Am I doing the right thing

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by overcome mom, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. overcome mom

    overcome mom Member

    I haven't been on for a while as have been very busy and a lot going on with me. Just to update everyone. I have a 25 year old son who has is severely ADD, has some mental health issues and is on and off meth. He has been locked up more times than I can count going to prison 2 times. He can be a very sweet kid but does not learn from his mistakes. The situation now is he has lost his job and got arrested because meth was found in his work car. He gets jobs quickly but has NEVER had a job more than 6 weeks. Loses them for a variety of reasons I would imagine related to the drug usage and behaviors related to that. Also is not on time and totally disorganized. He bailed himself out but called me for money to get back to where he was living (with his birthmother). I did send it to him and I know I shouldn't have. HIs situation is now that he is living at his birthmother's and is suppose to start training for a job tomorrow. I did send him a little money to get to training but not what he asked for.
    He just text me asking if he can come home. I was shocked, I knew then that something happened with birthmother. (She is a mess also no job,etc.) I text him that he can't come home now as he has no transportation, no job here and that we love him but he has to figure this out on his own. He called said birthmother is going to kick him out, and needs a place to stay until he can start another job. He said he has not used in 9 days and is not going to use again (yeah right) I haven't said much to him about the drug usage. I do not know why really except I do not want him to go off on me. I did say something about it when he told me he lost his job and why that he should go to rehab and he said he needed to work to get money to pay an attorney to get out of drug charge. I said that you are going to have more problems if you start using again. He will only be on our insurance for another 5 months so he needs to do it now. I know I should have said something about it when he wanted to come home but I didn't. He has been quite a bit better in the last year or so about going crazy on me when I tell him no but he still scares me some. He asked me why he can't come home and I said I already told him . He said so you aren't going to tell me and I said no and he hung up. He was just going to argue with me. He continually says that he is about ready to give up. I keep sending him money which I know is just enabling him but he is basically homeless and now doesn't even have clothes as they were in the car that got impounded in another state. I am just so sad . I don't want to see him homeless but I can't fix the problem for him, God know I have tried. I just need to know if I am doing to right thing by not letting him come to live with us and giving or not giving him money.
  2. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Overcome, I think you have to listen to your intuition here, and make the right decision for you. This situation sounds all too familiar to me, crazy birth mother and all. Mine have taken turns running back to theirs when I’m not being accommodating enough and it always ends in tears. I can identify with every word you’ve written here.

    Is home even an option with the pending charge? Are you in the same state? Is he allowed to leave the area where he is living?

    His priority right now seems to be getting out of his drug charge, but I would not raise one finger to help him there. Getting charged may be the best thing for him in the long run. The courts may mandate rehab.

    With mine, I’ve been trying not to send money but I have bought clothes, given grocery cards, etc. it’s frustrating because they are ALWAYS starting over. Clothes and personal items left behind or lost as they move between short term couch surfing situations or homelessness. They never can save and accumulate anything.

    When you talk to him next perhaps try to help him come up with ideas on his own. And depending on the idea you can decide what you will do to support. No, honey, you can’t stay here and you know why. What are some other ideas you have? Where else could you stay? A friend? Sober living? Shelter? How can YOU make your next step work? What are the community resources available to you? Here are the numbers - call them when you’re ready to move forward.

    I haven’t let mine come back here with me, even when homeless, because 1) it would disrupt the peace I have worked so hard to finally achieve and be unfair to my partner, and 2) I see no end game that doesn’t involve shouting, tears, and eviction with police involvement. They don’t get better under my roof. They stay lazy. I don’t think they mean to. They mean it when they say they would work and it would only be temporary. But they reality is they live for today. If they are warm and fed today, there is no priority to get a job or save money or plan for tomorrow. Tomorrow seems to be unimaginable to them in any real, concrete way. They seem to trust that it will take care of itself, just as today has. So it’s easy to let things go for one more day...and one more day...and one more day...

    I do believe sometimes support is required to get them into a stable situation. There are holes they dig for themselves that are too deep to get out of alone. But that support has to be provided in a structured way that helps them move forward rather than enabling them. And I’ve come to realize that it may be better provided by someone who is not mom. They don’t take our rules and limits seriously. They manipulate our love. With an agency they have to fall in line if they want the help.

