A little bit of hope.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Copabanana, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    He did call. He's acting morose. While unstated, he acts like a victim of circumstances. He says he is sleeping in bushes. (The positive to this is that he listened to M and did not sleep at the property last night.) He wants to come back, but wants a clean slate. For example, he says he worked almost all last week, but for some reason does not want to verify it. He wants a do over. With everything.

    I think he must be out of money. No food. No place to stay. Hard.

    Related to that, I think he went to the psychiatrist and therapist to protect his SSI, not for true help.

    M says that he came to get his stuff saying I said it was OK. (I had said go talk to M.) M said he acted aggressive.

    M also suggested that the only way to deal with this is for me to leave. To be absolutely unavailable to J. Am I the problem? But this approach has it's merits. For a long time, I had been talking about returning to Brazil where I used to live. I have not been in 8 years.

    I agree Wise. The more "no's" he hears, the more he might have to look in the mirror. But the thing is, for sure he does not want to be homeless, without support. But at the same time, he believes the lack of support and a place to live, should be his. He does not feel the need or ability to modify his behavior. For sure he is self-medicating. The jury is out whether or not marijuana is an addiction. I believe for him it is. And there may be other, harder drugs, although he has always maintained he would never go there.

    As long as I offer shelter without a bottom line, I support this denial on his part. I can't go there. Is it "normal" that he would blame me and M for everything?

    Thank you.
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    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  2. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    If you want to move then go, but please don't do it with your son's recovery in mind. You are not the problem. Your son is the problem. If he is unwilling to help himself, that won't change, and you may feel very guilty about leaving. Only you know if that is true or not.

    Nothing that YOU do will cure your son. You didn't cause it, you can't control it and you can't cure it. Only your son can better himself and I am thinking that his addiction and other issues are much more about himself than you or anything else. So far, even with tremendous motivation on your part (being housed and fed) this kid just will not go along with reasonable and healthy rules. My daughter is the same way. It never fails to confuse me.

    Both your son and my daughter could have had it so good.

    Anyway, God bless.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thank you. I would not stay in Brazil. No more than a month or two at most would I go. But I would renew my visa so that I could again go back and forth.

    I spoke briefly with my son. He specifically brought up addiction, about a problem with pleasure-reward sensors in the brain, that plague addicts and children of addicts. Both birth parents were multiple drug-users. He did not disavow that he has addiction issues. This is a start.

    He had started out saying what a disaster we had arrived to...and then narrowed the responsibility to himself to not following through and then specifically to addiction. He said he would go tomorrow to work, and he said he'd try to get the verification for this past week. I did not make any commitments or any quid pro quo. I tried to stay silent, and only offered encouragement to the verification.

    I know he knows I love him.

    Thank you everybody.
  4. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I was hoping this would work. If he's not going to work or volunteer, what does he do? I wouldn't be able to cope with the boredom. Is he smoking pot all that time, hanging with people, etc?
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    His preferred activity lately is to isolate with his cell phone.

    He is trying hard to influence me to let him back into the apartment. He called to say that he arranged to go to work tomorrow, and will have last week's verification tomorrow. His hope was that was enough to get back in. I said, one, promises in the form of words were part of the problem. A big part. That I would not even discuss with M letting him come back without verification he is back on track, in hand.

    He replied. If I can't shower I can't go to work. I replied. That's your decision to make.

    He replied. Then I will have to sleep outside until November.

    Me: Your choice.

    So. He called back in 15 minutes, and said he was on his way to pick up the verification from the doctor's appointment. Did I tell you that I suggested he ask the doctor for an order for a hair drug test? I don't know if that is right or wrong. But he didn't do it.

    He said: Why? I know what I use. I replied, but I don't. With these problems happening over and over there is the question, what might you be ingesting?

    He's back sleeping in the house tonight. He brought M verification that he had gone to the doctor's today, and committed to go to work tomorrow to the job and to M. He also committed to bring last week's verification, tomorrow. For M that was enough. M wanted my son to be able to bathe and sleep. So I relented. If he does not come back from work tomorrow with verification he's out again.

    M and I are both greatly relieved, recognizing we could be in the same spot tomorrow.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  6. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Copa, I do not know your son and I am hesitant to suggest this, but I don't believe he went to work last week. He can't get the verification and he knows it, and he is buying one night at a time right now by saying whatever he needs to say to make that happen. That's what this sounds like to me.

    I am with Busy that you are not the problem.

    He brought up addiction and with his constant money problems, I am fairly certain drugs are a big issue in all of his problems. The fact that he brought up addiction with you is a step in the right direction in my opinion, because he must be self reflecting at least some. Again, I do not know him, but I am pretty familiar with addiction behavior. And genetically, he is predisposed

    He does not want to be homeless right now. That much is clear .I wonder whether it might be helpful to be very firm with your requirements , pushing the envelope a .little, and see whether that's enough to get him to seek recovery .

