Living with a Paradox


New Member
Hi everyone, thanks for listening. I am truly perplexed by my son. He's 25, a college grad, no major trouble until 5 years ago (but always different) . He binge drinks and does ridiculous, illegal things. Got in trouble with law 5 years ago, violated probation, put on probation again. Finally done with law problems, graduates college but still binge drinking, losing friendships, girlfriends, driving drunk....culminating in a DUI in January. Oh, and got kicked out of medication school last fall. So, we are back to square one. I cannot stand living with him. He's on his 3rd IOP since July and taking Antabuse. This has kept him from drinking and the suspended license has kept him from driving.

I'm so at the end of my rope. I don't think this is ever going to get any better. He has zero motivation, hates himself for creating more trouble for himself ( yet does nothing to improve his situation). He has a job in the family business and of course can be brilliant, charming, kind and generous...yet there is "something" that holds him back. I just weep for what might have been.

Thank you for listening. im going to AlAnon to learn to detach. It sure isn't easy......


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Hi Joyce and welcome! I am sorry that you are going through this. Is there a reason that he has to live with you?

I am actually impressed that he is willing to take Antabuse.

Again, welcome!



New Member
Thanks, Kathy! Regarding the Antabuse: he knows he needs to quit drinking and he realizes he is not strong enough to do it on his own. The DUI put that into perspective. The fear of getting sick apparently outweighs the desire to drink. However, I do administer it just to be sure.

He lives with us because he was going to school locally, and then started medication school. We maintained that as long as he is working a program, he can stay. Of course, now he has a suspended license so he's really stuck, and extremely frustrated.


Well-Known Member
Is he going to ,say, AA or other support groups and therapy to help him along? Do you feel he is doing his best to help his disease of addiction? How does it work out with him in the family business? Does he try hard or take advantage?

Do you still pay for things like his cell phone and other things? Does he help around the house?

This is really something he needs to want to do on his own. Why won't he tatke the antiabuse on his own? I'm thinking he's awfully old to need you to administer to it to him, if he truly wants to maintain his sobriety. Like all of us here, we can't be around forever...I get your desire to help him as we all have that. But he also needs to want to help himself just as much as you want to help him, ya know?

And I'm just curious. Is anti-abuse something one can take forever?

Thanks! And I'm sorry you are in this position with your grown son.


Well-Known Member
Hi Joyce,
Welcome to the Board!

Does sound perplexing that son's alcohol use/abuse didn't start til he was 20 yrs old...but it sure sounds like it has gotten quickly out of control!

I too, am impressed though, that your son is willing to take the antabuse.
My oldest son, who was once very addicted to Meth and spent time in prison for a crime he committed while using Meth...well he also has struggled with Alcohol since he got out of prison and has used Antabuse to help him. Today, my oldest has a much older wife, 3 beautiful little girls, a home he owns and a business he owns. He is sober and "living the dream" much to my relief!

My younger son (26) is addicted to Alcohol and Pain medications. He does not appear, through his words/actions, to "crave" sobriety He has spent time in Army, Prison, many Hospitals (seeking out pain medications). He has a wife, son, and two daughters. His mother in law is basically providing for his he continues to use and abuse. He is currently homeless and in a free shelter/rehab program but he has a job and recently told me he is trying to find a way out of the shelter/rehab program...No idea when he will hit bottom!

One thing I have learned...or am at least getting much better at is not Enabling. I was once told by a young man in AA that "Enabling kills". And I think it does because we are only prolonging the consequences... Consequences that many of our addicted children need in order to see where their drug abuse has lead them/left them. If you are beginning to go to Al Anon meetings, you will learn a lot about Enabling and how to stop it.
It can feel very foreign to stop enabling as it seems to go against our "mommy hearts"...that innate part of us that cares for every want and need of our children.

I guess when I look back...I see a ton of enabling that I did. I think I saw myself as an extension of my son's. I was their brains, arms, and legs so many times! Things they should have been doing for themselves...sigh, I did. I truly didn't know any better and thought I was doing what " a good mother does for her children." Now I know better and am allowing my children to "do for self". It is painfully hard for me as I would like so much to be able to fix their problems...but then they won't learn valuable life lessons if/when I do.

For me this "Enabling" was the biggest hurdle. So often with our drug addict/Alcoholic children we want to control the outcome... As if they'll let us, lol. With the exception of my middle son, my other two grown adult children want their independence...they want to make it on their own. Sigh...My middle son who is my biggest concern these days, well, he would love it if dear husband and I would take care of him for the rest of his life! I know that's the case because he has as much as told me this. It is so sad for my grandchildren because they deserve a normal functioning family and have not been allowed one because of my son's drug/alcohol abuse. Their little faces have helped me strengthen and straighten up my own act. This is what allows me to not enable and let son experience what it means to be homeless and left to his own choices. He is a very self-centered person ...very much in the grip of addiction and denial of his role. Being angry and somehow blaming others is where he is at...Feeling sorry for himself feeds his drug and alcohol addiction.

