Kids moving out, mixed feelings for me

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Origami, May 2, 2015.

  1. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    Hi Everyone,
    I haven't posted in a while. Things had settled down quite a bit, and although 28-year-old son is still addicted to heroin, he's somehow keeping it together, still has his job, and has been keeping up with his parole obligations. So now after him living here for 18 months and his wife and two kids being here for over a year, they're moving to their own apartment this weekend. I had kicked him out once this winter after finding out he'd been shooting up heroin in our bathroom, but after he "rode the rails" for a couple of weeks, my daughter-in-law asked if we would let him come back to live. It was during a bitterly cold time with blizzard conditions, and husband and I relented. I knew it was a cardinal sin according to most people, but we just did it. We did set up the expectation that they would move when the weather got better, and now it's springtime and they're leaving!

    So husband and I and our younger son (now 18) are glad to be getting our household and privacy back to some kind of normalcy. I told older son and daughter-in-law that I would miss them but was glad they are getting their lives back together. They're only 7 blocks away, so not that far and I'm sure we'll see them often.

    The mixed feelings part comes out of my lingering co-dependency, I'm sure. My son is still not recovered from the heroin addiction, and gets high every couple of weeks or so on his payday. Even a week ago, he was on the back porch pacing back and forth, higher than a kite, and really out of it. My husband made him come back inside (son smokes out there) so he wouldn't fall down the stairs. It's the third-floor landing. Husband asked if he was high, son said, "No, I'm fine," and then went back outside. I woke up daughter in law and she was able to get him to come in and go to sleep.

    I'm worried about the kids (ages 4 and 6). My daughter in law works on weekends and son watches the kids. I feel like them being here provided a measure of security since we could take over if son was non-functional on a particular day. But who knows what will go on at their place? But again, as I remind myself, we didn't have anything to do with their comings and goings before they all moved back here, so why should I worry about it now? I'd like to be able to have occasional visits with the grandkids without other drama. I guess we'll just play it by ear and hope for the best with them.

    Now husband and I have an empty bedroom that we're going to turn into an office and hobby area. That part is exciting! The kids (old and young) are happy about moving. I just need to get out of my worry rut and get on with my life.
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  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there.

    I would not miss son at all as his heroin use is a danger to you legally if it's found in your home. He isn't just using sometimes. It really doesn't work like's not like pot where you can use it for a week then stop. It's highly addictive. Heroin addicts use every day and can sometimes act normal to you when they are high. That doesn't mean at all that they ARE normal. I'd be glad to have him and wife gone. They need to grow up and he needs to get off the heroin or it could kill him just frm using it too much. It's a very dangerous drug.

    Not so sure it's a good thing for the kids to be in their drug-filled care. No matter how it seems, your son is a heroin addict. He is using the most addictive drug out there and he is not ok. The wife may be using drugs too...they aren't going to share that with you. If you can do it, and if this were me (and I realize you are different) I would try to talk them into keeping the kids with me. If the school finds out that Dad uses heroin and is high while he is taking care of the kids, he could be in deep trouble and even lose the kids. So that is my take on it, and only my own opinion.

    I do think it is fantastic that you and husband will have relief now and it's good for younger son to see that there are no rewards for using heroin. In the book I read about the two heroin users in one family, called "Mom, We Need to Talk" (forgot author) the girl was totally normal acting to her family while getting high, selling and buying drugs and doing dangerous things on the side until she totally wanted to quit and was willing to go very far to quit. The son was a mess for years and years. He did quit in the end, but only after the family lost track of him a few times and had given up. So it's a real testimony to the fact that people CAN quit, but it's never a normal lifestyle until then. Heroin is just too high risk and dangerous and can not be taken in moderation or safely.

    I would possibly even try to get custody of the grandkids myself. But these are tough decisions and very personal ones and you have to do what you can live with. I'd be thinking that Son needs to quit. It's not an option to keep using heroin at all. It kills you. And I'd want to make him have huge incentives to quit because I'd be afraid. I think it often works, especially if they lose something very important to them. At any rate, we are cheering for you, whatever you choose to do.
  3. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Origami, glad you are back. We understand that you do what you think is best and you have had some tough decisions in the past months to make. We can offer ideas and thoughts but we also understand the decisions are yours to make and we respect that you are the person closest to the situation and know it best.

    You can't make all of this okay for everybody, even your grandchildren. I am sure you know that. If you can let things unfold and sort themselves out.

    If your son is using heroin still, you'll know sooner rather than later. until then enjoy your solitude, work to let it all go, and reclaim your home. You deserve some peace for a while.

