My friends, I hope each one of you found both joy and some peace this holiday season. I know I always struggle with the holidays as it feels like a huge reminder of the fact that my family is not the way I want it to be. And with every cozy Christmas commercial and the questions from well-meaning friends and family; it is every time you turn around. We are basically grieving a person-- and their potential, and their absence--someone that we love dearly. Of course our children with addiction often remind us of this too making it so hard to figure out where the boundaries should be. I have learned that it isn't fair to the rest of the family to make them always rotate around this child who will not change their life. So this year we actually went on a trip to see one of our children. Sure enough I received desperate texts before, during, and after the trip (he will almost never call me anymore, only texts). But I know after years of dropping everything and helping him that hasn't helped either of us. Maybe for a minute or one night for him, and frankly for me too, lessening the guilt I can't always escape. My wish for you is to find some joy in YOUR life this year. You deserve it.
This week I heard from a dear lady who was just trying to let her homeless son get a few hours of sleep and the next thing she knew he had taken her car and gone to find the next hit. From her quick thinking, she was able to get her vehicle back. How many of us can identify with her?? I always find the holidays the hardest, trying to reconcile what my family looks like right now versus my dream. This holiday season, know that the folks here in this community understand what you are going through and care about you. You can share your story, ask for advice, or just offer support below here or under one of topics listed.
Holding the hope -- Beth 😊
My friends, I truly need your help. I'm adding the third letter I just received, again with the theme of a grandparent at the end of her rope and needing help desperately. I have no advice to give, as this is one situation I haven't (knock on wood) faced. If any of you have negotiated the legal system to gain custody of your grandchild, please give some ideas to this folks as to where to turn, who to talk to, what to do. ~ Cheryl
Sharon writes: I am the mother of a 30 year old son who is addicted to drugs he lives with me only because he has a 6 year old daughter who he has joint custody of and I've made it clear he's only here because of her if he loses custody he's gone I've been battling this with him for 10 years I'm mad as he'll and at times more than not I find myself hating this person he's stole money jewelry and have pretty much dragged me in the gutter with him I don't see an end to my problem he steals money from his daughter I bought her a laptop he has it more than she does he yells and screams at her at the top of his lungs for stupid things I've had to jump in front of him plenty of times when he goes for her telling me the whole time it's his f*#ing daughter I'm so tired I can't do this no more I want him out of my house but so scared to loss my granddaughter who means the world to me please please help me I'm not in fear for myself but in fear for my granddaughter I can't be here all the time I have to work
Sandra writes: My daughter is 40 years old and has been separated for from her husband for 2 years. I understand the tough love for her as an addict but she has two children. A daughter almost 15 and a son 8. I do what I can to take care of them and not anger my daughter. They just lost their home and have moved in with me. My daughter annoys the heck out of me and I am often upset and afraid for the children. How do I handle this, my daughter denies being on anything. Their father is no better he is an alcoholic and pot smoker. How can I protect these kids. Help
Jessica writes:Im a new grandma of a 1 mth old beautiful grandson. My daughter got back with the meth addicted father right after his birth. Thank God they live with me and I can keep an eye on him but she barely even holds him. The only thing that matters is the father, not the baby. I have him 20 hours a day including nights and I have an appt with an attorney Monday. I'm terrified even though my daughter is drinking and dabbling with meth again that I will lose and she will be so angry that she will take my grandson away. Last night I found her passed out in the car and the night before she texted me saying she was sorry she can't go on like this and tell her son she loves him, so I call police to look for her and they did NOTHING because she didn't specifically say she was going to hurt herself! To many times the system falls these kids and I don't know what to do. Keep mouth shut so I can keep him in my life or take a chance of trying to get temporary custody and losing? Then I lose everything. Please help.
Hi, I found your site while looking for answers just like everyone else. I am a father of 3 grown children and 2 of them have been meth addicts.
My oldest son was on meth for probably 15 years, manufacturing it and living the life of a criminal.
When my mother died 10 years ago I watched him drive by the funeral home too geeked out to even stop. Today he has been clean for 6 years because his girlfriend gave birth to two premature twins that changed his life while he was in jail. At one point I had to tell him to stop coming around me anymore because he was always high and I didn't see him for 4 years because of it.
