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Mirabelle

New Member
I posted 2-3 weeks ago about my mentally ill and drug addicted stepson, and the trials my husband and I have faced trying to help him get his life together these past three years. When last I posted, the situation was that after using drugs once again and subsequently experiencing a psychotic break once again, he was involuntarily committed to the hospital, after which, per our contract with him, he was not permitted to return to our home to live. In working with the ACT program, we found him a 30 day placement at a homeless shelter which provides support with jobs, education, and future assisted housing.

Of course being 21 years old, no one can force him to take the medication he needs to control his bipolar and schizophrenia. Unless the shelter actively observes him using drugs, they have no reason to expel him. At the moment he is residing there but has no interest in taking advantage of their job program. He receives a $15 a day allowance from his disability check. It has become clear that he has stopped taking his medication and is once more smoking cannabis.

He reaches out to my husband about once a week to ask if he would like to go play pool etc. (He harasses my husband daily for money but that is another story.) The last time my husband took him out to spend some time with him, he was clearly under the influence of something.

My question is : should my husband decline invitations to spend time with his son when his son is impaired? I am not planning to share my views on the matter with my husband unless he asks. I understand that this is his child, and as much as I was involved in raising him from the age of 3, and as much as I love him, my bond as his stepmom is not the same. I am just wondering if my husband were to require a sober visit if this would have any positive effect on my stepson eg. 'I'd like to see my dad so I'm not going to get wasted today. If I do and it is obvious, my dad will not spend time with me today.' A part of me understands my husband seeing him regardless, but another part of me sees it as very sorry and disrespectful on the part of his son. Why would his father want to spend time with an erratic, stoned, sullen person who cannot hold a conversation and is almost certain to ask for money at some point? I am quite certain the thought has never occurred to him.

Should my husband be letting him know that he expects a certain level of conduct during these visits, or is this pie in the sky stuff considering the circumstances? Any advice, similar stories / experiences, would be appreciated.

God bless you all.
 

Crayola13

Well-Known Member
I definitely think your husband has the right to expect certain conduct when visiting with his son. If he ever becomes belligerent, hateful, intimidating, etc. is when I would walk away.
 

KTMom91

Well-Known Member
I agree with Crayola. While your stepson does have the right to use substances, your husband has the right to decline the invitations of someone who is under the influence. Right now, I don't think that your stepson is capable of making the connection between staying sober and getting to see his father. Is your husband willing to go no contact unless son is actively working a program?

Being the stepmom makes it tough. You want to protect your husband from the hurt, but it's not your kid so do you really have a voice? I don't have any specific advice for you, wish I did. My opinion, from a stepmom perspective, is that your husband can ask for son to be sober, but if it's a request that will be ignored by both of them, you'll be the bad guy.
 

BusynMember1

Well-Known Member
I am in Nar Anon (Narcotics Anonymous) four blessed years now and it saved my life. We learn not not not to involve ourselves with our addicted childrens choices (and not to enable or save them) or to badger our spouses in how they respond to them. Our help does not help and is resented and it is none of our business. Did your husband say he wants to not see his son if his son isn't sober? Or is that your feelings? Your idea? Are you trying to control the situation? You simply put can not.

Our sons and spouses will only stop when they want to. No threat will make your stepson clean even if that's the only way he can see his father. But it won't be. Your husband still wants to see his son and he will, whether his son is sober or not. He may lie to you. You can't stop them. His dad has to be be the one who decides to stop enabling. His son has to stop using. Our interference makes things worse. Spousal resentment. Lying. Fighting. Your own helplessness. You need to work on you.You can't save your son or husband. We can only change ourselves and how we respond to situations. You can't successfully stop others from behaving the way you hope they will. I recommend joining Natrcotics Anonymous. My lifesaver.
It's on Zoom now and you can find meetings on the internet.

Your husband wants to see his son.or he would not. It's time to focus on your life and what you want. Therapy also helps. Your business and their dance are separate things.

Our Nar Anon group is Thurdays at 6:30 cst...anyone can come. You will learn tons and get sane. And make Zoom friends. Our group is so loving.

Please join any NA group if you want your life back. Love and hugs. You know this game needs to change for YOU. You matter!!!
 
