I met a man today who lost a difficult child


Active Member
he had a difficult child daughter years ago. at age 35, she overdosed on oxycontin in spite of the parents best efforts, in spite of their money, in spite of them both being loving good intelligent parents who had lost their only other child at his birth.

the couple then joined support groups and spent the better part of the next years counseling other families, wiping tears, organizing POTADA and AA groups and toughlove grps.

he said the only way to survive a difficult child is to detach and let them choose their life and back off once they are over 18. do not enable or cover for the difficult child, no money given, no guilt. he said we must live our own lives, he believes it is out of our control.

he is an amazing man in his 70's. his wife never got over it and works to keep her mind occupied. they lost both kids.


I read here and in the Substance Abuse forum much like I did when difficult child was very young and I'd peep into the General Forum, holding my breath the whole time, wishing, hoping, praying we wouldn't be going down the same road.... We ended up having some tough years, things are much better now but we still have some trying times.

difficult child is moving into another phase; asking for limits, then testing them, e.g., I want to move, when I get my car I'm going to move, has thought about running away, yadda, yadda. Part of this is typical teen, but I can see problems on the horizon because too often he doesn't know when to stop and rethink a situation.

My response has been, no you can't move to your friend's house but you can move now -- out to the storage building. No, you'll not be taking you PS2, stereo, CDs, Ipod, etc. No, we will not air-condition it. You can bath using the water hose. If and when you get a car and decide you're big enough to leave home, you'll be leaving the car here until you are a legal adult and have paid for it. Just a hint, though, be sure you have enough money saved up for food, rent, gas for your buddy's car, apartment, electrical, phone, etc.

But anyway, drugs and alcohol are definately not something I want added to our difficult child's mix, so I read every word of the symptoms listed on the site you posted. I just don't know how to protect my son from making these type bad choices. I'm not sure as parents that we can if the child is determined.

And sometime back I started by ritual of wishing, hoping, praying we won't have to go down the same road I've seen some many others have to travel.

Thanks for the link.


by the way, difficult child hasn't moved to the storage bldg yet, so I guess his plans have been postponed for the moment.

He did request to sleep on the trampoline last night. (Something we hadn't allowed him to do alone in the past.) I told him sure, he could sleep out. He didn't. I guess I took all the fun out of it by answering affirmatively? lol Who knows....

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
He sounds like a man with alot of wisdom.

I attempt to emmulate my grandmother.

As each child (7) reached adulthood she told them they were now grown up and it was time to leave the nest and make their own way. They weren't allowed to come back, borrow money, or expect her to help them. She had spent 18 yrs teaching them the right way and how to be independent.

When the last child left, my grandmother found herself a tiny efficiency apartment. Even if they wanted, there was no room for kids to return home.

My grandma raised 7 kids alone on a shoestring and a prayer, working 2 fulltime jobs. Four of them were serious difficult children. Her estranged husband was a psychopathic schizophrenic who delighted in making her life misery. (she refused to divorce him so he couldn't marry another woman and put her through the same torture/control, but stayed legally seperated)

I grew up with grandma. I never her utter a single smidgen of advice, unless begged for. She never offered an opinion on how her kids lived, never loaned out a penny, and would laugh at being asked to get one of them out of trouble. But she did do an awful lot of smiling as she stood by her word.

She enjoyed her later years.

I still have two to push from the nest. But I'm getting there. I've already discussed with husband about getting a MUCH smaller house, one that doesn't have room for difficult children to ask to come back to live.


Spork Queen
Daisylover...your grandmother sounds wonderful, and so much like mine. I miss her dearly. :crying:

I was raised in a very conservative mid-western city. To this day, I have NEVER asked my parents for money. I wouldn't even dream of it. We had no allowance...any money we had was done by begging neighbors for chores to get paid from. I think this built in me a strong work ethic. I used to be so jealous of my best friend, whose parents would give her $5 to spend. I guess I'm old fashioned. :wink:



New Member
Dear Ants Mom I looked at that web site and under the signs and symptoms I could hardly believe my eyes!!!! My difficult child prior to going to Residential Treatment Center (RTC) had every one of those. It's amazing that if I would of seen all of those things sooner maybe he wouldn't be in Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I feel that I was sooooooooo blind to that sort of stuff. How could I have missed so much. I thought I had seen a few signs but I never imagined so much of what he was doing was all because of the drugs and alcohol.
Thank you for finding that site and posting it


call 911........call 911

His life is slowly becoming my reality, and I hate HATE to say I am detaching, but that's exactly what I'm doing and I have to do it because I now belive that if I don't I'll be dead soon.

I wanted so very badly for all the wise people like this man, my Mom, my DF and the therapist to eat their words about my difficult child when I stood by him and showed THEM...that he was really just a hug away from being cured.

It's never ever easy to admit you were wrong.

Thank you for sharing


Active Member
star, stardude is growing up and you must distance yourself from his choices to survive. only help him when he is helping himself. otherwise step back out fo firing range.

you were not wrong you were just giving your son what YOU needed most, what would help you in your own pain...a hug. you problem felt it would work for you after all you have suffered, and it may work for him. he is not you.
I told my son that he chose to live his life in a dumpy house like the homeless - he said it was not his choice but ours. I said no you would not follow the rules and want to be your own man and do what you want - how is that working for you? He didnt say anything but he didnt want to be told what to do. I said well you are not right now. I just dont understand it. I hurt for him.


It's a kind and generous act for this man to share support with others, that he has gotten thru his own tragic experience. It is not uncommon for folks to just breath a sigh of relief and move on to something happier.

Is he still active in this field? I noticed the site was last updated 3 years ago.


Active Member

Have you ever read the book "Co-Dependent No More" by Melodie Beattie?

It really helped me to recognize that I am to varying degrees co-dependent. It further helped me begin to figure out how to change my hat.

I really recommend it.


Active Member
I agree with the melody beattie books. I believe her own son never stoppped abusing substances.

the man I met is not longer active in the POTADA but said the mtgs go on. I told him the site needed checked and he was going to do so thru contacts he has.

however, he went on to foster other users, stand behind and uphold other parents...including me. he is active in a motorcyle grp who helps each other by kidnapping their kids and giving them toughlove and housing them with rules for 4 yrs at a pop. scarey but it works for them. he is a new age thinker and has also rescued his wife of many yrs when their daughter came after her with a knife back before she OD'd

he is an amazing hippie type survivor who is a retired illustrator with a very powerful background in artisitic PGH. their only other child died after birth.

scent of cedar

New Member
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: ant'smom</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I think it relieves us of some of the guilt when we are educated to know the nature of the beast we are battling. </div></div>

That's very true. It's funny that no matter how healed I think I am, something like this can uncover some other scars that were still in there sending out their toxic little messages about how what happened came to be.

This is something I heard the other day from a woman with seven kids. All are grown and most are successful. When describing her kids, this is what she says about the one who got into trouble and didn't make it: "And one who doesn't have a pot to p*** in or a window to throw it out of."


She's angry about that? But not one bit guilty. I thought that was an amazingly healthy way to look at it.