Gradually stopping enabling

I haven’t posted as much this last week as I felt embarrassed at how much we help our son, I really admire how strong some people are on here and I feel that when it comes to my son, I feel very weak.

My son’s life is more stable this week as he is now in a rented flat as opposed to being completely homeless. Within 2 days of moving in, he was beaten up while walking out of his door - a case of mistaken identity - his attacker apparently felt bad about it and gave him some items of furniture and they “did a few lines together”!! (God give me strength).

My son got his benefits paid and bought trainers but blew a lot on expensive ornaments and pictures for his flat, he has no concept of budgeting and prioritising money. Last night, he had 3 friends round (his friends take advantage of him and he wasn’t going to tell them where he lived), his benefits are all gone - my guess is that he provided the cocaine for them last night.

We had been giving my son a bit of money each day for food, bus fare etc but have ended up getting food on top of that. I feel we should stop the money . We have decided that we will still provide food for now, he was given a microwave so he can re-heat meals. The money has to stop or he will never learn to budget.

My fears are that if we don’t give the money, he will become more involved in crime - but he was involved in stealing when he was getting money anyway. I spent an afternoon as his appropriate adult last week while he was interviewed by the the police about theft from a car.

I also fear he may come round here and demand money - we have a restraining order so would have to call the police but I have horrible memories of him coming round when we first put him out and police dogs etc being in our back garden and four police vans on the front - we live in a quiet street where everyone knows everyone and nothing ever happens so it was horribly embarrassing.

He has threatened me before with smashing all of my conservatory windows or burgling my house and these threats are always in the back of my mind.

Also, my husband goes to see him and take his food. My son can be so embarrassing and abusive that I worry that my husband will be put through that. I know the answer is for my husband not to go but we both worry about my son managing and really he should be in supported accommodation in our opinion but is still being assessed for this.
How old is your son? Because he has no concept of money, do you think he could be bipolar?

Crayola13 - He is 20. He doesn’t have bi polar but he is diagnosed with ADHD and mild autism. It’s drug use that is his main problem though and there have been many difficulties since he started using drugs at the age of 16.


Well-Known Member
Most drug addicts have morey for one thing. Drugs. That is how they spend their money. They budget their drug money well and always make sure they have enough for that. Any cash we give them probably is spent on that.

When my daughter took cocaine and meth she was not hungry and would not have spent much on food. She would hog down a Snickers for lunch. She was skinnier than snot and had access to our food while living with us. But she skipped our meals.

You know my views on momma interference with a drug addict so I will not go there again. I do think YOU need to take better care of YOU and get therapy or a twelve step group or anything that will ground you and make you realize how precious and important YOU are. Do you love yourself?

Your husband needs help as much as you. Adult parent verbal and physical abuse is domestic violence. It is good to not allow our adults to have two year old tantrums especially in public as they loudly bash and demean us. Would you have let him hit you and call you stupid idiot at age two in a store? At home? Why would your husband allow this now?What does your son learn? That his father is not a person he needs to respect? That his dad is nothing but a wussy money machine for him to verbally beat up?

Try to have a peaceful day.
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SWOT - Thank you for your reply.

I do need to look after myself more, I agree and plan to see a therapist and attend a nar-Anon group when I can. I have never put myself first in life, I’ve thought about this a lot recently as I’ve been reading up on things and it’s hard to get out of that mind-set.

My husband does need help too, he is a good man though and we are trying to do this together step by step.

It takes a lot to post on here even though it is anonymous, I still feel completely embarrassed by how I must come across. As I said at the start, I didn’t post this week as I did feel so weak. I’m sure neither me or my husband appear anywhere near this wussy in real life.

We have come a long long way in the past 9 months and it’s truly been the worst thing I’ve been through.

I’m really open and baring my weaknesses and my husband’s as the support on here is incredible. I honestly am trying but the anxiety overwhelms me daily. I want to be stronger and I’m working on it every day.


Well-Known Member
Aw, hon. You are no different than all of us when we first came here. Yes me too. I bought everything my daughter said about how she was only using pot, how she was "holding it for a friend", how she quit (yeah, suuuuuure) and blah blah blah. It was worse with Bart. Looking back he is much better than he was. We get along now, but he was scary once, holed up in his room, door locked, threatening, porn on computer etc. It took forever before he finally left and that was to hotels until Dad moved up to area to take him in. I took him meals at the hotel all the time. He wasn't a drug addict or user, just....I am not sure. Difficult and had mental illness.

It is not easy to do this. It is a learning curve. Do not feel bad. That is not my purpose. If we were not all softhearted we would have been able to toss our kids out of our lives with no thoughts or guilt. My mom did it to me....

I just hope you get real time help for this journey. That helps many of us on this ugly trip.

I still stand by no cash. He will get into illegal stuff whether or not you give him cash. My daughter was lucky she never got arrested. Drugs are expensive and what drug addicts use our money for. Buy the item, don't give cash.

