I am new here with 37 yr old at home- and hope I can find and give help.


New Member
Hi- thank you all. My son age 37 lives with me. My wife left in 2012 for a myriad of reasons, one of which this guy is an expert at dividing-- (and I dont mean arithmetic). We had been married 31 yrs. I dont blame him, but he didn't help. He was a nurse and working at a hospital- but unknown to any of us he was stealing drugs and got caught. He called and said, "the hospital has a furlough and my lease is up and they will probably move me to another hospital and so I am hesitant to sign a lease here- in case they assign me somewhere 50 miles away can I move in for a short time." Of course we believed him-and said "of course."

He had previously attempted suicide (he says) when he was discovered to be gay at a university that will kick you out of school if that is the case. When he moved in, I discovered he was a liar and manipulator.

This was about 2010- I was in a car accident and broke my neck. I've had 3 spine surgeries since.

I remarried a couple years later- she left me about 2 weeks ago because he is still here. I had rented him a room for 18 months and told him to get a job. My other son and daughter and I met- and we all pitched in to send him to rehab. He had developed a huge methadone habit and had been injecting benadryl---in his femoral vein- (in his groin) so that no one would see the needle marks. I hate taking one benadryl- and can't imagine injecting it- but I would find hundreds of empty capsules in the bathroom and he always had some excuse. When I found the bloody syringe I knew what was up. So he went to rehab. I insisted he get a job- he did at a grocery store but his legs were causing him pain and he had to have emergency surgery- lost that job. After he recovered and during his recovery - I demanded he get another job.

He did at an airline as flight attendant. He was found in a hotel room on the other side of the US- unresponsive and near death. It turns out- his femoral artery was dissolved. The blood was going into his leg causing a very painful compartment syndrome. He was in the University of Minnesota hospital for 2 months following an artery replacement from a cadaver. He arrives home with an incision from his belt line to his knee- that was open to the bone and packed with the dressings and this foam stuff from a wound vac. They said it has to heal from 2nd intention--from the inside because as I learned- the outside heals faster. I took him to a wound clinic and they would use this long saw blade and just like slicing a loaf of bread they would cut from top to bottom- with back and forth strokes and trim off all the extra skin and tissue growing to close the wound----no anesthesia- he had to tough it out.

Needless to say- this got his addiction going again- and he went to the methadone clinic. He is healed now- this was 3 yrs ago- it took a good 18 months to heal. SO wife left, because he is here doing nothing, we had no privacy or intimacy because the walls had ears so to speak. She left because I would do nothing.

The threats of suicide and the attempt - I just feel like he would kill himself- so I have treaded lightly and been effectively emasculated by my wife- "why dont' you do anything"----

He lied to her and said the house was really his because I got behind in payments and he paid them---which is a lie. She believed him and to this day she says "I know you dont do anything because he owns the house or he saved it for you"----and even showing her on the deed which has my name (and hers)----NOT HIS- she doesn't believe it. (she is from a latin country and I met her online).

So, part of her coming back is dependent on him being gone. I told him many times over the past year. I told him to apply for disabiility-- he said he did. So I said to him 6-8 months ago to leave and he said "at least give me time for my disability to come- and I called social security- they said it takes 6 months so I assumed OK-- anytime." I had asked him countless times, "are you sure you finished and sent the application in"---yes dad. It was a lie.

Other times he told me had full blown aids. He did it in a strange way- we were alone in the house and he summoned me to the washer and dryer- (kind of out of the way) and whispered it to me. I believed him. A lie.

He told me he had some kind of atrial fib thing. yes it was a fib. My mom had it and they burned some nerve in her heart---and his nursing- is how he learned that. "How can you kick me out when I have to have heart surgery".

He told me he has cancer.

So the other day when he asked for methadone (I have 3 a day prescribed for my own back and neck pain) 30mg is my dose. His is 140mg day. He blows thru his take homes (they give him a weeks worth) in a few days and then is in withdrawals. He steals mine, he rifles thru my things, and if my wife knew- she would have left and never came back. She did it anyway.

So when he asked for methadone AGAIN--I said "you absolutely have to leave"- he said, "give me time, I have a new job I am starting"- (its always what he thinks I want to hear) and I said, "this is past waiting for and trusting you--my wife LEFT"----he said "why do you want to kick me out and just make your problems worse"- and i said, "it wont make my problems worse" to which he replied, "I will just shoot myself- I want to do it and the only reason I dont is my family- and if that happens I will lose my family so have no reason to live."

There is no family relationships. Addiction is the great destroyer of worlds- not nuclear weapons. nuclear weapons do it quickly and painlessly (if you are in the blast) and addiction does it one person or one family at a time.