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Mirabelle

New Member
Thank you all for your helpful words and suggestion to join Nar Anon. I will certainly look into that. My primary motivation in considering the sober only visit rule is to try and get my stepson to hit his rock bottom sooner rather than later. Just the idea that with zero support, he might get it together. My husband doesn't want to see his son when he is delusional or high; it is very upsetting and anxiety inducing. He does feel obligated at this point however and sucks it up about once a week. He is maintaining that contact primarily to keep tabs on his progress with getting things done to help him move forward. Our son is not availing himself of any of the help available to him through the homeless shelter. This is a 30 day program and he has already been there for two weeks, lying to us about filling out housing forms and paperwork for their job program. The ACT program needs to be constantly prodded and followed up with to fulfill their obligations also. If my husband doesn't force these issues, his son could end up literally on the street in two weeks and expecting us to solve the problem for him.

I was hopeful that if my husband decided to ghost him for a week or two, he might realize that he is responsible for his own life and where he ends up. As I described in my very first post, we are treated as paid wait staff by my stepson. His dad is having health problems with his digestive system, his liver, and his blood pressure, all brought on by three years of this bs, and his son could not care less. I am heartbroken to see my stepson become this person, and to see the heartbreak, disappointment, and shame my husband carries with him everywhere he goes. I am ready for my stepson to take responsibility and leave us the hell alone quite frankly.
 

BusynMember1

Well-Known Member
Nar Anon is NOT for the addicted person. It is for those involved with an addict like you are. You couldnt force your son to go to his program, Narcotics Anonymous either. You cant control this. His rock bottom is unknown. You can't know what it is. Or rush it. It doesn't even always happen.
l mean this kindly.You have figured out the entire plan and the outcome of your plan if the others cooperate. But they won't. You can't save your step son and your husband is an adult....if he decides not to see his son unless he is sober he does not need to be pushed to do it. We almost divorced over my pushing. Our intentions are always good and we think if we dont do our plan, nothing will get fixed.

But it does not, will not work and you will have your stepson and husband furious at your getting involved. It is not your problem and you can't solve anyone's but yourself. Yourself you can help.

Nobody can tell you what to do. I can't. I know this. But I hope you do get serious help as you, like me once, think you have to fix everything. And like me it will not work.

Hugs and much love. It is hard to let go but we must. Get help. Lots of help. For YOU.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
to try and get my stepson to hit his rock bottom sooner rather than later.
You have no control of when, how or if he hits rock bottom. There is not one thing you can do to alter what another human being chooses to do. There may be short-term buy-in, say a day, in order for your step-son to secure what secondary gain HE WANTS, but it will have no relationship to what you want or what you think.
Just the idea that with zero support, he might get it together
NOTHING helps unless he wants to help himself. No support, total support, HE will decide and HE will determine what happens. This is the illusion of control, that you are thinking from. All of us here have done the same. It's a trap, a fantasy.
his son could end up literally on the street in two weeks and expecting us to solve the problem for him.
Based upon my own experience the above is the likely scenario, but you both have a range of options available to you. Your step-son's expectations have zero relationship to your decisions and actions--unless you allow them to influence you. This is a choice.
I am heartbroken to see my stepson become this person, and to see the heartbreak, disappointment, and shame my husband carries with him everywhere he goes. I am ready for my stepson to take responsibility and leave us the hell alone quite frankly.
It is heartbreaking. But that does not mean that your husband's heart or your own, has to break. Again what you're ready for has no relationship at all to what your step-son does or what he's ready for. I am in a situation similar to yours, except I am the parent and my ex, named M, is the step-parent. I have another home where M lives and where sometimes, my son lives with him. My son is IMPOSSIBLE to live with, but I am like your husband--I love my son, what he could have been, and I dread what could happen to him.

Trying to help me M is exposed directly to my son's moods, dominance, volatility, chaos, selfishness, self-indulgence, irresponsibility, and general craziness. My son is only there lately a few days a month, before things blow up. It's a terrible way to live. I understand that. I think partly why M puts up with this, is because the general situation works for him. I think he also feels guilt because during the time we were together, he supported me to make certain decisions, that did not pan out. I think there is also loyalty, responsibility and love. So far, M has stayed involved with us.

