At the end of my rope...


New Member
I have a 30 yr old son who got into drugs a few yrs ago. April 28th 2016 he got arrested for terroristic threatening and criminal mischief. He spent 45 days in jail. He was released to go to a Christian Rehab program for 12 months. He completed 6 months and took 5 yrs probation. Moved in with my wife (His step mom) and I so he could get back on his feet. Finally found a job and only worked 4 days before quitting it. Wife said he broke the agreement we had so I had to move him out. He has been staying in a motel since Saturday night. Tonight is the last night I am paying for. I have spent no telling how much money on him paying this and that. He keeps blaming us for a bad childhood, which he had a wonderful childhood. Tells us we won't help him when he needs it the most. I just don't know what else to do. Any advise?


Well-Known Member
Yes. And welcome.

He is 30 years old, a grown man. Why should you care for him when he decides to act like a criminal...heck, he is one. If he gets bailed out of his own bad choices at 30, what is he going to do when he is 40? 50? At 30 i feel he needs a strong, tough father who sets boundaries, not a guilty daddy who is thinking of how cute this "boy" was when he was six years old. You cant save this man now. He has to step up to his own plate. Or not.

Son is showing no inituitive to do better. If he worked like 99% of 30 year olds he could afford his own place to stay. It seems he would rather be homeless than work, not good sign. He could have finished the rehab program but he didnt finish that either.

Your son is acting like its normal for a parent to support 30 year old man. Its not. Most 30 year olds have never seen jaill and are working very hard. Why wont he?

Im with your wife. I totally believe that there is no certain way to force our grown men to launch but I believe they are more apt to do it if we remove our money from their lives. Sitting cozy at home refusing to work with parents supporting them while they refuse to grow up doesnt give any motivation for them to get their acts together.

As long as he is still using drugs and not working, he is not interested in changing. I would ignore the guillt attempt. Lots of kids have bad childhoods and dont end up in jail. Or on drugs. I believe he had a good childhood though. They tend to blame us for their own terrible behavior.

in my opinion you should stick with your wife. She will be there for you for the rest of your life. Your son will not. You are important too. So is your wife. I highly recommend Al Anon or therapy to help you cope. This is hard. I made a 19 year old drug using daughter once. She used drugs. I had younger kids to protect. My daughter quit drugs, got a job, took out a loan for two year college...we paid nothing. She did it all. She now, ten years later, says the drug life was too hard. She encourages me to talk about drug abuse and not giving money to drug users, even our kids. She has a good life now with a boyfriend of ten years, a house, a darling little girl and she is such a good mother. Honestly, i thought she was going to die or end up in jail.

Does tough love always work? Depends on their motivation and mindset so no. But I dont think supporting their horrific childish/criminal behavior does anything other than keep them dependant. Can you afford to support a grown man who doesnt seem to know that he is responsible for himself now? Throwing money at them doesnt work. It has to come from them.

Good luck!!
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Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Hi jrb,

I'm so sorry for what you are going through. I know how hard it is. My son has blamed me and husband too also saying he had a horrible childhood. This is cop out. The fact is, there are no perfect parents, we have all made mistakes, however that is no reason for our children to blame us for the poor choices they have made.

You can write down the name of shelters and give them to your son. That is really about all you can do.

Be firm in your decision to not help financially. Your son is 30 years old and he should be taking care of himself.

I know how hard this is, I've lived it and continue to live it. I love my son but his life, his dramas, his incarceration are on him. I have my own life to live and I do it without any guilt.

You and your wife need to live your own life too. I know this easier said than done but it is possible.

There is so much wisdom within these pages. Read others posts and keep posting yourself, it really helps.



100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

Welcome and sorry you have to be here. I second the advice above. Get therapy so you can establish FIRM boundaries. They are for HIS own good as for yours.

We had to do tough love with our son who is now 21. God it was hard. I'm still doing it. He wanted to come for a visit last week and I said NO. I'm not ready. He's not ready. I need to see more growth. It could be years before we have him home for a visit.

We do see him and we do talk to him and we do help him financially as long as he is going to school, working and keeping his nose clean.

No offense but we did this so we wouldn't have a 30 year old sitting on our couch demanding stuff. We saw THAT in our future.

