Back to the Board again after many years, son is now a raging alcoholic too!

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by nalajama, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. nalajama

    nalajama New Member

    Hi, I was a member of this group for several years during my son's teenage years (he's now 29). He was diagnosed ADHD at a young age, then Bipolar at about age 12, then changed to XYY syndrome at about age 14 after some genetic testing. He went off all of his bipolar medications at age 18 and really his behavior remained the same, so his psychiatrist was not sure if he ever was bipolar or just had XYY syndrome (lots of the same symptoms, poor impulse control, bad judgement, angry, argumentative, legal issues etc.). He dropped out of HS at 18 in the middle of senior year) then got his GED later when he wanted to joined the Army, which of course failed and he was sent home from boot camp. He then went to Job Corp for carpentry, which he never used, became a CNA where he worked in home health care for a year, and has since been floundering from one minimum wage job to another.

    He's now 29, works in a warehouse (new job about 30 days in, since he was let go from last job), makes $11.50 an hour and lives in a 5th wheel trailer that I bought him a few years ago because he could not make a roommate situation work, and I could no longer have him in my house. I still pay his car insurance and medical insurance and he has been covering his space rent, cellphone, food, gas etc. He was out of work for several months this last time and I paid all of his expenses then because I didn't want him coming back to my house.

    He has been drinking excessively for several years, and in the last year very heavily and I know of several times when he drove drunk. He got a DUI several weeks ago and thank God no one was injured. Now he has all of that legal stuff to contend with and I told him I am not helping him with a penny of it.

    He house/sat for us last week while we were on vacation, which he has done many times in the past without any problems. (he was paid $140 to do it) and we came home to a mess: a broken coffee table, beer cans everywhere (even in the bathtub!), empty food cartons and dirty plates all over our patio etc. Nothing we couldn't fix by cleaning it up (except the coffee table, which we had to throw away), but I was enraged. I told him he couldn't contact me again until he had proof he was attending AA but of course he did the typical deflection saying I was overreacting, his drinking is not out of control etc. This resulted in a 30 minute screaming match at my front door where he told me he wasn't leaving when I asked him to, because I wasn't treating him with respect!!! Then he said he would leave only after I gave him all the beer that was left!

    I am so done with helping this kid and he is such a burden to me at this point in my life. I recently retired last year and his younger brother is staring college and I truly am being drained financially at this point by his constant needs. I just want him to stay away from me and hopefully keep a job and pay his bills, so he doesn't end up homeless. I have been helping him because I don't want him here, and I don't want him on the streets. I love him but I can't help him if he won't admit he has a problem. Has anyone else had issues with their adult kids becoming alcoholics on top of everything else? I know it is common to use alcohol and drugs to self-medicate, but this is really just too much on top of all of the other behavioral issues I have been dealing with since he was 8 years old. I know this is a rant buy needing to vent......
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    I am sorry that things have been so difficult. It is time to start thinking of him as a full grown man, not that little boy with skinned knees you were responsible for. If he is homeless, it is not your responsibility to care for him. No mother wants that for her child, of course. But a mother cannot want her child to function more than the child wants it. By paying any of his bills, you are just leaving more money for him to drink with. I do know how hard it is. My brother is an alcoholic. I have seen and done about everything to stop/control his drinking.

    There is an article on detachment, I think in the beginning of the Substance Abuse Forum. Read it and start to absorb it. It is amazingly helpful. If you are not going to alanon meetings, please go. They truly can be very helpful.

    You are not responsible for your grown adult son's choices. He is CHOOSING to not function. Yes, alcoholism is a disease, but he is choosing not to get treatment., That is a choice and you do not have to choose to be sick with him. You can CHOOSE to not throw good money after bad, to get healthy, and to not be codependent with him. Part of this is letting him live with the consequences of his actions, even if that means homelessness or even jail if he gets a DUI.

    If he hasn't ever had to face either of those things, they may be a real eye opener. They might even be what he needs. They might be the harsh reality that hurts enough to make him want to change and accept help. You never know. It actually isn't something you can control.

    All you can control is you. If you stop giving in to him, supporting him and his bad choices, you will be able to make healthier choices for yourself. You will become healthier and learn more about yourself. He won't life it, and it won't be easy. You will have to deal with your own FOG (Fear, Obligation, and Guilt) along with a lot of other feelings. But in the long run, you will be better and stronger for it.