So, I realized when he said that- I was ill prepared. I need to go see the police, and talk to a social worker- and I know hospitals have them so maybe I can just go to the hospital and see if one willl talk to me.

I have no doubt others have gone thru this- and I hope I can get some direction. I want him well- but if he chooses to do nothing- then I want my life and wife back. When I help him more than he helps him, we have a big problem.

Thank you all for reading this or responding to it. I am very grateful for any direction or advice I can get.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Welcome ms2019. I'm sorry you're struggling with your son's behavior & choices, when our adult children go off the rails, for whatever reason, it's extremely challenging for us, the parents.

You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post. A good book that may help is Codependent no more, by Melodie Beattie.

Your son's behaviors are holding you hostage to his addiction, you may want to post on the Substance abuse forum as well. It will be helpful for you to find support for yourself, most often it is NOT our adult kids who change........it's US. To that end I would encourage you to seek counsel for your dysfunctional connection with your son. Many of us here go to Al Anon, Families Anonymous, CoDA, Narc Anon......any 12 step group that will support you in creating strong boundaries around your son's behaviors and offer you assistance in finding healthy ways to take care of yourself, in spite of your son's choices.

Professional help is a viable avenue of support for all of us here. You can find therapists in your area on the Psychology Today website, here's the link: Find a Therapist, Psychologist, Counselor - Psychology Today
You can also find therapists in your area at good therapy.org: Find a Therapist

NAMI, is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, they have chapters in many cities and offer excellent courses for parents..... NAMI would likely be a benefit for you to offer YOU support, guidance, information and possible resources for your son. Here's the link: Find Support | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Another resource you can research is The Delaney House, here's the link: Delancey Street Foundation - Home

You are not helping your son by giving him everything he requires while he does nothing to help himself. That is the classic definition of enabling/codependency. If you truly want to change, then you will have to do the heavy lifting of change which will require you to set strong boundaries to take care of yourself. Threats of suicide are often manipulative tactics to get the enabler to continue enabling, however, one option many parents find works is to call the police every time your son threatens suicide and allow him to face the consequences of the threat.

Your son is manipulating you to gain whatever he wants. I would strongly encourage you to seek support for yourself to learn how to deal with a substance abuser who is abusing you, manipulating you, lying to you and continuing his obnoxious behavior without any consequences. You matter too. You deserve a life of your own. You are not responsible for your son. Your son is responsible for himself. He is a grown man, it's time for him to man up and figure out his own life. To that end, please seek support of some kind, continue posting and put your needs and your desires FIRST, put yourself as the priority.

My daughter is 46 and until I began learning how to stop enabling her, I was dragged around by her negative choices, I was on a hamster wheel which I could not get off of and my life was filled with anger, disappointment, resentment, sorrow, guilt, fear, obligation and an overblown sense of my responsibility to others. It took a "village" for me to stop. I entered a 2 year long course on codependency which changed my life. I had weekly therapy, a weekly parent support group, I attended 12 step groups, wrote on this forum daily and read every book I could which I thought might help. It was a process of learning how to care for MYSELF, how to love myself, accept what I cannot change, set boundaries and make choices which were in support of MY well being. I had to learn how to say NO. Once I did, like many of our adult kids, my daughter upped the ante.......their behavior gets worse as they begin to realize we are not allowing them to hold us hostage any longer. However, with massive support, I held on. Over time, it all shifted and my daughter began to change. She is finding her own way now and we are developing an entirely new relationship. It's not easy, in fact, it was the hardest thing I've ever done, but we are both now on a much healthier, calmer, more peaceful path.

Hang in there ms2019, you've taken an important step in recognizing that change is necessary. Continue posting, it helps. Find support for YOU. Put yourself FIRST. We'll circle our wagons around you as you find the appropriate path for yourself. Be very kind to yourself. Take care of YOU.


Well-Known Member
I also have a 37 year old son who does not live with me but constantly wants favors most of which involve money. It is difficult to say no but we have to try. I have blocked his number and told him it is because he can not talk to me without asking for something. If you are like me you are at least close to retirement. I am retired. I worked for my money and i deserve to enjoy my retirement. You do too. Most of our kids are more resilient than you think. Your son needs to use his skills to help himself. If you need to look into eviction procedures in your state. Many have told me that we will not always be here and they need to learn to live on their own . we are not helping them in the long run. They lie and use us it has to stop. It is a process but you need to start now. Good luck and welcome.


