregard anything I say. But if I don’t bring her back, what are her choices except to stay with other addicts? No hardworking unaddicted people want her in their houses. I feel like by not letting her come back, I’m forcing into the drug scene.

    What do you guys think?

  • Deborah Smith

    June 4th, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    Vicki, I am going through the same thing EXACTLY with my son but the crowds he has been running with are mean, racists, and he posted bad things on his face book wall about them and after a week and half of being clean he left at 1:00 am in the morning saying he had a friend that needed help moving. I am in complete torment right now. I don’t know if has come across the ppl he has made very mad and they have hurt him or what. My nerves on edge, I feel like I’m ready to jump out of my skin. He has no jobs skills that he has pursued, no money, he has one skirt, 2 pairs of pants and some shoes he stole from a friend and justifies it because his friend was mean to someone. I’m living in total mental hell right now. I’ve lost my baby and he seems to ignorant to stay on the right track. Does “bottoming out” really work???? Because he has absolutely nothing to his name and he doesn’t even have his ID. He left it here. Probably as an excuse to come back. I’m soooo so so heartbroken. But I feel your pain and I am waiting for the response you get because my 21 yr. old son is IDENTICAL to your situation.

  • donna

    June 4th, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    The hard part is, I don’t think there is ONE answer. Every situation is different yet the same. The scary thing I’ve come to learn is not everyone hits a “bottom” and some addict’s “bottom” is death. Making rational decisions while we’re so emotionally involved is very difficult. I usually second guess every decision I make. I don’t want to enable but often times find it too hard to say no. Yet, some addicts in recover have told me tough love is what ended up saving them from themselves. I just don’t know. It’s so hard. There’s not much support out there for us, either. Praying for us all, and our loved ones.

  • Chip

    June 8th, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    It’s been a while since I’ve checked in. This is a tough site to read, hard stories to write.

    Donna’s comments about emotions truly capture how my wife and I feel about our son. He will be 24 next month and is now in rehab. He has no money, is homeless, friendless, despondent and angry. We told him he can’t move back home when he gets out of rehab – we have offered to help pay his living expenses if he goes to a structured after care program like Oxford House.

    We just feel exhausted and empty inside. This has been an ongoing problem for a long time that we’ve been slow to recognize and slow to deal with. He has had problems with drinking, herion, other drugs and now meth. The addiction problems he struggles with relate, I believe, to underlying mental and emotional problems. We have tried everything we can to help him and have finally come to realize we can’t fix this. As unfair as it is, he is the only one that can start the healing, we can and will be there support him in decisions that are, at least to us, positive.

    I think he has struggled mightily during his young life, fallen time and time again. I fear that he has fallen so many times he has forgotten how to get up or is unwilling to try for fear of failing. We want him to have the courage, confidence and force of will to get up, move forward, forgive himself for bad choices and embrace life. It is hard for him to see beyond himself. He feels a victim of his mom and me, of his friends, school, and jobs.

    We know he is terribly afraid, alone and unsure. We and his sisters worry about him every night – is he somewhere warm and safe? is he fed? is he sober? Is he with someone that is a true friend? Has he learned to be a good friend? Lots of questions and very few answers.

    We will be meeting with him as he completes his rehab. We were asked to write how is addiction has effected us. I think I will use posts from this site. There is so much heart, love and caring within him –

  • Sandy

    June 9th, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    Diann— I have been struggling with my daughter’s addition for the past 8 years. I read your comments and want to tell you that things may NEVER change for your SO’s son. Do you want this for your life?? Most of us struggle because it is our own child- and so very hard to give up on them- even though that is probably the only way to save ourselves. Your SO’s son’s behavior is NOT your problem. You can’t fix it, and it sounds like this is ruining your life and your relationship with your SO. It is like a slow death and as ‘only’ the SO, you have no control, no power. And so very sad to see the children suffering. Thank God my daughter does not have any children- I do not have that pain or struggle. I hope you will try and separate yourself from this situation. It is like quicksand. It can take over your life. I would also say, getting a child into the DSHS system is another nightmare. Once a child is in ‘the system’, you are at the mercy of the state to make decisions for the child. Not always good, but living the way the daughter is living is no life either. What a dilemma. Maybe you and your SO need to see a counselor to help him see that his rescuing is not helping- ? Maybe he needs someone else to help him see he is ruining his life and your relationship?
    Sorry to be on a soapbox- but I hate to see someone voluntarily getting into this nightmare of another’s addiction.


    June 14th, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    I raised my two children no ages 35 and 33 alone. Their dad left when the youngest was 10 days old. it was a hard life needless to say. I went on welfare and worked 3 part time jobs to support myself and my kids while attending a community college in town. Eventually I got a good job and settled into being mom and dad both to my children. I rarely got child support and never on a regular basis. I was a good mother or so I thought. I didn’t drink or date or run around as I was devoted to my children. Ball field, foot ball field, cheerleading matches and the whole 9 yards. My ex husband beat up on me more than once during the years we were married. He was a raving alcoholic. He since has been married 5 times all of which failed and now he lives with a very prominent person in town and he has been clean and sober for about 15 years now. My daughter loves him in spite of the things he did and has chosen to forgive him. My son who is now 33 got into drugs and alcohol in school and this has been with him since childhood. He had a wonderful job and marriage both of which have ended now. He was hurt on the job and has been on comp for 4 years now. He says he is clean but I see things and wonder if he is telling the truth. He has stolen from family members and lies so much that I wonder if he ever tells me the truth. He lives with me now. Waiting on his comp injury to settle. He cannot have children and has a girlfriend who has 3 children. I have seen counselors before. If I turn and walk away from him he has no one. He was so close to his sister growing up and they are at each others throats all the time now. I am hurting for him and I don’t know what to do. Can anyone give me some insight. I haven’t overlooked this as I know he has problems but waht do I do. No one in his family speaks tohim but me. His dad was never a dad and then tried later on in life but he hates his dad for his life growing up.

  • Diane

    July 11th, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    I wish I knew what to tell you- my 25-year-old son is out in the streets tonight homeless. He also has very few friends- he always has had problems socially, but the friends he has now want nothing to do with him. He is hanging around with a 30-year-old crack addicted psychotic. This guy has been paying the bills for my son because he chose to walk away from the county rehab program. He has been in rehab seven times previous to this -and this one is kind of the last straw.

    My husband will not allow him in our home because he lies and steals and exhibits bizarre behavior. He is a pathological liar and will say or do anything to get five bucks from you. I have three other children still at home and I am devastated at how dysfunctional our family has become. Our new normal is a horrible place to be indeed. The only thing I can say is that these addicts Will take you and your life right down with them. I keep getting the feeling that he only sees me as a means to an end anymore-I have begged him for the sake of my health to get something in his life started or straightened out. He just comes up with one line or scheme after another.

    Tonight I feel 75 years old. I am 52 and just feel beat up and exhausted by life. This is exacting a terrible toll on my marriage- as my husband seems to be able to compartmentalize this so much better than I. He refuses to go backwards so when I got the call today that he needed money for a hotel yet again ot to be let back into the house to sleep for a “few days” My husband just said no. I only got an hour and a half sleep last night I don’t expect to get much more tonight. I am doubled over from stomach pain I have thrown up twice. This just seems like somebody else’s life. I know in my heart that my husband is right. To let him back here for even one night would mean beginning this all over again. If you’re nice to him at all he just uses it as an opportunity to walk all over you. I have respites of an hour here or there where his problems aren’t foremost in my mind.

    We are not rich people but have sunk thousands upon thousands of dollars into this so far losing cause. This money would’ve been better spent helping the other kids with college expenses. Instead they get to watch as their older brother, who has never held a job for longer than three days, who is drunk and abusive, who lies cheats manipulates and steals, and who puts others in harms way- gets money just handed to him, most of which he drinks away. This has been going on for us for almost 8 years now- and I just can’t do it anymore. I’m letting him sleep in the street tonight- I hope he realizes that the Path he has chosen leads only to death insanity or jail. I feel stronger than I did last year- and as these episodes escalate, I learn more and I have more resolve. I know something has to change and soon- I thought I would have to be hospitalized for exhaustion this afternoon- but he belongs on the psychiatric floor not me.

    These are his choices, we warned him, we bribed him, we worked hard and paid to fix him, all To no avail. Please know you are not alone. The ice we walk is so thin. I just feel like he tortures me day and night. Please stay strong and spend part of each day thinking about the good things in life –

  • Sandy

    July 11th, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    My beautiful 28 yr old daughter is coming home from 28 days in rehab. This is the longest she’s been sober in years! I am just beginning to see my REAL daughter now who was gone for so very long and its joyful! 28 days is not enough to change however. I have just gotten used to sleeping at nights again. I would like to be here sponsor when another one isn’t available but don’t know how or what to say. I want to encourage and not discourage and stress her out. What to do? Anyone? I love her more than air and life. Please help me be a good mom/friend/sponser. I’m all ears!Give a mom some hope. Bless you!

  • Diane

    July 12th, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    My understanding is that a family member can’t sponsor. You can only be supportive of her efforts – but beware of doing too much- it can lead to old enabling habits so fast. Tell her how her sobriety and new lease on life is positively affected family and friends. Be a shoulder if she asks but avoid falling for the money trap – don’t give cash – in my experience that is too much temptation for an addict- help with food, maybe clothing for a job, gas card (though my son sold those- we used to take his car to be refueled). Bestow trust as it’s earned and show love and express your belief in her power to overcome and persevere. Good Luck to you both!!!

  • Diane

    July 12th, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    I wonder if this site could be set up for new comments to show up first- having a devil of a time getting to the bottom- this is an incredible resource for me right now.

  • Eileen

    July 19th, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Please I really need help, My 40 yr old son is an alcholic. We tried to get him into rehab last year, he refused and stopped drinking for maybe 2 mos. His wife is passive aggressive. Yesterday I told him he was no longer welcome in my home, he of course proceeded to tell me he hasn’t drank since the 4 th. He works for us and our business is pretty much non existent. His wife is demanding he find a job. Prior to this recession they had a Beauitful home which we put the 80thousand down on, had boats,motorcycles etc. He has lost everything. My son and husband enable him. A counselor told him 20 yrs ago he had to stop. After me doing one of the hardest things I have ever done( he was not drinking and was his sweet adorable self.) My husband is furious with me. Slamming doors and using his roughing tones on me. My son Joe can not believe I did this when his life is following apart. Haven’t slept . He if does something stupid my whole family will blame me. I feel like I’m about to have a nervous break down. It’s like I’m the bad one even though he has drained us of all our money and his brother also. I am 64 and need to know where to get help. I am on SS so my funds are now limited as he has exhausted most of our savings. Help please.

  • Bev

    July 19th, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    i disagree with the author of this post. Addiction is a disease. Enable or not, detach or not, tough love or not, the disease will run it’s course. The most a parent can do is to keep themselves safe, set boundaries and educate themselves about this disease called addiction.

  • Unknown

    July 24th, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    My second to the oldest daughter passed away at 23 leaving behind a 3 year old for us to take care of. (she is now 8) This same daughter was married to a physically and emotionally abusive man. She spent a year married to him and two years trying to divorce him. She had a protective order against him while he was threatening to kill her and making her and my grand daughter’s life miserable. (of course, ours too) The doctor prescribed her anxiety, sleeping, antidepressant medications for her. One night, a friend gave her medication for pain, she was in pain with her PMS, that some how counter acted with her other medications where she went to sleep one night and didn’t wake up. This turned my life into a tailspin because we had been dishing out money to get her full custody of her daughter, as well as put her in hiding so they would be safe. She was one month away from having the divorce final and everything over. The autopsy called it accidental overdose. (5 years ago)

    My oldest daughter has always been extremely hard. She was knock out gorgeous and looked like she was 21 at the age of 13. We fought her constantly, trying to sneak out with older boys. We would ground her and she would sneak out of the house on a Friday night, play all weekend, then turn herself in so we would have to take the day off to go pick her up at a youth center for run aways. (this happened at least 5 times) She started smoking about that time and dabbling with drinking. At 19 she married a much older man where they smoked pot and drank. Divorced at the age of 23. Around 23 She went to the sand dunes with some friends, was a passenger on the back of a 4 wheeler when the driver turned sharp by a truck bumper. (I am sure there was drinking going on) It cut my daughters leg up. She was in surgery for 5 hours. That is where the prescription drugs started. She has always been ADHD and the doctor prescribed her some kind of a pill for it as well as pain medication for after the surgery. Up until this point she held down a steady job and was at least making payments. To make a long story short it just escalates from there, to her turning to meth after her sister passed away. (she was 25 when her sister died) At least she blames that. We have not only lost a daughter and raising our granddaughter but our oldest decides to be out of control using and abusing drugs and everything that goes along with it. You all know what I mean. Stealing, lying, etc. She pawned my wedding ring and of course denied it until I went to every pawn shop around and guess whose name was listed as turning it in. Of, course my daughters. At first we bought into it and played the games giving her money and letting her live with us until she pawned my wedding ring and denied it. When she goes to court it is always the same well. It is just that w I lost my sister…. poor pity me. (major manipulation) While the rest of us have tried to continue life. Well, it has finally happened she was just sentenced to prison. My, now 30 year old daughter, is in prison. Most people would be devastated, which I am not, I am grateful. She would have ended up dead. When they picked her up it was a Friday night late, shop lifting at Walmart. She didn’t even realize that she was in jail until she woke up Monday morning. They kept her there for a month then just went to prison. So I get a reprieve from the drama of addiction for at least a year or so. Thank you for listening.

    After I read all these comments I am so grateful to realize that there are so many of us. You are absolutely right when you say that unless you have lived through the death of an adult child and/or an addicted adult child, they do NOT understand what we are going through.

    As we have battled through our oldest daughters addiction I have found it was extremely hard to have tough love in the beginning. As time goes on it does become easier to tell them NO but it does still hurt. You so want to protect them. However, I have a son that is 20 and just adopted my 8 year old grand daughter. I realize that they do not need all of the drama that comes with addiction.

  • taylor

    July 25th, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    I did not mean to put unknown. Sorry!

  • Eleanor

    August 13th, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    I just wanted to say thank you ! And thank you to all the stories! I have felt so heart broken and down! But I know I have to protect my son whom is 12! And now a granddaughter just under 2! My oldest drinks ALOT, and is always drunk! Everything in his life is everyone’s fault! He is mouth, and verbally abusive! He has done years of things too family members, stealing, lying, stalking etc! And just this last 12 months he manage to call about something monthly! Long story short, I guess he must be living on the streets, since I told him I couldn’t take it any longer!!!! There is my step daughter, she for 10 years has used drugs, stealing, spent time in jail and is a drunk also! My current husband talked in to leaving the baby here. So I have been raising a hard little one, since I know her mom used while carring her. I am so tired of people like these, and felt so alone.. Thanks again for sharing , I needed to hear that I’m not,

  • Eileen

    July 25th, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    How do I remain in my 4yr old granddaughters life, while excluding her alcholic father out of mine. We are a close knit family and all family members are at get togethers. I want no contact with my 39 yr old son, but love my grandaughter and she loves being with me.

  • Janette

    July 30th, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    What a heartbreakingly sad blog thread. At first, I was overjoyed at reading a blog that actually stated what I’ve been thinking…”helplessness” as indicated in all those 12 step meetings, is another way of absconding from personal responsibility. My 22 year old daughter has, like all the other poster’s children, made my life a living hell for the past 4 years. Several arrests-incarceration, drug use, drug dealing, and several rehabs. Every promise broken, ever lie told a blow to my exhausted mind and injured heart. Why are there no meetings or groups for us? Why must we suffer seemingly alone–why? I read the posts above and feel sadness and a bit of relief (no grandchildren, thank God). And, I feel a kindred spirit who gave voice to the fact that even though they would be devastated–they know their lives would be easier if their child were dead. I think that thought often…hating myself for even considering it. But, it is what it is. Death would free my family from this hellish existence that HER choices…and I said CHOICES…not “disease” has caused. Cancer is a disease. Crushing pills and snorting them or smoking crack is a choice. I’ll argue that till I draw MY last breath.

    To juxtapose the cruel, hardened feelings of almost wishing your child would die…to end this nightmare is a hideous thought for a mother. But, it swims in my consciousness nonetheless……

  • Kim

    October 11th, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Thank you for your honesty. I too have had the same thoughts. Relief for all from the torments alcoholisim brings.
    It is so painful to remember the child that has become this tortured addict. All the hopes and dreams lost. Yet we do hang on to some hope that our child will be THAT recovery story.
    And at the same time we know that THAT phone call may very well come for us and we will get through it.
    We are the ones making the choice to live.
    I am struggling with family thinking I am a cold hearted you know what b/c I have basically turned my back. I know I have to do this for my daughter to stand any chance of suffering the consequences of all af her actions and her not destroying my health, marriage and life savings.

  • Len

    March 14th, 2014 at 6:23 PM

    Wow, my 22 year old daughter is in exactly the same boat. I felt very guilty for hoping God would intervene, but it is sooooooo exhausting to endure each day. Racing to her bedroom door, petrified about what’s behind it, knocking and worried sick she won’t answer, worried about getting the mail, which I used to look forward to. Keeping it all from everyone, being saddened by other young adults with normal lives. Heart racing when answering her phone calls, worried about if she will come home straight. Fighting with husband over her…….Wish I could cope better….