Anyway...I'm glad you're here. I hope you will learn lots in Al anon as well as the Board and keep posting to let us know how you and your son are doing.



New Member
Thanks you, fellow moms! Oh, yes I am definitely guilt of enabling. Let me address some questions:
As a high schooler, he was a very mediocre student, doing just what was necessary to graduate. Dabbled in pot and alcohol but we never witnessed him drunk or high. He never missed school or obligations, but he was always on the fringe, with some sketchy friends. When he turned 19 he started with the bingeing, which led to disorderly conduct and public intoxication. It has been downhill since then with about a 3 month cycle of bingeing. It got to the point to where I put a Tracker on the car. My husband and I were pulling him out of bars, or chasing him down to give up the keys. We didn't want innocent people hurt. When I think of how many times we told him he was headed for this, ugh, my stomach just turns.
At this point though, he denied having a problem... "Everyone drinks" and "people my age only socialize in bars" ...the usual mantra of a young adult alcoholic.

He graduated college in May and we thought he finally made it over the hump. Had a quiet spring and summer until July. Binged and made a total ass out of himself on an overnight trip with a family friend's daughter (as friends only-no romance.) Needless to say, my best friend and her family have little to do with us now. At that point he went to IOP#1. Started out well , but had to take a class in the summer so the IOP took a back seat , and it gradually faded away. " They're all there only because it's court ordered" was his way of saying he was too good for it. I begged him To take Antabuse here, but he knew all about the toxicity and basically talked the doctor out of prescribing it.

Started school in the fall. Went to class drunk and was summarily dismissed from the program. (Zero tolerance policy in medications). He was devastated and the time and didn't get out of bed for a week. At this point we figured, it's over, he lost his appeal, so we took him into fam biz. He can be a great employee or a horrible're never quite sure what you're gonna get. He is very good with customers (knows the business, charming, looks good, speaks well) but is much too immature to be counted on, or to ever take it over. Anyway, he started IOP#2.
He does the requisite number of weeks and they dismiss him with flying colors. I was shocked. This was a hospital-based IOP but there was no family counseling, very little doctor-patient interaction, etc.

Fast forward to January. binged, drives drunk, gets a DUI. Now we are back to all the legal ramifications, financial, etc. He is also trying to get some professional licenses which may be moot with this on his record. I called around and found a clinic that would prescribe Antabuse (it took MANY calls) and they got him in within two days. He realizes this is the end. He goes to sessions 3x/week, 3 hours per session. I administer it because it's part of the deal. He can only live with us if he is doing everything in his power to help himself.

He has been to AA but is not a huge fan. The religious part does not speak to him. I personally tell him,it doesn't matter, go with the flow, think of something that might be greater than doesn't have to be the God you grew up with in Catholic school, or Buddha, or Zeus! Just a higher power.

Just like all the stories I read on here, I do fear him living on the streets. He is book smart but totally naive and incredibly lazy. I also think there are underlying issues. He was diagnosed with ADD several years ago, but of course he abused the Adderall...long story. He also has panic attacks and insomnia. It is such a jumbled mess and I don't know how to start pulling it apart to address each need. I know the doctors are working with him, but let's face much time are they really going to devote to one messed-up kid?

So please, your thoughts, suggestions, criticisms are ALL welcome!


Well-Known Member
Ok. Let me see if I got this right.

He started drinking in high school and probably more than you think. My daughter drank and I didn't think she drank at all. She did drugs...we knew that, but not about the drinking. We also did not know how heavy her drug use was. They hide it well. So I'll assume this started in high school and then escalated at nineteen so that he could not hide it anymore.

You are very involved in his life still and it was you who got the antiabuse, not him. Would he take it if you did make him leave? Only his own motivation will keep him on it. You can't give him the pills forever and one day will probably want him out.

He has abused ADHD drugs. So did my daughter. Adderrall is hot on the street and when she took it, ten years ago, it went for ten bucks a crack. So your did HAS dabbled in drugs. They put it into pillcrushers and snort it, either alone or with other drugs. Speed is addiction, used that way, and can lead to meth, as it did with my daughter.

He is sort of a functional alcoholic at times and did graduate college, however he is blowing it because of his drinking, a sure sign of alcoholism. If he is going to, say, be a pharmacist, he may consider another profession, although my father was a pharmacist and drug abuse is rampant amongst pharmacists. His partner at his store died in a bathrub of Quaalude abuse (drowned). May not be a good profession for a man who is prone to addiction because they can pretty much take what they want...

Most of our adult children have underlying disorders, even if they are good young men and women and don't abuse anything. My daughter who did not abuse anything has severe LDs but did not take drugs and does not drink. My other daughter, who is ten years older, did take drugs and drink. She was very shy and told me it helped her loosen up. Doesn't matter. She almost screwed up her life too. She was in three serious accidents before she quit. The latter two were not in our car, as we had long taken our vehicle from her. We knew she was a menace on the road and did not want to participate in her possibly getting killed or killing somebody else. She owed one woman $15,000 for an accident while driving one of her idiot "friends" cars long after she was clean. There are consequences. Her father finally paid it off for her because she obviously was done using drugs. Until then, she did not get a penny from him or me. And we made her leave at nineteen,w hich is the age in which she decided to quit. I think it is better to let them go th an hang onto them and take care of them, but that's easier said than done. My daughter had somewhere to go, although it was not by any means for certain that it would last. One slip up and she would have been in the streets. Which leads me to the last issue...

