How to be a parent to an addict that is 32 yrs old???

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Billy Bob, Apr 13, 2016.


My 32 year old son is an heroin addict should I Stop having contact with him?

  1. Keep trying to help him.

    0 vote(s)
  2. Stop all contact with him.

    1 vote(s)
  1. Billy Bob

    Billy Bob New Member

    My son has been on some kind of drug or the other since he was 15. He is now 32 and is in a court ordered rehab for using heroin. He has been in jail for stealing, probation violation, and drug possession. He went to one rehab because he said he was ready to quit and I carried him to the rehab and helped him get in and that lasted 3 days. Now that he is in a court ordered rehab that will last 12 months and then he will be in a half way house once he is released. He wants to come to a town that is close to the town I live in. I love my son but I believe that he thinks that if he lives close to where I live I will be his support and I have tried to explain that he would be on his on and have to make his on way. This made me feel very guilty but I do realize that he has to work his sobriety out his on way. There still is guilt and anxiety!! There is so many questions??
  2. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hello Billy Bob and welcome. I am in a similar situation as my daughter is 30-years-old and also struggles with addiction. She is currently living in a halfway house.

    My husband and I have had problems walking that thin line between enabling and being supportive. We have worked with a therapist for the last two years to learn to set firm boundaries and it has been really beneficial. Our daughter realizes that she can no longer manipulate us into taking care of her.

    You are absolutely correct that this is his journey and that there is nothing you can do to make him stay sober. That is what I struggled with for a long time. My therapist helped me see that it is the addict's choice to stay sober or not and that we can't let our daughter's choices hurt us anymore.

    So you can love your son but set boundaries to protect yourself from his bad choices. You will need help to learn to do that. Have you tried support groups like AlAnon or NarAnon or Families Anonymous? Many of our members find them very helpful. You could also find a therapist to work with you to help you set those boundaries like we did.

    Keep posting. You will find a lot of support in the Substance Abuse forum since we have all walked in your shoes.

  3. Completely Disturb

    Completely Disturb Which way do I go!

    To you all, I really want to thank you for your posting i just found this site this morning and been reading post all day. All of this is going to help me once my son leaves in the morning. I'm doing this one last thing and I have already told him that after rehap he could not come back. Thanks for all the tough love post son play me like he was smoking a joint! At 7am his f#@$ ass is out of here. I love him yes but It time for me to live my life not his. All of these post have made thing a lot easier. Thanks

    I pray that God will find each and every kid here and help them heal themselves!
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  4. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    You will get some sound advice here. I did see your other post and I'm sure you'll get some responses soon. Hang in there. You are NOT alone and that helps a little!
  5. Completely Disturb

    Completely Disturb Which way do I go!

    Thanks this is the best i felt in weeks...:smirk:
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You need to take care of a very important, often forgotten person...YOU.

    As you must know, you can't and should no longer "parent" an adult, your son or not. You can't. He is legally responsible for his own life, and you can not control him or his choices. All you can control is how you relate to him...whether you give him money, house him, bail him out of jail etc. My own opinion is that he is well into adulthood and needs to man up and fall or rise on his own.

    Welcome and sorry for your sons poor choices and the psin it has caused you. Now start to focus on you,band your loved ones who can give poditives back to you.
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  7. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    So the good thing is he is in court ordered rehab.... And it is for 12 months which is great. So you have some time to get stronger and set limits and be clear... You don't have to do it all right now. Make sure you take this time to first sleep well, take care of yourself and find some support for yourself. Does the rehab have any support for families and parents. You might call and ask if they do.... Or what they recommend. And it is such a relief to know you are not the only one going through this.... There are many of us out there.... Some on this site but also in alanon and other support groups. So definitely take this time to get support in how to deal with this for you.
  8. Billy Bob

    Billy Bob New Member

    Thanks to all that replay!! I feel I am starting to get stronger and I have told him he has to man up and stand on his on 2 feet. I will not be there to help and that if we have a relationship will depend on him and that it will take time. I am not welling to just forget!
  9. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Billy, Welcome to the forum. I am sorry for your need to be here. I am somewhere in the middle of your two selections. I would say it is necessary at times to take a break and go no contact for a while, but this is your son.
    You are right, he does have to work on his sobriety, you cannot do it for him nor should you be used as a safety net.
    He can get a sponsor to help him.
    You are his parent, not a counselor.
    There is a good article on the PE forum about detachment. Linked below.
    What I have learned is that we aim for loving detachment, not coldly cutting our d cs off. But it is understandable to go no contact to sort through your feelings and focus on YOU. We all know how hard it is to be dealing with the chaos of addiction, and need time out from the stress and turmoil. That is a consequence of your sons actions.
    Take the time you need to restrengthen and build yourself up.
    For a lot of us, we dealt with our d cs situation much like emergency rescue, coming to their aid when they call. After a while we figured out that doesn't work. They don't learn to stand on their own two feet. Worse yet, they are not appreciative, and end up taking every advantage they can.
    Good for you, enough is enough.
    You have value and you matter.
  10. Billy Bob

