He finally called


Well-Known Member
Hi Everyone,

Well I was away for a week and had a great time! While I was gone my son finally called and talked to my husband. Son was really struggling and was asking for help. So I ended up talking to my son. It had been 2.5 weeks and it was really good to talk to him. He was pretty frustrated because he was not getting the work he expected from his friend and was at the end of any money he had for food. So I know many of you think I should hold my ground and refuse to give him anything but I couldn't do it. A job is supposed to start on Monday. So I did give him some money to get through until then. We had a good conversation.

I know full well he could be completely manipulating and playing with me but I decided to do it anyways. I have absolutely no control over his drug/alcohol use and to be honest i just don't want the fight.

I guess I just don't believe forcing the situation so he is on the street is going to help him. We did that before and let him be homeless for 3 months in the middle of winter in Denver. That got him into treatment but it didn't stick. In the end he has to want it for himself. I am more at peace when we have contact and I know he is ok. So for now I am going with that.... and will take each situation as it comes.



Active Member
I think we have to take each situation as it comes. I paid $40 in fees just to send my son money for food, two weeks later he is calling again for money. It was the first time in years I had sent him money and I guess I felt sorry for him and was hoping he was turning his life around for the better.

He says he it not using, deep in my heart I don't believe it. He stays up day and night posting on FB and says he broke up with new girlfriend because he found out she was using pills. I think it was the opposite, she found out about his drug use and dropped him.

This time I told him I just can't afford it. The money thing is a constant request from my son. He has been an expensive child and it's always something!


Well-Known Member
TL. We are in similar positions. I told my son to leave last Monday, after maybe 5 months with me. He was doing progressively better--until he was not. He hit a wall. Was it the marijuana use? Untreated mental illness? Having to follow our rules? Or had I made it too easy for him? I do not know.

I was insisting he get treatment in order to stay, because for a second time recently he destroyed property--first fridge door and then a wall. I could not allow my son to believe it was OK to damage property.

So why do I feel we are in similar positions? Your son is out there--you are choosing to help him. My son is out there--I am not.
I know full well he could be completely manipulating and playing with me but I decided to do it anyways. I have absolutely no control over his drug/alcohol use
I agree here. There is the illusion that by denying them access, resources, we can control their making better choices. I do not think it is the case. To this extent I am in agreement.

In a sense I allowed myself access to resource--and to me--believing it would encourage better behavior and choices. To some extent, it did--until it did not. The driver in this was him. Not me.

When it was in my face--I, unable to ignore his poor choices--I had no choice.

Allowing them to maintain access to resources provided by us, while they self-destruct or destroy. Is it the degree, that makes it dangerous, and subtly enabling? I am not sure.

I remain sure I had no choice. At the same time, I see your position. And I respect it. You stay in the game, tolerating ambiguity. I see Lil as doing this--seeing her every decision as nuanced. And Lovemyson, I think it was, tried to do it too--until her son's relapse made this course impossible.

I, too, cannot watch my son go to the bottom. And stay there. And watch him suffer and become more desperate. He is in a psychiatric hospital right now. Or maybe just out. There was a phone call this morning that I did not reach in time. I think it was him. He is at a choice point. He has a new SSI check. And insurance authorization to enter a dual diagnosis residential treatment center. Which choice will he make? I am hopeful that the phone call was him--and that he will choose correctly. Or possibly he wanted to tell me he was on his way home--presenting me again with the problem--in the form of himself at my doorstep.