They sell computers, phones even cars for drugs then claim they were stolen. An old drug trick. Beware. Buy him a bus pass.

Love and hugs
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Thanks so much SWOT. You have come a very long way. I admire your strength and really hope I can be as strong as you some day. Little by little I am determined to make it.


Well-Known Member
Hi GS,

Glad your son has gotten a place to stay.

Are there any sources of food for your son, other than you giving him money?

Is there a way to start slowly transitioning him to those other resources?

You are doing well.

We all have been in your shoes, to one extent or another.

Hi AC,

Yes, I was ordering him takeaways at night and his dad was giving him a food bag during the day containing sandwiches etc.

The takeaways are costly though so I have cut right down on ordering them. Instead, now that he has a microwave, his dad is dropping off a meal I’ve prepared that can be heated for the evening. If it’s a good day (if he’s being pleasant), his dad has sometimes taken him for a McDonalds too.

I rarely see him although we speak daily on the phone. He manipulates me when I see him and usually manages to get money from me so his dad has said that he will usually visit instead as he can’t do that to his dad like he can to me. That tends to be where the verbal aggression comes from - if he wants money and can’t get it.


Well-Known Member
I was thinking of something like “food stamps” from the government he may qualify for, or food pantries, soup kitchens, churches or other charities.

Some source other than you and your hubby?
AC - there is a food bank here that he would probably qualify for. He did go when we first put him out and he was staying with a friend.

It is an option if he continues to waste all his money and withdrawing our food supply would probably be the next step I need to take. I’ll continue to supply food until his next benefits are due then if the cash gets wasted, we may withdraw the food.

I struggle to do it all at once and that’s why I’m focussing on withdrawing the money at the moment. It’s what I can cope with and if he is getting food, I think it’s completely reasonable that I should not supply the money.

Here I am, still justifying I’m doing the right thing in my own head
Thanks AC.

Just received a phone call from my son. The friends who stayed there last night won’t leave and he wants me to drive there and give them a lift home. He said he’s scared they will do something and get him evicted. I knew this would happen, they will use his flat whenever they please now. I told him to say he was living with an uncle to prevent this.

He’s also asking me to pay their bus fare if I won’t go up there.

I’ve said no to everything and I feel so mean as he is vulnerable but I don’t trust him either and he has asked for a small amount of money too.

Feeling so anxious.


Well-Known Member
in my opinion skip any cash to him. Think of it as drug money. He is still using. He will pile on the reasons he or "friends" need money. It is what they do.

I would not want those thugs in my car with me but if you arent scared, drive them. These are drug addicts. Money means drug deals. And if you saw a drug house (you can on You Tube) it will scare you out of giving him a dime. They accept cash only and are gangbangers, convicts sometimes murderers at least in the U.S. Nice guys don't make drugs their livlihood. The less cash and valuables your son has, the less he can buy, perhaps the less he will visit a drug house

My daughter p**** o*****d some drug dealers. We sent her out of the state but she cooperated and told nobody where she was and that was part of her quitting. They scared her. And they had assaulted her in a park over a deal and she didn't tell us. It's a bad life. We need to not add to it.


Well-Known Member
How would you give them money for buse fare? Does he want you to come to his place and hand out cash to his adult buddies, or what?

The situation is sad, but you shouldn’t have to spend your day running around catering to a bunch of adult men.

Do what you think is best, but handing them cash probably means handing them drugs.

Think about turning the phone off and getting a break from it all.
SWOT and AC - I sat it out and did nothing. The “ friends” have left now. I’m not afraid of them but I don’t like them and don’t want to drive 5 miles across the city and 5 miles back as a favour for people I don’t like. My son was probably just saying they wouldn’t leave as a way to get them a lift home, in hindsight I think this was probably the case. He knows how to raise my anxiety.


Active Member
He manipulates me when I see him and usually manages to get money from me

I think it’s important to be an example of accountability, and it starts with language, in my opinion

“I give my addict son money,” is what you are saying.

I have to say the same thing, as I haven’t stopped a very small direct deposit that used to cover lunches a couple times a week when he went to classes. He doesn’t anymore.
Yes Sam3, I did give him money and I have targeted that to be something that I have to stop. I used to give him money to pay off drug debts when he lived at home for fear of him smashing the house, getting beaten up himself and for peace - this was large amounts of money, I was living in madness and sucked into his downward spiral.

If I didn’t pay up he would steal from us, well actually, he stole from us anyway. He has still been involved in stealing since we put him out despite the small amount of money we give and the food we provide.

Of course, all my ridiculous money giving just made the problem worse, he was such a good payer with the dealers and it was never a problem for him to get into debt. I cringe now when I think how I would make plans with him to pay off his hundreds of £s of debts over a few weeks, always believing it was the last time and he wanted to put it behind him. I think he bought cocaine for his friends but I’ve no proof - he has very low self-esteem and I think he loved how “popular” he perceived this made him (Just my theory though).

