Have a feeling of impending doom


Active Member
I just feel like my Difficult Child is going to die soon. He is bouncing back and forth to detox and coming out and drinking right away. Saying he can't do it any more. He seems paralysed, no coping skills to put him on the right path.

Yesterday he called -his street buddy who is obviously a loose cannon, was looking after him, then started to choke him. He got away from him and called exgfs mother to ask her to pick him up and take him to detox. She's done this so many times and swore she was done, but has that good nature that can't refuse someone in need of help, even though she is pretty clued in to his character by now.

He called me and said they were going to detox and then she was going to pick him up the next morning (today) and take him to the Denver Rescue Mission and he'd stay there for the long term. He sounded okay, a bit shaken, but ready to do it.

I got an email from her this morning. He apparently wanted to meet up first with this girl he's been seeing (for about 5 minutes) and sleep in his dad's bus. He told exgf's mom that he wanted to have some fun. Red flags went up in her mind. She arranged a time to pick him up this morning and he was nowhere to be found.

She has put so much energy into him. Her own daughter is having problems but she is still looking out for my son. Yet just now she emailed me and said "I hope nothing bad has happened to him". I told her I was feeling the same way.

I can't explain it and maybe I'm just being overdramatic or neurotic or something, but I feel like he just is running out of time. He still has opportunities to get on the straight and narrow but doesn't seem to be interested. I think he is truly giving up and is going to let the waves wash over him.

I just can't shake this feeling. Have I done enough? Would my going out there perhaps prevent something more catastrophic from happening? Does he feel unloved? Desperate? Alone? If he dies, can I live with the knowledge that there was just one more chance, a different approach that could have saved him?


Active Member
Or am I giving myself too much power, in my own mind? Let's face it, nothing I've done so far has made a damn bit of difference.

It's just the feeling that it's TIME FOR HIM TO DIE keeps invading my thoughts. It makes sense. OMG , I can't believe I'm writing that. But I've just lost hope, so maybe I'm making it all about me.

Can anyone understand this feeling? I don't know how I would function if this happened, but I'm seeing so little effort from him, so little joy in his life (though at times he admits being content with his lifestyle, as long as his narcissistic needs are being met) such a lack of hope, that I understand why he wouldn't want to continue. He has often said that he would have committed suicide long ago (he has made half hearted attempts) if he wasn't such a coward.

Have I finally lost my marbles? There is an element of acceptance of this, from my point of view, of inevitability.

Please forgive me if I've offended anyone with my thoughts and words. I'm being brutally honest, but not sure if it's ME that's losing it, too.


Well-Known Member
If he dies, can I live with the knowledge that there was just one more chance, a different approach that could have saved him?
Many of us are in this position. But where does it stop? There is always more one can do. The question is whether it is of benefit. The other thing is your welfare. The only person who can stop this is you. You are the only one to decide if you have done enough.

What do you deserve? What about your safety? What is your life worth?
He is bouncing back and forth to detox and coming out and drinking right away.
What can you really do if this is his choice? How many times are you going to Denver to try to save him? How many is enough? Two? Ten? A hundred?
Saying he can't do it any more.
What do his words have to do with anything? Have his words in the past had meaning? Is there a way you can limit your contact? How is it helping you to be so tuned in to him? Where is your indication that your presence or help will benefit him in any way?

What are you doing for yourself to get through this? Al Anon? Therapy?
He apparently wanted to meet up first with this girl
Does this really sound like he is in any way serious about anything? Especially after he had called the lady to drive him. Does this sound like somebody about to die? Take him at his word. He wanted to have fun. It appears he could care less who he makes suffer or who he puts out.

The changing must come from you. What can you really do to protect him, or to change him? When do you become worthy of being factored into the equation?

He or any other person may feel unloved. What control do you or I or anyone else have over the feelings of another person? Whose responsibility are his feelings?

What would demonstrate to him your love? When will you ever know it is enough? Could he not now if he chose to acknowledge he is loved?

Again, what about you? What about his responsibility to himself? Where is your responsibility to yourself?