But whatever the possible iteration I know I will not turn him away. I did that for over 4 years. It did not work. What will work, I am unsure, but like you, I know it has not a thing with what I do or do not do.
I guess I just don't believe forcing the situation so he is on the street is going to help him.
No. It is not being on the street, destitute and desperate that helps them. But what does helping do for them? Sustain them, living the same way? Encouraging them to manipulate and deceive us? To believe the solution to each of their problems and needs, lies in their lies to us?
I am more at peace when we have contact and I know he is ok.
That is the bottom line. Except I will go even farther. I am at peace knowing my son is close to me, near me. There was a time I could feel peace when I knew he was OK, where he was. Now, even this is eroded. He really has nowhere to go except a hospital or a treatment facility--anywhere away from me. He has no place else and no illusion that such a place exists. This makes it very loaded for both of us. It increases his sense of dependency and it increases my sense of vulnerability and desperation. It is like we are both in the same pressure cooker. I do not see a way out of it, and I do not think he does either.
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Thanks Copa... it does feel that in many ways we are in similar positions. Trying to figure out how to support and love our sons while maintaining appropriate boundaries... and sometimes struggling to figure out what appropriate boundaries are! When my daughter was home it was very very clear to us that we could not have our son living with us because we needed to protect her from his behavior. Now she is a senior in college and comes home to visit but she is not living here it would be a harder decision. Right now he can't come home because of legal issues with the state so we do not have to face that right now and to be honest I am glad of that.

However him being so far away has its challenges too. It is harder to get a read on him, harder to tell how he is really doing and much easier for him to manipulate and play us.


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Kathy - you are most likely right. I don't believe anymore that I can change that cycle only he can. I don't think cutting him off will change that cycle and I don't think letting him buy some food will change it either. All I can do is let him know I love him and he will do what he will. So at this point I just need to do what gives me peace of mind.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
There really is no right or wrong in all of this. I think we do what we do for ourselves at times. I the long run I don't know if it makes a huge difference.

I always think of my son if he were homeless and in a shelter and if he continued the lifestyle that we do not agree with anyway - what would we do? I don't have an answer for that. I certainly could never judge anyone here. We are all just doing our best in a most difficult situation.


Active Member
I too feel struggle between support and enabling... I think many of us do.

I have paid off drug dealers only to find out he is back to dealing.... Heartbreaking but would I do it again to protect him? Probably.

I too need to be in contact with him to have some sort of peace. I will probably always be soft on some of the boundaries, but I am trying to stick to some.... It's really hard.

I hope your son is being real with you, it's my only thing that keeps me going... The hope... The promise that things will get better.

Hugs.... Take care xoxo


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it seems like the same cycle over and over again.
I think people change if at all very slowly.

With you TL, I see enormous growth, which is really all we can do. One person cannot change another no matter how much they want to. Each of us has learned this dozens of times over.

What I see you doing is being there for him not to do it, not to push it, not to control or guide him but to be there. So that he not feel alone and so desperate that he lose hope or throw in the towel by drinking uncontrollably without stop or otherwise not taking care of himself. So far he has seemed to stay on course, maybe not with stopping drinking, but with working, self-care, some support. And the benefit to you of staying in touch are incalculable. You are a stable, moderate presence, not flip-flopping like some of us.

I know how hard is this course of moderation and staying in the game. Who knows what will happen. But like Cedar says, we need to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror.


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Thanks Copa.... yes I have come a long way from 6 years ago when i started on this site and my son was in jail! I now am enjoying my life and in general I have a good life. I do worry about my son, some times more than others but my worry is no longer the center of my life. It is a big help that he doesn't live with us and I hope I don't have to face him living with us again.

Colleen - I have been thinking about you and CRAFT and detachment. I really think CRAFT talks about detachment as if it is a complete shut off of the relationship. I don't agree with that definition. You have mentioned complete detachment and I think for me that is just impossible. I like the way alanon talks about detachment with love. For me that is not tying my happiness and well being to how my son is doing. Really early on my mood and sense of well being was completely tied to how he was doing, which meant a whole lot of angst and barely surviving feelings on my part. My continues in his cycles and it may go on forever.

I however have found things in mu life that make me happy. My relationship with my husband is good. My relationship with my daughter is good. I have outside interests and friends. My life is no longer so focused on my son. To me that is detachment.