  • Dan

    August 1st, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    Boy did some of these hit home, and VERY recently so. My oldest son is now 27. My first marriage (from which he came) was her 2d, and my 2d was also my current wife’s second. All the marriages had children born to them. That is just for background–all of the other children (three others in their 20’s) have not had serious problems and, as I see it, the time for “using” that as a basis for any of HIS problems has passed, if it ever should have existed.

    Drinking and drug use started with junior high school–age 12-14 or so. Problems in school followed, then dropping out, then juvenile detention. After a failed enlistment in the Navy, a short-lived first marriage, and a number of lost jobs, things seemed to settle down. He found a job he liked (and lost, but found similar work immediately)and was in school. Like many in their 20’s, it was “work hard, party hard.” There were the drunk “I love you man” phone calls. There have been family gatherings where he has (especially if the dinner bill’s my treat) 3-4 drinks compared to everyone else’s 1.

    Recently (if not longer) things have worsened. Still has the job and is keeping responsibilities, but the drinking, and, to a lesser extent, drug use, has intensified. It came to a head this past week when six of us were at a concert. He arrived with more than a few drinks in him and a half-empty 1/5–at 10:00AM. The pre-concert tailgate meant more, to the extent he had nearly been involved in more than one fight, had been kicked out of nearby stores, and removed from one local business when he carried a drink into their establishment. After another episode where he became VERY loud and profane/obscene (and aggressively so), I told him to have some respect for the rest of us. His reaction was to tell me to “f— off,” throw a drink at me, leave the concert (he did get 50+ miles back to his house), send a drunken text disowning me and telling me to never contact him again, and block any “facebook” connections. When his younger brother tried to intervene, he threatened him as well.

    I’n honoring his wishes, and have not tried to contact him. I WILL not do so, and if he contacts me, there will be ground rules, or that will cease, and cease fast. It hurts, but I will not place myself, my spouse, or any other family in harm’s way. If the other kids (they are in their 20’s and out of the home for school or employment) want to have a relationship with him, it’s up to them. He’s not welcome in my home until he gets it together, and sobriety is just the beginning.

    I miss him daily, and I’m worried sick about what may come for him and for the rest of us as the result of this destructive behavior. That having been said, I agree with this writer. NOBODY “forced” or “drove” him to drink this large. The notion the “divorce did it” is beneath serious consideration–neither his mother or I are problem drinkers. In short, he suffer’s from no “disease.” He’s made bad choices, they’ve had consequences, and he’ll have to make his way out of them, quite possibly without my help.

  • d

    August 29th, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    Dearest helptemple

    With my heart and soul I thank you. You have given me the strength to perform the work that was making me emotionally, psychologically and physically ill. I have yet to finish but I am thankful I have made progress. People came into my life to help me. They helped with my bills, my mental well being so that I was able to make good decisions. Today I received the highest rating at my job even though last year was the most horrible year of my life. I have never been rated lower than far exceeded during my entire career and I thought for sure it would happen this year. With that comes a lot of responsibility and I hope I do not fail as times are still tough and sometimes still feel sad and helpless. I wished that I could feel like a women and a person again. To be able make good decisions and get through this paperwork. Any help financially I would be extremely grateful. If it was more than I needed than I would do good with it. I have been provided with all that I prayed for.
    I am extremely grateful to you and all that you do. You are very gifted and I will never forget you. I am also grateful for the Blessed Mother, Jesus, God and St. Anthony whom I also pray to.
    I hope that my journey in this life continues with a clear mind and an open heart and soul so that I can do good for my children and this world.
    Again I thank you and send to you all that is good.

    D. from USA

  • Cathy

    September 2nd, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    I just spent 2-3 hours reading all the posts on this site. I really have nothing new to add to their stories as they all are so close to mine I could have written them. I have 2 sons, both addicts. the younger one is back in college all As and Bs, going to meetings and seems to be sober. My oldest son is really struggling. I have to think about all I have read about toughlove, letting them make their own choices, realizing that I cannot fix them, that their behavior is a choice and not a disease. I have picked him up in the mddle of the night so many times I am embarrassed to say. Even recently when I chould have known better. I have a question. How can you be certain someone is on drugs. My oldest son’s ‘drug of choice ‘ is either pot or benzos. Xanax or valium. He seems to be a ‘little’ drugged, but of course denies it. It isn’t so obvious that we can tell him to leave based on just what we see. I ordered drug screens today and have told him that i will give him 7 more days to clear his system and that if he tests positive after that he will have to leave. What does everyone do to be sure of the abuse?

    I pray for the strength to stick to my decision. I realize I have been through very hard times trying to help him. Terrible times. Just like all the others on this blog. So I think that if I can really understand that this is the best for him I will be able to do it. I pray to God for his words and wisdom to help my son.
    I also have realized in reading this that my doubts, checking up and questions are probably feeding his feelings of helplessness. I fI don’t think he can do it, if I don’t give him encouragement, if I, his mother who loves him so much, cannot have any faith, if I can’t think positive than how can he?
    I will include all of our sons and daughters in my prayers tonight.

  • Cathy

    September 2nd, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    P.S. This has been going on for years. My sons are 24 and 28 years old. Do I bless God that they are still alive or kick myself for letting it go on so long?

  • Donna

    September 11th, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Hi Cathy, Do what you feel is best for you. Parents don’t let this go on for so long, we just don’t realize what’s happening until years have passed and we are so caught up in it we don’t know how to get out. Continue to pray for guidance. Best wishes to all with a loved one who is actively using drugs or alcohol. It is such a difficult thing to accept.

  • Lauren

    September 15th, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    Hi I have read all the stories on this site. My situation is a little different I think. My daughter is 19 diagnosed an alcoholic but denies it. My husband is desperate to help her and has been taking her to the Drs and various help meetings. The latest was yesterday – he got up early in the morning (he works nights) to take her – that night she went out whilst he was at work, and came home at 8.30 this morning drunk. She got attacked last week after being out all night. She has sold her guitar (which she loved) this week for money for drink. She spent all of her wages in 3 days on drink. I just want to scream – I feel so angry and betrayed. Both my parents were alcoholics and I grew up with this until my father died of it and my mother had a major stroke. I have worked really hard to get away from that life, changing my name when I was 18 and disassociating myself from my family. Now this has been brought into my house. My husband has suggested that I go to a help group that supports parents of alcoholics to deal with the situation. I don’t want to deal with the situation! I shouldn’t have to. So now we are lurching along with him taking her to various help meetings where the support she gets goes in one ear and out of the other. I have told him until she wants to stop she won’t but she is ruining our lives. He feels he has to try and put this right. I think where I am different from some of the parents on this site is that I actually hate my daughter and think it would be easier if she was dead. People may think that I am just angry but I grew up with this and know that it will never get any better, all we can do is remove ourselves from the situation. I don’t think I can go on much longer if she doesn’t go, I am going to have to leave. its only been the love for my husband that has kept me going. We have had years of problems from our daughter I am just exhausted by it all now.

  • Yvette

    September 18th, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    This article is very helpful. I have an adult son 36 years old using some kind of drug that has made him now loose everything I think meth. I have been enabling him too long. He is now on the street with nothing and still comes to ask for food, shower, money for gas and yes stay with us. My husband and I are tired of his treats of beating up my husband, nobody wanting to help him, and yes “he does not have anything to live for”. I just have the guilt, depression, and anxiety because of this. He has not been diagnosed but I’m sure he has Bi-polar. I love him very much but don’t know how to help him in the right way. I am going to start with a therapist soon. I wanted to know is there a parent support group somewhere in Anaheim that I could attend?

  • Cynthia

    October 1st, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Hello to all who post on this site…like the majority of you, I’m on the net once more, searching for help as to why my handsome, talented son (we’ll call him Twin A) drugs or drinks himself into oblivion every chance he gets. His twin brother (Twin B) gets out on parole in November, after a second stint in jail. They just turned 22 years old…I am 58 now, and have been crying over them since they hit puberty at 13.

    First it was Twin B, who went into a completely blunt/flat affect…drugs, alcohol, dropping out of school, petty theft to support his habit. Court ordered rehab at age 15…Twin A followed suit with drug use, drinking, wild swings in mood, suicide attempts. Soon, both were in full drug and alcohol mode,covering each others use, experimenting together.

    Twin B was diagnosed with emerging schizophrenia, which explained the blunted affect.
    Twin A is prone to mood swings(either bipolar or paranoid schizophrenia, the jury is still out on his diagnosis),where the outcome is either overdose/near death, violence, or a week long paranioa fest, where he sees government agents in trees and accuses me of trying to poison him.

    They are adopted,we’ve had them since they were 13 months old. They have 6 older bio siblings, a few diagnosed with depression and bipolar. Mother died at 7 months pregnant with the twins, from a brain tumor.

    Paranoid schizophrenic bio father, who recently killed himself in prison, after being there for 11 years for trying to kill two people. Many relatives on the fathers side with bipolar, schizophrenia, alcoholism, depression. Suicide and depression on the mothers side, so yes, I’ve been told by professionals time and again, the deck is stacked AGAINST them and I should never expect them to be “normal.”

    I have three older children, and the twins were the center of our universe. My entire family loved and adored these boys. We still love them, but tonight, I’m just at a loss, cuz love just isn’t doing a whole lot of good right about now.

    I feel I lost both my sons at 13, when the drugs started. Twin B has spent his teenaged years growing up in detention centers and jail…I don’t even feel I know him anymore. I have no pictures, no family memories with him past 13. I do have mug shots,news articles on his arrests, and a BIG Rubbermaid storage bin full of legal and medical papers. He’s alive mainly because he’s been locked up so often.

    His brother, Twin A, is alive only because we’ve either found him in time, or his twin has, on the rare occasions he is out in the free world…or because after he overdoses, he panics and asks us to take him to an Emergency Room.

    They have both lived in apartments we signed for and paid the rent on, when Twin A became too violent and unpredictable to live at home. Neither could hold a job. Twin B never had a drivers license, Twin A totalled our van after it was paid off, in a joint drunken/suicide attempt, which they both survived.

    They were evicted from their first apartment because of Twin B cooking up drugs in the bathtub constantly and fumigating the apartment building…got them into another place and that lasted a month before they were both arrested for breaking and entering.

    It was the first time Twin A had been locked up…he got out this March, after a year. Twin B was put into drug rehab in jail, which is useless, its the old AA model, which does not work. He gets out in November on parole.

    Twin A has sworn time after time,he will change. He will stop using, will make himself a life, he will not end up in jail again like his brother keeps doing….but yet, the first week he was out in March, he stole my credit card to buy cough syrup, to extract the DXM and get high.

    He stole needles from our office(we’re in the medical world),sold them to get drugs. He goes through drawers, pocketbooks, cars, to steal change. We clean drug paraphernalia out of his room, we talk to him, we make him appointments with counselors. Doesn’t work. Nothing works. We keep trying.

    We carry our credit cards, cash, and car keys 24/7. We sleep with them in our pillowcases and take them into the shower with us. We’re the Drug Police when they live with us, but we’re also the prisoners, in a weird fashion.

    Twin A has shoved and pushed me, slapped me in the face and punched me in the head. He’s punched his father several times…destroyed many areas in our home from his uncontrolled rages.

    Jail has not fazed either of them. Rehab is useless.

    The get high together, have almost died from overdoses, attempted suicide a few times, gotten shot at, gone into psychotic, delusional states where they claim demons leaped into both of them.

    Twin A flipped out from sniffing glue and beat the living hell out of his brother last year, gave him a concussion and broke his nose. Still, they get high and say they like it.

    Twin A has spent most of this summer at his bio brothers house, who is 18 months older. I got an email from the brother this morning, telling me that my son was stoned nearly the entire time, stole money, prescription pills and other items from them, and was shooting up morphine from one of the local drug dealers, along with taking any other drug he could get his hands on.

    When he was confronted and asked WHY, it was the usual…he LIKED IT. He states he doesn’t care about his life, he doesn’t care about anything, he just wants to get high. Doesn’t care if he dies. Doesn’t care if he steals. Doesn’t care who it hurts.

    Told the bio brother we had beat him up and abused him, we didn’t love him, his family life was crap, etc, and he had to get high to cope with it all.

    I sat there, shocked and stunned and too hurt to even cry. I don’t know why I am surprised at what he accused us of, or why I am shocked he is shooting up morphine. I should be used to this. I keep trying to make myself immune to it all, but I’m failing.

    I expect the same from Twin B when he gets out on parole in 6 weeks. He will last only so long, and then it will be drugs as usual. We have to drive ten hours this weekend to pick up Twin A, they want him out of their house. Can’t blame them, can you?

    My husband doesn’t want him back in OUR house. The bio brother lives out in the country, so its not like Twin A can get anywhere. He has no money, no car, no training, no friends, and no skills to survive. He’s sick with bronchitis because we live in the mid South, and he is up north, where its cold, and he isn’t used to it.

    It is so easy for people to say, “Leave him there.” “Let him live on the streets!”

    Letting him starve or freeze to death won’t solve his addiction…well, if you wish to be macabre, I guess it would,wouldn’t it? We won’t go there tonight…

    As I see it,our only option at this point is to bring him home, drive him an additional 90 minutes further south where we used to live, drop him in the local fleabag/drug motel where all the loser drug addicts end up, and say to him, “Call us when you’re serious about getting clean.”

    It’s a nasty place. Meth cooks are always being busted there, windows are painted shut, rusty pipes drip in the bathroom, mattresses are stained and saggy, and dirty, skinny druggies are roaming around outside.

    Sure don’t want my beautiful son in that place…every cell in my body is in full NO mode, my Mommy Radar is at full blast. But I know I can’t bring him home…when he wants drugs badly enough, he’ll steal, and I know way too many cops as it is.

    Guess I came here tonight to see how the rest of you manage with an addicted kid. How you survive it. How you go on breathing, with the stress and worry eating your guts out.

    I need to read how all of you go on, and maybe have a life of some sort, cuz I tell you right now, I am just as addicted to my sons drug-fueled lives, as they are addicted to their drugs.

    I can’t seem to escape it, either…I try…doesn’t work. I’m overdosing, and have been for a long time, on guilt, fear, remorse, stress, worry, heartbreak and oh, tons of other ulcer creating emotions.

    I don’t sleep, because I’ve been listening for the past 9 years. Listening for doors opening at 3am, for knocks at the door by police officers, or listening at their door, to see if they’re still breathing.

    We don’t go on vacation, because a lot of places like Florida have really bad jails and prisons, and what if the boys get picked up there? We can’t go on vacation and leave them at home, cuz their concoctions could blow the house up, or they’d steal everything, or they’d overdose and we wouldn’t be able to get to them in time.

    We didn’t have friends in our last neighborhood, because its hard to fraternize with people when your kids have broken into their garage or car. We don’t have many friends, period, now that I think about it.
    No one wants to come over to the house of a pair of drug addicts and sit down for a cup of tea and a chat with their mother. It makes them nervous.

    We don’t dare take them to visit family for holidays, weddings, graduations, etc, because no one will be able to put a pocketbook or suit jacket down, for fear the boys will steal. And they do steal. Even if its from their cousins or Grandma.

    No one in the family actually asks how they are doing anymore, anyway…if someone does,its usually, “Are they still alive? Oh,they are? Wow.”

    We don’t make plans for Christmas or even set up a tree until the night before, because usually, one of them is in the hospital, the psych ward, or in jail… and it’s really depressing to see those gifts unopened under the tree, when you know the guards or attendants won’t allow them through security.

    I don’t have nice jewelry anymore. Twin A kept stealing it and hocked it, and its just stupid to keep prowling through pawn shops trying to buy back your own stuff after awhile.

    Living a drug addicted life is horrible for both our sons. Twin A struggles terribly with depression on those rare sober occasions, when he gets too close to Deaths Door, and realizes we pulled him back in the nick of time. He knows he is headed towards destruction, he’s running full tilt towards it, he practically embraces Death and offers himself to it constantly…but then he hollers for help, and one of these days, it’s going to be too late. We all see it coming, as does he…yet, he will not STOP, neither one of them will stop.

    Okay, had to take a break to cry it out once more, blow my nose and mop up. Please realize how all of you help by sharing these episodes of your lives for people like me to read.
    I’ve felt so alone for so many years…I cried reading about your pain here, but at least I’m not alone anymore…I’m still lost, but I don’t feel alone…thank you, thank you all for being here…

  • Dr Mary Ellen Barnes

    October 2nd, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Neither one of your twins are going to stop using but it isn’t just because they are addicts, it is because they are seriously mentally ill. Your story sounds very much like the stories I hear from people with seriously mentally ill adult children without the addition of the alcohol and drugs. If the mental illness cannot be successfully managed, there isn’t much hope that the drugs and alcohol problems can be either. I am so sorry you are having to live this and I am so sorry your boys are so ill.

  • Laurie

    October 3rd, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Need some advise on where to start.

    My daughter is 30 years old and has three children ages 12, 9 and 5. She is addicted to smoking Oxycontin and takes whatever prescription drugs she can get by hospital hopping. She is also dealing drugs I believe. She doesn’t work, she sleeps on my couch all day long. She claims she has several medical issues that prevent her from working. Everyday it’s something new. Chrohns disease, Fibromyalgia, various female issues, thyroid…you name it.

    She ignores her kids. If it wasn’t for me they wouldn’t eat half the time, wouldn’t have help with schoolwork, no school supplies, clothes, Christmas etc. She will not admit she has a problem but when she gets even the smallest amount of money it goes towards drugs. She has pawned the kid’s electronic toys I bought them. I know she smokes the drugs in my house, I’ve found the foil and tubes she uses and I often can smell the odor. When I confront her she blames someone else.

