Playing my hand...need some backup

Hello everyone, Last month my son and his girlfriend made the decision to leave one state/jobs to go across the United States for a geographical cure. A few days after arrival they we're told they couldn't stay with the friend that invited them due to a suspicious landlord. So, needless to say, they found themselves 3000 miles away from everything they knew, out of money, no jobs and no place to lay their heads. When I got that text with the details of the current crisis, I had to decline to help. This was most difficult for me to do. But these kinds of decisions have ruled his life for so long that I could not continue to enable his poor decisions and take on his consequences once again.. I gave him no other option but to figure it out without me. I did not stop the emotional support, just the financial. A few days later, I got another text stating that they had secured plane tickets back to where they initially came from and that they were in an Airbnb temporarily while they looked for work. In the interim, his girlfriend said she was leaving and going back to her home state with family because it was too hard to try to get a place and a job with really no means. I continued with the emotional support but no financial support. A few days after that my son texted me and sent me a photo of the new place that he was working at and informed me that he and his girlfriend were going to try to make a go of it after all. The Airbnb that they are staying at houses two older woman who are considering renting them out the third room as equal roommates. My son and I had a very long and open conversation where my son was very frank about his deep feelings and the reasons for his dysfunctional drinking over the years. He said he realized the impact his drinking has had on his life and how things were opening up for him now for the first time in a long time because he's been making better decisions... and he has a great opportunity to start over, but in order for him to get this place, he would need to ask me to loan him the $550 to secure the room since he has no money yet. Of course, the music to my ears was the open conversation about one of the major root causes of all of his crisises and poor decision making, his binge drinking. After I explained why I've no longer been giving him money I told him to continue trying to raise the money he needed. After thinking about this for a while I texted him and told him that I could only consider helping him out financially if he was attending recovery AA meetings. In Alanon, the philosophy is usually hands off, but in this instance, I felt like it was my hand to play. He needs something from me and I need him to do something for it. It may not work in getting him to surrender even for an hour, but then again it might. Thanks for listening


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Hi. I just know my own daughter. She would promise to do something just to get money, never pay it back, and never do what she said she would do in exchange. Again, just talking about my daughter. If she ever decides to quit using she will need to be inpatient. Does your son have a habit of saying what you want him to say and make promises he won't keep just before he hits you up for a "loan"? Has he ever paid back a loan? The past usually predicts the future.

If you decide to fork out $550, mail it directly to the landlord. We learned to NEVER send anything to Kay. She would blow it all on pot and cigarettes and sometimes make up and clothes, but she never gave it to whom it was supposed to go to.

I say the next part with a heavy heart. My daughter lies.If her lips are moving, she is lying, especially when she is trying to get us to hand over money. Or when giving us reasons she cant pay us back. Nobody was robbed as much as Kay (i i doubt she was ever really robbed).

For my daughter it is best not to hope for the best based on her promises. We don't believe them. She would have to actually show us her progress and she is 33 and it has not happened yet.

If your son wants to make changes, and you cant force him to do anything, he will do it without the $550 and without your attempt to get him to use 12 Step. If HE doesn't want to go, he won't.

Of course, you know your son. I just know how sneaky kids like my daughter can be and I know that the only person seeing any money we sent her would be the pot seller and maybe a liquor store cashier. Kay is an atheist who has laughed at 12 Step or anything h aving to do with God. But Kay doesn't think she is an addict. At least your son sort of admits it.

We learned to let Lee and Kay do it without our money. Finally. Took us long enough. Hurt us financially. Your son will survive without your money. It's up to you if you send it, expecially if he tries to talk you into sending money to him rather than a landlord. I don't think it will work out well, but will not judge you whatever you do. I get it. Much of what we do is for us, not them.

I do go faithfully to Al Anon and now believe in hands off. My husband agrees. It is on your son that he hasn't learned that there is no such thing as a geographical cure.

