This is how he is-just when I think he's progressing, he changes...


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So difficult child has been going about his business-sleeping at the homeless shelter, getting random drug tests, breathalyzers twice a day. Has a job at a call center that is willing to hire felons. Hasn't started it and doesn't have any intention of doing so. Just doesn't want that life.

He has also been abusing prescription drugs that he was given by doctors AND by other guys in the shelter, just for kicks. Everyone in the shelter does it, apparently. Gets a kick out of fooling the professionals in the community mental health program. Did drugs in jail-I was foolishly unaware of this until I went to visit him in Colorado in July.

So he really hasn't been sober for months but has been pretty convincing so probably not a lot of people knew. Because he has a diagnosis of Schizoaffective disorder ( I think he's a sociopath) he is conniving and manipulative and if he DOES think he is under suspicion, he will ramp up the paranoia (mostly acting, but some truth to it.) and get off scot -free.

He kept saying he was losing it and hated the life he was leading. Sick of the drugs, the poverty and hopelessness. I told him he was the only one who could change it.

He is on 3 years probation and I have never thought he would make it that long. Yesterday he called and said he was in a bad place and was thinking of relapsing. We had a long chat and he said that he understood the possible consequences (prison) but accepted them because he hated being sober. I insisted that he acknowledged the responsibility of his actions. He went back to his friend's house.

This morning I texted him to see how/where he was. He told me that he was on his way to the Mexican border with a buddy and they couldn't remember how they got there. I went ballistic at his stupidity. Then he told me he was joking and never thought I would fall for that joke. I was appalled at his cruelty.

He told me that he was, however, that he was going on the run. Not leaving the state, but essentially going to stay with a friend who was in a house where he wouldn't be found. Didn't want to conform and prison didn't really scare him as much, as he would rather do time and get it over with than be tied to a probation he couldn't adhere to.

So now, yet again, I have to adjust or really retrain my brain to understand the nature of my son. He and I keep having to come to the realization that it is HIS life, HIS choices and MY life and MY choices. The twain do NOT have to meet.

Not sure what I'm asking for. Just processing as I write. Feel a weariness that I have to keep dissecting my attitudes and philosophy towards the whole situation and that I will have to worry about what will happen. Not excessively or obsessively, but just that nagging feeling that it will still mostly go pear-shaped. But it probably would have done anyway...

Am never going to be free of this. But with that knowledge also comes a deeper level of acceptance and that is kind of liberating. Does that make sense to anyone? He is going to live his life in this criminal and reckless state until it stops or he changes -for better or worse. And so I must live mine in my own way.

Sorry this was such a novel. Thanks to anyone who got this far. Let the re-learning begin!


Well-Known Member
Can't speak for anyone else, but it makes sense to me.

Didn't he tell you this is what he wanted his life to be like, that he didn't want sobriety?

He isn't ready yet. That doesn't mean he will never be ready. But right now, he's not.

Do something scrumptiously delightful for yourself just as soon as you can :) We are all holding your hand.


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Thanks. MWM DID tell me that! And I felt so relieved, like I could FINALLY get a free pass to a bit of sanity.

That revelation DOES pop into my head a lot, like a mantra-"He is happy living like this-I cannot help him. Acceptance is the KEY".

Then he will call with some news about an epiphany he has had about his past behaviors, or some plan that his P.O or therapist has and he likes it. So I start to think that maybe he is turning a corner, which brings about a shift in MY thinking.

But I REALLY just need to remind myself, "Give it 5 minutes and it will change." and I'm usually right.

The head games and his inability to see anything to the end (Unless he gets picked up by the cops-THAT usually ends things for him, haha) just keep me confused and subsequently weakened...

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Blackgnat, you have made amazing progress.
I am proud of and for you.

I'm sorry. That your child chose this path -- as did mine -- is heartbreaking. But here we both are, blackgnat, standing up, learning to cherish our lives.

I read yesterday that we can change our self talk by viewing our hearts as healthy, and strong, and brave.

Walking with you.

Right there beside you.

One brave heart to another.



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There is something just really confusing when we have to accept that people we think we know, people we think should know better act in ways we dont really understand. In ways that make no common or good sense to us. I have yet to figure out how to just adjust my life to that. I think maybe its because I have issues plus I am so surrounded by confusion that I cant tell up from down sometimes.


