The story of my son, hard to write.


So Much Fun-Not!
I'm going to write about my son here and see if anybody can help me.
So far I feel helped by reading other posts about similar adult children so I really like this site. Thank you to all who have posted!
My son is 27
When he was 17 he got really depressed and started having anxiety attacks. We took him to doctor and psychiatrist and got him some medications and a therapist. He seems ok so we sent him to college. Come to find out he was playing X-Box and smoking weed 24/7 and not taking any medications. I took him out of school and brought him home. He got a job at a golf club for 1 year and did really good. He moved out again to continue school. Started up with weed again and X-box. Couldn't manage his life by himself so we got him back here. Never finished college. Met a girl, got her pregnant, they got married. After baby was born she left and became a heroin addict. My son NEVER bonded with the baby. He has absolutely NO interest in the baby. Her family got temporary custody of baby and we had to go to court to get the rights to see him. My son won full custody because he is a good actor. Son and Baby Mama are now divorced. My son got a good job at a pest control company but ALWAYS sneaks weed, which is not allowed here. He likes to get the MOST weed he can and drink the MOST alcohol he can, take the MOST Adderal for his ADD, take the MOST sleeping tabs before bed, Take the biggest dosage of PAXIL, Smoke the highest concentration of Nicotine in his Vape. Drink the Most Diet Coke he can per day and so forth *****I need a deep breath here****** We have encouraged him to manage his own life for years now and since we are really stupid we have thought maybe he could. Now is a turning point for us. We realize that there is no hope for expecting a normal person to arise. That's not going to happen. We just wrote up some new rules for him the other day and he tried for 1 day but his Adderal ran out so he is sleeping until Monday.
He has been to many psychiatrists and therapists. His Primary care doctor has actually been the most helpful. He has been to the psychiatric hospital 3 times. He has had 9 treatments of ECT (electro convulsive therapy). Baby Mama went back to court with her parents to get shared custody BUT she is now back at the psychiatric hospital due to heroin abuse. I am going to take child and visit her today because I am a sucker. Actually we are on good terms, I like her. I do care for her son full time, but he is a delightful, beautiful, energetic, awesome, well loved 4 1/2 year old. She thinks maybe she can care for him one day along with his 2 year old half brother. hmmmmmmmmmmm, probably not. She has a long list of mental problems
So, my son is in bed today, not following the rules and we know we have to care for him because he is mentally, yeah, he needs a job and needs to pay for some stuff he buys, we know that.....we're working on it.....he needs to follow the rules....we are working on it......His life right now consists of Sleeping, eating cereal and playing X-box and THAT'S ALL...............does anybody know what the hell is wrong with him????? oh, and P.S. he has to be told to bathe


Well-Known Member
My opinion? He is a drug addict. A lot of people have anxiety and depression (i have all my life) and at 27 I was out of the house, working, taking care of my kids. How long are you going to take care of him? None of us can live forever....

He is on so much prescribed and non prescribed medication no wonder all he does is sleep and do nothing productive. But he is 27. Is your plan to mother him until you die?

I have a few really good books that helped me. One is Boundaries by Townstead and Cloud. It has a Christian slant but you can skip that part if it does not apply to you and the rest is still great. The other is Codrpendent No More be Melody Beattie. Do you know you are codependent? Most of us are or were. It is unhealthy for both us snd for those we believe we can fix. In truth, we can.only fix one person....ourselves.

Are you with a SO? If so do both of you agree that letting him act this way on your dime is the best way? Not working? Not doing anything adults his age do? Not even trying? Not trying to bond with his own child???? If it were me he would be feeding, changing and spending time with his baby. He wanted custody. Well? Shame on him. Im sorry, but that is how I feel.

Grandchilds mother has one huge mental health issue...heroin addiction. If she got sober she very well may be able to take care of the kids. Thats the big problem. You are nicer han me. I woulsnt take a child to see heroin addicted mother. That doesnt mean its a bad idea; i just wouldnt do it personally.

