Turning my back was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by EarthIsHard, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. EarthIsHard

    EarthIsHard Member

    After 9 years of trying to help, we evicted our son from our house.

    Three months before his 26th birthday, my husband and I decided that having him live at home was doing him more harm than good. Over the past nine years he has struggled with heroin and meth, been incarcerated a handful of times, been through several rehabs, we’ve helped him keep his credit clean until we stopped and let him start accumulating his own bills, we’ve bailed him out of jail until we made him do it, we’ve paid for attorneys for him, until we didn’t and he used public defenders, we drove him to jobs until he was let go for his actions or past actions on his record. Everything he has been given he’s gotten rid of, every time he gets money, it’s gone. He’s abused our house, our sleep, our sanity. And yet, here I am, up in the middle of the night crying over this again.

    A 72-hour hold, PERT teams, police. Having to keep our keys, wallets, possessions in a safe, to blocking off half of the house to keep family members safe. They saw the light way before us and called the police themselves a couple times when we said, ‘wait a minute’. You all know how the story goes on and on…

    Over the past year we set limits and gave him a choice to do something, anything, to be able to continue to stay at home. We had excellent health care for him, told him to go to rehab or at least go to the psychiatrist or psychologist. We went to a couple appointments with him and he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and told there was new medicine that was pretty good, though he refused. Another choice was to at least go to meetings or get a job, anything! But he would take NO steps. Day after day, week, month, nothing. His mental illness may be primary or as a result from the drug use. My husband and I went to the NAMI program and our son even came to one because he wanted to see what was being said.

    We finally gave him eviction papers with 60 days to leave. We offered to help him find a place to live or go to rehab. He refused everything. It breaks my heart because in a moment of clarity he wrote some months back in a journal I gave him, over nine pages of talking about his poor decisions and wishing to know more about the family, ending with he is beyond the point of return. I tried so hard to help him before and after that. I admit, I really was in his business too much and gave him little privacy because I was so worried for him.

    Our son has been gone for almost 4 months now. The first month he called about every three days from a store or a stranger’s phone, then nothing. Some days and nights are more peaceful though I think of him so many times a day and some nights are so hard, now that he’s gone. I wish he would call and tell me he’s OK but it’s a selfish disease.

    In the last NAMI meeting, a presenter played this...
    R. E. M. - Everybody Hurts (Live at Glastonbury 2003) HQ

    My heart goes out to all of you and your loved ones.
    • Friendly Friendly x 9
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  2. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry for your troubles you will find a lot of support on this sight. It sounds like you have taken the right steps. When they refuse to help themselves there is not much we can do. My son has many of the same characteristics. He is bipolar but uses drugs. He is currently in jail mostly for traffic offences but 1 more seious case. He is not allowed to come here when he gets out. I will pray we both find peace and they seek help.
  3. RN0441

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

    Welcome EarthIsHard and yes it is hard!

    Your story brought me to tears and I'm at my desk and no way am I going to play the REM song that I am very familiar with.

    It took you a long time to get where you are so you cannot go back now.

    Stay strong. Hope and prayers that your son finds his way soon. I'm sure that he knows he is loved.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • Funny Funny x 1
    • List
  4. EarthIsHard

    EarthIsHard Member

    RN0441, I appreciate your comment 'It took you a long time to get where you are so you cannot go back now'. I've gone back and read it several more times when I question myself and that gives me strength. Thank you.
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    • List
  5. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I too cried when I read your post.
    This is so sad. My son used to say similar things, that there was no point because he would never "get it."

    It's such a hard call to make, whether giving them physical support is going to lead to them trying to repair their lives or lead to them using the support as a crutch so they can continue their self-destruction. With my son, we tried everything, then tried it again a couple more times for good measure, until we finally figured out that we just weren't helping.

    My son is doing very well now, but a year ago my husband and I were in that place your son is, so fearful that our son would never find his way out.

    It sounds as if you've done everything you could have, and then some, and then some more. He used it to make his situation worse, as my son did.

