How to stop enabling my herion addict son!

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by PAMALA, Jul 10, 2012.


How would you stop enabling your Addict child

Poll closed Aug 9, 2012.
  1. Would you kick your child out.

  2. Would you seek help for child.

Multiple votes are allowed.

    PAMALA New Member

    I'm a newbie on this hello everyone. I have a major problem as a parent. I have 3 sons, but the one son, who is the youngest,has put our family in 4 years of pure hell. It his short span of life he has had 2 PFA violations, drugs, drinking, dui, weed, shop lifting, stealing money from us, breaking things in the house, cocain, and now he is a Herion Addict. My child is now 20, and has been in and out of jail several times. He begged to come back home. He had to get surgery on his foot and I set down the rules. I just found out a few days ago that he stole about $1,000.00 from us. I confronted him and he told me he needed help and he was on Heroin and he wanted to quit. He is on probation. During this weekend I helped him with detox (how horrible to go through). I told him that on Monday I was calling his Drug Therapist (who my son was not honest with) and I was going to let the Therapist determine what was best for him. I would help him any way if he was serious about getting off Herion. I did not call the police, or his probation officer, but I did call the Drug Therapist, and told him about my son's Heroin problem and that I was leaving the decision up to the Therapist to deal with any way he could and if my son did not follow through, he could then call Probation, because I was to weak to do so.

    I have received a lot of flack from his siblings, and they are angry, that I didn't call the police or probation officer and that I did not kick him out of our house. They said that I have enabled him to long and it is messing up the rest of the family. I am weak!!!! I want to throw up when I think about my son's problems, I have panic attacks, and I am constantly looking out the window every time I hear a car slam in our parking lot, I can't sleep, I am preoccupied by my son's problems and I don't know how to let go!!!! My husband hates my son, and will not talk to him, and always puts me in the middle. My husband will scream and scream at me about our son. He even told me he hopes our son overdoses and kills himself on Herion. If my son has friends over, he tells the friends to get the hell off his property, and makes them leave. I have had my son to Psychiatrist, councilors, I've even gone to counciling myself but still I have such a strong need to help him, and I know, I can't help my son, only he can. I thought by calling his Drug Therapist and telling him what is going on, that I was giving someone else, that is not so close to the situation, the power to deal with my son's problem. Which was a huge step for me. I've never been so scared in all my life for my son. It makes me sick!!! I wish I could be stronger. How do I stop enabling. The feeling to fix things and try to make things right is so overwhelming. Yes, I know what I should probably be doing as a parent, which is setting boundaries, and if my son doesn't conform to the rules, follow through, but I sometimes do not. I probably would have had him arrested this last time, but for the first time, he begged me for help, that he wanted to get help, but was afraid to ask for help, because he does not want to go back to jail, he just wants to get off Heroin, but he can't. It is the first time he was honest with me, and I couldn't just turn my back on him. If my son is serious, I will be there for support, but I know he is the only one that can help himself. I just am scared to death, that he will relapse and steal more money, and keep doing Heroin. I just want to see him become a normal person again. HELP ME!!! I'm scared and disgusted with myself for being so weak! How can I learn to be a stronger parent without the feeling of panic and sheer terror! HOW?
  2. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    You are not alone and your fears and angst are a normal part of this process. I can feel the terror in your post. I have been there and still go there from time to time. You are not a horrible mother-you are the one actively trying to figure this out because you are the mom. We are pre-wired to be mama-bears. It is a chemical miracle that we are able to detatch at all from our children. We have to work a lot harder than dads or siblings. I get flack from my son as well. He is worried for me and cares about me-he also misses the mom he could once count on and the cheerful home we had. Your other boys love you and want their mom back from this consumming nightmare!

    As for your husband, he is taking his anger out on you and blaming you. I have also experienced this. However, it feels horrible and it is not OK. If the 2 of you could attend FA meetings or some other 12 step together this might help you support each other and work together-I find help not enabling at these meetings which is the tricky part for me. If he wont go-you go because your self-esteem (like many of us) is taking a giant hit that will be hard to bail out of. I have recently had a huge stuggle to get myself up and going so I know where this can go.

    My daughter's addiction is not drugs (though she uses pot from time to time), but never the less it is an addiction (and very serious for a girl-hard to get help for as a female) and just last night, after 4 years of working on this, I fell into the trap myself. As they relapse, we do too if we are not careful. The hard part is living in the murkiness of all this. It truelly is up to them and they are "just not right" so how do we trust them. And lets face it, the big fear for us is death or life encarceration. Noone does this alone, and noone comes out of this unscathed and also wiser by the way.