Hugs, light and love. You can do this. You can set boundaries in your own house.

P.S.--Adderrall is greatly abused...crushed and snorted. It is worth a lot on the street. My kid abused ADHD drugs and others once. in my opinion he is using it abusively, maybe snorting it. It is heavy duty speed.
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i am very sorry for the pain you are going through. All I can say from reading through your post is that he doesn't really have any motivation to change. He is being taking care of...however not on your terms but his. It sounds to me like he has major addiction issues...for the x box to dope to paxil to diet coke. My son also had major issues from age of 16 on...and had similar traits however add to that some elements of violence when he would get high. He too is mentally ill. He became the focus of the house and our family turned into a dysfunctional mess. He had to leave and we helped him with accommodation and his basic needs. Stabilized enough to graduate from high school and then university. But the addiction and the mental illness kept piping along until he had a major crash at 26. Was finally diagnosed with schizophrenia and opiate use...the mental illness possibly brought on by the drug use. Currently he is living in a group home and will stay there until he decides to change his life. Many may ask..what about his mental illness? well he has shown through therapy and drugs and healthy living that he can stabilize quite well. That his is choice not mine any longer. Mental illness is NOT an excuse for bad behavior or poor choices. I fear that your son is using this and unfortunately you are buying into it. I know you love him, but it may be time to let him go and face the consequences of his choices. As SWOT says he is not a little boy anymore, he is a man. there is a great article on detachment on this site.....I know it is very hard but do you really want to live like this in a year, two years or ten years from now? What about your health and the rest of your family? I don't mean to sound harsh ....I know what a heartbreak this is. But he will take you down if you let him. Love yourself first. Hugs!!!!


Well-Known Member
Now is a turning point for us. We realize that there is no hope for expecting a normal person to arise. That's not going to happen.
Bart. This is a painful thread to read because my son shares many of your son's characteristics and I share some with you.

Sometime back on this forum I wrote that I no longer believed in hope and that hope, to me, was a hurtful and useless thing. Because I lack any control over my son's life or hope was to have a fantasy, a fantasy that will crash and burn, at the whim or will of another person (my son) over whom I have no control.

I can have hope for myself. But my issue so far is that I seem unable to keep my son far enough away from me, or hold the relationship with him in such a way--that I do not allow him to rain on my parade. I give up myself--when he hurts me, or I cause his hurt to take away my own hope and sense that I deserve anything from life.

It is as if I need to hope for him, to have hope for myself.

I think the keys for you are as the other posters have suggested: let go of the tether, to the extent that you are able. Begin to have the expectation that he be responsible for his own upkeep, to solve his own problems and be self-determining. Begin to free yourselves from the burdens of lifestyle choices that he makes. He is responsible. Not you. We cannot micromanage or engineer the lives of other adults. Even, maybe especially, those we love.

That said, this process is fraught with minefields and nuances. It is really hardly ever clear, at least for me, what is the right thing to do or how to do it. Actually, I think this lack of certainty serves me, because I think rigidity in these situations can lead to heartbreak and to great loss for all around.

I forced my son out of my house and would not let him come back for over four years except for short visits which were disastrous. My son did not find his bottom. He got worse, and got more problems, including the weed habit.

We have been trying to FORCE HIM to be productive and to live constructively and meaningful. Well, that does not work either.

These things need to be negotiated. By that I mean, not negotiated with him, but negotiated with the reality that you are facing, and than re-calibrated over and over again. But the starting point is: he has full control over his life and full responsibility for it. You can read my threads to see exactly how successful I have been. Not.

My son is living now at a home we own. *He has been in and out, back and forth, for 13 months.

I have pretty much come to the sense that if he pays us a market rent, I have no right or responsibility to ask much more beyond the obligations of a renter: follow the law, care for the property. But I have come to the point I will not allow him to be here in my house, even to visit. Or at least, I think I am in this spot.

