Most difficult years of my life

Guidance seeker

Active Member
Hi. I am new to this site but I’ve been reading many of the posts over the past few days and can see so many similarities in my own situation. I have found a lot of strength in reading them and especially the replies about letting go.

My son is 20, the problems started when he was around 16 and became “friends” with boys from school who previously bullied him. These boys have never been true friends to him and use him but he remains loyal to them.

He also has ADHD and mild autism.

He started using drugs at 16, first cannabis then cocaine and Valium. He would run up huge drug debts and sold anything he had of value. He would often intimidate me for money and smash things in the house if I didn’t give in. I’m ashamed to say that I gave in many times - sometimes believing him when he said he wanted to clear his debts and change and sometimes to avoid the huge dramas and having neighbours call the police or having holes punched in my doors.

He would regularly steal from us and even stole my daughter’s jewellery - I’m again ashamed to say in those early stages I tried to protect him, thinking this was a phase, and bought things back instead of involving the police.

Last December, I told him that he couldn’t live at home anymore if he continued to behave this way. I don’t think he believed me because I had said this before and never followed it up. However, I did involve the police the next time he smashed an ornament and became aggressive because I wouldn’t give him £60 for a debt, I took him to court and took out a restraining order that he could not come to our house but we could have contact with him.

He lived in a young people’s hostel initially and the staff there told me they did not believe he would be able to maintain a tenancy because of his ADHD and mild autism. He did not pay rent, keep appointments or accept help. ( He can, however, organise to get drugs and always knows when to pay).

He was put out of the hostel recently for various reasons including damage to property and had nowhere at all to live. It was minus 6 degrees that night and I paid for him to stay at a hotel - he was thrown out after 2 nights after taking a tv etc from another room. I again rescued him and put him in a bed and breakfast.

He is currently living in a shared house with another man - ran for homeless by the local council. He hates it there and blames me for the situation he is in.

Yesterday, we took him out for Christmas dinner which went really well - probably because his uncle was there and he behaved well in front of him. On the way home, he demanded I pay for a hotel for him for the night and became aggressive making all kinds of threats of what he would do if I didn’t. I did not do as he asked and he didn’t carry out any of the threats but he texted me until late Christmas night and made me extremely anxious.

His dad sees him most days and ensures he has eaten etc but I’m wondering if we should reduce all contact. Meeting him can be extremely stressful and affects me and his dad greatly, he is often very demanding and verbally abusive. I recently persuaded him to attend a care act assessment with adult social care and I really hope that they will support him and we can step back.

Any support or advice would be greatly appreciated.


Well-Known Member
Your son is a drug addict. Benzos are very serious drugs and the only way to detox from benzos is medical supervision. That is why your son is off the rails. Nothing you do will help him do better. He needs rehab. And to seriously want to quit.

All countries are different. Most of us are from the U.S. and all I really know is what resources and rules are here. To me it seems there is less serious help for under 18 year old addicts in other countries so many are really struggling as young adults. You may want to find out the options your son has and present them to him. He sounds too dangerous for you to bring home. I personally would not give him money for hotels. I would make him use government shelters. If he is uncomfortable enough, maybe he will finally want help.

You may want to limit how often you read his texts. Usually they are drama filled, abusive and written to cause you guilt. It's not like he will call to talk nicely.

I am sorry you are going through this. I hope things improve!

Guidance seeker

Active Member
Thank you for replying Somewhere out there.

I agree he is addicted, it seems to be cannabis that he uses most regularly, I don’t think the Benzo or cocaine use is daily. I have tried to get him to engage with various drug services but he will not accept he has a problem.

I will try not to read or react to his texts, you’re right - they are usually dramas that he demands I help him with.

I found it hard not to pay for a hotel as there was nowhere at all for him to go. It took a lot of phone calls from me to finally get him into homeless accommodation (the local adult men’s hostel is temporarily closed) and they said he had made himself homeless by his behaviour in the young people’s hostel. I feel I make life too easy for him and constantly rescue him but it was hard to see him on the streets especially as it is such a hard winter here currently.