    I would talk to him more about rehab. Perhaps tell him you’re willing to help with a rehab program but for anything else he’s on his own. I would advise him not to worry about beating the drug rap and paying an attorney but to take the public defender and throw himself on the mercy of the courts and ask for a rehab option. Facing the charges may be the best thing for him.
  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Before you even mentioned a birthmother I was thinking that his behavior sounded a lot like adopted young adults whose birthmothers drank and used drugs when pregnant. If this was his fate, which is not his fault I would take a different approach.

    I wouldnt let him come home if he was violent but I would guide him tp get adult services such as SSI, Medicaid, a case manager and the help that is entitled to all young adults that are not completely capable due to having their brains exposed to and damaged by alcohol and drugs in utero. Because people with this history do not develop well. They just dont...not without help. And its not their faults.

    Too often we dont wamt to face up to the fact that the birtmothers pregnancy behaviors impact our childs forever ability to live a normal life but often they do. Usually they do . Babies exposed to alcohol and drugs in utero do not tend to go on to become self sufficient productive adults. They struggle seemingly with small things. They puzzle us by tjeir behaviors and choices. And we look for answers outside of the drugs that were pelting a developing fetuses brain. But that is often the reason.

    In.these cases our kids are possibly doing the best they can with the organic brain damage that alcohol/crack/meth causes. This brain damage looks a lot like extreme ADHD but it is worse. It Itdoesnt improve. It causes severe dangerous impulsivity and risky behaviors and often the inability (not choice but inability) to learn from mistakes. So often they are unable to work, are homeless and in jail. They are also at high risk to become drug addicts. They knew drugs before birth. Many become addicts. THAT does need to stop but it wont cure all if the brain was damaged in utero.

    If your son had sich a birth history, this could be the best he and he cant learn from.what you do or dont do for him and he is proving it. I adopted a drug exposed son....he has autism and gets these services and also works...he is luckily high functioning but he still has help. You never get a free pass if your birthmom took drugs while pregnant. It affects the brain. Period. It affects how well you can function and even your emotional health.

    My advice is to help him get SSI if he was drug exposed in utero. If you told his doctor he was drug exposed and the doctor came up with just ADHD, he wasnt worth the money you paid him. If your son was not exposed to substances in utero just ignore this entire post.

    If he was exposed, make any decision with his disabilities in mind. Sounds like birthmom is a piece of work and probably used during her pregnancy which affected your child. This can not be discounted when evaluating son's behavior. If it happened, you are leaving out the probably biggest part of the "why."

    Love and.light!
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
  4. overcome mom