M, my SO, thinks differently. He believes we have to fight and continue fighting to support my son to become a useful and responsible person who can live around other people. He thinks this is our responsibility.

To a point, my son has followed through. But at the same time, you can't make somebody into somebody they are not. And you can't make somebody do what they do not want to do or stop what they want to do.

So somewhere between these two ways of thinking, we are trying to find a way.
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Well-Known Member
I think something that a lot of us don't understand is how much of a destructive addiction video games and the internet can be. I'm reading Irrestible by Adam Alter (actually I'm listening to it on Audible at the gym) and he goes into how these games and sites on the Internet have been engineered to activate the same pleasure centers in the brain as drugs like heroin. He gives case studies of people (mostly young men) who will play a game for hours at a time, neglecting to eat or bathe (forget about school or work), crash, then start the cycle over again.

I'm don't know if that's the case with your son or not, but he won't be able to deal with any underlying mental health issues while he's actively engaged with addictive behaviors and/or substances. The tough part for us as parents is that our help and support is just making it possible for them to continue on in their addictions.

Everybody's situation is different, so I'd encourage you to find a good therapist to help you figure out what to do. And please remember that you matter too. At some point, we have to let our kids make their own choices and then let them live with the consequences of their choices.

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
. Mental illness is NOT an excuse for bad behavior or poor choices. I fear that your son is using this and unfortunately you are buying into it.

I watched my late husband abuse Adderall and other stimulants. He knew how to be stable but chose not to be. He would take far more Adderall than was prescribed, work like a maniac for a few weeks, run out of Adderall and then crash. He was hospitalized several times for the depression resulting from the Adderall crash. It was a horrible cycle.

I think something that a lot of us don't understand is how much of a destructive addiction video games and the internet can be.

I agree. My son is currently paying one quarter of the internet bill in order to have Xbox access. We also turn it off at midnight, so that he cannot game all night long. I personally believe that the gaming world is far more attractive than the real world. I think it is sucking in a lot of our younger people and consequently, they cannot find enjoyment in real world activities.

If you try to make your son follow the rules, it will get ugly. Very ugly. He is comfortable in the life that he has of being an irresponsible slub.


So Much Fun-Not!
If no X-Box he will sleep, just sleep day after day after day. How can he possibly do this? I know what you all will say "don't let him, kick him out."
He's been homeless before....we've been though it all.....we've done it all....we've seen it .....sometimes we just need to rest with no drama.


Well-Known Member
we know we have to care for him because he is mentally ill
No you don't.

There is SSI. There is the Department of Rehabilitation. There is Job Corps, a free job training program which provides room and board. The age cut off I think is 26, but they make exceptions for disabled adults beyond this age. There are group homes. There are residential treatment programs. There are adult day programs through County Mental Health.

All kinds of disabled adults work or volunteer.

The decision here is whether to enable his lack of motivation, indolence and his irresponsibility, or not.

You have no control over what he does. You do control what you do.

If the current situation was truly a "rest" for you...would you have sought out this forum?

I do not wish to be harsh or to convey the sense I do not understand. But there are realities here that I have to face, because my situation is not much different than your own.

I know throwing them out is not a cure all. I learned that. There is no cure-all to somebody else's life. That does not mean there are not things that can and must be done. By each of us, and all of us, save the most ill and disabled, and that is not our sons. That is what I think. Does my son agree? Not really.

But I can live my own life and try to minimize the toxicity that a relationship with him seems to entail, or develop better boundaries and self-esteem and more support so that I am not so crushed by it all.

But they must step up to the plate, these sons of ours. We will not be here always. Their lives are their responsibilities. And we as parents have a role in their NOT living as indolent slobs in our homes or near us.

That is my mission and my dilemma, as I see it now.


Well-Known Member
It is quiet drama if it bothers you. You are living with it.

If he sleeps that much and is not physically very ill, he is using drugs that make him sleepy all the time.