    The 12 year old knows what’s going on. He tells me what she does. My question is where do I start? I need help getting her out of my house and getting help for her even though she doesn’t want it. She does not have insurance and I can’t afford to pay for treatment so what options are available? I’ve talked to the local sheriff and they were less than helpful. I can call Child Protective Services but they will see the kids are taken care of by me and possibly wouldn’t do anything. One other issue is that I work full time and travel for work often so I could not keep the kids if she was out of the picture. The 5 year old’s dad would take her but the older kids dad probably would not take them.

    Can someone give me advise on where to start? I am in Washington State.


  • Dr Mary Ellen Barnes

    October 4th, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    Those little kids deserve better than this. Your daughter is a danger to them. They should be removed from the house since you don’t want to/can’t care for them on your own. Somehow, you are under the illusion that any drunk/high/comtose adult in the house is better than none, but you have to see that your daughter is totally unable to care for her kids, nor does she want to. Granted they are in school during much of the day, but she is still endangering them. How would you feel if because of her neglect, one of them died?

    I would start by calling child protective services and telling them what you have told us on this blog. The 5 yr old will be placed with her dad and the others will be placed elsewhere, but at least they would be safer than they are now.

    Then I would kick your daughter out of your house and change the locks. Get a restaining order if you need to.

    She is not going to change. She has a free place to live and you to raise her kids. What’s not to like about that?

  • Cynthia

    October 4th, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Mary Ellen, hello there, and thank you for the response. My husband and I (who is also a physician) have been told so many things over the years, its a wonder we aren’t crazy, for lack of a better term.

    Yes, there is definite mentlal illness. Twin A has never been officially diagnosed, becasue when he is in psych, they zonk him out on drugs for 48 hours, he wakes up by Day Three, and at 72 hours, they release him. They always label it as Polysubstance Abuse.

    No one in a medical setting EVER sees him pacing and prowling for the weeks leading up to a crash, where he accuses us of trying to kill him…they insist it is drug abuse. Well, he did this IN jail as well, with NO access to drugs or alcohol, but the guards are not doctors, so there is never proof.

    His brother gets out in a few weeks, and we are frankly terrified of what will happen with both of them together.

    Time after time, they end up in front of a judge who points a finger and says, “Drug addicts! That’s all you two are,” and off they go for more time behind bars. Twin B told me, “Mom, you wouldn’t believe how many people in here are screwed up in their heads,” and he is right. Jail has become the dumping ground for the mentally ill.

    I’ve read several times that a lot of addicts “age out” of their addictions after a time…but I cannot find any statistics on what happens to drug addicted mentally ill adults after a time, unless there aren’t stats because the majority of them are dead…

    There may not be much hope for my twins, but it still helps me to read the stories here…I keep trying to see if I can pick up any ideas, treatments,or programs…I’m reading now about the European approach to addiction, harm reduction, versus the harsher American system of harm induction.

    Everyone in the family is telling us to “Cut them loose, let them make it on their own! You’ve done enough for them! It’s time they grew up and acted their age!” It sounds so sensible…but how do you cut loose a 22 year old that every 3-4 months is following you in lockstep, 24/7, asking you to make sure his heart is still beating? Who slices himself up on occasion to see if his blood flows, thereby giving him proof(in his head) he is still alive?

    How do you tell THAT to grow up? How does a parent close a door in that face and say, “Lotsa luck!”

    So, guess I need to come to some sort of realization, that they may NEVER get better? Because both of them think they are fine, naturally, and its the rest of us that are messed up…they won’t take medication, instead they self medicate with drugs and alcohol…so maybe its not an addiction, but its self medicating, and the courts and all of us( my husband, myself and the family) are not seeing it for what it is?

  • Dr Mary Ellen Barnes

    October 5th, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    I work with alcoholics all day every day and I have for years. Many of them come with all sorts of “co-occuring disorders” that they have been diagnosed with along the way. None are as severe as you describe your boys, but they have issues, nonetheless. When these people sober up and stay sober, 90% of these co-occuring disorders go away because it was the alcohol and drugs that caused or seriously exaccerbated the problems. So that may be where so many of the courts, etc., are coming from.

    In our society,the bias is to treat the substance abuse first, then the mental illness because you just can’t tell which is which when people are actively using. Of course, one of the problems is that it is hard to get a mentally ill person to quit because they are using the drugs/alcohol to medicate their mental illness.

    One of the biggest problems I see with people who are both seriously mentally ill and drug abusers is that nobody wants to help first – the police don’t want to help, and the mental health people say they need to clean up the substance abuse before they can help them. That leaves people like you and your husband in dire straights. Reading your email, I have no doubt that your boys have serious mental illnesses. I have 2 male cousins with schizophenia and if you take the drugs/alcohol out of your description, it is them, completely. Their families are stressed and exhausted and scared.

    It is nearly impossible for a loving, caring parent to just walk away from their children, whether it is drugs or mental illness. Our society seems unable or unwilling to help young adults with serious mental illness. We usually wait until they break the law and then jail them instead of treat them. And you can’t make them get treatment, as you well know. So, yes, you need to come to the realization that they may never get well. That there is a real limit to what you are able to do for them and find some peace with it. I am sorry you have to go through this, I am sorry your boys have to go through this, too. I wish there was some real help available to all of you.

  • Cynthia

    October 5th, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    This is going to sound so odd, but reading your thoughts on it is somehow making more sense to me than anyone else has over the years, Mary Ellen. Why is that? Maybe its because you do have relatives and have experienced this, or maybe its because you’re a total stranger, and not one of the people the twins have victimized, and can see it objectively.

    I cannot even see this issue objectively anymore, none of us can…we’re too immersed in it. We’re all apprehensive to have them in our home for any length of time from the drug use, stealing, or police appearances at our door…yet, we’re all very scared when they’re on their own, because nobody wants to chance having to stand next to a pair of caskets.

    You’re right, there is no happy ending to this, as it stands. Yes, we must as a family realize no matter what their actions, they did not ask for their for mental illness…maybe we should be the ones in therapy. I don’t know, I have no good answers or solutions to this.

    A foremr neighbor, whose garage they broke into, looking for alcohol, summed it up this way a few years ago…he said, “I see these kind of guys every day of my life. They don’t get better…and you’ll kill yourself trying to make them better. You need to face what they are and where they’re ultimately headed…right into the ground.”

    I thought him cruel and callous at the time, and said so. I’m thinking now he was right. It may be an intensely personal issue for our family, we love the boys…but to almost everyone else, they’re a train wreck waiting to happen, and people don’t want to get hurt by the debris.

    Guess the rest of the family is going to have to sit down together at some point and make some sort of plan or preparation, in case the unthinkable occurs…and just go on from there. Thank you SO MUCH, for your imput, and for listening…

  • Tracey

    October 8th, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    My 34 year old daughter has been drinking alot in the past few years. I didn’t know how much until she stayed with me for about 9 months earlier this year. I asked her and her kids (13 and 15) to leave my apartment because of the abuse and disrespect all three of them brought to my home, and I found 6-8 empty fifths of vodka after she left. They then stayed with my parents, but after three weeks, the situation became intolerable and physical threats were made by the son to my 75+ year old parents, and they were asked to leave there, too. About the same number of empty fifths of vodka were found in her room after they left.
    My daughter is a drunk and her kids are angry at everyone except her, making it impossible to help any of them. I have tried everything to turn around the situation, and have failed miserably. The kids’ father is somewhere around, but isn’t involved in their lives, though several months ago, he threatened to take them. I hope he will and I will continue to try to find him.
    The three of them have been sharing a house for several months with a lifelong friend of my daughter’s, but she moved out last week (“I just cannot take it anymore” – she experienced the same treatment as the rest of us.)
    Now the rent cannot be paid, there is no food in the house, and things are as desperate as you might imagine. I am bringing dinner and some groceries tonite. Paying her bills for the past few months has me on the very edge of financial disaster myself, so I cannot help much and I am heartbroken that things have come to this. Do you have any suggestions to help my aching heart?

  • Dr Mary Ellen Barnes

    October 8th, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Stop paying her bills, stop bring food over. Call Child Protective Service to have the kids removed and let them find “Dad” so you don’t have to. Your daughter is a danger to her kids, she should not have them.

    Of course you are heartbroken, any mother would be, but she in an adult and she is making choices about how shw wants to live. You don’t have to support those choices. If you remember that she could get help, she could choose differently, then it will be easier for you to disengage from her.

    I understand that you are heartbroken over the life your daughter is choosing, but there truly isn’t anything you can do to “make” her change.

  • Leslie

    October 27th, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    I want to write a few things about addiction. I have 2 addict siblings. I also raised 2 daughters. One is successful and the other is an addict.
    There is no formula in raising non addict children.
    My daughters attended church, were honor roll students, creative, artistic, nice kids. Its the choices they made as adults. One was stable, went to school, got married, went to work everyday.
    the other partied , drank and drugged, worked in strip bars and married an addict, who killed himself.
    I have beat myself up trying to figure it out, where did I go wrong? what did I do??
    I stopped doing that. My addict daughter chose at 20 yrs old to work in unsavory places. hang with low life people, scam the government, insult her family , etc…
    She is now 35 yrs old. Getting off drugs, working in a strip bar. I have been raising her 2 kids for a year. She does not speak to any of the family because we all told her to clean up her act.
    She didnt like that.
    Some people choose to live this way because its fun, its easy, less responsibility.
    Its hard to wake up every day and get to work on time and get kids off to school and go grocery shopping on your day off, save money, pay car insurance. Its easy to day heck with it, get high and get a bridge card. Go on assistance. Exchange food for cash. Its a lifestyle.
    I also want to say something about the Psych field. Not all addicts are BI Polar. I see that as a new trend. Some addicts are just plain…lazy.

  • Jane

    December 5th, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    I have a wonderful Son who has grown up in a very loving, supporting home. Was a wonderful student, College graduate, athlete, etc.Had a bad relationship in high school with a young lady. This is where I believe his problem started. Although well hid from us his parents, we by the way do not drink, nor do any of our family memembers. He was a normal teenager, would party on occasion but nothing out of the normal. UNTIL we recently found out at the age of 27 our wonderful, educated, successful SON is a alcoholic. He recently has lost his job, has a DUI, an OWI, and a reckless driving charge all within 1 month. He did enter a 30day re-hab only to get out and the very same night drink himself a 5th of Vodka. I am so upset, can’t eat, can’t think, can’t do anything but worry about his future and his life in general. What do you do when everthing you’ve done that you though was right as a parent, support your child in everything, taken them to church, helped them find a home, a career, kissed them, held them, loved them and turns out to have failed you. I have no idea where to turn to help him! Please help!

  • Lara

    December 11th, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    In response to #6 Carol McAnn of educating our children at a young age and such “but it can be minimized by family members who educate their children to the propensity to addiciton in the family by such actions as telling them about relatives, not having alcohol use as a centerpiece of family gatherings, seeing family members who have successfully participated in recovery. The other significant factor in predisposing a person to an addiciton (which could be something other than drugs or alcohol) would be a sense of emptiness and the feeling that the significant people in their lives (particularly parents) cannot be counted on. This begins in infancy. No parent can meet their child’s expectation 100% of the time! (To paraphrase Donald Winnicott, a pediatrician who became a psychoanalyst, one just has to be a “good enough” parent.) But the child must have the general sense that their cries (signifying wants & needs) will be heard and responded to in usually meaningful manner. This acknowledgement & sense that the world can be trusted expands to being supported and loved for what the child is, not what the parent thinks they should be; for example, allowing the child to explore playing a musical instrument (if that’s what they express interest in) instead of insisting that they play sports.
    My husband and I did all of those things. I chose to be a stay at home mom, became very involved in their activities, not a helicopter parent but helpful. We let them explore what they were interested in etc., etc. and are now having to cope with an adult addict. He chooses to steal my prescription drugs when he comes for a visit. (I have been hiding them for years but he always seems to find them.) I now lock them in a safe.
    I have gone months with no contact thinking that would help but no.
    This year we banned him from Thanksgiving and are finally discussing on whether to have any contact with him at all.
    We do not give him money as he has a very good career.
    However we are awaiting the day when we get the news that something happens and that will be gone.
    Anyway I believe it is a choice. Just as choosing to have an affair is a choice. It is behavior. It is an act you can choose to say no to. One can choose to be selfish or one can choose to place others higher than themselves.
    It is an act of pure selfishness. One must always deny themselves whether it be drugs, alcohol, affairs, stealing, lying etc.
    It is painful to watch a loved one destroy themselves and their relationships but the sooner you realize they have to make the choice to quit and you can do nothing but be there for them when they finally hit rock bottom will you have peace.

  • Lisa

    December 13th, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    I have a 22 yr. old daughter who I have been enabling for a while now. We now have guardianship of her special needs son.He has cerebral palsy and is one neat kid! I have fallen for all of her stories and some I have just humored myself I think??? It is Christmas time now and I have to keep her son away because of her drug use. Why am I the one feeling guilty??? I had a problem years ago and I am using guilt to keep her habit. It doesn’t make much difference but she is shooting and I never went there! Some of the drugs she is shooting I have never even heard of! I am so scared for the phone to ring and me not have done anything besides type this that it is making me ill and sleepless nights

  • mary

    December 27th, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    My son is 34, and I have experienced every kind of rehab you can think of; from the $$$ ones to the state mandated. I have not only enabled with fresh starts, but chased him down in cities far away with the local police, etc. to be certain he wasn’t dead. He is back home now, (not at home) but recently in a residential facility that has a transition program from inhouse to living in the community. I have had problems with social service agencies after I’d detoxed him, who told me the only way he could get public assistance is if he was drunk. She actually told me to get him something to drink. Fortunately I called a state board to report that….then I had a doctor who prescribed huge amounts of Aterol to deal with my son’s “ADD” problems. Nowhere did anyone deal with the fact that he dual doses on ephedrine and alcohol. Ephedrine can be easily had at the drug store with a signature, any doper can get blister packs of Pseuda Fed by asking random people to sign for it. He ended up after taking (regularly) 180 pills at a time…the fact that he isn’t dead is amazing. After much searching and locating I found a program with “so called” sober living component — finally got a call from the hospital that he had been med vacked near death. I would also like to add that prior to this my son did mess up his sober living and accepted the consequences..he had to move out for 3 days before the house would vote to accept him back. During that time his AA sponsor got him a flop house to live in -IF he would agree to work 10 hour days for a moving company under the table and then was given a bed in a storage facility.

    My reasons for going into all this detail are this: be very selective, someone should have a cheat sheet of every program you find for a rehab facility; unfortunately there are now real estate companies that buy and rent out sober living with no programs rules or consequences attached.

    finally – I had to section my son, and had the court release him to me over three separate trial dates. In that time, due to the fact that he almost died on the med vack, he was put into an outpatient program until a public health bed was foudn in a “decent” facility. Dependent on your state, and if your financial resources are drained – you do have an option as to which state facility a program is available. He is now “fathered” by the courts, with a job, drug tested and ok so far. This doesn’t mean the end, it’s still under a year….but my point is, a parent needs to find a way to show love, but not enable. THERE ARE FEW IF ANY RESOURCES FOR THAT KIND OF HELP.

