One Year Later-lots has happened, nothing has changed, at the end of my rope


I joined here last July I believe and I haven't posted anything about our son since after Thanksgiving. That is because I really just didn't feel like posting much when things started to get bad.

When I joined here a year ago my 30 year old (nearly 31, now days away from being 32) son lost his job due to heroin use. He was living with a 20 year old girl who was also an addict. His house was in foreclosure and he spent some time living in South Carolina and Florida before returning here around the holdiays. Thanksgiving went well. He had a job and a roof over his head and he and his girlfriend were saving money. Well in the life of an addict, things can change in an instant. In early December he had an argument with his boss and walked off the job. Since his boss was also his landlord, he had lost the roof over his head once again. He and his girlfirend managed to save up nearly $2500 in a few months. He spent most of it on motel rooms in the town where she was living with her aunt and uncle. When that money was exhausted, he was broke with nowhere to go. It was also starting to get cold.

A few weeks before Christmas I was out of town on a business trip when my wife called and told me that he was staying with us. I went through the roof. I had told her explicitly that he was not allowed to ever live with us again. My wife insisted it was only temporary until he could find something else and that it was terribly cold out. I didn't care and continued to aruge with her. She finally told me that if I made her put her only son out in the cold at Christmas she would never forgive me. So just like always, I caved and told her that he could stay until the day after Christmas and then he had to leave. She agreed and supposedly he had a buddy who was going to let him sleep on his couch. So the day after Christmas comes and the so called "buddy" isn't returning my sons calls. So my son just up and leaves without telling anyone. Two days later he calls his mother and tells her that he has been sleeping in the garage of his ex wife's cousin for two nights and now he's really sick and thinks he has pneumonia. Ever the sucker, my wife tells him that he can come back to stay with us. I am absolutely furious. His staying with us this time has been a terribly uncomfortable experience for me. Luckily the horrible economy worked in his favor. He and his ex haven't made a mortgage payment since October of 2012 but the bank hasn't taken the house yet. He's able to move back into the house, but he has no heat, electricity, or hot water because he owes all the utilites and services were disconnected. At least he's got indoor shelter and won't be staying at our house. We gave him a space heater and his neighbor took pity on him and let him run an extension cord to plug the heater in.

The kid has no car so my wife and I (mostly the wife) were his taxi service yet again. He was making money doing odd jobs, having tag sales, and selling scrap metal. My wife also spent a good amount of time helping him clean the house up so that he could get a room mate. She also helped him file the paperwork to contest the foreclousre. We live in a judicial foreclosure state-meaning that only a judge can grant a foreclosure. He has no hope of keeping the house, but by contesting the foreclosure he could keep this in limbo and have a place to live for up to a year.

One day I was looking through the mail when I noticed a bill from one of the banks I have a credit card with. I thought it was odd seeing a bill since the card had a zero balance and I hadn't used it in over a year. I opened the bill immediately and was shocked to see a balance of over $1000 on the card. Then I look further at the bill and that's when I realize it wasn't MY bill. My wife had gone behind my back and taken a credit card out for her son in her name. He had owed the electric company over $500 that had to be paid in order to ge this lights turned on. He also used it to buy a new $200 cell phone that he claimed someone jumped him and stole. My thought-he either traded it for drugs or got robbed while buying drugs. Needless to say I was furious. My wife confessed to taking out the card behind my back because she was afraid of how I would react if I found out she was giving him money. I was pissed and I forced her to immediately call the bank and cancel the card while I watched. Of course she claims that he will pay us back (LOL). The worst part is the card is like 29% interest and she is only paying the minimum each month.

His behavior has caused constant fights between the wife and I. I stopped posting here completely because I didn't wan't to talk about it or read anything at all about other people and problems with their kids. Kind of like de-ja-vu all over again, last month he decides to go back to South Carloina to live with his Godfather just like he planned to last year. After he leaves my wife is deeply depressed and spends every single day in tears for a good week until it blows up into a terrible fight where I threaten to leave. She finally decides to take my advice and get on with HER life. I keep telling her it's for the best and he has a chance to start a new life and maybe with distance between us, he can finally learn to live on his own.

