Teetering on the edge

C Han

New Member
Where to start? This is my first post, and I’m hoping that by finding from this venue some sort of hope. here goes. My only son, an only child, is 31. He Is an alcoholic, and I’m at the end of my rope worrying about him, imploring change. He is a college graduate with a great job. He told me some time back that he has been a beer drinker his entire adult life. I mean, like a 12 pack to case of beer a night. After a breakup with his college girlfriend of 6 years - because he couldn’t stop drinking, he got a DWI. During that time, we learned that he also suffered from anxiety and depression, and at my insistence, he went to rehab for 90 days. He is currently in medication as well. He says he is still taking it.
In rehab, he met a girl with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and they moved in together. (Great) Ugh. She never held a job, but spent every dime he had, including his 401K, and since she has major health issues, he MARRIED her so that she could have health insurance. Fast forward one year, he got arrested for domestic violence, because he hit her during one of their fights. I am not making this stuff up. Two weeks later, he called me from jail, he got a second DWI, and I refused to bail him out. He bailed himself out and today is facing two DWI charges, because of COVID, has not had a court date. The domestic charge is pending as well.
son moves out of the house he shared with friend, and lived with a couple friend of his for about a month. He has been making arrangements to move in with an older lady that needs money from a roommate, but warning signs are going off in my head that this is not a good idea.
He will not acknowledge that he has a problem!! I call him on Sundays to check in, he lives about 3 hours away. Yesterday I asked him if he was drinking he answered yes, and hung up on me. I asked him how bloody he had to get from banging his head on the wall before he realized that what he’s doing ISN‘T WORKING???
I‘m trying to wrap my head around the inevitable-homelessness, job loss, possible bankruptcy. He’s in a place where not one thing in his life is going right. People commit suicide over these types of things, and I’m preparing myself for THAT call. Nothing that I say, nothing that I offer by way of helping (calling creditors, helping move belongings to storage) is taken up. It seems he is hellbent on destroying himself, and I can only watch. I refuse to enable him. I am at a loss as to how to reach him. He blasts me when I say anything encouraging or optimistic. He is certain that he is a victim, and none of this is a result of his continual bad decisions. I’m at the place where I am not sure what to do. Do I walk away silently and let him continue, or send an email and say I’m here when you’re ready to get help? What do I do with this insanity??
 

MissLulu

Well-Known Member
Just a quick reply to say welcome and you are not alone. Many of us here can relate to your story.

I think only you can decide what is best for you and your relationship with your son. For me, I maintain a relationship with my son but I have boundaries. He knows he can’t live with me. We won’t give him money but sometimes we will subsidise things of our choosing - like medical bills. (We recently loaned him money to get his wisdom teeth taken out. He’s paid back some of that money but not all.) I won’t put up with disrespectful behaviour in my house. He must be sober when visiting me. If he crosses these boundaries I ask him to leave.

This works for me. It doesn’t mean that I am unaffected by his choices or that I don’t worry. But he’s still in my life and that is important to me. It might not always be this way, but it is working for now.

Hopefully others will be along soon to add their thoughts.

Remember, you matter. You deserve peace and happiness in your life. Take care of yourself. Your son is an adult and you are not responsible for his choices.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
Hi. Sorry for your heartache. It probably seems like an unbelievable story to you but it's common in the disease of addiction. Addiction is a family disease and everyone is affected. I've been in Nar Anon for people with addicted loved ones for years and it helped me so much. It's on Zoom and email too.

Addiction, like your son and.my daughter, is not in any way something we the parents can control or cure not can we force sobriety and better choices by nagging and threatening or excusing bad choices. Good for you for not bailing your son out of jail. That's how we need to be.

We did not CAUSE our child's disease, we can not CONTROL it's course or CURE our beloved child. But we can change OUR lives and thrive even with addicted loved ones. We have. Took us ten years! Daughter, married to horrible husband (we have no control over their love lives, is in her middle 30s. Be happy your son works. Lee and Kay are lazy addicts.

We have no control over our adult addicts. None. This is not an illness we can help with chicken soup and it does cause puzzling, frustrating behavior that we will never understand.