Now for my 26 yr old daughter who had one child taken from her when she was 21 because of morphine addiction and just had another baby girl 6 months ago by a different man whom she lives with him and his mom and dad.
The baby was born with traces of meth in her system and both parents tested positive for it. Broke my heart but they both prayed to God to help and he did. That has all been thrown away with their renewed addiction, the father started back probably 6 weeks after the baby was born but my daughter held out for about 3-4 months and i started noticing the usual traits and confronted her with her having full denial. She looks like death walking and even though I'm a man i cry so much that it has made me physically sick. I have spent everything I have trying to help her, methadone clinics (worse than the drugs they are hooked on) driving her across the mtn every day then taking her to work and picking her up. I live in a motorhome by myself because her mother ran off with her internet lover 7 years ago to Australia. It wasn't as hard telling my son to quit calling or coming around but my baby girl who is so beautiful and smart is another story. I cry almost everyday and it's killing me. The parents of the man she is living with called me yesterday and confirmed all my suspicions and declared he will run them off and take custody of our grand daughter and i cannot eat or sleep for thinking about what i am going to say to her.
I am very grateful to all of you brave loving parents who share my pain and i must say it has eased my mind somewhat. I have decided not to go by there today and give myself a little time to collect my thoughts. I prayed hard yesterday (first time in years) and it seemed to help a little but i need to be strong and realize i cannot change her through loving her because that is not my daughter in that hollow shell. It's someone who constantly lies and steals and lives in denial of self and although i want to hear her tell me she loves me (and she does all the time) i know it's just something she says to pacify me.
I feel like a loser, fool, idiot, sinner and the worse parent on the planet because of mistakes I've made in my life but i am a survivor and a fighter even at 60.
I have decided this morning that i am going to be that strong guy again and put my foot down like so many of you have had to do.
It is the hardest decision i have ever had to make in my entire life but i cannot keep beating myself up like this for it will surely kill me.
Thank all of you for sharing because i really don't have anyone to talk to about this and you all touched my heart strings. Pray for me that i "recover" from the damage and come out the other side alive and sane. God love you all. - Walt
I am the stepmother of an adult (43) son. He has been addicted since the age of 13. I believe he is schizophrenic (self diagnosis) because he has the traits. However, that is not here or there. His father is a super duper enabler. I have tried to distance myself from the situation, but that is very difficult for many reasons. His father does a very good job of keeping the situation from me, because I get so angry. I am so worried about my husband, because he is 85 and I am beginning to see the signs of stress on his face when he returns from working with him (he provides work for him). I just don't know where my place is in this situation. People tell me to just let my husband handle it, but it affects me as well (our time together, our finances). I am 67 and see my life fleeting as well. - Tanya
We have custody of my husbands gd since 6/13 through CPS we did the whole foster care classes and licensing, parents were on heroin and signed over their rights 10/14. We are now waiting for everything to go to adoption court. She is a happy 3 yr old, they had no contact from12/13 until 01/15. My stepson called and said they are doing methadone and wanted to talk to her, after a couple of calls she started looking for a lot of reassurance of who her family is. She would repeat that we were her only family. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to or when we should be telling her whats going on. When they call and say its mommy and daddy she says no my mommy and daddy are right here. I wanted my husband to tell them to be clean for a while before they start contact but he doesn't know quite how to handle it. Reading all these posts just has me wondering how much this does affect these children.
A dear friend just posted this on Facebook and I want to share it with you:
"On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good."
I have no idea who this prince ea is, but I like his statement; it's encouraging.
I wanted to share an update about my son. I have written here many times over the past year about my pain, fear and grief, and today I want to write about some progress he has made.
It hasn't happened like I wanted it to, or hoped it would, or even thought it must. After 8 or 9 times in jail, 3 times in rehab, 5 times being homeless (this last time for several months), he got a job this past summer and after working the 40+ hours a week, stillhomeless, for nearly three months, his dad and I helped him get into an apartment.
It was with a great deal of uncertainty and skepticism that I agreed to help. I have helped---paid for things, done things---so many times, and every time it just went further "south" again. But we felt and saw that he was consistently doing something positive for the first time in years, and so we helped him over the hurdle of deposits, and moving, and all that you have to do to move from the street, with only a backpack (no car), just making minimum wage, into an apartment.
