My son has been an addict since he was 15. He is currently using meth and heroin. I don't know how to handle this any more and feel like I have put my life on hold for him over and over. He almost died multiple times. Should I let him become homeless? Because that is what would happen if I didn't help him. He has started treating me disrespectfully recently and he wasn't that way for the last 15 years. I am wondering why this new behavior? It is painful and I lost my oldest son 18 years ago in a car accident and the fear of losing a second son is ever present. Do you have any advice? I am at my rope's end.
You have been begging, pleading, and praying for the day your child will be ready for rehab and it looks like it is just around the corner. So now what? Well if you are lucky and you have insurance, they will present you with choices and you will go from there. But what if you are private pay? Where do you start? How do you know what is a quality facility? And what is state ran? What is a luxury resort for business executives and what is a serious center with a program worth doing?
I certainly don’t have all the answers but I did a lot of research and came up with several questions that are worth asking. Maybe they will help you too.
Questions to ask as you decide which facility is right for your family:
Do you have Joint Commission Behavioral Health accreditation?
Do you have any other accreditation?
Does your facility promote maintenance or abstinence?
Some facilities believe that staying clean is aided with the help of other drugs like Subutex for life.
Is the 12 step method the basis? Do you use other methods? Recreational? Cognitive Behavior ?
Is your program religion based or faith based?
Do you have a success rate?
Be leery of anyone who says yes.
Can you send me a sample daily schedule? Are these activities mandatory or optional?
Is there a cash rate or sliding scale or grants?
How much one-on-one therapy will you provide weekly?
How many clients does the facility treat on-site at one time? How many are there currently?
Do you have an alumni group?
How many hours of group therapy occur daily?
Is goal is complete sobriety?
What is your stand on relapse -Do they feel addiction can be overcome as a result of completing their program?
What is your Cell phone use policy?
Are you Co-ed?
Do you offer Family therapy days? How many? How intense?
Are you a Dual diagnosis facility?
Do you have a Dr. On site? How many days? Be careful as some are “video dr.”
Is medication extra or included?
Is detox on site? Is it a medical detox if needed?
Is there an after care plan?
Are people divided by age in groups?
These questions can not ensure you pick a good facility over a bad but they can clearly give you a picture of the facility to help narrow down your choices. If possible, I highly recommend you go to the facility and check it out BEFORE YOU COMMIT. You will get an over all feeling of the organization, communication, and program if you are able to meet the people in charge and see a little of what is going on. This is an emotional time and the cost is substantial, there is no golden ticket, but doing your research will help you make the best choice for your loved one.
Dedra Stafford firstname.lastname@example.org I am not a professional or expert in this area, I am a mom on a long road of support for my son to be the best he can be.
I have been struggling with my daughter’s addictions for over 20 years. First it was heroin and rehab; then the relapses. She was able to kick that but switched to alcohol. Like many of you, we spent a lot of money trying to help her including buying her a condo next to ours when she became pregnant with our granddaughter and there was no father in the picture. For a few years she did OK. Went back to school, got a nursing degree, and started working. She lived with a good man for seven years until her drinking drove him away. He still takes my granddaughter every weekend and treats her as if she was his own child. She is now with a man off and on who is an alcoholic and verbally abusive to my granddaughter. I have been to Al Anon, co-dependency counseling, and other counseling over the years. She has broken my heart so many times it has killed my love for her. I worry everyday about my granddaughter—they have since moved away. My daughter was diagnosed as bi-polar and was taking meds. Recently she quit her job and stopped taking her meds. She is living off her inheritance from her grandfather because my husband died of cancer and the money was in a trust that went to her. I have learned to let go and let God. Some days I even have glimmers of happiness. I love my granddaughter so much but as a Grandparent I am finding there is nothing I can do. On the surface my daughter is doing OK so the authorities are telling me there is nothing they can do either. I’ve read all the comments and stories here. I share your pain. My only hope is in God. Linda
When Kindra first shared this with me, I worried a little about posting it as it is so strong and raw. But those emotions are what so many of us deal with every day and I know it will speak to many of you. I really appreciate you taking the time to share this with others Kindra.
Kindra writes: I wrote this when my granddaughter was one month old. Now she’s 3 months old and still nothing’s changed.
“When I look at you I no longer see my baby girl, I see a cold empty shell of a human being. When I look at you, I no longer see a loving mother. I see a selfish person who cares more about heroin and a man than her own daughter. A daughter that didn’t ask to be brought in his world and sure as hell had no say in her mother using heroin while she was in the womb. Do I dare use the word mother? No. A mother protects her child at all cost. She adores her child. A mother’s love is endless. A mother would never cause harm to her child. Knowing how painful withdrawing is, she made that choice for her child. Her newborn baby went through that pain. Definitely that’s a wake up call right? She surely was drowning in guilt and remorse and would instantly start repairing the damage she has done. It has been over a month now. She’s already missed so much time with her child that she can never get back. Does her child even know who she is?
When I look at you I no longer see my baby girl, I see a heroin addict chasing her next high.”
Today is my son’s birthday. He is 29. I think I have been in denial that today he is 29. That he (me) has more time. Isn’t he only 14 or 21 or 27? But frankly, I don’t know what difference that really makes. It reminds me of when I was so upset he was coming off my insurance because of age but then I had to do a reality check…he hadn’t used the insurance in years. Things have been strained between my son, my firstborn, for a while, so I wanted to greet him bright and early with a happy birthday message. To encourage him and remind him that he is loved. Instead I was greeted with a “did I get anything in the mail” text about 7am. I honor the one commitment I have made to myself, from the advice of a fabulous counselor over the years, which is to know in advance what I will agree to and not agree to before I engage with him. It has made such a difference. So when I went to meet with him, I planned to take offer to take him to eat lunch. He had received a gift from his grandmother and I will commit to giving his gifts to him. Sure enough I get there and he is not in control and desperate and sad and fighting with his partner and I give him his present and make myself leave. Since I know what I will and will not do, I had already given him a birthday gift in September, when he started haggling me for his October 29th birthday. Even though my surprise lunch doesn’t happen, at least I have done my part, and what I can commit to.
Today I am wondering where my child is, if he is okay, and how other parents in the same situation are coping. My prayer is that your loved one is safe and sound, and that you are taking things one day at a time too.
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