    We can't as parents help our children destroy themselves.

    We can't as human beings expect ourselves to take a front row for their destruction.

    It doesn't make it any less heartbreaking, though.

    Your son is now facing the reality of his choices, and the outcome is up to him, as it always has been. My prayer is that in facing his reality, he finally realizes that he DOES want to know you better, he DOES want to work his way back, and it's worth fighting for.

    By the way, such a beautiful version of that song. Thank you for sharing.
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • List
  6. EarthIsHard

    EarthIsHard Member

    Thank you for your supporting words and prayers. It's nice to hear that your son is doing very well after being in a similar situation. Gives me hope.
  7. wisernow

    wisernow wisernow

    You have done everything, everything that you could possibly do. My son as well is schizophrenic and had a drug problem. We as well had to turn him out. Finally he hit his bottom when charged with a crime. (mid twenties) It was not until then that he could admit to himself that he had both addiction and mental health issues which needed to be treated. He is now treatment compliant, and lives in group home at this time and is doing well. all I want to say is there is nothing more we could have done to help him get to that point, as sad as it is. He was convicted of his crime, put on probation and will have that record but the silver lining is that the incident finally forced him to get help. I am so sorry for your pain. Know that you are stronger than you think, and your actions while so hurtful to you, will eventually help him make some choices. Hugs to you.
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • Creative Creative x 1
    • List
  8. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I've never heard that song before. It made me cry.
  9. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Earthishard, I am so sorry for your heartache. I know the frustration of watching a beloved child go off the rails and being absolutely powerless to prevent it. It is like trying to stop a train wreck. Over, and over and over again.
    We love them and want the best for our children.
    If love could save them, we would have no need for this forum.

    I also have not heard from either of my two for months now. My home is way more stable, but that unanswerable question lingers in the back of my mind as to how they are doing.
    When I start to worry and fret, I say a prayer and ask God to watch over them.
    It calms me and helps me to pick myself up and carry on.
    I ask in faith and hope they find their way.
    We all have our journeys, including our adult children. Who knows why they are walking the path they are on.
    I just know that the choices my two were making while in my home were dragging us all in to the pit with them.

    I want to share this thought with you.

    You did not turn your back on your son

    It is his choices that you reject (and rightly so) not him.

    Addiction and drug use, would have us stay desperate and broken to perpetuate the cycle. It becomes an illness that infects everyone involved, the addict as well as family who try with all of their might to stop the insanity of it.
    The issue is, that it is up to our beloveds to figure out that the consequences of caving to addiction and drug use, are not worth using.

    I have seen the ravages of meth up close and personal. It is an insidious drug. I have also seen people overcome using. My niece in recovery told me that the best thing her parents did, was to make her leave. She said that was the only way for her to get clean.

    This testimony keeps me going on the path.

    One day, I had a talk with a nephew, who uses meth. I asked him if he knew where his cousins were. “They are finding themselves”
    He went on to tell me that I should “just build a little place for them in the back of my house.
    “If Uncle were alive, he would do it, because he loved them.”
    That stung for a moment.
    To the core of me.
    I took a deep breath and replied that I loved them too, enough to know that their using was no good for them, and affected us all so badly....

    This conversation got me thinking about how an addict thinks, and wants us to think. That our housing them, feeding them while they use is loving them.
    Addiction wants us to stay involved, entangled, giving our all.
    Addiction takes and takes and takes.
    Stealing precious time and resources, stealing our peace, joy, decimating us to despair, to the point where we don’t know what to do. To the point where we think if we stop trying, helping, enabling we are turning our backs on our beloveds.
    I am not denying your feelings, not at all. I know this feels like you turned your back on your son. It felt the same to me, when I first made my daughter leave at 18. I still go back to that moment and wonder “If I had done this, or that”
    My home had a revolving door for years between my two daughters. From them begging to come back, to rearranging our small home to fit everyone, then an episode would occur, (you know the drill) and I would turn them out.
    It was around three years ago that I finally realized my helping, was not helping. Still, there is this huge void when we reach the understanding that we have tried everything and the only rational alternative is to have our adult children leave.
    It feels horrible, like the ultimate defeat.
    All the stages of grieving rolling through like dark storm clouds.