Well-Known Member
Oh trust me. Its hard for all of us. Where I live it is currently [i only know Farenheit...sigh] it is way below zero with snow and we have homeless. For this weather if my daughter, the one I put out at 19, was actually on the street, yes, I would get her a place. But 30F? Naw. People don't die with a coat and boots and hat at 30. The thing is they HAD a place to stay...our homes...until they became dangerous. They gave us no choice but to escort them out.

I was tough on my daughter. I found out after she quit that she was a daily cocaine and frequent meth user. While she used I had no idea it was that bad. I too thought it was mostly pot. You don't know either. And, yes, my daughter got tired of drug life with no help from us and quit twelve years ago. She is fruitful, funny, kind, a home owner and a great mom to my adorable grand. Such a difference. I thought she would die or end up in prison.

I will always believe that we help more by not helping, even if we cry every night.

I hope you can hold up. It is hard, but they chose to be homeless by refusing to follow our simple house rules.

Love and hugs from cold, cold Wisconsin!

Guidance seeker

Active Member
It is so good to hear that your daughter got through it all without your help. It gives me so much hope.

It also gives me strength to hear that you put her out and it did her good. Everywhere I look at the moment, on facebook and on TV, I see about homeless at Christmas and it triggers so much guilt in me. I know I had no choice in the end but to make him leave and had to consider my husband and 18 year old daughter (who is one of the most wonderful, level headed people I know). I remember going to do the ironing one day and even my iron had been stolen and sold!! I was living in madness.

so ready to live

Well-Known Member
Hi Guidance.
I was living in madness.
I see progress in your realizing you were living in madness. For so many years we were so thick in it we couldn't see...anything.
If you need reason to climb out of the FOG, fear, obligation, guilt, look at your daughter. If it's hard to stand firm for yourself or husband, do it for her. You all deserve a safe, drama free home.
The thing is they HAD a place to stay...our homes...until they became dangerous
Don't forget this-the epitome of "you didn't cause it".
We are farther up the road than you and still really don't know how much or what our son uses/is using. All we know despite not understanding any of it is that it is his battle. Our help didn't fix it. Our son was living in an abandoned house last winter, no electric or water, he did have a beaten old car but rarely had gas. He is this year in an apartment which he shares and hates, assisted by our township trustee. If your son hates his shared arrangements enough, he is a free man who can choose to change. A phrase we learned at al anon "We're sure you can figure this out" is one I have used alot. Give him the respect of backing off for his own good. You won't be here to rescue forever. Take heart, your son is young. He may choose better in the future, many of us learn from consequences. There is always hope.
From a mother's heart to yours. Hold tight. You are stronger than you think. Prayers.

Guidance seeker

Active Member
Thank you so ready to live for your reply.

It rings so true with me when you said that your help didn’t fix it. I have tried everything I can think of to help my son but he still took drugs, got involved in crime and was abusive to his family.

He even blamed me for paying for a bed and breakfast saying he was stuck in a tiny room (his only other option was the streets). I kept pleading with the local homelessness office to find somewhere for him to stay which after 2 weeks they did and he tells me I’ve put him in a “crack house”.

He rings me daily with dramas and problems. I don’t think I ever feel relaxed anymore as the anxiety is overwhelming. He constantly loses things - his keys, his wallet etc - which again he blames on me for “stressing him out”.

His dad visits daily and takes him food and sometimes a small amount of money. I also often order him takeaways at night. I’m finding it very hard to withdraw this last bit of support. Mainly because I’m terrified that he will come to the house and we will have to call the police - we took out a restraining order and it could result in him going to prison.

I am trying not to worry about the crazy mistakes I see him make - he recently took out 4 iPhone contracts (I have only seen one of these phones). Now a large chunk of money is taken from his account (including penalties from the bank for not having money in the day the direct debits were due) on the day he receives his benefits. It’s like he just can’t see consequences to the things he does.

I long for the person he was and can’t talk about the nice son I had before the age of 16 without crying.

He is often absolutely vile to me - he tells me he hopes I die and that I should kill myself. I know he had a good childhood and was loved very much - he still is. I just don’t understand why he is the way he is now.