He is working two jobs---one at McDonald's with hours there cut back to 25 a week, and one at another place, 48 hours a week making boat parts.
He has not gotten arrested again. He has nearly paid off all of one of his probations---he has two. He has his driver's license back. He has a social security card again. He sold his oldbeat up car (it once was a perfect car) and bought another, better one for $1100. He did this all himself.
Are things perfect? No. In fact, he is living with a girl who stabbed him this past summer while they were both drunk. And a month ago, he hit a wall with his hand and broke it. And then she--the girlfriend---sent me a Facebook message saying she is pregnant, but "don't worry, we'll probably get an abortion anyway." I didn't respond.
I have learned a lot about living in reality. About living in today. I know things could be much worse than they are today, because they have been worse. I continue to work hard on myself---to accept what is. What is. What it may always be.
I want to live my own life, and to enjoy as many minutes of that life as I possibly can.
My son is a good person. He has done a lot of things that are bad. He alone is responsible, and he will have to dig out of the hole he is in---still---if that is to be.
I don't want to live my life waiting for the other shoe to drop. Life is now. I want to love my son, accept who he is today, the good and the bad. I am learning how to do that, through reading and writing on this board, through Al-Anon, through prayer, meditation, journaling and reading books about co-dependency and letting go of the need to control. Terri
. . . . victims of our adult children’s drug addiction. And thank goodness, the mere fact of recognizing that enables us to patch up our broken hearts and begin the journey towards recreating our own lives.
The Dalai Lama said it so well:
“We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us, and make us kinder. You always have the choice.”
With love to all my fellow parents-of-addicts ~ Cheryl
I was a teen mom...now I'm 52 with 8 grandchildren, my daughters both have 4 children, by brothers. All patents are alcoholics/Pot smokers,my 15 yr.old granddaughter has tried vodka was caught, now I believe she is smoking pot:( on Nov. 21st, 21st 2014 molestation was discovered and confessed by 15 year old. I'm heartbroken , scared, just need grandparents to share with. The father has moved out, cps and police have open case. I'm staying at daughters home since Nov. Incident...tonight I smelt pot again in 15 year Olds room.everythings a mess ..thank you for listening. ..
Having just written this in response to a parent's letter, it occured to me that I should post here as well.
Turns out that the hitting-rock-bottom bit isn't true after all, as addicts are capable of surviving awful circumstances which you and I would surely think of as something we'd never, ever want to repeat - yet they do. If your adult child is now hooked on heroin, it's going to be a very long haul, I'm afraid. Heroin is such a vicious substance that when addicts have been clean for months, and even years, the siren call is too powerful and they relapse, again and again.
The best thing families can do is educate themselves about heroin addiction, realize it's real and not something that can be only used sometimes like cocaine, and brace themselves for the coming years. It's been quite challenging for me to find heroin addicts in recovery who are comfortable talking about what eventually allowed them to stay sober, but so far it seems to be one of two things: they had a spiritual experience, or their guilt about abandoning their children finally gave them the strength to do the every-single-day-for-the-rest-of-their-lives work to be sober.
I wish I could give you more hopeful news. ~ Cheryl
has nothing to do with
absolving a criminal of his
crime. It has everything to
do with relieving oneself of
the burden of being a victim
- letting go of the pain and
transforming oneself from
victim to survivor.