My wife and I spend the time really working on healing and repairing our marriage. We focus inward and work on bringing the romance back. I even quit smoking and drinking and took up jogging to try and get the extra 30 pounds of and be a hot hunky husband! For about three weeks things in our marriage were better than they have been in years. As is typically with druggie losers, things are often too good to be true. Last week he calls his mother and tells her that he is coming back. I am not happy to say the least. There is really nothing here for him. His ex has moved on and even his little 20 year old play thing went to 90 day rehab and now has a new boyfriend closer to her own age. Saturday night he rolls into town and I overhear my wife on the phone with him. I am furious when I hear her telling him that we are going to be away on vacation next week. Great, just what I want, a junkie to know that my house is going to be empty. He stole from us as a teen, even stole his mothers car and totalled it. Of course a fight ensues and it was just like bad old times all over again. He's like a dark cloud over my marriage.

After the fight I spent the day by myself yesterday doing some soul searching. I whole heartedly believe that I have reached the end of my rope and hit my rock bottom. I am at the point where I am ready to detach-completely. I'm not talking about mere mental and emotional detachment, no, I am talking the whole nine yards of detachment-no contact. I have decided that as of today I no longer wish to not only have any relationship with my son, but I want him completely out of my life. I don't want to talk to him, I don't want to see him, I will not be helping him in any way, and frankly I don't even want to know what he is up to. He will soon be 32 years old, and I am too old and too tired to deal with a grown man who still wants to behave like he is 15. I'm sorry, but if he wasn't my son I would label him as a loser and want nohing to do with him, and as more time goes by, and more BS, the fact that he is my son matters less and less to me. He has been a liar and a manipulator since the age of 15- going on 17 years of this garbage now. I am done. When he ends up dead in an alley somewhere or in prison I don't even want to know about it. He was out of state for a little over a month, and in a few short weeks I got a taste of what a good happy marriage and life is like, and now that he is back, the drama returns right away. I won't go back, I refuse to go back. Today is the line in the sand, and it won't be crossed. I have tried to emotionally detach, but since my wife insists on being a codependent enabler, I get dragged back in through her every time. That ends today as well. If my wife refuses to get on board with detachment, I am going to leave her. My son is going to be out of my life one way or the other. If my wife refuses to get on board, well, I will be starting my life over on my own free of his drama. Addiction is a really sad thing. It is very sad all the damage that addicts leave in their wake. I would have never thought in a million years that the behavior of my child, my adult child, could eventually ruin my marriage to a woman I have been with for literally my entire adult life. But I have reached my wits end and I am so angry and tired that I am willing to walk away from the woman I love rather than spend another day on the crazy hamster wheel of living with an addicted family member.


Well-Known Member
I am so sorry to hear this. I know we all hope that they will get better and things will change. My husband and I have differing opinions on how to handle difficult child and I have had to step back and stay out of it. As long as husband's decisions with difficult child don't affect me negatively I try to keep my opinions to myself. In your case however your wifes decisions seem to be financially affecting your family. You could detach and allow your wife to do what she is going to do without getting emotionally involved. You could set your few base rules and then as long as she doesn't cross them just ignore the rest.

In my opinion enabling a person is as difficult to stop as being a drug addict. It makes you feel good for a short time, then you feel like crap, then you scramble around trying to find it all over again. Your wife is in that cycle and you want off. Unfortunately just because you are a recovering enable doesn't mean that she is there yet. Just like a drug addict she has to hit her wall and want to change. I would sit her down and let her know what your feelings are. Then I would go from there.

Good luck!


one day at a time
Hi Scott and welcome back. I think you stopped posting here about the time I started posting here.

I whole heartedly believe that I have reached the end of my rope and hit my rock bottom.

You sound done. You sound completely sick and tired. And I get that.

I was like that with my marriage to my alcoholic husband. I was married to him for 29 years. We had dated for four years before that. I had been with him basically my whole adult life. When I was finally done, he had been a year in recovery. But our relationship was just too far gone. I really tried hard NOT to be done. I didn't want to be divorced, and believe me, divorce, even when you KNOW it is the very best thing to do for yourself, is awful on its best day.

