My son is a heroin addict and I just kicked him out again

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by LisaStillwater, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. LisaStillwater

    LisaStillwater New Member

    My son just turned 25.

    We've battled with his heroin use for many years and I've kicked him out before because he keeps stealing money from us. I've always let him come back because he promises to change and I know he has no where to go. I've sworn to help him because I know addiction is a disease, however he uses this to continue to live at our house.

    Most recently he lost his full time decent paying job of 1 1/2 years. All of that money went to drugs. He wasn't stealing money from us when he was working. After he got fired, I started noticing money missing again. He took $40 out of my wallet and said "I didn't know $40 was more important than me." Of course I wanted to help him so after asking him to leave, he came back after 2 nights.

    Last week he stole $200 from my husband and stole $100 from me. He admitted it pretty quickly, which is unusual but I told him he had to go. We've had locks on our drawers to try to keep him out, but that didn't stop him from breaking into these drawers and taking the money. (He has stolen much more money through the years, taken cars without asking, stolen from his sister and many other things that should have gotten him kicked out. It's not just the latest stealing)

    He left and has been gone for 5 nights. I feel sick. It's cold and I don't think he has anywhere to go. I've given him so many chances and tried to help for so long, I know it's the right thing to do, but I can't stop crying. Am I doing the right thing? Of course, every one will tell me so. Why am I so upset?

    He's an adult, he can take care of himself, but he's still my baby that I swore to protect. Besides that, he is a sweetheart to me. He's polite, does whatever I ask and we basically get along except for the drug use and stealing. I'm sure he's manipulating me, but I miss him and I'm worried about him.

    Am I doing the right thing? I do honestly think that he will never get better unless he is forced to, and hopefully this forces him to get it together. I always think the absolute worse, that he is going to die, which he probably would any way if he keeps smoking heroin.

    I'm just lost and confused and missing my son. Any suggestions?
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I am sorry. Heroin is so nasty, we have an epedemic of it in our small city. Tons of busts. Overdoses. Glad my kids are too old for high school.

    Having acknowledged it is sad disease, you must care for yourself too. He can choose rehab rather than your house and if he steals from you, well, that is a deal breaker for most. He is using your hard earned money for heroin. If he wanted a warm bed he would not steal from his own parents no matter what. Some kids steal all our retirement. He has other options. Like quitting. Like shelters. Like couch surfing.

    I lived in Chicago and my drugged daughter walked to and from work in Chicago winter and did not even get a cold. On drugs I don't even know that they feel or care about the cold. And heroin addicts don't eat much if you worry about food. That's why they are stick skinny. We worry more than them.

    When you had your son you promised to care for him as a baby and child. He is a full grown man with a deep voice, hair all over and is able bodied. We are not supposed to take care of them as adults. They actually often start fussing over us by that age. He is not your baby now. He is your adult who uses drugs, steals and shows no interest on quitting.

    You can't save him. He is the only person on Earth who can save himself.

    If you do not see a therapist, I recommend it. This is hard. If nothing changes in how we treat our adults then they don't change and our own lives also stay miserable. You have a right to be happy even if your son struggles. Many of us have learned how to detach from their drama. It takes time. Today is a great day to start!

    We are glad you came
    Love and hugs!
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    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  3. LisaStillwater

    LisaStillwater New Member

    Thank you. I've been reading posts on here for an hour or so and I know I'm doing the right thing. I do plan on going to NarAnon or AlAnon.
    Thank you for your true words.
  4. StillStanding

    StillStanding Active Member

    What a sad time for your family! I'm so sorry. Remember addiction is a disease but it is a family disease - everyone suffers.
    If it's cold where you live, you can send your son a list of homeless shelter options.
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  5. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    So sorry you are here but welcome! This is a long and hard and cruel road that we are all on.

    I love my son so much but he is also an addict. When I read that by enabling him I was actually helping to kill him I knew I had to change things.

    Like many have said here, they can die in their own bedroom in our cozy home of an overdose as easily as anyplace else. Until he experiences the real life consequences of what he is doing and how he is living he has NO REASON to change and he won't as you've seen yourself.

