Need advice from this board haven't posted in months

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Payla, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. Payla

    Payla New Member

    Hello all,
    I was a semi regular last summer/fall winter. This concerns my adult son who is a drug addict. To cut right to the chase, he has spent the past 3 1/2 months at his sister's house. He has held down a job but saved no money, works everyday stays in at night, and gives her $40 a week. . I got pulled right back in to helping:a bike, a used moped, money for registration etc... Plus money every week for something or other. I am quite sure he is on sub ozone, but buying it on the street . Last winter was so horrendous for all of us as he was homeless, using heroin, and in and out of detox, that this has been a relatively quiet time. Now the deadline my daughter gave him is approaching and his job is ending as it is seasonal. He is also definitely clinically depressed among other things. Here is my dilemma ; he will not stop calling me for advise, money, rides. I keep telling him he needs to figure out his life without me but he just cannot and or will not stop. And every time I tell him it is so painful to me. He is so rejected and depressed but says :"you are all I have! " is it the right thing for me to keep trying to make myself unavailable to him even though it is apparent he has huge issues? I just have not got much left and have been fairly successful at taking care of myself lately, but another bad winter is approaching I'm afraid.
  2. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Payla, I feel so badly for you. I don't have any answers, but I do know that it comforted me to learn about the shelters in difficult child daughter's area last winter. difficult child had many reasons why she could not avail herself of what was available. But at least I knew she was on the streets through choice. If it were me, I would suggest food stamps and applying for homeless assistance now, before the time is up. If the woman housing difficult child now knows he will be placed somewhere else soon, maybe she will let him stay until that placement opens up.

    difficult child has to know he has no other options, or he will come home and do what he has done in the past, I think.

    I am glad you posted, Payla. I know how awful this is, and how much it helps to talk about it.

  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Payla, I would do as Cedar suggests. Give him shelter numbers and limit your responses to him. I hope you're receiving professional support somehow because in order to distance yourself from him and learn how to detach from his life's drama, we often need a lot of help. It is hard. You may want to read the recent dialogue MWM, Cedar and I have had on MWM's post. Your son is older too and our landscape is a little different.............I hear you and I so get it..........I'm sorry you find yourself here once again, it seems to be the nature of the beast. But what I can tell you is, this will all change in direct proportion to YOU changing. As you detach more, he will cope better. Sending understanding hugs and wishes for your peace........
  4. accmama

    accmama Guest

    I'm so sorry you are going through this. My difficult child is much younger (19) and was recently asked to move out of my mother's house due to her behavior. She initially stayed with a friend but yesterday moved to a women's shelter. I went through the same thing- phone calls for money, advice, etc. I basically told her that I am not anywhere near qualified to give the kind of help she needs and I then gave her a list of numbers for people who CAN help her. I told her she'd have to call them or somehow find a solution on her own, but I will not be sending money or helping in any way unless she is helping herself.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My 35 year old son (way to old to be depending so much on mommy) always says, "You have to support me. You're all I have." Well, I'm all he has because he is so unpleasant and has burned all of his bridges. Under no conditions...none...would I allow this middle age man, who is my adult son, to ever live with me again. I couldn't handle it and I do have a husband and three other children who are a lot nicer to me than he is. In fact, I don't know about YOUR son, but mine has made threats against me. So, at least in my case, it's a done deal. Even if he becomes homeless, he could not live here and my ex, his father, doesn't want him there either.

    You are close to my age. Don't you think we deserve to enjoy this time of our lives and not have to care for our middle age difficult children? I think so. It's not always easy. I talk to him on the phone way more than I should or prefer. I do feel sorry for him as he has mental health issues, but he really does need to grow up. Sometimes when he is talking, I put him on speakerphone and do other things and just say "Uh huh" and not really listen to him. Other times I just put the phone down. If I get too tangled up in his drama, I can't move forward with the things I like to do and he consumes so much of my energy I don't have time to give anything to myself or anything else.

    I have learned that it is imperative that we take care of ourselves and live good, fulfilling lives even if our grown children are making terrible choices and are dysfunctional. One thing I stopped long ago was giving him any money. I don't have much to give, but I won't even send him twenty dollars. He works, but is going through a custody battle with is bleeding his funds. Still, I don't believe in supporting kids that age. I hope you move on to take good care of yourself and understand that at the ages our sons are, NOBODY can help them or change them...nobody except them. We can control one person in this world...ourselves.

    I have told my son his conversations with me are painful and he neither cares nor stops. So I have to be the one to do it. I would not overtalk to your son anymore. It isn't helping and it gives him a forum to either be abusive or act pathetic to pull at your heartstrings so you will enable him. Detachment 101...there is an article on it on this forum. Read it. I also think you should seek out a real life support group such as AA, NA or NAMI. This is hard to do alone and much easier when you are sharing the burden in real time with others who know exactly what you are going through.

    Don't let your 33 year old son destroy your happiness. Do all you can to help YOURSELF because you can't help him. Sometimes private therapy is needed. I go to therapy and find it helpful.

    Hugs and I hope you can hang in there and learn to have much joy in spite of this child. These grown difficult children can suck the life out of us if we let them. It is not worth it to let them.
  6. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    In my opinion if he is doing good and improving then being supportive is a good thing. I didn't say doing anything for him!!! I said supportive. Giving him the numbers for shelters or giving him advise when he calls is fine. Doing it for him by providing him money and rides is another. Maybe you could tell him you wont provide anymore money but that you are willing to drive him to job interviews or therapy as long as he gives you X amount of time notice. DO NOT schedule the appointments or the interviews. He needs to do that. This way you are supporting his positive goals but not his negatives.