    Billy Bob New Member

    Last night I spoke to my son for the second time since he has been in court ordered rehab. As we were talking I was explaining how I feel and how his life effects me and his response to me is I don't want to talk about that now. I explained to him that it's important for me to talk about that and he didn't. It made me realize that he has not moved in a good direction since being in rehab. Because everything is still about him and his needs and how that is more important than how anyone else feels.
    Please respond!
  11. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It takes a long time before an addict can start feeling empathy for others. Addicts are self-centered and completely self-absorbed and they have to learn new behavior after they stop using. There is a term "dry drunk" where substance abusers keep the old addict behaviors even after they get sober. That is why therapy is very important in recovery to learn the new behaviors that go along with sobriety.

    My daughter is just now starting to show growth in that area. You will know by his actions rather than words. In the meantime, I wouldn't push him on this. At some point in his therapy, the therapist will want you to share your feelings about his addiction and how it has affected you but I think it is too early right now.

  12. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I think it is about being able to look in the mirror. Our kids are in there somewhere and know they have wronged us.
    With addicts, the drug speaks louder than anything. Since your son is in court ordered rehab, not of his own volition, he must be wrestling really hard with everything. He is not there because he wants to be, but because he has to.
    Not trying to make excuses for him, yes addicts are very self centered.
    I read an interesting article about the shame addicts feel when they stop using. It gave this insight....when high, they don't think about the things they have done and choices they have made that hurt loved ones. When not high, all of those memories are there to haunt them and the thought was, for some, that this is part of why sobriety is so hard. The guilt and shame is overwhelming. The high numbs all of that. It is a viscious cycle.
    Perhaps your son does not want to hear about what he has done to hurt you and how you feel, because he is consumed by that already? He is feeling badly for himself and your feelings just add to it.
    A relationship with our addicted loved ones is not normal to say the least. We are human, we all make mistakes. The wrongs committed by our d cs are off the charts and cause immense pain and turmoil in our lives.
    I know at a certain point of recovery, an addict is ready to apologize. Perhaps your son has not reached that point. Hearing how his lifestyle hurts you is too much for him.
    If my two were anywhere near rehab, I would be very glad. The hope would be recovery for them.

    This is what detachment is about also.

    They work on themselves (in my case, not happening yet), and we, as parents need to work on ourselves.
    Validation and apologies for pain inflicted on us by our kids may not come in the time frame we would like. Your son is on a journey in rehab, and you are on your own journey trying to make sense of things, strengthen and rebuild yourself. Switch your focus from him, to you. This is where alanon, naranon, would help to get a good grasp on the mechanics of addiction. The only control we have is over ourselves. It is vital to work at changing our patterns of response to our d cs and work through our own feelings, so that no matter what the future brings for our kids, we are able to live our own lives.
  13. Completely Disturb

    Completely Disturb Which way do I go!

    Wow my son is in rehap as of 9am this morning...this is his second time there and they were prepared for him today. They went through his things and we're taking him to medical when I left. I just got finish cleaning his room found numerous device and needles. Put all what he had left in boxes because he can't come back until he gets his self together. I would say his next move would be court order because he was caught with drug perihenila. THIS SUPPORT SYSTEM HERE IS OUT STANDING and I appreciate all of you who given me support I really needed it. It's about our grown kids now getting thems selves together not doing it for them not adults!!!!! Tonight I should sleep well.
  14. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Wow!! How do you know all this? It's amazing information and thank you.
  15. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    RN, I am a "googler", so I have sopped up countless articles on addiction. Also, I have learned from speaking with my two. They are nowhere near rehab. But, they never want to know how I feel, how their drug using and chaotic lifestyle have effected the entire family.
    They get very angry and defensive at any mention of it, lashing out with blaming statements. It is like dealing with a toddler throwing a tantrum.
    They do not want to stop what they are doing.

    This is so true.
    It is all about them, and drugs.

    So, if a person has to change all of those habits, come clean and face everything, I can only imagine that the last thing they want to hear is how anybody else is feeling.