    I think what you did was good. I do think that getting him out of your home will help. I wonder if drug therapist can get him in rehab? Others have experience longer than mine and have been through this drug and will be along to help. ((Hugs)) to you. Please take care of yourself (eat, bathe, see friends, lock up your valuables,watch a mindnumbing movie to escape for awhile-something!)
  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Pamela I am so glad you are here and you are not alone. Most of us come here feeling the same way you do. I am out of town and can't reply in depth the way I would like until I get back but you will receive a lot of support and help from our members here. It is not easy to let our kids fall but sometimes that is the only way they get help. Have you checked into and residential drug treatment programs? He can't do this himself, heroin is a powerful drug.

    Also understand it is harder for you than it is for his father or siblings. It's easier for them to detach. Have you checked into any NA or FA meetings in your area?

    Hang in there. It can get better for you even if it doesn't get better for your son.

  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome,
    I'm so sorry for what you're going through. Hopefully, you will get good advice and consolation here.

    You are trying to do the right thing for everyone in your family, and by enabling your son in the past, he is able to steal from you in more ways than one. He is also stealing your normal family relationships with your husband and other family members. I think contacting the drug therapist is a good first step. However, if your son does not take the initiative to get help immediately, then I would suggest you file charges for theft. This sounds harsh, but he must experience consequences. Standing up for what is right is the right thing to do for your entire family...even your addict son. Permitting this behavior in your home is the worst thing you can do for him - I know it sounds irrational to your mother's heart, but it's true. I think also it may benefit you, your husband and your other children to seek therapy at FA or NA or AA, or even private therapy. Your husband's statement about wishing your son would die of an OD is a clear example of the anger and stress he can no longer manage. It is a toxic situation to your whole family.

    Of course you want your son to become a normal person. No addict is normal - it is not normal to put drugs ahead of everything else in one's life. The panic and sheer terror you fear can also come from fearing things will get worse before they get better. They probably will - but that is normal, too. Take care, keep checking back and post your progress/questions. Keep strong!
  5. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Hi Pamala - I only have time for a shortish answer but I want you to know I care.

    Like you, I came to this site nearly a year ago - desperate for a set of instructions to deal with my increasingly difficult, hostile son. Like you, I was scared to death for him. I felt for sure that somewhere-somehow -- someone (here?)had the answer that would help me find my beloved sweet boy in the mess he was making of himself.

    There are no answers. But you have taken a very definite step in the right direction by posting here.

    It's a slow process, a slow walk away and you will look back less and less as the time goes on.

    For me - it FINALLY sunk in that enabling him, trying to help him, trying to be open and loving towards him (hoping he'd trust me or reciprocate) was making it WORSE, not better.

    My son has been out of our home for 10+ months. I wish I could tell you it solved our issues. It didn't. But I can tell you that things are better. My life is better. My home has a sense of peace. Sure, my life and our relationship is not where I would like it to be. But I don't get a vote in that. I can't fix him. But I can live my best life without him. Sure, my ideal life would be one with him in it - healthy and happy. But that option isn't available. I had two options - live with him, enable him, make it worse, or let him go and at least have peace in my home (if not my heart).

  6. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Pamala. Welcome to our little corner of the CD board. I'm sorry that you are going through this hell. We can all relate to what you are feeling.

    We will offer comfort, support, and advice but none of us have the magic answer that will fix this for you. Take what you like and leave the rest. Here is what I think:

    1) Use the theft as leverage. Tell your son that he needs to go to an inpatient rehab immediately or you will press charges. Period. No negotiations, no fighting, just a fact. I can speak from experience because that is what we did with our daughter after she forged a check and used a credit card without permission. They were both for small amounts but the threat of being arrested is what finally made her leave our house and go to rehab. I don't know how this will affect his probation but I would personally rather have my son in jail than using heroin.

    2) Find help for yourself and your husband. My husband and I didn't like Al-Anon so we went to a private addiction specialist.

    I hate to say this but your son's asking for help so you would not turn him in for the theft or using heroin is meaningless unless there is action behind it. This may be your best chance to help your son get clean. It will be hard but we are here for you. Please keep posting.

  7. pinevalley

    pinevalley Member

    First, I think that you are being way too hard on yourself, and also that your husband and siblings are really not being fair to you. I think that it was a good idea to call the drug therapist. I know how upset you are now, but you did the absolute best in a very difficult situation and no one should criticize you for this. I agree with the others, that it is much harder for a mother to detach from a child than for a father or siblings. It takes time and lots of practice to learn how to detach and not to enable an addict. You have been trying to get help for your son for years, and you are doing the very best that you can right now.