Now, I have been divorced nearly 7 years, and I am getting married again in November. I have survived this.

Of course, that is different from your situation, Scott, getting divorced and physically and emotionally detaching from your son.

I imagine that you will grieve this, the complete giving up of your son. Even though I understand he has been absent for a long, long time, your real son.

And I hate to see you have to give up your marriage too, because that is a whole lot of loss, Scott.

Your wife, his mother, has she done any work on herself, Scott? Is she willing to? Does she want to do anything different, when it comes to your son?

If she wants to change the way she deals with your son, Al-Anon would be wonderful for her. And for you as well, if you aren't going to Al-Anon.

It is a place of peace and kindness and support and understanding. They get it. They are doing the same thing we are all doing. Trying to live with addiction.

Only you know your situation, and I am so sorry that you are where you are with your son.

I think you are right, a 32 year old man, doing the same thing over and over and over again, is not a good thing for you or your marriage. I would be more than ready, myself, to take a huge step away from it all. And I am a mother, and I also understand your wife's pull toward your son, perhaps a different pull than yours.

But my hard work on myself has also taught me the hard, hard way, through daily experience, that there is not one single thing I can do or not do that is going to change what my son decides to do.

He turned 25 yesterday. We had a nice birthday dinner. And now I am going to continue doing my level best to stay out of his way so he can live his own life, whatever that is.

I hope and pray that you and your wife can find a way to go forward together. I would hate for the both of you to lose your marriage after the loss of your hopes and dreams for your son. It sounds like you still love each other and that is always so valuable.

Warm hugs Scott. Thank you for sharing with us. I am sure you have a lot of wisdom and I would love to hear more.


Well-Known Member

I hear you loud and clear. The disruption and dysfunction that your son brings to your home is awful, and completely out of your control. There is no way for you to minimize it other than to detach, and your wife's persistence in inviting your son home and enabling him makes that impossible.

So I get it.

I agree with both of the prior need a talk with your wife (I'm sure you have done this before, so apologize if this is insultingly obvious). The goals are to figure out if she wants to change and if so what she is willing to commit to getting there, and to communicate your complete done-ness.

If she won't change then I have to agree that a trial separation is your only hope of happiness.

If she will...well I agree with Child, I was divorced after 23 years of marriage (following 2 years of dating). It. Was. AWful. and it was fairly amicable, and we both make enough money to support ourselves, so the usual divorce warfare was absent. Don't go there if you don't have to. A trial separation if your wife is committed to her path might be the better middle path.

I hope you have a therapist, and a group. We are glad to be your group too.

Welcome back.



Well-Known Member
Scott, I am so sorry. You not only have a son who is an addict but an enabler wife who is in denial. Do you think she'll come on here?

I agree that once they hit the 30's it is REALLY inappropriate to keep on saving them. They are heading toward middle age and enough is enough so I agree with you and with your decisions about what you may have to do with your life. If your wife actually got into therapy with somebody who understands addiction, she would be told to do what you are doing, but it doesn't sound like she is ready to let him sink or swim on his own.Maybe sit her down and tell her what you feel and what your boundaries are to save the marriage. At least then you won't look back and feel guilty that you didn't give her a chance to get help for herself if you do leave. If she still enables him, well, you have done all you can in my book. Nothing is left.

We will support any decision you make.

dstc, I am different from you and I don't know why I am like I have far more trouble letting go of my PCs than those adult children I have who are choosing to get into trouble. I was relieved rather than sad when 36 was booted, although I did help him out a little when he lived in hotels by visiting and buying food WHEN I WANTED TO, not when he begged for food. And when Julie was on drugs, I loved her to death, but I was also relieved the two youngest no longer had to deal with her addiction and refusal to get any help. I had a much harder time when easy child autistic son moved out, although he isn't that far, and am going to cry buckets and buckets when Jumper is dropped off at college. They have been nothing but joyous to raise whereas 36 has been meanish and very difficult since Day One and Julie was doing illegal stuff, which I am very against. I'm a law and order person. I found I could detach more easily from those who I found difficult than those who were not.