    You could look into some half way houses or tell him if he were to go to NA for help, they can hook him up with a spot to stay. It's worth a shot maybe. He brought up addiction, so mentioning that NA can help him with addiction and a place to stay as you tell him he is out might be an idea. You know he won't comply with your requirements , so a plan B might be good .
  7. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Wise in my opinion has a good idea. The problem is that NA is anonamyous and they won't sign that he was there although anyone on the street can scribble that he was there, even if the writer was not at the meeting. So he can't produce proof for you. Anyone can fake a letter.

    I also don't think he volunteered. I'm sure they would be happy to write on letterhead that he did. But beware of him maybe taking letterhead and asking someone to pretend he was there. How? I don't know. These.kids get good at these games and lying well. Kay is a master. I trust nothing she says she did unless I see her doing it.

    I am not sure we can track adult kids who know how to live on the edge. I don't think we can.

    And I am not sure that we should. Forcing them into rehab won't make them serious about it. I favor for my kid actual rehab over NA although neither will probably ever happen.

    But you must do, as we did, everything you feel you can or it makes us feel as if we did not do enough. The day always may come when you know there is nothing left to do.

    I never thought I'd reach that point.

    It's both liberating and very sad.
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    That is our sense too. I have used the word "attenuated" before on this thread or another, to convey that our path is narrowing so as to only offer one way to go, without choices. I feel this here, too. My son is revealing the truth to himself and to us. The other side of that coin, is I no longer will consent to accept lies. It would be true enabling on my part to "buy" lies in order to remain ignorant.
    I think now we are at the point, where I demand a drug test from the doctor.
    How does this work? Who would he speak too?

    My son was in a sober living house in our town 18 months or so ago. He got kicked out because he kept using marijuana. He knows where to go as it's through the Rescue Mission and he knows the executor director who is a very nice retired pastor. My son in the past has tried to manipulate me by saying he can't go back there. If that's the case, he could go to a neighboring town in another county and find something similar. He prefers to be with me, because he can better manipulate me. And of course, with me, he has proven he can continue drug use, which is his intent. Thank you very much.
  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I also don't think he volunteered. Or if he did, at most a day.
    There is a wonderful post on a current thread called "Harm Reduction and Acceptance" by TL, or "toughlovin'." Her 27 year old son is involved in a recovery program utilizing the harm reduction approach which is an alternative to the 12 step model of abstinence. She describes in the post her own transition from tough love to pure love, as she and her child have moved from model to model. And the changes in her son. She neither endorses or rejects an approach.
    I am well aware that M and I are putting ourselves in the role of a sober living house. Or maybe my son has put us there. And we have obliged. We have allowed ourselves to tolerate the behavior of an addict, and we have taken responsibility to rein him in. This is hypocritical of me, as I have always said to my son that I was not a treatment program. In any event I think we will have more clarity today. We know my son is unlikely to have verification of time worked.

    I think we have gained by this past week, gained in clarity (at real cost, yes.) Today is D-day.

    I don't think I should be in the position of tracking my adult son. I think it infantilizes him and puts me in a position of being a prison guard and not a mother. But it is my son who has put us here. My son now will decide what happens next.

    Does he want support or free rein? Probably, both. For him to continue living with us, he will have to decide to put into place another system of oversight. There is a comprehensive substance abuse program with the County. All day they have NA and other groups, case management, credentialed counsellors, etc. He has received a referral from mental health.

    If he does not come home with a verification on letterhead, he will have to leave, and he will have to come up with a plan. Continuing with us, when it is just a pile of lies, one after another, will not be an option at this point. He will have to make more decisions. About how he wants to live.

    I will go visit the director of the Rescue Mission to see if I can find out, hypothetically, if my son can go back to the sober living house. That would do a lot to reassure me that my son will not have to sleep under a bush if he does not want to.

    I am thinking that for my son to come back to our house, if there is no job verification, is a sustained drug treatment program and sobriety. I am not sure about whether or not he needs to go to a sober living house. (Actually, I think he does. But I'm afraid he won't.) Because if he is with us he will keep pushing in the ways he has been doing. (My son believes he controls us, not the reverse.) He would make us responsible for setting boundaries, and this is horrible. And he will keep making us responsible to be bad guys. Who wants to live this way or should?

    It seems like you, Wise, take responsibility to make and enforce strong rules with your daughter, but she is a decade younger, and as far as I know does not have drug issues. I don't think M and I are qualified or equipped to be in the spot we are. M is a recovering alcoholic but he chose to stop. My son has not done the same. We can't force somebody to want to stop. I'm embarrassed to say we have tried and tried.

    Thank you very much.
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    There was a mother here when I began. Scent of Cedar. She would say that her help to her adult children: turned them into beggars. This is what I do when I make help to my son contingent. But the other side of the coin is that he turns me into a beggar. By withholding cooperation he forces me to beg him to change. At the bottom I know this is the truth of my situation with my son.

