Son is homeless, jobless, penniless, but in treatment

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Carol55, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. Carol55

    Carol55 New Member

    Our 39 year old son has been abusing alcohol and/or other drugs for 20 years. He went to a 30-day inpatient treatment 4 years ago for alcohol and opioids. He was sober for nearly 2 years and then turned to street drugs (meth). He is articulate, handsome, charming and holds a law degree, but after several attempts at passing (and failing) our state's bar exams, he has held mostly only part time jobs until his most recent one. He lost his latest job 3 months ago due to excessive absenteeism. He held that job for 14 months - the longest he has ever held a full-time job.
    He also struggles, and is treated for, major depression. He is married and has a 12 year old daughter, but he and his wife haven't lived together for the past 9 months. He has lived in our home for the past 10 months. His wife is also an addict (who believes she is in recovery, even though she deliberately overdoses on her depression medication and sleeping pills). She has anorexia and bulimia and has been diagnosed with a serious mental disorder in addition to the eating disorder.
    It became frighteningly clear to us that our son's drug use had escalated over the past year. Even facing homelessness, he refused to go to treatment. A week ago yesterday we filed, and were granted, an involuntary commitment order and he was placed in a drug treatment program at one of our local hospitals. We were informed right away that he would probably only be in residential treatment for 8 - 10 days and then transferred to intensive outpatient treatment.
    He was released yesterday. We have enabled him his entire life, but had been making strides in starting to take care of ourselves.
    But now that he is in treatment, we're not sure how much or how little to do. He took it upon himself to choose a program that lasts two hours longer each day than the other one he could have chosen.
    He knew that he couldn't move back in here, so slept in his car last night and then came here to shower before his meeting. My friends want me to ban him from the house and stop taking his phone calls. The fear is that while he can't spend the night here, he will still be here a good deal of the time. We have no desire to ban him from our home or not talk to him. Although he was forced into treatment, he didn't contest it at the hearing, and is embracing it and doing what he's supposed to do. We put $15 of gas in his car so that he could take his daughter back home and get to his meetings, but haven't given him any cash.
    He probably will not try to use in treatment because he will be tested everyday, and put back into lock-up in the hospital if he fails a test. While I'm not sure how he manages it, he sometimes doesn't use (when he's not working and has no money). We learned long ago not to give him any cash. He needs to get a part time job, for the money, of course, but also to keep himself occupied after his meetings end at 4:00 in the afternoon. He can't/won't go to his in-laws. He can't hang out with the friends that he has had since elementary and junior high because they all drink. Even though he has used drugs, he hasn't lived what you might think of as the typical "druggie" lifestyle. In other words, he doesn't socialize with whomever supplies the drugs. He's been pretty good at hiding it until more recently when he lost a ton of weight and started to look older.
    My point being - he has no place to go. Since he used drugs in our home, in the basement, he has been told that the basement is off-limits. However, last night he did laundry and hung out watching TV down there while he was doing it. Before that, he spent several hours with his daughter.
    I need guidance. Part of the reason I said that the basement is off limits (aside from the drug use) is that he isolates himself down there. But another part of me says that making rules like that when we KNOW he's not using seems kind of punitive. We have always told him that if he's helping himself, we're helping him. The next step for him is to get that job if he wants to prove that he's actually "helping himself".
    Is it enabling him to do very small things (such as putting gas in his car) when he just got released yesterday and hasn't had the opportunity to find a job? And when he's in treatment everyday, all day?
    The "no job" situation has to be rectified immediately, but in the meantime, is it enabling him to help him a little? Sometimes there's a fine line between enabling and being kind, especially when he's accepting treatment.
    We are going to our first family meeting at the treatment center tonight, and there will be Al-a-non volunteers there, so I will be asking a lot of these same questions.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. I am at work and start in a few minutes but wanted to say hi. Welcome.

    Your son didnt have a choice in treatment. What was he supposed to say?

    I would never let a 39 year old who tended to use drugs (who knows what drugs) in my house.. we can be charged if drugs are found. My daughter was 19 when we made her leave....and she quit twelve years ago. I think kindness works in most areas but not addiction. I just dont see it helping in addiction. But all of us are diffetent.

    Others will come along. Glad you came. We all do this our own way. My daughter and I are very close now and her life is productive and good.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
  3. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I guess it depends what you feel best about. There is no one way to handle this. You have good boundaries about money. If you want to continue to do what you are doing, maybe you can give him a time limit...

    It's hard to find a job when doing intensive outpatient therapy. But not impossible...

    Good luck... Ksm
  4. Carol55

    Carol55 New Member

    Thank you everyone! We are going to start going to Al-a-non meetings to help us stay strong on this journey. At our meeting at the treatment center tonight, there was consensus that banning him from our home and/or blocking his phone calls would not be helpful in the least at this point. However, he will not be spending the nights here. He has been here tonight since the meeting got over. He is fun to be around when he's in recovery - chatty, funny, philosophical. Very likable when he's not using. But he will be leaving in a few minutes and will have to find a place to sleep. He's not resentful, which makes things easier on us.
    This journey, as long as he's in treatment, has to be better than the most recent one we've been on for the last 2 years.