It's time for you to stop enabling this grown man. You can do it.


New Member
Thanks so much for the replies. I am going to get myself some help to help me thru it also. He has clean and sober since April 28th 2016. But I know that can change at any moment. I haven't heard from him today and I actually don't feel bad not hearing from him and all his drama.

I am definitely sticking with my wife on all of this. We have been together over 25 yrs and I am not throwing it away because my son can't decide to grow and be a man.

I will be posting updates on our progress. Once again, Thank you so far for the replies. It feels good to know I am not alone in this battle.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Thanks for the update. You sound good, you sound strong. Stay steady the course and you will get through this.


i agree with everyone's post. You cant change him...he needs to change himself. Stay strong with your wife, expect things to escalate because when they don't get what they want they do...batten down the hatches. Together you and she can ride out this storm...and it will make your son hopefully wake up to his own reality! Hugs.


New Member
Well, I haven't heard from him for 4 days until today. He must have spent all of his money from the check he got last week for the 4 days he worked week before last. It's starting all over again: "I'm gonna kill myself", "I can't find a job", "nobody will help me", yada, yada, yada. He won't call or answer his phone but he will text. I finally told him I don't know what to tell him besides he might check at a couple of shelters in the area. Of course, he didn't want to hear that.


Well-Known Member
Stay strong, jrb! My son is 20 but has been evolving into this for several years now and has packed quite a lot of dysfunction in a small period of time. Isn't it interesting how we never hear from these 'kids' until they need something? I mean, my son doesn't answer any of my phone calls or texts, not that I initiate anything anymore since I kicked him out, but before he never did. If I didn't answer the phone during one of his crises, oh boy - better watch out! My phone would explode! I've blocked him several times...
I see where your daughter has been thru a lot with her own kid from your signature, that must give you tons of perspective on your son's behavior, right?


Well-Known Member
He has clean and sober since April 28th 2016.
Welcome, jrb.

I want to acknowledge your son for his sobriety which does not mean of course that it ends there. It takes constant work to maintain. There is a saying in AA called "dry drunk." The way I understand it is that a dry drunk no longer drinks alcohol but exhibits the behaviors and attitudes of an alcoholic. This may be the case for your son, as well.

I understand how hard it is for a parent to "risk" turning them away when it feels as if they could again make devastating choices, like before, without our support. And your son is milking your fear for all it is worth. He should not be rewarded but it is easy for me to say that about your son.

Much harder for my own, where it is my life and my heart on the line. Which how it feels to me sometimes. Except it is an illusion that there is anything that we can do to protect another adult human being, even if this is our beloved child.

First, any time he comes near uttering a suicidal threat, or infers such, call 911. Every. Single. Time. My son did this. He no longer makes threats nor does he tell me that he is suicidal. This type of manipulation has to stop. If he is suicidal he needs inpatient hospitalization.
You cant change him...he needs to change himself.
This is it in a nutshell. As long as we maintain and support their fantasy that there is some connection between their needs, their words, their manipulation and our actions--we maintain them dependent upon us, believing that if they frighten us enough, make us pity them, worry about them...that this state of mind, in us, will generate what ever it is that they want. In this way we reward the very behavior that needs to be extinguished.
"I'm gonna kill myself", "I can't find a job", "nobody will help me",
He is not to old for the military. In my state there is day labor and agricultural work. There are fisheries and fishing boats in Alaska. Shale pipeline work in the Dakotas. There is work to be had for those who want to work.

If it were me, I might take a break from him. It sounds like your role right now for your son is to be his punching bag. Somebody to punish and blame for his situation and his life. Until he gets some self-control and begins to locate his agency in himself, and develops some autonomy what really can you do?

Most all of us here on this forum have taken this step. It is hard, but it gets easier.

You are doing great. None of this is easy. Welcome. Take care.

PS I have a long-term partner who is not father to my 28 year old son. It is very hard to be caught in the middle. Today I told both my son and M: I will not defend him anymore. Nor will I be held responsible. If my son is not able to meet household expectations of the both of us, he cannot come here. If M has problems with my son away from here, let them handle them directly. I was crushed between the two of them. This is no place to be.

Your relationship and home have to be protected. Your son, and my own, are not minor children. Enough is enough. I agree with your wife.
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