Focus on Me


I need to do things differently or I am not going to make it.

I am a senior - My grandson and other relatives are alcoholics.

I have been dealing with the substance abuse rescue/recovery/relapse issue since he was 18 - it has now been several years.

He is my most cherished relative (so when I let him go, I really have no family, per se).

He has been in jail, rehabs, hospital . . . each time I have hope - of course - when people go to rehab you focus on positive.

He is constantly relapsing.

I have habits that I need to change - I debate not doing certain things because I wonder if it is denial not to see when he has last logged into FB, for example (I do that to note patterns and to see if he is alive).

If I don't check, then I think I am going into denial . . .

I become obsessed with him - how he is doing - is he sober? Is he eating? Will he live? Where is he?

I don't have much of a life outside of him - I have things I like to do - but not much support.

I went away this weekend, and it was "okay" - I am glad to be home with my dog.

I am a writer and am working on my web site, but when I am worried, I can't focus.

It seems like there is always a great mystery - right now I noticed his skewed patterns and asked him about it via text and he responded - but his responses made me think he relapsed. Did he or didn't he? Will he lose his job? Where is he staying? I can't seem to NOT care or wonder what is going on with him.

I will review the detachment piece, but I really need a coach to live with me 24/7 and talk to me.

I am very sick of this but don't know how to create a different life for myself because these are my relatives - I don't have other ones - just these dysfunctional people.

Any ideas how I can go on and not care so much if he lives or dies (basically, that is it at the core)?


Well-Known Member
Do you have any other grandchildren?

No, we still care very much whether our loved one lives or dies, but we have come to the conclusion that we can't control them or their actions and many of us hand them over to our Higher Power.


No. I have no other grandchildren. This is it.

If I "care," then I am sucked into his drama. I DO care - and for that reason, cannot escape this hell.

I know I can't control him.

My big problem is being attached to hope when he is in "recovery." He comes around and everything is peachy - and I, of course, want to believe that and that "this time it will be different." I don't know how to have a relationship with him, even when he is "well," because it doesn't last.

The time before this one - I had good boundaries - didn't let him in the house, etc., but I was softening - went out to lunch with him, etc.

I feel this is Hell!

I don't know what I did to deserve to have this in my life (and yes, that is my belief).

He was a good kid - I think he suffered lots of abuse and he is sensitive - as a child I was always "there" for him, because other people were not. So there is a bond.

It's just disappointing when people refuse to learn from mistakes and do the same things over and over (talking about him, but realize also me because I get hopeful).

Roller coaster


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

Have you ever gotten therapy for yourself? Through therapy I have learned to establish firm boundaries with our son.

He is one of my favorite people on this earth. I love him very much and I care about what happens to him very much.

You are confusing loving/caring with being in a constant state of worry about your grandson and IF he will make the right decisions. He is very young. Even younger than my son.

I finally realized that me suffering or worrying about what my son was going to do was NOT helping him one bit. It was not helping me at all. I cannot control the outcome. I cannot control his choices. I cannot control his life.

Instead I decided to embrace the good in my life. I am fortunate to have a wonderful husband and friendships that I cherish. But if I did not have these things I certainly would be looking for happiness and meaning in MY life.

It may seem cold but it isn't. It's survival. It's letting go of things we cannot control. We can only control our own lives.

I do not have a relationship with my son right now because I am done suffering. I do not know how this all will end. I do pray daily that he will stay on a good path and be the man that God intended for him to be and the man that I KNOW he can be. I just cannot control any of it.

I do hope that you think about therapy or reaching out in some way so you can put all of this into perspective and find happiness and peace for yourself.


Yes. I have been in therapy - hasn't really helped that much.

I know worry is not productive - it's not a rational thing to worry.

Yes, if my life were more interesting, it would be helpful, but I haven't figured out how to make it more interesting. I am introverted and not a fan of "people," per se! Prefer dogs :)

Anyway . . .


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Maybe you need to find another therapist? Not all therapists will click with you.

You have to really want to change how you let other people make you feel; your grandson, your daughter. You have to be open to change.

