Almost There

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Carolita2, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    First post...Son is older, 39. Long history of drug abuse..Have been in the trenches too long. Rehabs, few good years in recovery, drug charges 6 mos. priso, years of other people enabling, amazing he has survived it all. Was living in mid west with long term girlfriend..She quit her job, he relapsed. We began to help and helped them relocate to west coast where they wanted to be and were motivated to work, they said. One year later and huge amounts of financial support later, we are resentful and.have been trying to cut it off with them for over five months. Ended up with heart problem md says is due to high stress and to cut off the relationship. Fear rules us but we had made some progress, no cash only pay for stuff that can be verified. Didn't pay rent last month til found out we were still on lease and would have to pay 2 months,rent and legal fees..told them if they can come up with rent they can stay month to month otherwise we give 30 day notice and can be released from lease but have to get them out of apartment ourselves...The date we gave them until is the 15th, 5 days away...doesn't look good for them...I know this probably seems like a no brainer, and wonder ehy this seems harder than ever before? .They are completely inept, live in squalor and panhandle daily...we have been in denial and have just kept paying rather than do what seems like the hardest thing in the world. He is a master at instilling fear, and threatening suicide, etc...we believed he was not using and on opiate replacement...I struggle daily wuth denial but things are getting crystal clear harder to deny . Do this hard thing... We have worked all our lives and have 2 other family members with legit severe disabilities that we advocate for and we are retirement age and want to have a life. We live 3000 miles from this son and girlfriend. We want to put the 30 day notice in and block our phones, texts and emails...please tell me how to deal with the grief...and ideas on how to survive this break. Md says talk to him once a month after break.. How does one live the estrangement even though the relationship has been nothing but codependency and loss for many years he is still my child..but that kind of thinking always leads to more enabling. Open to hear your experience strength and hope.
  2. mnmcollins

    mnmcollins New Member

    We did "tough love" with our 20 year old son after Memorial Day weekend. He is 20 and just had been released from a 10 day involuntary commitment to a mental health facility because he had threatened suicide with a shotgun. Before you judge, please let me explain. Before being released from the facility, he was required to have a judicial hearing. Before the hearing and at the hearing, we told the psychiatrist, our son, and the judge that we knew our son and what was best for him better than anyone else because we had known him for over 20 years instead of 10 days or 10 minutes! Therefore, we proposed and were offering to pay for full-time mental health and substance abuse treatment for our son. The judge ruled that he was no longer a threat to himself or others and could return to civilization assuming he make weekly counseling sessions, (although he was suspended from the university because he had pointed the shotgun at his ex girlfriend a week before he was involuntarily committed) Our son said he would go to the dual diagnosis center but then he asked his ex what she knew about those centers (it looks like a palace in Palm Beach!) and because she didn't know enough about it she couldn't recommend it and so he wouldn't go even though I had the plane ticket on hold. So he chose the girl over treatment. We used our power of attorney (which we were smart enough to obtain when he turned 18 because we told him that if you want us to pay for school, you sign!) to cancel his lease while he was in the hospital since it was clearly a bad situation and we were paying for a giant party. We threw out all the alcohol, knives, shotgun shells, ropes, lighters, hookah and drug paraphernalia. We took away the laptop, cellphone, furniture, etc. that we had purchased or was ours. We cancelled his credit card, debit card, and bank account. Everything was restitution for the damages he caused to our truck in an accident he had caused a month prior to the breakdown. We very clearly gave him a choice: treatment or find his own way without a car, money, furniture, apartment, or a job. (We had been asking him to look for a summer job since February.) His girlfriend's family thought we were the devil and sent him a prepaid phone and a gift card. Frankly, he lives in a city and can walk to find jobs and follow up in-person with companies. He could also use the gift card to buy more alcohol and tobacco. Our plan to try and make it unpalatable to be out on his own backfired because her parents meddled and enabled him but he eventually found a job after his girlfriend left the city and returned to her parents house in another state. He adopted a cat. He only calls or texts when he needs something, which is money or a loan. He never calls to ask us how we are doing. But we always say "no" when it comes to money requests because we want him to get professional mental and substance abuse help, not throw money at him and hope that the problem will go away. It was very tough at first not talking to your son and worrying about them but eventually we will have to get to that same point with all of our children anyway. We have to hope that they will fly with what skills they have because we have tried really hard at teaching them our beliefs and given them everything we can. If we didn't, there would't be a need for a site like this in the first place! Each day gets easier and we have to take it day by day. We have gone to the Al-Anon meetings because we find a lot of help and support there We've also been going to NAMI meetings and there is also a subset of those meetings called Wellness Warriors that is facilitated by PEER counselor in our town. If you live near a outpatient or inpatient substance abuse center, maybe they have classes or "group" therapy classes that you can join. The point is that there are a lot of resources available to give you the support to affirm that tough love is a the right answer for you, your other children, and your son. He is old enough to stand on his own two feet. If we can do it for our 20 year old who was just released from a mental institution (we did offer to pay for him to go to longer-term rehab), then you can do it for your son who is twice my sons age.
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  3. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Thanks for your reply..I really appreciate hearing your story and your strength which is what I hope to gain. I would never judge anything anyone does in dealing with this overwhelming family disease.I do attend Alanon and Naranon...I can relate so much to your experiences with your fact the relocation to the West was recommended by a 3rd party my husband and I went to see..It was supposed to be a sober living community but they decided that they didn't want it and we didn't hold our ground ..We have made lots of bad choices this year and yes we actually threw money at the problem for 6 months before we woke up and realized how sick and codependent we had become again...I did not think we would be in this mess again. I am very afraid this time, maybe PTSD from all the harrowing experiences in the past and the fact that he has does have a dual diagnosis brought on by substance abuse..Some addicts do die rather than make a different choice and we just never know, my best friend lost her son 3 years ago..nevertheless we are powerless over the addict..the turning point and whst brought me to this site was researching the area where he is living and finding out that there are alot of services available to them offering employment sevices, food cupboards, utility assistance and more..with that knowledge we feel we have to let go and put the 30 day notice in....and take care of ourselves and the other people in our lives..
  4. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hello and welcome. As you already know, there is no reason that you should be supporting two adults. My husband and I were doing the same thing as you were supporting our now 30-year-old adult daughter and it took two years of therapy before we were finally able to cut the financial cord and stop all financial support.