The thing about therapy and my wife is that she had one bad experience and now in her mind all therapists are a bunch of quacks. I am convinced that she believes that your problems are something you keep to yourself. One time I got caught confiding in my sister-in-law about some of our problems and my wife had a fit. She went on about us talking behind her back and how she can't trust me because I talk about her. I have tried many times to get her to see things my way. Twice our son has lived with us as an adult, and both times she was the one who kicked him out. When I tell her "I told you so" she acknowledges I'm right, but you know what they say about mother bears and their cubs. When the :censored2: hits the fan again (and it always does) she's right back enabling him with all new justifications as to why she feels she's doing the right thing for him. Since joining this site I have tried to get her to at least understand what detachment is, and I'm not talking about going no contact either, but she keeps saying " I can't do that to my child". My wife is stubborn and strong willed, that can be a good thing and a bad thing.

What makes things worse for us is that my wife also suffers from depression. She won't go to therapy, and instead manages her depression through an endless array of pills. Personally I don't think anti-depressants alone do the trick. And this is one of the ways our son gets to me through her. We she gets upset over him, her depression worsens and it impacts me. Back in 2012 when things started to fall apart with him she went into a deep depression. I felt like I was walking on egg shells around our house quite frequently. I feel like depression is contagious-living with a depressed person is depressing. Like I said before, despite all the grief he has brought us, when he went back to try living with his Godfather (again) she cried for days out of lonlieness. She slept most of the day, didn't shower, no makeup, no getting dressed, no housework, and did I mention the crying? When she gets depressed she gets very withdrawn. Very easy to do especially since she doesn't work. So even if I don't have to deal with him or hear what he is up to, if his behavior makes her upset, it will find it's way back to making me upset.

Divorce is the last thing I want. I really do like being married and I don't want to be alone. I am not taking this lightly at all, but I feel like I have no other options to get through to her and make her understand what his behavior has done to us. Personally I think it is not fair at all to me that my wife puts her 32 year old son before her own husband. I could see if he was still 15, but at 32, no way! It makes me feel minimalized because her message to me is clear-my place in her life is #2 and her son will always come first, even if it means her violating my trust. Right now trust is a big issue to me. I have made it clear that he can't live with us, yet while I am away on business she lets him come live with us. I tell her that he is to get no more money, yet she goes behind my back and gives him over $1000 and then has the nerve to lie to me about it when I confronted her. She only came clean when I told her I was going to get the police involved. I too share that feeling that the relationship may be too far gone. The damage is done and I for one now face the difficult task of not only trying to convince my wife to detach, but to also trust that she will follow through if she agrees to. In some way I think of divorce as a defense mechanism. Knowing my wife and her depression, if my son ever ends up dead (not unlikely for a heroin addict) I know that our marriage will not survive that. I guess I want to just head off the inevitible. At the same time, I feel that this is the only way I can make my wife see how serious of a problem our son has been on our relationship and how damaging enabling is for all involved. For as awful as it is, right now I see divorce as the lesser of two evils. That's how bad life with a difficult child can be. Not only will I go from being married to single, but divorce will probably ruin me financially since I make a lot of money and my wife hasn't worked since 2008. I have a buddy who went from being a married homeowner with two kids, to a divorced guy living in a studio apartment with barely two nickels to rub together. I don't want to lose my house and I don't want to lose my dog-he's my best friend. I plan on having an honest long talk with my wife tonight. She called and mentioned that since our son is back in town and it's his birthday that we should take him out to dinner. This is a good lead in to tell her that not only will I not be taking him to dinner, but I am going to lay all of my cards on the table and tell her what needs to happen if she wants to continue being married.


Well-Known Member

long honest talks are good. Good luck to you tonight. I think you are doing all you can do.

I have less money since I got divorced. But I am way, way happier.


Well-Known Member
32 is WAY too old to keep enabling. I agree with you. It needs to stop. He is supposed to be a GROWN man by now. Sad - I really hope your wife realizes she is not helping him grow up any...


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Wow, Scott. welcome back. I am so sorry things have gotten so bad. I understand the devastation a difficult child does to a marriage, to a relationship.

