Dont know what to do anymore.

Tired Mom

I am new to this website. I don't know what to do about my 20 year old anymore. He has always been difficult but a little more than a year ago we saw a change in his personality for the worse leading up to him being arrested. He ended up getting arrested when his "friend" stole a car and then the next came and picked up my son and then another boy. It turned out they went to a store where the owner of the car saw her car and called the police. The other two boys ran and my son was arrested. He had marijuana on him. Luckily the police knew when the car was stolen and since our son was with us we know he wasn't directly involved in stealing the car. He ended up being charged with possession of stolen property with a $15,000 bail. Right or wrong we ended up bailing him out. For the past year he has been doing everything pretty much right. He worked full time, went to school part time, paid us back for his legal expense, did his chores around the house, was clean, and kept us in the loop where he was. He recently had to start group drug counseling he initially didn't want go but once he got there he didn't seem to mind it. Very quickly after he started we started seeing the behavior we had seen leading up to his arrest. It culminated with after him coming home after not coming home all night and my husband did a drug test that came up positive for ectasy and opiates. He then told us he was moving out and we couldn't stop him. He told us we could call the police and they would tell us that we can't stop him, When he said that both my husband and I knew someone was telling him this its just not the way my son thinks. He left. A few days later at 6:00am the police ring our doorbell with my son. They tell us someone called the police because they thought he was trying to steal their car but they think it was just that he was so drunk that he didn't realize he had the wrong car. He left the house the next day refusing to talk to us. We talked to his boss who loved him. His boss tried to talk him and he simply didn't come back to work the next day and never picked up his paycheck. We went to his drug counseling and he did show up for the appointment but the boy who stole the car brought my son and went into the counseling with him. My son refused to tell us where he is living though I suspect it is with this boy. Sigh I don't know if I should call the counseling place his or his probation officer or just stay out of it. In this care I am 99% sure that this "counseling" is how he hooked up again with this thief and was the worst possible thing for him. If he stays with this other boy I am sure that we will be out $15K for the bail because it is just a matter of when he will be arrested rather than if. I also don't see how we could have our older child come back to our house. We have a 14 year easy child who is a straight A all honors classes student with the friends parents dream of their children having and I don't want anymore of this in his life. I have a fear of the police coming to the house looking for older son when the younger one is by himself. Also I have fear of what this other boy is capable of. Another "friend" who I suspect might be a drug dealer has told us that he is really bad news and when my son was arrested the police told us he is really really bad news.


I'm so sorry Tiredmom,.May.I.ask was.the.15,000 or.the.10%?please forgive the period marks that don't belong, I'm using my.very.tiny.cell phone tonight.


one day at a time
Hi Tired Mom,

First, I am so sorry that your family is having to deal with this. We understand, most of us have been right where you are.

It's unreal, surreal, so very painful, filled with despair and fear, and seems to go on and on. I remember thinking my whole world had come to an end. Today, my son is 25, has two felonies, multiple misdemeanors, has been in jail 8 or 9 times, has been fired from many jobs, has lived on the street five different times---is living on the street now. Underneath it all is a very intelligent, loving, kind and common-sense-filled person. He has red hair, freckles, a great smile, and is a very good looking boy. He played on the high school soccer team for four years. He would have had four years of college paid. We weren't permissive, had lots of rules, curfew, consequences, went to church every Sunday---he was an acolyte, went on many mission trips, went to youth group, we had dinner on the table every night. He was loved and valued and appreciated and taken care of while he was growing up.

I say these things to you because addiction can come for anybody. It comes in the night to steal our children, and it takes hold of them and grabs onto their DNA and shakes and shakes and shakes, and it seems like it will never let them go.

Through it all, we lose the child that we loved. Now the child is a young adult, and the consequences are severe, but they won't listen and they won't stop. We try it all, everything anybody can think of, x20, and then some. Nothing works.

We are heartbroken, on our knees, staring at the wall, crying for days. We scream and yell and threaten them out of our fear. We have never been so scared in our lives.

You've read this site, I presume. I hope so. If you did, you know that the stories are the same, virtually. We do and do and do, and nothing changes, until we are all just about insane with it all, and then one day, we start to look around and see that we are doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result, and we realize something has to change, and that something has to be us.

Oh we fight it hard. We still believe we can stop them, somewhere deep inside. But we can't, and we soon start to truly see that reality. We continue to enable, because after all, these are our PRECIOUS CHILDREN. We can't give up on them! Who are we if we do?

But little by little, we start to work for a new way of living, because the way we have been doing it is driving us completely crazy and we are sick with it, many of us. We can't even function in our day to day lives.

