Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Catinka, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. Catinka

    Catinka New Member

    My son is in jail for the second time and he is only 19 years old. It tears my heart out, but I refuse to bail him out. My heart bleeds for him, but I will never give up hope. I pray for him and when I am too weak or angry to pray, I will put prayer requests in at church, so that others will pray. The first time that he was in jail, I visited him 3 times a week, I encouraged him, prayed with him and listened to his heart. When he got out he did the complete opposite of what he made me believe he was going to do. Now he is in jail again and the circumstances are different. I can't visit him like I did before, I feel so out of touch with him and it kills me. All I can do is put him in God's hands because I can't fix him or his life. He needs to turn his will and life over to God....I can't help him....believe me, I have tried. My heart goes out to you because I know your pain.
  2. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    "The addict is the enemy.

    Your son is still in there."

    However comforting this moral division might be, I can't help but wonder if it's really useful. If you think/absorb this reasoning, isn't it very likely that your difficult child has absorbed it too, and that it's reinforced by his knowledge that you and others think this of him/her as well? And that it lets him off the hook--that his misconduct is easier to commit when he can shunt it off on the addiction instead of bearing the accountability himself? Most immature people will do as they please if they believe that they're not held accountable for it. I saw my nephew difficult child practically live by this "code"--"it's not me, it's my addiction-prone personality." Almost gleefully, as it provided such a free ride for him morally. I wonder if it might not be more effective/useful to hold the *person* accountable for what he/she does, regardless of addiction (and we have to admit that in some, perhaps many, cases, the addictions aren't the cause but a symptom of a deeper & personal & inescapable failing, of choices made poorly but knowingly--at least it grounds him in the clear sense that he has no free pass to misbehave/violate as he pleases, that he's seen as an adult, just like any other, who's accountable for all that he does.

    My sister told me once that she hoped desperately that her difficult child son wouldn't awaken to the full moral awareness of all of the foul things he had done to her and others until he was deep into mature recovery--in his 30s, she hoped--because she feared that a dawning awareness of his many wrongdoings too early in recovery, or prior to recovery, would be too devastating for him, and that he might suicide. I can understand that fear, but I also saw what that sort of "free pass" was doing to him: it gave him license to go on and on and on as before, without any internal reckoning. Better to feel the lash of what you've done, in full and inescapable accountability, early on than to build up so deep a moral deficit that it's impossible to "pay down" later.

    Example: when I was 18-20, I went through a period of youthful, immature, druggy decadence. I didn't mistreat others or steal or anything like that, but I was definitely on a 2-year bender of drinking, doing drugs when I could get 'em, partying as often as possible, and so on. All along, I knew I was making a bad name for myself (I lost a big scholarship, dropped out of college, and lived in my small southern hometown during this time, where reputations matter) and not getting anywhere, but I enjoyed the long party and assumed that life would sort of organically pluck me out of my ditch when the time came for that. When, after about 2 years of this, I realized that life wasn't going to rescue me magically, I awakened to what I was doing and had done and enlisted in the Army, which experience pulled me fully out of the ditch and returned me to an ordinary, healthy, productive life.

    If, however, I had just kept on as I was, I would've hit a point about 4-5 years into it when, even if I had a similar awakening, it would've been very emotionally hard for me to turn things around, because at that point I would've been so far behind my peers, such an embarrassing shambles of a life, and so reputation-ruined that it would've been easier and more comforting to just keep on in my decadence, to protect my pride if nothing else: "I'm a wild hell-raiser--a debauched bon vivant--so whatever" feels better than "oh !@#$, I really blew it and it's such a massive uphill climb now." Some of the wild partiers that I was running around with then never did pull out of the tailspin, and their lives now as middle-aged failures are powerful testimony to my point: you need to feel personal accountability--guilt and shame and fear of ruin and loserdom--in very personal, this-is-all-my-fault terms if you're going to feel driven to pull yourself out of the ditch you've made. If you're not really the person ruining your life--if it's your addiction and not you--then it's much easier to just slide along guiltlessly and shamelessly, because you're not a pathetic loser of a person--instead, you're the victim of this externalized problem, this addiction that's got you by the throat.

    I recognize that this is not the most soothing perspective on GFGness, and that YMMV--your thoughts on this?
  3. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    I haven't read all the responses, but bottom line, no matter what age you are, you can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. They will beg, borrow, steal, lose jobs...anything to keep their addiction because they simply do not want to get better. I don't know an addict around me that doesn't know they're an addict. They are well aware. Don't give me the bull about the physical part of addiction. I KNOW that it exists, but THAT you can cure. You have to want to go down that road of recovery. They just choose not to change and drag everyone else who is out to 'save' them down with them. Unless they are truly committed to change, they will milk you for everything emotionally and financially. Addicts are pros at getting what they want. That being said, if they truly want needs to happen by them self and not by others.

    YOU might lose your partner and your daughter just because you're devoting all your time to save your grown son.

    It's hard to walk away and distance yourself. been there done that, but if you want some sanity and peace in life, it may need to happen. He's not a kid anymore. He's a grown man.

    Sorry to be so blunt but been in this ugly business of rescuing for far too many years.

  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am moving your post from the older thread you originally posted on so you can get replies.
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Although what others have said, some more bluntly than others, I am sorry for your pain. When inappropriate behaviors begin at a young age it is painful. It takes a long time to accept that your "child" is actually an "adult" who is facing the consequences of his or her choices. Many of us understand your pain. on the other hand most of us know that it is really necessary that you "detach" as much as possible. It doesn't happen overnight. Whether it is addiction or conduct disorder it is painful. It is ok to feel the pain and regret what has happened. Take small steps forward in the detachment for your own emotional health. Some are better at it than others but it is necessary for your sanity. I am sending caring very caring cyber hugs. DDD