    Kicking him out because you love him and you are forcing him to get help is okay. We did that with our son also and he has been struggling and falling down but he (and we) keep getting back up.

    If you believe in a higher power, pray. I do and it helps give me peace.

    More will be along to offer their advice also. My journey is partly in my signature but seven years of this and if I just put the highlights (lowlights really) it would take pages.

    Take what you need and leave the rest. There is no right or wrong answer.

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  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Lisa. You may want to change your name if that is your real name, remember this is an anonymous site so as to protect us and our kids too.

    The most difficult thing I think we parents have to do is to detach from our troubled kids. You're not alone, most of us here on the adult kids forum have or are going thru this.

    More often than not, our adult troubled addicted or mentally ill kids do not change on their own.....we do all of the changing. They may change. OR not. But that is up to THEM.

    We find ways to thrive in a devastating scenario......we find support in therapy, 12 step groups, parent groups, NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) thru the church, or wherever we can find solace, guidance, support, no judgement, compassion and nourishment. I would encourage you to find a support system where you feel safe and seen and heard. It is very hard to do this alone. Many parents find comfort in Al Anon, Narc Anon or Families anonymous.

    You matter too. Your life matters. The peace, safety and comfort in your home matters. Your son has made choices which he now is facing the consequences for. There are shelters, food banks and places for your son to go for the day and the night if he so chooses. It hurts our hearts in ways that are indescribable, however, enabling your son has not helped him and is not going to help him.

    You may find info and solace in the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. A good book many of us find helpful is Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie.

    Hang in there Lisa, this is very difficult. You're not alone. I'm glad you're here with us. Keep posting, it helps to write our stories down and feel heard by those who understand and have empathy......get as much support and help as you can, it will soften the blow to your mothers heart.
  7. LisaStillwater

    LisaStillwater New Member

    I take comfort in these posts, now knowing that enabling him wasn't helping him, and now he gets to choose on his own how he wants to live. Thank you so much kind souls here.
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  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Lisa, when I first arrived here about 6 years ago, it was the one place I felt comforted too....often we parents are ridiculed, judged, criticized and blamed for our kids choices and behaviors......but this forum really is a safe place to land......and it helped me to make the changes necessary with my daughter......we'll circle our wagons around you.... and those still struggling.....we're all in this together......
  9. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    Hi Lisa,
    I wanted to join in supporting you since my situation with my 30-year-old son is very similar to yours. He has been a heroin addict for years, and we've also experienced the merry-go-round of him living with us off and on. He was independent for 10 years after high school, and then the heroin changed everything. He's quit or been fired from many jobs, some of which were quite good, been kicked out of the military, and has had three or four overdoses. He's currently in a long-term rehab facility, so we're hoping that something works for him.

    We had let our guard down since our son hadn't stolen from us since high school, so we thought he was over it. However, within the last few months he's wrecked his wife's car, took our car on a "joyride" with his drug dealer, overdosed, got fired from a job, and stolen $500 from one of his brothers and pawned another brother's guitar. After all this, he finally decided to go into rehab.

    It only complicates matters that my son, also, is polite, friendly and cooperative. It would be so much easier to tell him he can't live with us if he was mean and rotten. But after this last go-round of insanity, my husband and I are both determined to tell him he can't come back to live with us. Although I want with all my heart to believe he will have changed after the rehab, I know it will take a while for him to regain our trust. And even then, I think he'll be better off on his own or reconciling with his wife to live with her and their kids.

    So do what you think is right, and try not to second-guess yourself. I'm just coming to realize that letting our son live with us and get high wasn't helping him or us, though, and I think you're probably realizing that too in your own situation.
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  10. Lost in sadness

    Lost in sadness Active Member

    Hi Lisa
    Welcome, so sorry to hear your story. It is heart wrenching! Come here often for support from many wise people. You are not alone.
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  11. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member


    HI Lisa, My son is almost 37, having recently stolen from my parents and a girlfriend of just a few weeks (his latest enablers). If Difficult Child ever wants to change, his dad and I will be so ready. Until he does, nah. And, we learned this the hard way over twenty years. :frown:

    Based on our experience, it only gets worse when we give them any help. Hopefully, your son (and ours) will want a different life....and it could get better. husband and I tried to help Difficult Child so many times with paying for therapy, giving him a place to stay (at home and paying for an apartment), gift cards, cash, goes on and on. We did not totally stop enabling until a few years ago--about the time I found Conduct Disorders.

