Lying, stealing and drug abuse in adult son


New Member
Just another frustrated parent with a troubled son who had the world of opportunity to thrive and succeed and he chose to throw it away and do his own thing.. definitely a prodigal son! He is 23, the eldest of 3 kids. He has moved out a few times and tried to launch unsuccessfully on his own. Somehow has delusions of getting rich quick. He's always hanging with- the wealthy crowd and a real "sweet talker" to the ladies and anyone who will listen to his stories. He has deluded many bosses into hiring him even though he has only finished high school with no job training other than the jobs we made him do at home and small things like lifeguard, mowing lawns, working at Home Depot. He said hes not meant for blue collar work and he's going to get rich quick so he's conned many friends and associates into thinking that he's really legit and they invest only to be swindled by him. He is currently living with us and had us convinced he's working a legit job only to discover that was a lie and he has recently been using our credit card. We have forced his hand and he has the option of joining the military or moving out. He can't live here anymore and we are cutting all financial help to him. He is no longer allowed in the house if we aren't home. He was diagnosed his Junior year with ADD, depression and dissociative disorder. He was put on a few drugs which appeared to help until we discovered that he was selling them. He then proceeded to sell drugs after he was kicked out of our house and landed with- his "buddies" only to get into more trouble with- girls etc.. this last time we allowed him home after his girlfriend died of drug induced lukemia and he came home to detox and heal. He was doing really well for 4 months but now has slipped into old habits. We are done with his lies and done being used and we are ready for Peace in our home. My youngest son just left for college and it should be an empty nest. Our oldest refuses medical help and still takes "street medications" to cope with his depression and marijuana to help him eat and sleep. I don't know what I am looking for here.. just reading your stories has helped me see that there are MANY parents like me! We wonder what we could have done different to help our child.. only to discover that the CHILD is difficult and has done this to themselves and we are NOT the problem! We have prayed, bent over backwards, to help them succeed and they throw it away... Like jewels before swine.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

Sorry you have to be here but glad you found us.

Agree with your decision on making him join the military or move out. Most of these children that are really MEN do not do well in our home or grow up.

My son started at 15 and finally at 26 is doing well and has been for a few years only AFTER we stood our ground, detached and formed strong boundaries that we stuck to come hell or high water! I never knew how strong I was until I dealt with addiction.

I honestly think my son had the Devil in him for many years as he was not himself. He was a wonderful child until he wasn't.

My short advice is to get yourself into therapy to help you deal with your son's bad choices. I did that and prayed a lot and we got through it.

Good luck and more will be along to offer their advice. There is no point in reinventing the wheel. Take what you need and leave the rest!


Well-Known Member
Hi Survivor,

I am glad you are here. I can feel your frustration and hope you take some time to focus on yourself. It's so hard not to get lost in it. You sound very strong and in touch with the reality of this being his doing. I also agree with your ultimatum. We all have similar stories. Some wise soul told me that a lot of young men turn it around at age 25ish. Mine was 20 at the time, which seemed like a lifetime, but it turned out to be true. My son is by no means perfect, but he has improved a hell of a long way from homelessness and addiction. We can love them from afar. Detachment with love can be a wonderful thing. Sending hugs to you!


Well-Known Member
Hi Survivor Mom,
Just wanted to add my voice of support. I have an almost 26 year old son, who seems to be doing okay at the moment, but I never take that for granted. We've been through hell with him and even in good phases I'm always wary. I don't know if I'll ever trust that he is "okay". (Not that I let him see that!)

I don't know that I have any specific advice, because most of the time I feel like I am a massive failure as a parent. I do know that most of the "help" we gave him didn't actually help. When we were at the end of our rope we gave him a deadline to move out and we stuck to it.

To be honest, I found backing away completely very hard. We overcame this by helping him find somewhere to live. He actually rents a home we own, but he rents through an agent and we have nothing to do with it. If he doesn't pay his rent he'll be evicted, just like any other tenant. He has a steady job (going on 3 years now) and a nice girlfriend, but as for the drug use and associated misbehaviour - I honestly don't know if he's on top of that or not. At least it is not in my house. I needed him to leave because we have other kids and I felt like his presence in the house was detrimental to them. Our middle son is away a t university now and the youngest finishes high school in December (we're in Australia). Once my youngest is done, my husband and I are moving to a country town across the state. I feel like I need to put some distance between my eldest and myself. That probably sounds like a cop out (and maybe it is) but I feel like I need a break from him.

I think you are very wise to give your son the ultimatum you have. He's not a child anymore and you have every right to expect peace in your house.

Keep posting here - it helps!


Sending good vibes...

I just wanted to add, in my humble opinion, that joining the military is not the end all and be all solution. I think that maybe for some that don't bring with them a basket full of "issues" it can be a turning point for them. But my youngest son who is now 28 jointed the Marine Corp. out of high school. It actually appeared to us that this was the "magic" fairy dust we'd been waiting for. The year prior to joining showed us the son we had always dreamed of. He was so motivated and working to get in the best physical shape possible. Fast forward, he did graduate the Marine Corp. which is one of the toughest branches of the service but he didn't "stay" in. He was let out on a medical discharge. You see all the things he didn't deal with and still hasn't such as depression, ADHD and his desire to smoke pot has never been dealt with. In fact, the trauma of the stress and "things" that happen in boot camp are additional things he's still trying to cope with to this day.

He has never held down a job since for anything longer than 8 months, has been homeless with and without a car and still smokes pot, and suffers depression. He expects he should be making top dollar anywhere he starts a job and everyone he works for is "stupid" according to him.

I'm not saying don't go that route but consider some of what I've mentioned. It doesn't necessarily fix it all.

Hoping for the best for you.