I need a plan for myself

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Childofmine, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    I just got a call from my son's lawyer (not one I got for him---don't do that anymore).

    A brief recap: My 24 yo difficult child has been on a downward spiral with primarily prescription drugs, plus marijuana and alcohol (that I know of) for the past 4 to 6 years. Today he is in jail on a probation violation (he violated when he was homeless by not contacting his PO, this particular stint was for selling drugs two years ago---two felonies---they could send him to jail for four years but I guess they are not going to do that) and has been there since Jan. 2. The district attorney is personally involved as he knows my ex-husband and both he and my son's attorney "want to do something to help him."

    After discussion, the attorney asked me to find a mental health professional "we" would be comfortable with evaluating him and give him the info and he would ask the DA and judge to order it. So I did and send a psychologist name and a substance abuse counselor's name. I guess I thought maybe an evaluation at this point would be helpful to pinpoint mental health issues and even that perhaps these folks would say something in their evaluations. that he would "hear."

    The lawyer said my son likely will be released from jail soon after his court date of Feb. 6 with these two things ordered.

    My son has been in rehab/detox. four times. This last time went in mid August, failed drug test and was kicked out mid September, homeless til mid-October, asked them if he could come back then, went back til Dec. 21, when was kicked out again for failing another drug test. They said anecdotally that he was doing better for a while in their program, got promoted, but became "complacent." I was hopeful this time---not sure why, but I was. He usually can't stay anywhere for more than 30 days successfully and because he asked to go back and had been there 60 days when he left, I thought maybe something had changed.

    Here is my question and thought. I need a plan. For myself. He cannot come here to live and he can't go to his dad's to live. He basically will be released with nowhere to go.

    IF he walks to my house---my house is 2.5 miles from the jail---I can drop him back off at the Salvation Army---he lived there for three weeks once already. I have his clothes from the rehab and can give those to him.

    I don't want to do anything, actually. I don't even want to be involved at all. I am so, so, so, sooooooooooooooooooooooo sick and tired of this revolving door.

    Today I just want the peace to continue that I am fighting so hard to gain and keep.
  2. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    ahhhhh. I am so sorry. I know exactly how you feel, as far as that is possible.
    I couldn't let me son come stay with me when he left jail either.
    If he has been homeless before he probably has some "place to crash" moves. Our difficult child's are amazingly resourceful, that comes up over and over again on the forum.
    I would probably let him know now that he can't stay with you. Might also let his attorney know..they seem to be interested in that kind of thing, and may be able to point your son somewhere.
    I hope you don't have to be in the position of driving him anywhere, that sounds hard.
    Good you have some old clothes you can give him.
    There is no need , requirement, or reason for you to be involved. You are absolved. You don't have to do anything. This is all of his making. Only he can unmake it. Staying with you for a night or a month isn't going to move him in the right direction.
    And you deserve better. You've done your part. No reason for you to feel you need to take him in (is he expecting that? maybe not?), drive him anywhere, arrange any more psychiatric appointments for him, or talk to lawyers for him (although I understand the social pressure to do that if the DA is family friend and trying to be helpful). Find your comfort level, do the least you can do, and be clear that difficult child is on his own from when he walks out of the prison doors. If he does.

    Keep posting. We are here to support you through this hard period. Its hard to stick to your guns. We of all people know that.

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  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh Boy.............I can so relate to being tired of the revolving door. It is only recently that I got over the dread of the phone ringing.

    Can you ask a friend or someone else to drop off his things at the jail when he is released? He can stay at the Salvation Army or another shelter as you mentioned. Perhaps a note on top of his things that says, "I love you however I cannot see you now, it is too painful and I am now taking care of myself. Please respect my wishes."

    If you don't want to do anything, then don't. Anything you would do with resentment, in my opinion is enabling............so don't do anything.

    I think if it were me, I would do the note on top of the clothes delivered by someone else. Then I would take myself to a place where I felt nourished, have dinner with SO, a compassionate girlfriend.............have a massage...........do something comforting for yourself rather then get involved in your son's new drama.

    Ask yourself what you want and what are you actually willing to do without resentment? That is my go to question. It eliminates the nonsense we try to convince ourselves is the "right" thing to do. There is no right thing to do, only what you are willing to do. You've done enough. You've probably done too much.

    His being released without a place to go is entirely his doing. His problem. Not yours. He lead himself to this outcome and there is NOTHING you need to do.

    I know it sucks. I've been there. Take care of yourself first. Remember how resilient they are, he will find his way. Wishing you continued PEACE .............no matter what he does or doesn't do.
  4. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I like the idea of having some one else drop off the clothes with a note. I don't like the idea of him coming to your house and you having to drive him somewhere else. Seems like a bitter hard car ride that you don't deserve.
  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This was the piece of advice that got me started on the process of emotional detachment: When we fix things, what we are really doing is twisting the kids one notch tighter into that parent dependent/parent resenting/parent blaming place they need to outgrow before they can take charge of their lives and move into true adulthood.