Meanwhile, in a new town with no good job resume why does he think he has a "great" opportunity? For what? Why? My therapist calls this magical thinking. Kay does it too. For no logical reason she will think something great is about to happen to her, but we have to invest, of course. Until recently, we always bought her hopeful stories. None came true. Ever. At all. We just became more broke.

We only emotionally supported Kay if she made a good decision so she doesn't call anymore. I'm ashamed to say I don't miss her constant complaining and asking for favors.

Be well.
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Thank you for your experience Busy. I relate to it wholeheartedly. He has most definitely promised things in the past without following thru on them. That's about the time I cut off the money. After about two years, he asked to borrow on two separate occassions, both of which he paid me back as promised. I was super surprised and happy about that. Now he is asking once again. I realize this attempt to get him to walk into an AA meeting using a bit of coercion most likely will be a futile attempt. I am prepared for him to refuse and that's okay too. I appreciate your honest words here and that I may be playing with fire only to get burned.


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I don't see how $550 is going to give him a shot at a new life. Chances are four months from now,he won't like the job anymore and continue his care-free cross country journey into the wild blue yonder.
I believe the thought process behind it is with a stable place to call home every night it's more conducive to keeping a job, therefore, the chances of a new start and keeping it going are greater. Your point is certainly valid, it could go either way.


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he's been making better decisions... and he has a great opportunity to start over, but in order for him to get this place, he would need to ask me to loan him the $550 to secure the room since he has no money yet.
What are the better decisions that he is making? It sounds to me that he is attempting (again) to manipulate you, so that you decide to send the money.

I would say this. Send him the money for you, if you want. Without buying into the idea that he is any different. These are magic words. No more, in my opinion.
She would promise to do something just to get money
This is my experience, too.

It is hard, but I think he needs to figure this out. That's one way to look at it. There are soup kitchens. There are free programs like Salvation Army. There are all kinds of jobs. Maybe if he has to look in the mirror, that reflects back the truth, he will decide to make steps to change.

The other way to look at it, is your way; that he has paid you back a couple of times before. And might again. Without the expectation that anything will come of it.

They made the decision to leave their jobs. They could have worked until they had sufficient money to make this trip and to handle the contingencies. Apparently, they chose not to. To me, sending money is like giving them a prize to have thoughtlessly indulged themselves. They don't want to accept the consequences of impulsivity. None of us do. But that is the price we pay.

Where does the learning come from if we bail them out?

But that said. All of us have done it. If you need to do it, join the club.
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I hear you all loud and clear. The better decisions that I can see are that he is working a job and instead of making the decision to go back to his previous job and living situation, which were offered to him upon his return but was nothing but
party central, he's decided against it and wants to go in a different direction in life. He is still falling back on old thinking patterns in asking me for assistance and if he wasn't showing me something different in his behavior, I would not have offered with a huge contingency. I appreciate all your hard earned wisdom.


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I would not have offered with a huge contingency
There are times we need to help out. We are their parents, after all. But the thing is we do it for us, not them. Just as they do what they do for themselves, or not. I think the only risk for you is expectation, that there is tit for tat.

You help out because you want to. At the end of the story that's all there is. We have no control. The pain comes from believing that there is.
You are correct..we have no control and their is pain in trying to navigate the waters of trying to do the next right thing with or without expectations. The lessons never stop for that's what it's all about.


Sending good vibes...
Trust me I get what you’re gong through and I struggle and have good days and bad days. I recently read something on enabling Which had my name all over it. It said if you keep thinking this one last thing you do maybe the final push to your Adult Child’s success or ability to turn their life around, You are wrong. Hard words to swallow.


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We will never be the one who pushes our kids to change. I finally accept this. I hear it from the large Al Anon groups who struggle with addicted spouses and children I can finally act on what Al Anon says and work on myself, not Kay. I see that the only thing that changes our kids is their desire to change and to stop using. Not using is the bottom line be it an addiction to pot, alcohol or drugs that have scarier names.

I held off telling you folks this story out of fear that it would be scary to some, but now I will. Its one of those good/bad stories.