    I understand and am so sorry for the pain of it.

    I believe in what Maya Angelou said, that words and thoughts have power.
    This is why I write to you here and encourage you to try to switch that mind frame of turning your back on your son.
    What ran through my mind in repeating those words is this.

    Turning my back on my daughters

    I turned my back on my two, every day that I walked out of my home to go to work while they feigned illness. Okay, reality check, they were ill because they were not high, tweaking, coming down. I was blind to that then. They slept all day. If a friend phoned, they were instantly cured, went out and partied. Giddy and talkative with friends, moody and unpredictable with us, they displayed unacceptable disrespect, played mind games and blame switched. Punched holes in my walls.
    They negated a “conventional life” for drugging and partying, yet, reaped the benefits of their parents working and paying the bills.
    I turned my back to the fact that their choices were destroying the peace in my home, because I thought that turning them out was cruel, that they would just get worse, I couldn’t imagine them being homeless and I didn’t want them to suffer.
    In this, I turned my back on myself. Sacrificed time and energy to try to make things right. Swallowed down the hurt as they saw my increasing resistance to their living in my home, then triangulated their father against me, as he was softer and more willing to keep trying.

    When I realized that I didn’t want to go home, because it was no longer my sanctuary and filled with the chaos of their choices........I knew I had to turn around and face the reality of the situation.
    I was forced to look at it by a hysteric episode with my younger daughter circling my home in a rage screaming and swearing at the top of her lungs.
    Talk about a rude awakening.
    That was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back.
    It was a harsh lesson, up close and personal, in living color of what was happening ....the behavior was just so outrageous, there was no alternative but to see it for what it was.
    Full blown, undeniable addiction and drug use.
    Destructive and earth shattering for me.
    For her?
    Just another Tuesday.
    That event helped me to say no, the next time she casually mentioned that she was “coming home”.
    Did I feel good about that?
    Nope, it broke my heart.
    Just as you wrote, I felt like I turned my back on her.
    But I knew I couldn’t go another round.

    She asked to come home again, right after her father passed.
    In all of my grief and vulnerability, I summoned up the courage to say no.
    Because love says no.
    I hugged her and told her that I loved her, but that she just didn’t get well at home, she needed to go to a DV shelter, or rehab.
    She stared at me in disbelief and told me it wasn’t fair.
    She was angry.
    I was already a shell of myself from dealing with two off the rails daughters, empty from the ordeal of hubs illness, hospitalization and death.
    I cried my eyes out.
    It was a loss on top of loss on top of loss.
    But I stood firm.
    By the grace of God.
    The night of hubs scattering of ashes, she decided to invite her cronies to my home, party in my backyard, then got into it (again) with her boyfriend and the police had to be called (again). It was horrendous, disrespectful and completely typical of a series of incidences we had endured over the years.

    I was left to face it without my husband.

    Enough is enough.

    There is only so much any of us can take.

    I couldn’t turn my back to it any more.