    If you think about the things your adult son believes about you and about himself, I think you will glimpse a frightened little boy in there where, by this age, a grown man should be. Each time we handle something for our kids, whether it be offering them a place to stay ~ not out of the pleasure of their company, but out of the fear that they won't make it without our help ~ or handling anything else for them, we are keeping the adult a child who cannot then make his way in the world, learn from the experience, and mature.

    This kind of thinking was an eye opener for me. Those parents here on the site who turned away from enabling their kids in any way were, soon enough, dealing with kids who were dealing pretty well with their own problems. By the time this happened, the parent was happy the child was handling himself better, but it was no longer the life or death involvement of enmeshment for that parent. Enmeshment is appropriate when the kids are little. Now, they have and must lay claim to the right and the responsibility of providing for their own needs.

    Recovering posted for me one time that we can tell when we are enabling because, rather than giving freely and taking joy in the giving, we will resent it. To take it a step further, any interaction we feel resentment in doing is probably harming the adult child in the long run, too.

    It isn't even that you should not have to help this adult son. It is that helping him in this way, helping him in ways he can manage, easily or not, on his own, is actually harming your child, is preventing him from meeting challenges, taking his lumps, and growing up.

    Once I got that concept?


    I was into detachment the next day.

    An important piece of this is not to judge your son for where he is or what he is doing. both Recovering and Scott G posted about this. Initially, I didn't think I was judging. But boy, was I. So, make a conscious effort not to judge one thing about what your son is doing.

    Love him, and let go.

    Your son is fully capable of thinking his way out of this. Your task, as I see it, is to explain to him that FOR HIS OWN GOOD you are not stepping in, now or ever again. He may up the ante, trying to get you to re-engage. Hold steady. You are retraining him (and he is retraining himself) to be captain of his own ship.

    This new way of seeing changed everything in my life.

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  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would let things go and let difficult child move on this time on his own. If you feel he may try to break in, change the locks. This is important if he is a threat to do this.

    How many years have you spent trying to get through to him? He gets attention from you and probably pity and guilt and perhaps some money that he likely uses in unsavory ways. I would cut contact right now to the bare minimum so you can recoup.

    If you don't have a therapist for yourself or are not in a good parent support program, such as Nar-Anon, you can garner strength by joining one of your choosing.

    Drug users are very resourceful and sneaky. Your son will find a way to survive. It probably won't be the way you want him to, but he's not surviving the way you want him to anyway and you have no control over that. At least you won't be a party to his self-destruction and there is always that chance that he will suddenly see the light and turn things around. Usually this happens when they are alone and uncomfortable, not at home.

    Hugs. You're doing great. Keep the focus on yourself, your peace, your health, the others in your life who value you and treat you well...this son is not your entire life. And he is NOT you/you are not him. You are two different people.
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  7. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    Thanks to all of you...I agree with everything you are saying. I wish I didn't feel mean when I do this, but I am willing to just feel mean if that is what it takes.

    I am going to write him a letter and mail it (keeping it short as I have a tendency to throw a lot of words at things as you know on this site, lol).

    I'm basically saying don't come here if/when you get out of jail, and once you're settled let me know and I'll get your clothes to you.

    what you do is your responsibility, completely.

    I love you but I don't want to see you right now so please respect my wishes. I wish you the best.

    The draft of the letter feels very bare, distant and sterile. I guess it is.

    I used to preach a lot in my letters about "you can do this" etc. I've stopped that. I also used to talk about God and say I am praying for you. I am, but I have stopped that too.

    I'm trying to say a lot less and do a lot less than ever before.

    Just getting out of the way. And man, this is so hard.

    Thanks to you all. This is a great support and I value the straight talk.
  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Post the letter here for feedback, if you like. I wrote difficult child son a letter once, a long time ago. It was all about how I was giving him permission to blame me for everything he had ever done wrong in this life. It extended my blame-taking into all his other lifetimes, if reincarnation should prove to be the truth. It also took the blame for things he might have done back in time, before I was ever born.

    I signed it with my full, legal signature and mailed it off to difficult child.

    difficult child did not comment.


    In my secret heart, where even a mother might slip the F bomb once in awhile? I was like, well, ABC you if you can't take a joke.


    If I can find it (and I did save a copy for myself) I will post it, here.

    You are giving your son a courtesy he has not given you. You are explaining your position and your thinking, for his benefit. If you keep that in mind as you write your letter, you will find the emotional truth of where and who you are, today.

    I believe it will be helpful for you to write a rough draft in which you examine the disappointment, the rage and the hurt you feel. That would be for you, so you can acknowledge and heal the trauma to you.

    And you have been traumatized, and I am so sorry this happened. But it did. If there is a way to heal from it, you need to try.