Well-Known Member
I dont think to that extent. I had severe depression at his age and was on medications that made me tired and still couldnt sleep all the time. I could be wrong, Copa, but since he takes so much medication i am thinking that is why he sleeps. I take Paxil (paroxatene like him) and more than prescribed would put me in a coma if not kill me. That is at least one very dangerous medication to deliberately overdose on.

I wonder if he takes benzos. At any rate, this young man is not well, whetber it is drugs or depression that he wont treat. Or both.

I feel the most sorry fof his child.


So Much Fun-Not!
getting actively involved on this site is helpful. You are lighting a fire under my butt to start doing something new with our son. I am sharing all the info with my husband.....
Oh, I'm just sitting here typing and my son says....Oh my God my stomach hurts so painful...did I mention he is also a hypochondriac? and he has the emotional capacity of a 12 year old. If he gets his feelings hurt he will barricade himself in his bedroom by putting the dresser in front of the door.....Just mentioning stuff as I think of it.


Well-Known Member
Maybe the hypochondria and hurt feelings is a manipulation.

Or it can be this. Adults, even 27 year olds, who live with mom and act like little kids when Mom cares for them and pays for them. They do not become adults. This is a reproduction of him when he was little and you kissed his sore finger.

It really bothers me that he will not bond with or care for his own son. Why did he take the boy away from his in laws if he wont even feed him? Why is he not forced, while living with you, to care for his son? If he can sit up and play X-Box he can hold a baby in his arms and feed him a bottle or change a diaper. He is 27. Do you him this helpless at 37? 47? Do you want his son to grow up thinking his father is unloving and useless? Maye copying him? Asking you why his Daddy never wants to see his baseball games?

Who gets up with his son at night if he cries? You. Has Son ever changed o e diaper? Are you young enough to parent this child forever? Can you take care of a baby and a 27 year old toddler too?

I know I sound tough but I just hope you dont see your son as a poor little boy. People with depression and anxiety work and more. They live in their own homes. They raise children. Those disorders are very treatable.

I am finding as I get older, my kids worry more about ME and are protective of ME. Thats how it usually is. It drives me nuts...but tbigs turn around. Normally.

Too much is at stake for you, son and grandson for son to continue living like a child in your house. My guess is he is a pretty bad drug addict and not caring of anyone but himself. If anyones adult child needs a kick yours does. He is barely existing.

Maybe you should move him to a group home for the metally ill. We have many around here. Trust me, nobody is allowed to lay around all day and play XBox.

I am sorry this is happening. I do feel you have hard choices to make. The older he is like this the harder it will be when he has no choice but to care for himself. Dont let him turn 30 and still this way in your home.

Try to fid peace tonight. I wish you strength and courage and clarity.
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Well-Known Member
I read your initial post and persused the others. I would consider going to group meetings of Families Anonymous if you can find one. No doubt they have a national website. I only went to one or two, because our daughter's priimary issue is not drug related and they are largely drug related. The comraderie I noticed among the parents was wonderful.

It sounds like your son is living at home and if so, in my humble opinion, he should abide by the rules. I would make a list of rules. Perhaps not too stringent at this time, but with increased responsibility relatively soon and maybe broach the subject of a time when he will have to move out.

I would make it mandatory that he at the very least 1. Have a part time job 2. Abstain from all illicit drug use 2. No violence 3. See a therapist or counselor regularly (you can pay for this if you are certain he is going) 4. Take any medication if it is prescribed 5. Keep his room clean and have a weekly inspection 6. Bathe daily. This is in exchange for free room and board. I would up the ante in a relatively short period of time and tell him of your plan to do so ahead of time so, it is not a surprise. I would require a nominal fee to live there in perhaps three months. In about six months, I would tell him he needs to look for full time work. Work toward him living somewhere else down the road.