I have gotten to a place where I realize I cannot save my son or solve his problems. He is going to have to figure things out for himself.... however I do help him out and if he ever wants to go back into treatment I would probably support it. Maybe that is enabling him. However we let him be on the streets and be homeless once for 3 months and although eventually it got him back into treatment it didn't not solve things. So I am not sure I want to push him to do that again. He struggles with depression and has made suicide attempts in the past and to be honest I am not sure I can deal with him being homeless again. That is one of the worst things I have been through because then I was worried all the time. At one point then he lost his phone so there was no way for me to know if he was dead or alive and that was just awful. Which is why I still pay for him to be on our phone plan. That is for me not him.

Unfortunately there is no one answer that works in every case. I do think letting them know you love and support them may be important at some level when they decide they want to do things differently. I have sometimes felt that the only reason my son is not a hardened criminal is the love of his mother.


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TL, wow.

You are a hero, exactly where you should be in your life regarding your son and yourself and others. And that takes time.

I too came here at a desperate time in my life when I was angry, desperate, and overly consumed with my problem kids, at the expense of my loved ones who were not struggling. That was wrong for everyone, including myself. I wanted others to change and thought I could change them.

I too like AlAnon and disagree with Craft's definition of detachment. It does NOT mean cutting your child out of your life...I am against doing this to anyone and could never support it. Rather it means not getting so emotionally embroiled in the childs problems snd letting the child face consequences. Detachment and Tough Love do not dictate that we sever anyone from our life. It is about how much we enable thrm, not about shunnung them or withholding love.

I am kind of where you are at, TL. I can deal with my most difficult, disrespectful child and know I can't change him, that only he can help his angst (and probably won't) and after even a bad chat with him I can usually move on and focus on other things. He is mentally ill, but only he can decide to get better.

Meanwhile, I am starting to embrace daily gratitude, even starting a journal, as this is proven as a method to increase happiness.

I am glad you are in a good place. Too bad it can sometimes take so much time to understand and get there!


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Thanks SWOT!! I agree it takes time (and practice) to get to this place. And there are moments when a new crisis has happened that I lose it and just am consumed by worry. But those times do not last as long for me....it might take a day or two to get back on an even keel but I do get back on track much much faster than I used to. I find reminding myself of the serenity prayer really helps.



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TL, it's the same for me. I do slide back. D c is really trying my last bit of patience right now...it's a back slide for me. But I get over it faster and move on quicker and don't lose much sleep. I am appalled at the way he thinks, but I can't change it by worrying.

It beats pacing the floor for hours.

We can always celebrate our own progress, if nothing else.

Hugs and have a good nightmlm


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
So glad you are in a good place. I am like you and go back and forth at times.

I'm so much better than I was but it is so very hard to do this and not normal. I spend a lot of time in the middle of the night thinking about my son; that is my worst time. I am really liking my therapist. At first I wasn't sure she knew enough about addiction but now found her dad was an addict (and a professor so a very smart man to boot) and she also holds group! Go figure. Her guidance is helping me (and then I share with hubby) tremendously.

Whatever it takes is what we all need to do to get through this with our sanity!

so ready to live

Well-Known Member
TL- you do sound better. There is so little we can do and that's so foreign to us, isn't it?
I spend a lot of time in the middle of the night thinking about my son; that is my worst time.
This would get me every night. I write reminders, scripture, al anon ditties out, and postie note them around the house.
On my nightstand and also memorized:
Is God in control? Yes.
Does he know where my son is? Yes.
Is God able to take care of him? Yes.
Can He help me? Certainly.

I do think believing in someone higher than ourself is important-it is a framework for the rest. Realizing that higher power, whomever, helps us also see that this situation and our lives are really "not all there is". A big, big world out there and areas where we can have effect positively, if we can only get healthy ourselves. Prayers.


Active Member
I agree with everything you all have said... I think that we each have to find a way to live our lives and be available to our children regardless.

I don't really know how exactly CRAFT works, or if it works any better than any other program, I just am reading and have found some useful ideas. I think we are all doing this, each in ways we can live with.

I just pray for the day I can truely feel happy again and not so worried about my sons safety and his future.