What to say.....


Active Member
so last night, I decided to check his email. Of course this was right before heading to friends for the evening... why do I pick such bad times??? Anyway, it looks like lots of e trmsfers and I'm pretty sure he is dealing again. He hasn't had a real job in over 18 months. I am not naive, there is no way his "under he table" job with the mechanic is paying enough. In the fall he had his student loan so we knew he had money from that, and according to his email there were no transfers.... then he quit. Almost immediately the transfers started up. Some familiar names from his addiction days... when he was using harder drugs.

I had been thinking he was "off" again. He has quit school, and we haven't heard much from him since Xmas break. When I did talk to him, I could feel something wasn't right.

Sitting last night at our friends, their two boys are the exact ages of ours, they were raised together, we did everything as families, trips, hockey, weekends... very very close. Growing up these boys were essentially their best friends. Two oldest lived together first year university, both got into drugs but their son choose to get clean, and he is now working, almost done his computer science degree, great girlfriend... etc... youngest struggled too but he is now in engineering, great girlfriend, you get the idea. They were both in and out that night, and my heart hurt seeing them so happy and doing so well. What did we do different?????

So, we plan on confronting him today. I don't believed in pretending it isn't happening. We will tell him no use of any of our cars, including the one his brother has for work. He sometimes used it when brother wasn't. I was so angry last night I was ready to tell him to move away.... go away. We live in a fairly small city and I am a teacher and know so many people. I often feel when people see me "they know". Gossip is the fabric of small towns....

I'm sick of feeling like this. If he chooses to continue this , then I want him to go far away....

I feel like a bad mother, I'm so sick of him. He was given every damn opportunity and privilege in life. He is smart and capable.... there are no excuses anymore for his choices.

I know he probably will deny it all and make up some stupid excuse. But I'm done.

I'm so done.

Any advice before we speak to him?

My poor husband is on the brink of depression, he has never struggled before . I feel myself becoming bitter and angry. I don't want to be around my friends anymore , it actually hurts my heart to see how well their kids are doing , I know that sounds terrible, inwoiod never wish this upon any of them, I just feel like I can't handle the pain, so easier to stay away.


Well-Known Member
I think it's best to sit him down and tell him what you know rather than give him a platform to lie. Then be very confident of the consequences. You are not bargaining with him so what he thinks should happen (in his favor of course) is a waste of time and drags out the drama.

Having a heartfrlt.conversation with a drug addict is setting yourself up for.lying, false words that make you feel guilty, and, when all else fails, his false accusations about why this is your fault. Why go there?

He probably never stopped this behavior and less words, calmly spoken, has always worked best here. Talking it over is a recipe for lies and drama and fists through the wall. Even violence.

I would handle it this way with what I now know.

1.(words to son) This is what we know. (Ignore his anger and denials or blame. Don't address it. Then when he is crying for himself or rages out...)

2. Calmly, very calmly, your voice hardly above a whisper so that he has to be quiet to hear you, say only and with confidence, the consequences.
That's all you need to say. Drug addicts are defensive and dishonest. Your words are the only truth between you ywo. Get up and walk away after confidently spelling out your consequences.

He will rail against you, scream, abuse you. Irrelevant unless he starts to scare you. Then you calmly, always calmly, call the police.

Protect yourself.

Do not look at other addicts that quit, except to reassure yourself it's possible to do so. How did you cause this? Did you shoot needles into your arm in front of him? Hold him down and inject him? By 16 or 17 they do what they want and usually peers have way more influance than lame old mom. Or old fart dad.

If he quits it will be because he is tired of the life and wants to quit. That's it. PERIOD.

Short, sweet and without that timidity in your voice. And anger is useless too. We can tell them we are angry, but if we tell and scream too, we are no example...we are them. WE don't think WHILE YELLING and we'll probably sound as insane as they do. I know. I used to do that once. But I learned.

Therapy greatly helped me. I highly recommend it or Al Anon. Or both. You get empowerment with allies.

