Ack - Enabling??

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by toughlovin, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Ugh it is so hard not to enable our kids in little ways. I think most of you know my son has recently finished an inpatient substance abuse program and is now doing their outpatient program and living in a sober house. This is all happening out of state. He is flying up here on Monday for a court date on Tuesday and then flying back. His plan is to stay down there which is a good thing. He is staying with a friend Monday night and getting together with a bunch of people. I just talked to him and I told him I am done trying to direct his life and so I hope he can just tell me what he is doing. I also did ask him if he has talked to people down there about how to handle the situation of seeing his friends. So ok that is fine... I know very well that I need to let him direct his own life.

    He hasn't found a job yet but is looking. We refused to get him a scooter (did that last year and we are not doing it again). He did get himself a bus pass. We are paying the rent for the sober house and giving him $75 a week for food. So last week he asked if we could start the week a day early because he is short. Then yesterday he asked for some money for toiletries, like toothpaste and shaving cream. We gave that to him ... and hey I am glad he is concerned about hsi appearance because that is a good sign if you know what I mean. If he is shaving that is a good!!! So now he called me... and very nicely, very politely, saying he felt stupid but he lost his bus pass. Now the kid is ADHD and this is totally his MO and totally believable. So we will give him money for the bus pass. I don't think he is playing us for drug money at this point.... the sober house is pretty on top of things. He was there a year ago and I get a call every week from the director who is herself a mama bear and a recovering addict.

    A part of me knows that at some point soon we are going to have to be a bit more hard nosed about giving him money but I know this whole court date is looming for all of us and I just don't want to do that right now. A part of me also does not want to do what we did last time and give him more money for him to manage, but would rather he have to ask us for the things he needs that are not food, until he gets a job.

    Anyway I feel a bit like I am enabling him but at the same time I do want to help him continue on the path he is on and man oh man I just want to get through next week until he is back on the plane going south.

  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi tl, Of course I have no clue about this kind of thing, just really feel for you and the tough situation. i get it that there are pat answers for these things in the books and in organizations, but when listening to all of you going through this, I can see there is no easy answer at all. Just want you to know that I am thinking of you....Buddy
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Stop. Giving. Him. Money.


    He's short? His problem, should've managed his funds better. He's out of toiletries (while I do understand about the yay for hygiene) well, he can borrow or do without. He lost his bus pass? Walking will make sure he keeps track of it.

    husband made a million of such excuses to his mom over the years. She never stopped giving, until I put my foot down. As long as she was giving, the excuses kept right on coming.

    So stop. None of that is life threatening or even welfare threatening. He's fine. He can tough it out.

  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Mom used to purchase emergency toiletries... just for things like court. No money... just handed over the toiletries. She figured he'd get rougher treatment if he couldn't show up clean and shaved...

    Otherwise... manage your money better, keep track of your pass...
  5. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    I don't give Kat money for anything, unless I have chosen to as some gift. If she calls with an emergency and I want to help I purchase the item, never cash. It's so hard. Sometimes I help if I am able and sometimes I don't. But I never give her the money. I have no idea what she would actually spend it on.
  6. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    For the hygiene items, you could get the items at a Dollar store and send a care package. That way you are not giving him money...
  7. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Good idea about the care package. I think that what I am feeling is my son is still pretty young (just turned 20), he was inpatient tx and was discharged about 2 weeks ago. All he had when he went down there was clothes. So he does not have a lot with him and so it makes sense that he needs stuff. It is not a situation where he has been down there loafing around for 3 months.... the bus pass I probably theoretically should have made him deal with it, but gosh I want to support him to get to meetings and do what he needs to do.

    It is hard because I don't see him so it is hard to know really how well he is doing overall....I do believe he is sober. If I thought he was using then there is no way i would give him any money. I will feel a lot clearer I think once he has had his court date and is back down there.

  8. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Since about the time our kids turned age 9 or so (4th grade), our house mantra has been "your privileges (as a member of this family) are in direct correlation to how you are handling your responsibilities (as a member of this family)"

    Now this was long before ds#1 turned into a difficult child. We tried to teach our boys that advanced privileges require advanced maturity and decision making skills - if they couldn't handle their current responsibilities - there was no way they were ready to take on additional privileges.