  • Mike

    January 24th, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    I’ve spent the last two hours reading posts on this blog from people who are experiencing the same sort of issues my wife and I have been dealing with for the past several years. I thought that I was all cried out. Reading these posts have brought it all back home for me.
    I am 54 years old. My wife is 55. We married 15 years ago. Both had been married previously and had children. I have a son,32. And a daughter, 28. My wife’s daughter is 26. I long ago stopped thinking of my wife’s daughter as my “step” daughter. She is as much my child as the other two. When my wife and I met, she had been divorced from her daughters father for about a year. He was in the Navy and had an affair with a woman in a city he was briefly stationed in while going to school. At the time, my wife was willing to overlook his transgressions and have him return to their marriage but he chose not to do that. He left his wife and daughter for the other woman. My wife has described the night he left as a night of screaming and crying as her child watched her father leave. She has always felt guilty that her child was traumatized in such a way and has always tried to compensate for this by giving her daughter “everything”. She had a good job and made a pretty good living and so, was able to afford to give her whatever she wanted. I, on the other hand, had been a single parent since my kids where 5yrs and 18 months old. I made enough money for us to survive, and they always had everything they needed, but there simply wasn’t money for frivolous things. In other words, they had grown up with a different mindset.
    Here is where our lives turned south. Throughout my youngest daughters teenage years we had problems. Acting out at school, running away, hanging with people who we knew where trouble. All along my wife blamed her ex husband for all of her daughters issues. All along she coddled her and blamed herself. She continued to do everything for her. She allowed her to drop out of school in the 8th grade. Her reasoning was that the daughter didn’t like school and would just skip class anyway so why send her? She would do home schooling instead. You can just imagine what a disaster that turned out to be.
    About 8 years ago, my wife came to me to tell me that my daughter was pregnant. I didn’t meet the father of my grand daughter until the day she was born. Apparently, and with good reason, he was afraid to show his face around me. After the baby was born, we let the three of them come live in our house. I didn’t like him, but he had a job and appeared to on his way to being able to take care of my daughter and new grandchild. When my grand daughter was about a year old, they moved into their own place. We helped them with the rent, groceries, and a car. For about two years it looked like they where going to make it. Then he lost his job. As they moved back into our house, she informed us that she was pregnant again. Fast forward two years. They were still living in our house, now with two daughters, neither working. Just laying around doing nothing. He would work a nothing job for a week or two, but nothing ever substantial. We just thought they were lazy. We didn’t know, or just refused to believe, that drugs had anything to do with their situation. As it turns out, we where so wrong.
    Finally, he got and held a job for awhile. They decided to move out. They entered a “rent to own” contract on a mobile home in a park not too far from us. For a year they lived away and seemingly where doing ok. The girls would come stay with us most every weekend. We still helped them when they needed it. We had always paid their car payment, insurance and cell phone bill. I didn’t like it, but my wife rationalized it by saying that the money used to pay for those things was the money she received in alimony so it wasn’t really “our” money anyway. I learned long ago that it is best in life to choose your battles carefully and that was not one that I chose to fight. I rationalized it in my own mind by thinking that I should do everything I can to help provide for my grandchildren.
    We learned while they were living away that my son in law had once again lost his job and was not only taking pills regularly, he had become the “go to” guy for whatever any junky/user/addict could possibly want. We stopped paying the rent. Within 60 day’s, they were evicted. We told them that we would take the children, but they were not going to come back to live in our house. Instead, they moved into his parents house. Whenever we got to see the girls, they were always dirty, hair a mess, and unhappy. We have since learned that he was not only supplying most of the community we live in with pills, he was supplying his own mother too. The father was there, but is really just a mouse of a man and apparently, in that family at least, the mother rules the roost. Eventually, my son in law was arrested for counterfeiting. He went to jail for 4 months. During that time, my daughter and grand daughters came back to stay with us.Also during that time,a third grand daughter was born. This is when we found out that my daughter was also addicted to oxy’s. She entered a drug rehab program mandated by the county. My little grand daughter had to stay in the hospital for two weeks after birth to detox. My daughter seemed to be making strides to improve her life. She became again a loving, caring mother. The change in her was incredible. Then, her husband got out of jail. They went back to live at his parents. The kids were sick all the time. We felt the only way we could protect the kids was if they stayed with us. We asked them to come back home.
    They moved back in in October. In early December, they had been fighting regularly and she asked him to leave. He did. We thought at the time that she was still clean. Turns out we were very, very wrong.
    A week and a half before Christmas, I got a call from my daughter. She had taken the girls to spend the weekend with their father and after dropping the girls off, had run out of gas. She asked me to bring her some gas. This was around 10:30 on a Friday night. I grabbed the gas can and went to where she had told me she would be. When I pulled up to the car, the headlights where on but I couldn’t see her in the car. I walked up to the car and found her passed out, laying across the front seat. I opened the door, woke her up, and escorted her to my truck. I locked up the car and left it on the side of the road. We had driven about 5 miles before she realized that she wasn’t in her car anymore.
    The next day I contacted the same county run rehab organization that she had been through before. They agreed to try to help her. They said the first step was detox. They told me to bring her to the facility on Monday morning prepared to stay for 5 to 10 days. She agreed to do that knowing that the kids were with us and would be well taken care of. When we got there, they told us that they did not have Inpatient facilities there, we would have to take her into Jacksonville to a facility know as The Gateway Center. I had heard horror stories about this center before, but nothing had prepared me for what I actually saw. It looked more like a prison than a hospital. Downtown in a “urban” area of town. It nearly killed me to leave my child in this place. But I thought that they would help her. I talked to the people running the place, and they assured me that she would be safe. Her admission was voluntary, so they couldn’t “make” her stay. But they assured me that they could help her detox safely with medical supervision. I hugged her and told her she would be ok. My heart was breaking as I walked out the door without her. I sat in the parking lot for an hour wondering if I had done the right thing. Finally, I pulled out and went on about my day. Within an hour, my phone rang. She had checked herself out. I went back and picked her up. I took her home and she spent the next week detoxing in my house. She suffered a lot. It was rough. We knew we had to be strong to get her through this. She begged for us to let her get some pills. Finally, she woke up. We talked. We listened. We thought she had turned a corner. We asked her father, now living about 6 hours away, to let her come spend Christmas at his house, thinking that if she got away from the local influences, she would have a better chance to make this stick. She stayed for a week. When he brought her home she seemed like a different person. Bright faced and smiling all the time. We talked about the opportunities she had before her. She seemed to relish the future. We thought we had made it. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be the case.
    Three weeks ago, we discovered that she had stolen about $80 from her mothers purse. When confronted, she admitted that she had used the money to buy pills. We took her car away from her. Of course, being high, she got angry and called one of her friends to come get her. She took the girls and vanished. We changed all the locks on the house but found evidence that she was still breaking into the house while we were at work. We finally learned that she was back in her husbands parents house. Apparently they had no money and no one to steal it from so they were not into the pills at the moment.
    Two day’s ago, she showed up at our front door with the girls. We let them in. Yesterday, we allowed her to use the car to take my oldest grand daughter to the doctor. She was gone for 8 hours. When she got home, she appeared to be sober. But to be honest, I’m not sure I can tell anymore.
    She has lied to us so much that I don’t trust anything she say’s. She has stolen all of my wife’s jewelry, my tools, golf clubs, basically anything of value. I have purchased back all of the jewelry she stole from her Grandmother. I am on first name basis with most of the pawn shops within 10 miles of my house. I just don’t know what to do. We love our daughter. More importantly, we love those grand daughters more than life itself. we live in Florida and my understanding is that grandparents have no parental rights in Florida. At this point, my only concern is for those little girls. We have cried so much that we’ve become numb to the pain she causes.
    I want to cut her off completely, but what about the girls? How do I take care of them? Do I have any legal options? We are financially ruined. We have nothing that we have worked for all of our lives. We just don’t know what to do. Any help would be appreciated. I am sorry for ranting on so long. To be honest, it feels good just to get it off my chest.

  • JD

    January 28th, 2013 at 4:45 AM

    Hi Mike,

    Just let me say ditto. Our grandchild is in FL and we know we have no rights. My only suggestion is to hotline your daughter and fingers crossed the state will take the girls from her. You can tell the child protective services everything you stated here and fingers crossed they will place the girls with you. IF they take the case your daughter will have a service plan with the intent to reunite. It does not always work. IF there is a case to open ask that they assign a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to represent the girls best interest. Money is tight in all the states but keep pushing. We will be in FL in May to close up the apartment we have paid for almost a year. I am not sure if they have BILY in FL. Google it. You and your wife can and will regain some sanity. Prayer for all of you. It is heartbreaking. All the best.

  • jean

    February 5th, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    I have read this blog many times over the years and it has often helped me as I am experiencing many of the same things. My 25 yr old son who I love dearly is addicted to hash and God know’s what else. (he only admits to hash and calls it his medicine). He has been living on the the streets for almost 2 yrs.

    My husband and I (not his father) recently moved to the state where he has been and I felt the need to try and help him get a place to live. I wanted to help him get a new start but but what I am seeing is that all he really wants is to live his life on his terms and not have to do anything. He has warrants for his arrest in another state so he feels as though he can not get a job or a driver license. He has an excuse for why he always needs more money and the stress of this situation is making me sick. I want so bad just to move back across the country to be far removed from this situation. When he doesn’t get what he wants he flies into rage and begins making all kinds of threats and insults.
    Everyone keeps telling me to just cut him off but I feel as though I need to try just a little longer and give him the tools to possibly turn things around. I know I sound foolish but I feel so guilty if I don’t. Does anyone know if there are any type of support groups for parents of young adults like this? Any help would be appreciated.

  • JD

    February 7th, 2013 at 5:28 AM

    To Jean #427,

    If you have BILY (Because I Love You) in your state it is a parent support group for our kind of children. Many parents have adult children with multiple problems. If not in your state you can still go to their website and find many resources. We attended a BILY group for 5 years. You cannot change your son, but you can change how you respond. We were able to regain some of our sanity, learn our situation is not as bad as some and worse than others. All the parents are in the same boat. After many years of counselors, therapists, rehab, doctors etc, it was this group that help us the most. While our situations break our hearts it is comforting to know we are not alone. All the best.

  • Laura

    March 5th, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    I suppose I don’t belong commenting on this page as my daughter’s addictions (so far) are limited to food, relationships and spending money but like most parents of adult children with addiction I am looking for solace from others who know the pain that addictions of any kind can cause a family. The hope we felt raising these golden children too soon replaced with despair and desperation at the futility of trying to save them from themselves. Marriages ruined; siblings who didn’t get the attention and love they deserved because all energy and resources were gobbled up by the addict; the years taken off our own lives due to the stress and drama these children create. The lies and the stealing never seems to end. The threats of suicide to manipulate and create drama as an excuse to keep abusing. I know that she will most likely become addicted to alcohol, drugs and/or sex as these addiction personalities know no bounds. I know that someday I might lose her to her addictions…this golden child with God given talents and abilities she has chosen to throw away for a life of dependency and waste. For those of you lucky enough to have a spouse who supported and presented a united front with you…consider yourself blessed. My fractured marriage and damaged relationship with my other daughter is the gift my addicted child has left for me

  • Victoria

    March 13th, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    My heart breaks reading all your stories. Many sound so familiar- beautiful child with a promising future. A close relationship that seems unbreakable…and then addiction hits and life as we knew it, is gone. No certainty if it will ever be the same and in the mean time, we have to love and deal with our child who we don’t even know anymore, but get occasional glimpses as to who they are underneath all the chemicals. It doesn’t matter if the doc is alcohol, opiates, speed, the behavior is the same- dishonest, selfish, superficial, and delusional. Through it all, we have to remember- we were not put on this earth to be a door mat for our child. Through the pain and uncertainty, we need a life of our own, where we remember what it is like to feel joy, regardless, and love ourselves enough to remember who we were before this all started and refuse to let their disease turn us into someone we don’t even know anymore. It’s a roller coaster ride for sure. But lean on your faith and start taking care of you. Because you deserve it. You’ve been through enough.

  • Diane

    March 22nd, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    I’m going to reread your comment most of this sleepless night. I’ve been writing on this thread for years the story only getting worse & worse. Sometimes I wrote that I bought his lies or that his manipulations worked…at least for a little while.

    I finally chose Me. I decided to save my marriage and my relationship with my other 3 kids and tend to my dying mom. I decided to move on with our plans of building our empty nest house where I will plant a big, beautiful organic garden to celebrate life and beginnings instead of pain, disease, darkness and the specter of death.

    I want joy and happiness again. I want my husband and I to be those snowbirds in a few years when he retires. I want to be that spry & sassy older couple sharing a golf cart and moonlit walks on the beach. I want the tears to stop, my chest to stop hurting, my blood pressure to normalize, my sense of suffocation to cease. He can only keep me in this box as long as I let him & he no longer has my permission. I want the constant looping images of my beautiful tow-headed, blue-eyed little boy to stop but I don’t want the more recent images of the vacant, glassy, snarling & stumbling monster that he’s become to take their place.

    He was arrested again a couple of days warrant OWI and something new…Armed Robbery. No details yet…just his frantic collect calls from county lock-up ” Please post my bond..they are so terrible to me here…I will pay you back…” Tearful, pleading, lying (I found out about the Armed Robbery charge myself)…he will leave me holding the bag for the bond money-$5000 if he absconds…which he will, done it every time.

    I am so scared..the pain is unbearable. He was just back in our home for a month to “start over” and we had his brother take him around to the courts to clear up charges (which were still all misdemeanor). We had to kick him out again when we found 45 Vodka bottles in our home & he was stealing from all of us, fighting, threatening. My daughter is terrified of him. This is a new phase, an escalation. I heard he faked a suicide attempt in jail..he did this at home & college too.

    He has been diagnosed with many things. Bi-polar, ADHD, High-IQ, Learning Disabilities, OCD, Generalized Anxiety, Depression. The one that makes the most sense is Cluster B Disorders..a cocktail of Borderline Personality with Narcisstic and Sociopathic Components. He has been hospitalized 17 times the last three years, he thinks the psych ward or Chem Dependency Units are homeless shelters.

    People around me are telling me to relax, at least now I’ll know where he is, and he will have a bed and food. I’m not there yet…I tried to help him so many times..We can’t afford a lawyer for this..he would never work, 26 and never really had a job…but all I’ve been for years is his “victim”, his “mark” …I hope I remember how to just be me. We all deserve better ….

  • Maggie

    May 11th, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    I have a 40 yr old daughter with three children 20, 17,11. She has recruited the oldest to be her enabler and the girls have to stay with her as their father is an Alcoholic. We have enabled her for 25 years hoping she would change and she did for awhile but always went back to the seedy people and booze and drugs. She has a bum living in her home that we own with her two girls and I am afraid. I need help.

  • Dr. Ed Wilson

    May 11th, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    I’m sorry to read about your plight and the common problem so manmy of us face. But the problem is that your daughter continues to be rewarded for her irresponsibilty and behaviors. Why would she change when she has successfully trained both her parents and now her children to reward her for her chosen life-style?

    That’s always the major difficulty – getting everyone to stop rrewarding the drinking, drugging, and whatever else.

    That means getting everyone on the same playbook, the same page, and sticking together.

    That may not change your daughter’s behsaviopr, but it will stop encouraging another generation to either follow or support her example.

  • Lynn

    May 14th, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    I am so glad I have found this website…I had no idea there were so many of us going thru the similar heart breaking issues. In most of the comments I’ve read it would be just a matter of changing the name of the adult child to our own son/daughter’s name. My daughter is 22 and will turn 23 at the end of May. She is an alcoholic and a drug addict and is not interested in going into rehab…she says she can give up drinking and doing drugs without help from anyone.

    I have been on stress leave from work for the last 2 months. It was just terrible breaking down in tears in front of some of my co-workers, running out because she needed gas for her car, or paying one of those cash & dash places that were hounding her for money. I have paid $400 monthly cell phone bills, I’ve also been paying her $500 monthly car insurance. I have no jewellery left. It has been stolen and sold for money to support her habits.

    I thought she had been doing better the last few weeks but tonight I’ve figured out that she’s been playing me for a fool once again. I am so tired of the sleepless nights with the phone under my pillow just waiting for “the terrible phone call”. There is so much more but I will stop for now.

  • shirley

    May 17th, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    I am one of you. My daughter is 30, an only child and she hates me.
    I have enabled her. I always have. What on earth am I going to do? I am at the age of 60 trying to hold on to my house and I have just got a new job while supporting her. Nothing is helping our relationship now. She just takes the money for beer and ? I reluctantly give her money because she wants it . ( usually after yelling and screaming and bullying ) I am beaten down and only trying to survive. She has stolen from me and now frankly I am worried that she will steal more. She has no profession and has just been let go from her job. I feel so alone it is killing me.

  • Teri

    June 21st, 2013 at 7:35 AM

    I also am the mother of an only child, son 31. It is so easy to enable an only child because you have no other children to draw your attention away. It is so sad watching our nieces and nephews marry and have careers and children. Our life seems doomed to this horrible roller coaster. We have decided we are going to ask our son to leave. He is working only sporadically so going to set a date. Not sure which one of us this is going to kill first! He is taking the life out of us!

  • Pat

    November 23rd, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    I have a 31 year old son and 42 year old step son. My son is an alcholic and my stepson has been sober for 5 years. He won’t have anything to do with my son now. My son lives in an apartment I have been paying for. I can’t stand the thought of him being on the street, but can’t tolerate him living here with my ( functional alcholic) husband and me. My son lost his last job and is probably going to lose this one, too. No skills. Depressed. I told him last night when he was complaining about his “asshole” boss that I couldn’t take it anymore and just wanted to kill myself. My husband stormed into the room and pushed me and said it was”criminal” to say that. I really can’t think of one reason to live. I know it was terrible to say that to him, but I really would rather be dead than to live like this.

  • Lynn

    May 21st, 2013 at 10:43 PM


    I can totally relate to the “feeling alone” it’s killing me too…I’m so tired of crying, the heartache and watching my daughter destroy her life. I feel so helpless. I have been reading blogs for the last 2 hours again. God how I want off this roller coaster ride. I’m so so tired of being taken advantage of…I have to find the strength to put a stop to the enabling. At what point do you say enough is enough ?? My 22 year old daughter is collecting unemployment and her payment gets deposited to my account. I just can’t say no to her when she asks for cash since it really is her money. I never should have bought her that car…seems like she needs gas money every day !! She says there must be a hole in the gas tank…yeah right…I feel like such an idiot…but how can I tell her she can’t have her own money ??

    I must say it is good to hear there are some happy endings…wish we all could say the same.

  • Dr Mary Ellen Barnes

    May 22nd, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Why are you putting yourself in the middle between your daughter’s money and her? She needs her own bank account and the unemployment check goes right in there. Also, why is she living with you? She could get a cheap apartment with friends or rent a room and use her unemployment money for rent.

    If she has no expenses except her drugs/alcohol, then what can you really expect?

    Most parents feel that they have to continue doing these things because if they don’t, then their child will either die from their addiction or end up on the street. But keeping her home and enabling her is not helping her addiction problem at all. Has there been any improvement? You may keep her off the streets all night, but just barely. She still is going where ever she needs to go to get her drugs.

    At some point you need to decide if you want to live or if you want your daughter to kill you. She is killing you now. It is your choice. Many parents choose to let their children kill them. And it is a slow and painful death. And it is a death that is needless and pointless and doesn’t even save your child.