Why I am telling you all of this is that I truly, truly get how difficult this is. I can really see how it can affect an otherwise great relationship. But I also understand how it is (and so do you) to be a parent of a child who is self-destructing.

I agree with every single word in Busy's post. I think that there is a way to learn to take care of yourselves and to take care of your relationship. But I don't think that self-care is compatible with involvement with a mentally ill/drug addicted young adult. But our decisions are not necessarily either rational or based upon what is best.
 

Nandina

Member
Hi Mirabelle, I haven’t been through the abuse with my son as much as his drug usage but I have read many stories of those here who have. Many people here have been through tremendous abuse and have learned from it.

I would consider the abuse your stepson gives your husband and you very serious and I would not for one second put up with it. Nor pay money to someone treating me like that.

Most of our members have been through the push and pull of help—or don’t help, insist on conditions or not; communicate or not; many times before. And along with that they have felt the hurt and sadness a mentally ill and/or drug addicted child can cause, and that they are trying to help you and your husband avoid. They made the mistakes and learned the lessons. For some it took years. Many are still working on it. Nearly everyone here is at a different stage in this unfortunate, often life-long struggle of coping with our fluctuating emotions and the chaos of dealing with our seriously impaired kids.

My primary motivation in considering the sober only visit rule is to try and get my stepson to hit his rock bottom sooner rather than later
Who knows what his rock bottom is? Clearly, he has not hit it yet. Don’t wait for it.

At the very minimum, your husband should insist on being treated with respect, however I doubt his son would be able to live with a sober only rule. Mine couldn’t. I knew he smoked daily and there was nothing I could do about it. But I told him not to be “messed up” when I was with him or I would take him back to wherever he was living. (he didn’t drive; I provided transportation). And I only had to do that once. Most of the time he was coherent, though he may have been somewhat under the influence. But I made a concession in order to have a relationship with him. At that time, he only smoked pot. I didn’t approve but he was an “adult,” and I couldn’t control what he did outside my home.

You say your stepson wants to spend time with his father. I look at that as a good sign. Is there no way your husband can just expect civility from his son? And no asking for money. That’s where I would start on the conditions. I was also encouraged when I re-read in another post that your stepson does go to counseling willingly, so that is a positive (assuming it’s a good counselor). Obviously, as you stated, he needs more than that.

I agree with everyone who recommends any type of counseling or support group. I hope your husband participates as well. It saddens me to hear you describe his guilt and sadness over his son’s downward spiral and abusive behavior. I wish your husband could see some of the posts here. It would perhaps begin to open his eyes a little and realize some of the mistakes he, and you, are prone to make. This experience with an abusive child is not something one should do without some sort of support, as everyone here can attest.

I’m sorry this is so hard. It is very hard on a relationship too as I’m sure you already know, and I pray that your love is strong. So please, do any kind of self care that works and encourage your husband to do the same. It sounds like he is a very loving father and a good man. This is not his fault.

Hugs to you
 

NWSanta

New Member
Wow, Just wanted to say Copabanana and BusynMember; both of your words really struck a chord with me this morning. I am going to take some of these tidbits back to my Wife and our Situation. I am also seriously going to make an effort to attend a Local NarAnon group to see if there is anything that can help us.

Thank you!!!!
 

Crayola13

Well-Known Member
Wow, Just wanted to say Copabanana and BusynMember; both of your words really struck a chord with me this morning. I am going to take some of these tidbits back to my Wife and our Situation. I am also seriously going to make an effort to attend a Local NarAnon group to see if there is anything that can help us.

Thank you!!!!
It might help you and your wife to get into counseling. She might benefit from therapy or medications since this is so hard for her.
 

BusynMember1

Well-Known Member
I also want to mention that although you see your husband as used and abused (which is probably true) he loves his flawed son to pieces and possibly as much as he loves you. Not always helpful to make anyone choose. He likely isn't ready to put conditions on seeing him. This has to be his walk.

Love from all of us who have walked it.

Hope to hear from you soon.
 

