I Let the Camel Put His Toe in the Tent - And The Rest You Can Guess


Today is Friday.

On Wednesday night I got a message from a relative that my grandson was not doing well and he messaged me and I asked if he had eaten and he said " no" (only booze - so scary). I went to where he was and brought some food. He was up and about and seemed coherent (I had been told he was passed out earlier).

He said he was going to go to rehab the next day and he was afraid the relative whose house he was staying at would come home and start an argument and at the same time, the relative texted me and asked me if I could drive him to rehab. I said I would and he asked if we could then stay at my house. It seemed reasonable.

Then the next morning when I thought we were going to leave he told me "plans had changed" and they couldn't do the intake until the next day. He was detoxing, so it seemed like the best idea to stay with me on what was expected to be a bad day (and I was worried about his health - he had no insurance, so he was not going to go to the hospital).

So yesterday was mostly good, but then at sunset (which he had predicted, evidently it's like "Sundowner Syndrome" for Alzheimer's patients - he started to get really angry and said he was going to leave - was very negative about rehab, etc., etc.

I went to bed and prayed and found relief.

He slept (he had not slept at all the night before).

This morning he was more positive, but kept vacillating back and forth about rehab (which I think is to be expected since he has done many rehabs and really does not want to go back - he also knows it's his only hope and he would be homeless without it).

I dropped him off. He kept his phone because he said he wanted to text friends during the intake process (but at one point said he might use it to get a ride if he decided to leave).

I kept my composure.

I am storing his car and had him sign something that says he has to coordinate with me for its return during normal business hours and that he must be sober (because at one point he indicated he was going to just come get it).

I told him this morning I am going to take no responsibility for keeping the car running (I had told him previously I would keep the battery going by running it once-in-a-while).

He expressed some extremely negative feelings/ideas but I am hoping that is part of the detox process combined with his disappointment in himself and everything else.

He cancelled his insurance, gym membership, etc., so those are all good signs.

I know I have no control over what he does or does not do.

I now have all of his belongings IN my house, but I am bagging them up and will put them in the car (which I told him).

I am writing here just to vent.

I am taking pretty good care of myself.

I was devastated when he got hostile and crazy last night, but I handled it well (besides initial gagging, etc.)

When I dropped him off and wasn't sure he was going to stay, I got nervous, but am doing okay at the moment. Some of the negative things he said scared me - about his hopelessness, etc. I am trying to focus on the good things he told me (played a song for me that was about a guy who finally found recovery); some of his hopes and dreams for the future, the fact that he has many mentors, etc.


If he is an addict in pain then him being hostile and crazy is "understandable", but not good for you to be a part of. I hope rehab works for him and gives you a chance to get some peace. For now he's in the best place


Update: He left rehab - did not want the six month commitment for what he felt was an infraction (in terms of a relapse). He came to my house to pick up his car. I told him he had to be sober and it had to be during normal business hours, with notice. He did all of that, and seemed sober. I had packed up his car with his stuff.

I told him his boss said he would take him back and if he committed to working, going to meetings, and staying sober, he could stay with me for a couple of weeks. He did not want to put me out, but he did stay last night and went to work this morning to talk to the boss.

I felt strongly guided by my intuition to take him in - I thought I was going to let him be homeless, but he really was sober and I didn't have the heart. He told me some upsetting stuff about his state of mind. I love him and I had also gotten "The Star" Tarot card for the day, which said that someone needed nurturing and care.

I was planning a spontaneous trip to Hawaii, but put it off.

I feel "my job" is to do this for now - it feels spiritually important to me - I know many people label all loving actions "co-dependent," but I am obviously not in that camp. I trust my own guidance and intuition and am also aware when I am not honoring boundaries (like this morning when I had an urge to do some detective work).

I know that I have no answers, or control over his choices (we have already had arguments about really basic things), but I am trusting the process and feel like I will be able to live with myself without remorse by being kind.

I read a metaphysical something (won't go into detail because I don't want to offend) - the bottom line was that "helping people" is apparently the reason we are here (from this point-of-view). Our lives are not just to be materialistic and self-serving . . . many people are suffering, and if we can help, we should (my belief).