Please please do what needs to be done for you. Then try to have a good day in spite of your son's decisions. He is not you. You are not him. His deeds do not blight you. But you can't stop him either. You can only protect your home, your castle, your sanctuary...in a way that you see fit and are willing to enforce. Turn to loved ones and friends who can truly love you back.

Hugs and love.
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New Member
I agree with Somewhere Out There. My 29 year old son came to stay with us for a couple of weeks while waiting to get into yet another In Patient program. He had been doing well for many months and I was fully supportive throughout. After 10 years of dealing with his addiction, I finally had some hope. The weeks turned into months and he withdrew his name from the program he was waiting for, deciding to go to a sober house instead. However, over the past several weeks he has begun using again. He knew the rules about staying here and now has to leave. It has been a struggle but I cannot tolerate/enable his bad choices. I have spoken to his counselor and his probation officer and am hoping they will mandate another inpatient program so he will have someplace to go. I planned to drop him off at a shelter yesterday but it turns out you need an intake appointment first. He has one for tomorrow.

My son says his relapse is part of the process, but from experience, this is just the beginning of a long downward spiral. He has done this over and over and it doesn't get better until he lands himself in jail again. I'm not willing to go through that again while he ends up stealing from us and continues to bring his suppliers to our home. We live in a small condo complex where everyone watches out for each other and I don't want problems here.

I say all that to let you know you are not alone and that your story sounds very similar to ours. I have also learned that the less you say, the better. As SOT said, stay calm, state your point, and don't get dragged into a debate. They will turn everything around, blame you, accuse you, attack you at your core. The toughest problem is they know you love them far more than they love you or themselves and will manipulate you anyway they can. You don't have to defend or explain yourselves. Stay strong and please let us know how it went.


Well-Known Member
Wow. Great follow up post.

Seriously, and this hurts us all, myself included, we do love them much more than they love us. Drugs causes a lack of empathy. My once drug addicted daughter has told me,"Honestly, Mom, when you use drugs, that is all you think about. In some cases this also means pot, if one can't function without it."

There are other reasons for them to hurt us by not loving us as much as we them, and this is shown by their deeds. They can suffer from early insecure attachment due to infant/toddler neglect, orphanage life (I have one of those), mental illness that may play mind tricks with them and personality disorders such as borderline, narcicism, and antisocial.

We love more.

How sad to articulate it but we give them far more than they give us and in our way we are always there for them.

When I had a serious truck accident and it was very severe, my three normal kids rushed to my side. My disordered son did care, did called a lot for information, but he did not come. He is a few states away but..for something like this I would have flown in to be there for him if the situation had been reversed. My son has even money to have come but he chose not to come.

We do love them more than they love us. We hate it, but it's true. They don't have normal empathy and seem to gravitate to us for what we can offer them, not because they love and worry about us as we age.

Some will kill us making us worry.

We are in our 50s, 60s and 70s and they still seem oblivious to the fact that their behavior and disrespect could harm us. Are they with us when we are sick?

True love goes two ways but not with our adult kids who brought us here. They are different than normal adult children. That is partly why they dont.listen to us. They don't value us as we value them. And they are hateful in word and deed.

Very sad. I am sorry to all.


Well-Known Member
I'm pretty sure he is dealing again.
The reality is, what can you do? If this is his choice, and he is an adult, he is on his own. I think you are seeing that.

I think you have achieved a great deal in your time here on the forum. Seeing with clear eyes, recognizing the limits of your role and responsibility.

What has not yet happened is the understanding that this is not about you. Not a reflection on who you are, nor a reflection of your parenting. I struggle too with this.
What did we do different?????
Not one thing. The end of the story has not been written yet, by your son. By your own choices he is now having to take full responsibility. You are doing everything right, as I see it. If he chooses to self-destruct he will have to do it without your help.

The key change for you now is to work on your own sense of culpability and responsibility; and the shame you seem to feel for his behavior, that it somehow reflects on you.

It does not.
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Echo Colleen...small town...I struggle to be with " normal" families...he is testing clean now...but we have a road...and resentment drags on.



