I have lost my son for good I think

My son was arrested again yesterday. He is now in jail for 7 weeks until his next court case. When the police rang me as he asked them to I could hear him screaming in the back ground. We think it is ice. His girlfriend keeps ringing the police and having him arrested for assault. Yet she is the one who is abusive. They are both using and completely dysfunctional. She gets him arrested, he is not allowed near her, so he leaves her gets his own place, comes to us tells us about everything going on, the abuse, the drugs etc etc, we think he is going to make the change then they start ringing each other even though she has an AVO on him. Then she moves in with him. Now because of this he has broken his AVO and is in jail. I believe he is completely mentally gone.

I before this arrest had to stop seeing him as I found myself in a situation with him in the car one day. Before she had showed up again. He had suggested we have a coffee. So I bought him groceries, then we went to get coffee. He decided he just wanted a drive through meal, so we drove through Maccas and he ordered two meals, one for later, one for now, so that was okay. As the lady was handing the food across to me he asked for $20 cash. I said no I couldn’t, as this was my and my husband’s boundary, we would buy him food and even occasionally a packet of cigarettes but definitely no cash. As he would buy drugs with the cash. He went berserk at me, yelling and screaming. I told him to get out of the car. He refused. So I drove him home. He kept it up the whole way with the abuse etc. I pulled up to let him out of the car and he starred at me in a weird way trying to intimidate me. He eventually got out of the car. This scared me. My son is 40 years old. I decided to never put myself in that situation again. We had only been helping him to get back on his feet as we thought he was making a change.

So I hadn’t seen him since that day. Since then she had moved in and I would get a phone call here and there asking for money which I said no to. I also explained to him I couldn’t see him due to the incident in the car. Which his version was completely different to mine. We could not understand how if she had an AVO on him why they could get away with living together again. But apparently it has now caught up with them again. We are upset that he is in jail. But we believe it is the only place for him. He is a real mess, can’t look after himself physically or mentally. He is so skinny and old looking and mentally unfit. We are hoping he will get at least 12 months so that maybe he will get off the drugs and someone in the jail system will notice his mental health problem and get him some help.

My husband believes that he will never get off the drugs as he is 40 years old and it is now too late. I am starting to believe this now and the realisation hits me that I have actually lost him. It feels like grief. Like he has died. Is there ever a chance that at 40 they can still change their lives. Or is the damage already done too servere. My son had mental health problems from in his twenties when he took some drugs then that actually damaged his brain. I have always tried to hang onto a little bit of hope that one day he would get better. My father was an alcoholic and became sober in his late 40s but this generation it is drugs and I believe drugs do more damage. So now I have lost that little bit of hope and I truely believe we have lost him forever.


Well-Known Member
I am in Nar Anon and.know a man who is in the same group with me (because his son is an addict) who had gotten off drugs at 37 and he is now in his 60s. Interestingly he did not get clean until his parents died. He doesn't say why but that interests me. But....he.is clean although his child is not.

People get clean at all ages but they have to want to. My own daughter doesn't want to and she.us.in her 30s. I can't force her and I have already grieved. I joined Nar Anon and got into therapy too and my life is good again, even though she.is still unwilling to quit. She is homeless with her horrible husband in another state. The distance helps me. It was worse when I saw her every day.

I'm sure that like me you have other loved ones who want you to be happy, and you do have yourself to care about. These adults of ours, who are like children, can suck all the oxygen.out of our world so that there is only them and only our heartbreak. Until we learn how to detach with love and put the focus on ourselves and taking care of us first, we suffer badly. We can only change one person....that is us. We can't even change a beloved child. Our being constantly sad for them doesn't make them better. So caring for ourselves first is very important and NOT selfish. I thought it was when I first heard that idea, but it's not.

I send love and.prayers to you and your son. Try to get help to learn coping skills...we all need that. A good book is Codependent No More by Melodie Bestie. A great read. I highly suggest Nar Anon and/or private therapy.
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Well-Known Member
Dear Hopeful Parent

Unfortunately our situations are quite similar. I am struggling with similar things. What I mean here is that while my son is not facing legal problems, his way of life is so damaging to me psychically, that I find being around him almost intolerable. Which brings me to the second similarity, how I struggle within myself to maintain hope--and have to battle despair. Actually, as I type this I am realizing that the two things are related. I think I find my son's presence so difficult because near him I can't maintain hope. The reality is too painful.

I want to add two more things. I was at the hospital today. I needed an EKG because I have chest pain which could be heart trouble. That's how bad this is getting for me. Because I am older they gave me a book related to elder abuse and elder's rights. When reading the book I was forced to recognize that my son's behavior is abusive to me. More and more so, as time goes on. Just like you describe. The yelling. The intimidation. Calling me names.

The other thing I want to add is this. I am saying this to you and I am saying this to myself. Hope is independent of anything. It's like faith. It is an attitude. It's not dependent on anybody or anything at all. I do believe our sons could change if they wanted, at 30, 40, 50 or 60. They don't want to. Sometimes I fear that my son is so damaged and limited by all that has gone on these past 10 years that he can't change. But I am wrong. He could change. He chooses not to. For now.