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I know that feeling of doom, it's so awful, I spent so much time in my mind sad and worried. I walked on eggshells night and day. I thought my son would kill himself, he has depression. He's in college and home now for the summer. My husband said something to me that helped. "He's either gonna make it or he's not." That helped me so much, there is really nothing I can do, you know? It lifted a lot of the worry and sometimes my mind starts worrying and thinking anyway and I think that simple little sentence. It helps me not feel so guilty.


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GN, I had a constant grinding in my stomach when my minor age daughter was on drugs. Every fear I had never happened.
We can work ourselves into a state.
Hon...one day at a time. One hour at a time. One moment at a time.
Big hugs!!!!!


Active Member
Copa, I have thought all those things you were saying and I know the answers. I am in therapy. There is something different about this feeling. It's not the bowel-freezing kind or the gut churning kind, it's just a profound sadness-not even a depression. There is a kind of flatness to it, or a fatalism. Maybe this is true acceptance. I know what he's like and that I can't rescue him from his bad choices-it's truly his life to live or to destroy.

I feel it's okay for me to let go. Not saying I can do it 100%. I'm not wringing my hands and feeling bad, while he is living it up in his own way. Well, I kind of AM -no, that's not true. I KNOW he's living it up in his own way, only thinking about what he needs and can get, without any real intention of changing. I DO accept that.

I honestly can't explain it-I think he is going to die soon, not being dramatic, honestly. It's acceptance.

Thanks to DJ and SWOT for your support-the imagination is so powerful and can certainly manifest itself in physical symptoms-I've totally been THERE=more times than I can count. And I know it doesn't always end in the worst way-often, they're just living their lives and things can turn on a dime.

I'm just trying to share this feeling that I can't shake. Again, it's not panicky, it's calm. Don't know how else to describe it.


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"He's either gonna make it or he's not."

Add to this "and there is nothing I can do to change the outcome either way" and make it your mantra. I guess this is where its easier to be the dad instead of the mom because its easier for the dad to see that its their life to screw up and to fix as they see fit. Mom wants to put the knee pads on the child against their will before they go roller skating to protect them from being injured, no matter what. The dad will try but when the child argues, will let them go out without the pads so they will learn that falling without them hurts.


Active Member
So true! That's always what my ex (Difficult Child's dad) says, so it MUST be a guy thing :)

Thanks for the reality check. Will repeat until it's firmly entrenched in my pointy little head.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Well, I kind of AM -no, that's not true. I KNOW he's living it up in his own way, only thinking about what he needs and can get, without any real intention of changing. I DO accept that.

Is it a question of respecting the journey?

That does not change our intention to protect and respect ourselves and to require that our kids not abuse us emotionally or financially (or verbally).

We have exchanged the hours of our lives too, to create the lifestyles that matter to us. We made those sacrifices for the sakes of our children before they were even born. I will sacrifice thus and so and my children will start from a better place than I did and etc.

Me, me, me.

But the kids don't want what we found important or valuable.

What they want is for us to cash in our stuff and split and split it with them so they can do what they somehow always seem to go back to doing.

Until one day they show up claiming they do want those things. And we celebrate that and we try to change that for them, and find a kind of redemption for ourselves and, at last, the possibility of pride in a job well done for us, for the parents.

Our children are not helpless, they are choosing. I see addiction as a thing that renders them helpless to follow the path I believe is correct.

But is it?

I become desperate for them over the loss of time to put themselves on that competitive path to what I want for them, and for me, too. I feel shame at their situations. I devour myself over where I went wrong as a mother. But...the kids are choosing.

Or does addiction, as I believe it may, make a valid choice impossible for them, and does it obligate me as I believe it must.

Or what.

Are we seeing them as helpless when they are in fact making a conscious choice? I fear for their futures. That drives me. I want to save them from where I believe they cannot see they are taking themselves. What if their thinking is so different than ours that the problem here is that we cannot hold faith with their intentions?

Why can we not say, "When you are ready, you will (whatever it is)." Why can we not say "Well, this is how I did it." and be quiet about what we think they should do?

