Tried & tried & tried


Active Member
So very sad & just totally overwhelmed tonight. My 18 year old son just got out of jail 8 days ago. 4 cops just showed up at my door & arrested him for robbery tonight. I just don't get it. I actually thought he was trying to cooperate, because he is on 2 years probation for his previous charges. Is it really so important to look cool to your friends? I honestly believe that's why he does all this. Well, he won't be looking too cool in that orange jumpsuit. I'm not paying for an attorney this time, either. As much as I love him, I am not helping him by getting him out of trouble. He will have to face the consequences of his own actions this time. Just breaks my heart seeing him taken away in handcuffs. I would rather he be locked up than hurt or killed in these streets though. I'm praying this time he learns he is not above the law.


Active Member
My whole story should be here because I've written before. You're so right, I love the support I receive here. This is where I come when I'm so overwhelmed & feel like I can't take any more. My son who is now 18, was diagnosed with-ADHD when he was 8. He did ok until around age 14, when his dad & I split & he started smoking pot with- his friends. His dad got custody taken away from me bc my son started skipping school. After that, he ran from his dad & was on the run living with- his girlfriends family (who are drug addicts & thieves.). He was finally picked up by the police & placed in Juvenile detention for 13 months. He got out of Juvenile in December, then was arrested for concealment of a firearm, possession of marijuana, & lying to the police in February. He just got out of prison last week, now this. He's going to have to serve time for this arrest, & I'm praying it teaches him he can't break the law.


Well-Known Member
My son is in juvenile prison and is due to get out in August. I hope that he has learned his lesson, but I am not holding my breath. My son was diagnosed with adhd at the age of 5. I don't think most people are aware that adhd has such a profound effect on their tendency to so easily get caught up in negative activities.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Hi Sherri, I remember your story. I'm sorry it has developed in this way. It's pretty gruesome for us parents when our kids go off to jail, I know that from my own experience. That same thing happened to my daughter last year, she got out and within a week was back in.

Here's my advice for you......there isn't anything you can do right now. You've already decided not to pay for an attorney this time, so he is going to have to face the consequences on his own. While he is 'detained' begin to put the focus back on yourself. You've been taking care of business where your son is concerned since he is 14 years old, I'm sure you are depleted, exhausted and near or at the end of your rope. Now is the time to take care of YOU. Make each day about what it is YOU want. Get yourself supported, therapy, 12 step groups, Al Anon, Families Anonymous, Parent Groups, NAMI, whatever works for you. Put effort into nourishing yourself with the things you feel nurtured by. Build up your arsenal of tools to keep yourself strong and resolved about how you will handle the calls from jail, keep them short and about what YOU want. Decide how you will handle his jail account and if you are willing or not to put money on his "books." Each day do something, at least ONE thing, that is kind and nourishing for yourself.

Read inspiring, uplifting books which will support you through this and give you the fortitude to gain not only the strength to walk through this, but bring you peace of mind and acceptance. The books which helped me the most were any book by Pema Chodron, in particular, Living with Uncertainty; The Power of Now and The new earth by Eckart Tolle and books by Brene Brown. They helped me to learn about how I could shift my own thinking so that I could move over into peace in spite of what my daughter, or in fact, anyone, is doing. Not easy, but doable. Re-read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. Keep yourself in supportive environments where YOU matter and YOUR needs are met. We get into a rut when our kids are troubled, we make everything about them and in the meantime we get burned out because all the energy goes out to them, none gets returned to us. Now is the time to correct that and bring back the balance.

Hang in there, as time goes by, this gets a lot easier. The shock of it wears off and it becomes your new "normal." In the meantime, take very good care of you. We're all here if you need us, you're not alone. We know how you feel. Sending you a big hug.....


Active Member
Thank you so much for your reply. I so appreciate the support. I will check out those books you mentioned. You are so right about how much I've focused on helping him & ignoring my own needs. I've made the decision I will support him only by taking his medications to the jail & refilling them when they are due. That's it. No paid attorneys, no Canteen... I'm looking for a support group in my area, also. I need all the help I can get. My way of thinking has always been that I was being a "good" mom by sacrificing & providing everything I possibly could for my kids. What I've accomplished is raising a spoiled brat who thinks rules don't apply to him. Just makes me sick.


one day at a time
Sherril, welcome back. I'm glad you know where you can come when things are so hard.

I'm just so sorry for this. I'm sure you were blindsided completely and that makes it all double hard.