New Member
Thanks very much, SOT and good words Coleen, Copa and mof. My son and his brother (who is also an addict) stressed their father out so much and I'm not saying there wasn't some family history, but he died of a sudden heart attack three years ago at the age of 58. They may feel guilt but it didn't slow their drug use down, nor give them a wake up call. And now they are doing the same thing to me.

Realizing and holding onto the fact that this is not a reflection on the parent, nor the parent's job to fix it - because that is impossible is what we all need to do. It is a knee jerk reaction to think we may be the cause and the cure, but that is false. I ran into some people outside of Walmart yesterday collecting money for a Christian rehab. The man reminded me my son is in God's hands and He will bring him back. Now, if you're not a believer, then this won't mean much, but his words certainly helped me for the moment.


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

I too have friends with sons our sons age and hate myself that I feel like you do and ask what we did wrong and cringe when their sons are around or they talk about them. My husband feels the same way. We'll have the discussion on the way home in the car. We are all good people. It's not our fault. I blamed myself for many many years. My husband and I blamed each other too. We don't do that anymore.

Like everyone says and you KNOW, you cannot control what he does. He is doing what he wants to do. Period. Hard to understand and believe. I know it is. It's all disgusting really. My son is far away and I like it. Does that make me a horrible mom? I don't think so and I don't really care anymore. Our son is doing much better away but I don't know what his day to day life is like and I don't want to know. I block him from any contact with me when he upsets me. I do it for a month or so or however long I feel like doing it. This upsets him. Good.

Not sure how things went with your discussion with your son. Let us know.

Mintchip so sorry for the loss of your husband. Our Difficult Child don't see how much they hurt us or stress us. That is why I have changed. I can't let what he does control my feelings and mood anymore. I do believe in God and I thank God that I found this forum and that my husband and I were able to do what we did to get our son away from us and on his own where he has accountability. I am SO very thankful for that each and every day and I am humbled.


Active Member

We didn't end up confronting him on our suspicions, as he currently has no phone with which to contact him, and we called his landline to no answer. I finally got ahold of him via Instagram, and basically said to him that we hadn't heard from him in a while, were worried, hoped he was making good decisions and was getting health. He replied "I am trying".....

Maybe it's for the best I couldn't get ahold of him that night or next day, as I was so angry I would have said some terrible (however true) things to him. I don't know what the answer is in this case. He isn't living in our home, he isn't asking for money, or being disrespectful to us, so maybe we just leave it as it is. I do want to say to him at some point, that I am not stupid, and have an idea of how he is living.

It's my grandmothers birthday tomorrow and he adores her, so he may come out of hiding to have the family dinner. Probably not the time to confront him.

I am seeing a counsellor, who is very good, and wants to work with me on my issues with "blending" with my oldest son. He knows me, and I can't really hide behind a mask with him. As much as I hate going to the district counsellor, he is very good, and there is no limit to how long I go, as it is free for all teachers. I already feel like I'm more emotionally stable just admitting to him my issues.....

I am trying to purposefully focus on my own life, my time with my husband and friends, and my work. I have mothered for the last 22 years, and I am tired out. It's time to focus on what I can do.

I dont' know what I would do without these boards, and you all to bounce all my "anger and emotions" off when I feel like I'm going to blow!!!

Hugs to all of you.....xoxo


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

Great that you have connected with a counselor and that you already feel better. I have been going since June myself and recently reduced it to once per month as things have calmed down and I've calmed down too! It feels good for me to bounce my thoughts and fears off someone that is neutral yet educated in the field of addiction.

It is probably good that you couldn't contact him that day. I think things happen for a reason. Not much we say makes a difference anyway and they say what we want to hear - if we're lucky.

We had a FaceTime with our son last night and he looked greasy and unshaven. I don't know why he doesn't take better care of himself. By text after the call I asked him to please take better care of himself and CARE about himself. Probably won't do a bit of good but glad he isn't living with us. When he did that before it made me CRAZY. I don't know if it's immaturity or him not really liking himself or what causes the lack of hygiene. When he was a boy he used to really care about his looks and how he dressed and took time with his hair and now he is 100% not like that and I hate it. He likes nice things but you can't put lipstick on a pig.

