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.
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
This morning I read some inspiring words that I want to share with you. The speaker is a
woman who had cancer, and she’s referring to recurrent fear, i.e. the fear that the cancer will return and kill you.
She says: “I remember the day I was standing in my kitchen, and I had this thought, and it completely freaked me out: If one day my cancer returns, and I’ve spent several years doing nothing but having anxiety about the possibility of recurrence, what an incredible waste of my life that would be.
It was a miraculous insight. It freed me from anxiety when I realized I just wanted to live my life to the fullest."
singer/songwriter Jennifer Kelly
Though our fears are of the death of our addicted child/children, her words move me deeply. I know that some of you are dealing with anxiety disorders, depression, and illness brought on by the stress of our lives as parents of addicts. I offer you the words of this woman, who’s decided to NOT live in fear, in hope that they may nurture you as much as they do me. ~ Cheryl
I'm the mother of a 30 yr old drug addict. He's been in and out of jail, or prison, for the last 10 yrs. He was released from his detox unit under parole just 3 wks ago, but today, he's back in jail. I'm devastated.
I live in El Paso, Tx, but he's in Denver, CO. I need someone to share with...someone who
understands the pain. If you have anyone that I can email and share with...I'd be so grateful if you share.
How can I, as a Mother of an addict, overcome the anxiety, grief, and fear brought on by my son's addiction and illegal activity? This is the hardest thing I've ever faced in my life. I don't know how to detach from my son's problems. I don't know how to not allow his actions to affect me emotionally. I pray. I read everything I can get my hands on. I try to focus on anything
positive that I can possibly find in the situation. And I love him, unconditionally, with all of my heart. But I am hurting because of his choices
and I don't know how stop hurting. Denise
I know I'm not alone, but I feel alone. My 30year old son is in jail. He is a crystal meth addict. I've tried to get help for him for 14 years now. He always goes right back to the drugs. My heart is breaking. He has attempted to end his life more than once. I just don't see a light at the end of this tunnel.
It's hard to find that light at the end of the tunnel, I know; I often lose sight of it myself. Yet hope is truly all we can safely hold in our
hearts while we try to find a way to live our life separately from the life of our addicted child. Ours is truly "the only life we can save" and that's our life assignment . . . while hoping, always. ~ Cheryl
My son has been addicted to pain meds and other prescription drugs for several years. I have had 2 brothers that also went through this but one was on heavy narcotics such as cocaine, Heroin and other stuff. One of my brothers I took to rehab bc the rest of our family would not have anything to do with him at the time. I should have known exactly that my son was an addict but I just could not accept if even though i knew. He was a young adult and would lie, and what ever else they do to get their fix. I'm so sad and feel so alone. We live in a small town and everyone knows everyone. I have no one to really talk to about this because being an addict has such a bad stigma but if you understand it, which is
what I am learning, you know it's a sickness. A weakness which we all have somewhere in our lives but they made the bad choice to choose drugs. We are all addicts of something, mine is cokes and other kinds of sodas. I am just so
angry. I too ask myself what could I have done to change the course of the path he chose? Two weeks ago he finally admitted he had a drug problem. I took him to the same place I took my brother. My brothers, both of them are good and are great success stories so that gives me great hope. How do I let go of this anger, and love my son even though Im so mad at him for doing this to himself and our family? Does it get easier? Last night I went with him to his meeting. I
learned alot; my heart went out to every one of the people in the room. I actually cried when one guy was telling his story. It was like I was completely realizing my son had all the signs. How can I get past the hurt and anger and
frustration of this selfish choice that my son made. Who can I talk to? How can I just let go and love him again like I once did? What do I do with all this anger?
I wonder if perhaps another parent's perspective might help? You see, when I read your story about your two brothers' success in overcoming addiction, I was almost jealous that you have such a wonderful reason to hope that your son may also someday be such a success story!
Yet you ask what to do with your anger, and that I also understand. Did you know that anger stems from the root emotion of fear? Perhaps
if you ponder that a bit, you might gain some understanding about your anger and find a way to relieve it.
I imagine you feel downright betrayed by your son. Yet actually, from what we now know about addiction, it had much less to do with choice and much to do with an addictive reaction in a part of his brain to the first mood-altering substance he came in contact with!
Please know that he didn't do this to you; he did it to himself and it wasn't intentional. And please don't blame yourself for not seeing the signs; believe me, we've all been there.