Mirabelle

New Member
I agree with Crayola. While your stepson does have the right to use substances, your husband has the right to decline the invitations of someone who is under the influence. Right now, I don't think that your stepson is capable of making the connection between staying sober and getting to see his father. Is your husband willing to go no contact unless son is actively working a program?

Being the stepmom makes it tough. You want to protect your husband from the hurt, but it's not your kid so do you really have a voice? I don't have any specific advice for you, wish I did. My opinion, from a stepmom perspective, is that your husband can ask for son to be sober, but if it's a request that will be ignored by both of them, you'll be the bad guy.
Right now my husband is seeing his son periodically to put eyes on him and see how he is doing. I can't see him cutting off contact unless his son is verbally abusive, which I would agree with.
 

Mirabelle

New Member
Hi Mirabelle, I haven’t been through the abuse with my son as much as his drug usage but I have read many stories of those here who have. Many people here have been through tremendous abuse and have learned from it.

I would consider the abuse your stepson gives your husband and you very serious and I would not for one second put up with it. Nor pay money to someone treating me like that.

Most of our members have been through the push and pull of help—or don’t help, insist on conditions or not; communicate or not; many times before. And along with that they have felt the hurt and sadness a mentally ill and/or drug addicted child can cause, and that they are trying to help you and your husband avoid. They made the mistakes and learned the lessons. For some it took years. Many are still working on it. Nearly everyone here is at a different stage in this unfortunate, often life-long struggle of coping with our fluctuating emotions and the chaos of dealing with our seriously impaired kids.


Who knows what his rock bottom is? Clearly, he has not hit it yet. Don’t wait for it.

At the very minimum, your husband should insist on being treated with respect, however I doubt his son would be able to live with a sober only rule. Mine couldn’t. I knew he smoked daily and there was nothing I could do about it. But I told him not to be “messed up” when I was with him or I would take him back to wherever he was living. (he didn’t drive; I provided transportation). And I only had to do that once. Most of the time he was coherent, though he may have been somewhat under the influence. But I made a concession in order to have a relationship with him. At that time, he only smoked pot. I didn’t approve but he was an “adult,” and I couldn’t control what he did outside my home.

You say your stepson wants to spend time with his father. I look at that as a good sign. Is there no way your husband can just expect civility from his son? And no asking for money. That’s where I would start on the conditions. I was also encouraged when I re-read in another post that your stepson does go to counseling willingly, so that is a positive (assuming it’s a good counselor). Obviously, as you stated, he needs more than that.

I agree with everyone who recommends any type of counseling or support group. I hope your husband participates as well. It saddens me to hear you describe his guilt and sadness over his son’s downward spiral and abusive behavior. I wish your husband could see some of the posts here. It would perhaps begin to open his eyes a little and realize some of the mistakes he, and you, are prone to make. This experience with an abusive child is not something one should do without some sort of support, as everyone here can attest.

I’m sorry this is so hard. It is very hard on a relationship too as I’m sure you already know, and I pray that your love is strong. So please, do any kind of self care that works and encourage your husband to do the same. It sounds like he is a very loving father and a good man. This is not his fault.

Hugs to you
Thank you Nandina. I was reading another post in which a son was described as 'highly intelligent but a slow learner.' This describes my stepson precisely. It is very hard to enforce boundaries with him; not that we are not good at enforcing them (we are), but that every time he is reminded of a condition or rule, he behaves as though he has never heard it before and proceeds to complain / tantrum accordingly. It is exasperating and maddening but we hold the line. I don't know if this is part of his illness - that he has trouble retaining information - or if he is attempting to manipulate us and wear us down (quite possibly both.) We have had several early morning knocks on our door over the last few years, him having had a fight with his mom and expecting us to just let him stay with us regardless of what came before. This being after he left voluntarily or was kicked out of our home three times for refusing to follow rules. To his way of thinking that is all hypothetical; if he actually finds himself homeless he says we are obligated to take him in because we are his parents........to steal our things, drink our liquor, wreck our house, leave our animals outside etc.

All this to say, upon reflection and reading your response and those of others to my post, I realize I am overestimating my stepson's level of self control and basic decency at this point. I so appreciate the different perspectives offered on this site.

Hugs to you too.
 
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