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Staff member
Blackgnat in one of your last posts you mentioned that your son told you ALL he wanted from you was to love him. Seems your son knows what he wants and is going to do it no matter what. Our kids are very different, they abide by their own counsel which has little to do with ours. I have found quite a bit of solace in letting go of judgment and comparisons where my daughter is concerned, it makes MY life a lot better. They are who they are. In your case your son told you what he wants from you, to love him. Let the rest go. It won't ever make any sense to you, or to me, but it does to them....................

I read once that the three guidelines to leading a more peaceful life were to let go of judgments , comparisons and our attachment to outcomes. It made a lot of sense to me and it works! (not so easy to do, but worth having as a practice!)


Active Member
As always, thanks for the comments and replies.

I guess I'm confused because it was like he was asking for permission, or warning me that he was going to "relapse"-he hasn't even really been sober-and then after about 40 minutes he says, "Well, ma, I have to be honest, I've pretty much decided I'm going to do it anyway. I don't want to let you and Dad down but I'm just not going to survive the next 3 years sober. I don't want to. I'm glad you are 1,000 miles away so you can't see what a disappointment I am to you".

The next day his theme was a little more cocky-probably because of the substances he had ingested. He said, "The die is cast". So it was a no going back attitude. Nothing else for me to do but accept it.

It doesn't help that his exgf's mother texted me several times today, saying she was worried about him , as he hadn't contacted her and that she had been in touch with him a lot over the last few days and that he wasn't doing well, mentally. She said "I'm just stressed about our kids".

I replied that she shouldn't do that with mine and that I cannot control him but only hope that he made safe choices. I don't want to tell her what I know. I don't get why she is so hell bent on adding to her stress by involving herself in MY son's life-isn't her daughter's shitstorm chaotic enough for her?

Or does she just have a bigger heart than I do? I don't even, on many levels, want to hear about my OWN kid! I mean I THINK I have largely got past the stage of wanting to torture myself with all his details and "truths". Couldn't take on another one at the same time!


Active Member
So difficult child called me on Thursday to tell me that he's "turning himself in" and they're sending him to detox.

I think he's going to lose all he has gained -bed in the homeless shelter, participation in the community mental health program-and may be sent to PRISON. He has certainly violated his probation. All for the sake of a few cheap thrills, drugs and booze.

And he said "Yeah, ma, I know I have impeccable timing" because Thursday was also my birthday.

Sorry, I know I'm feeding the beast here. I guess I'm just venting. That feeling of impending disaster, it's really just ME taking on HIS feelings. Such a draining thing, having to take two steps forward and one step back.

Just sayin'.


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Staff member
Happy belated Birthday BG, I hope you got to celebrate it in some fashion for yourself...........

Sorry about the newest developments. Sending kind thoughts and hugs.........


Active Member
Thanks, guys. I feel just so damned sad today. I spoke to difficult child about an hour ago and he is out of detox. the community program and his P.O. have put some stricter requirements in place-he told them he was living with his dad ( a lie-I guess he lost his bed in the homeless shelter) and they want him to check in daily, with his father present so they can ascertain that difficult child is really there.

But difficult child told me, "Ma, I accept that I am destined to go to prison. I would rather do that and get it over with than to live the way they want me to.I know I'm saying this now and when I'm in the fire, I might be singing a different tune, but right now, I'm sick of probation. I am staying with a friend and I'm just going to keep hidden for as long as I can. If you don't hear from me then you know that I've been arrested. I don't give an eff any more. I love you and I'll think about you and I'll always be your son (?) I just hope you don't die while I'm in there (again, ?)"

I said " Well, we've had this conversation and I guess you have made your decision. You are a man. I hope I don't die when you're in there, too! And don't YOU die when I'm out here". Just a bit of gallows humor to lighten the mood.

I am bopping around like a pinball between feeling sad and then feeling acceptance. God knows I don't want him to go to prison, but it's HIS choice. The acceptance piece almost feels like an ABSENCE of feeling-if that makes sense? I wonder if I have sociopathic elements, or whether I've just been through so much of this guano for so many years, that I'm incapable of experiencing the true impact of the idea?