What is so unfortunate about your story is that your wife sounds completely enmeshed with your son and has absolutely no willingness to help herself or disengage from your son. To make our happiness about what another is doing or not doing is a recipe for depression. I hope your discussion with your wife works out well, however, (sorry to be a downer) from what you've told us, it doesn't sound promising. I hope I'm wrong.

Without some kind of professional counseling to disconnect from the enmeshment your wife seems to have with your son along with her refusal to get help for her depression, it sounds to me like once you have turned over all the rocks you must..........then detachment from not only your son, but your wife sounds as if it may be the path to take. What a crummy deal, I am so sorry.

You've tried and tried and tried Scott, you certainly couldn't be accused of throwing in the towel without any thought............perhaps the very real act of leaving will wake your wife up, or not. But, my feelings are that you are on the right track, it is a very lonely track, but at least you will be being true to yourself. In the final analysis, that is the most important factor.

difficult child's have the capacity to ruin lives. Ours. Like you, I got to a point where I simply refused to allow my daughter to continue to ruin my life. Your wife has a choice and so do you. If I were in your shoes, I would be thinking along the same lines. Life is short. Your son is a grown man ruining his life, his mothers and his fathers. Don't let him do it anymore. If you have to leave, then leave, that is the choice I would make too in your shoes.

I support whatever decision you feel you must make Scott. Sending good thoughts. Take care of YOU.


one day at a time
Since joining this site I have tried to get her to at least understand what detachment is, and I'm not talking about going no contact either, but she keeps saying " I can't do that to my child".

Scott, in reading your last post, I was trying to remember and put myself right back in your wife's place, where I once was. It is so very hard to let go of your child. You know that, too.

To even begin the process, you have to be completely sick and tired. Like you are now. Like I finally was at one point. Your wife isn't there yet. The shock of your possibly leaving over this may be enough to wake her up, but it likely will take even more, a few more rounds with your son, at least.

Personally I don't think anti-depressants alone do the trick.

I don't either. I think it's like any recovery, we have to change our thinking, our attitudes, our behavior. A whole lot has to change, not just our brain chemistry. I think active addiction, active enabling and active depression have a lot of similarities.

Personally I think it is not fair at all to me that my wife puts her 32 year old son before her own husband.

This is 100 percent true. In a marriage, the two people have to be prime. The loyalty and trust have to be there first. The marriage will not survive without that agreed upon foundation.

Right now trust is a big issue to me.
I tell her that he is to get no more money, yet she goes behind my back and gives him over $1000 and then has the nerve to lie to me about it when I confronted her.

I don't blame you one bit here. I remember in marriage counseling, the last go-around for us, the therapist drew a pyramid on the flip chart. At the very bottom, the longest and stabilizing block, was Trust. She said this: You don't trust him anymore. And without trust, the rest of the blocks will crumble. You will have to rebuild your trust in order to make this work.

That was very true. I didn't trust him emotionally at all. He was living another life, doing a lot of secret drinking, living inside his disease, walling everybody else off, doing whatever he was doing, in secret. I'm not talking here about infidelity or money issues---that wasn't a problem for us. It was the complete living of another life of drinking and all that comes with it. And the denial. He said things to me that I have never heard anybody say to anybody else, when I confronted him (big mistake on my part) over and over again about his drinking and its effects. The whole house of cards was falling down, and he was terrified and I was furious. I had no idea for a long long time---my exhusband was a very high functioning alcoholic, professional executive, etc. etc. I was in his face (my bad, that's on me) and he was running for cover. The trust was gone, and over time, the love died too. It was very sad and still is sad, but it is what it is.

Not only will I go from being married to single, but divorce will probably ruin me financially since I make a lot of money and my wife hasn't worked since 2008.

My fiance was in that same spot. He is a high-earning executive and his ex-wife stayed home and raised their now-20 year old daughter. When they divorced, he paid and paid and paid, alimony and child support, to the point he was living in a very small apartment and selling his photography and paintings for extra money. The $$$ was based on pre-recession very high earnings that did not replicate. This was in 2006 and 2007. But anyway, he got through it, and now all of that is done, and we are very happy together.

Scott, who knows your future? None of us do. But I so understand being done. Just keep taking your own pulse and making sure (as sure as you can be) that this is your only course of action, right now today.