He certainly has drug addict behavior. You don't have to care for a high 27 yr old man child. Many people have panic attacks, depression, and anxiety. Meet my son. They can take medications,,not smoke weed and s top playing child games when he is old enough that he made a child.

Listen to the's time to give him the power to take the help to move on. Your grandson is very fortunate to have you!

He proved he can work...I'm sure he won't starve!


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I have two distant relatives (young men) and for some reason, they crossed my mind.
They do not have mental health issues (as far as I know...perhaps some minimal things) but they do have other rather significant other issues that are hampering.

One has extreme ADD, can be socially awkward and had some difficulties in school academically.
His parents encouraged him to work hard and interestingly, using the school's Special Education department, he was able to get a Master's Degree. After college, he worked a very simple job for a good five years, but then got a job in his field. It was most impressive.
The other young man, has bad case of dyslexia and I suspect suffers from mild depression.
I don't think he ever finished his BA degree, but seems to take a class here and there.
I don't want to say where he works, but he works for a large company and started in one area, but worked his way to the sales department
He works 6-7 days a week and has done extremely well.

I mention this because both of these young men seem to have rather significant burdens and both ended up doing very well. They are not married and maybe in some ways this helps. But, they have many good friends and very good jobs that they like.

Mental illness, especially the things we often talk about here is a lot trickier (like Bipolar, etc.) but, I see when it comes to work, it is possible even under difficult circumstances.

I know our son was always perfectly behaved had an extraordinarily difficult senior year in high school. I would joke that aliens came and possessed his brain. To this day, I'm not exactly sure what happened. One day, he got a part time job. OMG! It made ALL the difference in the world for him. He enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment and saving his money. He started going to the local college and cut his hours back. That part was a little tricky because it was hard for him to juggle both. He would win "employee of the month" multiple times a year. Honestly, it changed his world. It took five years, but he got his BA Degree. Today, he is a very successful employee in a professional career and interestingly, continues to win awards at work. For all started with a part time job.

A friend of mine has a Difficult Child. She had to start very slowly. She had him do volunteer work 10 hours a week. She paid him $5 an hour for this work. I think this went on for many months.I guess she is doing well financially to pull this off. But, she felt it would lead to bigger and better things down the road (and it did!)

Then they used this experience to put on a resume. He started to enjoy making money and wanted to make he was perhaps for the first time, truly motivated to work.

He got a job at a local grocery store working 20-30 hours a week and is doing very well. (He no longer does the volunteer work). It is very debatable if he could work 40 hours a week. They help him out a little with housing, etc.

Maybe if your son found a job he likes, even a PT one, he would be happier and s tronger...more able to give up his games.
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South of the Mason-Dixon Line
Speaking from experience, it sounds like your son is plying himself with weed, alcohol, misusing his prescriptions AND playing Xbox non-stop in an attempt to numb his emotional pain. I've watched my 25 year old son do the same thing and we've been going through a similar scenario for the last 4 months and on and off for last 3 years. What I'm about to say is simply from my own experience and may or may not apply to your situation:

Not sure if it's going to work for us but here's our plan:

1) he's required to see his therapist weekly and psychiatrist monthly (doing that already)

2) prescription medications go in the safe. He can have one week's worth at a time (he would also take higher than prescribed doses). We are already doing that and I see a positive change in him when he's not taking too much and then running out early.

3) in order to continue to live here, he must be in an Intensive Outpatient Program that meets 3 1/2 days per week. He's suppose to be enrolling this week but not sure if he's done so. This is been the biggest hurdle with him and he has been told it is now non-negotiable.

4) we cut off his cellphone and access to wifi at times to motivate him to take positive actions ( and, yes, he will just stay in bed and sleep. So be it.) We will cut it off long-term if necessary.

5) bathing has been an issue. When he gets too smelly to be around, I insist he showers. Surprisingly he showered two days in a row this weekend. Yea!