Why would anyone CHOOSE this? Is he THAT dead inside? That's what makes me sad. But I guess that part will never change. I feel like I'm truly saying goodbye to him. Like I'm sending him off on a journey or something and it can never go back to the way it was-which is a good thing!-like a rite of passage. I have felt a BIT like this before, like when I left him in Colorado. Or those two times he lived with his father in Texas. Or the time I sent him to live with my sister in Europe. Yep, I have definitely done this before. But this time it feels different. Heavier. More final. Sigh.
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Or am I giving MY role in this TOO MUCH IMPORTANCE? I think that's it.

Still in too deep, really, but I'm tons better than I used to be. It's just that things always develop with these difficult children that just blindside you.

So I really need to get that it's not ME that's "sending" him anywhere. Nothing to do with my choice and it hasn't been for a while. He really is owning this and maybe that's what is throwing me for a loop.

Sorry guys, I know I'm all over the place, but am just processing as I type...


one day at a time
Only have a minute but here is one suggestion: take 10 minutes and start a timeline of his actions and your help starting way back when.

You will see you have tried and tried and tried. You have done all anybody could ever do and more.

It's up to him now. Warm hugs. More later.

Sent using ConductDisorders mobile app


Active Member
Blackgnat, I hurt for you as I read what you have been going through. I wish that I had some "words of wisdom" which could make it hurt less. A mantra that has stuck with me when my difficult child has been at her lowest lows (the suicide attempts) is simply, "Let go, or be dragged." It is a Zen proverb that I read somewhere -and the imagery is so vivid to me. I also often think of a quote that one of the beautiful souls on here shared (was it Recoveringenabler? Or Cedar? Or Child of mine?) And that is: "You did not cause this, you cannot control this, & you cannot cure this." Thinking of you right now and sending prayers for you and your difficult child.


one day at a time
But difficult child told me, "Ma, I accept that I am destined to go to prison. I would rather do that and get it over with than to live the way they want me to.I know I'm saying this now and when I'm in the fire, I might be singing a different tune, but right now, I'm sick of probation. I am staying with a friend and I'm just going to keep hidden for as long as I can. If you don't hear from me then you know that I've been arrested. I don't give an eff any more. I love you and I'll think about you and I'll always be your son (?) I just hope you don't die while I'm in there (again, ?)"

BG, this sounds like a whole bunch of manipulation to me. I know they can sound so sincere when they are sometimes talking. I know that. It gets us confused. Maybe they DO REALLY MEAN what they are saying THIS TIME? Maybe this time they are really being honest. We can drive ourselves nuts with this parsing of their every word. But BG, this is bs. He is doing what he has always done. Yes probation is hard. My son is on two levels of probation right now and it's hard. Well, that's too bad. You created this mess, and either you will deal with it or you will be back there. What is harder? Being in jail or dealing with probation. I have no sympathy for this.

The acceptance piece almost feels like an ABSENCE of feeling-if that makes sense?

Yes it most certainly does. I think your response to him was right on the money (your gallows humor). Yep, that's tough. I hope you don't either. Your choice, son.

This is detachment with love. It feels empty. It is not punitive or mean. It is flat. It is almost like nothing. It is a distance between you and him, this young man that you ache so much for something GOOD for. It is up to him and no one else, BG. Keep your distance so you can stay okay.

Why would anyone CHOOSE this?

He is allowing his disease to rule him. That is HIS CHOICE. Not prison or probation or homelessness or no job or running or the police or being hungry. He/your son/my son are allowing their disease to be in charge. Until they decide they don't want their disease to be in charge, this is the way it will be.

Or am I giving MY role in this TOO MUCH IMPORTANCE?

Yes. Absolutely yes. This is so not about you. This has nothing to do with you. The constant calls and Oh Mom this and that, that is truly heaping abuse on us.

The very clear answer is already there. They know what it is. They just don't want to do it.

This has nothing, nothing, nothing to do with you. He's not doing this to you. He is doing it to himself, and he's calling you to get your sympathy for it all.

Create some distance, BG. Let the fire burn out. Take care of you. That is truly, finally, the only power you really have. And it is so very hard to do all of this. Believe me, I know how hard it is.

Warm hugs for you and for all of us. Let's stop and give ourselves a BIG HUG, right now. We deserve medals.


Active Member
Thanks for your replies, as always!

Tryagain, I really appreciate your input-I LOVE the "Let Go Or Be Dragged" phrase. To me, it's kind of the ultimate survivor call! It REALLY grounds me, so I thank you for all of your kind thoughts and prayers .We all have to keep searching for those inspirational words that lead us back to the Happy Place ...