Well-Known Member
I believe that is true also. But if somebody is toxic to us, even family, we are to let them go. There is helping and enabling. I felt that keeping my drug abusing daughter at home would hold her back. She quit as soon as I made the tough decision to do so. I help people when I feel I can. And I let go when my help is not helping...then I am doing it for me, not for them. Loving ourselves is very important to our energy field...every bit as important as loving others. This is what I have learned in the same teachings.

Sometimes our help doesnt help. But it is your decision. Lots of luck. I wish you both well.


I am trying to elevate all of this, for my sake, to a higher, more spiritual perspective. I am doing what I know in my heart is "right" right now . . . I also know that I cannot fix him or control him (believe me, I have tried). We disagree about the color of the sky.

There is a little nuance about doing something "for them" or "for yourself." There is a belief that when you do something "for them" that is really "for yourself," that that is bad. I don't believe that. I believe it is all about consciousness and intention. If I intend an action to be "helpful" and it helps me somehow, I don't see that as twisted and "bad." I know this is an area where most would disagree. It's even kind of hard to explain . . . this is not "black or white" stuff, and we are not living our lives in fear of judgment from others, or by others dictates or understandings . . .

My philosophy is "live and let live." There is not ONE WAY . . . sometimes tough love is the right action - other times, nurturing and care is . . . I decide what is right for me - if I am in error, it will soon come to light, and I will learn from it.

I am learning a lot right now and I feel good about the love that is being transmitted in this situation. Next week I might say something completely different. It's evolution - the only constant is change stuff.


I respect your choices with regards to your grandson. I do not know your whole situation or you. You need to be happy with what you do or don't do i can see that. I don't wish to judge whether you are right or wrong to do this. I really hope that it's what he needs and the stepping stone to his success.

I don't know what success would look like for you; that he continues to tread water with his addiction (eg not getting any worse, but really not getting better) or this is his last relapse and he makes good and gets sustainable recovery from this point onwards. I'm sure we would all like it to be the latter, but there are no guarantees in this business.

i am passionate about not enabling ( or trying not to). I have been an enabler, but i have learned more about my faults as I have gone along and hope not to make the same mistakes again because now i know better. I am passionate about finding truths about enabling so that others can become aware of it's meaning, so please forgive and bear with me for going on a bit.

What we do or not do will affect their outcome; this could be good or bad. All actions can have unintended consequences.

Detaching from, and stopping enabling, the addict is counter intuitive to our good intention to try to " help", and that reason alone makes it very hard to do.

As far as i see it, the main advantage, for us, of standing back and letting them feel the consequences of their actions ( i.e. not enabling them) is that we can truely say that what happened from then on was not because of anything we did by interfering...it is down to their choices. But when we enable, we are directly accountable for what happens after. This may be that we delay them hitting their rock bottom by years and therefore delaying true recovery and new life ( rather than a sham recovery for which they are not really commited) and in a worse case scenario, even cause their death. i do not want to be accountable by interfering any longer.

We know that the addict cannot think straight. They can manipulate us to enable them, consciously or unconsciously. Their addict brain also manipulates themselves into getting their fix any way they have to. Even when on the road to recovery. the addict mind can be very persuasive and feel's like they can trust it. "Just one drink won't hurt because you are strong now..."

Similarly enablers cannot think straight; they have become traumatised and enmeshed in the whacky situation created by addiction. It would be truely amazing for anybody to come out unscathed by addiction. They can also be prone to the same skewed logic from their own affected brain to justify what they do. What feels very right may in fact be very wrong. As loved ones of addicts, we need to be very aware of this possibiliity if things are going to get better. Enablers need to find recovery for themselves to stop enabling.


I understand.

I have a slightly different perspective and don't wish to debate "what I am doing or not doing or why."

This forum is the first forum I have found where there is space for non "groupthink." There are times when I must detach and I know where to go for that train of thought and it is helpful in those times. This is not one of those times. I am not going to go into details about his mental health or my personal spiritual beliefs about "our paths." No one can really know what another person "should" do.

Like I said, next week or tomorrow, I may be doing something completely different! It's a journey. It's not just "he's sick and I'm sick for loving him so I have to do x, y, and z because lots of people say that is what I 'should' do." It is me deciding what is right for me in each moment.



100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
We all have to do what we feel is right at the time and we can and will make mistakes along the way.

Once I accepted that all I can do is give my son love but cannot change how he chooses to live his life, we both have gotten stronger.

