New and hopeful

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by shiela, Nov 14, 2013.

  1. shiela

    shiela Member

    I found your site and am hoping that a few of you can help me. My son is 32, my husband and I have been through over twelve years of his drug abuse, five rehabs, halfway homes, three cars totaled, court fees, attorney fees, cell phones, clothes, food, pawned items, etc.. He gets well for a short period of time, then the cycle begins. We let go several months ago, he was homeless on the streets and overdosed twice, brought back to life. We saved him, and he once again went into rehab. outpatient, on suboxine and aderol. Didn't take per script. his girlfriend is a heroin addict, due in two weeks. He wants her to move in with us. He is drinking and verbally abusing us. As, I write this, I am thinking we are so out of normality to continue living this way. My husband has many heart illnesses and my blood pressure is sky high. I love my son, but, don't want him living with us. I am scared, and he tries to run our lives. When he is not using, he is the sweetest person and so fun to be around. My heart is broken. His baby is due in a couple weeks, he plans on starting a job next week and yells at us for not buying anything for the baby yet. All our money has gone to saving him. Please help, I want to run away.
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Sheila. I am so sorry. I know that feeling of desperation one feels in the middle of the night, looking for answers, feeling hopeless and frightened. I've been there too. I'm glad you happened upon us but I am very sorry you had to go looking.

    Your story is familiar. You may want to post your story in Substance Abuse as well since those parents are well versed in what you are going through.

    I believe, even with all your sons issues, even if he has mental issues along with the substance abuse, even with his girlfriends impending birth, the only choice you really have is to evict him immediately. You may want to look into whether you need a court order to do that since in some states, mine included (CA) you have to get legal paperwork and give eviction notices. I would research that right this minute, do whatever you must, and start the process. If you don't need formal paperwork, find a local shelter with a bed and drop your son off there. If you have to call the police to escort him out of your home. You do NOT have to figure out his life for him, he does, whether he is presently capable or not.

    The most difficult part of all of this for us parents is the hard choice we finally run into which is to STOP enabling our adult kids. You are now there. He is 32, you have been at this horrific nightmare long enough. The bottom line is you can't save him. He may indeed die of an overdose, but your life cannot be about trying to prevent that from happening, if that is his fate, you won't stop that no matter what you do and continuing to try will damage your life and your husbands life beyond where it is already damaged.

    You may want to read the article at the bottom of my post here on detachment. Now as you remove him from your home, it will be absolutely crucial for you to seek professional help for yourself and your husband. Attend 12 step groups geared for families, narc anon, codependents anonymous, whatever you can find in your area. You will need help to do this. Find a therapist for you and your husband who can help you negotiate how to detach. If your son has mental issues, look into NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, they can be accessed on line and they have chapters everywhere. They offer excellent courses for parents which give us tools and understanding so we can cope and retrieve our own lives.

    You do not have to live this way. But only you can stop it. Your son is holding you hostage in your own home with his manipulative, hostile, abusive behavior. Do not allow it. Drug addicts are notorious for their abuse of their families, do not go down with his ship. Save yourself. Do not run away, remove him from your home. If necessary get a restraining order to protect yourself and your home. Do whatever it takes to keep him away from you. He has proven that all the money, all the help, all the rehabs, all of it has not done anything to change him, all it does is deplete and exhaust you.

    Detachment is the only way you will regain your own life. I am acutely aware of how difficult that is and how all the fear and guilt we feel can stop us cold in our tracks. Look down the road a bit and try to see the future, in 10 years your son will be 42 if he lives that long, you and your husband will be 10 years older, if you live that long, and your life could be about taking care of your son, his girlfriend and their now 10 year old child. Your life will be in ruins.

    You've done all you can. You are not responsible for your son. You are not responsible for his bad choices. You are not responsible for his girlfriend or their child. You did not cause this. You cannot control this. You cannot fix this. Only your son can and it looks like he has made the choice to stay the same.

    Today, do whatever it takes to evict your son. Make today the final day that you allow yourself to be treated this way. Do not wait another minute for your son to change or for him to do anything, it isn't going to happen. You are enabling your son. Stop it and retrieve your own life. You deserve your own life back. Take it.
  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sorry to say, but you two need to STOP enabling this man. Let him go! Live your lives now! He had his own responsibilities now and they are not yours.

    If you take them on you will not be helping him in any way.
  4. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Are you in the US? Can you get to a Family Anonymous Meeting? There, you can get some support from other parents who have been through this. Also, if and when your son should abuse you again, immediately call the police. You might have to do it quietly so he doesn't do more of the same...but simply get to a quiet place and make the call asap!!!!! Go into the bathroom, go to the neighbors home, make an excuse and go to the drug store...but immediately make the call! This has got to stop PRONTO and he has to leave your home ASAP. You have done all you can. If at all possible, if you haven't done so already, get yourself to a therapist and consider at least a short time of marital therapy to help you and your husband get on the same page and to figure out your next steps. Your health and safety comes first. He is 32, way tooooo old to be coddled and again, you have tried and tried again to help him. Please read any literature you can find regarding "detaching." And please read a recent post here on this forum by Scott regarding what might happen if you don't detach. Stay strong. This is hard hard hard. BUT, you actually are not doing your adult son any favors by this excessive help/enabling and you are clearly unhappy and likely hurting your health. Be strong.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, Sheila. You have gotten great advice. It's time for you and your husband to get healthy and happy again. As you know by seeing, nobody can save another person, not even parents of a beloved adult child. You spent all your money and he is still an addict and his girlfriend is an addict (very bad for the baby she is also giving those drugs to). If it were me, I'd try to get legal custody of the baby. If you don't feel you can do that or if you know you won't get it and can't afford to fight or are just too worn out to fight, I'd let them use the system. I wouldn't give your son or his girlfriend another dime. There are many programs for families with young children. They can get on one of them without it costing you the rest of your retirement.