COM-wow. You gave me SO much food for thought that I can't say a lot more than THANK YOU! I will process your post later, but already know that it will help me change my attitude towards my difficult child. In a good way. For ME!


Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Blackgnat, there Is no mother, anywhere, who comes through raising a difficult child child unscathed. I think there comes a time for each of us though, when we begin to see through the patina motherlove wraps around our children. And when that happens, it's like we are fighting to know the truth of what we see so we can respond in a healthier way and popping ourselves back into denial in the same instant.

We go numb.

But at the same time, there is a desperate sense that time is running out, that a trap is about to be sprung, that our child is in mortal danger.

I can remember difficult child son coming home and looking like this grown up man.

Disconnect, again. This was not that little boy I saw in my mind's eye....

I would search for my son in that stranger's eyes.

I think that's why traumatized moms post so often about the mindlessness or emptiness in the eyes of our difficult children.

We are always searching their eyes for the truth of who this person is that looks a little like our child.

I think we cannot bear to see the truth of it.

Back into denial we go.

Very lonely, to do that.

Heartbreaking, and we let it slip away
without comment.

After all, it's not about us, it's about saving the child, right?

When that first started happening to me, the truths that were breaking through were so impossibly ugly that I wondered what was the matter with me, to be thinking such horrible things about my own child. I wondered whether this heartless, clueless, angry person was who I'd really been all along.

Maybe all that wonderfulness was just a pose...and maybe that's why this happened.


Back into denial, into fixing and enabling and taking responsibility for choices I never made and would never in a million years condone.

It's a process, blackgnat, and it takes time. We are learning how it is possible to love someone we have learned we cannot trust and do not understand.

It is our own child we are in this kind of crazy, discordant relationship with. I found myself superimposing the face of my child when he was young, before everything went wrong, over the face of the grown man.

And that led to all kinds of wrong responses on my part.

It was such a weird time.

I knew I was doing that, but I didn't let myself know I was doing that at the same time.

It was such a desperate feeling.

I don't know whether you can see it blackgnat, but I see incredible change in you, in how you are interpreting your son's role and your own. These feelings are a normal, welcome, vital step along the way to being able to see our children as separate from us.

I am always posting about my belief that there is some genetic something at work within us that prevents us from letting go of our kids until they are okay in the world. I think this is the part of us responsible for showing us the toddler's face, or the young adolescent's face, when the "child" in trouble is really 40 or 50 or 60.

There was a murder in our town, night before last. A thirty something son stabbed his 71 year old mother to death.

We really are not playing games, here.

It is crucial that we learn to see the truth about what is happening to our kids -- and to us.

How much different is it, really, to spend our lives, our strength and youth and treasure on the things that interest an addicted child than to have that same child actually take our lives?



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Hi guys-just wanted to update. difficult child went into hiding, then changed his mind. He went into detox, went back into the system and was given more stringent restrictions. He then got caught out in a lie (something to do with his medications) and decided he was really in trouble and went back into hiding.

Sorry this is so jumbled, but I was getting the info from a mixture of short texts and calls. Not too much detail (and that's OKAY, lol) but just enough to sow some seeds of wtf? in my subconscious mind...

He did confess that he's back with the exgf. NO SURPRISES THERE. Loves her and wants to marry her. ( Jerry Springer? Story for ya!) Guess they are living together.

Texts last night from girlfriend's ma. Says she is sorry but she wanted me to know he had fallen off the wagon and was highly intoxicated. She asked me not to tell him she told me. Says she knows her daughter won't have a happy ending but that she truly loves my son and can't seem to stop fighting for him.

I told her that fighting for him will only drain her. That I have gone beyond what any sane person would do, in order to help him and yet he still returns to the things and the behaviours that he knows will kill him. That if she could crack the code, have at it and I thanked her for all her help.

I got the feeling she thinks I am being complacent about him and have given up. I have, but not in an abandoning way. In an acceptance way.I just CAN'T see how he's going to change. He ISN'T. THIS is who he IS. THIS ALL WORKS FOR HIM!

How can she not see this? Especially when her daughter is so similar to my son? Why does she feel that she should still be so invested in him? Is this a thinly-veiled criticism of ME? What does she see that I don't see about this situation?

Any and all comments are welcome, as always.