We had neighbors who were very high functioning, successful drug addicts. We moved and didnt see them but had to move back to that city again and saw the woman in a grocery store. She looked healthy and beautiful.

We hugged and she told me she has been clean ten years, is remarried, and her daughter just had her first grandchild. I was so happy for her. Then I asked about her ex.

He is dead. Drug overdose. Their son is a drug addict too.

What made her quit and him not? She was suddenly sick of herself and motivated. Her words. She habd two kids who were teens and she wanted to show them that drugs were not the way. She left her ex and quit without anyone pushing her. Her daughter is doing great.

Her ex never quit completely in spite of havimg a good job and a great extended family. Eventually he was fired from his job and his new girlfriend left him and he went on a binge and died. I didnt ask what drug. I was actually just listening. I expressed sadness and she shrugged and said "He wouldn't quit. I tried to tell him..."

The boy child is now a man and following Dad. She doesn't see him or bail him out of jail. She hopes he quits. So far he hasn't. But she wont "help" him like she tried so hard to do with her ex. She feels it is useless. So if he goes to jail or need money, she says no. So he doesn't talk to her. He knows she WILL help him with rehab, but not while he is not showing the intention of quitting. He is intermittently homeless. I think he is now 26 or so.

So that os my story for the day. Be well.
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100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
I pushed my son away because I would not accept who he was.

I understand your wanting to give him the money. We've all done it.

But where do you draw the line? That's all we're saying.

We want them to be independent but in some ways we prevent that from even happening.

None of us know.


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I agree with the Statement that it was your son's decision to leave for a new area without sufficient funds . Giving him money is encouraging the impulsivity. I like your tie in with AA as an incentive to give the money. I attend Al-Anon as well and I do think that sometimes it is ok to set up conditions for help . It will also help you figure out whether his admissions and self declarations were for real or just manipulation. I have a rule in my life that I never loan money that I truly expect back .I see it as a gift . That keeps the amount rather low as well as it implies that I can afford to give that money away. That way I am not disappointed if I don't get the money back and I rarely (if ever) loan money.
My son never asks me for money, now. I have once made him a small loan (100$), with a written guarantee and a set date for payback. Then he had a job, so it was an easy deal. Now I don´t lend or give him any. It is not always an easy thing. I am his dad and want to be there for him and under a different sky, I might have another view. But after I learned of his addiction, it actually became easier. Since then, should he ask, I´ll tell him to get a job and see the money come in by his own hands.
His mom has made many of those "if you do this, then.." kinda loans to him. She never saw any of that money again.
All he learned was that it is possible to get someone to pay if you just ask hard enough.
With me, not in a million years. And he knows that.

It´s a value, I cannot compromise on.

Should he ever come around, later in life, having learned his own lessons and seeing the greatness in taking responsibility, I ´ll be happy for him.

I am with the others on this one; give him the § for yourself. Or don´t, also for yourself.

Try not to expect anything.


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The most important thing that Bruce said in my opinion is to give what you give, if you give, and expect NOTHING back. Not better behavior, not that the person steps up, not that it will be used as you intended, not to expect others to necessarily ecpress love or gratitude for it and not to expect the money back, loan or not.

Way before we stopped giving Kay money, my husband and I decided that everything we give to anyone at all is a GIFT. If not, you are setting yourself up to lose friends and relatives. We don't want to lose people becauuuse they can't or don't pay us back. So we are very mindful with our money. Money sometimes makes good people act very badly. Think about after funerals.

Because of our policy of no strings for monetary gifts, we rarely give money to anyone. Kay was the exception and we knew we would never see it again. At least we didn't have to be bitter that she broke a promise to pay us back. We had enough to cry about.

Our experience convinces us that money solves nothing. It doesn't help anyone get a leg up. They just waste it or ask for more (our experience only). It does not nudge anybody to respect you or feel grateful and certainly can not buy love or gratitude. So money is gifts only with no expectations from whom we give to.

God bless. Be well.