Then they come back for money. Or for somewhere to live. Or they are harmed or attacked or poverty-stricken. And we save them to set them back on our path and they thumb their noses at us and tell us all they wanted was food and somewhere to live and would we please just buy them a duplex so they could rent out the other side and never have to bother us for money again.

That actually happened to me.

So is the question what is it driving our responses?

If we believed they were making informed choices, it would be a simple matter to love them as they are (instead of judging them for where they are and oh, Lord...for where they are not) but not feel obligated to "save" them or give them our stuff.

So, I'm describing enabling, here.

So that's a problem for us. How much to help and we each come to that place where we know helping only enables them to follow that same destructive path only this time, we are losing the hours of our lives we've exchanged to protect all of us from homelessness and etc and we resent it. Because we need that stuff for ourselves now or else why have done all that working we did. And the kids of our friends are on the path and making their own stuff and never expecting their parents to give them their stuff and turn themselves poor.

But there are our children.

And they don't have any stuff.

But we keep doing it, or feel badly that we aren't doing it...but why?

Natural consequences...we can only see the badness in the end result for them. But there must be a reward in it for them.

Or is it just that they are trapped in addiction. And are they truly helpless in the face of it and how are we supposed to think our ways out of that one.

From our perspective, there sometimes seems to be only a kind of depravity we just cannot countenance.

What if we're wrong.

What if this life path is as valid as any other. (How could that possibly be? And then, there are grandchildren.... And that is another flavor of hellishness and vulnerability altogether.)

To me, to us, there is horror ~ really, horror ~ at the suffering to come when there is nowhere to live for them; when there is no food, when there has been no education and no medical care.

But how does that look to them, on the days they are not bugging us for money or etc.

I don't know.

I know it's hard to say no. And equally hard to say yes because they don't do what I want them to do when I split my stuff with them so they can.

And they go ahead and do the same things.


Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
So, what Jabber said about the knee pads.

That is how my D H sees this, too. He respects and abides by their choices in a way I cannot begin to comprehend.

But is D H (and is Jabber) seeing what is for what it is instead of turning the young man or woman who is our child into some helpless victim and responding to them as such.

Thereby creating the same.



I think that might be it.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member

I hope you are having a better day.

It is so hard to watch someone we love self destruct. I remember at times with my son it was like watching him walking on a train track and I could see the train coming right at him and I was powerless to pull him off that track.

There is a kind of flatness to it, or a fatalism. Maybe this is true acceptance.
Yes, this is acceptance. It's gut wrenching when it hits but there is also a freedom that follows.

Even if we had all the money in the world and could get the top therapists and the finest facilities, unless our Difficult Child's truly want to change they never will.
My son has stopped drinking and drugging but he always goes back to it. For my son, he is completely unwilling to submit to any type of authority or higher power. He thinks he can do it all on his own. Until he finally grasps that it can't be done alone, that he needs help he will continue on his path of self destruction.

I have accepted that my son could not only die but that I may never know. My son is traveling across the western states and that is really all I know. He does not communicate with me very often.
In order for me to get on with my own life I have had to let it go. I know I've done all I can for him. Could I have done more? Sure, we all can do more but all that does is continue to enable their behavior.
We only have power over our own choices not theirs.

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


I agree with Tanya. I believe that feeling you have may be acceptance.

The cruelest thing about our situations is that we can accept our that our children have made their own choices and move on with our lives, but that little empty spot of sadness and disappointment will most likely never go away.

Since we have no power over our Difficult Child's I think that's about the best we can hope for.

And I'm hoping it gets easier as time goes on. I'm new to this, so I can't tell you for sure.

Have a wonderful day for YOURSELF!


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I think it is times like these the serenity prayer helps me.... because really it is the realization that there are things I cannot change and whatever the outcome is, is the outcome. I know at one point with my son I just had to realize I could not control whether he lived or died. Of course that is true with eveyrone in our lives... as accidents happen... but I could not control if he decided to take his own life or if he overdosed.... I had to let go of the idea that I could.