Only the addict can decide to quit. Even.our bribing them into rehab won't make them do the hard work needed for them to get and stay clean. Don't spend all your money (we spent toouch) and try to learn to take care of yourself. You have no control over anyone but YOU. You can't control children, spouses, the weather, things that pop up like COVID....our only control is over how we decide to deal with our own lives. That's really all we can control. Nar Anon and private therapy both saved our own lives. We learned to take care of us first. It felt selfish at first but it's not. We also learned to foster healthy relationships with well balanced lived ones and friends whom we ignored for Kay. We rekindled our marriage, found hobbies and bought a wonderful escape cottage on the water.

Kay and her choices are not up to me nor do I need to tell her how she hurts herself. She already knows and will hang up on us and get nasty if we try to "help" her. I wish it were not this way but they are adults even if immature and don't respond to our badgering. Often they just stop engaging which can be good for us as well as them. Do not talk to them if they are being abusive or asking for money unless you are up to it. We are no longer up to it...ever.

Kay lives in an old motorhome with Lee in AZ last we heard. Lee is a part time pizza worker and Kay never works. She was not raised to be lazy...we have a family business and she worked there a few months but swore at customers etc and can't. She won't be civilized and Lee and Kay fight in front of people.

We bought Kay a house, a mobile home and helped her pay rent when she.blew all that by bad behavior and not paying small amounts to us.

I highly recommend a form of Al Anon and private therapy. This saved us. It did not change Kay but WE no longer are always stressed and have time for.our.other loved ones and ourselves. I don't know how anyone does this without outside help. Al Anon is free.

If God is in your.life ask Him to take care of your son. I send.orayers and love. Keep us updated. Please focus on YOU because you can help YOU, but not him. I know you tried. Be well.
 
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C Han

New Member
Thank you so much for your reply. I know I’m not alone. I live in a tiny town and there is not an al Anon group here. I listen to Audio books, and all I ever listen to is things related to this alcoholism, and related to self care. I am doing good on my own, and my husband is totally wonderful with all of it, I get great love and support.
I do have a therapist, and I see her when needed.
I think the despair of my helplessness is what has me sad. I think that disengaging from him and trying to talk rationally when he is completely irrational is my next step. I make him angry and he blames me for “negating” him.
ive decided it’s not healthy for me to try to help him when he wants none of my help.
I appreciate your note, thanks so much.
 

JayPee

Sending good vibes...
Welcome CHan:
So sorry that you find yourself here and feeling so helpless but you have come to the right place, if for nothing else but to feel no judgement and support from others who understand your pain first hand. BusyMember touched on a lot of good suggestions for you.

I too lived with an alcoholic for 30 yrs. until I divorced him. He nearly died several times because of his alcoholism and it destroyed every fiber of our family and marriage. That did not change him. It was only when he was told for the 3rd time after almost dying that if he took one more drop of alcohol he'd be dead. He is sober going on 1 1/2 yrs. now but the damage he left behind is like a hurricane that destroys everything in it's path.

Please remember that we too get "sick" from living with an alcoholic. We are rescuers and enablers. It doesn't start out like a bad thing but we will do anything to glue the pieces back together so it all looks normal but in the meantime we neglect ourselves and find out years later that we have unraveled like a ball of yarn and we don't even know where our alcoholic begins and we end.

In our area the Al anon meetings will be starting up in July. Those meetings along with my therapist and good support and my faith and trust in God are what got me through it all. It is a process and no one graduates from Alanon but we try day by day to focus on ourselves and heal the brokenness and we learn that we will not likely be the ones to get our loved ones sober. It is their journey but a painful one for us to be a part of. That's why you need good support because it's YOU who will have to change. While doing that you can only hope that your son finds his "bottom" so he can start climbing up but that may take years.

Stay with us and share and and read others posts. I guarantee you will find care and support here.

Sending hugs.
 