  • Lynn

    May 23rd, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    I know what you’re sayng is true – I’m having a hard time detaching myself. I posted bond for her a couple of months ago and one of the conditions of this bond is that she has to live with me. She is going thru the court diversion program and has until the end of June to follow thru with the other conditions of going to AA meetings (that are documented) and meeting with a counsellor/doctor. I am trying to hold off until then since the charges will be dismissed if she can follow thru. She started hanging out with a guy who she met at a detox centre. While we were sleepng or at work he was breaking into vehicles in our neighbourhood and other places. Her stupid mistake was driving him to pawn shops to sell the stuff he stole (yes, absolutely she should have known better). He is well known to police and went to jail when they were arrested. My daughter has no criminal record. When we received the discovery documents, I was mortified to see he has a 7 page rap sheet which include drug possession, theft and armed burglaries.

    We started having her pay deposited to my account as a way of her paying me back some of the $$ she owed me and to cover the cost of her car insurance – it just seemed easier.

    To answer your question, she has good days followed by bad but I’m hoping we can make it to the end of June then am off the hook for the bond money and at that point she can get a place of her own. I guess I’m still hopeful…and wishing she will see the light !

  • Diane

    June 5th, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    Does anyone know how sober housing works financially? My son ( the armed robbery charge was an error thank god) is back out of 3 recent hospital stays. Twice, I had him arrested and put on 48 hour psychiatric holds. From there he was put back in rehab and sent to facilities. He had no insurance except a county program so these stays are usually brief and he is discharged with prescriptions he neither can afford or intends to take. Instead, he goes right back to his old friends, Vodka & Rum.

    He has been on & off the streets, and in and out of shelters & programs for 3 years now. He is back to calling me day & night or calling his siblings for money…he still doesn’t work-

    The last episode was the worst. He shoplifted little bottles of booze and ran down a Main Street in our town talking to himself and threatening to lay down on the railroad tracks. We have learned that these episodes are manipulative but in his state I do fear he is going to pass out on the tracks.

    This is so devastating & embarrassing to my other kids. He is purposefully making a huge show of his condition hoping we will give him anything to make him stop. He always makes it back here. He says there are no benefits or programs to help him with housing & healthcare. We had him in an excellent program last year but he left because of the “micromanaging.”

    We have no more money to give him. He is the never ending pit and all he does is spend the money on booze & bars and strip clubs. We gave him his last $3000 in bonds so he could start a new life elsewhere with the understanding he would leave us alone but it all went to bars & clubs and he says the police took a lot of it.

    He is hanging this on me again/says he has no “support structure” like other addicts and that his situation is our fault because we think drinking is a big deal.
    He has an opportunity for a factory job (his brother arranged) and needs a place to live. There is sober housing in the community but he says he needs the money up front for rent. My Husband will not allow me to give him another nickel. To do so, puts my already strained marriage on the breaking point. But, I can see how you can’t hold a job with nowhere to live. Do they make arrangements with their clients to wait to collect rent at first- til they can get a paycheck. He says no, but everything Out of his mouth is a lie anyway. Thanks….

  • Cindy Washbourne

    June 5th, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    I am in the same boat as all of you are. I sometimes compare myself to a parent of a child with cancer…the ups and downs that they go through. I’m afraid of putting my child out on the street because she will be killed for certain. I could never live with that. We have a wonderful relationship aside from the substance abuse. I’m just relieved to know that others are feeling the same frustrations.

  • Lucy

    June 5th, 2013 at 10:49 AM


  • Cheri

    June 13th, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    My beloved alcoholic 43 year old son died January 15, 2013. My heart is broken and will never be mended. The last 10 years were excruciating. I want him back. I wish I had known what was going on sooner. If only I had the power to do it all over again. I wonder what the next ten years will be like.

  • Jed

    August 6th, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    Dear Cheri,

    I mostly want to express my deep sorrow for your loss. I wish only peace for you, and I know it’s probably not what you are feeling right now, yet – little by little peace will come. You mentioned that the past 10 yrs have been just terrible, I’m guessing then that you have gone through what so many parents of addicted children go through; perhaps some of the things mentioned in this “opinion piece”. Despite the shocking ignorance of the author, I’m sure you do know that your son did indeed have an illness.

    The success of a “choice” to get well for anyone with the disease of addiction depends on many and varied issues and circumstances. It’s simply not black or white. Similar ( not “same” ) to the treatment for any potentially fatal disease – we always hope that our loved one will be physically strong enough or lucky enough to react to it in what we call a “successful” way. Yet, when we loose a loved one to cancer, for example, while a neighbor’s loved one is cured of the exact same cancer – we don’t ever think that our loved one was not strong enough or did not fight hard enough. We accept the fact that we don’t know the reasons why some “make it” and others do not – and we endure the pain of mourning their loss.

    I lost my brother in law to addiction last year Cheri. The pain is not even comparable to yours as a Mother. He was 39 and, like your Son, he died too young. One thing that gives his parents some measure of peace is the fact that (after almost two decades of horrendous struggle) he is in peace.

    I know your pain must feel like too much to take at times Cheri, but please know that your Son is at peace now. He is your child and will always be and maybe, just maybe, you knowing that he is at peace might give you some of the same peace you surely deserve.

  • Annabelle

    June 14th, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Individuals such as the author of this article are the reason mental illness continues to plague such a large part of the world’s population. By claiming that addiction is not a disease, you are claiming that there is no biological component at play and this is simply erroneous. Individuals who were either born with or developed mental illness had absolutely no “choice” in the matter. Furthermore, even if there was a component of “choice”, what makes a patient with melanoma who “chose” to spend more time in the sun, any more/less to “blame” for their disease than an alcoholic who “chose” to take that first drink at a high school party? Addiction is the result of mental illness and has been proven to involve an undeniable genetic component. How someone with a pHD could be blind to this is beyond me. And with the continuation of the stigmatization of mental illness by ignorant and judgmental individuals, people who suffer from it will continue to avoid seeking help as they will feel ashamed to do so. Let’s put an end to shaming and begin to help our sick relatives, friends and spouses to seek recovery. As a parent of an adult alcoholic it is not your responsibility to financially support the alcoholic, in fact, you are likely doing them a disservice by doing so. But it IS your responsibility to aide your child in understanding that he/she is not a bad person who enjoys making bad choices, but rather an ill person who is making the only choices he/she knows to make. Tell your child that while they may lack power over their addiction, they DO have the power to seek professional help…and hold them to that responsibility while loving them unconditionally.

  • Dee troeller

    July 6th, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    What a shame to see so many of us with the same life altering issues.

    I want to tell you my story and hope to get your input.

    My 33 yr old daughter & her husband slowly started the decline about 5 years ago.. losing good jobs, one at a time, losing beautiful apartments, rent issues.. lies , lies, lies… Four yrs ago his mother allowed them to move into her home. I voiced my opinion that it was a very bad idea cause there was so much more going on than we were privy to but she didn’t agree, she said she would always help her son…She has helped them to the point of no return… Over the past few yrs they’ve had a baby, got married, have had many jobs that didn’t last very long. Things are an absolute messand now his mother doesn’t want to support them anymore, yet is still somewhat in denial about her son, she wants to call me to complain, yet will never meet me half way when I say they are in serious need of professional help, she just wants me to take my daughter home, My daughter wormed her way into my home a few days ago pleading for a place to take a break from her mother in law. she tells me she is clean, not true.. but her husband still has issues, but she has to worry about herself now and not him, last nite she took her son and spent the nite at her mother in laws house with her husband while the mother is away for the weekend.. Iknow I have just been sucked into a lose -lose situation that I don’t know how to handle and his mother now says “its your daughter so why should I deal with her” I do know she believes if they don’t live together everything will be ok, because my daughter is the real problem. I just don’t know what I will do now.. My daughter will be back here tmw –like everything is just normal and this is a perfect solution for everyone, but me

  • Diane

    July 10th, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    The biggest problem is the lies…how can you help if you never know the truth. It’s just one manipulation after another. They jump from person to person sucking what they can and when they’ve exhausted one source- they move to another.

    It may sound strange, but I actually envy you for having the mother-in-law to share this pain and burden with. She may be gumming things up, but she had provided a respite from all this being on your doorstep 24/7. Your daughter and husband won’t stand a chance of getting clean until they want to – so in the meantime they move around milking everybody in their path. My son is homeless now – he has no friends, the family is done with him- my husband has cut him off completely. So he calls me…threatens suicide, blames me, pours on the guilt, threatens to become a violent criminal because I’m pushing him into it…

    He has sucked us dry…we have 3 other kids in college – the resources I was funneling to him have put us in financial trouble. After one of his phone calls tonight where he just tortures me..I was almost hysterical. My husband says I can choose to go with my son or stay in this marriage. He is my high-school sweetheart- I can’t imagine my life without him. We had so many plans for our “empty-nest” years, so many dreams. But I feel empty right now – just beaten up by all of this. It has been going on with this child since he was a troubled adolescent- he’s 26 now, with the emotional maturity of a 10 year old.

    I used to get down on my hands and knees and plead with him to stop the drinking, gambling, lying and the other risky behaviors. I told him he was going too far- his father said he would never live in another dysfunctional home (his mother and 2 brothers were alcoholics). Home is supposed to be a safe haven from the world – not a place of chaos, pain and despair. We tried to help. He had many, many chances. There seems to be no end to this nightmare. I know I have to learn to live with it. But I am up tonight, feeling ill, tortured by his latest phone call. They put us in horrible, no-win situations and because of the pain and stress, it alters our relationships with all the other people in our lives. Let the other mom step in sometimes…maybe it gives you the briefest of respites…maybe it doesn’t solve anything…but it’s something…Strength and peace…

  • Paula

    February 5th, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    Having no family to speak of and no husband, I stand alone fighting the battle. My son is 22, on and off of meth, currently in drug court and. 5 mo behind on fines, jobless, carless, a baby on the way in 8 weeks and homeless. His relationship with this girl is toxic and she has done meth with him while pregnant. They lie, cheat, and create chaos everywhere they go. I have given him countless chances and cannot allow him to come home for fear he will wreak havoc in my home where i am raising my younger son alone. It is so very hard not knowing what to do and having no one to turn to. The girlfriend has tons of family and support but my son only has me but he blames me for every bad thing in his life and alienates me because I give him tough love which is tougher on me. Just wish I knew what to do….

  • Bev

    August 18th, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    Annabelle – comment #443

    Hallelujah!!! Thank you : D Your comment is an excellent explanation of what addiction is and how a parent should react to it. Believe it or not… addiction is a disease. The American Medical Association deemed addiction a disease back in 1956. 1956 !!!!!!! AA states that addiction is a disease !!!!!! Why some professionals continue to say that addiction is not a disease is beyond me, as it only adds to the confusion and frustration.

    Think about it. Why would anyone choose to continue drinking or drugging themselves to death? Because their just having too much darn fun or because they are too stubborn to change? Does that make any sense to you? Any at all?

    I don’t mean to be hurtful to the parents who are commenting here. I am a parent of two addicted adult children. We’ve gone through the late night calls, the deceit, the crushed hope, the pain, the doubts, the anger, the hopeless and despair and it’s not over yet. My comment is focused on those who insist that addiction is a choice. Honestly, sometimes I wish it was but it’s not – it just isn’t.
    And to say it is is hurtful and destructive to both the addict and those who love the addict. It’s time to take a second look at the facts.

  • Jenni

    August 23rd, 2013 at 3:28 AM

    We have been struggling with our son’s addiction for seven years, since he was sixteen and it has been a long harrowing road that has cost us our financial security, support from extended family members and in my case my career progression. We have moved countries to try to help but still the same pervasive and insidious disease condition, that is addiction, clings to our family and drags us down. I have been reading this board for a long time and have identified closely with many of the stories. Recently though I read David Sheff’s recent book “Clean” which he has spent ten years researching and writing. It presents the most evidence-based synthesis of research and practice that I have ever seen, and as the father of a drug addicted son he really really knows. I recommend this book to everyone struggling in the dark. This book has provided me with the courage to go on and finally take the steps that are needed with our son. I cannot recommend it strongly enough.

  • Marilyn

    October 28th, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    Bev and Annabelle (#443 and #448 above): I completely agree. There is some good “tough love” advice in the article, but the assertion that addiction is not a disease *goes against* much current research, the American Medical Association, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, etc. For those parents, like myself, who are dealing with an addicted loved one, please find an Al-Anon meeting or a Families Anonymous meeting near you. Start by going to their web sites (the FA site is only partially up right now, but the list of meetings is still there). There is help and support out there — you are not alone!

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  • Dawn

    November 5th, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    So many times I have thought about reaching out to other parents such as you all, but felt my story wasn’t as significant. I am really glad I found this web site. Prayers to all of you. There is so much history. I will try and give a short version. My son is 24 and is addicted to marijuana. He has also been known to use Ecstasy and recently, Xanax. He also drinks alcohol excessively. He left home at age 18 and dropped out of school his senior year and lived with friends. He was arrested in 2010 for possession with intent to sell Ecstasy. He served 45 days in jail and was released. At that time he was in TX and we were in CA. He called fearful and complaining police were harassing him, so we moved him here with us. Yes I see now that was my first mistake, but I am his parent and felt I needed to protect him. Him moving here has been negative. As I am sure most of you know, marijuana in all forms is plentiful here in CA. I have begged, pleaded, bribed, put him through school, of which he succeeded, graduated, was hired in the dental field, and fired two days later because he was too hung over to make it to work by 10AM. He has had many jobs that have not lasted due to not showing up, repeated tardiness, and being under the influence. We have been patient, understanding and supportive, we have ranted and raved, we have threatened to kick him out, set guidelines and when it comes down to it, we can’t kick him out because we are afraid something bad will happen to him and we couldn’t live with the guilt. In 2012, he was admitted to a mental health facility and was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder with auditory psychotic features. He was admitted for 15 days and released. He saw a Psychiatrist on an out- patient basis and was prescribed meds he stopped taking. I would take him to those appointments and when I asked to speak with the doctor and asked if he had disclosed his drug use, I was told he was of age and it was not my problem now. Really? Not my problem? He is living with us! We have discussed rehab, but he expresses he like marijuana and he is “grown” and can do what he wants. We have three daughters, ages 21, 17, and 15 who also lives with us. I sought therapy and ended up being her therapist. We talked more about her kids than mine. We are all a mess. Recently, our 17 yr. old told us she used marijuana introduced by her brother. She sees a therapist for depression and has not used again. Our 21 yr. old went and lived with grandma, my husband’s mother, because she couldn’t cope. The 15 yr. old starts therapy next week for anger issues and depression. I realize I am responsible, I just need help.

  • Shari

    November 8th, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    My daughter has 2 DUI’s and her dads a judge. We are divorced. No matter what I did he interfered in the legal process and in a small town its impossible. He let her smoke pot and drink in his house as a teen and she just would not listen to me. I would have been fine with her spending time in jail as it is she has no consequence. Scared straight might have worked. Dad is an alcoholic too and encourages her behavior. I cannot fix stupid (him) but I tried to get her to treatment and now she hates me. Maybe some day she will decide to change. My 4 other children don’t drink and are respectful and on their way to wonderful futures. My advice: Do not marry someone who is an alcoholic. I didn’t realize he was and now my child is.

  • Dawn

    November 11th, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Friday both of my daughter’s pediatrician told me the cause of depression with them was my son’s drug use and the disruption he is causing in our family. I thought seriously about that and had always known that before, but was always conflicted what to do. This Wednesday he moves out into a motel for three days. He has a job, so I’m hoping he will stay there and continue to take care of himself. I also hope and pray he comes to a realization he needs to get clean and sober and grows up.

  • Jenni

    November 16th, 2013 at 2:06 AM

    I relate to your story Dawn. Your son (like ours) is clearly a dual diagnosis and so the rules are different. In his excellent book, “Clean”, David Sheff makes the point that the “rock bottom” paradigm just doesn’t work with many people. They will be dead before they ever reach this point. This is the problem I have always had with the tough love model. Oftentimes, the kids who have had tough love practiced on them because someone else’s headache. I have known of parents who have kicked their dual diagnosis children out of the house and gone on an overseas holiday, while other people take their children in and deal with the day to day crisis. Having said that, we still haven’t got on top of our issues with our son. But we are trying each day to stop enabling him. This is a battle royale for me. I am wondering if there are connections between families with drug problems and bullying. I was bullied as child at school, had a violent father, bullied in the workplace. Does this make it very hard to deal with a drug addicted adult child? You bet it does. Everyone in this family has some degree of impulse-control/ADHD type problem as well. That is also a marker. The problems are intergenerational and interdependent, there are no easy answers. But I am determined to make some small achievable goals that are moving in the right direction. I can’t win the war but I will win some battles. Like refusing to take him or accompany him ever on trips to get the synthetic cannabis he is addicted to (still legal here in Australia). The rehab services (which he refuses to consider) tell me that this stuff is similar to meth. The withdrawal is hideous. He has become so skinny – and he is not a skinny person. I will also refuse to pawn any more of my possessions to provide the money he needs to buy tobacco, because he has spent all his tobacco money on drugs. Yep, baby steps but I will grow stronger.

  • Julie

    November 28th, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    I have tears running down my face as I read all your stories. They are all a mixture of what is happening in my life. Even though it doesn’t fix the problem, it is a great comfort to know you are not the only one going through it. We can all learn from each others experiences. Good luck to us all and try to look forward to better times.

  • Debbie

    December 27th, 2013 at 6:27 AM

    My heart breaks for each and every one of you going thru this. We have dealt with my 44 yr-old son’s bi-polar disorder and his drug of choice-alcohol , for years, With 3 hospitalization for detox. Twice to rehab. And he chooses to live the life that he feels makes him happiest, though he is many times suicidal. It breaks a mothers heart……..2014 will be the year for ME. I have decided to do the tough love, no matter what, change the locks, call the cops, no more money. Whatever HIS choices are, HE will pay the piper. I have dealt with the stress and guilt long enough. I will no longer allow his choices to affect my own Heath thru stress. Stress kills, it causes inflammation within the body which can kill. I will not allow him to take me down that road any longer. When I have feelings of guilt I will take a walk, do some bicep curls with cans of soup or something. I will do something for myself to get my mind off him. It has not been an easy decision, but it have been getting mentally preparing for this day.