And it sounds like that is where you are coming too..... hopefully he will live but you have no control if he does or doesn't.


one day at a time
I got to the flat feeling too. Not an emotional low of terror or even deep sadness or anxious fear, but...just...flat. It is what it is. What will be will be.

I also think that is acceptance. It feels weird, though, doesn't it?

And most of the time, BG, what we believe we have accepted...that they may die soon...doesn't happen.

When you mentioned Denver, I just wanted you to know that my best friend's daughter just got her Master's in Social Work and is living in Denver, and working for a big nonprofit that goes out and seeks out homeless people to try to help them.

It sounds like they have great services in Denver, from what she says.

So...you never know...maybe it's 3 degrees of separation...it could be that this wonderful young woman intersects with your son one day and something good might happen.

Warm hugs today. We're here for you. Keep on BG, keep on letting go.



I woke up around 3 this morning thinking about my son and I kind of had the same feeling as you, so it was interesting to see your post. As much as I try to push thoughts of him aside as I know it's unhealthy, they always creep in. He is my son after all and I want the best for him (as we all do for our children).

Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.


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My son was homeless in Denver a couple of years ago in the middle of winter and yes they have really good services for the homeless there. He had lost his ID and I was able to get a replacement ID for him and actually mail it to a program in Denver where he could pick it up! And he survived sleeping on the streets in the cold cold winter.... that was probably the worst time for me but is what helped me to get to that place of acceptance (at least sometimes).


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To me, to us, there is horror ~ really, horror ~ at the suffering to come when there is nowhere to live for them; when there is no food, when there has been no education and no medical care.
I felt horror, Cedar, reading this. And when I read it a second time. The same horror. I think I read it with middle-class eyes.

Many people think that in this country working for a living in a conventional job is a fools game.

They point to the benefits available to the poor or the near poor *which I support. Medical. Educational.

They see trading one's life energy to work so hard, to be a mistake. To be so sad and stressed at work, and to buy in to the idea of a retirement 40 years distant, or to goals that glitter like fools gold, that promise happiness and contentment and do not often give either.

In my son's case which I see first hand I see only degradation and humiliation as the results of living this so-called free, live in the present lifestyle.

But there must be a group of people that think differently than do I. In my state in the past 20 years the prison population as averaged well above 150,000. Racism, mental illness and poverty accounts for a large part of it. But not all.
What if this life path is as valid as any other.
But there must be a reward in it for them.
I believe there is. Based upon my experience working with prisoners, I cannot remember that many regretted their lifestyle. They regretted consequences. They may have regretted their crimes. From a changed moral stance, they may have renounced their old one. But lifestyle, they liked. (Although, not the addiction that accompanied it.)

They talked about: Freedom. Code of honor. Fraternity. Code of loyalty. Wildness. Out of the rat race. Not tied in. Individualism. The rewards. For many, success. No limits. Living in the here and now. Excitement. Dancing to their own drum.
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Well-Known Member
They talked about: Freedom. Code of honor. Fraternity. Code of loyalty. Wildness. Out of the rat race. Not tied in. Individualism. The rewards. For many, success. No limits. Living in the here and now. Excitement. Dancing to their own drum.
I can actually relate to this, being disabled and having so much trouble having jobs and then having to listen to sometimes ignorant, stupid people who do not deserve their jobs, but get them due to luck, connections, money, you name it.
I understand the freedom of not having to be under the thumb of these same people who have no accountability themselves. In OUR country, as opposed to others, workers don't sign contracts that can protect them from unlawful termination. They can do with us whatever they like and I hate it that workers have no rights by law in most states.

Where I have the most trouble with this thinking is breaking the law. I'm a real stickler for not trampling on the rights of others and not filling my body with even alcohol, let alone pot, cocaine or heroine. That ruins MY life. So I have always worked the best I could, often underpaid, often fired with no recourse. "You are so intelligent when you speak, I did not expect you to make so many mistakes."

