Personal progress


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I'm doing really well in my detachment phase. Yes I still speak to difficult child often and offer love and encouragement but I don't engage in his drama or let his decisions affect my mood.

Two recent examples -

First, as I mentioned in my last post he got a puppy without asking permission from my father. He lied to both of us about it. I was talking to him yesterday and he mentioned the dog. Instead of lecturing him I told him straight up that it was his choice to get the dog without permission and that whatever consequences follow because of that decisions are his and his alone. I told him it's not my problem, it's his and he needs to deal with it.

Second example is that he keeps texting me saying he's starving. My dad brings him food once a week but instead of rationing it out he eats it all in a day. He also has options like walking to the food pantry each Monday for groceries, however every week he finds an excuse not to go. It's either too cold, or he's tired, or sick, etc. He also has the option to call his social worker but again excuses. Just now I told him to call her and he said he tried but the number doesn't work. However when I tried it worked just fine. I only let it ring twice bc I just wanted to check the number. I don't want to talk to her. That's his job. I called him out on it and suddenly it rings for him.

So yeah - the old me would be all worried and anxious that he's having problems and he's hungry. I would have called the sw FOR him and tried to find a way to fix his problem. However, the new me is calmly sitting here reminding myself that he has many options and it's his problem if he doesn't want to use them. If he doesn't want to walk a few blocks or take the time to make a phone call on his behalf that's his problem and if he wants to solve it HE will figure out a way to do so!

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This - to me anyway - is a clear example of how me enabling him by fixing his problems FOR him will only hinder his progress. By detaching a bit I'm forcing him to find solutions to his own problems. He's more than capable and he has many options.

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Staff member
Very good job JKF.

It does take us all awhile to get to the point you're at, our difficult child's drag us along and then one day we wake up and realize, wait a minute, I am working way harder then he/she is!! And, then we stop. What's remarkable is that all of those things you used to do for your son, will suddenly get done without you........BY HIM!

Go figure.

And, if they don't get done by him, he will find someone else to take care of it for him. Either way, it isn't you.

I'll bet you begin to feel a lot better now and perhaps find more and more peace of mind and laughter and serenity too.

Good job.


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Thanks RE! I have been feeling SO much better lately. It's like suddenly it all clicked and I've really started to finally "let it go". It's so weird bc it seems like it happened overnight although, in reality, I know it's been a long journey to get to this point. I'm not naive enough to believe my struggles are over, however I feel stronger and more empowered than ever before and it gives me hope!

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one day at a time
I have been feeling SO much better lately.

THAT is why we detach. Because it makes us feel better. That's the point. Does it mean we love our difficult children any less or want them to be better any less? No. We have to detach because we can't do it anymore and we allow ourselves to detach because we learn that it is better for us and it may be better for them.

I know when I first heard about detachment in Al-Anon I thought, no way, never. Not going to happen. Because I love my son too much for that.

But as I listened and learned and continued being completely miserable and nothing I was doing for him was changing him, my mind began to open. And when I first started it, it was a colder detachment. I didn't know how to detach with love because I had not accepted. I have now accepted (more) but I still judge.

Wow, what a process, right? It's step by step by step by step. Now I can see that perhaps the greatest love is letting him live his own life.

I have heard people say that when we put the focus on us, instead of the alcoholic/addict, there is now room and space for them to start to live their own lives, however that looks. That makes sense to me. As long as I'm going to take care of everything/most things, why should he? Once I stop, he has to learn how to do it (way, way overdue). So it will likely look pretty darn ugly to me for a long while, like it does right now, but hey, it's his life.

Today JKF, my son is still homeless. One might say, why would you need to be homeless 40 days after you get out of jail? (I've thought it, but I haven't said it) I'm figuring that being homeless must not be that bad. If it was, he would change it faster right? He understands the pathway to not being homeless. He has not taken it for whatever reason.

So just for today I will relax in the knowledge that I am good, he is doing what he is deciding to do, he has made some progress that I can see, and who knows what other progress he has made that I can't see. Really, his progress is none of my business.

Mind your own business, they tell us in Al-Anon. I thought that was so remedial when I first heard it said. That's what kids say to each other on the playground, nah, nah, nah.

But it's wisdom. Wisdom going all the way back to childhood that is relevant now.

You are doing great JKF. I would suggest that your son will not starve. If he gets hungry enough, he will do something different. And that one thing different may be the pathway to a whole life of change. Hugs to you this day.


Active Member
Love love love your post. My son is homeless and this brought me such peace. Great way to start my day. Thank you!

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JKF, you are doing great! I can't add much to what Child, Cear, and Recovering have said..but know that I know how you feel, where you are in your heart and head. And I know it is good.
He has to be uncomfortable to grow. That is how it is. For some reason with our difficult child's in the past we have not been able to bear their being uncomfortable...we had to step in and fix it, in ways we may not have with our easy child's. And they didn't grow. Now you are being a good parent, and leaving him the space to handle things his own way.
Whatever that looks like.