Give yourself time, my friend, to find your own way while your son works to find his own way. They are two completely separate lives and it's a huge step for us mothers when we are finally able to accept that.
Please be patient and kind to the beautiful woman and good mother that you are. ~ Cheryl
I too share the same pain and sorrow as the parents who post here. My 30 year old son is a cocaine addict. We are currently dealing with one of his lowest lows after a suicide attempt in March under the influence of drugs. I don't know when it will ever end, but I'm not able to feel hopeful at this point. Thank you all for sharing your stories.
I have a 25 year old heroin addict, I'm a widow, and this has been going on for three years. I don't know how to go on with my life. Not sure if I should ask her to leave the house. How do I know what to do ?
The only way I know to try and answer your
question is to suggest that you put a big effort into self-care-taking (not something we easily remember to do!). Gift yourself with things that nourish you: time for walks in the park or
woods or beside water; allowing yourself to not try to solve your daughter's addiction by repeating over and over "I didn't cause it; I can't
control it; I can't cure it"; and by finally taking ownership of whatever else you've been putting on the back burner of your very own life for far
Once you've taken care of yourself for a while, your heart will guide you in knowing what to
do. ~ Cheryl
I recently found out that my 21 year old daughter is using. What, I don't know. She won't tell me. Her boyfriend introduced it to her. He has stolen from me for drugs. I am at the point that I think the best thing to do is tell her to leave my house. It is very hard for me. She was my best friend. I always said I would never turn my back on her. Her car is in my name, so if she doesn't pay the payment, I am up the creek. I can't afford the payment or I would take the car away from her. Her boyfriend uses the car to get the drugs and haul his druggie friends around. It has just got to end. She is going to end up in jail. I don't want to see that happen, but we have all warned her. It is her life and these are her decisions. It just hurts.
Understanding completely how very much it hurts, and sending you love. Also hoping you'll retrieve your car and sell it, before boyfriend totals it :-( Here's wishing you the strength, and love, you need to tell your daughter she can't live with you while using.
Missing my own precious friend and daughter ~ Cheryl
My daughter is 19 and has been using some form of drug since about 13. She has been to rehab many times over the years, juvenile drug court etc. After the last rehab although she had started using again, she managed to complete beauty
school and took the first part of state boards. She refuses to take the second part and now it is 2 years later. When she turned 18 the court let her go and she chose to move out. Since then she has broken in to our house and stolen thousands of dollars of things, jewelry, etc and pawned it for practically nothing. She moves from friend to friend. No real place to stay. Sometimes she
sleeps in her car. She will never come around her family not even special occasions. I try to take her out to eat just to see her but she cancels.
She is growing worse and it seems the more I pray the worse she is. She has become someone I don't know. A few months ago she went to Alabama to stay with someone she had met in rehab. After a few weeks she was back in town. A court summons came in the mail from Alabama apparently she was working as a stripper without a license. She never went to court so I imagine there is a warrant out for her.
She called her dad and I a week ago begging for money because, as she said , someone was going to kill her because she had set them up. I know she does this because before she moved out, and I know I shouldn't have, I put a program on
her phone because I was always afraid of not being able to find her and she might need my help. This program also allowed me to see her text messages in real time. She mostly talked about getting drugs but one night she and a friend joked about a man they had got a hotel room with and after he fell asleep they stole his money and clothes. The police showed up at her dad's and questioned her I found out later but didn't arrest her. I probably should have called the police but it seems putting her in rehab and jail has put her in contact with so many other bad people. I think I made her problems worse by forcing her to go to rehab all those times. She would be there sometimes a short time but the last was 6 months. The friend's she made there is who she feels is her family. She doesn't feel a connection to her real family. I thought I was doing the right thing. She is just a tiny girl, almost skin and bones. She is beautiful and
smart, who at 3 yrs old I was told by her piano teacher could play by ear. Now she is almost completely covered in mostly homemade tattoos. Her voice has become so scratchy and deep from smoking she doesn't sound like the same person.
I look at her photos before she became addicted and wonder what I could have done differently. My husband doesn't want her name mentioned because we try to help her and it backfires in our face. The many times she calls in the middle of
the night out of gas and stranded . Just this moment her dad text and said he let her use his ATM card to get $40 yesterday and she never brought it back and won't call him.