  • Odd man out

    November 30th, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    “Many parents choose to let their children kill them. And it is a slow and painful death. And it is a death that is needless and pointless and doesn’t even save your child.” Watching this play out, day by day; year by year, is quite painful.

  • Linda

    December 2nd, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    My son is 29 years old and a meth addict. Trust me when I say “this drug knows no boundaries” it is the truth. My son was a gifted student all through school, never any behavioral problems, he would play games to keep him self interested in school such as letting his grades drop as low as they could go to see how quickly he could bring them back up to a B or better. He started using “Pot” in high school, married at 18 and had a son by the time he was 19. He worked hard, had a nice home, beautiful wife and a son who is as smart as his dad. Everything seemed perfect until his wife came to me and said that my son has changed, he is hateful, moody, won’t sleep, keeps her up all hours of the night etc..she told me she thought it was drugs. So after 8 years of marriage they get a divorce, within months he is out of a job and looses everything. He lived with me and my husband for a year until one day my husband finds my son using meth at our house, So we kicked him out he is now homeless. I have begged, cried, pleaded, given him a vehicle ( which he trashed in 6 months) constantly given him money, until there is nothing else to give the only thing left is love. If he needs to to talk, I am here if he needs something to eat or a shower my door is open as long as the drugs don’t come with him. If he needs medical care I will carry him, but no longer is he going to hold me responsible for his life being what it is. He has shown me the monster that meth has made of him and then he can turn right around and show me the sweet man he is but when that monster raises his head, his problems are everybody else’s fault. He made a choice to use this drug not as a child but as a 26 year old man, I have told him cleaning up has to be his decision and I pray everyday that he calls to tell me today is the day. What else can a parent do?

  • Andrew

    December 2nd, 2013 at 11:33 PM

    Linda,what can I say..its truly pathetic.I can feel your pain being a dad. I can understand what kind of situation you both are going through.I think you should see a expert Councillor.Sometimes Yoga or Reiki works. One more suggestion is take him home because if he is outside he will somehow manage money and he will again take that.Make him understand in every way you can but don’t let him go outside..I dont this site can help you or not but you can take a look..
    Dnt worrry, everything will be fine.

  • michael

    December 12th, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    your telling me that being an alchoholic is a choice… wise up

  • Patty

    December 16th, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    I was searching again today, lost as usual on how to deal with my son or looking for an answer that assures me I am doing the right thing. I think I found a community of people that are going through the same things as me and these messages do tell me that I am doing the right thing. I’m scared to death but feel I am doing the right thing.

    My story is a about a son that seems to have always struggled with emotional issues. I think I tended to be overly cautious when he was younger because he seemed so fragile. I was always fearing suicide so I tried not to rock the boat too much.

    Now I find myself not wanting to rock the boat because of emotional outburst. It seems that it take nothing at all to make him completely freak out. I don’t know his history with drugs but I feel in my heart that there is an issue there. I don’t know what he’s tried or what he has done aside from pot. I do know that about 2 years ago I agreed to have him tested for ADD. He said he just couldn’t concentrate and one of his friends took Vyvanse and he felt that was what he needed. So, we went to the doctor and then to get tested and everyone signed off on ADD and Vyvanse. Since he has been on Vyvanse, he has become a stranger to me. At first, it really helped him, and by at first I mean, maybe a month? I believe he has developed a dependency to this drug and I think he likely abuses it. His mood swings are out of control, he disappears for days, he sneaks in and out of the house avoiding us. His pills run out before his refills and when I’ve tried to keep them from him he has taken them from my purse when I am not looking.

    Last year our holidays were ruined by his behavior. He broke up with his girlfriend or she with him and he totally lost it. I ended up calling the ambulance to come get him but of course he had to consent since he is over 18. He did go and checked out and said he would go to counseling but never did.

    Just like you have all said, talk is cheap. I have given him so many opportunities and he always says he agrees and then he disappears. I don’t trust him in my home, I have to lock up my purse at night or he steals money from me. We have put locks on all important doors in the house. Even this year as we begin wrapping gifts, I wonder if he will take something from under the tree and pawn it for cash. His car is about to break down and his tags are about to expire. We’ve offered to pay for both as a gift but he cannot care enough to even show up at the mechanics.

    It is so sad that he asks me for quarters for gas, but it is also so pitiful. I feel like he manipulates me by saying “do you have any quarters?” I am angry and hurt. I’m angry at him for continuing to make the wrong choses when he has all the support and love in the world. And I’m hurt that he won’t let me help him.

    I’ve prayed for him and I’m trying to be strong as I completely cut him off financially. Over the last few months I’ve gotten better at saying no and finally today I told him he had to go. It’s not fair to my other son, my husband, or myself to have him here taking and never giving. He doesn’t work, he doesn’t clean up after himself, he is disrespectful, he is lazy, he doesn’t work, he doesn’t have a plan, and he has given up. I cannot help him and giving him money for gas or anything else is just keeping him from having to face it himself.

    I have to realize now that he may be homeless, without a car, without food, without clothes, but it is all his choice. Like everyone else, he was offered treatment. I told him treatment or move out, that was his choice. He said he wanted to move out so now he has to face that. I can give him love, but no more financial support. In several days, his Vyvanse will need to be refilled and I’m sure I’ll get a call that day. I told him 2 months ago to begin the weaning process, he agreed he would and pulled down the ml dosage by 10 ml. He then had a doctor appointment and I have no idea how that went since he is an adult, he is protected by privacy laws. I reminded him that I would not support the drug anymore and that he needed to talk to the doctor about coming off of medicatin. I will not be paying for his pills this month. Part of me is worried that if he is dependent on the medication, the cut off is going to trigger violence. I’m afraid for my home that he will break in or detroy property. I’m having the locks changed today just to keep him from coming in when I’m not here, but if he flips out, no lock will protect my home. At that point I’ll have to call the police and that breaks my heart. Why can’t he just see what he is doing and what he is giving up?

    My hope is that one day he will come through this and we will look back and be thankful it all worked out. But I know that it may not work out, it could end very very badly and that is the hardest part.

    Thanks for your site and thanks for giving me a place to share.

  • Sharon M.

    December 16th, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    I found this site and am glad I did.

    I have been struggling for years with a daughter, now 27 years old. Like so many others, I wanted to believe the promises, looked hopefully at the infrequent signs of improvement, only to die a bit more when my daughter would take two (or three) steps back for every step that was forward.

    And because she has children, for the last several years I’ve constantly been bombarded with “if you don’t pay my heating bill, my family will freeze”… “I have no food for my children”… “All I have is rice to feed my dogs, they are wasting away”… “if you don’t pay for my psychiatric meds, I’ll go insane and kill myself and everyone around me”… and the moments of hope: “please pay for this dental assisting program so I can get a real job” (there went $3,000…. I drove her to every class, she passed the course and never bothered taking the state exam… and never got a job).

    Although I am in my 50’s, I even killed my meager retirement funds for the downpayment of a modest rowhome – which she was supposed to pay a rental amount equal to the monthly loan payments that I am now stuck with. She paid a few months, and has now left me high and dry with the loan payments, refusing to pay anything at all and claiming she can’t work.

    She got married earlier this year (to another person who can’t work on account of emotional disability) and he ended up calling the local Child Protective Services who took the children away!

    I have the eldest child, who is now excelling in school, making friends, getting the proper medical/dental care she hadn’t been. Since I just recently told her I am not giving her any more money and that if she can’t come up with a realistic plan to start paying rent, I will evict her – our already bad relationship is now full of hate.

    My daughter now hates me to the point that she even asked for her husband to kill me and is constantly making outrageous lies about me to the Child Protective Services agency. Her lies are now putting the stability of the eldest grandchild at risk, as the agency is considering moving her to a stranger’s foster home, just to shut my daughter up.

    My elder granddaughter and I gave this year’s holiday presents to my daughter in front of the caseworker so she could give it to her youngest daughter – and two days later her spouse messages me that my daughter sold all the presents and went bar-hopping instead.

    I’m very frightened that the agency is getting too exasperated dealing with all these issues and constant allegations. I’m still stuck paying the mortgage loans for the property she is living in (and that she is slowly destroying, from what I’ve heard). I recently contacted the real estate agent who sold me the property to ask her to do a market analysis…. and my daughter won’t allow her in. Still, the agent said I probably will not even break even – I may even have to have the mortgage company agree to a short sale. Unfortunately, it’s the same mortgage company I have for my own personal residence, so even that could be at risk.

    I told my daughter I will have to file to evict her – I’ve gone over $20,000 in credit card debt trying to help her out during the past two years. It’s almost always something that starts out sounding reasonable: “I need eyeglasses so that I can see to get a job and to be able to easily read printed material, please pay for them” – there went over $400 for a pair of eyeglasses because supposedly there was nothing that was right at a lower price. This past April, I ended up buying buying over $2,300 in food and baby supplies so they wouldn’t starve and so that the newborn baby would have what she needed – but I can’t pay the mortgages and the loans – and she constantly demands money.

    When I told her (less than two weeks ago) that I can’t give her any more money and I will file to evict her if she doesn’t come up with a better plan (her current plan is she wants to file for SSI and get something like $700 a month from Social Security – which isn’t even enough to cover the loans I have to pay on the property) – she turned around and alleged to the child protective agency that I am a drug addict (which I am not).

    Now, the caseworker has to do an investigation, she is pissed off about yet another waste of her time, has told me before that she can’t wait to get rid of our case but she can’t dump it on anyone else, no one else in the agency is willing to take it.

    And at the end of the day, I hate to say it, I love my daughter, but I hate who she has become – a 20-something willing to rip apart the life and stability that her young daughter has found living with me this year.

    Rather than her taking this time to get into treatment and focus on improving her own situation without having to also be responsible for children to care for, she has the chance to make meaningful changes to her life so that she can become the wonderful, resourceful mother that I know she COULD be… she wants to destroy me and if her children are in the way, that’s collateral damage, too bad, in her view. She won’t admit she has any problems, except anxiety. On one of our parent-child visits (the agency caseworker wasn’t there), I arrived and she wasn’t at home – instead I got a call that she was in at an address and needed a ride. We went to the address, found out it was a bar, and she was so drunk, two people had to assist her out of the bar. And she fell down in the street, drunk and we had to stop traffic to get her out of the street, in front of her child.

    I am so angry with the situation and so fearful of what may happen to her children if they start being moved around from foster home to foster home, that if my daughter were to die today I would probably feel relief that this nightmare is over, that she can’t hurt her children anymore, and sadness that what was once a promising life went the way it is.

    I’ve also found out she has been lying to everyone – she was prosecuted and plead guilty to prostitution, gets money sometimes working in dive strip bars (where she drinks most of her earnings away), and I’m just at wit’s end. My daughter is so out-of-touch with reality that she honestly believes if she can discredit me or drive the agency nuts by constantly attempting to discredit me, that she thinks they’ll return the children to her – even though she has no way to support herself, let alone them.

    Not only do I feel ready to give up on her, I feel it is necessary to give up on her in order to try to save at least her older child. The youngest, an infant, appears to be safe at least for now with her husband’s parents.

  • Renee

    December 17th, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    As I lay here grief stricken, I am comforted to know I am not alone. My daughter turned 18 in August and decided she wanted to be free. So, she moved out and moved in with her registered sex offender boyfriend. I begged, pleaded, and threatened to take away her car. She bought the car from me and found support in this boyfriend and his enabling mother. The last time I saw my “free” child was Oct 15. She smelled bad, weighed 85 pounds, and looked terrible. I took her to a fancy restaurant. She seemed to understand how I worried and felt she was in a bad place. As soon as that boyfriend heard her say she was spending time with me, he put a stop to it. On Oct 28, my daughter told her boyfriend she was moving out and moving in with her grandparents. He reported her to the police because “he feared for her life”. I got a text from the police out of concern at 3:00 am the next morning. My daughter was arrested for meth possession and paraphernalia. She was also drugged up on klonopin and had snorted hydrocodone. That was the least of my worries. More of her story from the past 2 1/2 months of freedom came out. The boyfriend was prostituting her. Some other thugs decided to help her out by committing armed robbery on the johns so she could bring back money to her “boyfriend”. She has been charged with 8 felony counts and two misdemeanors. She faces at max 105 years in prison without chance for parole. I got permission to take her straight from jail to rehab. She said she was turning her back on the boyfriend and thugs. She did well for four weeks. Now she is in trouble in rehab for communicating with these thugs. I made the decision tonight not to pay for secondary rehab and will be taking her back to jail on Christmas Day. I’m tired of being lied to, manipulated, and having my life threatened by two thugs and the mom of the boyfriend. My panic attacks break through my meds. She has hurt me, her brother, and the rest of our family with her behavior. It’s just more than a mother’s heart can take.

  • dolores

    December 18th, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    Sharon M your story says it all! I don’t know why we all think our addict is different…In 3 months I have been robbed of all my jewelry including my moms wedding ring – she just passed away 2 months ago- family members were robbed while visiting, drugs and drinking blatantly obvious everyday, complete denial and attitude if I say a word. I have become a prisoner in my own home and my grandson is a hostage, im afraid to go to sleep at nite and icant do a thing without jeopardizing my grandsons well being with temps below freezing… Worried about tough love? really I cant stomach this captor in my life if I were any of you without grandchildren. I wouldn’t lose a wink of sleep by throwing her out, changing my name number and moving faraway..

  • raaj

    December 23rd, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    Hi Friends,
    its so shaking to go through all these devastating stories, our boat seems to be almost in the same situation, though I am not a parent here, I am sibling of addict, and the frightening experiences of my mother have always been keeping me sleepless recently.
    Though I managed to pull myself from the affect of my brother, its my mother’s safety that is worrying me badly these days. my 35yr old alcoholic brother often visits my mom and keeps verbally abusing her, until his financial demands are met. some times even I came to knew the situations when he physically hurted her, though she keeps those things knowing from me.
    when ever I call her on phone, I could here a deeply troubled and panic voice from otherside if my brother is at home, she being a widowed housewife without any other financial support, I have no choice than supporting her, but eventually my support to her is indirectly enabling him.
    I am now searching for the ways to pull my mother out of his influence, any suggestions friends?
    Thanks & Regards,

  • Debbie

    December 27th, 2013 at 6:07 AM

    I sympathize with you. It is so hard. I just posted a reply above to Susan. You may want to read that too. She said something that was very meaningful….. You have to let go of the person you wanted (your brother) to be? That person doesn’t exist If there is any way you can assist your mom to relocate to something affordable, only large enough for her, no extra bedrooms. You both have to agree that he has to start taking responsibility for himself. Give your brother ample warning that he now has to make it any way he can! It may seem cruel but it is for the best.

  • Diane

    January 19th, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    That’s what I was told. I must grieve for the “child” I thought I had..the unrealized potential..the dreams of his happy and fulfilled adult life that is never going to happen. At least WE can’t make it happen. I am still grieving but I stopped asking “why”..there is no answer and it doesn’t matter. Now, I only ask “how”. How to best cope and move on…just tonight he told me he is putting his head on the railroad tracks…just the latest threat from an alcoholic/heroin and cocaine addled 27 year old, who never intends to take care of himself and threatens to kill himself multiple times daily. The truly sad part is..I have run out of reasons to tell him why not to…he has made a bigger mess out of his life and all of ours as collateral damage that I am numb and hopeless. Thanks for listening.

  • Susan

    December 26th, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Hello to Everyone,
    This website was recently emailed to me by a dear friend who is genuinely concerned for my health and well-being. I cannot thank her enough. I started to read the entries at the beginning and had to scroll down to the end to make sure that the community was ongoing. What a relief when I saw the 2013 postings. I have been living in denial for so long that I am really rather in shock to read reflections of my only son in so many of these truly heart wrenching stories, stories that I am/we are indeed, in one form or another, living. On Christmas Eve we paid to have the locks changed on our home, just in case my non-violent 25 y/o intelligent, well educated, charming, charismatic, good looking, manipulative, lying, drug and alcohol addicted son tries to reenter our home (we have evicted him) while we are on vacation. Last weekend, after he had stolen our car (his vehicle has a breath monitor in it) stolen cash – again – was arrested on a bench warrant and got our car impounded, I was horrified to hear myself say…. “I wish that I had never given birth to him”. I have blamed myself for not being enough… while working my arse off to pay for private schools, therapists, rehab programs, personal trainers, paying his rent, utilities, car payments (we have no choice on that one – we co-signed) and insurance. I bless my husband, who isn’t my son’s father everyday for putting up with this man/child and my – it isn’t that bad denial – everyday for the last 10 years . I didn’t realize how extensive my tolerance for pain was until I equated my son’s behavior with how I felt adapting to and caring for my schizophrenic mother. Then I knew…. While my heart is aching for the son that I had before he chose drugs and alcohol over authentic honoring relationships that do not engender what I imagine must cause him terrible guilt, I now know that that person no longer exists and both my husband and I have to let go of everything but our hope that he will one day return to health. Until then we are battening down the hatches, affirming our love for him, refraining from enabling him and getting on with our own lives as best we can, honoring our fear for his life or death, knowing that this too is his choice.
    I am so grateful that this community exists, I will keep reading the posts to gain insight and strength to stay the course.

