Enabling Gone to Far


I know what I have to do but I guess I am just looking for confirmation that I am on the right track. I have a 25 year old son who lives at home and he on methadone for herion addiction. He lost his job and I pay for the methadone. He has abused drugs since he was 15 years old and continues to do so while even on the methadone. It is so hard to admit this but I am scared of him. He begs me for money and if I do not give it to him he becomes violent and destroys things in my house. He cusses me, calls me names, and says he wishes I would die. He says I am the reason he is like he is. I realize there is a little truth there. I have enabled him for the last ten years. I am ashamed to admit, this has been going on for that long. He admitted the other day that he is taking methadone and shooting cocaine. I am scared of him but I still love him and want to help him! My adult daughter told me he and I are toxic to each other and I realize that is so true. I can not help him .

I guess are mothers have guilt but my guilt is that I have enabled him for so long that he does not believe any thing I say because I do not follow through. I know that I have no other choice. I know that I must call the police the next time he demands money, I do not give him and he becomes violent.

My question is: Do I want for it to happen or do I do something before it happens. Please do not say just tell him no when he asks for money, that does not do anything. He will not stop until I give him or call the police. And I am not sure he will stop then!


Well-Known Member
If he gets violent, at least in my mind, even if he's only sometimes violent, he lives somewhere else. That is my hard and fast house rule. The police are called and the adult child, who knows better, finds his own lodgings. Since he is still using drugs, along with methadone, it's not working. If it were me, I'm not rich and I'd stop paying. For all your know he's selling it to other users. He is not showing a desire to change his life and is blaming you for his own actions. He is 25 and if you blot out the face of that little boy who adored you, you see a grown man who is kind of scary. All drug users can be a threat for violence.

I would force him to leave. Demanding money for you wit the threat of hurting you if you don't fork it up is grounds for not only getting him out but getting a restraining order. Don't worry aoubt what you did in the past. The past is t he past. Today is the first day of the rest of your life and all that. When you put him out, change your locks and, just in case he breaks in, get a videocamera and hide all your valuables including bank and other financial documents in a locked firebox.. Carry the key with you.

If you wait for something to happen, somebody may end up in the hospital. Why wait? He has already done enough to be told to find his own place or not find his own place...but he can't live with you in peace. Give him a list of homeless shelters, places for the homeless to get food (there are many), maybe mental health centers that are low cost and then you have done all you can. Your old way did not help him. In my opinion it's time to try something new. It still may not work, but youu will be safe.

Then seek therapy for YOU, either Al-Anon or a good private therapist and learn how to be good to yourself. Chances are you have spent so much time on this adult kid t hat you have neglected yourself. YOU matter and it's time to be good to you. But getting hands on, real life help is very helpful for many of us...to keep us standing strong and to teach us coping skills.

When your son calls or texts, don't answer until things die down and don't give into emotional blackmail. If he says "I'll kill myself" instantly all 911. This is a serious threat and should be handled by a professional. My guess is if you keep calling 911, he'll stop saying he'll kill himself. It is often used for manipulation.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Hi Wendy,
First, it is not your fault that your son is a drug addict. Like SWOT said, you didn't stick the needle in his arm.

Yes, you have enabled him too long. This is not uncommon, you did this out of love in the beginning because you wanted to help him but over time it changed and now you do it out of fear.

You have taken a very important step, you realize that it's not working and something needs to change.

Your safety in your own home is top priority. If it were me I would contact the police right away and get an order of protection. Of course this is just a piece of paper but it's part of the process to start documenting your son's abusive behavior towards you. You need to be prepared, is there a room in your house that you can lock yourself in? You know your son and you know when he will be set off, go into a room you can lock yourself in, make sure you have your cell phone and call 911 and tell them you are in fear for your life, that your son is a violent drug addict. If you don't have room you can go to get out of the house get in your car and lock the doors. I would also keep a can of pepper spray with me. Yes, he's your son but if he's violent you have to protect yourself.

You need to change the locks on your house.

Please do not say just tell him no when he asks for money, that does not do anything.
You may not think saying no does anything but it does. It gives you the power. I know it may not feel like it but it does. Your son is using fear and intimidation to control you. You can't change your son but you can change yourself and how you respond to your son.