Back in January I bought her a used car after she totaled the new car I gave her for finishing beauty school in 2011. I pay for her cell phone which she lost or was stolen last week. I gave her a Walmart money card that I could transfer money to over the internet instead of having to wait til western union opens because I never know when she will call because she is stranded out of town somewhere. I pay her car insurance because the car is in my name. I pay for her health insurance, after All she is just 19.
But, this is were I am now. There has to be a change. I cannot live like this anymore. I live in constant fear. My relationship with my other family is suffering. I have attended al anon but not regularly because I work an hour and a half from home. I still read my books but I feel what gives me peace and hope the most is Christian music. I find a song that seems to speak to me then I listen to it over and over until I have it memorized. I listen to it again before I go to sleep and in the morning it still plays in my head.
I pray for guidance. I pray continually. I know God can change her. He is the only one that can. He is my only hope. My question is how does someone truly leave their problems at His feet? Do I pray for it that one time and never mention it again? After I leave it in His hands what is my role? Do I need to take the car back? Do I need to replace the phone she lost? Should I give her money when she is hungry or stranded? I don't know if I am able to not hear her voice and know she is ok. I have actually gotten another phone but I have not given it to her yet because I don't know what to do. I keep thinking what if she needs my help and I didn't give her a phone. I would hate myself forever.
When I first started reading all the letters people sent you I felt confident that I should cut her off from everything. But the cell phone is the only thing that causes me to doubt my judgement.
I know no one can give me the answers. I wish just once someone would take this from me and make the decisions.
The one thing I still provide for my heroin-addicted daughter is a cellphone. ~ Cheryl
Letting go can be a daily struggle. My letting go of the addicts in my family started with my alcoholic husband. Freeing myself from him and the addictive thoughts and actions I enabled in my home for more than 20 years of marriage was the hardest and most rewarding task I have ever attempted. After a particularly dramatic evening, I told him his addiction was a problem in our home, that he needed to leave and that he could not return until after he completed treatment. His response, not surprisingly, was that the problems were caused by me and that he was happy not to have to put up with me any more... ooh, it burned - until I remembered where those sentiments were coming from.
Shortly afterwards, my 14-year old son, the second of our four children and already possessing the hallmark thinking and behavior of addiction, was angry and assaulted me (not the first time). I called police and he declared he hated me and moved in with dad. I saw a train-wreck coming and I fought hard to save my son's life - As a parent, I advocated loudly. I told EVERYONE, dad, teachers, therapists, relatives, counselors, dad's new roommate and any adult
that had anything to do with the care of my son, which eventually included a public defender, probation officers and judges, that my son needed structure and care in a sober environment his father could not provide and that he would be drawn into delinquency and addiction otherwise. I even lined up financing for a wilderness rehab followed by a year in a school for at-risk young men. The more I tried to 'help', the more my husband (yes, addicted, but quite functional and articulate) fought back, accusing me of malicious intent. My son eventually hated
me so much, he threatened to have me killed.
So I watched helplessly as my son trod the road to delinquency and addiction. He is now 18. An adult. I know he drinks and smokes pot and takes Xanax and any other pills or powders the
boys are passing around. He spent the last two years expelled from school, placed in an alternative school, on probation, in juvenile hall, on electronic monitoring and, finally, in prison. He's out now. Still lives with dad. Does not
go to school and only works when he feels like it - at the business his dad and I still own (yes, I have objected to that, too!)
He still believes I am the source of the problems he and his father have had to face.
My heart aches, but let go is all there is here. He is my son. I tried. He's an adult now.
Thank you for this web site. I am the grandmother of a young man in his 20s who is struggling with drug addition. The more we help, the worse it gets. You've shed some light on why that is. But my key question is -- how do you let go?
I can only speak for myself, of course, and how it's worked for me is practicing over and over and over again . . . and failing . . . and practicing some more . . and failing again. It has taken me years, and it helps that I trust in a higher power to care for my drug-addicted daughter. It also helps that she's far away now, no longer homeless-by-choice in our own town nor living in our home. Distance lent success to my efforts, as has my acceptance that there's still so much about life that I don't understand.
I have been learning so much about drug addiction and yearn to share some of what
I've learned with her. It's hard to wait for that right time, whenever that might be. Last week I saw her for the first time in two years when I flew to her city to take her out for dinner to celebrate her birthday. For the first time, I went with no agenda and made no efforts to urge her towards another stab at sobriety. Instead, I employed my hard-learned patience and just enjoyed hugging her, seeing her (and meeting her equally addicted boyfriend), and spending a few hours in her presence. It felt like the right thing to do, as odd as that may sound.