I crawled into Al-Anon one wonderful day. That was one of the very best days of my life. Oh, I didn't get it, what they were talking about there, but I kept coming back. I didn't know what else to do.

Over time, months and years, I started to hear that there IS a different way to live. And I started to work for it. forward...I work an Al-Anon program of recovery for myself, and that program has brought me immeasurable peace. My precious adult son---now 25---is still living on the street today. This time it's been since June 26.

But you know something? You can live with this. It may sound impossible to conceive today, but I am just like you, and your story is my story.

Please read the post on detachment, print it out and put it on your bathroom mirror and refrigerator. Go to an Al-Anon meeting. Keep going back for at least six meetings until you decide if Al-Anon is for you. Buy an Al-Anon book. Read it. Over and over again. Write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal. Every morning, write a gratitude list. Write five things down you are thankful for. Do it every day. Start taking care of yourself. Do nice and kind things for yourself. Make your life simpler. If you believe, pray. Ask your Higher Power (God for me) for help and support.

You can still love your son, and you can be kind and encouraging to him, as you start to detach, realize he is a grown man in the grip of a terrible disease, and you can start accepting his life, just as it is, today. Oh, I'm not saying you will like any of it, and deep down, you will never truly accept this life he is living, I don't believe, but you can walk toward acceptance and get a lot closer.

Because that is truly the only choice you have. You aren't going to change him. You aren't going to make him stop doing anything he wants to do one day sooner.

Letting him go is all you CAN do. I say these things with kindness and empathy to you, because i so understand where you are today. You will get better inch by inch, day by day, hour by hour, IF you work at it. It takes daily work. And you will backslide, and that is okay too. There is nothing harder than this.

Tonight, please know we are here for you. We respect your decisions and your choices, and you don't have to do anything you don't want to do---ever. We can share our experience, strength and hope. There is a lot of it.

Warm hugs. I will pray for you all, including your precious son.


Well-Known Member
HI there. COM said it all. You can not save your son nor is it a good idea to bail him out of trouble when he breaks the law. The fact is, we really don't know what our grown kids (men and women) do when they aren't with us. Things can seem all good and stuff goes on that we don't even know about. You can't blame anyone but your son for his behavior. It is not because of his friend. He would not have made friends with this man if he didn't feel a connection to him. Nobody forced him to a forge a friendship with a criminal. Your son's behavior is 100% on him and the more you get him out of trouble, the more he will feel that he is free to break the law because you will rescue him. I assume you are getting up there in age and would like a good and peaceful and fruitful retirement, not to blow all your money on your grown up son who makes poor choices. The money train (you) should stop today, in my opinion.; No bail. No other money. He is old enough to know the laws, to follow them and to face the music if he breaks the law. And you don't need to go broke over his horrible choices.

Your 14 year old child who needs you still wants your healthy and strong, not obsessing over your grown son who is flirting with jail. Often these criminal-type grown children suck the oxygen out of our lives to the point where our other loved ones get thrown aside. When you think about it, how unfair is that? I would not bring your older son back into the house for any reason, even if he has nowhere to go. You don't need that. Neither does your other child who tries so hard and does so well and needs a peaceful environment.

Some parents feel they have to support their grown children forever an d are still doing it at 80 while the child is 60 and still being abusive and an addict. Most of us here don't think that is a good life plan for anyone and you matter as much as your son does. Your son is old enough to go into combat for our country...many his age do. He is not that little baby and ten year old cheeky boy who snuggled with you. If he doesn't learn now that his bad behavior is his to own and nobody will help him out of it, he has no incentive to stop it and you will have no life.

Hugs for your hurting mommy heart. Please be good to yourself and go to Al-Anon or find a private therapist for YOU, not for your son. Shower yourself with love. This is the time to pamper and baby YOU...not your son. His life journey is his own, only he can write it. And you can write YOUR own and many of us have good lives even with struggling adult children.
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Well-Known Member
Do not feel bad if you have difficulty being kind to him right now. You have every right to be angry about your baby putting himself in this situation. It may be very difficult to keep the anger and the disappointment out of your voice when you talk to him. He needs to know that others are affected by his poor choices. The kindness comes as you detach from him and begin to see your life and his as being two separate lives. This is difficult and takes time and practice with much stumbling along the way. Al-Anon helps. Self reflection helps. Being kind to ourselves is essential.

Tired Mom

Thanks. Today at least I am done crying. For me it was like grieving for the death of him and all of the dreams we had for him. Its ironic but my husband pretty much detached from him when all of this happened a year ago but he still thinks our son will come back home. My husband has been annoyed about how upset I have been but the reason I am so upset is because in my heart I know he can never come home again and we may never see him again.