    I think that the feelings I have about what has happened over the years, due to my twos drug use, are going to be my own responsibility to work through. Maybe one day, they will see a need to make amends, but my healing cannot depend on that. It may be a long time coming before my two begin to understand and feel remorseful about the pain the family has suffered due to their drug use, the drama and chaos resulting from their lifestyle, spilling over into our lives.
    That is probably the hardest piece to work on with loving detachment. Healing the emotional wounds inflicted, recovering from the grieving stages.
    Gathering all the available information out there, and receiving advice from others who have gone through similar journeys is helpful. Reading books and alanon meetings help, and seeing a therapist if need be.

    The biggest reality of all is that we are separate individuals. Yes, they are my children, who I love with all of my heart, but, my life is my life, and theirs, is theirs. I have done the best job I could parenting them. I cannot, or should not wait until they come to realize their potential, and find their purpose and meaning in life, to live mine.
    Many parents ask, "How can I go on, knowing that my child is out there struggling?" I ask, "How can we not?" People learn more by example than by words. So, if we are wanting our children to find their niche, their purpose, to live full productive lives, then how are we showing them the way by denying our own happiness in our lives?
    Life is short, so short. We have parented our adult children. We are their parents. We are also people who matter, who have value and a life to live. Our lives should not be determined by the choices our adult children make.
    I think we do the greatest service to our d cs by showing them it is possible to have a full life and be joyful.

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  16. Billy Bob

    Billy Bob New Member

    RN 0441 Thanks for what you wrote!! It spoke volumes to me. Let me be transparent. My son and I talk every so often and I try to do the right thing when talking to him. I try not to have an attitude and watch the tones of my voice because this is what he complains about the most. I still get so angry! He talks about how when he gets out that he can't imagine not using heroin. My son has two young children and if for no other reason other than them he should look at sobriety has a possibility. He has been in jail or court ordered rehab for almost 5 months. If I could just see a spark it would be encouraging and something to hope for. Should I continue to talk to him and try to encourage him or at some point tell him what I expect from him and tell him that I will not have any further contact with him till that happens. Am I a bigger problem talking to him than I would be with no contact? I know that I can not enable him even though he continues to try. Last time we talked he said he needed 20 dollars to get tennis shoes to play ball in rehab. When I told him no he got very angry. Since he has been in he has not called without a need. I have told him it would be nice to talk to him without him needing anything. Please send directions on how to make good decisions with a drug addict. With pictures please!
  17. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Leafy, this is just awesome. I want to print this out and put it on my bathroom mirror.
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    All of us, I think, struggle with this. Much of the time, our children, do all they can to stoke the feelings.

    I do not know your son but I do know that 32 is into middle age. This is something your son must work his way through. For him, that you would insert yourself or allow yourself to be inserted, it would be a mistake. He needs to be able to own the resolution of this, in order to be whole, once again.

    My son is 27. He much overuses marijuana, which I consider to be a drug. While I fear sometimes, he uses heavier drugs, so far, we think he does not. With my son there are mental illness issues, impaired judgment and difficulty learning. Still, for years I allowed him to stumble and flail, be homeless without support. Only then, was he even a little bit willing to curtail his aggressivity and disrespect, and to own the need to change.

    With hard drugs there is no room for a parent. None at all. That is what I think.

    When he is well on the way to recovery, has supports in place, a regular and established treatment and life strategy, friends, work, resources, then, I would feel that there is room for an adult to adult relationship. Only then.

    At this point there would be inequality in everything. How could that be good for either one of you? How could that support his recovery?

    Should he feel the need for intensive structure, assistance and support there are many treatment programs throughout the country that provide housing, support, work, training, and recovery resources such as Synanon or Victory Outreach.

    By the way. I live out West, in a fairly remote town. As far as I know the Heroin epidemic has not reached here, in a bad way. But I hear about it everywhere, with respect to the Eastern States.

    Who was it? The president, Vice President? Even they are making it part of the public conversation.

    And Anthony Bourdain, the famous chef was into his forties when he quit and made his life a complete wonder, or so it seems from the outside looking in. There is so much room for hope. Your son can do this. He will do it.
  19. Billy Bob

    Billy Bob New Member

    The people on this blog are great!! When I read you're remarks I told my wife that it's like looking through a dirty window and all of a sudden it becomes clean to where you can see through with clarity. When you're lost and don't know which way to turn clarity really makes things better!! Thanks
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  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Heroin has made a comeback. It was not here when my daughter used twelve years ago, but now it is the number one drug at our smallish town high school and has become a big threat to our kids.

    I'm in the Midwest, in a more rural area. It's scary. I'm glad my kids are out of high school and not interested in drugs now. Its huge news here in mostly white middle class america (shudder).