C Han

New Member
Oh my goodness, your story breaks my heart. Thank you for all of your wise words. I am doing a lot of work on myself and trying not to let his bad choices erode my happiness. His father (no longer married to him) is also an alcoholic, and I know what you mean about alcohol destroying relationships. I am remarried to a wonderful man and very happy. I will definitely keep working to make sure my mental health is intact. I’m glad to have found this group. Thanks again so much.
 

C Han

New Member
Just a quick reply to say welcome and you are not alone. Many of us here can relate to your story.

I think only you can decide what is best for you and your relationship with your son. For me, I maintain a relationship with my son but I have boundaries. He knows he can’t live with me. We won’t give him money but sometimes we will subsidise things of our choosing - like medical bills. (We recently loaned him money to get his wisdom teeth taken out. He’s paid back some of that money but not all.) I won’t put up with disrespectful behaviour in my house. He must be sober when visiting me. If he crosses these boundaries I ask him to leave.

This works for me. It doesn’t mean that I am unaffected by his choices or that I don’t worry. But he’s still in my life and that is important to me. It might not always be this way, but it is working for now.

Hopefully others will be along soon to add their thoughts.

Remember, you matter. You deserve peace and happiness in your life. Take care of yourself. Your son is an adult and you are not responsible for his choices.
I like what you said about wanting your son in your life. I am going to have to work on a new dynamic with Preston, my son, but for now he talks down to me and attacks my motives and my words. He doesn’t recognize when someone cares-right now everyone is his enemy. But hopefully I can make some strides in finding a workable relationship with him-I’d like that. Thanks for your reply.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
I think the despair of my helplessness is what has me sad.
Welcome. I am so sorry that you are suffering. Almost all of us here are dealing with a similar scenario with our children. But each of us finds a response that suits our needs and situation. I am like you. I can't bear the way my son is, and how he treats me. At the same time, he is mentally ill and I can't stand it when he is on the streets with nowhere to go.

I think it's a question of finding a way to respond that you can live with. The problem for me is that I have never found this.
I find it absolutely intolerable when my son is on the streets--and I don't know where he is and how he is. I just feel eaten up alive and my health deteriorates. This is where and how I am now. But I am in a worst-case scenario. Almost all of the other parents here have found a way to handle their situation, for better or worse.

The one thing I know is that there is NOTHING in the world that you can do to control his behavior. He is addicted and I was told by a psychologist that specializes in addiction, that if we try to push an addict, it only empowers the addiction. That the very best thing to do is to leave them alone, to detach.

I don't think that necessarily means not see or speak to them. What I think it means is to not urge them to stop or do one other thing, and do not help them, in such a way that you are enabling them to continue drinking or drugging.

I think this is what Ms. Lulu is doing: she is setting boundaries for herself and her home--over which she has control--but not trying to do so over her son. She's helping him according to her need to help, not according to his demands.

Al Anon is on the internet now, on zoom. It's very easy to google for the contact information and times of online groups. There are a number of them, in different timezones and countries.

I am glad you've found us.
 

C Han

New Member
Welcome. I am so sorry that you are suffering. Almost all of us here are dealing with a similar scenario with our children. But each of us finds a response that suits our needs and situation. I am like you. I can't bear the way my son is, and how he treats me. At the same time, he is mentally ill and I can't stand it when he is on the streets with nowhere to go.

I think it's a question of finding a way to respond that you can live with. The problem for me is that I have never found this.
I find it absolutely intolerable when my son is on the streets--and I don't know where he is and how he is. I just feel eaten up alive and my health deteriorates. This is where and how I am now. But I am in a worst-case scenario. Almost all of the other parents here have found a way to handle their situation, for better or worse.

The one thing I know is that there is NOTHING in the world that you can do to control his behavior. He is addicted and I was told by a psychologist that specializes in addiction, that if we try to push an addict, it only empowers the addiction. That the very best thing to do is to leave them alone, to detach.

I don't think that necessarily means not see or speak to them. What I think it means is to not urge them to stop or do one other thing, and do not help them, in such a way that you are enabling them to continue drinking or drugging.

I think this is what Ms. Lulu is doing: she is setting boundaries for herself and her home--over which she has control--but not trying to do so over her son. She's helping him according to her need to help, not according to his demands.