  • Debbie

    December 27th, 2013 at 5:56 AM

    Susan, I could relate to your sinking feeling. Christmas morning was again ruined. My divorced 44 yr old son was downstairs starting to drink at 6 am. He usually doesn’t drink that early but “he hates Christmas” and he was suicidal “again”! He is bipolar, has had endless counseling, rehab and we have allowed him to drain us dry. We felt abundantly blessed and realized our guilt allowed us to sink into his manipulative ways. He chose to support his addiction rather than his children . I could relate when you said you almost wish you had never given birth to your son. I have realized that I have NO happy memories of my son. He has caused us trouble since 3rd grade. Once he graduated high school he moved out and chose never to take medication since. It has been a very rocky road. I love him only because I have to. He is an only child and that is my job. We live in virginia and plan to retire in a couple of years. We plan to move far, far away. We feel this will help. my husbands job took us to Alabama for a year and it was the most peace we have had in years. We were not around to see the daily issues, the self- destructive behaviors, to feel compelled to bail him out of his financial crises. We can hardly wait to move ! I lost my mom to Alzeheimers related illness earlier this year. I had been her long-distance care-giver. Though that in itself was hard and watching her succomb to that horrible thief of life; dealing with a bi-polar, addictive adult child has been the hardest thing I have ever faced. My heart goes out to anyone who is dealing with this. Best advice…….cut off all support,allow them to face the consequences of their decisions and if possible geographical distance ! You can directly help support the grand-children in other ways.

  • Mom

    January 3rd, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    I, too, am thankful to have stumbled upon this forum. It shocks and saddens me to read the multitude of souls with the same pain from the same story (with the names changed to protect the innocent). The drugs do indeed transform our son to an unrecognizable, hurtful wretch. Susan, I feel the son I loved is no longer inside his body–he has been figuratively murdered by “the lifestyle.”

  • helyn

    January 20th, 2014 at 1:05 AM

    Amen I struggle everyday. My heart breaks everyday for my daughter who is lost. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • charmelle peffer

    December 27th, 2013 at 3:19 AM

    I am starting to dislike my 18 year old addicted on meth and dagga for 4 years struggling, 2 rehabs, family car stolen and smashed, selling of clothes, violence, stealing, we can’t take it anymore, we have asked him to leave the home if he does not want treatment, he refuses, I decided to get a court interdict in January cause this past Christmas it was so painful and sad to see what monster he changes into ,it hurts and thank you every one for sharing, im so angry and sad.

  • Mikki

    January 1st, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    Charmelle, thanks for sharing. I wish we could have a cup of tea, hug and cry. I do most of that alone these days.

  • Shauna

    December 27th, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    I am so thankful for the support your posts have given me. I have been dealing with my 26 year old son an addict for over 10 years. He has been in and out of jail, constantly draining me financial by using every form of manipulation possible. Again he convinced me he wanted to change, he came home a little over a month ago and de-toxed on his own, I was so hopeful because it was his choice. He did really well for about 2 weeks he went to the doctor to the phycoligest, back to school to finish up his high school packets and started a new job. Wow was this really the end of the decade of shear Hell?? No! I had lent him a phone to use for the past 2 weeks, on Monday the day before Christmas Eve he started his new job, we were in such a hurry that he forgot his phone. When we got to his new job he was frantic about the phone, to a point of craziness. When I got home and looked and the phone, there were multiple texts to 2 different friends from a week ago saying “Come and pick me up fast before my stepfather or mother get home, I have $30,000 worth of jewelry we can sell! Come get me I will get you high! My heart sunk! He had found the hiding place with my jewelry and coins and had taken them. When confronted he said, I just got a loan I was going to get them back, I could pick up one of them at a local pawn shop, I told him he could no longer stay at our home and that he needed to bring however had signed the loan slip to the pawn shop at 9 am when they opened. He did not show up, then called at 12:00 and said he could probably meet me now. I had already called the police and made arrangements to pay the loan to get part of my property back. When I asked him were the diamond and Safire and my Jade necklace had hone, he said he had sold them for the price of gold to Check City and Shane Company. Myself and my other 5 children where devastated and our Christmas was sadly tainted. He continues to call and ask if he could just get his Christmas presents. Sadly enough he is only mad that he was caught. I am feeling so bad for my feelings towards my son; I want to move away and change my number and not let him know where I have gone. This is impossible because I have 5 other children adult and minor that’s life’s are here. No More! I know that I need to stop letting him put the guilt on me and start moving forward.
    I have felt like I am drowning and every time I come up for a breath of air he pulls me back down and holds me under just long enough that I think I am dyeing, and then once again lets me up just to start over with the same routine again. It’s exhausting!!! I am so done!!

  • helyn

    January 20th, 2014 at 12:58 AM

    Be strong I struggle everyday with my twenty year oldsdaughter. I’m praying for you and you’re family..

  • Sally M

    January 1st, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    Ok, so I have a question. My story is like all of yours with a 28yo daughter is a mile high mental health issues, brittle alcoholism/Rx drug use and to top it off a butt load of medical problems. Been in and out of rehabs/detox’s and all others for the last 8 years. Most ETOH levels have been in the .3+ t .4+. Tried suicide more than once and etc. etc. I don’t need to give everyone the grusome details as we have all been there and felt the same pains. I have been pretty proud of myself in regards to not enabling her in the last few years. She was temporarily staying with us and started drinking again and I physically locked her out of our house a while back. Currently for the last two weeks has been sober but I believe is now drinking again. Well now I live in a climate that is -10 below zero with -25 wind chill and in the country. How do I kick her out..only to freeze to death? I always have this conundrum (regardless of the scenerio) of where does “not enabling” cross paths with giving them a death sentence…such as my current situation?

  • Mikki

    January 1st, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    You know I’m so glad to have found you all. I have literally been searching for someone to talk to who shares my experiences and pains of parenting. I feel like I haven’t done anything right for my sons. I feel suicidal many days. I’m fearful of phone calls, visitors, mail. Every one of those brings ever worse news. I have tried to get some peace from their constant poor choices, but even my family say I “choose to see only bad.” Fact is, there isn’t much good to speak of unless I count being alive. I cat really talk to them because I end up in the defendants seat. This life can be very lonely when no one identifies with your pain. My husbands family’s kids all seem so perfect and beautiful, never straying off track. Their biggest worry is which college to accept the scholarship from or being tired from golf practice. And all of this and the constant bragging by my coworkers about their perfect little lives can be so hard to deal with. I feel so alienated and many days I want to stay in bed and cry. People tell you you’re enabling. You do too much, you didn’t do enough, you seek out pain, yada yada yada. But they normally haven’t been faced with this kind of road on which to travel. The worse part is you can’t see an end in sight.

  • Lady

    January 3rd, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    We have two ends in sight. Death or life and the hardest is the rollercoaster ride that goes with both. Then you get the guilt. I am in the same position as everyone else. One second at a time! Good minutes and worse! Little things become so appreciated. The sun on my face, a colorful bird out the window, my favorite is how i notice laughter everywhere. It makes me smile! Seek out happy people and laughter and be a joiner! Good luck!

  • Mom

    January 3rd, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    I know exactly what you mean. Our 24 year old, adopted son has been in and out of jail, wasting his life. I am a teacher, and my colleagues don’t have to deal with the legal system and all the wonderful new experiences our son has given us. It can be alienating. On New Year’s Eve, the dear, who had been permitted to come home in April, decided to blow up over nothing and just left. We haven’t heard from him, and my husband and I are having our usual talk about “When is enough, enough?”. My heart is broken from watching my husband, plus my own grief. You are not alone.

  • Kathy

    February 15th, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    Mikki… You are so NOT alone…I have had that fact reinforced over and over these past 20 years. Yes, I said 20…. 64 years old now and been waiting for my 42 year old alcoholic son to sober up and become a functioning member of society all these years… Had every advantage and opportunity… So that has NOTHING to do with this horrific problem… Strikes anyone! My saving grace is my husband of 20 years who will not allow me to enable or finance him… But he drained my poor mother dry… After her death, the true scope of his problems became evident as he lost his wife, children, home, car….she had been financing it all! We have now lost all touch with him… And will never have anything to do with him or allow him to hurt us in any way other than the hurt and sadness he has left me to deal with. I live life by finding coping mechanisms to fill every day. (Praying, reading, yoga, golf, healthy relationships). I do believe knowing you are not alone helps…

  • Eric

    January 1st, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    Vodka seems to be a very popular drink-of-choice among the young alcoholic set.

  • Eric

    January 1st, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    I don’t even see the point in writing my own comments on this blog – at least half of the ones already written could have been written by me.

    Still working through the pages, looking to see if people who get jaded by the typical stuff ever get set off by the “straw that broke the camel’s back” such as: vomit EVERYWHERE when the kid drinks, ruining carpet, furniture, and sating the concrete driveway.

    Anyone ever been told by their alcoholic, drug-dealing kid that, if you try and kick them out of your house, they will sue you for failing to comply with eviction laws?

    Or how about the classic move, where they try and provoke a conflict, then attempt to get an order of protection to get you thrown out of your own house? I’ve heard about that one and suspect that he has too…

  • Susan

    January 3rd, 2014 at 5:51 PM

    Hi Eric,
    The situation with my son isn’t as awful as yours reads, I am saddened by all of our stories but am struck by the absence of dialogue around utilizing whatever local/state resources are available to protect us from our adult children. I know that most of us are grappling with so many varied emotions about how we feel/treat these seriously dis-eased/misguided/abusive adults, for whom little else remains -for us – but our memories of them as children. But… where did we sign our lives away and enslave ourselves to them? I for one believe that, as much as I would fight to protect my son’s rights I will fight even harder to protect myself, the healthy relationships that I do have, our assets, even from my son – even if that means utilizing the legal system against him. I don’t know if this exists in other county’s/states, but in Missouri there are community action police officers, police outreach programs, Legal Aid to name but a few of the resources. Legal and professional counseling are elements of survival when dealing with the myriad problems that we each face, often hourly – let alone daily – with these ADULTS who are failing to thrive. Connecting with others and all of you is proving invaluable, it is helping build my resolve to return to a healthier well balanced prospective that includes my son, albeit in small and controlled doses, but doesn’t centralize him in my/our life.

  • Susan

    January 3rd, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    Hi Sally M.
    When my husband and I decided that my son had to leave our home, in December in Missouri, we had already determined that he is going to have to solve this problem on his own, but I do have a list of the available shelters if he contacts us. Our resolve to survive our sons addiction is and must be our priority. I don’t have a painless answer to the conundrum you have posited, I just know that even while my heart was breaking, I had to do something/anything to change the dynamic in our home and I wasn’t going to collude with my abuser any longer.

  • Eric

    January 3rd, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    Alienating – yes indeed. Even friends with the best intentions are alienated. They feel bad for you, but its awkward; they don’t know what to do or say about the situation, so they drift away.

    A lot of the pain is about the grieving process that doesn’t happen. The person who was your child is standing there, walking and talking and breathing, so it is hard to accept that the person you knew no longer exists; killed by the evil that is alcohol & drug abuse.

    It’s easier now to move on with life because I understand that my son is gone. I can forgive him and love him, because this alcoholic, druggie monster that merely LOOKS like my son, and causes so much heartache and misery, is NOT my son.

  • Eric

    January 3rd, 2014 at 10:21 PM

    (And, because he’s NOT my son, it also makes it easier to make the hard decisions that may look cold-hearted, but are necessary to protect the remainder of the family from him.)

  • Gabby

    January 4th, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    I need help in dealing with my 25yr old son and his girlfriend of 8 years. They live with me and have two children 6 and 3mos. I want them out of my house but i fear for the safety of the kids. As i am writing this it is 2:30 pm and the mother is still in the bed. I have seen her sleep till 5pm. They have No car, No jobs. My husband and I both work, pay all the bills, and anything the children need. We want them out but are afraid that the babies will be homeless. She steals our money, has pawned my things, and they sleep all the time. The do not clean up after themselves or do anything period! I want them out but I want the babies to stay. How can I do this?

  • Linda Rucker

    January 5th, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    I have a 40 year old daughter who is an alcoholic. She wasn’t always one; in fact until 10 years ago she barely ever touched a drop. Then, in 2003 she had by-pass surgery for obesity. Everything was fine fir the first 6-8 months and then she started hanging out in the neighborhood bar. As the weight fell off, and guys started noticing her, she spent more and more time in the bar. Then, she met him. He was very good looking, much more so than any guy she’d ever dated before and he was her Waterloo. Every night she left her four children the oldest 14 the youngest 5 year old twins to fend for themselves while she sat at that bar drinking with him.
    Eventually, it got to the point, where this guy and beer were all she worried about.
    She slept all day, often not even getting up to feed her kids or get them off to school. Within a year she married this guy,and things only got worse. He was an abusive drunk, a coke head and a control freak. She gad no phone, no car, no TV, very little communication with her family and he controlled every aspect of her life. He decided when and how much she could drink, how much come she could use, when she talked to her family, and he beat her. Twice very severely. Once, so severely he actually did prison time. That was the only thing that saved her life, because when he got out if prison, he never looked back.
    But, the damage was done. My daughter moped around over him, drinking more and more. She went for days without eating, drinking till she passed out and then starting all over again. Her children were taken away from her by the state and given to her younger is ter to raise.
    For years she stayed drunk, staying here or there, but always with another drunk.
    Her sister took her in ten times trying to help her and ten times she blew it off, got drunk, stoke from her and even sugared her gas tank, destroying her sisters only made if transportation.
    We finally got her into rehab, and she did great in that controlled environment for 9 months. When she left, she came to live with my husband and I and for two months she was fine, but it didn’t Kay’s. She started sneaking beer into her room, hiding the empties in her dresser drawer, the back of her closet, under her mattress. And then one day, she took off and was back on the street, hustling drinks and drugs.
    She took up with a guy, another abuser who’s first wife died under mysterious circumstances, and he nearly killed her by trying to chose her to death.
    After that, her brother took her in and again she did well for about 10 months, but when she got out on her own, it was the same story.
    Other family members have tried to help,but the end results have always been the same.
    Now, she wants me to help her yet again and I just don’t husband,my other kids and other family members say not to put myself through this again, and I know their right, but it kills me to hear her beg and to help her.
    I am just so tired of being torn and so tired of worrying about her.
    But, what if I don’t help and that phone call comes? How do you cope with that kind guilt!

  • Sally Marie

    January 6th, 2014 at 6:23 AM

    Thanks Lady and Mom.

  • Sally Marie

    January 7th, 2014 at 6:57 AM

    Linda R. My daughter also had a Gastric Bypass and ever since that, her addiction is out of control. Like your daughter, does well in a controlled environment but when discharged, hardly makes it a day. When she starts drinking, has this uncontrollable need to continue until she ends up in Detox, the ER or other. I have heard, and do believe that the gastric bypass does play a significant role in the body/brains addiction. My daughter has been State committed twice and near death more times that I can count. She knows she is an addict and knows she cannot stop. Another State commitment and/or adult guardianship is ok as it keeps them safe for a while but if they want they can just go to another State to avoid it. I really have resolved…and told her, that I have accepted that she will die, and that I love her but only she can help herself. I think about her many times every day. It just saddens my heart to see her suffer. Even though I have accepted that she will die, knowing that she is hurting and suffering herself is a worse pain…as when she is dead, she will be free from it all. What a sad life for them and us as parents.

  • Susan

    January 8th, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    Hi Debbie,
    I have been rereading the postings to reaffirm my conviction to this very complex separation from my son. Like you I have committed to 2014 being about health for myself and and my husband. Just like everyone else here, my heart is broken by the seemingly relentless battles to gain autonomy from my ADULT child. The longer I am away from him the harder it is for me to hold onto the “THIS IS A TERRRIBLE REALATIONSHIP and I am not going to tolerate the intolerable”. Today I spoke with him for quite a while, via phone, he asked to come home – using rationalized lies while admitting nothing. My stomach hurt so bad after this conversation, thank god that it did, otherwise I may have wasted time listening to and wanting to believe the well honed charm of this very manipulative person that I so want to have an honest relationship with but have to remember that that is a two way street and he doesn’t even live on the same planet as me. Namaste, S.

  • Susan

    January 8th, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    Hi Gabby,
    Get a BATTLE PLAN, there are no two ways about it – we are at WAR with our ADULT children and their behaviors – chosen, adaptive or genetic. Get legal advise, talk to your minister, contact The Department of Children and family services, call the police. Where are the mother’s parents and can they be recruited? We are all supporting each other here on this page and we all need to know what OUR RIGHTS ARE while we toughen up and stop expecting these once beloved children to change. The family dynamic, that many of us battle with, will not change if we are not prepared to fight for and put ourselves first. And in your case, the lives of innocent grandchildren too.

  • Alcohol Rehab Centers

    January 16th, 2014 at 4:26 AM

    What i preferably say is that don’t let your children so alone and independent that he/she will take any kind of decision without your permission…there should be some what involvement of parents required.