If you don't want to change that for yourself then nothing will help really.

If this is all making you so unhappy you need to find a way to detach from it.

Again, it doesn't mean you don't love them or care about them but you have to love yourself too.

You need to develop self-compassion!


Active Member
Im in the same boat but my son in prison again now. I just started therapy and im working on a life for me, its always been about hubby or sons problems. If your couseling not working get a new one. I know about worrying alot. Ive started to excise which helps maybe walk with dogs, maybe get a baby pup to love, im assuming your retired. My goal is to get a life. Its been 15yrs of f bs with son. Im ready to live but need help. Back way off. Good luck


Thanks for the encouragement. Yes, I wish I could find a good therapist who doesn't pathologize - I basically need a witness and someone to support me in detaching and creating a new life, despite the crazy/cruel/dysfunctional family members!


Well-Known Member
Because in many posts you sort of seem to want to still be this way. Or at least nothing you tried so far has managed to resonate. I just wondered if you would prefer to stay engaged or feel somehow that your engagement helps. Curiousity only from me and no disrespect or criticism meant. I hated living through my son so was so uncomfortable for me...that I HAD to detach...but we are not all the same. In my case I made it happen and now it is second nature. I no longer allow him to bother me much.. he will not change either way.


You perceive that I "want to be this way?" What way is that?

Wow. The judgement is harsh and so far from the truth.

Yes, I have tried many, many things . . . My story is complicated and I have just given a bird's eye view of it.

I don't like being judged (I'm sure most don't). I do want support and feel this forum is very supportive.

I am happy for you that all turned out well in your family - you are right: We are all different.


Well-Known Member
I didnt mean that. I meant you feel to me as if you would feel guilty if you disengaged. Which is common at first. Why do you think that is a judgmemt? Many of us start out unable to go forward. It took me a long time, but my son was up to his tricks very young and I actually was in a psychiatric hospital three times for severe suicodal depression, once for ten weeks (when they used to let you stay in until you were better). This hospitalization was not about my son but I knew that if I kept on the way I had, I could end up back there and it WOULD be about my son.

Nobody here has a pretty story. You are older, like me. I would like you to enjoy your golden years without the stress...
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Ha ha . . . yes, I am too soft-hearted and empathic, so feel his pain . . . not good.

And I work on disengaging but get sucked in when he is sober and making plans for his future - he has such potential and talks a great game . . .it's just too much.

I believe in reincarnation, so I also believe that I somehow "signed up" for this - but I get resentful because I feel I "didn't sign up for this" - my ego thinks that I am just an unlucky victim.


Well-Known Member
Ha! I believe in reincarnation too. I also believe we choose our family in each life to learn lessons. I am very much a believer in the spirit world...i feel it has been proven to me many times. :)

You ever listen to Dr. Wayne Dyer on YouTube? He has many great books too. Amazing man and somebody who I use a lot to learn how to live in my higher self. My ego doesnt yap to me as much as it used to.

I felt like a victim for much of my life. I had a horrible family of origin, except for my brother. I had to learn to accept it, realize they are just people and it doesnt mean I am no good if they didnt like me, and move on. I think that I chose my family to teach me compassion and to reach out to others who feel unloved. Others have always tended to lay their problems at my feet and I am apparently pretty good at helping them feel better. This happens repeatedly to me...and I try very hard to say the right things. I dont always :) but I do try.

But I shall find out more when I pass.
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On that note, I sometimes think of him as a "Trickster" - purposely messing with me to make me stronger or learn some lesson . . . It helps me to elevate all of it to a spiritual dimension - otherwise, it all just sucks.


Seek, I totally feel your pain! I am working on this myself and it is beyond difficult, the hardest thing I've ever tried to do. Sending big hugs and lots of love your way.


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

Really none of us are judgmental on this forum even though it may sometimes sound that way.

What is done is more of a challenge to make you/us take a hard look at yourself and how you really want to live your life!

I truly believe that happiness is a choice that each and every one of us makes every day in our lives.

How much work is one really ready to do to find the happiness and peace that they desire and deserve?