    While our Difficult Child is not making progress right now, my husband and I have found a much, much better way to live. Until your son decides he wants to try a better way, I recommend you looking out for you. I learned that tactic here and it did remarkable good for husband and me.

    Stay with us, please.

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  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I want to welcome you and hope you find strength and hope here! There isn't anything you cannot tell us. We have all been through the wars with our own children and we truly understand. We won't ever judge you. We will tell you what worked for us, and what we would do. We always know that what works in your family won't be exactly what fit our family. It isn't like trying on socks, after all! It also takes time to be ready to do what is right for your family. We will be there with you until you are ready to take whatever steps you want/need to take. No judgement even when we say we would take other steps.

    Addiction is a really ugly disease. I am glad you are going to go to some meetings. I hope you find them helpful.

    Until you change something in your son's addiction equation, nothing will change for him. Right now he steals money, he gets high, he gets thrown out for a few days, he gets to come back home. No big deal. He has friends who will let him stay for a couple of days. Or he knows other places where he can crash.

    All of his money CAN go for heroin because he lives with you and you meet all of his basic needs. You provide shelter and warmth and food and probably even clothing to some extent. So money he earns is his drug money. Life will be very different if and/or when he needs to also provide those basics. You will learn if those have any importance to him. They may actually not be of importance to him when it is a choice between them and his drugs. This is where you will need a lot of support from meetings and people who understand. And the Serenity Prayer.

    I don't know if you should throw him out for good or not. Chances are that I might do that. I would see him as an adult, not a child or my baby boy. I am not you and am not having to make that choice today. I know what I think I would do, but if I am totally honest, even I cannot give a guarantee as to what I would absolutely do. Mostly because I haven't been in that situation yet. I do have a pretty low tolerance for theft, especially with someone abusing drugs in my home.

    The other thing to think about is your safety. Most users end up selling drugs to some degree. Even if they say they don't, they do. It is how they can make enough to pay for their habit. Even if they don't sell, they deal with drug dealers. This can bring a very dangerous group of people to your home. It can make your life VERY dangerous. It is something to think about. If someone thinks you have drugs or money, they will do things to you to get them. It places you and those you love in danger. Sometimes you have to let the addict go, or make them leave, to keep other loved ones safe. I have distant relatives who had to make that choice. It is something to be aware of as you formulate your plans and make your choices.

    Many hugs. I wish this wasn't such an awful situation.
  13. LisaStillwater

    LisaStillwater New Member

    Thank you. I am still sad but I know I’m doing the right thing.
    I did slip last week. It was cold and rainy and my son called me. He still has his cell phone. I know many people let that lapse for their kids but I feel I would never hear from him again if I did that Baby steps.
    I offered him a place to sleep. He only wanted money but accepted the offer. (Of course) I told him he would have to leave again the next morning and he did. He got a warm night sleep, left without saying goodbye and I haven’t heard from him since.
    Everyone is happy I finally did this. My daughter is very happy. My husband, not my sons father, is ecstatic. I feel sad and had a panic attack last night. Day by day.
    But reading other stories, so similar to my own, I want to get off the crazy train, not have to hide my belongings and be free.
    My son is the king of making me feel guilty. I’m getting stronger. I’m in this alone so I appreciate the kind, strong words.
  14. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    HI Lisa, and welcome. I am so sorry for your aching heart. It is the toughest road we are traveling here, all at different points along the pathway.
    Your post brings me back to many times I have had to make one or both of my two leave our home. Their drug use and lifestyle choices turned our home into a place I did not want to be, there was no telling what I may come home to. Hubs and I had to lock our wallets in our vehicles, we had to put key locks on bedroom doors. The list goes on and on.
    But still, they are our beloveds.
    Lost in a drug haze.
    You didn't cause this, can't cure it, or control it.
    And, yes, there was an overwhelming sadness that engulfed me, each time my two did something over the top that made it painfully clear they could not live with us any longer.
    I had to step up and be the tough one. Still do.
    I was upset, sad, mad, all of those feelings that well up into a grieving over their choices, what could be, the waste of time and life spent "chasing the dragon" of drugs.
    Then there was the undeniable, unrealistic feeling that somewhere down the line I had failed them. Believe me, they sensed that and used it over and again to tug at my heart and that coerced me to give in to their pleas to come home. Promises made, and broken of how "it would be different this time".They would behave for a few days, then it would all start, staying out till all hours, sleeping all day as we went off to work and school. Things and money missing, heirloom jewelry. Street types invited over our house.............
    It came to the point where living with them was unbearable.
    This makes it harder, Lisa, that they are good people, somewhere inside, is that child we so loved, and still do.
    It is the behaviors we have to examine.
    "Except for the drug use and stealing"
    Of course he is manipulating you, of course you are worried about him, I am so sorry for your troubled heart, and all that you are going through. It is what I call the swirley whirley, a time when the reality of the impossibility of this situation gets so caught up and intertwined with our intense love for our d cs, we have this huge hole inside of us, anxiety, depression, we would give our lives for it to be different.