    overcome mom Member

    Elsi said:
    Is home even an option with the pending charge? Are you in the same state? Is he allowed to leave the area where he is living?
    I am sure he probably was not suppose to leave the state but it is 1,400 miles away from where we are. He had no place to stay there so I paid for him to travel to his birthmother's. I have no idea how he is going to deal with that. My guess is he will not make it there for his next court date and they will place a warrant out. His other legal trouble is a traffic ticket that is 1,000 away and a divorce about 300 miles from where he is. He has no car and no money.
    I can't tell you how many things he has lost over the last 10 years
    Elsi said:
    When you talk to him next perhaps try to help him come up with ideas on his own.
    This is the most frustrating part, if I ask him what his plans are he tell me he has no options. If I point out what options he does have he has a million reasons they will not work. He has never listened to anyone. In the past given him homeless shelter numbers etc. but again reason why he can't get there or can't go. I will mention again about trying to get into rehab. Although I have a feeling this will be very hard to do as a lot want quite a bit of money and are full. I will look into it if he agrees.
    I am a total wreck when he is home and he and his Dad get into it because he doesn't want to do anything. With no car ( he is not using ours)he would go stir crazy and like you said I would have to kick him out, police, drama. Right now I am going through some health issues. In fact I had plan to have surgery today but now have to meet with a plastic surgeon first. That change may have been a blessing in disguise, I can't imagine having surgery in this frame of mind.
    Elsi said:
    But that support has to be provided in a structured way that helps them move forward rather than enabling them.
    This is where I am having the most problem . I don't know how to distinguish the difference. I know giving money every time he asks is not good. But is something like paying his phone enabling? I have tried to support him for the last 10 years through constant running away, tons of legal trouble. We gave him a car at one point also paid for housing for almost a year after he got out of prison. Nothing has really change that much. He is a little better about not acting as if he is entitled and has not stolen from us in 7 years. I do think he tries but always the same pattern.
    SomewhereOutThere said:
    I was thinking that he sounded a lot like adopted young adults whose birthmothers drank and used drugs
    His birthmother drank some and maybe a little drugs but I think most is a personality disorder. All of her 5 kids( by different fathers) have problems. My son has had ADD since he was little. Really don't see evidence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)) . His Dad is so opposed to SSI and my son thinks it is taking from the government when he can work. Like I said he gets jobs but can never keep them. Right now he has no stable place to live. In fact tonight I expect to get a call that he is kicked out of birthmothers house. Homeless in an area he doesn't know about 2 hours from me.
    SomewhereOutThere said:
    If your son had sich a birth history, this could be the best he and he cant learn from.what you do or dont do for him and he is proving it.
    This is also where I get stuck. I do think his mental health is such that he will probably not get better. So that just make me feel guilty that I should help him get a place to live as he can not do it on his own. I really don't know how much the drugs play into this all as he has been using off and on since he was 16. Again what help is enabling? I can afford to help him some but not forever. It all just breaks my heart.
    Thanks to everyone for listening. I can't talk to almost anyone about this as they just don't get it. I talk with my husband some but if we talk too much he just can't deal with it. He has a very different way of looking at it than I do. He still doesn't want to admit that he has some permanent organic problem.
  5. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    I know. I've heard all this before, too. I've had to learn to say, "well, it is an option, even if you don't like the option. If you choose not to take it, that's on you, not me. But you have options. Pick one."

    I have struggled with this line for years. This is what I've come up with, for me:

    1. I do NOT help them out of self-made messes. That means no bail money, no lawyers, no court costs, etc. For each of my older three, I bailed them out of jail ONCE on minor charges when they were young, and told them that was the last time I was ever doing it, so don't call me if it happens again. I have never paid for lawyers. I really don't have that kind of money, so it makes it easier to say no, but I wouldn't anyway. If you've landed yourself in trouble that requires a lawyer, take the court appointed one or figure out your own way to pay for it if you don't like it. I did bend a little when N was in prison, for the sake of mercy. I was appalled to learn that prisoners are not provided with socks or underwear and if families did not provide them they had to do without. They had to be of a specific brand and style, in new unopened packages, and delivered in person. I did it, because I couldn't bear the thought of him sockless and underwearless somehow. I also paid for one phone call home each week and visited once a month, because I wanted him to have a path back to the light. But the rest of the financial repercussions he was on his own with.

    2. I do not do anything that puts my present or future financial and physical security, or that of my partner, at risk. No withdrawing from retirement, or failing to put the max in my retirement account, to pay for their mistakes. No making loans or gifts that make me unable to pay my own bills on time. No putting anything on a credit card I can't pay off - I don't believe in carrying a balance, for myself or them. Especially NO CO-SIGNING ANYTHING, EVER.

    3. I do not give money that may be used for drugs or drinking, or pay for other things so that they will be able to spend more of their own money on drugs and drinking. In general, that means not making up a regular monthly shortfall - if they are always $200 short on rent, they need to figure out how to fix the problem, not come knocking on my door every month. I DO occasionally pay for emergencies - a car repair (of course, S and C don't have cars anymore...) or other unexpected bill, for example. If it seems to be in the interest of keeping them on the path to independence. If they are especially destitute, I may take them grocery shopping or buy a bus pass. I just bought warm clothes for both S and C, even though they should still have the clothes I bought them last year...or the year before last... I don't want them starving or freezing to death. I want them to know I love them. But i also want them to know they are adults, and adults figure out their own ...stuff.