Well-Known Member
GS, your sons situation is similar to ours although our son couldn't ever physically intimidate me. He was very abusive though. Broke things, stole things, got high in our house. We kicked him out and the best thing that happened to him was when he moved out of state and we could no longer help. It has forced him to start getting his act together. Your son is in the throe's of addiction, defending people who could care less about him. Firm boundaries are essential for your sanity and they may eventually help your son as well. But he has to want it. You cant force him to want it.


Well-Known Member
He rings me daily with dramas and problems. I don’t think I ever feel relaxed anymore as the anxiety is overwhelming

Then maybe its time to go no contact. Easy to say but much harder to do. Remember that HE is making these choices. HE is doing all those things that are keeping him down. The reason he lays the guilt trip on you is to get money out of you.

His dad visits daily and takes him food and sometimes a small amount of money. I also often order him takeaways at night. I’m finding it very hard to withdraw this last bit of support. Mainly because I’m terrified that he will come to the house and we will have to call the police - we took out a restraining order and it could result in him going to prison.

This is going to sound cold blooded but sometimes that's how you need to be. If he violates that restraining order, that's on him. If he ends up in prison, that's because of what HE does. Not your fault. That being said, I know how badly that can affect you. Having my son arrested just for a day tore me up but it was still his fault, not mine.

Guidance seeker

Active Member
Thank you Jabberwockey.

I’m seriously considering no contact but as you say, I’m struggling with it. He is so chaotic, I don’t know how he will survive, maybe adult social care etc will step in if I stop contact and he fails.

He got a letter today warning him of eviction if he didn’t pay rent, he only owes £27 (not sure what that is in $). He had left it unread on the floor of the car so i rang to tell him. He said he didn’t care because he wouldn’t be here - he has threatened suicide every few days for the last 2 years, usually to worry me or in response to me not paying for something. He has then gone and paid £40 to stay in a hotel tonight as he “can’t stand living in a crack den”.

I also saw a letter that he owes a phone company over £1000 today but he doesn’t seem to care about that either. I have decided not to worry about that.

I really appreciate all of the replies that tell me to stop helping him. It gives me so much strength. I wish I was a much tougher person, before the last 4 years I was lucky that I had no one in my family who behaved like my son. I had no idea how to handle the situation at all and my whole experience of family was to help each other out no matter what. I’m trying really hard to change my attitude towards him. I’m so glad I found this site - such valuable, caring advice from people who have been through this.


Well-Known Member
He got a letter today warning him of eviction if he didn’t pay rent, he only owes £27 (not sure what that is in $).

About 1.5 to one last I checked so about $45 give or take.

he has threatened suicide every few days for the last 2 years

Personally, I'd call the police every time he says this to me. More than likely, its just one more thing he uses to try and control you and after a well check or two, that should stop.

Our son built up several different debts and simply didn't care at the time either. Its an addict thing. Now that he's starting to get it together he's actually working to pay these debts off. Finally realizing what kind of a negative impact they can have on his life.

Guidance seeker

Active Member
Jabberwocky, I’m so glad that your son is improving and taking responsibility- it really gives me hope.

I have called the police before when he has threatened suicide and have even called a mental health act assessment. Now I just don’t react, it’s just one of many threats he makes to manipulate me. It’s very hard to not feel anxious though.

His mental state was much worse a month or two ago when he was on a high dose of Ritalin, he isn’t on Ritalin now because of this and there is improvement but he is still chaotic.

I have found out that he is due to get a flat in January. I really hope he doesn’t mess this up and lose his tenancy.

He begged me to let him come home for Christmas but I have always told him the same thing - if he shows for a few months that he is off drugs, not involved in crime and not nasty to us then he would be welcome back.


Well-Known Member
SWOT, chime in on this, but a few months off drugs really doesn't mean anything. First off, addicts lie plain and simple. Having him tested regularly can be expensive and it can be spoofed. Look at his behavior. That is significantly more telling than anything he says. But the fact of the matter is, he is a grown man and if he is staying sober and doing what he needs to then he probably wont be asking you for money or a place to live anymore.


Well-Known Member
A few months, if it is even true (they lie about this a lot) means nothing. A year means something. Two years means more. Along with quitting, if the person really quit, you will see a tremendous change in motivation, attitude and adulting.