    Now of course, responsibilities was equal to mostly school work - I was a stickler about turning in homework and assignments on time. I can understand the occasional bad test - but blowing off homework? No Way! Chores were also a consideration. If their grades were good, chores were done without reminders - if they were succeeding as good boys and good students -- I was very open to an extra hour of video games, or later curfews, more car time, etc, etc

    Right now, it seems like your difficult child is doing a pretty good job with staying sober - and that's his primary responsibility TODAY. And he is staying in touch and being pleasant to his mama. I'd say you are OK to cut him a bit of slack with the bus pass. He came to you first. Didn't give you a song and a dance with how or why he lost it. That would be a big step for my kid. That's when I know he's in a good place - when he owns his mistakes and can be a little self deprecating. Another good sign - wanting to shave. When my boy is clean and groomed and dressing well - life is good. So, I'd say you are ok to cut him a bit of slack with needing more personal care items.

    So follow your instincts - help him out for now but be ready to be more hard nosed in the future.

  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I didn't mean to come off sounding cold and unfeeling. I was just trying to give you the bottom line.

    I understand you want to support him, but there is a very fine line we walk where supporting can turn into enabling without us realizing it. That's what I hoped you'd see.

    If he needs some hygiene stuff, go to dollar tree or dollar store and make him up a care package and send it. Try not to ever give him cash. It avoids temptation on his part, avoids you accidentally enabling because he's far enough away you can't be sure what is actually going on.

  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    May I suggest a teen visa card for foreseeable future? I think you are going to be paying some of his essentials until he gets on his feet so I think this might be best. You can see online what he is buying online with some of them so I would make sure you get one that you can. Do not link it to your bank account but do get one that you can put money in online. I would also pay his rent yourself not out of this visa card because that would put too much money on this card at once. I would put very little money on this at a time. The bus pass cant be much. Put that much on and maybe enough for about 3 days of food. Check the account in 2 days and see what he spent it on. I would threaten him within an inch of his life about losing this card. I would also give him a wallet that has a chain to attach to his belt loops so he cant lose his wallet. That has happened to mine too many He doesnt need more than 50 a week to eat if that. That is generous. That would get him food and toiletries. Do remember we all started out poor and eating ramen, mac and cheese, hot dogs, taters with cheese on top with bacon bit if we could afford them. We lived. Eggs. Pbj. Cereal. It builds character.

    My son was in the Marines at lived off ramen noodles, baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese, 3 for a dollar burritos, hot dogs on white bread with catsup, and on payday he splurged and got a 5 dollar sub at subway. This was when he was actually working 144 hours every 2 weeks.
  11. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Hi TL...

    Am thinking that since you have a good repore with sober house "mom"...Sending money directly to her and letting difficult child go to her when he needs more money for food or toiletries might be a good idea.

    Am wondering if difficult child can get ahold of a hole puncher for his future bus pass and get a cord so that he can wear the bus pass...just a thought.

    Holding on to positive energy for your son TL. I know you will be relieved after court is over and difficult child is safely back at sober house.

  12. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I didn't read the other replies so forgive me if this is a repeat ( am dealing with two dogs who have fleas and two residences that need to be cleaned form top to bottom).

    I would de everything I could not to give him money. We sent difficult child toiletries in the mail if she needed them. I paid for necessities through my credit card if possible. When she needed her car fixed I had the repair shop call husband and he verified the repairs and paid over the phone. I would not even give her money for her rent, I got a money order and made it out to the sober house. Money is too much of a temptation for difficult child. I was willing to pay her necessities while she was in the sober house but not with cash. I know being out of state presents more of a problem but she whatever you can do to pay for things without cash. Can you buy a bus pass on-line? You can here.

  13. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Thanks Everyone, you are all right and have given me some ideas. Ggf called again today because he is out of money and wants cigarettes!!!! Dhs first reaction was no we are not giving you anymore money... we were in the car so I heard his side of the convo and I was sort of in on it. I basically said that is why you keep running out of money, because of the cost of they talked about that. We did say we would help pay for help in stopping smoking (ie a patch). My son was asking for enough for 2 packs, my husband finally compromised and transferred enough for 1 pack.