    There's a lot of gray area here, and I've violated my own rules plenty over the years. But not often - and my consistency in this has helped both them and me. If there is a request, I ask myself is this a natural consequence of their behavior that they need to learn from, or an unexpected event that could occur to anybody? Will doing this for them help them take a step towards great independence (e.g., helping them get back into school), or is it simply throwing more money into the same old black hole? What steps are THEY taking to put my investment in them - and I think of it this way - to good use?

    Phones are a real gray area, I think. I cut mine all off years ago because, well, there are four of them, and it gets damn expensive. And I am not rich. Plus they were always losing or breaking phones or going over the data plan and all that became MY problem to fix. I couldn't deal with it anymore. But sometimes, especially when C has been on the streets, I think maybe I should put him back on my plan, for my own peace of mind. C and S both use burners with pre-paid minutes that are frequently off, and it can be terrifying not being able to get ahold of them. But then I remember my data charges and the sense of entitlement they had to ALL of my upgrades and think...nope.

    You'll come up with your own boundaries, but I hope this helps. I find it really helps to actually write down your rules, and have them on hand when the inevitable call comes in.

    If also helps that they have no idea what my financial situation is month to month - I freelance, and they know my income fluctuates. So it's really easy to say "no can do" without a lot of argument because for all they know I simply don't have it. I simply do not talk about my finances with them at all. They know I'm ok, and they know I'm not a millionaire, and that's all they need to know.
  6. overcome mom

    overcome mom Member

    Thanks so much for the input. I have done so many things over the years after I said I wouldn't. I had just told him that I would give him X amount a week and pay for his phone and then when he lost his job got locked up I gave him money. No wonder he keeps calling. I think it is a good idea to write it down for myself. I am also reading this book Enabler which I am hoping will also help me clarify. He was on a straight talk phone plan that I could pay online so I knew where it is going but he decided to get a better phone so it is more money. Told him I would pay him the same as I had before but now I am not sure where the money is going. Right now he has no money for the phone so it will get turned off soon. Waiting for the call tonight that he didn't get the job and he has no place to live. I am so very very tried of this. I love this child immensely so it is hard to throw in the towel. Sometimes I wish we didn't have the money to help him it would be a lot easier to say no. It's hard for me to say I don't have the money and then go on a trip to Costa Rica or wherever. I do resent that because I have worked very hard all my life to get to where I am today. I do not spend money wildly. I moved out when I was 18 ,put myself through college and worked numerous jobs at the same time. I have spent my life helping others it feels so wrong to turn my back on him. I do know he needs to help himself.
  7. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Close the wallet. Homeless shelters have phones. He's probably getting cash by letting other people borrow his phone or trading it, or use of it, for drugs. Shut off your phone. He needs to figure this out. I have a severely ADHD kid Can't keep a job more than a year largely cause of that. Can't get a clear idea of a future, I could go on. "Only" uses marijuana. I'm sure he couldn't count how many times a day. But he won't get a penny from me. Anything I buy for his bd he loses, probably true, just leaves it somewhere. I don't keep buying him new stuff. You lost it, your problem. What I'm sayjng is that its a bottomless pit. Stop throwing money into the pit. He's got to climb out. You've told him how. If he wants to he will.

    You are not the answer to his problems. Your home is not going to make it better. If he needs a bed and meal you know he has options. Don't feel guilty about this. If you want to help him then let him grow up and figure it out himself. Picking him up when he falls is not teaching him to walk alone. He obviously has figured out how to get a job. He can figure the rest out too.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Drug use by the birtmother during her pregnancy doesnot cause mental illness. It causes brain damage of varying degrees. Two different things.

    Is he on SSI? Does he have a case manager? Medicare? Housing Assistance? Often he will get help with rehab too. There are a lot of services for adults born drug exposed (and with other serious disabilities which are not their faults).

    There is a community out there willing to help, to take the burden off of you, to find him a suitable place to heal and live. It should not be your responsibility. It is too large and you cant live and care for him forever. The responsibilty is best taken over by community supports. Not you. You dont have any way to truly help him.

    So you have a choice too about your future too. Yourself or disability supports.. I took that choice and my son is safe and doing well. And this will continue after I am gone. He is a happy young man, drug free. Thriving. Housed in a good place. Good relationship with his case manager in case he needs help with things. SSI and his part time job pay his very low bills. Of course he can call us too. We are close.