It's a very hard road, complete detachment from your son and then your wife. I just hate to see anybody have to live that kind of loss, but it may be right for you.

I hope the talk went well last night and something right and good can come next for you all.


Well-Known Member

I am thinking of you this morning and wondering if you were able to have the talk you wanted to have.

I hope you are OK today.



Well-Known Member
Scott, I hope you were able to have an honest talk last night and make your position absolutely clear to your wife. I don't know how that can be communicated to her, as I am sure all of this has come from your mouth before. But I hope some part of her hears with fresh ears and somehow the blinders fall off and she can finally see the devastating fallout of her dishonesty and fruitless attempts to protect your son from his bad choices. It is an impossible situation to be in, for both of you. I agree from your posts that things cannot go on as they are. Something somewhere's gotta change.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Scott, I was the way your wife is.

Guilt was the crux of the issue.

Shame and frustration, anger and grief..those emotions were all roiling around in there too, but those negative things were my punishment, my motivators. They kept me hoping, kept me seeking solutions.

I was, and still am, to a degree, powerless in the face of it, if the child is in enough trouble.

There seems to be some genetic imperative built into moms that keeps us connected to our kids in that same way that we were connected to and fascinated by them when they were infants. Until the kids are functioning well on their own, that instinctual response to them continues.

If you were to explore this with your wife you might find that, like me, she is responding to and instinctively protecting the child she was raising before that child went a bad way.

Looking back, I think that is what happened to me.

Though my children were in their thirties, the child I saw, the child I was loving and saving and instinctively protecting was still, in my mental immagery, the age at which everything went wrong.

I kept going back to that time, kept trying to fix it, to make it like the bad thing never happened.

I think moms especially do not see the dysfunctional adult their child has become. I was so surprised when I began to be able to put the face of the man my son had become over the face of that young boy I still carried in my heart.

My son was 37 or 38 when that started happening. I am very sure it would never have happened at all, had I not had this site. The more clearly I saw that my son was really a grown up man, the more clearly I could see that whether I had reason to be guilty for some missing thing in his childhood, for some vulnerability I had created in this blessing of a boy I had been given the responsibility of raising...he was his own now.

I could see that my job now as a responsible mother was to expect him to behave as the man I had raised him to be.

I got it that I was hurting my own child by demanding anything less.

But until I could see that Scott, I was where it sounds like your wife is, now. I was protecting my child own husband, from his own father. And here's the thing: It's an added little twist I haven't figured out yet, but I know it's in there. My son was destroying himself. He was an addict.

I could not face it then, and I still.have trouble with it now, because I want so badly for that not to be true.


His father was the only thing I COULD protect my son from.

So I did.

And though our marriage was in serious trouble...the addict living in my son's body got what he wanted.

And he could not have cared less that he had destroyed his own parents' marriage to do it.

You can save your marriage, Scott.

My husband did.

One of the things husband did was to buy a little cabin on a lake an hour away from either child. The kids still came, the problems still happened, but the kids had not grown up in that cabin. It was ours, husband and mine, in a way the house where the kids had grown up never was.

Another was to pry me out of my fixation with whatever crisis was happening with the kids by taking me (and only me) on vacation.

Believe it or not, I was forever wanting to bring the kids!

I still have that dream that someday everything is going to somehow be magically alright and we will all be together the way I always believed it would be.


Not so much.


He doesn't dissuade or disparage me for that dream though, Scott.

At some level, my husband knows more about what I have had to do to survive what has happened to our family than I do.

You have to do that too Scott.

Your wife has not left you.

You were both coming back before your son descended.

There is much to protect, and so much to cherish still, in your marriage.

But you need to be smart.

Get away with her alone whenever you can. Drive, if you can do it. Long road trips bring you back together in a way nothing else can.