    Then, you will be able to write your son something that may be of value to him in future.

    It is never wrong to tell our children we love and are praying for them. I don't think it is ever wrong to tell them we believe in them. Who else knows who they really are, beneath the addictions, beneath the multiple failures? Whether we feel very much like it or not, we are their mothers. We are taking the actions we take relative to detaching for their sakes as much as for our own.

    And here is a true secret: Nothing else has worked.

    You are doing the right thing for your son.

    I am sorry for your pain.

    You can do this.

  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't like letters. My difficult child kept all of mine, scanned them into his computer, and uses my written words against me. In the end, do letters really have any impact?
    I guess I have decided that I don't have to over-explain and if I have something to tell a difficult child, I tell them. I'm learning that concise, to-the-point, unemotional speech is my own personal best way of communicating with an unstable adult (either my child or a different relative or anyone).
    My difficult child who I used to write letters to calls me "crazy" for having written them and constantly points out the inconsistencies of them and has shown his spouse all of them, convincing her that my crazy letters are proof that I'm crazy.
    Ugh. I'm not in favor of writing down anything.
    But this is all personal choice and we all have different types of difficult children.
  10. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I like the letter...and I like keeping it very very short, with double spacing as you did here. We can read it for you and be sure there isn't anything that can be used against you, as happened with MWM, if you'd like.

    If it helps....he for sure won't read a long multiparagraph letter, unless it says "you are great, please come home, I"ll give you money a car clothes and freedom with no restrictions." If it doesn't say that...he aint' gonna spend much time reading it. Four sentences, double spaced. That is about how much focus you'll get...if he is anything like the difficult child's I know.

    Good luck. YOu sound strong. Mean isn't even in the picture. You are solid, for you, and for him.
  11. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    Here is the letter---thank you for the suggestion, all. I have written lots of letters about this. Letters to myself that I have never mailed. Letters that I have read out loud to my sponsor in Al-Anon. Letters just to clear my own head, dump it all out, let it rest and then review to see if that is what I really think and feel. My letters have been some of my best therapy. The ones I send to him, I try to really spell out the message I want to communicate. A lot of time, that backfires on me, as MWM said. He twists and turns and uses my words back at me. The purpose is lost. But, I also have to write down what I really want to say to him because at times when we talk, I get confused. I have a plan, and then he interrupts me, the things he says confuse me, and I start reacting. I end up doing things I don't want to do and that don't help me or him. So for me, a letter lets me get out, all at once, what I want to say, and then I can have more peace. So here is the letter I am planning to mail tomorrow, so he has it before his court date on Feb. 6. I DON"T want him on my doorstep at 2 a.m. after he gets released from jail at 12:01 a.m. That is what they do here, and it is bizarre and inhumane I believe. He needs to make his own plans (which he never does and this doesn't mean he will this time either). But I want to spare myself having to let him stay here for the rest of the night, sitting up because i don't know what he is going to do (I don't trust him at all), and then spending hours the next morning getting him out to a shelter. I am trying to avoid that. It is painful. I really am focused on myself here, and I am working hard to keep it that way. He is going to do whatever he is going to do, and maybe it will be something good, if I can stay out of the way. Who knows? All feedback welcome. thanks friends.

    January 29, 2014

    Dear Jordan,

    Your court date is coming up Feb. 6. I don’t know what will happen then, but I want to be clear about my parameters.

    Do not come to my house in the middle of the night or at any other time if and when you get out of jail.

    As we have discussed before, you cannot live here or stay here for any length of time.

    You will need to make your own arrangements to go wherever you decide. Let me know where you are and I will get your clothes and other personal items to you.

    What you do and how you do it is completely up to you and completely your responsibility.

    At this time it’s best for us to maintain our distance, which will allow you to figure out your own life and get back on track as you see fit.

    I love you,

  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    difficult child, I have some things to say that you may not want to hear. I am committed to living healthy and strong, and to making it possible for you to do the same.

    I have decided not see you until you begin living your life as the fine, ethical man I raised you to be.

    Do not come here after your release, difficult child.

    If you do, I will take out a restraining order against you.

    Know that I love you, difficult child.


    I would not address the clothing issue. Either difficult child will bring it up, or the clothing will not matter.

  13. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Child of mine...my son has twice gotten released between 11 pm and 2 AM, once on New Years Eve when it was 15 degrees out. They give him a bus token. THe first time he was in a panic, calling me to come get him...but I didn't. He walked to the train a few blocks away, took it into town (jail is about 10 miles out in the suburbs) and found a place to stay without me. The second time he didn't ask me to pick him up. He appears to be staying somewhere that is at least warm. YOur difficult child can do the same without you.

    Some combination of your note and Cedar's seems right. I liked your line about "what you do and how you do it is completely your responsibility". I like Cedar's about "I have some things to say that yo umay not want to hear. I amcommitted etc " I like that both of you said you love difficult child.