Don't know that I've helped you any; wish there were some definitive answers for all of us.
Thank you. I know there are no magic answers, but what you've shared helps.
It's Mother's Day today. Last night I sat down at my computer and tried to find fitting words for the occasion, yet none came to me. This morning I found out why: this letter (below) was waiting and this beautiful mother has found the words to fully encompass what it means to be the loving mother of an adult addict. Thank you!
At the age of 18, I put my son out of my home for using drugs. I thought he would get tired of shuffling from "friend" to "friend", but he lived on the streets for the next 13 years. During this time he would break into my house and steal from me, live in my garage on the dirt floor, and continue using. Multiple times he would be arrested and end up back in jail. I wouldn't feed
him, give him money, buy anything for him, pay for anything for him, or even allow him in my house. If his two brothers wanted to see him, they had to do it elsewhere.
In 2010 he broke into my house and stole a few checks from his brother's checkbook, along with my computer and a few other things. He ended up going to prison for roughly a year. There he decided to go through a rehab program and was given an early release.
In 2011, after being clean for over a year, I allowed him to move back home. It was just me now. His brothers are both grown with families of their own. My son is one of the brightest, most likable people you will ever meet...when he's clean. He and I had planned on moving him across the country to be with his older brother and start a new life there. That plan was squashed when he found out that he was
going to be a father.
His baby's mother moved several hours' drive away, prior to his daughter being born. But in March 2013 he was there and watched his daughter come into this world. He held her, fed her, bathed her, loves her. Three to four weeks ago, he and his baby's mother ended their engagement...and he started using again.
Not only did he start using, he started "cooking", and in my house. He started manufacturing meth and shooting heroin. He is currently in jail for disorderly conduct, and I had to get an eviction notice on him. When he gets out and comes to get his things, I will have a no
trespass order filed against him.
I love my son with all my heart, and the only thing I feel that I can do to help him is to put him in jail. At least he's not going to use or hurt anyone there. Maybe he'll hate me for the rest of
his life, but at least he'll be alive to have that option. I still cry every day, but it's the only thing I know to do. He refuses to get the help he
needs on his own, and I have to do something.
I just realized the severity of my son's addiction; he is now 30. I feel impotent and don't know what to do, how to cope; depression is taking the
best of me. My family is unbalanced. It affects all of us.
I certainly know what you mean, Denise. It took our family many years to come to terms with the fact of our daughter's addiction and to begin to understand what that means. I feel like I've gotten a graduate degree in addiction! And yes, it affects the whole family very much; that's why
I stress taking care of oneself as well as all the family relationships, rather than focusing on the addict. The addict usually doesn't appreciate the focus anyway.
Hang in there - you'll learn, slowly but surely, how to make your own happiness, irrespective of the lives around you. Be patient with yourself; you deserve it :-) ~ Cheryl
My son is turning 32 in May. He is an addict of most everything that is out there and he has been in and out of jail since he was 21 years old. My son is such a smart, likable person. He is funny and has so much to offer as a human being - except that he can't, or won't, quit using. We have given him everything we have
thinking that if we just do this or that, that it would get him clean. We got this great idea that if we sent him to Greece to live with my husband's relatives, he wouldn't be around the environment that led to drugs. We put ourselves in so much debt that we eventually lost our house only to find that in Greece he began using heroin and the money spent on his living expenses was what allowed him to buy his drugs. We have been on a roller coaster for so many
years. He goes to jail and gets clean while he's in there. We give him a place to stay until he can get his life together, then he steals everything we have to buy drugs.
He's getting out of jail in a month and I have already told him he's on his own - I won't put money on the books for him, I won't pay phone
time and I won't give him a roof over his head when he gets out. He knows where every shelter is and he knows where he can go get food - this is how he was surviving when we thought we were paying his rent and giving him money for food.
I am trying very hard to be strong and to keep my resolve but he breaks my heart every time he asks me to give him money. I love him so much and it hurts so badly.
Hang in there, dear one; you've got lots of us fellow parents for company, facing the very same issues.
Next time he asks you for help of any kind, try thinking of it this way: that anything you
buy for him or pay for him is actually YOU BUYING HIS DRUGS. If you keep that
thought firmly in the front of your mind, you'll be able to say "no" with love, compassion, and steady resolve!
