Adult son in crisis


New Member
Hello-I am new here.
My 28 year old is in crisis due to a combination of bad decisions, alcohol/weed abuse and in all fairness some circumstances beyond his control.
He has been fighting in court to get long distance visitation with his children, but failed to finish an inpatient addiction program 9 months ago. The program was 6 months in duration and he left after 10 weeks. He left at the encouragement of a girlfriend and married her 2 weeks out of Rehab.
The new wife has a personality disorder and has harassed the mother of my son’s children for 2 years by text and voice mail.
When court was in process, my son felt confident of his chances to win visitation because he states he has conquered his addictions, works hard at his job, has no legal problems, etc., all of it positive. The ruling came back 2 weeks later that the children cannot travel long distance to visit due to no evidence that an addiction program was completed, but the judge said that more concerning to him than the lack of completion is the evidence presented by the children’s mother proving the harassment endured from his wife. The order states that my son has to finish an addiction program and have a certificate of completion and that his wife is to have no contact with his children. The judge stated that my son must travel to the children’s state to see them unless he finishes an addiction program. I agree with all this.
My son is sad and states that he had no idea that his wife’s harassment was so regular and intense. He has left his wife and planning to do an IOP addiction program so he can still work and pay child support.
He called me to tell me what was going on and asked if he can crash at mine and my husbands home until the dust settles from leaving his wife. All we have to offer him is a recliner in a spare bedroom, so I called his stepfather, my husband, to tell him what is going on. Husband wasn’t thrilled, (nor me) but we said OK. My son arrived from work reeking of machine oil from his job and the smell of the cigarettes he smokes. He had 3 bags of dirty clothes. He put them all in the bedroom with the recliner and showered. He is always cordial, has never stolen from us and on the limited occasions that he’s asked to borrow small sums between paydays, has promptly repaid us. He is independent, good personality, well liked, and has a good work ethic. He loves his kids. From all indications, he drinks sporadically still but has a handle on it. No episodes of drinking more than a beer with supper these days I wish I could say he has a sobriety date so that none of this is an issue but I can’t say that.
I view his situation as a crisis situation and I consider his crashing in our home to be completely temporary as in staying here less than a month. I am encouraged that he has signed up for IOP. For 3 days he came here from work, showered, watched a little tv in the recliner, shut the door and slept until time to get up for work. He was neat in the bathroom, quiet in the mornings, didn’t flop on the couch in the living room or make himself a nuisance in any way. After 1 day, my husband began giving me the cold shoulder and stopped speaking to my son. After the third day, his disgust at the machine oil smell in the spare bedroom led him to stomping around and refusing to speak to me.i discovered at that point that all the clothes my son had brought were from the piles of laundry that he and his wife had at home when he left.
I try not to enable, but I confess that I washed the clothes to help freshen up the room with success. My husband refused to get over his “mad” and continued to refuse to speak, going so far as to tell me that he didn’t want my son here and when I was aghast and assured him the situation was temporary and I needed his support during this unusual circumstance, he said, “leave if you have to but I don’t want him here. It’s a disruption .”
Our marriage is not strong anyway and this has been the straw that broke the camels back for me. I told my son of my husband’s feelings because I was afraid of what my husband might say that might be rude. My son is staying with a friend now. I needed this nudge to finally leave and have rented an apartment.
Am I wrong to feel that to temporarily help an adult son in crisis is different from enabling?


Well-Known Member
in my opinion your husband had valid complaints. Your son is in a crisis HE created. No matter why your son left rehab (a horrible decision) or if his wife bothered his kids mother, it is his fault he chose this woman over his kids and married her rather than do what he was told to do by the court.. Also he could have gone to a laundromat to clean foul smelling clothes before he brought them over. That would have been considerate of him. Why did he have to stay with you? He is 28 and hardly a boy. He obviously could have gone to stay with his friend right away rather than to your place. Why were you so shocked your husband didn't want your adult addict son there? It IS a disruption. I love my four grown kids to the moon but I never want to have them live with me would be very stressful and we tend to pick up the parent/kid vibe again no matter how old they are. I don't foresee this happening to me, but it would be a joint decision between my husband and myself and by no means a done deal. We are nearing retirement and deserve peace. You deserve peace too.