I think there is nothing wrong with showing kindness to your addicted loved one. I think the problem lies when we let their addiction take over OUR lives.

My son is in recovery now and doing well but I have been down this path many times so am cautiously optimistic.

He is a plane ride away though so it makes it so much easier for us NOT to enable him. He is doing things for himself now and that empowers him and raises his self-esteem. It takes a lot of strength to do any of this. This is what worked best for our family.


Well-Known Member
To do or not to do .........has caused me many nights of tossing and turning. Each of us must make these difficult decisions based on our own experiences and our individual beliefs. I hope your grandson accepts your help and begins to see that a life without drugs is doable.


I take moral dilemmas quite seriously and only act if I feel in my gut it is right - and I also believe in the larger scheme of things there really are no mistakes. It's all learning. None of us is going to be here forever, so we just have to do the best we can do.

I personally think the word "enable" is too broadly applied. And that's another distinction each and every person must make.

When my grandson is sober (as he was when he left for work this morning), and has a plan (as he has to save money to go to sober living), then my "assistance" is by my definition, not "enabling." Enabling, to me, are those behaviors that keep someone in sickness and there is some payoff to the enabler. My only payoff is hoping that he COULD potentially get better - and if he relapses, I know I did the best I could at a certain point in time.

I don't know who decided that throwing sober relatives out on the street and never assisting them is the ONLY way to go - I do understand if someone is actively in addiction, or disrespectful in your space, or you don't want them in your space for whatever reason - those are all legitimate reasons to not take someone in - and oh, if you don't WANT to take them in, that's another good reason not to . . . but sober is different to me. There is no RX in Alanon that says you must throw people out on the street or leave them on the street - again, I understand why people MUST do that, it is just not a rule or law and no one really knows what is right for another person.

It's funny that someone above alluded to my "mistake." How can anyone judge that? What will make it a mistake? I will decide if and when I have had enough, or he will leave of his own volition. Our agreement right now is kind of short term - wait and see . . . he may not stay at all - who knows? I don't. I hope he does, because I hope he wants to stay sober, but I have no idea what he will do today or tomorrow.

I asked him why he drank the last time and he said "because I wanted to."

So, it really is "one day at a time." I am good with it today. I will leave tomorrow for tomorrow and cherish good days.


Well-Known Member
Each person is different. I loved all my kids enough to walk through fire for them. But my daughter was abusing drugs and I had two young children who were afraid of her when she was high and hubby and I did not want illegal stuff going on in our home. Plus Daughter started drugs at 12 and was getting worse and refused treatment. We had no extra money in the bank and we knew she would get a job. Even using she had worked from age sixteen. She was not helpless and i personally like to show my kids I have faith in them, even if, like my son, they have autism.

My situation and thinking processes are different from you and yours...not better, just different. We are very thankful that she did what needed doing fast...then quit the stuff.

That doesnt mean YOU have to do it.


One difference is that you say your daughter was using . . . my grandson supposedly is sober - when he is sober, he goes to meetings, etc.

Anyway, I am glad you had such success with your daughter! That is awesome!


Well-Known Member
Thanks. She was never sober until she quit. She never went to meetings or rehab and quit therapy. I didnt know she wasnt sober until after she quit and told me all. Yikes!

The biggest different I think is that my younger kids needed to feel safe and I needed to do that. I always wonder if the cops at our house looking for her or bringing her home when she ran around after curfew was one reason why my youngest daughter decided to become a cop herself.


Protecting younger kids is important. I went through that one too, many, many years ago, with different kids.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Sober is an excellent place to be.

We have been on the roller coaster many times with our son so we knew that by him staying in our home he was not able to maintain his sobriety. He would do good for some time and then go back to using and it was destroying our life. He was taking us down with him and we were doing more work than him. We don't understand why this kept happening but it did. He wasn't as committed as he needed to be.

Now that he is away from us he knows he has himself to count on and that it helping him mature and figure out how things work in the adult world. We do maintain contact and provide emotional support and limited financial support.

If I KNEW he'd stay sober and live in our home and follow our rules I'd do it in a heartbeat but I am no longer willing to take that chance. It just never worked for us after several years of trying, so we knew we had to try a different approach.

I do hope that your grandson takes this great opportunity and support that you are giving him to grow and find his path. That is all that any of us want for our young adults and there are many different paths that we take to get to where we need to be.