    Who knows, maybe he won't become homeless? Maybe not having your support will be the wake-up call he needs and he will do what needs to be done. You really just never know. It simply is not within your control. It is in his control, and in the Higher Power's control

    I do know how hard this sounds, and is. Know that you won't be alone. We are always here, and if you join alanon or narc anon, they will always be there. NAMI also has wonderful support groups.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. I am sorry. Your son is making irresponsible, horrible choices. I dont know what XYY is, but even if it contributes to his behavior, you cant be expected to help pay for his assaults on yourself and society. The car? He is an alcoholic. There is no way I would help him drive. None. When my daughter had to leave at 19 for drug abuse she got no trailer, money and certainly no transportation from us. We did not want her intoxicated death or death of others on our consciences. She walked to and from work in cold Chicago weather and quit cocaine and meth twelve years ago. Yes, she quit with no money or housing from us. We are so proud of her.

    And she was only 19. She learned early that nobody would pay for her drug addiction.

    I am not saying this works for everyone, but it seems, at least on this forum where I have posted for fifteen years, that this is what parents need to do before their drug abusing loved ones are motivated to quit. Also, Susie is right about not seeing our adult children as little boys and little girls. They arent. Society will treat them as the age they are.

    Also dont be in denial. Having your son house sit for you was not a good idea. You have to face who he is right now so that you dont give him second and third chances to cost you grief and money. And you paid him before he did the job. Horrible idea for an alcobolic to have free money. He probably spent it on alcohol. The alcohol he used to trash your house. Never give a substance abuser cash. Ever. Stop trusting him. You cant. You need to see two solid years of sobriety, work, and kindness before you can begin to trust him. And he needs to chose to get mental health care and to comply with trearment. It is on his shoulders.

    Your son will be 30 next year. It isnt young. If he is ever to get his life together, he has to do it without your money and constant worry. One day you will be gone. He needs to learn to take care of himself, even if he chooses to be homeless. There are ways to survive, eat, get shelter and live on the streets and he has to learn how, if that is his choice. You wont be around to make sure he isnt homeless when your time is up. That was always on my grown kids had to be independent of me because I wouldnt always be around. And they were!

    Get him out of his car before he kills someone or himself. He can walk, ride a bike or take public transportation. How would you feel if you knew somebody else was paying for an alcoholics car insurance so that he may kill you or your loved ones when he drank and drove? Your son in a car is a tragedy waiting to happen. Sorry to be graphic, but he could kill some young mother with babies in the car. Its not just about your son and what he wants. Drunk drivers on tje road, including your son, are dangerous to all.

    Please remember too that you matter. You need money for retirement. By your sons age, most grown kids are starting to worry about their aging parents. Your son is all about him. Help him HAVE to grow up. You owe him and yourself to let him go and to live a great life of your own. He needs to learn to stand alone even if he doesnt choose well.

    Take care of YOU.You deserve it. Hugs! I lnow it is horrible and hard.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  4. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    So sorry you are back.

    I have to agree with everyone else. Any time we try to help to the point of enabling it does not end well.

    He is 29 and you really should not be helping him financially at all. That's kind of old to be exhibiting those behaviors!

    I know it's a horrible situation to be in. We are struggling with our addicted 21 year old son and walking that tightrope.

  5. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Welcome back and know I feel your struggle. I am in it with a 17 year old. Hope and failure. This group has given me strength and I am learning to detach. It's not easy.
  6. Snow White

    Snow White Temporarily in the Magic Kingdom

    Sorry you have landed back here, nalajama. The above posts pretty much sum it all up. Your son will continue on his current path when he has no other recourse. If you were to stop the enabling behaviour, he would be forced to get sober and take responsibility for his life. It's a miracle that no one has been injured/killed when he has been driving drunk.

    Definitely words of wisdom that I think of, now that my husband and I are nearing retirement age. We won't be here forever. All we can hope for our children is that they are able to take care of themselves.

    Keep posting and reading here - it helps so much. We are here for you.
  7. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Welcome back, nalajama. This is a good place to unload and get support when life turns topsyturvey. I was absent for a long time, too, but needed to return due to escalating behaviors at my house.
  8. nalajama

    nalajama New Member

    I agree with most of what was said and I thank you for the kick in the butt. However, I don' t agree that it is my responsibility to get him to stop driving, that's not up to me and I resent being told that I should feel guilty for paying his car insurance in case he hurts someone while driving drunk. That is his choice to make those bad decisions and not in my control. He will drive his car whether he has insurance or not. I have pleaded with him, given him info on AA meetings, given him schedules, offered to go with him, etc, all of which are really enabling actions in themself but still I have done those things to try to make him see that he is drinking too much and may hurt himself or others.It's up to the police, the courts and the DMV to get him to stop driving, so I don't appreciate being made to feel guilty that I will somehow be responsible if he hurts someone while driving because I paid the car insurance. It's the assisting him with any money that I need to stop doing.