    Your son is asking you for help now, and you should try to get help for him now while he wants to quit using heroin. I agree that you son really needs to be admitted to an inpatient treatment center, because he can not stop using heroin on his own. I like Kathy's idea of using the theft as leverage to get him admitted for treatment. Your son is scared of going to jail again, and you can use this to your advantage to get him help. Just be aware that if he refuses to get help, you should follow through with your promise to him and charge him with theft.

    My h and I had to charge our son with theft in order to get him help for his addiction. Our son absolutely refused to go to rehab a second time, and he stole jewelry from me and sold it for cash. I was terrified that he would continue to steal and that he would get arrested for more crimes, so I went to the police and pressed charges against our son. He was already out on bond for another theft when he stole from me, so we were not allowed to post bond for him a second time. This arrest happened 5 months ago, and he has been in jail all this time. I am learning about the legal system the hard way (along with my son), and that nothing moves quickly in court. I was hoping that my son would be court ordered to go to rehab, but the judge wanted him to stay in jail. In my state a theft of anything worth more than $400 is a felony charge, and so my son was charged with a felony. My son has been clean of drugs for 5 months, and he is safe in jail and not in danger. But this was also one of the hardest things that i have ever had to do, to press charges against my son. It breaks my heart that he may go to prison now, and he will be a convicted felon for the rest of his life. But like your son now, pressing charges was the only way to stop my son from using drugs and it may have saved his life.

    Please take care of yourself, and let us know how you are doing. You are on a very difficult journey now, but it can get better, and you CAN have serenity in your life. I am sending you good wishes and prayers for strength in the days ahead. HUGS....
  8. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Oh momma, I can feel the terror in your post, too. We really have been there. My daughter's doctor (drug of choice) is crystal meth. It turned her from a beautiful, gorgeous young lady to an unkept monster that cannot hold it together. She put our home through so much turmoil and constantly refused treatment. You think if they are under 18 you can force them into rehab - nope. If they are unwilling, rehabs will not take them without a court order. Ugh. Once she turned 17 (a legal adult in my state) I had to give her the ultimatum of going to rehab or not living in our home. She chose to not live in our home. It has been about a year and a half now. She is not any better. She is now also addicted to a loser boyfriend that sells the ****. She was arrested for shoplifting and goes to court soon - I am praying the court sends her to rehab or jail, but realistically, she will probably get a slap on the hand and go back to her druggie life. She couch surfs and stays in hotels that her loser boyfriend pays for because she was banned from where he lives (still don't know what she did - but it was a house of drug addicts so it had to be really bad). It is hell. I was such a wreck and I was so co-dependant on her addiction. You are too. You are going to need as much help as your son. You need to detach as HARD as that is to do for us moms. Oh, add my husband to the list of men easily able to detach and gosh, he was so angry all of the time. At me, at her, at our life. Looking back now, I cannot blame him. What she put us through was ridiculous. What I put up with was ridiculous. And all for the hope that something would click with her. That she would decide that she did not want that life anymore. That she would want the life I had dreamed for her - college, work - you know, a normal life. Didn't happen. Still hasn't happened. I can tell you what has happened, though. My home is peaceful. Happy. My sanctuary. I never saw my home as that before - I used to dread coming home. Never knew what I was going to come home to. I was nervous whenever I was gone not knowing what couold be happening in my house when I wasn't there. I shudder thinking about how it used to be here. Even my easy child is flourishing with her no longer living here. Sure, he misses his sister and I miss her too. I miss her so much my heart aches. I love her more than anything in the entire world and if she called me to say she was ready to go to rehab, I would drop everything to take her there. But until that time, there is nothing I can do but pray for her and remind her that we are here and we love her and we will help when she is ready.

    Now if your son is serious - find a rehab - inpatient - now. I would definitely offer an ultimatum. Now he may not choose what you want him to, but it has to be his choice and you have to let him make it. You have to stand your ground. Do you want to live in misery?

    If he is living in your home and is able to be a druggie there while living in comfort - of course nothing is going to change. Why would it? He is getting exactly what he wants. You need to make life for him as uncomfortable as possible. Sometimes people only go to rehab when they have run out of all other options and are so uncomfortable and miserable that they finally give in. that is what happened to my brother and he has been sober for years now - doing amazingly well!!! I hope the same for my daughter one day, but he has taught me that she needs to hit bottom and the more I rescue her, the further down I am pushing bottom. You got to let bottom come UP, if not help it come UP, Know what I mean??

    Whew - I think this is the longest post I have written in quite a while. But I just had to let you know that you are NOT alone. We are all here for you - please keep coming back. This forum and these ladies are the ONLY reason I have been able to detach and cope!! Without them, I would be a crumbling mess still.

    Please read Co-Dependant no more - it will help you help your son. (((HUGS)))
  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Oh PAM .... I too feel your pain and terror... and I too know the terror... the absolute fear that your child will end up overdosing and die. It is a horrible feeling! I am glad you found us and I hope you keep reading and posting because we are a group that truly understand.