    The problem is, our sacrificing our lives and the security of our homes will not change the choices our d cs make.

    You are absolutely doing the right thing. Nothing changes, if nothing changes.

    What helped me come out of the swirley whirley was a process of shifting focus. For one thing, I have a young son who grew up witnessing the crazy stuff that went on and on. I had to realize what I was allowing in my home, what he was going through. He said one day "Mom, why do we have people living with us who we can't trust?" That rang in my ears and my mind. The simple truth of it.
    Understanding that addicts will use the people that love them, use our emotions, steal from us, if we allow it.
    Realizing that love says no.
    It is not a loving thing to support an adult child, have them live with us, so it is easier for them to use drugs.
    Because that's what it really is, easier for them, to use drugs, and use us.
    Keep posting here, that helps me tremendously, to get the feelings out in a safe place where folks understand and have been or are going through similar journeys.
    Join a group, or go to therapy, and read, read, read. It helps to understand the disease of addiction, and how we can fall in to a trap along with it.
    You are in a battle with your sons choices, your own feelings and what to do.
    It is a crazy making place to be.
    It is important to take time for you, be kind to yourself, strengthen yourself.
    The article on detachment pasted below, is good to read and find where our fit is and learn from our mistakes. When we know better, we do better.
    Don't condemn yourself for things that you find within your heart to do. These are our adult kids, we love them and want them to be safe. It is a very difficult spot to be in, and it is not all in a straight line. We do what we can, and still need be able to look ourselves in the mirror. I am sorry for this, it is the same with my two, I haven't seen or heard from Tornado for months, I can only go on tidbits of information. The same for Rain, she comes and goes with the wind, with nary a care of how this effects her family.
    We are not living normal lives with drug addicted adult children in the mix. Sometimes, I take cues from my well children, who are not as vested emotionally with their siblings. Whenever the next surprise visit, or word of their sisters latest drama, they shake their heads and look at me and say "Are you surprised?", or , "Typical", or "Same ole, same ole." They don't go down that rabbit hole of worry, anger, sadness. It is because they have become calloused to it after all of these years. That is not to say they do not love them, but have built up themselves an armor against the craziness of it all. This is a good lesson for me, because my wasting away with fear and anxiety does nothing to change the situation, in the meantime, it is just another Tuesday for my two wayward adult children. I was tempted to write "my two girls", but, they are not girls, they are women. They are capable of doing better, they just don't choose to.
    They would drag us all into their mess, without a care of how it would effect us. Someone had to change, and that someone, is me.