    Keep sharing here. We support you and we get it. Warm hugs.
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  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    ((HUGS)) to you. I can only imagine all the emotions you must be feeling. Happy/Scared/Sick-to-your-stomach.

    You have done your best to help them, you gave them a firm foundation, a sense of stability. He is working and that in and of itself is huge. Is he involved with a 12 step program? Also, you might suggest to your daughter in law that she attend Al-anon meetings unless she already is doing so.

    It's always hard when there are little kids involved. The good thing is they will only be several blocks away.

    Do your best to fill your time with things for you, sounds like turning that bedroom into and office/hobby room is jus the ticket.
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  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Origami
    I went back and read a couple of your earlier posts to understand a bit of the circumstances.

    I have a 26 year old son who is my only child. He is single, on SSI for mental illness, shirks responsibility and has been homeless. That I am aware of, his drug of choice is marijuana. As much as I wanted grandchildren I am grateful there are no children for whom my son is responsible.

    I am in no position to give advice as I am learning to handle my situation day by day, as it changes, and I grow.

    You deserve to take it a bit easier: to have your household back for the 3 of you, to have space for hobbies and relaxation with your husband. Problems will soon enough emerge (don't they always), so I would not go and look for them, now.

    I am going to go to Alanon. Maybe you might think about that too so that you will be prepared to deal with whatever may come.

    I too find it unforgivable that your son, addict or not, used drugs in your home. The risk to the children of their father's heroin use in their new home must be considered. Of course, your son and his wife are responsible, whether they take responsibility or not. And solving this for them in the long it really in the best interests of the children?

    Others have found a way to handle this issue...maintaining boundaries while taking a stand for grandchildren. I think I would bring this issue up at Alanon.

    I look forward to reading your updates. Take care.
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    Last edited: May 2, 2015
  6. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    Thanks all for your replies and support.
    Somewhere, I read that book also and it was interesting. Thanks for your perspective--you do have a way of presenting the possibility of worst-case-scenario as food for thought. It's true that I didn't know the extent of son's addiction before his wife kicked him out and he ended up here when she discovered he was using heroin. At that time, he had already been using for several months and I thought that he only smoked marijuana. There's probably more that I didn't know. But I've become educated whether I wanted to or not, and am pretty much able to tell when he's high on heroin or not. It's not every day or several times a week anymore as it was previously. I hope this is progress, but of course it's his challenge to quit. Is he really trying? I don't know. He is in a 12-step program and individual counseling that he goes to weekly.

    Gaining custody of the kids is not possible or desirable. Husband and I both work full time and can't afford child care, and honestly don't want to raise the grandchildren. Daughter-in-law is a great young woman who is trying her hardest to take care of the kids and keep some semblance of a normal family. She works full time and is a devoted mother. Son is likewise a hard worker and devoted father, and that's where some of my dilemma comes from. It would be easier to condemn him if he was a terrible person. And I truly will miss them (but obviously not the heroin use, glad to have that out of my house)--the "silver lining" to this cloud is that their living with us gave us a chance to get to know everyone better. Daughter-in-law has turned out to be a terrific gal who is more like a daughter to us than ever. Her dilemma is trying to keep a roof over their heads and not disrupt the kids' lives too much. She tried to get Section 8 housing and finally got on a waiting list, which they're telling her will be 1 to 3 years. On her income, she would have to move across the city to find anything affordable, and with no car it wouldn't have been feasible to be that far from their school, babysitter, and extended family. So she and my son have decided to pool their resources and get an apartment together although they don't consider themselves to be married except technically. Daughter-in-law says she'll hope they can keep things together for a year until their lease is up and she'll see if she can get a Section 8 place at that time if needed.

    I was thinking that I could offer to watch the kids on some weekends "if needed" and let daughter-in-law be the one to decide. She isn't comfortable with son watching them unattended, either, and I think would be glad for the help. She's definitely not on drugs and doesn't approve of son's drug use in the least, but feels herself to be in a less-than-ideal situation right now.

    Thanks Child, Tanya, and Copa also for the kind words and support. I'm glad we're out of the darkest of days that we've been through, and of course I know anything's possible while son is still using, but I won't spend my days worrying about it. Trying to take one day at a time. I haven't been to Al-Anon for many years (used to go when husband was having alcohol issues) but I have some of their literature and have been reading it. There's a Families Anonymous group that I'm looking at. Thanks again for all the hugs, good wishes, etc. I can't really share all this with "regular people" who just don't get it. (Yes, I just said we're not "regular," didn't I?) :)
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  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I think you did a very difficult thing really well, Origami.

