I feel like I'm mourning the loss of my son.
Is that a common feeling amongst we parents of drug/alcohol addicted difficult children?
My fiancée says. "Your son is still here, it's the drug dealer that is gone for now"
My son is among so many other issues is also strongly suspected of selling drugs and has removed himself from my life. He'll be 18 next month. For all the trouble/heartache he's caused, I miss him so much, I'm just barely functional...like living in a fog.

Please tel me it gets better....


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For me I did have to mourn losing my daughter. I had to face the fact that she might die. In my head I planned her funeral. I know that sounds awful but it was the only way I could survive. I had to face the worst possible outcome before I could move forward.

You son is very young and yes there is a lot of hope. At 18 I was thinking my daughter would die. She is almost 23 now and is very muc alive. She is struggling financially due to all the mistakes she made along the way, but she is working and being responsible and that is more than I ever hoped for back then.

My best advice is to find a support group of other parents struggling through addiction and do whatever you need to in order to take care of yourself. Support your son when he is doing what he should and don't support him when he isn't.

I am sorry this is a difficult time for you. I certainly understand and have been there.


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Staff member
Hello and welcome 4Paws. I am sorry that you are hurting. I can't tell you that it will ever completely stop hurting but it does get easier as you learn detachment skills.

That said, your son is very young. There is still time for him to turn his life around. I don't know your story so it is hard to give advice.

Could you tell us more about your situation? If you have done that before, I haven't seen it. It would help if you could add a signature to your posts like the one you see below my post. Here is how to do that:




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It can get much better once you learn how to lovingly detach and go on with your life even though his life is not good. You are not one and the same...you are two different people and many of us have learned how to realize that and to detach from their drama, accept things as they are, and stop trying to change our adult children because we CAN'T change them...we can't change anyone except ourselves and we can change our reactions to our adult children's drama and trials and tribulations. It takes time, but it can happen.

Some things I find very helpful are:

Twelve step meetings such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon in which other parents are going through the same thing BUT others have been through it and are in Recovery and have very wise help.

Meditation, learening how to practical radical acceptance and mindfulness, which are things you can find all over the internet.

Therapy that focuses on my life. Yes, I can talk about my kids, but the therapy is to learn how to enjoy the rest of MY life, even when things aren't so hot for my grown kids.

Sitting at home and ruminating about your son, allowing critical people who have never walked in your shoes to castigate you, letting family/friends/anyone tell you what you should do when they have no idea w hat THEY'D do and isolation so that all you do is think about difficult child is harmful to both of you. You do absolutely no good for your son if you are crazy nuts because of him. Won't do one iota to help your boy. And allowing him to disrespect you is horrible for himself and for you.

Taking care of yourself comes first...when you learn how to do it, you WILL feel better.


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I have definitely mourned the loss of my son or at least what I had hoped for him. I have mourned the relationship we had when he was young and wish we were as close now as we were when he was a little boy. I have mourned the loss of the dream of the man he would become and sometimes still do mourn that.

What I am learning is that I need to accept him as he is now even if it is not what I had hoped for him. I was realizing the other day that his moral compass is not the same as mine.... and he seems to have no problem with things I have a major problem with. But I cant do anything about that. He is who he is and all I can do is to continue to love him and support him in doing the next right thing... and not support him in doing the next wrong (in my moral compass) thing.

And yes it is vital to come to the point where you find a way to live your life and to even enjoy your life no matter what he is doing. I have learned to do that and so yes there is hope. I know for me there are blips in that when there is a current crisis... such as for me last week when my son was kicked out of the program he was in.... however I could see the good in that too.... he stayed sober and he got himself to court so that was progress. So it threw me for a couple of days but it did not slay me liked it used to.

So what gets better is where you are at and how you handle things. Your difficult child may or may not get better... none of us can predict that piece...and that piece is up to them not us.

And although we do not have the close relationshp we had when he was little we do have a relationship and he now will voluntarily tell me he loves me (which he did not do for years).


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Thank you so much, I read the article someone had posted about detachment and it describes me completely. I am working on it.
As far as support groups in my area, there are none. So, for now, this is it and already in the few days since I've found you all...I'm learning a lot.
I guess I'm a work in progress!



I sent him a text this morning..."I love you" That's it. He texted back "?". He's so suspicious of everyone, always ready in fight mode. I answered "Just wanted to remind you". "Oh, haha, I love you too mom" he replied.. "I'm on house arrest"..now, normally I'd be all over that like a fly on kaka..not this time. This time I answered with "Well, that ought to keep you quiet" and left it. He told me he has work tomorrow at a local crab processing plant, then asked what time legal aid closed today...another one I'd normally question but not this time..I told him "4:30" , he thanked me and that was our conversation.
That article really helped me. It's not easy to fight the urge to control and fix it for him. I know where he'll be working is an icky job, his clothes will need washing daily and I wanted to offer to do his laundry for him but HE moved out, HE wants to be on his own, HE can take care of HIS laundry!!
Patting myself on the back. My fiancé was proud of me too!
Just thought I'd share!


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He is old enough to wash his own clothes. If he doesn't, he will learn by natural consequences. His peers will point out that he smells bad.

My kids have been washing their own clothes, including my autistic son, since age twelve. I have had many problems with a few of my kids, but I did do some things right and they did have to be responsible for their own belongings as soon as they were able.

There is no reason for you to be parenting a grown or almost grown adult child. There are many good reasons why he should be forced to grown up himself.

You can't change anyone except yourself. Angsting over his behavior won't change it and won't help him or you. It is a lesson we all have to learn. It just causes ulcers, migraines, high blood pressure and misery...and our adult child remains the same as he was before until he decides/if he decides to change. It is 100% up to him. It is 0% up to you...or any of us.

Great job with your restraint. Overtalking causes more than 50% of our grief with our adult children who are good at manipulating us, pushing our buttons (especially our guilt buttons...they know what and where they are) and blaming us for their own bad behavior. I found it is best to stick to light topics, such as the weather, and listen to any nonsense difficult child is spewing rather than piping in my two cents. And if things get heated on his part, I get off the phone pronto. Why do the theatre at my age? I had it when my kids were small. In my world, peace rules/drama drools :)

You have to decide your priorities. At the same time you will come to see that no matter how much you talk to, push, get angry at, love on your grown kid...he is what he is and he will not change until/unless he wants to. Some of our difficult children truly think alternative lifestyles, such as homelessness, are just fine...and they'd love big contributions from Dad and Mom too because they also often don't want to work. And many take drugs. And they would love us to chime in the $$$ for "food" when they really mean drugs.

You will find your own path. We all do. But you will take your own path. Your son will take his. They won't be the same path.
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Yes, I feel like I am grieving also. My son told me a few years ago he was smoking marijuana every day and in our house. We never suspected or smelled anything. He has told me so much stuff that has hurt way worse than the drug use, like how he influenced church kids, lied to us, etc. etc. (no longer living here now)