You know there was point when he was leaving the second time when I told him he pretty much had everything a car, free education, on his way ending the legal problems, free housing and why he would let anyone talk him into throwing it all away and when he looked at me I could actually see him pause and know that I was speaking the truth but I don't think his was pride would let him change his mind.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I'm sorry Tired Mom. This is a very, very difficult journey we are all on here. COM, MWM and Pasajes4 have given you wonderful, straightforward advice. Listen to them. We've all been in your shoes, we know how much it hurts. We know how hard it is. You have to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving, one inch sometimes at a time, but keep moving forward.

It will help you to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post. It will help a lot for you to seek out professional support, a 12 step group, families anonymous, some form of counseling where you receive understanding, empathy and the tools to learn how to detach. We all need a lot of help in doing that. All of this goes against our natural instincts to protect and nurture. So, we need help to learn how to respond differently.

Keep posting here, it is a blessing to find others who truly know how you are feeling because we've been there. Do at least one very kind thing for yourself each day, preferably more. Learn to focus on YOU, on what your needs and wants are. We become hyper vigilant in regards to our adult troubled kids needs and wants and often in the process, we forget about ours. It is very important that you shift that focus back to YOU.

Please put a signature at the bottom of your posts. You can do that by going up to the right hand corner here, clicking on your screen name, then clicking on signature, write it and remember to save it. That way we can recall your story and respond better. Thanks.

Addiction is a devastation for a family. I think you would be well served to seek out an al anon group, it will help you to cope and to begin to find your joy once again.

I'm glad you found us, stay connected, it helps a lot.


Well-Known Member

Your username says it all; we

My difficult child is 33. He was much loved and yet he threw it all away. My parents helped him with money and things long after husband and i stopped. My mom has said many times, Does he ever think about when he had a car, a place to stay, etc? I am not sure our difficult child's rationalize like that. It was not by their rules. My difficult child blames everybody else for his problems. Whatever the family did was never enough. He twists things around to make us the enemies.

Just, please, know there will always be hope. This is bigger than we can fix. I believe/trust/know that God has a plan and expects husband and me to trust. husband and i cling to that knowledge.

I am so very sorry you are living this...and totally understand your pain.

Please, please stay close to the forum. It was a huge help to husband and me....and will be for you, also.



one day at a time
he pretty much had everything a car, free education, on his way ending the legal problems, free housing and why he would let anyone talk him into throwing it all away and when he looked at me

Tired, that would be logical, and drug addiction, as I am sure you know, is anything but logical.

Last night, I had dinner with a good friend for her birthday. We had a very nice time. Her husband is an active alcoholic and has other addictions as well. They have been married for 25 years.

Their home is a cold tomb right now. He doesn't want to change and he is very angry with her. She is going to therapy and we talk. I have been able to share my experience, strength and hope.

Last night, she said, he will give up all of this, me, the family we have built with our three children, our life? That doesn't make any sense.

Addiction isn't logical. It doesn't make any sense. You can't problem-solve it, like we do the other problems in our lives.

They want their stuff more than they want anything else in the whole wide world, even though they still love us. I told her, somewhere underneath all of this, is the person you once knew, and that person loves you and has many good qualities.

But right now, he is in the grip, the fierce grip, of an awful, terrible, progressive disease. It doesn't stay the same. Untreated, it gets worse.

And all we can do is stand by, stand down, wait, keep quiet, focus on ourselves, let them go.....and watch. It is torture of the worst kind.

At some point, she is going to leave him. She isn't sure if she loves him anymore. The cold tomb has been present since before Christmas. They are barely going through the motions. It is utterly sad. It is such a waste. It is addiction.

I feel for us all, and I feel for them.

Their lives are in ruins, many of them, but still they keep on. This man, my friend's husband, is going to fall at some point. It is inevitable, unless he can start a program of recovery. He is a good man, and helps many people in his work, but the disease is the disease and it only gets worse.

Us----our lives are in ruins as well---as we track their lives. Once we start stopping that tracking, and stand on the curb, and sadly, terribly let them go on, down the road, watching as they walk away, leaving, moving down the awful road....and then we turn away, start walking in the other direction, down that same road, toward hope, toward rebuilding our own lives, toward making our day the very best it can be, healing, getting better, learning and doing new things, for ourselves....then we start to get better. We will turn and watch them get smaller and smaller, letting them go, and it is wrenching for us, but that is what we must do. That is our logical thing to do, and that logical thing is the hardest thing we have ever done or ever will do in our lives.

I can write that today, and feel sad, and not sit here sobbing. And that to me, is progress.

Wishing us all continued progress down the road of our own lives. With help and hard work, we can make progress.