Since he left Home, it has been a small amount of money he has got for bus fare and food but he will be using it for cannabis so it has to stop.

I wish that I could get rid of the daily anxiety I feel - especially in the morning when I wake early and during the evenings - it’s been so much worse since he was first homeless about 6 weeks ago, that’s one of my worst fears for him. I really wish I could detach myself from him. I am trying to, step by step.


Roll With It
GS, please do your best to stop bashing yourself for not being strong enough to do this or that, or to stop doing this or that for your son. Some of us probably seem very very strong to you, but you are seeing us after we have spent years, even a decade or more, dealing with substance abuse. It is very different when you are just now starting to realize that help is needed for yourself as much as for your addicted loved one. Bashing yourself is a part of the problem that you have, a part of the FOG, but it is something that you can work on stopping.

I spent years enabling my brother's drinking when we were teens. I helped him cover things up from my parents. I helped him get inside when he came home after his curfew (mostly because he would pound on my windows until I would open one, but I never told my parents that he did this), and I did a lot of other stuff. Now I would not do that, I don't think. Then I did because I didn't know what else to do. He was demanding and my parents wouldn't listen when I told them he had a problem. I felt trapped in the middle, and I was very afraid of him.

You will eventually get to whatever point you need to reach. It is a journey, not a jump. Each step is important for you to take. If you skip taking a step, it really will end up causing problems. So take this journey at the pace that is right for you and your family. Not at the pace that was right for me, or for SWOT, or for anyone else.

One thing that might help you as you deal with your son's requests/demands, like this one for bus fare or rides for his friends, and for some money for himself, is to not tell him yes or no until you have thought about it for a little while. Give yourself 20 minutes to think it over and then call or text your answer. A ride simply isn't so important that it cannot wait that long. It is hard to think of reasons why and why not when the person is on the phone with you, especially when the person is an addict.

I found this to be especially helpful (though I used it with Wiz who was not a substance abuser, just a truly difficult child) as it gave me time to think through the potential pitfalls and benefits of saying yes or no to the request. I did tell Wiz that if he contacted me about the request before I replied, I would automatically give him the answer he did not want. This was a standing rule, because otherwise he would nag me over and over with texts and calls so that I would agree just to shut him up. I don't like that nonsense, and it makes me contrary. Taking that time to think means that I can realize that getting into a car with a bunch of "friends" aka drug addicts who have just run out of drugs is really NOT something I feel safe doing.

Have you taken the time to look up where the Naranon meetings in your area are held? I know it can be hard to go to them at first. Maybe you could just look up where they are held as a first step. Once you do that, you can start to think about which one you would like to attend. It probably feels to you as though going to a meeting should be an easy step and you should be able to just go and do it. But it isn't that easy and it feels like a huge thing and it is overwhelming to you, isn't it? I remember that. I had to break the job of going to the first few meetings down into steps. I started with looking up Alanon in my city in the phone book (internet was not a huge thing back then). Then I called to find out when meetings were. Then I drove by the location. Finally I went to a meeting. I didn't do these all in one day, even. I looked up where several meetings were, and at different locations.

If you feel overwhelmed, it might be helpful to break things down this way. It might be helpful to go with your husband to the first meeting. Or it might not. I do know that the sooner you start to get some help, the sooner you will start to feel a little stronger and a little bit less alone. It won't start with the first couple of meetings, but if you hang in there, it will happen.

As far as food for your son, why not give him a bag of food once a week? Some cans of soups, other food he can just heat and eat, simple microwave food, that sort of thing. This way he will have food that he can eat each evening and you won't have to take him food on a daily basis. He can manage his food as he pleases. This might be something to think about.

These are just my ideas and suggestions. You are a strong woman going through impossible circumstances. You are at the beginning of a very long journey that no one wants to take. I'm sorry that you are on this path, but you are not alone. We are with you and we won't leave you alone. (((((hugs)))))
Thank you susiestar, your words mean a lot.

I have looked up the nearest nar-Anon group, there aren’t many groups here in the UK but there’s one in another city that’s an hours train ride away so it’s do-able.

I have texted the organiser about it and plan to attend the next time I can which is in around 2 weeks (I’m a nurse so I will only be able to attend when my shifts allow).

I did go for support locally a couple of years ago and did mindfulness. I was offered group support then but declined as I felt it was very possible I would know people in the group from working in mental health - I hadn’t even told my closest friends at this point and didn’t feel able to attend. Also, my son was living at home at this point and I was in the thick of it,
My thoughts weren’t really for myself, I wanted to know how I could stop him, I was desperate.

I keep repeating to myself the words another forum user says - Nothing changes if nothing changes. He has no intention of changing but I must change. The anxiety spoils the days when nothing has even happened. I can’t go on this way so I have to do something about it for myself.