    It was scary but she survived and is currently sober and working. We were prepared to cut off all contact if necessary but my husband now talks to her once a week (he calls her because he changed his number and she doesn't have it). I have chosen to take a break from her since our last visit where she was very ugly to me. I told my husband that I need to see action and not words and then I will be ready to reinstate contact.

    I won't say it was easy but if you don't do it now you will end up supporting them until you are in your grave. What kind of quality of life is that for you?

    You know that the suicide threats are emotional blackmail, right? That is why you might want to cut off contact for a period of time until they know that you mean business this time. It does get better with time.
  5. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Hi Kathy, Thanks for the welcome and the share. It is so helpful to hear from someone who has been here...It is giving me strength..Heard from son and girlfriend..."slept in the car, the phone is broken, then we got cut off.. Thinking like why are you calling us? Well because we have been fielding these types of calls for a year....but honestly even when we gave them a viable solution, money etc they don't follow through...I was glad we got disconnected and thinking if the phone is broken this could be a good thing..Would not have thought this way a couple of months ago... Thursday we put the 30 day notice in and they will have 30 days to make arrangements to find a place that will be in their name...I know this will never happen and we are quite sure it will be homelessness. Hubs and I hope to end this amicably without blaming them or criticizing..but as you say we have to then cut communication for a period of time of run the risk of getting sucked back in. We are in matter what, it feels unnatural but it also feels like it's us or them at this point..
    So glad you had a good outcome...I hope we will one day be able to say the same...
  6. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, Carolita,

    Yes, you are right to get off this roller coaster.

    I see that tomorrow is the 15th, the deadline for your son. I know this will be a hard time for you, but stay strong. It's the right thing to do.

    Let us know how it goes.

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  7. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Thank you Apple..It means alot to me today..People who are not in this situation don't get this and you can feel so isolated and alone...even in my 12 step, no one is currently dealing with a child with active using.. Yes we are prepared to put in 30 day tomorrow...Have will still give them 30 days to plan...but as we know they seem to think tomorrow,will never calamity after phone is broken, liscense expired last week, toilet is clogged, car blew up...this was yesterday..luckily borrowed phone was disconnected...I. the past would have been frantic over the think was,a gift from higher power..we did say we would help wit car 2 weeks ago..but if it's not brought to mechanic, it can't be done...will keep you posted. Thanks again for reaching out... (*!*)
  8. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi Carolita,

    Today is the day.

    Be strong.

    Is it up to you to physically make them leave, if they refuse to go? Or is that the landlord's problem?