Sending you lots of love and a big hug ~ Cheryl
My son is 47. He is in jail. He has been using since he was a teenager. My whole family has helped him over the years. The longest he has been clean is 26 months. He left his wife and children 6 years ago. Now that he is in jail he is blaming me because I won't get him a lawyer and get him out. Yesterday he cussed me and said I was the worst Mother in the world, that I always put him on the back burner. I love him so much, but I can no longer talk to him. It is breaking my heart. My family says it is time to use tough love and let him go. We have tried everything and I pray this time in jail will bring him to the realization that it is up to him to stop the addiction.
I couldn't agree with you more. Blessings on your journey of letting him go and of realizing that the words you heard was the addiction speaking, not your precious child. It helps me to hold my hands in front of me, palms up, opening them all the way: complete "letting go" while honoring the path in life each of us travels. (I'm a mother; I have to do this often, and though I'm getting better at it, it never gets any easier.
Sending you love ~ Cheryl
I am the mother of two heroin addicts. I have walked a long road with them from rehab to rehab so many times and feel helpless in their addiction. It is so very hard to let go and I fear for their lives. But every day I feel stronger about letting go. It is just: the stronger I feel, the more I dislike my boys. I am a very sad lady.
I'm so glad to hear from you and so sorry to read your story. I urge you to aim your dislike at the addiction: be angry and hate it! That will allow you the freedom to continue to love your children, always, while holding close to yourself the memories of who they were before addiction claimed them.
How I do understand your grief! And again, I urge you to channel your sorrow into helping people who will gladly accept your help (unlike your children). By finding a way to help others, you'll slowly but surely find your way to your own joy in your very own life, irrespective of what's happening in the lives of your children.
With love ~ Cheryl
Hi I just stumbled upon your website and as I started to read loving without enabling I started to cry, I've been traveling this road for 8 years and I'm now losing strength, I'm finding it harder and harder to go through the motions of trying to get her back on track, my daughter is now 27 and in Australia there isn't a lot of help, she refuses to try rehab and insists she can do it herself and clearly it isn't working and I'm terrified I'm becoming numb and I hate what we all as a family have become, I hate that I am constantly suspicious of her every move and mentally question everything she says and yes I to have bought food and paid rent and the odd bill in the vain hope that she won't feel overwhelmed in her attempt at trying to get back on her feet only to find out I just made it easier for her to buy drugs , god how I hate that feeling but anyhows I just wanted to thank you for this site, I don't feel so lonely anymore.
We need help desperately! The youngest of our 6 children is a heroin addict. Lives at home (our other children are all married with wonderful families of their own) doesn't work and has stolen from us everything we hold dear. We have no money for medical ins. and he’s on medicaid. We have tried to get him into rehab but he refuses. After working hard all our lives and putting 5 kids through college, our hearts are broken over our youngest. We are 66 and 68 yrs old and our home is not our own. We put him out once but he came back 3 yrs ago on a freezing cold night with nowhere to go and I couldn't turn him away. I know we have enabled him but seem powerless to change this nightmarish situation. His siblings have tried also and say it's time to throw him out and change the locks. How do I do this??? Please help! We are so sad and so desperate.
Hello. I am at my wits end, I have already tried to do all the advice here,, my questions is once my son moves out again for the third or forth time, should I not allow him back in? I have let him come home as long as he is not bringing drugs in house or coming home drunk or high. Well since that is the way it is he has a certain time to be home. I know he is still doing it.. he has a job but no money to pay rent even a 300 dollar rent.. so he asked to come home and since then he is hardly here. I am up worrying, I try not to. I set the rule to help me, keep him from driving like that it is I lock the door if it is past a certain time.. and since this is the way it is he wants a key to the home and I can’t see me doing that. to me that is enabling him to come in drunk and high.. he is 22 and continues to say I need to let go.. how much more can I let go.. I love him so much I can feel people’s pain and now it is my son I can feel his pain I just know he must feel so alone.. it is so hard to show him you love him. No matter what, he will think you are picking at him, its like I cannot carry a conversation with him without him arguing about the smallest thing.. I’m so lost and confused.. my hubby says next time he wants to live here tell him no as many times as we need to till he decides it is time to get help.. is this the correct answer? I’m afraid he will end up on the streets.
