What to do?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by toughlovin, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Well I am feeling at a bit of a loss. My son is home and is basically hiding out from us in his room. We are pretty sure he is drinking a lot although we dont know how much or where he his getting it. He is clearly depressed and of course drinking is making that worse. I think he is hiding out from us, getting up in the middle of the night etc because he doesn't want us to see him drunk. So it is not like we are having to deal directly with his drunkenness. I am glad of that to be honest.

    But he is not doing anything constructive that I can see.

    I do feel strongly that he needs to figure out himself that he needs help and want it. I cant make him get it at this point. We have been down that road. At the same time I am not sure how long I can sit by and watch him self destruct. It is heartbreaking and pathetic and I am doing all I can so that I am ok.

    My husband who hardly every says anything is also pretty concerned.

    We are not going to do anything until after New years but then I think we need to say something. But what?

    I dont want to kick him out because he is depressed. I cant make him get treatment. I can let him know we love him and are concerned but then what?

    Any ideas?

  2. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    I'm sorry you are going through this TL. I don't think I could allow him to live like that in my home indefinitely without seeing some progress or initiative on his end. The definition of insanity is doing same thing over and over yet expecting a different outcome. Why should he do anything when he is living in your home and allowed to do whatever he wants.

    He is not going to make a move to change his life; therefore you will have to make a move to change your life with him in your home. You have a right to have peace in your own home but fear of his depression and kicking him out is keeping you all in a permanent phase of limbo. Understandable.

    I would try and find another place for him to live, with a time limit for him to move. Give him information for places to get help. It's his choice as an adult to seek help and change his life or not and continue to live the way he does. Living there with you will be like ground hog day, where every day you wake up is a repeat of the previous day.
  3. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I think right after new years we are going to have to talk to him. He clearly needs structure and this is not working. I am not sure where he could live....I dont think there are many options unless he is in some kind of program. But he needs to figure something out. I think he wants to or at least part of him does.... but yeah the inertia if we dont push it may take over. Ugh.
  4. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    Maybe share a room in a house? Like rent a room. Those places tend to be cheaper then just getting an apartment. Maybe check Craig's list. My son lives in a 4 bedroom house and just pays rent for his bedroom but has shared living spaces like living room,kitchen, bathroom.

    Has he been diagnosed? Does he qualify for SSDI? Check with United Way as they have tons of information for services available, like housing, treatment programs, etc. There is also Salvation army Rehab program as well.
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  5. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    TL, I wish I had a definitive answer for you.

    One thing I do know is that many who abuse drugs and alcohol know that they have a problem, however the urge to continue using is stronger than the urge to get sober. Sometimes even hitting rock bottom isn't enough to get them to want to stop.

    I appreciate that you want to wait until after the New Year to talk with him. This gives you time to really think about and prepare what you are going to say to him. If it were me, I would take a queue from the show Intervention where the family shares with the loved one how their drinking or drug abuse affects them. I think it's important for your son to know how his lifestyle and choices are affecting you and your husband. I would make it clear that you cannot continue to live in this state of unknown and chaos. There are some hard truths that need to be told. This is of course no guarantee that he will accept that he needs help but it does set the stage for you and your husband to put some clear boundaries in play.
    There is nothing wrong with telling your son what you will and will not tolerate if he's in your home.

    I think @Ironbutterfly offered some very sound advice for available services for your son. The only thing I would add is Al-Anon for yourself.

    Sending you ((HUGS))
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    ThanksI I have been going to a great parents alanon group for the last 6 years. That is where I really learned to take care of myself and not focus on him so much. I actually had a brief conversation with him today about figuring out goals. It was in passing but it was positive. My son knows full well how we feel about his drug use and drinking. And I have no problem letting him know what i will and wont tolerate. The problem I have is making sure that any boundaries I set I can stick to and enforce. Telling him he cant drink will only make him hide it more from us....and will set up a dynamic of lying. He is 25 so it is legal fro him to drink and it is now legal from him to smoke pot.

    I absolutely do now want to go back to the days where I am searching his room trying to figure out if he is breaking our rules. I just dont want to go there.

    But I do think it is reasonable to ask him to spend some time with us out of his room, and to make and follow some goals and to show us he is looking for a job etc etc. To basically support him to do the things to make a better life for himself. I think he wants those things too but gets inertia.
  7. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    This is one of the reasons why my son can't live with us. It drives me crazy when I can smell it on him (literally or figuratively) but he denies it.

    Another problem was that my son would isolate to such an extreme. Giving him a safe place ultimately just meant giving him a safe place to drink, which meant he drank more.

    I do hear what you are saying, though, about kicking him out if you feel it won't help. It hasn't helped our son get back on track.

    But then again, having him in our home didn't help either.

    I think your plan to talk to him after the new year is a good one. I hope he is able to get things going in the right direction, for your sake and for his.
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  8. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Albatross, this is a very good point. It's so easy to think that we are keeping them safe if we allow them to live in our homes when in reality this could be the worse thing we could do for them. Of course if they set their minds to drinking or drugging they will find a way no matter where they are.
  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the comments. It really helps me think things out. I agree giving him a safe place to drink does not feel good and certainly is a form of enabling. However I know from past experience that kicking him out wont make him stop drinking. It has in the past gotten him into rehab and so he has stopped for awhile it is true.... but going to rehab to get out of the cold has not really gotten him to stop using. I have come to firmly believe that in our case kicking him out because he is drinking wont get him or us anywhere. Having my kid on the streets (especially in winter) is worse for me than having him at home. I have done that before and it was awful. If I fear for our safety I would do it again though.

    So this got me to thinking not only about his goals but my goals..... and I realize that I no longer have a goal of getting him sober. I used to have that goal..... but I have come to the point that I realize he is the only one that can want that goal... he has to want it or it is pointless. So although it would make me happy if he decided to become and work at staying sober I cant have it as a goal.

    So my goal at this point is to support him in developing a productive life. So that means getting a job, maybe going to school and moving out and living on his own. I think in actuality these are goals he has too. Now reality says he might not be able to do any of that if he is drinking/drugging. Although some people do these things while still drinking and using drugs. But that is what he has to find out. Can he live a productive life and can he do it and still drink and smoke pot? I dont know. I highly doubt it but he has to figure that out.

    Our stand with him has always been we will help him when he is helping himself. We let him come home because he took the big step to come back to the area and turn himself in and face his legal problems. That was a big step in doing the right thing and I am proud of him for that. So now we can continue with that stand of continuing to help him if he does the right thing like get a job and maybe go to school. If he continues to sit around doing nothing but drink then we may have to tell him we cant help him anymore .... I am hoping it doesn't come to that but it might.

    So anyway that is where I am today.