    We are here. Let us know how it goes today.

  9. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Hi Apple, Kathy, mnmcollins, and all friends in cyberspace..
    The 30 day notice to terminate the lease was put in this afternoon..Not sure if they know or not...their phone is no broken...lives in tatters..
    They will have 30 days to vacate..They are on the lease too and may refuse..That could get difficult..We are on opposite coats. girlfriend's father is sending them another phone..for his peace of mind..Spoke to him for the first time since our kids met and got together 7 or so years was a hard but good conversation..Think we are on the same page more or less. But once they activate the phone, things could get difficult...maybe will have to block the phone calls, texts and emails..That is hard but it is harder to hear the crying, threats and endless problems...I need to sleep otherwise my health issue kicks up and that is frightening too. I want let my son know we love him and will cheer him on if he makes better choices...but if not I'm not very good at listening to their plight, plus I'm afraid I will weaken..not even talking to your child or seems unnatural but we are defineately not ruling it out...trying to chill and enjoy the no phone thing for today..If you have feedback, I am open..
    Thanks for caring...
  10. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi Carolita,

    I'm glad you got the apartment notice filed.

    Had a discussion not too long ago with some friends. The topic was 'What would you do if you found yourself jobless, homeless and without any money'. There were lots of creative solutions, lots of planning and thinking, lots of ideas back and forth.

    But not once did anyone suggest crying to or threatening their parents as a solution.

    I know it was all theoretical, but there are lots of ways that these middle-aged adults can solve their own problems, that don't include you doing it for them.

    And if you do it for them, they will only learn that you will do it for them. There will always be a next time.

    You already know this.

    Have you seen the article on Detachment at the top of the Parent Emeritus forum? You need to read it. It is very helpful.

    You need to brace yourself for the coming storm. They will soon have a phone. They will contact you and up the ante on their desperation, all designed to break you, to make you give them what they want. They will hound you unmercifully.

    You need to have a plan. Anticipate what they might say, and have some answers ready. Short and sweet. No is a complete sentence. You don't have to explain yourself.

    Hang up, block their phone if needed.

    Stay with us. It helps.

  11. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I agree with Apple..... think about what you will say when the manipulation starts. Something along the lines of I love you but it is up to you now... I cant help you anymore. Period. You dont need to say any more than that.
  12. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member


    Backlash has started..Very tough attacks, pleas for money backed up with suicide threats, crying, begging, accusing..girlfriend is calmer and more rational but excuses his behavior. I said all the right things and let them know about the 30 days..It was done in the most loving way it could be considering what the message is; we are not paying bills, rent or anything other than fixing the car which was promised and only if they do all the leg work and we can pay on line..They are suffering, I am sure, but we are not the answer to their suffering.... Because we have enabled and they have put all their eggs in one basket, us..

    This afternoon property management company called, left message and said that they, too, must submit a 30 day notice of termination at the same time we did...last week they said if they don't submit we will be responsible for getting them out but the lease would be considered broken with only our notice to terminate..I was unable to get in touch to go over this with them today so now...Monday..

    Then the text while we were out having dinner, not something we do very often as we have another son with a disability..text comes in...power in the apartment has been shut's the kicker...because we didn't send them money today to get to the DHS office which offers utilities assistance...really? not!

    We toyed with the idea of doing a quid pro quo; you guys submit the 30 day notice of termination and we will get utilities turned back on electronically no money involved...but because of the blaming and the possibility of getting hooked back into the whole thing and sending the wrong message after a lot of angst, we decided to let it go and stay out of it.. then we learned the cost would be $380 dollars( were able to access their account because we paid the bills before).
    Going on a day trip with another couple tomorrow, a once in a long time thing... good thing we won't be able to ruminate about the whole situation.
    Drama, drama, drama....very exhausted..

    Thanks for your concern and support.

    Open for comments and feedback..

  13. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Thanks for reference to detachment article, very refer to when I begin to question my decisions..
    Thanks toughlovin' for tip on having a response ready for the difficult phonecalls. Need to stay focused on these changes and not slip back...
  14. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    And so it begins....

    As you knew it would.

    Do yourselves a favor, Carolita. Turn off your phone this weekend. Or turn the ringer off and don't answer any calls from your son and his girlfriend. Take a breather. They have no right to ruin your weekend with their constant begging, threatening, whining. Do not give them that power over you. It is a calculated move, designed to break you down and make you give them what they want (and their wants are without end). They will never be satisfied. Remember this. The more you give, the more they want. It will never end until you end it.