Well-Known Member
If you're taking that medication I don't think the current living arrangement can work. Persuade him to try another type of rehab besides the traditional 12-step programs. They seem to have a high failure rate. Family therapy might help. IF he completes rehab, he will probably get his nursing license back after a time. He will have to work in a restricted environment with reviews, proof of ongoing treatment, etc. He's got a problem with compulsive lying, and I really hope he gets into counseling and makes a sincere effort to stop lying.


Well-Known Member
37 years old with an in-demand job skill (nursing) is too old to be living off you and stealing your pain medication. You obviously know the situation needs to change, since you're posting about it on here. You matter, your relationships matter, your environment matters. His suicide threats are emotional blackmail designed to keep you enabling his addictions. If he threatens suicide, call 911. Every time. After awhile he'll get tired of the 5150 holds. You know he's got to go.


Well-Known Member
Suicide threats are really scary. Some are just to get attention. I think my daughter has been seriously suicidal at times, but I can not do anything and she refuses therapy, certain they will force her to take drugs. For depression she only takes Kratom. Well, and the answer to everything, pot.

It is so hard. I am so sorry. You have to make such a hard decision.


New Member
Well today I went to a place called "community bridges" which is the place where the police or ambulance take people when they find them overdosed or drunk (if not too jail)---its a detox place. Its free. I started explaining my situation to one of the workers and he asked where he was getting his methadone. I told him it was at (XYZ) methadone clinic and voila- he used to work there. In the past when I have called them, or my (other) son or daughter have called them, we got nowhere- "with hippa we cannot confirm or deny he comes here and cannot talk about his case"- and I said one time, "OK I will talk you listen" and I told them he was abusing his methadone- but they did nothing. So this guy said "my best friend is X the manager- I will call him tomorrow"----so....... thats that. He claims to have a job lined up- and so I will be asking for proof and and assuming he does- I will give him a couple weeks. If he doesn't and he lied- I will go to court and have him evicted and I will get a protection order.

I am 59, had a broken neck and recent knee replacement and this little SHI% has the nerve to tell me he has aids, cancer, needs heart surgery, or whatever. Why did my wife leave?

Because we were in the bathroom- door closed. The bedroom door was also closed. She said to me, "I am feeling sick and I might have a fever"- and this faint voice- "dad- you can use my thermometer"---so I dont know if he was listening, or if the stars were lined up right and he heard it- or what- but she got really uncomfortable about that and left.

I hate to put him on the street- I was going to go to the police today to ask them about "what if someone threatens suicide" but the door was locked---(at the police) so I will wait until tomorrow - a monday. There are also pages on www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org where each state laws are listed for involuntary commitment. He keeps this up and he could find himself locked up in the state hospital for a year. On "the peoples court" the judge said "you two are going to be in for a huge shock" because "when you invite the government in your life, you lose all control." So he better be careful- he will push once to many times and that phone call will be made. I just want him to get his act together.

Thank you all----I appreciate all of your suggestions and advice- I will print them and read /re-read them and follow the advice. Thank you again.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
So sorry you are living like this.

I agree with the others. Take your life back. Get your wife back.

You have to see that you are not helping your son. I would say he has to be out of your home and on his own and that is what I would do. Do not stop until he is on his own.

It does not mean you do not love him. Love has nothing to do with it.

Our son is 23 and I am trying to prepare him to be on his own. He has had setbacks due to his drug use but now is doing well.

FIRM BOUNDARIES are mandatory. You have to change everything about how you relate to him. It is NOT easy but it can be done. Many here are living proof of that.

Good luck and keep reading and posting. You will get strength and courage here. I did.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I would re read these responses multiple times. These folks know what they are talking about. Take your life back. Seek help. NAMI and Families Anonymous are two groups to check out. You might meet others who can help you and know if local services. Are you sure he filed for disability? It’s not the easiest paperwork to complete. I would double check if you reasonably can do so. Can you afford a therapist for yourself? He is way too old to be living with you. This is unhealthy. You are enmeshed with his life. in my humble opinion, you need a plan to have him out of your home sooner rather than later. Move forward with YOUR life. You can provide some bare bone basics like a cell phone if you want, but consider greatly big time limiting your personal role in his life. Additionally, you can lead him to services , but it’s totally up to him to partake. You likely need to find some inner strength to set strong boundaries.
Also...if someone threatens suicide you absolutely can have them committed. Call the police if you need to.
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I can't say anything other than I am sorry and thinking of you. I have been ugly crying for 2 hours now because I just kicked out my 34 year old son (who does NOT live here). I dumped him off after he crashed, here, yet again, and when I read your story I cried even harder. My son has multiple health issues also. Some real, some not. The familiarity of it all hurts more than I can handle.
I'm thinking of you. I hope life takes a turn towards greatness for your son, and yourself.