On the upside he is working and likes it and taking one class which is very expensive since we're still paying out of state tuition but at least getting his feet wet. He really likes that too. Maybe I should count my blessings. I don't know.

I think letting go of who we want them to be is important for our own mental health and I'm trying every day to do that. It's hard.


Active Member
What is up with the "dirty" look? Like seriously?????

I don't get it...and they have no idea how it makes a statement to others about the fact they don't care, at all, about anything. If you can't even look clean, what else matters?

I know that sounds superficial, but it's true. Our appearance sends a message, and people do judge.

Snow day for us today, enjoying my alone time and not being pulled in ten different directions at school. We have some really tough cases at school this year (every year) and I am tired. My job takes so much emotional energy, and with my home life being difficult these last four years, I am trying to find some balance. I can't keep the pace up. That is one of the things my counsellor wants me to work on with him. He sees it in many teachers, who have to give so much at work emotionally, and when home gets difficult, they can't sustain it. I am sure it's true for all professions...when your child is an addict, no job is easy, ever. However, any of the "caring" jobs take an extra toll for sure. Working with emotions all day is exhausting. I fight to keep myself from getting emotional with the kids whose stories really break my heart. I guess its good it still matters, it's when I stop caring about my students that I have really gone into "Burnout". I don't want to go there. I have experienced that a few years ago, when our son was at his peak and I had zero experience in how to deal with it besides crying and not sleeping.

I am stronger. I know that. I just have to hope he finds his own strength and finds his way out of the dark. I have spent enough time in there with him, and I am finally leaving....I can't help him out, it ends up being just the both of us wandering around and lost. Time for me to leave him, and let him find his own way out.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
I don't know. It is gross. I have never been attracted to anyone that doesn't have good hygiene personally - male or female. I keep a very clean home etc. I don't know where he got this from. Plus he delivers food. Seriously I think that alone would make him want to look better. I have had the conversation many times about appearance etc. His girlfriend tells him the same thing too. He's a handsome guy when he cleans up.

I had a horrible female younger boss (still think she's bipolar) after a promotion right when my son started to go downhill. I handled it for a year and then went into our VP, my former boss, and broke down and told him I needed a transfer. He is the one that hired me originally and had never seen me like that so it happened immediately. I knew if I had to handle "her" and my son that I would have a nervous breakdown and I'm not exaggerating. But I'm sure having to be in a job such as yours is even harder and I cannot imagine anything harder than what I went through.

I hope for your son and mine also. It is a long and hard road and we don't know the outcome. I feel chances are good that my son will never be the person I imagined him to be as a boy but I really hope I am wrong.


Well-Known Member
As my daughter, an ex addict told me, drug addicts only care about the drugs, nothing else. Drug addicts are not interested in how they look or judgment from others. Most look sick and dirty. They aren't going to work at any job that requires cleanliness. They have no interest in meeting somebody successful who cares about hygiene. When you lay in the gutter, you become the gutter.

Many drug addicts are unemployed, dazed, sick and wear the same clothes days in a row. Comparing them to us makes no sense, as our lives are within societal norms and they live on the edge.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Agree but some people, mostly guys it seems, are not drug addicts and just don't have good hygiene for one reason or another.


Well-Known Member
If they have a decent job or want to get classy girls they look nice. My daughter looked skinny, shabby and her hair had no luster...plus she had bad skin when using.


New Member
Becoming "grungy" seems to go along with their decline. When my son was clean a few months ago, he actually seemed to care about his appearance. Now that he has relapsed, he's not shaving, bathing much, and wearing tattered clothes - even though he owns decent things I bought him before hand. He also wears a knit cap - constantly - that is one of his obvious "go to" looks when he is using. He can deny his drug use all he wants but when I see that cap stay on his head all the time, I know what he's up to. So sad really.