    You can get off the crazy train, in fact, you have already begun. It starts with a thought, and then action. We finally get uncomfortable enough that we have to make a move, the crazy behaviors, theft and chaos override everything. It is unacceptable to live this way. A well adult child respects their parents and the sanctity of our home. Drug addicted d cs are like toddlers throwing tantrums. We would not let a two year old rage on and continue unacceptable behaviors, injure themselves and our property. This is no different.
    No, you can not live here, as long as you are using drugs, and abusing us.
    As far as the guilty feelings go, this is not on you, it is on him. His choices, his consequences.
    Most of us here, will tell you we have gone through the same thing. My two would tell me, "It is because of you, that I am this way!"
    I would fall into that trap, reel the tapes of raising them, and find instances where I wished I did better. My guts would churn, I couldn't sleep, it was all consuming.
    Then, I forgave myself, for being human. We all make mistakes. I did not abuse my kids, and did the best I could. Probably do things a bit different now, but I am older.
    I have reams of photos of family times and happy faces.
    The thing is, addicts are very, very good at manipulating our aching hearts, to get what they want. Guilt is a very strong emotion, driving us to do things we wouldn't ordinarily do, as if it was some sort of compensation for what we lacked.
    Guilt even that we have a roof over our heads, clean clothes, food, "while my child is out there, somewhere."
    We imagine them hungry, cold, whatever the concern is.
    Well, these are consequences for the choice of drugging.
    It sounds cold, and hard.
    But it is fact.
    They are of an age, where they are making their own choices and need to feel the consequences of those choices, in order to want different.
    It may help you to make a mental list of everything your son has put his family through, for his choice of smoking heroin.
    Times when you start to feel guilty for the consequences of his own choices, pull out that list.
    This is one way to switch focus away from his consequences (cold, hungry, etc.) towards the unacceptable conditions he put YOU through.
    Here is some of mine.
    Lying, stealing, untrustworthy, gaslighting, blame, destruction of property, chaos, drama.
    I have also turned my mindset around from thinking "This is not how I raised my kids, this is not the real them." To "This is my kids, on drugs."
    So, after my husband passed, and Tornado hugged me and whispered in my ear "I am going to come home, Mom."
    I pulled away and said "No, you are not."
    She gave me the this is not fair, hurt look.
    I was hurt, too, having to say that at such a difficult time in my grief. But, I had come to grips with her addiction, and knew the turmoil it would cause in my home. I said to her
    "You do not get help here, you need to go to a DV shelter, or rehab."
    The truth is, my two do not seek help when they are in my home. I realized, my "helping" wasn't helping them at all, and they were dragging us all down.
    I can't allow that, and neither can you, or any of us.
    We are their parents, their first teachers. In refusing to enable them, learning to focus on self care, we are modeling behaviors we wish them to have for themselves.
    At first, this feels selfish, as mothers, it is ingrained in our being, to sacrifice our own time, for our children.
    We did this, Lisa. To the best of our ability.
    They are grown men and women now, and need to learn how to be responsible adults.
    We do them no favors by allowing them to tread upon us like rugs.
    One thing that struck me reading a former users posts was what he wrote, in a nutshell...... "One of the reasons why we get high, is to forget about all the horrible things we did to our families, because when we are not high, all of those memories of what we did, stole, lied, etc. come raging back, the only thing to make it go away, is to get high again."
    I reason with myself that if I stand up and do not allow my two to take advantage of me, to manipulate me, I am truly helping them.

    Just some rambling thoughts on a Sunday morning for a fellow warrior sister.
    If you have a belief in a higher power, go to that faith. I pray a lot for my two, and I gave them to God, believing they were only on loan to me in the first place. I raised them as best I could. It got to the point where I had to lift my head up and say "Lord, this is way more than I can handle, please watch over them for me. I am giving them back to you."
    I love them dearly.
    I will not allow them to take one more precious moment of my peace, my joy.

    Take what works for you, and leave the rest.
    None of us are experts here, just folks who have been on a similar journey, different areas along this path.

    I think what most of us have found is that while we cannot control or change our adult kids, we can learn how to control and change our reactions to their choices.
    It takes hard work and training, changing our mindset and focus. It doesn't happen overnight. But, it is possible to start each day to do small things stepping towards that direction.

    I hope you are feeling better today.
    Take one day at a time, and be very kind to yourself.
    You matter.
    The sanctity of your home matters.