I had to call the police on my son more than a few times. It's not something a parent wants to do but when you are in fear for your safety you have to do it.

Wendy, are you married? Is there anyone else besides your out of control son that lives with you?

I highly suggest you start attending Al-Anon meetings. You will find some wonderful support there.

You are not alone!! We are here for you.

Please keep posting and let us know how things are going.

Stay strong Wendy, you can do this!!

((HUGS)) to you.......................


Thank you for your replies. My son and I are the only ones living in the house. My daughter will not even come to my house because of his actions. In order to see my grandchildren, I go there to visit!


Well-Known Member
First, welcome. I'm so sorry you have to be here.

You do need to worry about your safety, since you say he's been violent when you refuse money, I am pretty sure he'll be violent when you kick him out. You need to have someone with you when you tell him to go. You need to change the locks. Don't just take the key...he could have made a spare.

If you are concerned enough about your safety, you might consider going to court an getting a protection order and then having the police there to serve him with it at the same time he's put out. I know that sounds extreme, but I don't know how "violent" is "violent". If you are afraid, listen to your gut. You would not only be protecting yourself, but him. Someday, when he's in his right mind, he would feel horrible if he hurt you.


one day at a time
Hi Wendy and Welcome.

I'm so sorry. My son was on drugs too, and completely out of control. I tried to let him live here, and did a lot of talking, begging, crying, making agreements, writing contracts. On and on. None of it changed a thing. His behavior ramped up and up and he would not go by any "house rules" so I told him he had to leave.

Now, fast forward, roughly five years later, he is doing so much better. There is been a lot of pain, despair, sadness, grief, fear in between. He has been in jail multiple times and homeless multiple times. I had to "let" that happen, in the end; at first I intervened a lot by hiring lawyers, paying for bail, arranging for him to stay in other places.

Finally, I had to stop doing that too. This journey is a step by step process, and it is very hard for mothers and sons. I believe that is the hardest relationship when there is addiction---the mother and the son. I don't know why but I believe it's true.

I think you are getting some good thinking here already. When your son is threatening you in your own home, that can't continue. That is a deal breaker. There is a lot of gray area in a lot of the path of stopping enabling, but that isn't. Your safety and your having a sanctuary---your own home--where you can rest and have peace, quiet, contentment, serenity---that has to be #1.

I know how very hard it is to tell your own son to leave, but at times, it is a necessary step.

Your son will continue doing what he does...until he gets sick and tired of it...so sick and tired that he is motivated...within himself...to stop.

I have called the police multiple times on my son. One Thanksgiving he broke into our garage, my parents were here from out of town, and when I found out he was here, asleep out there, I went to the garage, and tears streaming down my face, I told him he had to leave. He was exhausted and high and out of it, but I said you can't stay here.

Then I called the police and asked them if they could help me. They came, and they spent a lot of time talking to him. They even offered to videotape him and show the tape back to him so he could see what they saw in his appearance and his demeanor. Of course he would have none of that.

I love my son very much and today we have a great relationship, but I had to get very clear and very strong about what I was going to do and not do. It is so hard, Wendy. Believe me, I know that.

But I believe this will all of my heart: If we can get out of the way...then they have a chance to change.
As long as we continue to catch them when they fall...over and over and over...the message is they don't have to live life on life's terms...themselves.

How do you do this? It's one thing to think it...and believe it...and it's another thing to do it. You have to work on yourself, get a lot of good support and take better care of yourself (rest, exercise, healthy distractions, etc.) because this is a hard road. We have to make decisions and do things that most parents never would dream of considering doing.

We don't want to, either, but nothing else we have ever tried has worked, and it is killing us...and them.

We can help you here. We can offer up a lot of support, kindness and specific ideas and steps you can take. Books you can read. Places you can go, like Al-Anon, to help you reinforce your new ways of thinking, and get support from people who have been right where you are, right now. This site is a wealth of recovery information.

We have to recover from enabling, just like they have to recover from addiction. It's the same path, that we both have to take, and it's hard and filled with relapse.

You didn't cause this, Wendy, you can't control it, and you can't cure it. Those are the Three Cs of Al-Anon, and they are the truth.

We are glad you are here, and we are here for you. Warm hugs today. Let us know what you need and how we can help.