    So I turned around and faced it for what it was.
    My daughters choice to abandon the morals and values we raised them with, recklessly endanger their own lives and relentlessly try to drag us all down with them by their insistence that “family sticks together” when all along they were sticking it to us with their addiction and use.
    Using us.
    Sorry, I am venting. I am coming close to the two year date of my husbands passing.
    Reeling those tapes again is hard, but it snaps me back to understanding that it was really that bad.
    That I tried everything, like you Earthishard.
    Until the day I die there will be moments where I will be stumbling and second guessing myself, wondering if I did enough.
    That is the heartache a mother bares, when dealing with this.
    Rinse, repeat.
    Learn and grow.
    I have to remind myself that I did not turn my back on my two.
    I faced their addiction, that horrible beast and defiantly said “You may have your grip on my daughters, but you can’t have me”.
    Addiction cannot trick me anymore in to thinking that I have a say in what my adult daughters choose. It cannot trick me in to thinking that when my daughters come to me, they want help.
    But I also realize that I have to keep building my toolbox and keep my guard up over my own heart. It is a lifelong task.
    Life is short, and I want to live peaceably.
    By telling my daughters that they need to go elsewhere and get real help, I am freeing myself
    from the destruction of addiction and pushing them towards recovery.
    You did not turn your back on your son, you are pushing him towards recovery.
    We have learned, you and I, that our beloveds do not get well in our homes.
    That is a proven fact.
    So, we face that .......and fight every nurturing urge in our bones to keep trying, even though we know it hasn’t worked.
    What we have done is turn around and faced the horrible truth of addiction and drug use and said “No more”.
    “Not in my home”
    I believe that is why my daughters and maybe your son have gone no contact.
    They know.
    They know they cannot fool us anymore.
    I am hoping that this knowledge will help them to stop turning their backs on themselves.

    In the meantime, we have our own mission.
    That is to find every ounce of strength to rebuild ourselves.
    One step at a time.

    While there is life there is hope.

    So today, instead of thinking of all the terrible things that may happen to my two, I choose to wish and hope and pray for them to truly find themselves.

    I am working on my own acronyms to help me fill that void of not knowing how my two are doing.

    What I wish for them, I must strive to find in myself.
    You too, and anyone else following along.
    Be the change.

    W.isdom, I.nsight, S.elf-care, H.ealth

    H.ealing, O.vercoming, P.urpose,E.nlightenment.

    This is tough stuff, Earthishard.
    Everybody hurts.
    I am touched by music too, songs have helped me release the sadness that builds up inside.
    Bottling it all up is no good.
    Some days, I just need a good cry.
    Then I do my best to pick myself up and carry on.
    I truly believe that each time I pick myself up, I am championing the cause for my two.
    I am leading by example, and showing them there is a way out of the darkness into the light.
    Everybody hurts. It is so true.
    It is no small task to pull ourselves up and out. But we are worth the effort.
    Please take care of yourself and know you are not alone.
    Be very kind and gentle with yourself.
    Find ways to nurture your soul.

    • Winner Winner x 7
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  10. constant struggle

    constant struggle New Member

    I am a widowed mom of 2 boys, 20 and 17. Husband committed suicide last January. 17 yo accidentally shot himself in August. 2 years ago he spent a week in mental hospital for bipolar episode only to come home and have his diagnosis changed to dmdd, anxiety, adhd. No medications. No therapy. he was 16 when he shot himself so that was a felony in our state. Haven't been to court for it yet. This Christmas he was arrested for having weed and a handgun in the car when he was stopped. We have a lawyer. Last week he hit a car in the parking lot of the apartment in the middle of the night and received a ticket for hit and run because he didn't call the police and waited until the next day to try and figure out who it belonged to. Any way, we met with the lawyer last week. I could hear him asking my son when was the last time he smoked weed and then telling him to quit bullshitting him. He was told to quit smoking, don't be around it, don't sell it, get a job, go to therapy. So one week later he's still smoking. He's still selling it. He has no job and has not submitted an application. No therapy. He will be 18 in November. I am at a loss. His brother smokes also. He has a job and is in therapy. Both have ptsd. I want to send him someplace. He wouldn't stay. I want the lawyer to make him do something. Help! Ideas?
  11. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Constant, I am so sorry for all you have endured. It seems for some of us it just keeps piling up. I think if you created a thread of your own, you will get more response.
    I am in between jobs and I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. It is hard when our kids go off the rails and refuse to listen.
    Keep posting, more will come along and offer advice.
    Stay strong.
  12. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    I hate to say it but the Legal System is not always helpful. There is mental health court where he can be sentenced to treatment or a halfway house and if he is not compliant he will go to jail. There are residential treatment facilities others here have had better luck with that process. However if he does not want the help chances are he is not ready to change. It is up to him to make the decision to change, he has to want it for it to work. He may need to hit bottom and suffer the consequences of his decisions for that to happen. We have all been there and it is not easy. Your roll in this is not to enable him so he is able to feel the consequences. I am so sorry you have the need to be here. You said that he has some mental health issues. If wherever he was treated didn't meet his needs you need to seek help with someone else. It also might be helpful to go to NAMI for support and information and some counseling for yourself. Good Luck.