  • Robyn Pasqualucci

    January 17th, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    I have a daughter26 whom we have watched sink into hell our help doesn’t help. We are at the “your on your own honey!” For she has had a stroke, over 20 spin drys, suboxzone, unarmed robbery etc she is currently in jail. She is VERY VERY SKILLED AT MANIPULATING courts, police, PO, us, she is still an attractive girl but her teeth, which were gorgeous, are getting BLK cracks between spaces. She has Hep C, a 3 yr old daughter(no custody) and has been found in abandoned projects in a rough area, South Boston Old Colony projects. While she was with others she went into full nod and it was winter time and they took everything, purse,sneakers, winter coat, pants and just left her…but that’s the way of the street. Every now and then I get sucked back in and will get custody of her daughter, visit jail,detox rides, picked up her things after she gets bounced. I get lots of support from people very experienced in recovery and I’m told I MUST NOT INTERFEAR WITH HER BOTTOM OR THE BOTTOM WILL NEVER COME. OK…….. I have an 18 yr old son who has said things like ARE YOU FRIGGEN FRIED when I warn him of the grip these drugs take on the willing victims that NEVER BELIEVED it would happen to them. He is very arrogant. I believe he thinks I’m not firing on all pistons when that is the furthest from the truth. I have been,seen,watched hard core life events of others pass by. About 2 months ago I went into my private bathroom and first thing I noticed was an oily vomit ring in toilet then on further inspection I could see that someone projectile vomit. A little on the wall floor, under seat cover. I believed at the time it was a friend of his whom was trying to go clean, change the people places and things. My son has known him all his life. Said he had no friends and being nice. OK we live in an upper scale affluent neighborhood and I’m saying this because where our properties touch on four corners EVERY SINGLE HOME HAS CLAIM TO AN OPIATE ADDICT!!! This is crazy!! None of them chum together either. Boys are arriving at detox so young they don’t even have facial hair!! Wrong wrong wrong and I’m stopping myself from going on a political tangent. Lobbyists for drug co just recently brought before Congress there steadfast opinion NOT TO MANUFACTURE a new opiate dose of form so it can’t be crushed snorted injected. WTF? Why???? Then the same congress retires will FULL LIFETIME PENSIONS and guess what they do, as of the last decade, become lobbyists for these same drug co and get a big chunk of change to come on board??? Is America sleeping? Conflict of interest you think. A must read that will leave you in horror if your unaware of what’s going on , “This Town, two parties and a funeral plus plenty of valet parking! In Americas gilded capital BY Mark Leibovich. quite a title…. QUITE AN EYE OPENER. We don’t have enough programs, beds, resources etc etc. Ok my “little tangent is done. My sons attitude is caustic, temper is explosive, believes he always right and my poor mild mannered husband is caught In the crossfire. I’ll conk him on the head eventually! He smashes things in the house and I’m always to blame as the reason. 0-60 temper! My husband has made many mistakes taking his side because that’s just the way he was raised. Example- son screaming and yelling about not getting paid for his hours, father says write it down and retreats leaving the ticking time bomb a whirling dervish screaming F this on the front lawn top of lungs F that. My thinking is what’s up w husband letting him carry on. I mind my business after a while I hear a Big Bang. Oh forgot to tell you he’s punching walls etc. I rush out HERE COMES MOMMY!! I will take a stand. He kicked a hole in my huge terra cotta planter! I’m aghast. Holding my head in disbelief. He’s done and just going to pull out. I was somewhere between let’s rumble and OMG look what you did!!! He starts pulling away I make mention how’d he like the planter on his Audi. He slams it into park and is headed right for me like a demented rhino full speed. I’m not stupid I run inside. My husbands take was if only you didn’t go out there?!??! HUH? He’s been breaking things and I’m now involved!!! I said in no way shape or form is he staying here tonight and go hide and cry for a number of reasons, fright, is my husband nuts??? Like the out of control scene problem began when I went out there. SOMEHOW IM TO BLAME. It was august warm out we have a screen house he has a car. What happened next flabbergasted me. I come back upstairs and they are gone to a hotel cause “he had nowhere to go!!!” Great message your sending there. the following evening my son sauntered up to me w a half assed sorry with no sorrowful ness , just a get this out of the way. I’m still reeling over if I didn’t go outside!!! (no I’ll cower inside and let him run rampant) and he took him to a hotel??? Big mistakes being made. Message to the wild one should have been,” that’s not how a good man behaves” let him taste a little consequence but NOOOOOOO I come upstairs to a dark house and they are motel bound!! The following evening he’s going to say sorry, not heart felt either. I said get away from me. Days later my husband said “Well he did try to apologize and you sent him away!” Am I crazy or am I being pinned as the scapegoat. Today I was gone all day as was my daughter home on school break. The phone has 7 missed collect calls from, I don’t even know what to call her. I go into the guest bathroom and there is a poorly cleaned up greasy ring. I’m pretty observant as would most people. WE ALL HAVE BEEN SICK FLUSHED IT AWAY BUT A RING REMAINS!!! I don’t even have the strength for another battle into a lying face. Or is it the friend. I am so sick of the constant state of upheaval I’m in. And why didn’t my husband stick up for or do the right thing. I don’t need protecting but handle it with a firm conviction of a stand. There’s more more more. Thanks for listening! I hope I didn’t crash your site. Read the book. And we need to put an end to Americas priorities abroad. I don’t mean be merciless but there’s woman and children homeless and the mentally ill are being bounced onto the street w no resources. Thnx again XXOO I think I touched on 10 topics. Hope to get feedback. Peace Robyn

  • HOPE

    July 27th, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    Hi Robbin..

    I have jus left a very similiar experience to urs ..u explained it so much better..

    There r no word, not even a hug to comfort us when our children r is so much pain.

    As much help and distance from the situation it still is a big part of my life that I know I am grieving the loss of a child who is living under extreme addiction . Time will never erase the pain.

    Many blessings & healing prayers sent UR way.

  • Robyn Pasqualucci

    January 17th, 2014 at 11:50 PM

    PS I do believe some make it out. The disease is tricky cunning and baffling, waiting in the tall grass for one mistake. Constant vigilance, a higher power , support of others, a group, a sponsor, get active. ETC it’s swallowing these poor kids whole. There not happy! They detest what they have become and the never ending hunt for more. Lowering your personal standard bar a little more each day. Opiates rewire the receptors in the brain and it takes just about a year to form new bonds. The fact is they come out of jail rehab wherever and they are not physically addicted but they are prisoners and the Grace Of God, hitting your bottom hard, and a back pocket to jump into till they can think/see clearly. Poor kids!!! I have met many, listened to many stories and hands down they hate what and who they have become. 4 day detox and if your uber lucky there’s a space at the very few halfway houses or off to a holding to wait to get into a halfway house and learn how to love themselves and basically learn how to live. Addicts stay at the age when addicted and as the body ages, 28 they still think like a 16 yr old. The thing that behooves me the most is you have to go to a halfway house from a detox. Straight there, not from the street, I couldn’t even give my daughter a ride. Must be transported and if sent to an overcrowded holding with day passes that is so dangerous. If they are kicked out of the holding for something like taking someone’s shampoo…… They have to start at step 1 a detox and the only way into a detox is to test positive? How many parents have come to me feeling dirty, guilty and mad as hell at the system because they MUST GET THEIR CHILD HIGH TO START AT SQUARE ONE= detox. Even if they test clean!!! You CANT GO FROM THE STREET TO A HALFWAY HOUSE! C-R-A-Z-Y!! I will be celebrating 8 years sober in March and the stories are mostly very sad but I have been to some YP mtg that rock! Nekipa(sp) they learn to live laugh meet others be an inspiration to others. We must give back what was so freely given to us and that’s the blueprint of suggestions and love. XO Robyn

  • Robyn Pasqualucci

    January 18th, 2014 at 12:44 AM

    Thanks for all you and your team are doing for us w the forum and referrals. Was showing to a co-worker who is in CA! Can’t find my comments? Were they deleted?

  • Diane

    January 20th, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    I have been writing on this forum for years..I can’t believe this is still going on..still our reality. I wanted very much to be the one to say that things can and did get better but reality is a cruel mistress…

    Son not doing well at all. Police put him on another psychiatric hold because he was running in front of cars on a busy street. The Social Worker called me at midnight the other night to get info. When I gave her the background…he won’t work, lies about everything, is a substance abuser the last 8-10 years, he has been hospitalized 25-30 times in the last 4 years.. She said they were going to admit him. I begged for help, said we were afraid of him. The next morning he was out..calling for a ride back to the city where he is homeless..I refused to to husband had a procedure that day related to his stroke. He was furious and demanded I come anyway for him ..when I wouldn’t he called my sister. She did go to hospital & overheard that he signed himself out AMA..He left a place where he could get help to go back on the street.

    I now have no contact with him. I did tell him that he needs to sign himself into a psychiatric facility – I just can’t handle any more. The police were talking about us going to Probate Court, getting guardianship- am I horrible if I just don’t have that fight left in me anymore? The one cop told me that the saddest thing is seeing an 80 year old mom still doing this with a 50-something son. I could see that happening to me if I don’t walk away now. He was supposed to get into sober housing in 6 weeks if he complies with outpatient program but he will have to stay in shelter in the meantime. My son heard they are sick of him in the program..he has interfered with the progress of others. They are testing his sincerity & resolve and he is failing. I feel sick..but I keep your voices in my job is to do nothing..he has to do everything …but apparently he won’t even do one thing..

  • Debi from VA

    August 15th, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    Diane, I have read & reread this forum at least a dozen times. I feel like I could have written every post on here, but I can relate more closely to your story than all of the others. My son is 33 & suffers from alcoholism, OCD, depression, anxiety & bipolar disorder. His dad has totally disowned him, his brother is thoroughly disgusted with him, all of his friends have abandoned him & honestly I’m ALL he has in this world. I’ve offered to get him into a long-term facility, but he has completely given up & says there is “no hope”. He’s been in many 30 day programs, but they were only temporary “vacations” & a way to make new “friends”. I KNOW he could turn his life around & be happy, but without his consent, I KNOW a forceful move will never work!!! I’m 63, still working full-time & never feel happy or safe in my own home. (He lives in a weekly hotel which I pay for, just to keep him out of my house. I hear all of you saying to stop paying for his place, but I’m not quite at that point yet. I have a hole in every wall & door – a daily reminder of his violent outbursts.) Thanks for letting me vent, Diane, & please give us an update on your son.

  • glenda

    January 20th, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    I’ve spent a good part of my day off reading through the comments here. I, too have a child (31) who can’t seem to function without some kind of mind altering drug, be it alcohol, prescription drugs or the illegal drugs off the street. My ex-husband (with whom my son currently lives) and I are getting ready to lay down the law, so to speak. We have been dealing with this for the last 6 years (although he has probably be using for a lot longer). We thought he had turned himself around and now we are back at square one. He went to school, graduated and we thought all this was behind us. But he lost his job (because of past drug conviction and driving record), lost his girlfriend of 6 years(tired of waiting for him to get a job and marry her) and then he got a DWI on NY’s Eve. We had been giving him a little money for gas, etc., but now we strongly believe he is back to buying pills or something on the street to cope with his depression about his situation. He begs, literally begs for money for first one thing and then another. We know something isn’t right. It’s like he has given up and we are ready to give up on him! He does nothing to help out his dad, trashes his room and feels entitled because he is “depressed”.I even wish to go to sleep and never wake up from the emotional roller coaster ride. I cry just about every day and can hardly get through doing my daily tasks. My ex and I hate to kick him to the curb but we can’t take much more. Reading these comments has been of some comfort. Diane, I feel your pain because I know this life we are living is not only draining us emotionally, but can effect our health if we are not careful. I am 62 years old and was hoping to have peace in my last years of life and it doesn’t look as if I can ever have it. When I share these thoughts with him, he doesn’t seem to care. I guess with someone who has made the choices he has made, it is always and will always be about HIM and no one else.

  • Susan Duncan

    January 23rd, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    I am so desperate for my sons safety. I don’t know what else to do. He is 30yrs old and I can’t do this anymore. If I don’t abandon him by tough love I feel I’ll still be doing this heartbreak road when he’s 50. I am 63 and this is not what I want for the rest of my life. I am totally drained of emotion, financially helping him is killing me. I’ve tried to email a desperate plea for help this day and my heartfelt letter bounced back. l just want some support here on port macqaurie. Can you suggest someone who can help. Just talking to another sufferer will help

  • admin2

    January 23rd, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you for your comment. We regret to say that it doesn’t look like we currently list therapists in Australia, but this site may provide helpful information if you are experiencing a crisis situation, or you feel your son is suicidal or in crisis:—Information/Facts-and-Information

    We wish you and your son all the best,
    The Team

  • Mom

    January 24th, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    Susan, you deserve happiness in your life. It sounds as if you have done everything you can. I am in a similar situation, and I now understand that severing ties is the best thing for our son, not to mention my husband and myself.

  • Jill Petronio

    January 25th, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    I am seeking information that will:
    1) Help me help my 36 yr old, married (separated from spouse & 3 kids) who all live in Metairie, LA.
    2) HELP my daughter to ‘possibly’ recognize the CRISIS she is in AND accept or seek help
    3) direct me and others in her life toward resources in Metairie, La and/ or Houston, Texas.

    She has said that she is coming to my home, Houston, TX, tomorrow, Sun., 1/26/2014. She ‘plans’ to stay “a day or so” & then go to her dad’s for “a day or so”. He lives in a very small (no resources) west texas town. I would hope to offer her an option (or more) upon her arriving at my home tomorrow.

    She has abused street rx’s, illegal drugs & alcohol in her past. I cannot confirm any current substance abuse(s), but history says it’s most likely. She denies, of course. We DO NOT give her money or any other assistance.

  • Louise Rogers

    February 2nd, 2014 at 11:08 PM

    I am the mother of one son aged 41. He has been in and out of treatment centers too many times to count. This began at age 14 and has progressed since then. He was sent 3 years in prison for his part in a car theft ring. He has stolen from everyone, including myself and no one dares let him in. Money, jewelry,alcohol… anything he can get his hands on

    He was in yet another treatment center just two weeks ago but within days was kicked out and now he is in yet another willing facility. I talked to him today and asked how he is doing and his response was, “I haven’t had any heroin for awhile so that’s good!

    I have told him that this yo yo lifestyle for me is tearing me apart and that he won’t get better until hr really commits to recovery and he is running out of options. I said for him to forget calling me until he is clean….am I wrong.

  • Alcohol & Drug Treatment

    February 3rd, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    It is always not too late for parents to help their son/daughter who has problems in substance abuse. there’s a lot of option to be consider. One of this is a rehab treatment.

  • Jennie

    February 21st, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    I can’t let go. I pray morning and night.
    I’m scared
    I find little SINCERE help available – in Plano (and surrounding) it ‘s all about the $$
    I need to go somewhere and cry for hours
    Seizure after seizure
    Will it ever stop?

  • Tandi Nel

    February 4th, 2014 at 5:49 AM

    To Louise, NO, DEFINATELY NO.
    I wish I can get my poor mother of 61 to see that she has to cut the strings supporting my 40 year old addicted brother. He stays in their home and is wrecking their life. Destroying my once wonderful relationship with my mother because she rather avoids everybody than to hear the truth.
    I have printed this whole site, comments and all, and gave it to her to read.
    What else can I do to make her see that he is NEVER going to change?

  • Lisa

    February 6th, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    Hi Tandi,

    I feel your pain and frustration. I am in the same boat. My brother is 45 years old and has ruined all our lives, along with his own. I pray and struggle with the emotions this disease brings everyday, even though I am (geographically) far from the situation. The stress of the situation killed my father and my mother is alone dealing with this adult addict, and she is in her mid70s. I wish there was a solution. My brother is not a bad person, but he is lost in this disease and cannot break free. My parents spent all of their savings (and more) trying to help him, but to no avail. It is just heartbreaking. I have read all of the comments on this site and I can relate to each and every one of them. Thank you all for sharing.

  • Kenny B.

    February 5th, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    To Tandi Nel.

    Sorry about your situation, just always be strong and hope the best to your family. Yes maybe if you brother read this conversation there is a chance that he makes realize to change and think that he has to go to a drug treatment center. Not really sure about it, buy it may give the idea.

  • Mary Lane

    February 8th, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Our son has stolen….lied….cheated…and broken our hearts. He successfully completed rehab, spent successful time in a halfway house, eventually moved into his own little apartment and is employed. He attends meetings…..and keeps in touch…from afar. Rehab was his idea. ….he even made all the phone calls. No think that is why it worked. Of course….time will tell. One never forgets the distrust issues…we forgive…but willed ably always have our guard up. We insisted he move far away…out of state…and never come back ” home.” He has agreed.

    His drug of choice? Heroine. Lots of it. I share…to give hope. My husband and I completely detached from him THE MINUTE we knew he was doing drugs. Period. We did not do the roller coaster….because our son is over 21….. And an adult.

    We decided very early not to let his addiction…become our habit.

    We are hopeful…but forever cautious.

  • A

    February 11th, 2014 at 1:03 AM

    What happens when the addict continuously tells the parent to “stop paying for stuff” or “you’re enabling me” or “giving me money is not helping anything”. Or the parent doles out money without you even asking for it, quite the contrary, when you have specifically told them not to do it?

    And then, years later, you try to get yourself help after years and years of trying to figure out how to get yourself off stuff. You try to get yourself off prescription pills that initially helped you turn your life around. You go to rehab. And that is sabotaged and not supported by your parents. Because they want to see you as perfect. The problem is, years of trying to appear perfect and please your parents, be the parent to them, has taken its toll. And now you need help again, you are choosing sobriety. But nobody is being or knows how to be supportive, so you feel stuck trying to figure it all out on yet again on your own.

    Because you don’t want to burden them financially. Because you can see that it’s taken a toll on their health. You just want to get help discreetly, pay for it yourself, move on with life in a more healthy manner. But your drug use is interfering with so many different aspects.

    How do you dig yourself out of that