Feeling alone......need support


New Member
Hi again: It is so confusing with difficult child 28. I posted on other threads about his history: ODD NLD executive functioning problems had IEP but did not do well after grade 6, got GED, substance abuse: many substances marijuana meth alcohol benzos and major heroin addiction. He has not used heroin in 5 years. Some problems with alcohol but has decreased consumption dramatically in last 2 years.
Has been living with me for the past two years trying to go to community college while working and giving me money for rent. He has done well in some courses getting As. In others like some advanced math he has taken twice and been unable to pass. He has paid for these courses on holis own. He has major strengths and weaknesses in executive functioning. I could never figure it out completely and had to give up focusing on it after he left high school.
I talked with him about his disability and maybe he has to look at other ways in goal of getting job that supports him. His jobs are very entry level and he does work is on time etc. He came home yesterday and stated he changed his major to something that does not require the intense math. He signed up for 2 courses and is going to get financial aid for the following semester if he does well this semester.
It sounds good.....but I am tired of this so dont know what to do or how to feel about it.
I dont want him living with me but if this works he will be on a better path.
I was problem wrong in letting him move in with me. It has not been easy. The plan was that he would work contribute and go to school as he would not be able to do this living by himself. He had a few roomates after being in treatment for his substance abuse for over a year. But it ended badly when his last roommate left without notice and he could no longer stay in the apartment due to lack of funds and difficulty in finding another suitable roommate.
He is excited. I am just afraid and tired to hope that this will work. Again I dont want him to live with me too much longer but if this works for him it will increase his independence and self esteem.
If not we will be back to the same old stuff and I will problem have to force him to leave. I hope that my ramblings make sense.
Please give me some feedback. thank you.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Good Morning, Plymouth Mom

It is hard to be brutally honest with the kids, but it is better for us and for them if the rules and consequences are crystal clear. It is hard for me to be clear, too. But when I just say it, then at least everything is out in the open and can be dealt with. Enabling is such an ugly place to be in our relationships with our troubled kids.

So, a kind of guide word for us is: I don't get to enable.

If the situation slips from the child doing well to the child asking for money, that is when we have to have the conversation with them about enabling, again. We have to be very clear about why we are not going to do it. (Because enabling turns our children into manipulative beggars. If the story gets bad enough, we will give them money. So, the story always gets bad enough. The only way to stop that wicked circle is to stop the money flow. No matter what, no money we have not agreed to ahead of time. No matter what.) We have to be clear about what we see, and we have to be clear about what the consequences are for the kids when we see our situations with them slipping into enabling.

When we begin enabling, it is because the kids are not doing what they convinced us they needed our help to do.

So we have to stop helping.

I don't think there is another way out of the circle.

We have to stop.

Enabling is as destructive of us and of our relationships to our kids, and of our kids' capacity for self respect, as anything we might consciously do to harm them. That is just the brutal truth of addiction.

COM names addiction a terminal illness.

We went through something similar with our child last time she was home. It was awkward but when we just spoke the words we knew we were thinking but felt like bad parents to say, the situation was clarified for all of us.

And our child stood up.

It helps us to see the benefit to the kids in taking responsibility for themselves. Addiction is a monstrous thing. While there is a place for empathy, and a place for compassion, there is no place for pity when we have chosen to help someone battling addiction. Unless they can respect themselves, they will not be able to beat the addiction.

They have to do it on their own in order to respect themselves. If they are blaming us or anyone else for their situations, they are not going to be strong enough to beat the addiction.

The most important thing I said when we were stepping out of the circle of enabling was: NO MONEY

The second thing was: NO YOU CANNOT TALK TO ME LIKE THAT

The third thing was: NO YOU CANNOT MOVE HOME

We all come to this kind of strength in our own time, plymouthmom. There is no right or wrong way to do this. There is, for sure, no easy way to do this.

It helped me to acknowledge that we are in hard places when someone we love is battling, or has succumbed to, an addiction.

There is not one thing easy about it.

But I do know that as we learn here on the site from one another, we find a place to stand. We learn how to define ourselves and our situations. We learn the words to say.