I too have great grief. Worse when I sleep and wake up. Grief and heartache. The hardest thing for me to accept is that there is NOTHING I can do to make him change, help him change, or accelerate his changing. I can only "help" him if I allow myself to be his victim (and how is this help?). And this I will no longer do, although I am deeply ambivalent about it.

Sometimes I fear I should sacrifice myself, but I know that would be a very wrong and immoral thing to do--to offer myself up as his victim. But that doesn't stop me (sometimes) from victimizing myself in my own head; for blaming myself that I do not do the things he wants.

This is the truth of the situation. I am totally powerless with respect to my son but I am not powerless in my own life. The same is true for you. There are days and weeks I can hold onto this. I feel happy and optimistic and free. Then he calls, and the gloom sets in.

I will try to be kind to myself. To remind me that very, very shortly the sun will return and the eclipse for me, and you, will end.

Our sons are separate people. They are grown, adult, middle-aged men. Let's let them be. Let's let them carry themselves and the circumstances they choose and the problems and consequences that they create. And let us be in our own lives.

Love, Copa
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Well-Known Member
Dear Hopeful Parent,
I just wanted to reach out and say I'm thinking of you. This is so hard, and sometimes I think the grief and fear regarding my son will kill me, so I understand what you mean. I'm still grappling with this myself, but like Copa, I'm in a position where seeing or hearing from my son causes me anxiety.

I don't know what to tell you. I like to think there is always hope, but I see the danger in hope too. My son is stable right now, but I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. I guess we have to try as hard asa we can to live in the moment and to make the most of our own lives. I know this is easier said than done.

Regarding your son: at least while he is incarcerated there is a chance for him to get off the drugs. Who knows, this might be the turning point for him.

Look after yourself. I find posting and reading here brings me comfort when I am feeling my worst. I also like to read or watch something lighthearted on TV when things are getting me down.
Thank you for all your kind words. I try very hard to self care and my husband and I stopped enabling him over 12 months ago. Until recently when he left her and came back here with his minister friend. Because of that, we then decided to help him get settled, but as I said above, it backfired on us again. I really believe the only answer for him is jail. At least to give his brain a rest from the damaging drugs. It is very distressing knowing my son is in jail as he was always an honest moral boy. Though I think that has changed now. Thank you. Somtimes I just need to tell someone how it is. Where I live there are no descent services for counselling. And family don’t want to help because he is a drug addict. If he had cancer or something similar we would have their support. There is also no Alonon where we live.


Well-Known Member
Hopeful parent, I am sorry there is not more outside help. My family is a quiet calm one. They are quietly there for us when they want to be and offer much comfort. On the other hand, although they never criticize us or Kay, they also change the subject gracefully if she is brought up. This is their way of saying "She is wrong so we won't discuss it." That's what they do. So we cope without extended family support.

I find reading books or audiobooks, especially about codependence, were very helpful. That was the first time I realized that I put everyone else's needs before mine, that this isn't good for anyone or me and that....I can't control other people. I guess I once felt I could at least be a good influence if I never let people suffer consequences and spoke my mind about right and wrong. But I learned, as much from books as therapy, that I have no control over anyone but myself. It was a shock to my system and at first I found that depressing. But now it's comforting. I don't feel like I caused it anymore. I am free of guilt MOST of the time.

I do not think about hope. I don't NOT have hope either. But I deal with the reality one day at a time. I don't focus on the future or past. I can't change the past and done know the future so I let the story unfold every minute of every day. This has curtailed my anxiety in all affairs, even during COVID!

In Nar Anon we say "What we may not be able to stand for a year, we can stand for one day." That's how I learned to keep my thoughts on NOW.

If God is in your life that can also help. If not, maybe nature makes you calm....find something that makes you feel your best and spend time with it. Lots!

Hugs and love 🌹


New Member
Hi Hopeful Parent,
All our situations are similar. My adult son is in a mental health facility after being arrested for some serious (but stupid) activities. I think he was either off his medication (he is Bipolar) or taking too much of something. Anyway, seeing what he has done to himself and the pain he is experiencing is terrible for me as a parent. But he is still calling and yelling and screaming at me when I won't do something for him or I won't do something for him on his timetable. I've some to realize this is classic abuse. I know I need to stop it, but we will be having a normal conversation and out of nowhere, this rage comes from him.
I'm working on taking care of myself, but it is hard. I don't have a lot of hope for his recovery.


Well-Known Member
First I want to mention that there are online Al-Anon and Nar Anon meetings. All one must do is google for them, and lists come up. In English, they are all over the USA but also England and Australia, too.
I like to think there is always hope, but I see the danger in hope too.
I think almost all of us here wrestle with hope. I used to think that hope was cruel, a set-up. That was because I tied my hope to a specific outcome. But that isn't hope, that's the wish for control. I was always let down because I can't control what happens in another person, least of all my own son.

When I came to see that I can have hope from another part of myself, that is connected to prayer to G-d, that is when I saw that hope was my own to have; that it was limitless and without contingency; and this Hope could offer to me sustenance and tranquility and a sense of wholeness. The opposite of despair.

The biggest barrier I have is fear. I am trying to remember to turn to prayer but I don't always remember.
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