Tired Mom

Thank you for your post childofmine. Reading your post makes me cry. I hope to get the point some day where thinking about the fact that there is nothing I can do to save my son from himself doesn't make me cry uncontrollably. I have looked into alanon there are meetings at the church where my son used to go to cubscouts. I know I need help because right now all I can think about is how much I want my son back. To know that he is safe. To know that he isn't on drugs doing something where he could potentially hurt someone else. For me there is no anger just intense sadness because I am almost certain there will be no happy ending.


Well-Known Member
Tired Mom,

we battle weary parents welcome you here with hugs and tears. But we also have hope for you that you will get better and feel stronger. YOu are in good company now. You are not alone.

when he looked at me I could actually see him pause and know that I was speaking the truth

I have seen that on my son's face as well...a moment of clarity, where the young man looking back at me is some one I know, some one I feel connected with, some one I can talk with...but it doesn't last. I know the ache in the heart that comes with seeing that look.

. I hope to get the point some day where thinking about the fact that there is nothing I can do to save my son from himself doesn't make me cry uncontrollably.

We have all been there. You can get better. It is true that you cannot save your son...funny you use that phrase, the single most useful thing I ever heard from a therapist (and it wasn't even my therapist, it was my sister's therapist, my sister reported the conversation to me ) was..."you cannot save your father."

That was such a blessing, a release for me. I have never forgotten it. CAuse he was right. We cannot save other people. YOu can't save your son...because if you could, he would for sure be saved by now, right???

But he can save himself when he is ready. That is a fact. And you can heal yourself and be ready to embrace what life brings you. Those are blessings to us.

all I can think about is how much I want my son back. To know that he is safe. To know that he isn't on drugs doing something where he could potentially hurt someone else.

Tired....listen to me now, and I speak gently and with cannot have those things right now. Yearning for things that cannot come to you is the path to despair and madness, whether those things are money, love, property, or the safety of our loved ones. You cannot control that path. Try to let it go. Try to not focus on actual thoughts...just let yourself feel the feelings of loss and grief and fear and (I presume) anger. Let yourself just sit still and feel them...don't give them a narrative, don't talk in your head, just breath and let the feelings be what they are. They will pass through you if you let them. They need to be expressed. And if you let them, you will be richer and wiser for the experience. They will go away, and they will come back, and when they come back, do it again...let them be what they are. Feel where they are located in your body, let them reside there..your chest? your throat? your stomach? let them be there and let them leave. Try to leave the story, the hopes, the regrets out of it. It is just a process. We try to run away from bad feelings, from terror and from is better to let them have their process. As Thich Nhat Hahn says...if we learn to suffer well we suffer less. There is no light without dark. You will be OK.

We welcome you.


Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Welcome, Tired.

To the good things others of us have shared, I would add that we do not know, when we become parents, what our journey with our child is going to entail. Addiction is an especially cruel loss, because we've made it through so many of the danger zones of raising children successfully that we literally never see this coming.

But it did come.

Here on the site, we are learning concrete ways to parent our addicted or otherwise self destructive children without losing our own sanity or self respect. These things that have happened to our kids, and to us, are some of the hardest things that could happen to anyone. There was a discussion here on the site once about whether losing a child could possibly be more painful than watching powerlessly while your child self destructs. One of the moms who had lost a child told us this: While your child is alive, there is hope.

I have never forgotten that.

My advice to you Tired is to learn all you can about addiction, about codependency and detachment. Learn ways to nurture and cherish yourself. Find outside support through Al Anon, NAMI, or private therapy. If you are married, take special care to protect your relationship to one another.

Many of us lose our marriages.

If your child continues on this path, if this is going to be the nature of your journey with him, you will need more strength, compassion, and courage than you knew you possessed. Nonetheless, this is your child. This is the nature of the journey you are on together.

The healthier you can keep yourself and your primary relationship, the more strength and endurance you will have.

There is nothing easy or simple, there is no right or wrong way, to survive loving someone determinedly following a self destructive path. When that person is your own child, the pain of it, the blame and sense of failure, are almost impossible to overcome.

I am so sorry this is happening to you, to your child, to your family.

Posting here helps so much.

I am glad you found us.



Active Member
Tired mom, I am sorry that you had to find this place but let me tell you, it is such a godsend to have this place to come.

We all have experienced heartbreak with our difficult children & the common factor is that it is not within our control. My difficult child has a mental illness, not an addiction, but the end result is very much the same, in that no one can control this nightmare except the difficult child.

Letting go is so hard, but letting go doesn't mean you have to let go of your love for your child. Rather, you are letting go of the things you cannot change.It means you are seeking serenity.

Let us know how you're doing. You have found a group that truly empathizes & cares.