    I sanctioned this which I no is absolutely not tough love. I am not living up to my name am I? It was a compromise... and I know for me it is about getting him up here on Monday for court and back down there on Tuesday. I had a nightmare about him being in prison somewhere in the south last night. I am nervous about it all. So in essense it was a peace keeping move on our part. That said my son was very polite during the whole conversation and appreciative for the one pack. I know that is pure manipulation but really in the past he hasn't been able to even do that... when he is using he is rude and demanding and when the conversation gets tough he gets nasty.... so he didn't do that at least.

    We are going to talk to him when he is here about needing to keep to a budget. I am sure he is also nervous about coming back here.... so that is what we did today.

    You all will have to think of us Monday and Tuesday!!!

  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member your son on insurance of any kind? If he is and he wants to quit smoking ( or you want him to quit smoking) , there is a product called Nicotrol that is a nicotine inhaler that sort of looks like a cigarette but it has these cartridges that you insert inside this little white holder. The holder almost looks like one of those old cigarette holders women used to use in the 40' Or what is on the end of those cigarellos. You put a cartridge in the holder and you "smoke" the thing when you feel you need a cigarette. It sort of gives you the feeling of having something in your hand to smoke.

    Most insurances will cover them.
  15. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Thanks Janet. He had the patch when he was in the hospital and was surprised how well it worked. He asked about the patch today and my husband told him we would pay for something to medically help him stop smoking.... so he may consider that. When he was in the hospital he talked about wanting to quit... the he is no longer a young teen thinking it is cool to smoke which is progress. I just think today is not the day for him to quit given he is coming up here on Monday for a court date on Tuesday... I think we are all nervous about that. I know I am.

  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well just letting you know about that product. Also, most insurance companies and many health depts now cover most smoking cessation aids.
  17. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    When we went to visit difficult child in the treatment center we always brought a carton with us. We don't smoke, we wish she didn't, but husband always said it was the least of our problems. I knew she couldn't stop smoking while in treatment and everyone there smoked so we didn't fight it. When she went to the sober house we told her we couldn't keep that up, it was $70 a week. She cut way back and started smoking the cheap ones and so it wasn't as bad.

    When he comes home Monday stock him on on a carton and tell him to make it last two weeks.

  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well, to be perfectly honest? It's gonna be total heck for him to quit everything at once. There is a reason addicts/alcoholic turn to cigarettes and coffee during recovery.

    If Travis is broke I'll help him with cigs. Then again, he does a LOT for me around here. AND he buys the cheapest he can find, they're like 2 bucks. (used to be just over a buck but they just jumped in price) They're actually cigars that look like cigarettes. The up side is they're so strong he doesn't smoke them very fast either. I'm about to start using them again. Cigarettes are expensive. omg Even my cheap ones.........which I've found a way to get cpns for. lol
  19. AHF

    AHF Member

    Nicotine is THE most addictive substance around, bar none. I'm all for helping with toiletries & bus passes, but how to get around funding ANY drugs, and that includes nicotine? I've always resorted to gift cards to drugstores and grocery stores to be sure the $$ is being spent on reasonable purchases, but of course those places sell cigs as well, not to mention liquor in some states. The sober house where my difficult child is holds residents' accounts, and residents have to produce receipts to get reimbursed; since I am funding the account, I can specify that receipts for cigs not be reimbursed. Any chance that your difficult child's place can do likewise?
  20. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I don't think the sober house keeps accounts for residents. I can ask but I don't think they do that. To be honest I am not all that concerned on him buying cigs. I am done trying to direct or control his life and that includes smoking cigarettes. I agree they are addictive and a drug, but in the short term they do not have the same potential to cause harm and so they are less of a worry than other drug use. However I do think he needs to learn to live on the amount we give him and to budget, and if he needs more money he has to find a way to earn it. I think he may want to quit smoking but I am not even sure now is the time to do that... it is something we can talk about when he is here. I think it may be that I will just send him a carton once in a while as a gift..... I don't know, I have to think more about it.

    It really is one step at a time.