    As far as him not having a choice in treatment: he had a lawyer who would have contested the commitment on his behalf, had he wished her to. His commitment wasn't a done deal until he declined to challenge it.

    Or, if the reference was to him choosing the longer daily treatment time, he had a choice in that as well. This particular center has a level (9:00 - 3:00 daily) that falls in-between inpatient and intensive outpatient treatment (8:00 - 4:00 daily). The option presented to him was the lesser treatment of 9:00 - 3:00. Once he realized there was a longer daily program, he requested that he be placed in the longer one.
  5. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    I too struggle with how much support becomes enabling, and have probably given more than I should have at times. The truth is that no one really knows the whole story, parents included. Once the addict starts telling you more it gets pretty scary and you realize you knew only a fraction of the facts.

    Welcome to the boards, they are a good source of support, and often have lots of good advice. That being said you have to still figure out what is best in your own situation.

    We have never kicked out our son, but I know there are those who would have. I don't judge either decision. I've done what I can do. Each family is different.

    It sounds like your son wants change. I believe most addicts do. I have to hold onto hope that this is possible, I can't imagine otherwise.

    Take care and I hope you find some peace.
  6. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Welcome Carol:

    This is tough stuff for any of us! It sounds like you are doing what you can do for yourself and yet doing the minimal for him.

    I'd say keep going to your meetings and if possible you may want to look into a private therapist for yourself to help you deal with your son and setting healthy boundaries with him and FOR him! I know that having a personal therapist has helped me tremendously in my own life. I like coming here for what I see as the group therapy part of it so wanted someone that could really help me focus in on my own situation.

    The longevity of this situation, for me in particular, is what really wore me down. I am a very strong person and I know that I can do just about anything difficult if I see an end in sight but with addiction there is no end in sight that you can cling onto and that to me is the hardest thing of all.

    Good luck and keep posting here. It will help you!
  7. Carol55

    Carol55 New Member

    I switched the programs up. The outpatient intensive program is from 9:00 - 3:00. The program that he chose (8:00 - 4:00) is a level right after inpatient, but before intensive outpatient.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Do you feel he is serious? That is the key. Rehab helps those who want to quit.

    Best wishes for you and son!
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2017
  9. Carol55

    Carol55 New Member

    Thank you CollenB and RN0441.
    There are so many of us dealing with this in some form or another!
    I agree with you RN0441 that one of the hardest things is knowing that we will be dealing with this for the rest of our lives. That is my husbands mantra "And the worst thing is, this is never going to end".

    When the 2 groups were together last night (the family members and the addicts), the Al-a-non volunteer said he (our son) needs to be given the dignity of finding his own place, job, way. I know that he has to do that, but I like that she used the word "dignity" in there - focusing on how it will be good for his well-being instead of totally on how it affects us. It puts a different perspective on it.

    I believe that you are right ColleenB that most addicts want change. I don't think they wake up every morning and wonder how they can hurt themselves and their loved ones. Unfortunately, we are collateral damage from their use of these substances that have such a hold over them. I just started reading a book called "Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children". It could have been written with my husband and I in mind (and, I suspect every person reading this post). While I've always known what enablers we have been, reading this kind of punched me in the throat and said "Stop it!".
  10. Carol55

    Carol55 New Member

    Yes, I feel that he is serious. However, I also know that the odds are not in his favor for long-term. Right now he is in the treatment "euphoric" stage. Wanting to do everything right, following every rule and doing everything he's supposed to be doing. I liken it to that feeling we have after we leave church after listening to a great, compelling service. Plus, since I went to gambling treatment 15 years ago, I have experienced the same thing and recognize it.
    He did tell us last night that he had known he needed to go to treatment for the last couple of months, but couldn't bring himself to do it and needed the push.
    He was furious with us when we told him the sherrif's department would be picking him up (even though he knew it was coming). We already knew that his reaction was typical of people being involuntarily committed to anything, so it really didn't surprise or faze us. I certainly wouldn't take kindly to it myself. By that evening, his anger was gone. He knew he needed to be there.
    We're not naive - we have experienced this once before. But, for right now, I'm going to enjoy the person he is while he's in treatment and sober. I know there's no guarantee that it will last. We are changing and becoming stronger, although we are works in progress. If he relapses again at least we will not have to watch it firsthand in our home, and I will tell him that he needs to stay away from us when he's using.
    Thanks for your input and insight!
  11. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    A bit off topic but have you or anyone here ever checked out

    There is a lot of information on this site, personal stories and resources also.

    They recently had an article about not calling our loved ones an "addict". I have never like that term myself. It defines them as an addict rather than the person that they truly are that has a substance abuse problem.

    I just have a hard time with the stigma not only that we have as their family but the person has themselves. It must be so demoralizing to be called an addict!! If the families just see them as that then how can society ever accept them as anything other than that?
  12. Carol55

    Carol55 New Member

    Well said! I need to work on that in practice and in my own mind. When my son is heavy into usage, those behaviors seem to obliterate all of his good points. I can't see the forest for the trees.