A few months is hopeful. It is, however, not a sure thing by a long shot. Once an addict, always one. They have to continue to abstain. They need to know they can't just try a little bit of the substance just one more time.

Guidance seeker

Active Member
Too be honest, I feel he is a long way away from changing just yet. I’m probably being very naive by thinking a few months would mean things would continue to improve.

I really need to change how I think. I was lying in bed this morning getting myself all anxious about HIS problems - the debts, accommodation, not paying fines, how he will cope etc. I allow his problems to become my problems and feel overwhelmed by them,
especially because it’s all out of my control. Then I start to think of ways I can solve them which doesn’t help him develop any responsibility at all. He is very immature for his age and his underlying conditions don’t help at all but he was more reasonable at 15 than he is at 20 so I think the drugs exacerbate everything.

He doesn’t seem to care at all about the things that worry me. He doesn’t seem to consider consequences at all. He has completely changed in the last 4 years or so and I have lost the wonderful son I once had.

so ready to live

Well-Known Member
Guidance. Your thinking so reminds me of mine. The anxiety of owning his problems. I have a blank piece of paper with a thick black line right down the middle, no words. When my thoughts go wild..I remember the left side is mine, the right his. I think of how full my side is-in your case, home, marriage, daughter, future plans. Crossing that line takes so much away from your side. In reality, his side needs to be his-what he puts there, allows there.

Good advice I heard here was not to "see the little boy" any longer. Sad, but true. Now I see better the man, who made his choices poorly and must live with the consequences. I hate that for him but it's true. My son is much older than yours and I still hope he finds his way but until then I can't let it kill me too. My heart goes out to you, I have tears as I type, I know so well your pain. Prayers.


Active Member

It sounds like you and your husband have already made so many of the hard decisions the situation requires.

Obviously you know from here that there are many families in your situation, having to make these difficult choices.

But also know that you are not alone in the terrible feelings the right decisions can still leave us with.

When there is no choice, there shouldn’t be regret and doubt on top of sadness. But there often is.

I think the second guessing is normal. The parenting instinct to shelter, feed and protect is very strong.

And our boundaries often don’t noticeably lead to a rock bottom for them. It’s hard to accept that change might not be just around the next corner. Our kids just keep slipping an inch and a decision at a time, and seem not to be able to remember what was once normal and within their reach, and how far they’ve fallen.

When they refuse to grab the wheel of their ship, their lives are still as good as WE deliver to them, or as bad as WE let them be.

For me, it’s an impossible position to be in to have to deliver the consequences of my son’s self-destructive choices, then witness him suffering from the consequences, while also representing a reference point of his past potential and some kind of pathway to light at the end of the tunnel.

It requires nerves of steel and a deaf ear — which are hard to mold out of a parents’ heart.


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

Stepping aside does NOT mean that you do not love your son. It means that you love him so much you are going to get the hell out of his way and let him learn how to adult.

From what you describe I would bet a million dollars that your son is doing a lot more than smoking weed. I do not believe that weed alone would cause someone to act like that. And remember that normally parents only know the tip of the iceberg.

You should never allow your son to talk to you in an abusive manner. I have to say that my son never said cruel things to me during his addiction and I'm thankful for that. If he did it would have made it much easier to detach. Anger helps!

There is so much great advice here that I will not attempt to rewrite it. Just read and you will grown in knowledge and strength. Most of us here are on the same road as you but at a different stop.

The most important thing I can say to you is to take care of yourself and your marriage. This can be a very long road (I'm on year 7) and if you don't take care of yourself then nothing good will come from it and it won't help your son either!

Good luck!


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
And our boundaries often don’t noticeably lead to a rock bottom for them. It’s hard to accept that change might not be just around the next corner. Our kids just keep slipping an inch and a decision at a time, and seem not to be able to remember what was once normal and within their reach, and how far they’ve fallen.

I often remind myself of 2 things. First My bottom is not my sons bottom. My bottom was the day I had him arrested for the first time. That was the day I found this sight.

Second Bottom has a basement and my son likes to dwell there. He may bounce back and he may not but I am no longer being dragged down there with him.