So glad that I have found this blog. I have been struggling with so much. Trying to decide if I am doing the right thing. My husband and I disagree on so much when it comes to my drug addicted 25 yr old son who is currently living in our home with his girlfriend. They were in recovery with methadone but I started to see signs of additional dangerous symptoms. They left before I had the chance to ask them to leave, which confirmed my suspicions. Now he has supposedly detoxed from methadone and they are back. I think I want them to leave but it is cold and I can’t bear the thought. My husband doesn't share my concerns and there is friction. I'm trying to live my life but some days I can only think of how to save my son. My intelligence reminds me that I cannot.
It's rotten, isn't it? We love our addicted child so very much; how can we not want to try everything we can think of to help? And yet, sacrificing your own life, your other family relationships, solves nothing. Shoving our baby out of the nest: it's brutal - for us parents!
Finding the strength to stop enabling, even the tiniest little bit, is very hard. It certainly took my husband and myself years to really, really get it. Be gentle and kind to yourself. You're doing the best you can, one day at a time. So is your husband, even though you're each handling this stress differently.
Sending you love and a big hug ~ Cheryl
My husband and I have two children, 24 and 25 years of age, they are 15 months apart and are both addicted to heroin. They use together. We have paid for rehabs and sober living...and I am just beginning to realize how powerless I am over their addictions.
I'm so glad you've learned to acknowledge your powerlessness over your children’s' addiction; that's a huge step for a parent and crucial to survival. My heart goes out to you - I know your pain and the fierceness of your struggle. I hope for your children, as I do for my own, that their day of determined sobriety will come when their path takes them there. ~ Cheryl.
21yr old son, heroin addict. I can't financially help anymore. Don't want him in the house, he has no where to go. He hasn't had 1 real job his whole life, doesn't clean up, and just got out of 2nd rehab in Sept and is now using needles. How do we send them to the street? God help us all .
We don't send them to the streets; we would never do that to our precious children. Yet out of our love for them, and respect for our own lives, we must allow them the freedom to leave the safety of our homes in order to shoot up on the street. Their choice! And it's our choice to remind them, as often as we get the chance, that they're always welcome to come home when they can do so without bringing drugs - because we love them so very much!
My husband and I just had to make the difficult choice of telling our son that he could no longer live in our home because he was using again (he tried to cheat a home drug test, so we were certain he was using). We have sent him to rehab, spent thousands of dollars on Suboxone and therapy, and subjected ourselves to theft, forgery, you name it. We know we made the right step by following through with our agreement that if our son chose to use again, then he chose to live elsewhere; however, our hearts are breaking. We are going to a counselor in a week but want to hear from other parents who made it through the worry and guilt of removing an addict from their home. Help.
I surely understand your pain. After my husband and I made that hard decision, our daughter lived on the streets of our own town for a year. It was awful. Sometimes we'd give in to our despair and drive the streets at night, trying to catch a glimpse of her so we'd know she was still alive.
Yet is was the right thing to do. Our adult children are living their lives according to their own choices; so must we also live ours. It's taken us years to achieve a measure of peace within our hearts. It's hard won, and necessary. Though we love an addict, we still deserve joy and fulfillment in our own lives, and that's what we must strive for. It takes the daily reminder that we didn't cause the addiction, we can't control it, and we can't cure it. That's why I put the poem "journey" on this website, as I myself need the frequent reminder that there's only one life I can save (my own :-) ~ Cheryl
My 25 yr old son is an addict. I finally quit enabling him after 10 years and it is the hardest thing I have ever done. I still struggle with wanting to help him but he is making that easier as he has cut all connection with me. I just want him to get help but he thinks he is fine. I have put it in God's hands because I cannot carry this anymore. ~ Lisa
When will the roller coster end...My daughter is once again trying to stay clean. Did a stint in detox, going to some meetings etc..But deep down I don't really see the commitment to sobriety. Two years ago when I first realized what was happening we whisked her away to a 4 month rehab across country. She was no more ready for rehab than I was. In my heart I thought I was saving her, but I have come to realize I can not save her only she can save herself. We used to be so close, now it seems like she doesn't want to communicate with me.
I am learning everything I can about addiction and how to love your addicted adult child. She is only 26, and I hope and pray she finds that commitment soon.
Much love to you all who are suffering as I am.
My son has an on going addition to pain pills which his doctor prescribes for him!!! He also uses the suboxone in addition to the pain pills.
I can sense his 'darkness' and he is so moody! I am concerned he may take from me but . . . What do I do?