Why is your son driving? Is he driving YOUR car? If so, why do you allow it? That's incredibly dangerous.

If my kid would have called me drunk from some bar, which she never did, she would have had to stumble home. Or get a ride from a friend. We did not chase her around town after she turned eighteen. Before that, yes. She started her "adventure" at age twelve and we did all we could at the time. If she had continued along her path at 25, we would never have helped her at all anymore. Not my circus/not my monkey (or vice versa/forgot). We don't drink or do drugs. SHE did. At age 25 your son is responsible for what he does.

The thing is Daughter, knowing she had to do it herself, quit. She quit everything. She doesn't even smoke cigarettes anymore, which is a big joy to me...I'm a smoking nazi who used to throw her ciggies in the garbage and refused to let her smoke in the house.

Does my way work for all addicts? No. There is no one way to do it or one answer. My daughter refused serious therapy or rehab so she just quit on her own and told us afterward. You can imagine what we thought when she told us: "Suuuuuuuuuuuure you quit." But she had left all her druggies friends behind and was working steadily and did not take up with other druggies in her new town and we had to acknowledge it after a year or so. We are proud of her. She wanted it so she did it. And that's the key.

I personally feel that your son should be taking his own pills and if he doesn't, you will know and then you will be able to judge how serious he is about quitting. Is it YOU who wants him to quit or is it him that wants to quit? There is no "I can't do it." If you want to quit, you quit. People quit drinking every single day. Some relapse, then get right back on track. It's hard, but it can be done.

Does your son get paid for the times he doesn't really try hard at work? He is lucky you have a business because no other place would put up with his work behavior. At the same time, letting him work for you can be a form of enabling too, especially if he gets different treatment than non-family member employees.

Am I harsh? I don't think so, but Im sure some parents do. I just don't think our differently wired men and women kids learn when we do for them, especially when they are already hitting 25. They become helpless and we can not live forever to bail them out of trouble all their lives.

We have choices to make. Some parents are 85 years old and their 65 year old child is still living with them, abusing them, addicted and depending on their money or waiting for them to die so he/she can inherit and then when it happens the money gets blown in one month. This is reality. Some paernts never feel they can let go, even when the child is a senior citizen. To me, this is sad. There are many choices in between kicking the man out or keeping him home forever too and you can look into all of them.

You should probably go to therapy for yourself so you can learn to take care of YOU. You can not live your entire life for your son and his addiction (well, you can, but it's not fair to yourself and your other loved ones). You can have a good, happy life even if your adult child is a mess. You don't have to suffer with him and let him bring you to where he is. He is making his own choice to keep drinking. It has nothing to do with you. You can't stop him. Not if he doesn't want to stop.

Anyhow, I hope he is at least easy to live with and does chores in the house and pays rent and does go to therapy or some self-help group to help his recovery along. Antiabuse alone will not touch his underlying problems or make him healthy and he will be more at risk to go right back to drinking again if he is not in some sort of support system. AA isn't the only game in town. Good luck!!!!! ;)
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
One last thing I noticed too late for my last post. You keep calling him a kid. He is a man. At eighteen he could have been in the military serving our country, he can vote, he is legally responsible for what he does and, although you may still see him as little, he is all grown up in the eyes of society. Don't think of him as a kid. He is far from it. Acting like one doesn't make him one.


New Member
Feel free to be as harsh as you want. I am a learn-as-you-go person. Yes, a LOT of this situation is messed up. But first, he has not driven since the DUI. His license is suspended and his court date is next week.
I will be getting therapy. AlAnon is my first stop.
He is paying for all of his legal and medical bills that have resulted from the DUI.
Living with him is a roller coaster.

Will write more later....


Well-Known Member
Hi Joyce,
Just wanted to see how you are doing...

Also, do you think your son's attorney may request that son go to a dual diagnosis rehab facility? If your son has never been in a rehab might be the time.

Boy do we ever understand that Roller Coaster! You just never know what to expect next!

Hang in there,


New Member
Hi LMS, thank you for asking!
My son is currently in an Intensive Outpatient
Program, is taking Antabuse, and working. Had an excellent no-holds-barred family meeting last week. We were very blunt and told him this us the end if anything continues, both substance abuse and disrespect at home. We were given a list of halfway houses in front of him. I think he was shocked. After that, we went to see the psychiatrist who was exceptionally good at telling him what he needs to do to get better.

He's been great the last few days. I'm preparing myself for whatever comes. AlAnon is helpful. Thank you so much for inquiring!


Well-Known Member
Hi Joyce,
Just wanting to check up on you and son and see how you both are doing now. Sounds like you have your ducks in a row so to speak. I hope your son really heard you all.

Please check in when you can.