Well-Known Member
Staff member
I have not read the other replies, my apologies if I am repetitive. I never mention this, but I have a MS in mental health counseling. I know this doesn't make me an expert, but between the degree and PERSONAL experience, I feel confident to tell you that you need marital counseling yesterday. No if, ands or buts. husband and I went and it was a positive experience. We asked around and found an excellent one. We went at the early signs of trouble....disagreeing on everything when it came to parenting our difficult child. We went early on and then had to go again when she became a young adult. AND when she became an adult, the advice was different...much about detaching and moving on with life, as you have mentioned. I can also tell you simply as a human being/mother my decision to detach was probably THE HARDEST thing I ever had to do. Really gut wrenching, twisting and turning, questioning everything I ever believed in, including my faith in God. BUT, it was what I had to do. At some point, I felt I had to do it, or I would die. For me, not only did I need counseling, marital and personal, but I had to tap into my spiritual beliefs to get strength. I also went to a few meetings of Parents Anonymous, which were blow you away F aBULOUS and likely perfect for the two of you. There they deal with drug use /bad decisions and often mental illness combined. Many parents even continue to attend after their child disappears, gets better, dies....they just relish the help and support. Please consider those meetings! I hope you and your wife can resolve these very painful differences. Please keep us posted.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Ok, I just perused your more recent post.

It would be hard, but I do think the Parents Anonymous meeting might be helpful. I was shocked and saddened to see so many parents with adult children using hard drugs and causing such terrible grief for their parents. The stories were very very very similar to yours. But they use the AA principles and it gives them strength and wisdom to detach and move on. The camaraderie is amazing. I spoke to a gentleman and asked if they ever miss a meeting for holidays and he laughed. Said the meeting is Wednesday and they don't care if it happens to fall on Christmas day, it is NEVER cancelled!

I HAD mild depression for years...that would get worse when difficult child did "her thing." Ok, I recognize that your wife is likely in a worse place. She surely could use therapy!!!! But, I would just like to mention, that for me and others I know, certain vitamins have been helpful (I'm not kidding or exaggerating) in fighting depression. They include: D3, fish oil, and a B complex. These completely changed my world....and combined with detachment, I was able to move forward FASt!!!!

I hope you and your wife can work through this very difficult time.


Well-Known Member
Scott, nothing is black or white here. I would say run if not for your finances. There is going to have to be some compromises on both of your parts whatever you decide. I totally get that he will not change and now your wife is footing the bill, he will be 60 and still like this. You know it and so do we. Is it better to have happiness alone and lose your money? Is that possible and do you want it? Your wife may not change. Maybe you can agree to something lesser that will make you both happy. Even if it's giving your son money. Both of you can agree on an amount and she will be honest. There won't be a perfect answer for either of you. Know that. I know you love her. I hope she can compromise in some form. If not, talk to an attorney, just talk and feel things out. Get your ducks in row. I don't really mean that. I want things to work out for you.


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No, here's the honest thing, RUN. It's just just money, you can make more, but you will have peace which is more valuable than gold. I work with disabled children and love them to death and would give my life for them. If I had one of my own though, I always told my husband he would be on his own. I can't handle it and would leave no matter what.


We had the talk and things went better than I thought, BUT, in the world of difficult child I have learned that the shortest route to disappointement is getting your hopes up. I really hate the idea of giving ultimatums in a marriage, but I feel that in my situation I had no choice. I had to be honest with my wife about how this is effecting me and I had to make it very clear that it has upset me to the point that I am seriously considering leaving. I think that is what hit her the hardest. She told me that she doesn't want that. So I laid down the line in the sand. I made it clear that he would recieve no more money from us at all. He would also never under any circumstances be allowed to spend even one night at our house. I told my wife to not ever even ask me about it again if it comes up. I also told her that I really don't want to give him any kind of help at all. She said that she didn't see anything wrong with giving him a ride once in a while or taking him grocery shopping if he had his own money. I reminded her that a middle aged man shouldn't need his mommy to drive him around. I also reminded her of the time when we were just starting out and both our cars died and we coudln't afford to get them fixed right away. We walked, took the bus, or took a cab wherever we needed to go. We faced adversity on our own-the way adults are supposed to. I reminded her how he had a car that was repossessed because he spent all his money on drugs. I reminded her that he found a roomate and got nearly $2000 for security depoist, first and last months rent, money that was supposed to go toward buying a car, and he spent it all on drugs. He has no car by his own choice, and even something as seemingly innocent as giving him a ride to the store is enabling. His mother is protecting him from the full consequences of his own actions. I was also very honest with her in telling her that I personally have no interest in having any relationship at all with him at this time. If he truly wants to turn his life around, or at the very least take responsibility for his own actions, then I would consider it, but while he is using drugs and living/behaving the way he is, I just don't need him in my life.