In 2000 A. Thomas McLellan and others noted the similarities between addiction and other chronically relapsing medical conditions such as a asthma, Type II diabetes, and hypertension. A controversial proposition at the time, today most experts talk about addiction as a chronically relapsing disease that cannot be cured but can be managed. (from The Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia,PA, USA) ~ Cheryl
Just checking in once again to say that we are surviving, yes even thriving though we have an active drug addict in the family. As you know from my past writings it took me awhile to accept what had happened to my beautiful daughter. She is now 33 and somewhere on the streets of Seattle. I haven't seen her since Mother's Day. On that day she stole my cell phone and had a friend of hers sell it back to me for $40. Ha! Money well spent and a great lesson learned. We are still raising our granddaughter, she is now nine and a wonderful well adjusted child with more knowledge than she should have at her tender age. Through friends, experts, tears and great books I have come to the point of releasing my daughter to what ever her journey may be. I haven't lost hope and I still have a heart full of love for her but her life is not mine to live, worry about or direct. I feel that my duty is to take care of her daughter in the best way that I can and to live the best life that I can, were she well and of a clear mind that is what she would want for me. It isn't easy, and there are low points that arrive and I still dissolve at times but much less than before. For those of you in the beginning stages of being the parent of an addict all I can say is take care of yourself. You need to release your child no matter how old they may be (adult of course) and let them travel this path they have chosen. It is truly the only thing you can do. I have been where you are and it is very difficult but you can do it, you have to preserve your own sanity, your own health and your own well being. I think of each one of us on this journey and I say a prayer for all of us including myself and my family. I wish each one of you peace in your lives. Much love, Penny
Kim has just posted a comment on your blog post, a father in recovery:
I too am an addict with 23 years of recovery, and I also now have a 29 year old addict son, who has a 9 year old daughter. I am glad I found your post because people need to know that because their loved one is lost today, does not mean that they will be lost tomorrow. You and I are proof of that. We are parents who were addicts, recovered, and are now parents of addicts. Please remember that. We came through the other side, our children, your daughter, my son, and all the other children that are lost today, won't necessarily be lost forever. God is much stronger than we are, he has a plan for every single one of us. So to all of you parents that are grieving, lost, confused or have given up hope, put all of that aside and find peace & hope, even if just a small amount, and faith, even as small as a mustard seed, that children can make it through to the other side. David and I did.
My friends, this is Cheryl, the website owner, and I've just made an awful mistake: I accidentally deleted the long conversation under the title of "a grandma needing support". I'm so very, very sorry! I'm a grandma myself and not skilled in computer technology . . . . it's actually amazing I haven't done something like this before.
Allow me to renew my offer to any of you who would appreciate being able to converse privately: use the contact form (on the left) to write to me, telling me who you'd like to contact and giving me permission to share your contact information with that person. I'm very glad to put you in touch with each other :-) ~ Cheryl
Hi. i just found out my son(19) is using pot on the weekends. he lives at home. I want to give him 30 days to test clean and withdraw financial support if he does not comply. Where can i find information on how to handle the situation and love support and encourage him at the same time? Thank you.
There is an organization called drugfree.org which has a help line you can call:
I would like to know if you are aware of any rehab facilities for an addict who has no insurance. My daughter is battling addiction;
she has a young son. I am scared, concerned, feel guilty and don't know where to start. - Carey
I’m guessing that you live in the USA where getting treatment for drug addiction without insurance is virtually impossible. Hopefully other people will “comment” with helpful ideas, but the only thing I know to suggest is that you look up all your local rehab possibilities in search of a non-profit one.
They do exist, but they’ve never been able to help my own daughter as they usually have long waiting lists along with requirements that an addict simply isn’t organized enough to be able to comply with. There are also a number of religious rehabs around the country, but it’s difficult to investigate a rehab from a long distance.
And please, dear fellow parent, try to let go of the guilt feelings as soon as you possibly can. You “didn’t cause it, can’t control it, and can’t cure it”, this being a quote many of us hang our sanity from! Do join us; you’ll
have lots and lots of company. ~ Cheryl
As a mother of an adult addict, I have found that there are no easy answers. AL-Anon meetings help very much and the literature is terrific. Learn all you can about the disease of addiction. In some cities Codependents Anonymous is strong and a huge help. Getting together with people who have adult children with a drug addiction or alcoholism is extremely healing. Remember that you
deserve to be happy, even if your addicted loved one is still using. They have a path of their own to go down. They have a Higher Source also. Don't stay out of life. Do things that you love doing. - Karen
Your website is an excellent tool to gain more knowledge for all people who suffer at the hands of a Addicted person.I myself am a Drug Addict - Alcoholic with now having around 23 years of total abstinence but the date is not important to me and i celebrate NO Birthdays as in N.A or A.A.I believe that
the only drug addict that wins the battle is the person that is given the strength to die clean, regardless. I will now share briefly what we do as addicts: we will lie,cheat,and destroy everything & everybody around us and yes we will even take other peoples lives especially the ones that WE lOVE, as is
such in my case. So protect yourself if you can financially, emotionally, but most of all DO NOT LOVE an Addict so much that you would be prepared to give your LIFE to save him or her.