I am not ashamed to get Medicaid. Im glad it exists. My dear husband does not make a lot of money, but money never meant a lot to me. I'm glad we can still get health coverage. With Disability you automatically get Medicare and Medicaid and I have no shame of that at all. I worked the best I could in the highest level jobs I was capable of working. I worked at answering services for years and years, but they no longer exist.After I married a second time and had two young kids, I did enjoy the ten years I didn't work, because hubby and I moved to a low cost but not low class area, where housing and almost everything else is cheap. I got to actually raise my kids, not put them in daycare and let others raise them. I see a big merit in that. I am thrilled that Princess is always there for Buddha Baby. Other countries give paid vacation to their workers. They value them. We don't. I know that at least the French feel Americans waste their lives working way to hard and taking holidays too little. I agree with them.

The corruption on Wall Street has ticked off the young. For good reason.

I am a rebel who does not totally self-destruct for my beliefs. I know I have to follow rules and I do.

But I understand, more than I should, how some people think they don't want to waste their lives working hard only to be treated like crapola by the employers. I would feel differently if I lived in a country that handed out contracts in which both worker and employer had to tow the line, where you can't be fire just because. Where there had to be a GOOD REASON for firing somebody and it's in a contract. I LIKE to work, but not with a threat over my head, which is always how I feel.

It is also very hard to start your own business in the U.S. You need money, of course, so the poor are left out and there is a good chance of failure.

Although I'm not and never have lived a life of sponging off of others, I did take time for ME. My parents would never have given me money and I am glad. Every decision I made was on myself and my husband and I don't owe anybody anything.

Dealing drugs, while making uus middle class peons sick, is sometimes the only jobs available in very crime ridden areas where the businesses have pulled out. I saw a very good documentary on this...how there are no jobs in areas like East ST. Louis. They all hightailed and left.

I get their side of the story. I would live like them and don't have sympathy for any drug seller or user, but I do have an understanding of it.

Now they are elimnating unions in our country to give people even less motivation to feel empowered about working. We are doing things the wrong way. It isn't working. We are no longer the "Give Me Your Tired Your Poor" people we once were. Heck, I have heard of online folks I spoke with on my politics channel who ran off to China to get jobs and are doing well.

This is sad.
I suggested that people interested in life drop outs and how they live to read a book called The Mole People. They live under the tracks of NYC. VERY interesting.

Our parents and ourselives lived in a world where there were more jobs and more loyalty to employees. Things have changed. I'm not thinking they changed for the good.

JM two cents worth O ;)
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Well said SWOT. For the record, I have no problem whatsoever with counter culture. I agree whole heartedly that the U.S. worker is seriously undervalued. But what we on this board are dealing with isn't counter culture or youth frustrated with being undervalued in the work force. They are the ones who are happy to live off of someone else's dime. The one's who will happily justify stealing from someone trying to help them. The one's who give the counter culture a bad name. The Entitled One's.

I've had little experience dealing with unions myself, but what I've had was bad. Granted, unions in corrections aren't really unions so much as political advocates. Well, political advocates selling a product that nobody wants to acknowledge much less buy so in there defense they have it pretty tough. While I was still in the academy a group of us on break were approached by a representative of AFSCME, a nation wide public service organization, who attempted to get us to join. I shut him down with just a few questions. "Can you get us better pay? No. Can you get us better working conditions? No. Can you get us better benefits? No. Then what can you do for us? We will fight for you if you're wrongfully terminated! You'll do that whether we join or not. What can you do for us?" After a few seconds of silence, he walked away. Our current union has been ineffectual at best in getting us anything. I joined MOCOA for a year because I was assured that we were VERY close to getting longevity pay, pay based on cost of living raises as well as time in service. A year later I was receiving the same assurances so I left. 8 years later they are still giving the same assurances. In the immoral words of Dr. Evil, RIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT.

But bear in mind that Corrections Officers in Missouri are contractually forbidden from striking. Seems a bit harsh but it actually makes sense. If the local grocery store strikes you simply either support them or go somewhere else. If we have a mass walkout or serious case of the Blue Flu then the National Guard must be called in and the institutions placed on lockdown. Offenders can't exactly chose to be incarcerated elsewhere!

I have no problem at all with people who draw disability, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment, etc... legitimately. I have a problem with people who are fully capable of working who would rather mooch off of the system because they think its owed to them.