    Your other choices for YOU are to keep worrying about your son or to throw money at him which may not help long term and try to talk him into rehab. While you cry. Maybe he will listen better to a case manager about rehab and straightening out his life. I believe his life is very difficult and that its not all his fault and that its not YOUR fault at all. You did nothing but love him...he was possibly damaged in utero before you met him and he can still get help and live a full life. He just may need ongoing aid and could probably get it.

    I wish you the very best.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
  9. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Sorry I missed your comment about throwing in the towel. Maybe I need to do my riding a bike analogy... you hold the back of the bike till they learn to balance. Then you run behind them to push them back up when they start to lean. Then you let them ride alone and pick them up when they fall and put them back on. Then they fall and pick themselves up. Then they sail away and you burst with pride at how well they ride. You never throw in the towel. You stop picking them up and let them get up by themselves. If you forever pick them up they never figure out how to pick themselves up. They just keep calling every time they fall.
  10. overcome mom

    overcome mom Member

    I have spoken to him on occasion about SSI and he thinks that it is only for people trying to suck off the government and that he can work and don't I have faith in him? The other practical problem is he is homeless at this point, has no address and has lived in 3 different states in the last year. Also no way to get to and from someplace on any consistent basis. I would like him to do this and if he ever can get in any place rehab or shelter I will suggest it.
    He has never been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) . (He has been in 3 different residential settings and seen more that 6 psychiatrists has been diagnosed with bi polar and ADD.)I think that they did not say anything about drug abuse because either he did not give them permission to tell me or he lied to them. I have tried to get him help around where we live but state is broke and not much help. We live in a small rural area.
    Thanks some much for the ideas and support.
  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    It is not a psychiatry diagnosis. A neuroligist/ neuropsychologist would know the symptoms. It is often mistaken for ADHD, learning disabilities and worse Conduct Disorder. But if they are alcohol affected badly enough they dont learn right from wrong, have poor performance at work, cant follow social rules, and tend to need help to get on track.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  12. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    I just want to chime in on the enabling question. I struggled with enabling and boundaries for years. I have it pretty well figured out now and do a pretty good job of maintaining my boundaries. When I question whether something is enabling I remember the definition I use to figure it out. Enabling is doing something for an adult that they are capable of doing for themselves. Is he capable of paying his phone bill? Yes. Does he want to? No. That makes it enabling.
  13. overcome mom

    overcome mom Member

    This is where I get hung up. I am not really sure if he is able to do it himself. It is obvious that he can't keep a job. He has had 6 jobs this year alone, can not last more than 6 weeks. I really do think he wants to succeed but each time makes bad choices. Don't know if it is a result of drugs,time management, anger issues. He has NEVER had a job longer than 6 weeks. It's sad because he is so proud of himself when he is working and says this time is going to be different but it's not. Since I am not around him and can't talk to employers don't really know why he lost the job. This is the issue I brought up when I first got on the forum. It is so had to tell how much is mental illness(which I think is caused by physical problems within the brain's chemistry),organic brain problems or drugs addiction and how much control he has over that .I will say that he keeps trying. Not lazy always looking for a job.
  14. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Just a couple of things from what you've said in case you haven't already tried them... job finding and support programs for disabled. I know he finds jobs but the support piece will figure out what the problem is and help him keep job. I understand the vagrancy part of this might mean it doesnt work now, but just fyi..

    State rehab office has programs and can give you referrals to other programs. Each program does different things. So they might;

    Analyze his strengths and weaknesses to figure out what job might work.
    Pay for education courses, basic skills courses, technical skills,
    Transport to interviews and work
    Pay for uniforms or whatever needed for job

    My autistic son was with state rehab while in HS. School program did job training and found job. State paid for contractor to provide 3 mo of job support services when he graduated. Then another state program took over and provides ongoing job support which in my son's case is about 45 min a week for which they bill 6 hours a mo I think. Most of that is software help. But his boss can call them if he needs help with something. If he loses job, heaven forbid, contractor will find another. State rehab is short term but can provide or refer for whatever is necessary.