    As far as paying him to house sit, he has housesat for me several times a year for the past 10 years and I have never had this problem before, so obvioulsy I now realize that he is out of control, hence my return to the board.
  9. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Hi Nalajama

    Is there anyway that you can have a breathalyzer installed on his ignition? Long shot I know. Enabling bs loving is a difficult step to process. I know I am there.

    What is said on the board is said from the heart and experience. I am sure no one meant it to be blame or harm. Past bad experience is more than likely and people trying to save you from the pain.

    One day at a time for us all.

    I have a brother who is an alcoholic and a drug abuser he drives all the time with no insurance. I simply don't know how he does not get caught or hurt himself or others. It's very sad. Dangerous and sad.
  10. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    All you can do is all you can do.

    You can keep medical coverage, hand food, but stop cash.

    It's whatever your comfortable with, unfortunately, only they can decide that they are out of control and need help.

    Trust all of us, if I could stand on my head, hold a lighted sign and blow a horn, my son would wouldn't even glance at me and walk around it. They are ready when they are ready.

    Obviously, if he has no money, car. Deals or can't afford gas, problem solved on that one!

    So sorry for your frustration, hurt, and anger.

    You can move on, you have done the parent thing..

  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    We are all in differebt places. Thats where we were at. I did not and have not helped my daughter drive not sober. But you are right...she did drive "friends" cars and totaled one and was sued and owed a large sum of money that carried over to when she was sober. Her dad finally paid it off two years after sobriety. But this could have been on our record if it had been our car. Please...this is what we did and why but you are right that he will drive anyway. They do find ways, dont they?
  12. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I'm so sorry for what you are going through. I know how hard it is. I have learned the hard way with my son. I enabled him for too long. After he was released from jail, husband and I bought a house for him to live in (no way could he live with us). All that we asked him was to get a job and start putting his life back together. We did not charge him rent, we paid for clothes, cell phone, food, utilities, etc..... We did this thinking that we were helping him when in fact we were doing the opposite. I never wanted to see my son suffer but have since learned that it is through our suffering and struggling that we grow. There are a lot of details in between but the end result was husband and I had to stop enabling him. At one point we also purchased a car for him and like you we paid the insurance. While he was lucky and did not get a drunk driving charge he did get one for driving while impaired - smoking pot. I was given some good advice by a friend regarding my paying for the insurance. My friend told me that if my son were to get in an accident where someone was seriously hurt that I could be sued in civil court because I was the one paying the insurance. I never verified if this was true but it really made me think. I gave my son fair warning that I would not be paying his insurance any more.

    My son also has a drinking and drug problem. After I quit enabling him he became a homeless drifter. I was very worried about him in the beginning but quickly learned that there is quite a network among the homeless. The only time I would hear from him was when he was "desperate". I stuck to my No Enabling and did not give into him. I found that he was really not "desperate" and was able to mange on his own.
    My son is now 35 and was recently sentenced to 2 years in prison for assault with a deadly weapon (knife). He was drunk when this happened.

    I have pleaded with my son on many occasions to get help only to have him scream at me that he didn't have a problem, that he could handle it.

    It's not easy to let go and allow our difficult adult children to face their issues and the consequences of their life choices on their own but there comes a time when it's best for everyone. For me, I do not want to be an 80 year old woman enabling my 60 year old son. None of us will be here forever and at some point our difficult adult children will need to learn how to do life on their own and the sooner they start the better.

    As I said, my son is doing 2 years in prison. In a letter he wrote me he said "I don't know what I'll do when I get out, I'll be homeless" He was homeless when he was arrested!!! I know from experience that this was ploy of manipulation. He is hoping I will feel sorry for him. He is probably hoping that I will "buy" another house for him to live in. That will not happen this time or ever again. Don't get me wrong, I love my son dearly but I cannot fix his problems. He is a grown man, not a little boy. He knows how I feel and he knows what my concerns are. I no longer engage him about either because I know it will turn into him screaming at me. I have set very clear boundaries where my son is concerned.

    I cannot fix him, I cannot control him. I can only control my response to the chaos of his life choices. I choose to live my life. I choose to have joy in my life. I'm 54 and not getting any younger. My life matters just as yours does. As I said, I will always love my son but I had to let him go.
    If love alone could save our difficult children we wouldn't need a site like this.

    ((HUGS)) to you............................
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  13. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Love and hugs to you Tanya. Trying to hold fast to keeping my almost 18 year old out on his own. We truly have had enough. He is pleading and begging and manipulating and calling the shots. He is not ready it would be the Geoind Hog day of addiction!