    You have a right to enjoy your life, in spite of the choices your son makes. You can't do that if you are stressed and broke. Both you and husband have serious health issues. I am assuming you are near or approaching the senior age range, like most of us. You simply can not take the same stress, health-wise, that you took when you were younger. And you deserve great and many senior years where yoku put yourselves and the healthy people in your lives first.

    Your son is over thirty. It is 100% up to him whether or not he will change. It's too bad he is hooked up with a drug addict. They can't be good for one another. But there is nothing you can do about it. The baby will likely be damaged in some way, although you may not see it at first. And your son will have to deal with that too.

    I think going to a twelve step program or NAMI is a good place to hear stories of people dealing with the same issues you are and of what they are doing or have done. It is also comforting to many people to see face-to-face that they are not alone. If you don't like groups, then I hope you and your husband have a good therapist for YOU, not for your son.

    Do not engage your son in conversation too often and if you feel yourself getting sucked back into his dark hole, hang up and do something you love. Make him stand on his own two feet, even if his knees wobble, or there is NO chance he will ever grow up. Not if Daddy and Mommy are there. Our mentally ill and drug using kids tend to stay very very young if we allow it. But we can't live forever, even if we'd like to help them all their lives.

    Keep posting. You are on the right track..the track we have all walked eventually.
  6. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Sheila, you noted that your son is a fine, enjoyable man when not using. Understanding that piece is where you will find the will to end this. Our son was an addict. We believed for so long that the "bad" things we were seeing from him were our responsibility for having parented badly, and for the chaos in our home. We put up with so much, Sheila, trying to change him, trying to understand him, trying to help him, trying to correct whatever mistake it was we had made that changed him into this nasty, embarrassing, irresponsible jerk he became. We knew he was using drugs? What we did not know was that the drug use was destroying him from the core out.

    And then?

    I found this site.

    And with the help of everyone here ~ and believe me, it took awhile ~ I learned that everything we were seeing was typical for addicts ~ and that everything we were feeling was exactly what the parents of addicted kids feels.

    And I learned that the only thing we could do was turn away.

    You cannot reach, you will never be heard, you will not be able to change, someone actively using his or her drug of choice.

    Addiction is a terrible thing, Sheila.

    Those who posted before I did are absolutely right. The only thing you can do for your son is put responsibility for his life back into his hands. He is the only one who can change where he is going. He refuses to do so. Not that he cannot do it, Sheila. He refuses to stop using drugs. His decision to use drugs, to destroy his own life and to shatter your family, cancels your responsibility to him. Once you can really understand that, down deep where you love him so much, you will be able to grieve and to let him go.

    I am sorry this is happening to you, and to your family. This kind of pain, the horror of having to acknowledge what has happened to your child and then, to act on that knowledge, is more than any mother or father should have to face.

    But we have to, Sheila. Or our children's addictions will destroy us. Time will pass in grief and misery, in intense focus on the chaotic life of the addict. One day, we awaken to the knowledge that we are older, and that our lives have been spent servicing a drug addict's addictions. The joy we should have taken, the peace we should have known, the pride we should have felt in our children and grandchildren ~ all eaten away, all twisted and made ugly, by the addiction.

    Evict the son. If you can do it, close up your house and get away from all of this for a week or two. During that time, read all you can about parents who are abused by their children. MWM did a thread on that. If you are reading this, MWM, could you list the article again for Sheila?

    Please keep posting, Sheila. So many of us have been right where you are, now. What you and your husband need to do regarding your son will be difficult, but you CAN do it.

    It will always be painful. You will be tempted, so many times, to jump in and help him. It all feels so wrong. But we have to decide whether we are going to sacrifice our lives in the service of an addiction.

    Our addicted kids are just as trapped as we are.

    But they are the only ones who can stop using.

    And they won't do that as long as we are there to prevent them from having to face themselves.

  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cedar, that is an excellent, perfectly said, absolutely truthful post. You nailed it. Terrific job!
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi and welcome but so very sorry you even have to look for us. Like the others have said, its time to stop enabling, or what we think is helping. I am in the exact position you are except grandchildren already exist.

    I simply wont be held hostage anymore. In fact, I have deliberately not become too attached to the youngest grandchild. I am already extremely close to his oldest and there is nothing I can do about that. Thankfully she doesnt live with him. That way I can have a relationship with her without needing him in my life right now.

    *I dont know what is going to happen with my son. That's up to him now. I have been attempting to help him since he was 4 and Im just done.