I personally see your husband's point of view. Is husband being nice? Not really, but I'm guessing he is fed up. I don't know why. Perhaps son has a habit of making poor decisions and running to you. I would not leave a life partner over a 28 year old adult child who is an addict making bad choices.
This is not his new wife's fault or the courts fault. He was told what to do for visitation and he didn't do it. This is on him.
On the other hand, you said your marriage was not good. I hope it is not because of your son. These addicts are good at dividing us from our spouses. If you want to leave your spouse for other readons, you certainly should. Nobody should stay with somebody unloving. But in my opinion not because of your son.
I don't know if you are enabling son or not, but I think maybe you are trying to place his poor choices on other people's shoulders, like this new wife he married and left rehab for. He was the one who married her withhoutvreally knowing her and his visitation at stake. Also as another mom who has a daughter who once abused drugs, I think it is a bad sign that your son is still drinking at all. That can't end well if he is an addict.
All of us either were or are in bad situations and we are all different. We can give our two cents but you have to do what you have to do.
The best advice I know of is to urge you to value your kindhearted good self enough to get into therapy. All of us need or needed real time help to cope with a loved ones addiction. You do not have to ruin your life to try to save your son. You can't save him. You can only save you. Your son has to save himself by getting clean and making better life choices.
I suspect your husband is afraid that your son was going to get comfy at home and stay there whether you planned it or not. And that scared him. But I don't know ow your husband. He may truly be impossible on many levels. You sound very sweet.
Take care of YOU first. You deserve it. Love and light :)
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New Member
I appreciate your thoughts and you make many good points. He does work and you are quite right that a stop by the laundromat would have been good.
I am struggling with anger that I feel that my husband perhaps was premature with his rage. The smell from the clothes was machine oil, not body odor and my son works In a machine shop where that smell permeates everything. I suspected that as he smells that smell all day that my son did not realize how noticeable it was. Thank you so much for your comments. This seems to be a very nice forum!


Well-Known Member
I would also be upset, not that your husband had concerns, but the way he handled it. Maybe that is something you have dealt with in the past? Is that how he handles most conflicts?

If you guys could have discussed this, maybe your son could have a clothes hamper in the garage, and change clothes when he came home. To try to work out a compromise instead of ultimatums.

I am sorry you are dealing with all of this. Ksm


New Member
Changing in the garage would have been a perfect solution after that initial dirty laundry was washed.
I don’t think my husband was open to compromises, unfortunately. He was unable to view the arrangement as temporary.
We married only 4 yrs ago and I moved into his home. He has never gotten used to sharing his space with me, much less welcoming a temporary guest, even if it’s my son. My husband falls somewhere on the autism spectrum and is a hoarder. He has manic spells that last hours and because he is still not speaking and adamant about his feelings, I believe that he is “stuck” on the feeling he has right now and can’t shake it. That has to be the answer because, at 62, he is an early retiree who works carpentry at his leisure while I work full time and carry our health, vision and dental insurance. If he had any sense, he’d have been in that spare bedroom tucking my son in with a warmer blanket instead of making him feel unwelcome. We already had issues In the marriage. This situation has not helped things.
I am grateful for your comments. Thank you.


Active Member
It seems that really the bigger issue is the marriage and not your son.

Even though I can see both sides, I would have felt the same way you did. Your son was not using drugs in your home or being rude. I am in the camp that if my children need me I’m there for them within reason. The addiction and dangerous lifestyle part I totally understand distancing from, but in your case I think your son was in a situation that you could justify helping. Once we can’t help our families in times of real need is when I feel we lose part of our humanity. I would do the same for anyone I loved. And I would hope others would do so for me.

It sounds like you have two issues. How to best support your son, and how to decide if this marriage is salvageable. Tough spot for you.

I hope you find some answers and some peace.


Roll With It
I agree that the problem is more with the marriage. In my family a bit of short term help is not something that cannot be asked for or accepted. You ASKED your husband if it was okay for your son to stay with you for a period of time. Your son was a considerate guest. Your husband immediately became upset because your son was there even though he said it was okay to have your son there.

It seems that there are serious communication issues in your marriage. If your husband tells you something is okay, how are you to know he will be so angry if you do it? If he isn't okay with it, he needs to tell you this. Sadly, people with autism have an extremely hard time communicating appropriately in many situations. You have to teach them the social rules. Sometimes they just refuse to follow them. Then you have to decide what you will tolerate. You must decide if this is a big enough issue to be the end of things, or the last thing you can tolerate, or not.

It can be very hard to live with someone with autism, especially if they have hoarder tendencies. Often they don't do well with someone in their space. Even if they marry, it can be hard for them to have their spouse in their space. It can take a great deal of hard work to negotiate everything.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Or could the whole situation with your husband be jealousy? He's had you to himself and then your son shows up and I'm sure you were mothering him (like we all would) even if barely at all, but that could have made your husband jealous. He probably felt your son was also invading his space even though he initially agreed to it.

I agree with Colleen, I probably would have been okay doing that for my son temporarily to. Your son has made a lot of mistakes/bad decisions, that is true. But if you see him trying to right a wrong, then that to me is a good thing and movement in the right direction.

Agree that separately you have to decide if you truly love your husband and enjoy being with him and want to stay in the marriage.

You can help your son in other ways. I'm sure he knows that you love him.