By the way i also have a Drug Addicted single
parent Daughter with a 3 year old grandson whom i am trying to protect at this time.I was on the streets from the age of 14. i seldom talk about my past as when i look back i cannot believe the destruction & devastation that i have left behind. It is one thing to become clean, but you must remember it is also another thing for Drug Addict to forgive themselves. You may post this if you choose.
It took a lot of courage to write this, David. Thank you from all of us ~ Cheryl
I have just come across your page while searching for help on the net. About 16
months ago, our lives began falling apart when my 31 year old son admitted to meth addiction. He lost everything including his wife (a user also) and daughter, friends, house, job and car. As a family, we were going to do an intervention but just prior to this, my husband became ill and we called the ambulance. I made my son go in the ambulance with his dad, as I believe it was
the stress of his addiction that caused the illness. Anyhow, as a result of this, he agreed to go to rehab. He did 90 days at a private rehab about 3 1/2 hours from where we live. He appeared to make progress and began to look healthy again and not like a POW. He moved back home with us, attended meetings
etc, got a job, but I felt there was still dodgy behaviour going on. Constantly on his phone all times of the day and night. My husband and I had booked a holiday six months prior and we decided to still go, even though I felt really uneasy about it. As it turned out, the very day we left, he had planned a reunion (for want of a better word) with a couple of other addicts from the rehab. Of course he had lied to us and said he was going to a boot camp for football. He was in such a state he could not attend work and asked our older
son to make an excuse to his boss. Our older son and daughter, although not wanting to ruin our holiday, decided we should know what was going on. We were thousands of miles away but decided not to come home, but spoke to him and told him he had 24 hrs to leave our home and the locks were being changed, which he did. When we returned our relationship was very strained to say the least. He subsequently lost his job (has since found another one) but does have contact
with his daughter. His brother and sister told him they cannot have a relationship with him until he is clean for a very long time. My husband and I still see him but are in complete agreement we will not pay any bills or enable him any longer. He is making his own choices. It breaks my heart that we can no longer have family events (he is not welcome to his sister or brother homes)
Birthdays , Christmas and other special occasions can no longer happen. I feel like I have spent my life building this wonderful family only to have the foundations cave in and this disease is calling the shots.
Thank you so much for this amazing page where I read other people's heartbreaking stories and know that if I could give them a hug I would. For the first time in a very long
time, I feel I am not alone.
God Bless You and thanks again, - Sue
Today was a tough day. My 25 year old daughter is an addict and is 5 months
pregnant. My 93 year old mom called to tell me she had stolen some checks from her and one for $100 had been cashed. Forged, of course. When I confronted her she screamed and cried that she needed mental and drug addiction help. I said calmly, "I agree. Go get some." I was accused of never being there to help her because I didn't drop everything and immediately make sure she was admitted
somewhere. Because I know unless she admits herself, it is a lost cause. I love her dearly. Too much to continue taking the blame and picking up the responsibility. She can only help herself. And when she does I will be the first in line to support. - Mary
Thank you for the website. Well, my adult daughter just called me "a piece of s___ mother". Happy mother's day. I feel pretty good about it, because it means I did not bail her out and therefore the response. It is funny, but it feels way better than feeling like I goofed again and did something that is not helpful, like fix things for her. I tell you, this is one weird journey! - S
Isn't it the craziest thing: the circumstances from which we learn (oh, how we learn!) to take some small measure of peace. You did the hard thing and the right thing, my friend. May this day bring blessings your way.
My 28 year old daughter is finally, finally showing signs of wanting to be sober. The problem is, she's been to two inpatient rehabs and now wants to do the intensive outpatient program at The Peak Hospital in NM, but there are no places for her to stay. I've tried roommates.com, shelters (they usually
have drugs in them), small furnished studio apartments (they rarely come furnished), rooms for rent, sober living houses (there were none), hotels (my savings is almost gone).
Does anyone have any ideas or have heard of any place that has a definite psych aspect (her insurance is tired of paying for rehab so
we have to get her in under psych) that has dormitories, sober living, etc. attached to the hospital intensive outpatient program? We keep running into this problem. - Susie