I need to work on the 3 items in your newsletter. Those being: keep communications open. Open door policy. He does not live with me any more. I can no longer take the abuse and destruction. What more can I do? He is so smart yet life is moving on. My heart is full.
My 19 year old son is a heroin addict. He has done a 30 day treatment program but has relapsed a few times. I believe he is really trying to overcome this but his addiction has such a hold on him, should we kick him out or work with him on these relapses? Rachael
you've asked THE question; how I wish I had the answer. Where oh where is that "life manual" every new parent of a cute little baby should receive?
I believe the best thing I can say to you is: try to act from your heart, not your mind. Life with an addict is truly a one-day-at-a-time deal; our own efforts at figuring out and planning never accomplished sobriety for our daughter. Acting from the heart allows us access to moments of inner wisdom and instinct, which are often more accurate than intelligence.
Your question has so many aspects to it: How are you coping with daily life with your son? Do you keep trying to believe him, though you know he's lying? (PS: all addicts lie; it's a survival mechanism) How is his presence affecting the rest of your family? How is it affecting your relationships? Is it creating financial hardship for you?
I guess you noticed that I created my website out of the experience of needing to disentangle myself, my health, my life - from the horror of my daughter's life choices. So that's why, though my heart aches at the thought of your situation (do I let him stay? do I kick him out?) I urge you to look first to caring for yourself - because it's SO hard for us moms to do that!
With much love ~ Cheryl
Hi Cheryl and thank you for your kind and supporting words. I feel so defeated when it comes to dealing with this and my son. We gave him the choice last week, either more rehab or he needs to move out and he of course choice to move out. He does not feel he has a problem nor is ready to surrender to it. I am very empty and broken hearted but have made a promise to myself to attend Alanon and get help for myself. I have Crohns Disease and become very sick at times so it is very important that I disentangle myself from this before I become more sick than he is and I do not even take drugs. I wish there was a life manual with all of the answers but so far we go based on our heart and mind. Thank You for letting me vent, Rachael
Your story sounds very similar to ours. My son, 34, is an addict: meth/crack/coke... whatever he can get his hands on. He recently was living with us, for about a year, to get back on his feet. During that time (after I found his meth pipe) he admitted he had a drug problem and wanted help. He went through a 6 week outplacement program (he didn't want to lose his job... the one he just got six months ago). He seemed to be doing pretty well, saving money (we had control of his money) and getting his finances in order (bankruptcy). He found a place to live, after being here for a year. His money is in an account in my name until his bankruptcy is final in about two weeks so that creditors couldn't take his money. Since leaving last week, he's gone through $1000 of the $1400 in the account. He came over last night for his son's birthday party. I could see instantly he was using -- dialated eyes, talking non stop, unable to make eye contact... you know the drill. It breaks my heart and I am struggling letting go. We won't give him money, or bail him out of jail again. We're ready to let him "feel the pain," and drop to his lowest... but it still hurts... and I still find myself trying to find ways to help. But, in my heart, I know there is nothing I can do. My husband and I have been attending Nar-anon meetings... which help a little...but since the program doesn't allow feedback... it makes it difficult to know if we are doing the right, or the wrong, things... this website helps... reading others stories and seeing how they've dealt with the addicts in their families. Thanks for sharing your story. firstname.lastname@example.org
My son, 32, divorced, two beautiful daughters living with their mother. Drug use since the age of 17....now addicted to crack cocaine. Everyone loves him, which makes it so sad and hard to deal with.. Stealing, lying, breaking hearts along the way.. He was with a young lady during a year clean period, a sweet, straight , sober, beautiful person.. He sucked her into his web of addiction, not by plan, but just happens to those who love addicts.. Non-violent, loving to his children, does his drugs alone , late at night in his truck.. A picture of true sadness that eats at mine and my wife's souls.. We have a daughter two years older than our son, school teacher, like her mother.. Keeps herself at a distance from him.. She's a very strong, no nonsense type.. That's how she's dealing . She has her own life.. Wish we were the same.. We stopped giving him
money a few weeks ago (gas money, bill paying , ect.. all lies)..
Your site has given me more thought.. I am currently laid off, dealing with my own money
demons.. We will continue to let him stay here as long as he never 1) does or brings drugs into the house 2) steals from the house 3) stops his attemps to help himself.
God help all addicts and those who suffer with them.. George