You are here with us, now.

We have been where you are this morning, and we have come through it. We are learning to love our troubled kids where they are, and we are learning how to be tough when that is what they require.

We are learning not to judge them or ourselves for what has happened to all of us.

Then, we are learning how to love ourselves again, in spite of what has happened to our families.

It takes a long time, to do all those things.

But we are doing it plymouthmom, and you will be able to do it, too.

I am sorry this happened to your family, and to mine.



New Member
Thank you. I guess that is why I dont feel good about this. I dont want to enable anymore and when he lives with me it makes it harder. I guess in a way this is progress. Before I would get very defensive about it. It must have been because I still felt the need. I no longer do. This has been the one positive of having him live with me again. It got me to see the cycle clearly anf there has been some change.
I dont want to enable begging. I know exactly what you mean.


New Member
The loving myself again is hard. I dont have much in my life. I am divorced have been for 20 years. Have been trying to get more friends but it has been difficult. I have my own business so I end up working alot. After all the chaos it just feels lonely.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I think it is the chaos that makes us lonely, that takes our energy and leaves us feeling separate. There is nothing quite like loving a child who is self-destructing. As you are here with us longer, you will read all the things we think about how, though we understand, of course we do, that our children are adults...we see them as toddlers, or as infants, or as the adolescents they were before the drug use began and they fell and we never saw them again.

We are coming through very hard times, plymouthmom. Our friends and family who are fortunate never to have been in our shoes have no idea how to help us or our kids. We really are most alone. We really are lonely, because there is no one who understands where we have been or what we have been through.

And always, they see our children as adults; we cannot help but see the child who was ours.

We do understand, here on the site, plymothmom.

That will help you. Just to know other moms and dads, decent people every one of us, people who dreamed and worked hard and loved our kids to distraction find ourselves in the same, forlorn place...that helped me to stop judging myself so harshly. I think it will help you, too.

Others of us will be along, shortly.



one day at a time
Hi Plymouth mom, I'm glad you are here.

I know you are trying to help your son and it sounds like he is trying to help himself.

Is there a timeline for his getting finished with school and any kind of pathway to a job he will qualify for because of the school after that?

If it's all fuzzy what about having a talk and establishing even clearer boundaries with him? Boundaries about helping around the house, even paying a very small amount of rent? The point of that is not the money itself but what is signifies for you and for him: an assumption that he needs to pay his own way in life either at your house or somewhere else.

It is so much harder when they are Right There in front of us every single day. I really need time and space from both my sons and I am sure they do as well from me.

If you can start having "how are we doing here together" conversations periodically--for you and for him--that might keep the air clearer.

Then start adding some things to YOUR life, like perhaps exercising with a group, getting into a book club, whatever appeals to YOU to build some new relationships and friends about things you are interested in. Just do one thing different.

I have my own business too and have for 26 years. I work out of my home and I can start to feel very isolated sometimes if I don't plan to do some things to get me out and about. Almost every weekday, I leave the house to exercise with a group about 6 am. It is a really good start to the day and gets me going.

Keep us posted. We care and we understand.


New Member
Thank you. I really want to move on and have a life. I know that it may be getting my son out of my life for a time or longer.
When he was 19 I had to have him leave on a few occasions and then for 2 years he was in another state. It did make it easier for him not to be around but every once in awhile I would get pains in my heart and feel dread. I knew it was about him. All I could do was pray. This may need to happen again. But I need to get stronger first.


New Member
Thanks childofmine. I will have a talk with him and look st what I can put in my day to feel like I am getting a life. I like the walking with a group suggestion.