    I am glad you were able to help. I am glad they are able to move.

    It is on them, now.

    In a way, this is true. In another way though, these are people you love. The challenges are very real. Given that your son is still addicted, it will help to have a plan. If you know the words to say ahead of time, it will still be hard, but you will already have the rationale. Ours was that our daughter would be most liable to save herself for the sake of her children. By that, I mean that she would find the strength somewhere to turn things around for herself because her kids needed her to do that. If we took the kids, if we paid for things the parents should have been paying for, there would be no downside to continuing to use, or to continuing to think the way people who are addicted justify their choices.

    It was hard to do those things, to say no to the grands and even, to our daughter. We had done this already with our son though, and that seemed to help him very much.

    So, we were strong enough to keep that idea as our guiding principle in responding to the things that happened, next.

    We changed that a little. We made it: I will not worry.

    That style of thinking is what I mean, when I write that part of detachment parenting is learning to detach from the emotions; from the fear, and from the really crummy way it feels to see ourselves as someone who chooses not to help. It feels like flying through something really important by the seat of our pants. We had to hold faith with that belief that our daughter would pick up for the sake of her children.

    And for their sakes, she did.

    But we did not know that, going through it.

    They need to have skin in the game. They need to have worked for what they have, like we all have worked to create the lives we have made.

    We (D H and I) are thinking that kind of coming back brings with it the senses of strength and personal integrity that the kids need to declare themselves, to sort of find their identities as people who have come through hard times and lived to tell the tale.

    It is a helpless feeling. But it seems to have been the correct response for our family.

    Good. He knows he wants to beat this. That is a small beginning, but it is a million miles ahead of those denying their use is a problem.

    This is good. Your son understands what he will lose.

    Nor is it desirable for the parents or the kids. Fighting for themselves as a family, counting the costs and the rewards, will be best for that family, I think.

    We are meant to be happy in our own lives, and to be role models and sometimes, mentors, for how to meet life well. That is our only appropriate role I think, once our children are raised.

    It is a very hard thing, to stop helping.

    For me, that would be a thing I would know, but would keep to myself. If she asks you to take the kids, because you have already decided it would be appropriate for you to help in this way, I would just say "Sure, I would love to have the kids this weekend."

    But not unless she asks.

    And I think not every weekend.

    Until he is stronger, until he has been tested, the father may see that guaranteed free time as his time to use without consequence.

    This is a difficult situation.

    It helped us to have "let them do it" as our first response to ourselves. If we did help (and occasionally, we did) it was after we thought through why, this one time, it was okay to help.

    We tried very hard not to encourage dependency of any kind.

    That's a really good idea.

    I should do that.

    Too easy to slip.

    Holding you and yours in my thoughts and prayers, Origami.

  8. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    Now that they've been gone a few days, I'm thinking that, among other things, I'm feeling a little "empty nest syndrome," since they've been with us for so long. It was just enough time for me to get used to having a full house again, and now it's back to me, hubby, and younger son who is barely home. I feel like things were on-hold while they were here, as in I couldn't freely work on my hobbies (ie. writing, crafts, piano) so pretty much gave up on those things. It wasn't that anyone prevented me from trying to do these things, it was just difficult with the constant interruptions and noise from grandkids. I feel like I sound like a cranky old granny when I write that!

    Husband said an interesting thing. He said he doesn't expect to hear that much from them now, and it's like a summer romance where you're really close to someone for a while and then they're gone. Maybe I wasn't as important and "necessary" to them as I thought I was. That's a good thing, though. I don't need to rescue everyone.

    Scent, you are right that I don't need to set myself up as the go-to safety net:

    Thank you so much for helping me gain clarity in this. I feel like a load has been lifted and I'm ready to rediscover what "free time" feels like for me. I know I've been enabling my son just by being there when he's zoned out, and he needs to step up and decide what he wants to do and how serious he is about not using.

    I had to stop my husband from moving all his hobby supplies into the empty bedroom last night. I need to clean the floors and walls first. He's so excited to have a space of his own, it's kind-of cute! Younger son has taken the lock off his bedroom door, says he can relax some now that his brother is out of the house.

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    Last edited: May 5, 2015
  9. DoneDad

    DoneDad Active Member

    Hope your husband enjoys his man cave - and that you can have a woman cave to enjoy your pursuits. You've both done for others now you should enjoy yourselves.