The timing of this seemed to be right. After the initial depression of him leaving town had passed, my wife had a brief four weeks where she was free from his drama. As is typical with a difficult child, he didn't call us when he didn't need something. He called a few times when he got down there and then no communication until he told his mother he was coming back here. During his absence she had some time to step back and do some examination of the situation. I get the impression that she was coming to some of these conclusions on her own. But as I said, I am not getting my hopes up. I have heard it before, but every time he ended up in trouble in the past, she went right back to helping him despite previously sweairing she was done with his nonsense. My wife also admitted that deep down she wished that he had not returned to town. So who knows, maybe she is finally starting to come around, and realizing that her grown son is ruining her marriage might just be the kick that she needs to detach, if at least emotionally. Finally I suggested that she take control over the calls with him. When he is having a hard time he will call her multiple times a day. Sometimes he will even get beligernet with her. She agreed that she needs to take a step back and let him sort out his own problems.

I brought up marriage counseling but to my dismay, she quickly shot that idea down because she knows someone who went and said it actually made their marriage worse. So I guess we have to do it on our own. I have considered counseling on my own, but not sure how helpful that would be without her involved.

This is not the end of the story by any means, it's the beginning of a new journey. The damage has been done and it's not just going to go away. We both have to work to restore our marriage to something it once was. Besides the issue with our son, we have a lot of the same old been married forever take each other for granted kind of issues that a lot of couples have. The kind of things that may seem small, but can fester into infidelity and divorce. Now add the drama of a drug addict adult child. How can one possibly fix their marriage if all of their time and emotional energy is going into trying to fix another person who really does not want to be fixed? I have a lot of work to do. I need to learn to put the past behind me. I need to learn to forgive my wife for betraying my trust. I also need to learn to completely let go of the problems of my son. Even though I have basically gone no contact, it doesn't mean I don't think about it. This is a very sad and unfortunate story. He has so much potential. He has carpentry skills, and when he is sober and keeping his temper in check, I will admit that he actually has a much stronger work ethic than either his mother or father. If he just kpet his life together, he could be so much more now. I have to put that behind me. And finally, since I am being a realist, if my wife does not hold up her end of the bargain and the dysfunction continues to plague our marriage, I need to have the strength and conviction to follow through and leave like I said I would. For now I am just going to take it one day at a time.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
So glad your wife truly listened to you. I had a bit of a reaction when you said that you learned the shortest route to disappointment was getting your hopes up "with a difficult child." So true.

For one thing, my difficult child is in a pickle (what a surprise) at the moment, but is handling it differently and in a slightly better way. Hmm. Normally, a parent would feel very good about those circumstances. But, I have learned, like you, to just make a logical observation, and leave it at that.

But also, remember, your wife is not the difficult child here. Yes, it seems recent times have been tremendously tough. But, surely she has (for lack of better terminology) earned some chips/points over the years. She "heard" what you had to say and our difficult children don't tend to " hear" anything we say or care one iota.

And as someone else mentioned, compromise is appropriate. And as you said, you need to forget about these hurts and move forward.

One of the first thing our (good) therapist did when we got to her was tell us to go on a vacation...even just a three/four day weekend kind of thing. We went on a one week cruise. It was just what we needed. Bought some new clothes..etc. spent months looking forward to it. And made a deal that we would not talk about difficult child. I think we gave ourselves a thirty minute talk the first day allowance and that was it. No more discussion allowed. It was heaven.

Out of all my friends who have a long term, major difficult child, I'm the only one still married. The difference, I think, is not only did we go to therapy, but just as important, if not moreso, is that we worked very hard at staying married. We continued to go on vacation once a year, sometimes that we would always have something to look forward to and be far away from difficult child stresses.

Anyway, I think your desire to keep your marriage intact and to take one day at a wonderful. I hope it can be worked out. Wishing you and your wife well!