Hi PM and welcome.
It does sound like your son is trying. And for him to be off heroin for 5 years is nothing short of a miracle .
You said he would not be able to go to college if he were on his own. I think him living with you while he goes to school is an important investment in his future...AS LONG as he is serious about going. It sounds like he is recognizing his weaknesses, ie. changing his major to something more realistically attainable. But I do agree with the others in that you need an agreement with him regarding helping with expences, however little. And chores like yard work or some of the housework. AND you have to take care of yourself. Even though you have limited time off, do something to get out of the house. Join a 24 hour gym, go see a movie. Go shopping. Just because he is there doesn't mean he has the be the center of your attention. It will be better for you both if you have your own interests, your own life. Also sometimes I think when our kids see us strong and doing well it can help them to try to do the same thing. I know it was that way for my son and I.
I know I am just reiterating what everyone else has said but I wanted you to know I am here for you, too. Please keep coming back. I am new here too and the support and wisdom here is phenomenal. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.


New Member
I am amazed at how much better I feel after joining and getting support from this site. My 28 y/o son was always a Difficult Child but the substances and doing poorly in school started around 13. Through the years I have tried a variety of things to help me get through it. Used to exercise much more but the battle with him wore me out, completed grad school, went to Alanon had a therapist on and off sometimes changed them went to spiritual groups joined other online sites and for awhile was part of a parents supporting parents weekly support group for moms of heroin addicts. It all helped but reading on this site over and over again about not enabling and letting go really helped. I think it is the repetition of reading it.
All of your suggestions are great. Yes my son does contribute financially and has for sometime. Sometimes it is a struggle with certain chores but other times he does a good job. He mows the lawn sorts the recyclables and recently trimed all the hedges. Of course I would like it done more often. I believe he does it every 3 weeks so it starts to look overgrown, BUT BEFORE HE WOULD NOT DO IT AT ALL. His attitude seems a little bit better. Last summer he would set aside some time to go hiking in the state forest near the house and that helped alot. He has been starting up with that again. So I know you know how it is. He is doing ok right now but usually has a difficult time with maintaining. I will have to observe and see how it goes.
Also will think about a plan of how long he can stay with me if he is able to pass his college courses. thank you


one day at a time
Sounds like there is progress. I think we have to learn to recognize and value progress when it happens and not brush past it waiting for perfection. Nobody is perfect and people just aren't going to live their lives like we want them to and that is one key thing we have to accept.

One thing I am learning is just to be grateful for small things right now. To recognize them, name them and be thankful for them.

I also am being reminded in so many ways that other people can handle things just fine without me being involved at all. I can just stand back and stand down and watch the amazing things people do all on their own (said a bit tongue in cheek but not much!!). It is very humbling.

You have decided to help someone who is showing definite progress. I know that can be a slippery slope but trust what you see. It is all about action. Words mean little and that is something else I am continually being reminded of. The less I say, the better.

Sunday we will take Difficult Child and easy child out for the afternoon to the lake with the jetskis for PCs birthday. He will be 26 Monday. I just want to enjoy the time without any expectations at all.


Well-Known Member
Hi, Plymouth


So, what exactly is your main worry right now, with your son? Other than the obvious, he's 28yo and still living with you.

But other than that, what would make the situation better?

It sounds like he is moving forward with his life and making positive changes.

Is it that he seems to be spinning his wheels, never making real progress in his quest for independence and a 'normal' life?

Maybe you could sit with him and come up with a plan, a timeline, goals etc. for the near future.

Also, set some clear boundaries and expectations for what he needs to be contributing to the household.


Active Member
Hello and welcome. I am dealing with your problem times two. You can read my signature and pretty much figure out why.
I find the difference between helping them get their lives on track and enabling to be a slippery slope-- I'm constantly re-evaluating how not to fall off of that slope.
Like COM said, having no expectations in order to enjoy the baby steps of progress is really all we can do, besides pray.


New Member
Hi Thanks for checking in Cedar. What would make it better is if Difficult Child helped out more around the house. Actually before his recent change I was going to give him an eviction notice. But these last few weeks he really has been making some positive changes. For example yesterday I came home to find he had put the garbage barrel in the shed, Taken out some trash and put a new liner in the kitchen bag. He has never done that before without some kind of opposition. Or he will say that he will do it later and you know how that can go. In other words his ODD traits were still alive and well. The point is I didnt ask him to do those things he did them without being asked, Also for the last few weeks no opposition. He has been pleasant. For him that is a miracle. I hope it continues. I will keep you posted.