    Recharge this weekend. Do something for yourself, even if it is turning off the phone and refusing their calls. Do something relaxing or fun. Whatever you need for your mental and physical health. You are important.

    I'm sorry they ruined your rare night out at a restaurant. That is so selfish of them. You have a right to be angry. So be angry. Put the blame where it belongs--on them.

    I think you have spent way too much time blaming yourself.

    If your son makes a credible suicide threat, call 911. Many of our Difficult Child's have done this. Usually when the authorities are sent to their home, the threats end.

    As far as the apartment goes, I would weigh the options that you have, and choose the one that works best for you. Call the apartment complex Monday and figure out your options for extricating yourself from this situation. The goal is getting yourself untangled financially from them.

    If the car is in bad shape and the bill is unreasonable, you might consider buying them a months bus pass instead. Or, nothing at all if the money needs to be diverted to other things, like getting them removed from the apartment, or getting it cleaned out after they are gone. I don't think I would pay for any car repairs or a bus pass or anything at all until they put in the 30-day notice at the apartment. I would make that non-negotiable.

    Get some rest this weekend.

  15. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Hi, thanks Apple for back up..Need to hear it..So glad we did nothing...great day got away for 9 hours felt like a mini vacation, beautiful day, beautiful foliage...with good friends who have a son with same issue..
    Missed the one about car repair for 30 day term. notice, thanks for picking up on that, it could work...what we are finding which is odd, we think is that even if there is an offer on the table, they often don't even show up for it. In the past we would become engaged in obsessively trying to bring those horses to water and make them drink..We were more afraid of their consequences than they were..
    Hoping each day brings more focus and attention to our own lives..
    Yeah we should be ticked...but as was pointed out in some of the reading, we have our own issues, chronic enabling in most relationships and fear of abandonment..don't know if we can mention helpful books and literature on this blog so I won't..but becoming aware of these behaviors is also helping to press on..phones off..thanks again. GN
  16. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes by all means please mention the books Carolita. It is fine on the site. I am following your story and glad you are staying strong. Apple has given you great advice.
  17. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Thanks for this post..When the student is the saying goes...but I hate to be too confident, as I have fallen back to enabling in the past...Definitely feel great resolve this time...Don't Let Your Kids Kill You, by Charles Rubin, was an excellent book for me, which I am rereading..It embraces many of the ideas expressed on this website..
  18. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi Carolita,

    Let us know what the apartment complex tells you, and what course of action you decide to take in regards to getting them out.

    I love the title of that book! So spot-on! The stress can really harm our health.

    The part about them not making it a priority to get the car to the shop--that is SO common among our DCs. You are right--we worry more, and put more effort into their lives than they do!

    Then, at some point, they will call and insist that it has to be done YESTERDAY! And they will expect you to dance to their tune once again, drop everything in your life, and fix this for them at their convenience.

    We all fall back into the trap sometimes. It is just so tempting! This is the thing that will finally work, once and for all. If we do this one thing, everything changes. NOT!

    Good luck tomorrow. I will be pulling for you.

  19. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Thanks Apple, I never did say cause I tend to minimize things but we have 3 other family members that require a lot at elderly mom in nearby assisted living, a severely disabled, but charming son and severely disabled sis in law..We are the go to's for them as well.. We have done all this pretty well for the most part, but it seems a bit much right now but it is hard to do otherwise..
    Yes doing ok but haven't heard from son & girlfriend in 3 days now..That ought to tell me something right there.
    I will let you know what happens with the property management peeps.
    Thanks for asking to hear what happens. It really helps me to stay on track...
    I hope that you had a good weekend and that your Difficult Child is doing ok..Carolita
  20. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Talked to property manager yesterday.. Son and girlfriend must give 30 day termination notice as well. Gave her their number..Didn't ask how things will work if they don't.. Anxious that we will be sued or end up paying more..Have to have discussion tomorrow..just caught off guard and thought she would track them down.
    Son called and sounds horrific...doesn't know what to electricity in apartment..feet bleeding. I called mental health agency and they said there is free mental health care....but it's miles doubt they'll do it..actually never told them..will text to them today, no expectations whatsoever that they will follow through..
    This is very difficult...doing my breathing 4 x per day and hope to do my 2 mile walk today..
    Very exhausted, poor sleep..Big all weekend event that I am preparing way out....used to enjoy it...just trying to get through it this year.