    I think the hard part is to stop doing things for them. I know it is for me. I want to reach out and make it all better and easier. Unfortunately the easier we make it the more they take advantage of it.

    You have to do what you feel is right in your heart. If this difficult child is spiraling down then step back but if he is working his way up (even if he isn't doing it well) then you can help where you feel you can.
  7. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Payla, the McCoy link at the bottom of my posts gives parents specific phrases to use when talking to our adult children. You mentioned that your difficult child calls often. Maybe this would be helpful to you? It was, to me.

    You are right. Winter is coming, and that's scary. When difficult child daughter was homeless last winter, she told me they sleep in abandoned houses. The homeless people check in with one another in the morning to see whether everyone is okay. They have a kind of routine, in that they meet and drink, and then, go to the Mission for dinner at a certain time. In the city where difficult child daughter was, there are people who work on the streets as advocates for those who are homeless. They will do things like help them get identification. They encourage the homeless to use the shelters, though interestingly enough, many choose not to. Again in the city where difficult child was, there is something called an A.R.M.S. worker. This is a person who brings homeless people with mental health issues to medical appointments, probation hearings, things like that. If it becomes necessary for your son to be homeless Payla, knowing whether such services exist in the city he will be homeless in would give you some measure of comfort. There may be a place, probably a shelter, where he can get mail.

    In a way, this is a choice difficult child is making, Payla.

    I have learned to use phrases like: "Oh, that's terrible!" and "What are you going to do?" and "I'm sorry that happened." It helps to know in advance how I am going to need to respond. I can never think, when I am talking to someone in trouble. I have to remind myself not to say another word, but just to listen. Sometimes, that helps me.

    One of the things my difficult child most appreciated was a warm sleeping bag she could carry in a back pack. They lose their things frequently. I found a beautiful one for $12 at Savers. Good, thick, white cotton socks and, if your climate is very cold, warm boots. Homeless people need to walk a lot. Anything too nice will probably be stolen.

    After we got back, we tried to get difficult child to come home. She actually chose the streets, Payla. I don't think she would want to go back there, but they do survive.

    This is a horrible position for you to be in, Payla. I'm so sorry this is happening.

  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    One of the reasons many homeless choose the streets over warmth, which puzzled me until I volunteered at a homeless shelter, is that there are rules at the shelters and you CAN NOT use drugs, drink, or be drunk. A sizable # of homeless prefer to pack into somebody's car and get high rather than sleep inside. It was a real wake up call for me. We provided thick mattresses, blankets, food, recreation and a social worker to help them get employment and housing. by the way, this is also one reason some homeless can not get housing (Section 8). Besides a long waiting list, they simply can not get busted for drugs in these homes. It IS true that some people choose to be homeless and the main common denominator is drugs.

    Some of our clients were mentally ill and the social worker would make psychiatric appts. for them, but more often than not they wouldn't show up. WE offered a lot of help. For those who actually spent nights with us (they had to leave at 6), many refused our psychiatric and medication appointments, rehab offers, or appointments for job interviews.

    We cared a lot about them.

    Sadly, too many of them didn't care about themselves, especially those on drugs.

    We had a different church host a shelter every night of the week and the people got free train ride vouchers to get to them. Nobody had to sleep outside or miss a yummy dinner (the church women cooked). We did not speak about religion there so that was not the issue either. Some people wanted to get out of the cold and they did. The ones who didn't walked out or stayed outside or found ways to couch surf, usually with other drug users, until they inevitably had a run in with the home's owner and got kicked out.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Has your son applied for SSI and food stamps? Is he eligible in any way for public assistance? You may already be aware of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, they provide lots of support for the parents, courses for parents and where I live, they offer help in getting the client on to SSI, getting jobs, housing, therapy, etc. They may be a source of support for both you and your son.

    I think when our kids are older and have "issues" we have to find some kind of a middle ground where we feel good about the choices we make concerning them. There is no right or wrong. If you are bothered by the continuing phone calls and it is stressing you out, then it is necessary for you to find a way to curtail those. For most of us, we have to turn over all the rocks to help our kids before we can back away and feel good about that.

    A father on our site, whose son presently lives with him while they are in the process of waiting for his son to get services, is considering getting a camper to place on the family property. The son may live there to keep the rest of the family out of the inevitable drama our difficult child's bring to us. Some parents pay for the adult child to stay in one of those cheap hotels where people can live long term. The YMCA sometimes has rooms. As previously mentioned, shelters are available. My daughter stayed in a tent on our back patio for a short time. Are there group homes he is eligible for?

    Your sons transition to the next step is not your responsibility, however, as most of us here, you may decide to assist him in finding what that is. If you contact NAMI, they will offer YOU the support you need in order to be able to assist your son in healthy ways.

    All of these decisions are difficult Payla, I hope you have a good support system while you travel through this. It can be so grueling on us. Especially how we have to continually decide how much we are willing to do and how much we must detach from............riding the line between helping and not enabling.........that alone is challenging and difficult.

    *Thinking of you and sending warm wishes for peace.
  10. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Oh, good thinking, Recovering.

    One time Payla, when difficult child son was trying to beat his addiction, we built a room for him in the garage. We ran internet out there for him, and I think he was reasonably comfortable, there. He had his meals with us and showered in the house and so on. It worked out fairly well, actually. On the camper idea...we did that once, too. There are strict zoning laws where we live. One of the neighbors complained to the zoning commission about someone staying in a recreational trailer for more than two weeks. Eventually, we had to get rid of the trailer, altogether.

    Are you on pretty good terms with the neighbors?