When they are using drugs, there is no limit to the lengths they will go to, to get what they need, so they can get more drugs. It makes no sense to us. We see the full range of stupidity and digging the hole deeper and deeper, but Sherril, there isn't one single thing you can do to make him wake up and see reality today.

I'm glad you see the reality. One day, our Higher Power willing, your son will wake up and see just what he has done to his life. In the meantime, since one of you sees clearly, take that knowledge and learn how to wait. Bide your time. He will be detained, and time will go by, and he will be getting three squares, a cot and a roof, and that is a good thing. As he gets sober again, and starts to realize, he can rebuild his life. There is plenty of time for that, for him.

Right now, as RE said, start claiming some of this time every single day for yourself. Do one thing different in your daily life that is just all about you and nobody else.

Start to heal. We can't make people "get it" any faster. So....focus on you. You're worth it. We're here for you.

Big, warm hugs today.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Oh Sherril, I'm so sorry. I know how hard it is to think they are doing better only to have something like this happen.
Very wise choice not to get him a lawyer or to put money on his account while in jail.

I agree with RE, it's time for you. Do things for yourself that will bring joy into your life and do not get tripped up by any guilt.
It's not un-common to have feelings of guilt when you start to reclaim your life. I remember one of the first vacations husband and I took while my son was in jail. I talked to him on the phone and told him that dad and I were going to the caribbean. He lost it!! Started telling me how selfish I was, said "fine go off and have a great time while I rot in jail" I felt terrible but God bless my husband, he helped me to see it for what it was. He reminded me that we both have worked really hard, that we have gone above and beyond to help our son and that he made his choice and now has to deal with consequences. I remember my husband telling me, "he just wants to make you feel as miserable as he does, don't give him that power"
So you go out there and do good things for yourself.

((HUGS)) to you..........



Well-Known Member
Staff member
Tanya, I had a similar experience when I was in Hawaii one of the many times my daughter was homeless. At one point I just sat on a curb and started to cry, the overwhelming guilt and powerlessness just became too much. There I was in Paradise and the pull of my daughter's life and her choices was dragging me around. My husband said a similar thing to me and I can still recall sitting there, looking around at the gorgeous scenery and thinking to myself, "here I am on this beautiful island bumming out about something I didn't create and I can't control and it is ruining so many moments of my life." I got up, brushed myself off, dried my tears and suddenly had this determination to begin living my own life to the fullest, REGARDLESS of what my daughter was doing or not doing. There were starts and stops, a few more bumps, but I recall that as being a turning point for me.

Hang on Sherri, this WILL get better.


Active Member
Thank you all for your replies. I do agree the drug use makes everything so much worse. Everyone says "it's just pot", but it's very addicting & causes him to want to smoke it all the time. This costs money, & he will do whatever it takes to get it. And, yes, they definitely try to make us feel guilty. My son has told me "I hope you're having fun out there while I'm in jail". I was quick to remind him I hadn't done anything to get myself put in jail. I'm glad you took that vacation, Tanya, bc you're right, you deserve it.


Well-Known Member
My son has told me "I hope you're having fun out there while I'm in jail". I was quick to remind him I hadn't done anything to get myself put in jail.

Hehehe! My son wont say this to me because you're response wouldn't even come close to what mine would be and my son knows it! They do love to try and make us feel guilty for enjoying the fruits of our labor, don't they?


Well-Known Member

I am thinking about you this evening and so very sorry you are experiencing this. Yes, seeing your child taken away in handcuffs is totally heart wrenching. The police officers in our town were having trouble finding our difficult child. (This was over ten years ago). I called them one day when he was here. They appeared within minutes. My son tried to run, but they caught him. On went the handcuffs. Although, I knew I did the right thing by calling (son had stalked and harassed an ex to no end, stolen her mail, lots of stuff),still, it broke my heart. One of the officers called later to tell me our son had cried all the way to jail.

Did he stop those obsessive, intrusive, stalking ways?

No, not for years. I remember an officer at a jail in another state (where son was incarcerated for same crimes against another female), telling me, They usually end up back. They say they will change, but they do not. It is just a band aid.. And, I remember replying, Not my son. I KNOW he has learned his lesson this time.

Guess who was correct. (Not I).

Stay close to the board. Again, I feel for you and your son. It is tough. My son has not been incarcerated for many, many years. He is not a nice person to his dad and me, but hopefully, he is at least learning to live according to what will put him in jail and how he can stay free. Not close to what we pray for him, but it is a start.


Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
What I've accomplished is raising a spoiled brat who thinks rules don't apply to him. Just makes me sick.

I do agree the drug use makes everything so much worse.

My children are older than yours. What I have seen over the times they are not using is that the child I raised is still in there. When they are using, they are like strangers in the way they think and react to things and respond to us. That was a valuable thing for me to know. It helped me to understand I had not raised a child who turned to drugs because I had parented badly, but that my child was trapped in an addiction (or if not addicted, was using drugs), and that it was the addiction (or the drug use) that had changed my child.

There is a big difference.

We can let go of guilt once we get that piece about how drug use changes our children, and about how addiction turns them into cruel, manipulative strangers.

We have not failed. Our children have been trapped in something they don't understand any more than we do.

But they are still in there.

It is important for all of us, for our addicted kids too, that we let go of guilt for the way their lives are turning out. We cannot help them beat this unless we get our minds and hearts straight.

Let me change that. We cannot help them beat this. We are more likely to survive it in one intact piece if we get our hearts and minds straight.

Until we let go of guilt, we enable. We find ourselves trying, again and again, to make up for something we did not cause and so, cannot change for them. Recovering Enabler tells us that we can know when we are enabling because we will resent what we have given or done for them.

I found that to be true.

Enabling is an ugly, vicious circle of martyrdom, self-aggrandizement, manipulation, and resentment. We fall into it so innocently, when someone we love is addicted or ill. Over time, the culture set up when we fall into enabling makes it impossible to love our troubled or addicted people or ourselves. We begin to lose faith in ourselves and our people. We begin interacting with them by rote. The problem becomes the focus of our relationships with them. We begin not to remember what it meant to love them from an open heart.

At least, that is what happened to me.

But addiction is not a thing we can overlook or positive think our way out of. Child of Mine describes it as a terminal disease. I would agree with that. We have come within a hair's breadth of losing both our children. But helping did not help. Not helping did not help, either.

Wanting her children and her life back. That is what helped our daughter.

And only she could do that.

And she could only make the changes she needed to make, she could only be strong enough to face it all down, because there was no one there for her, or for her kids, but her.

Our son took back the reins of his life and his self respect and his respect for us, when we stopped encouraging or allowing dependence. There was a strange dynamic happening in our family. I don't exactly understand it yet, but it had something to do with our daughter's problems and the skewed reward / attention / abandonment thing that happens when one child has problems and the parents' attentions are focused on those.

I think that is true, but I don't really know.

They say it is very hard to see our own situations.

My son has told me "I hope you're having fun out there while I'm in jail".

Next time, you might say: "I am not going to have as much fun as so and so, because though I will be on vacation, it hurts me deeply that your life has taken this turn. So and so was not living with that kind of hurt, when she went on vacation. But I am. You know I love you. I am your mother. I want the best for you, always."

Really, what else is there to say?

You do need to get away, Sherril. D H always took me away. I never once wanted to go. He was correct in his thinking. We need to be away from the helplessness and the hurt and the rage of what is happening to our families.

It helped me, when I could not get away even if we went away, to watch the sun rise. Something about connecting to the rhythms of everything that is, and something about gratitude and connection with all the moms ~ the new moms, the moms like me, the moms nothing like this ever happened to.

Also, if you haven't begun one, a gratitude journal helped me very much.

Sarah Ban Breathnack's Simple Abundance is very good for seeding gratitude.

Leonard Cohen's "Halleluiah" can unwind my heart a little, when I am too tightly wound to know how to help myself.



Active Member
Thank you so much for this. I'm sorry you went through this with your children, but happy to hear they are now leading better lives. Sadly, I can still see the kind and loving boy I raised when he's off drugs an away from his friends. Addiction truly changes his whole demeanor.
The officer who arrested my son told me the same thing you did: he has to want to be helped before I ( or anyone else) can help him. I can only pray that facing these charges will convince him he has to make some changes. But only he can do this, I can't do it for him.
As for guilt, I have a lot of it. I often wonder if he might have turned out better if I had been stricter & made him take more responsibility . I guess that's something I will never know.

I know you're right. I wish I could get away. I'm a single mom though, & work 2 jobs to pay the bills. I am planning on taking a vacation in August though. Just me & my daughter. I do go down to the beach sometimes, just to relax. Like your sunrises, watching the tides roll in helps me to relax and regenerate. I love your suggestion of a gratitude journal. Despite all this, I have much to be thankful for.