    We are long past the time when to (try to) force my son into living one way or another, might function. We are well past the time it took to see if he was ready to try to live well and cooperatively.

    We are paying 96 percent of the cost to make this work. This afternoon when he comes home will be the moment of truth. I almost dread either way. I dread too if he has this verification. Because in truth I don't want to do this more. Too much of our energy are going to make something work, over which we have no control. We are being run by fear. Fear of our true feelings.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
  11. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Wheb you attend NA seriously meaning you want help and you go every day (90 meetings in 90 days) , you talk to people and you let them know you need a place to stay . Depending upon the area, there might be NA members who run half way houses themselves. At a minimum they know wo runs them and how to get in.

    I don't believe that they would not take your son back if he is serious and first and foremost complies with their rules.

    He has to be out of options for him to want to return to NA and a half way house. He has to be at bottom, desparate. Addicts have to come to end of themselves.
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My son did bring home the verification that he worked last week, averaging a little less than 6 hours a day for 3 days. He missed only Friday, the day he was to bring home the verification. How strange. He spent 3 nights and 4 days out of the house, sleeping outside, rather than bring us the verification letter. Only 2 of those days were weekend days.

    I am thinking about what Busy wrote above when she wondered if we have a right as parents to even try to hold our child's feet to the fire. After all, they are adults. But they are adults that need and want something from us. And as such, we have a right to request something back. So much of this forum is about that. About parents' confusion and uncertainty about whether they have a right to reciprocity. Or conversely, if they the parents are required to give 100 percent, when their kids give little or nothing, not even care or respect.

    I see this as an internal conversation about deserving and entitlement and wanting. Each of these words are trigger words for me. I want to thank all of you for your support and knowledge and wisdom and experience.

    Thank you people. I am going to put this thread to rest.
  13. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Just want to say I am glad for your family that there is some progress. We are now walking the "struggling to launch" side of the street with both our sons so I have empathy now from personal experience.
  14. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    I love the plan you devised! I also think it is reasonable he would be fearful of loosing SSI, because that is what he knows. Would that affect his health insurance too? I believe their is currency in everything we do. What is his? Is he able to identify life goals? I know that is where my daughter struggles because she is so very depressed and an alcoholic. How do we get these adult children to find the currency that motivates them? Maybe we can't, because they have to want to live. Heartbreaking as it is, that is the reality of it. I have learned to respond to by letting go, trusting my higher power, and praying my daughter will be open to receiving the message.

    The good news is that he is volunteering to help others. He is giving back to a community he must feel comfortable with. Hold that pearl in the palm of your hands, if even for a day.

    Love and light.
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is a fascinating concept applied in this way, Blindsided. I was not sure how to proceed. I was stuck with the idea that currency is a "thing" not a state. So I looked up the definition of currency and the etymology.

    This is what I learned: The word currency emerged in the 1600's and came from the Latin root "currere" which means to run or to flow, "a state or fact flowing from person to person." We most commonly think of money, that symbolic transfer of value from person to person, but at its root, the transfer could signify the movement or flow of any quality or thing.

    Like "flow" in the spiritual sense. The current or stream that we seek as "the zone." So, as I looked further at these definitions and looked up "flow" in Wikipedia, I thought about how these kids of ours do seek a sort of flow, with their addictive behaviors, and their avoidance, and their hyper-focus, seeking escape or an altered state. It's just not the kind we want for them. It lacks the essential personal agency of which flow, in the spiritual sense, has as a central part.
    This is what I struggle with, too. But I am seeing, like you have, that I can't take part in this. If flow is spontaneity, energy, unrestricted movement, how can I or any other person enter into this? I would only create blockage and obstruction.

    But the thing is, and thank you for this, if I retract myself, containing my desire to dominate, impose, define, demand, and make my ego small, with these actions, I can create the space for him to move himself.

    And in doing that, retracting my own ego (defense), I create space for myself to move, to be.

    Thank you very much for this post. I achieved what I see as my greatest efficacy in my work. And I am coming to see that that capacity grew not from any ability to do anything, but from pulling back and creating space, a channel, for energy to flow. For currency exchange. Who knew that my parenting would depend upon the same thing?

    Thank you very much Blindsided.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
  16. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    thank you for delving in. Much of learning how ego steps in was realized for me in the articles of detachment. For me, emotional detachment let's that energy flow the path of least resistance and allows me to look at things objectively. I realize much advice to my daughter was not percieved as intended. I am a nurse, so I naturally want to fix. It has taken me 69 years to realize the only thing I can do is fix myself and find a way to inspire others (currency they need to motivate them) to do the same. It's not so easy when my daughter lives in total victimhood. But, I also hold hope that day will come.

    It brings me joy that anything I share can be used by others. Paying forward the wise words of all who have crossed my life path.

    Love and light.
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