6) he gets no money from us except we pay for his medications (already doing this)

Depression and anxiety is real and can be very debilitating for some people. Excess sleep and not bathing are prime symptoms. However, using weed, alcohol, etc. negates the positive effects of prescription medications. And weed zaps one's motivation and energy levels. medications can help but not if they are being cancelled out by other substances. Also, the upper and downer cycle of weed, alcohol, stimulants can lead to mood swings and more anxiety and depression.

You said he's been in psychiatric hospital 3 times. Did they know he was misusing substances? Sometimes people need to be in a dual diagnosis program that covers mental illness and substance abuse. It's difficult to treat one without the other and see permanent results.

If his mental illness is serious enough, he should be able to get disability income. If not, then he needs some firm boundaries in order to live in your home. My son reacts very immaturely at times. But I have learned not to buy into his manipulation. If your son pushes the dresser in front of his door. DO NOTHING. Don't even mention it. Otherwise, he is receiving reinforcement for his behavior and according to my therapist when people are trying to manipulate you, the attention you give them can be positive or negative - it doesn't matter to the manipulator as long as they get attention and their way. So only reinforcement positive behavior.

I never want to kick my son out. But I also know we have taught him everything we can about being independent and responsible and now it's time for him to put it into practice. He can stay here if and only if he is taking positive steps toward independence. That includes working or being in a time intensive behavioral program and taking the last one credit hour online class he needs to graduate with his bachelors degree. I figure if my son can't do these minimal things because of the anxiety and depression, then he needs more intense treatment than a weekly therapy session and a monthly visit to a psychiatrist. His therapist agrees. Other than enforcing these rules, there is really nothing else my husband and I can do. As someone said in an earlier post, even in hospitals, group homes and shelters people are expected to get up and participate. Inactivity, in itself, can lead to or exacerbate depression.

It's so, so hard and I totally get the need for peace sometimes. This is a marathon, not a sprint, so do what you have to do to keep yourself going, even if it means taking a break from the chaos for a bit.

And bless you for taking care of your grandson. It's hard to take on that responsibility after we have already raised our kids but the little ones need stability in their lives more than anything and it sounds like you are providing that for your grandson.

Hugs, June


Well-Known Member
I have been in great univetsity psychiatric units three times, once for ten weeks and the other two times for two week medication adjustnents.

No matter how sick the patient is, be it schizophrenia, bipolar, depression or anything else, it is NOT healthy to stay in bed and nobody was allowed to do so. Everyone had to at least be with others in the community room. We ate in a dining room. We made our beds, changed our clothes, and there was a laundry room. We did arts and crafts and they had gyms and ping pong and pool tables and everyone had a plan in place before leaving. If somebody got violent tjey had tp spend time in a quiet rpom
Nothing but a mattress on the floor. That never hsppened to me but I felt sad if somebody was in there. But it was to calm them down.

Although insurance doesnt allow ten week stays for depression anymore, clearly sleeping all day is considered a very bad thing for mental illness and being active and social is a better choice. I never wanted to get up, but was always glad I was forced. I made friends and learned a lot about my own illness and others.

The worst way for a mentally ill person to improve is to sleep all day, especially chowing down or smoking drugs. And Miss June Bug is 100% right. Taking medication for, say, depression wont help if it is combined eith other substances, including alcohol and pot. In fact certain combos csn kill, like alcohol and Xanax together.

My hospital stay did not cure me, but taking my medications, therapy and no other substances all combined to make my life from pathetic then to good in my mid 30s to great now.

Letting grown kids with mental illness just sleep hurts their chances of recovery. If they were sent to a solid long term hospital their day would be group therapy, ping pong, pool, singing, socialiazing, eating in a group, gym, certain chores and proper medication. Nobody would be in bed all day. Good mental health treatment doesnt allow that. We didnt even wear hospital gowns...street clothes.

That has been my inpatient experiences. I was really glad I went the first time and it helped my path to wellness although it took hard work. I wish they didnt throw people out so soon today...(sigh).
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