    Stop beating yourself up for enabling your son..... I believe learning not to enable is a process... and figuring out the line between helping and enabling can be hard to do... especially as parents because our role has always been to take care of and protect our kids.

    I don't think any of us can tell each other where the enable/not enable line is because it is different for all of us. A lot depends on our own boundaries and a lot depends on the kid and their issues. What we can do is share our own process with you.

    So my son is also 20. He has been into drugs of various kinds since about the age of 12 or 13 (I think). We have had a roller coaster ride of various treatment centers. With each one I had hope and then disappointment and he would relapse. We have done different forms of enabling over the years... we did kick him out of our house when he was 18... because i felt that his flagrant violation of all of our rules was not the way to live nor was it the lesson I wanted him to learn. Reality is you cant get along in life if you violate all the rules. So he has been arrested several times, spent two weeks in jail. He has been to rehab several times.. then gone to sober houses and been kicked out of several of them. Honestly it is kind of ridiculous.

    The enabling line for me is that if he truly wants help then I will fight as hard as I can to get him help.... if he doesnt then I will not do anything to support his drug use. And we have gone up and down on this... I have fought hard to get him help several times, and he has blown it off several times. BUT I have also let him be homeless imbetween several times. I won't let him come back and live at home. Main reason is I have a 17 year old daughter who is doing great and does not need to have his chaos mess her up too. But like PG said... it was a jolt to realize that I now enjoy spending time at home. I mean I really like being home!! There have been many times when going to work was a total relief from my home life!

    So the good news is my son is now at a tx place that seems to really get him and his issues. He certainly has substance abuse issues but also has some other mental health issues and they are working on those too.... and not kicking him out for some of his bad behavior... so at the moment I am hopeful again but I also fully and completely realize the story is far from over.

    I also recommend finding some kind of support group.... I go to a parents alanon group that is wonderful and has truly been a life saver for me (along with this board). It really does help to talk to other parents who really understand.

  10. songinwind

    songinwind New Member

    Hello. I am new to this group and do not know where to turn or what to do anymore. My youngest daughter and the mother of 2 children has a substance abuse issues, the main one being heroin. C/S removed her children thru the court and they are with me. Their mother was also here but yesterday C/S had a court order that she move out and have controlled visitation due to her and her husbands lack of cooperation with the case plan. She and her husband,both into drugs have been separated a year now but still use together. I have an enabling issue that I was unaware of but now trying to do something about and it is so hard. I saw this forum and desperately need friends that understand where I am at with this issue instead of always telling me what they would do, yet not one steps in to help with the children. I relate to everything said here, but have no where to take my thoughts. I am now dealing with the anger of a 6 year old (their daughter) and well understand the sweet child's anger but need ti nip it fast and re-direct where and how she acts out. Thank you each. ~songinwind (sandra)~
  11. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Welcome Song,
    Welcome to the board. I do not have the same issues as you have, no grandbabies or a heroin addict, but I do have a very difficult 17 year old daughter who is mentally ill (most addicts are)addicted to sex and also uses pot. I have to work very hard on not enabling. It means different things to different people and it looks different depending on you child and their needs. The choices I have made based on my daughters issues are that I never give her money-ever, ever! I do not get her a bus pass or allow her to get a driver's licence on my watch (she is too impulsive, hasn't earned it and smokes pot), I also will never give her a ride unless it is to work (she lost her last job), the 2 friend's houses I trust, or to a job interview. I do not make her appointments, I do not remind her off responsibilities, I only buy food and give her a roof ovr her head (she is a minor-I wouldn't for a drug addict adult). It has taken me several months to get there. I have learned the most here on this board and by attending Families Anon meetings. There are some really good books as well that I am sure other's will share with you-right now I am ready all of Melody Beatties stuff on co-dependency because I am focusing on myself and what I need to do to be healthy after 3 years of terror, hell, fear, residential treatments for my daughter and even pending court case! I do not know what I would do if there were children involved-bless you heart for being there. As for dealing with the little 6 year old, I also recommend looking at the general parent board-much advise there. I also think you may get more experienced advise on the parent Emeritis board-so you have at least three boards to get support. Again welcome and know you are not alone-we know what you are going through. Share your struggles and feelings here and keep us posted. ((Hugs)) I hope the site managers move your thread so that you can get all the support you need.
  12. songinwind

    songinwind New Member

    I want to know why I found this on "open" iternet for all the world to read??????Plz deliete what I thought to be a "private" comment..
  13. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member


    This is a public forum for everyone to read. If you would like this thread deleted please send a message to runaway bunny the site administrator or one of the moderators. They can delete it for you.