    Just a side note you may need to start your own post so that others will be more likely to respond.
  13. constant struggle

    constant struggle New Member

    Thank you. I started a new thread.
  14. Toomanytears

    Toomanytears Member

    Oh boy... our lives are identical. The anguish hits so deep it becomes impossible to function. I understand.
    There are so many “forks in the road” that we pray they accept the help offered. Then they don’t.
    Sometimes it helps if I actually feel anger towards him - at least it feels easier to let go momentarily and realize these are adults and it is their choice but yet when that choice lands them behind bars they are filled with deep regret. This time for us may be the last. His sentence may be longer than the years his father and I will live. I may also just write letters this time instead of physically visit. Too painful.
    Maybe if you do hear from your son, you can open communication through letters initially. If he can give you a P.O.box or a friends address that you could mail to. Just a suggestion that may help if the opportunity arises. ((Big Hugs)) to you.
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  15. EarthIsHard

    EarthIsHard Member

    Thank you so much for the thoughtful response.
    I'm so sorry to hear about your two daughters and your husband.
    I had to read your comments little by little because every word is so true.
    Re your nephew's comment of providing shelter in the back of the house, been there, done that. Doesn't work. Like you said, the no contact with our three is because "they know". I remember the last time my son opened the door to leave and I believe he knew.
    It's so helpful to know there are others who understand.
  16. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you Earthishard. It is helpful knowing we are not alone.
    I would not wish this on anyone. It is a tough journey to be on.
    I am always amazed at the kind, gentle, loving, witty and intelligent souls who grace these pages. Stay strong and keep working at your resilience. I truly believe that is the best we can do for our beloveds, stand firm and resolute and work on our own spiritual, mental and physical health.
    We will be standing as beacons- lighthouses on the craggy cliffs, guiding their way to their true selves.
  17. EarthIsHard

    EarthIsHard Member

    Too many tears,
    I'm sorry to hear about your son. That is hard.
    Unfortunately, I've been checking to see if that's where our son is too.
    Hugs to you too.
  18. Heavy hearted

    Heavy hearted Member

    I am a new member and just read your post. It hit me so hard that I had to reply. I am in the same place you are. We had to tell my son to get his belongings and go yesterday. My husband and I have been enablers for the past 4 years with my 20 year old son. Alcohol, drug use and already has a felony record, probation violation and on the road to hell. We kept hoping and hoping and hoping he would snap out of it. I remember all the good he has inside. This is a child that used to sit hours with elderly and listen to their "back in the day stories". A person who is polite and has wonderful manners. Good and soft heartened, caring and mindful. I have cried, stopped eating and a total basket case. I have a daughter and a husband that I am trying to remain strong for. None of my family knows, I can't bring myself to tell them. My heart breaks for you and I hope the road we are traveling right now gets easier. I have looked for groups that I can attend that may help me and the rest of my family get through this. My son has burned s lot of bridges with his friends. He has np where to go and no money. The thoughts of him hungry and scared are killing me. I do realize that this is all in God's plan. I just feel so hurt and like a failure as a mom.
    • Friendly Friendly x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  19. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    You are not a failure you love your son. This is his choice you can not control it. There are shelters who can steer him to more help. There are rehabs. You can find what services are available in your state and inform him.
    For you there is an article on detachment on this forum and a book by Melody Beattie called codependent no more. You can attend groups like alanon or if he has a mental illness nami. I choose to go to a concelor to help me. Others will reply soon. Hang in there! Also you might want to post in your own thread you would be more likely to get responses.
  20. Heavy hearted

    Heavy hearted Member