Al Anon is on the internet now, on zoom. It's very easy to google for the contact information and times of online groups. There are a number of them, in different timezones and countries.

I am glad you've found us.
Thank you for your heartfelt reply. I am like you in many ways. I am realizing that I have zero power to influence my son’s choices. I also don’t like not communicating with him, but I will just give him a little while to cool off. I think he is pretty fragile right now.
I am doing some self help through audio books, I listen on my phone when I’m alone, running the trail or at home. I’ve learned a lot and have committed myself to learning all that I can about alcoholism and dealing with relationships involving this. I feel pretty good about it, and am praying that my son finds peace somehow. I am really happy that I’ve found this group. Your words are helpful.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
None of us like not communicating with our kids. I just realized that Kay really never communicated in a kind way ,(unless she wanted money and if we said no she called us every name your imagination can take a person!) If we asked how she's doing she said shi**y and blamed and abused us...never a.kind word. She did not ever ask about the rest of us and never even called/ calls to inquire about her son whom her sister is raising. She stopped all contact months ago over her conspiracy theories (long story).

I wanted her in my life. The home and.mobile home we bought her were close by for easy access to us. The only time we saw her was when WE visited and I would end up cleaning her filthy home while hub would do the yard as she took naps and Lee drank.

I think we all wish to stay in contact but it doesn't always work out And to be honest, once Kay told us she won't speak to us if we won't give her $$$ anymore (most of it gone because we had already given it to her) it has been oddly peaceful. I feel guilty saying this but she wore us down and affected our health. We are happier and healthier now. In fact, life is calm and normal.

But.....it took us ten years to let go and.let God. We now spend more time with our two kind, loving, thriving children and our grands and great friends. They had been neglected for Kay. No more.

Everyone here has a story. Few of us ever broke contact with our children until it became clear we had no good relationship anyway and that it would kill us to continue. We are now both over 65. Not going to die for Kay's abuse.

Do try Al Anon. There are zoom meeting all over the world and you don't have to live close by. Or you CAN go in person. I can't imagine doing this alone. We gained our tools from our therapist and Nar Anon and use them every day. It can truly kill to stress so much you if it keeps up. And all help is good...you take what is useful and leave the rest

Hugs.
 
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C Han

New Member
None of us like not communicating with our kids. I just realized that Kay really never communicated in a kind way ,(unless she wanted money and if we said no she called us every name your imagination can take a person!) If we asked how she's doing she said shi**y and blamed and abused us...never a.kind word. She did not ever ask about the rest of us and never even called/ calls to inquire about her son whom her sister is raising. She stopped all contact months ago over her conspiracy theories (long story).

I wanted her in my life. The home and.mobile home we bought her were close by for easy access to us. The only time we saw her was when WE visited and I would end up cleaning her filthy home while hub would do the yard as she took naps and Lee drank.

I think we all wish to stay in contact but it doesn't always work out And to be honest, once Kay told us she won't speak to us if we won't give her $$$ anymore (most of it gone because we had already given it to her) it has been oddly peaceful. I feel guilty saying this but she wore us down and affected our health. We are happier and healthier now. In fact, life is calm and normal.

But.....it took us ten years to let go and.let God. We now spend more time with our two kind, loving, thriving children and our grands and great friends. They had been neglected for Kay. No more.

Everyone here has a story. Few of us ever broke contact with our children until it became clear we had no good relationship anyway and that it would kill us to continue. We are now both over 65. Not going to die for Kay's abuse.

Do try Al Anon. There are zoom meeting all over the world and you don't have to live close by. Or you CAN go in person. I can't imagine doing this alone. We gained our tools from our therapist and Nar Anon and use them every day. It can truly kill to stress so much you if it keeps up. And all help is good...you take what is useful and leave the rest

Hugs.
Having a person in the family with addictions is hard. I'm glad that you have two other children that bring you joy. We often times go above and beyond for our troubled children thinking that MAYBE we can set a new course, but truthfully it's rarely, if ever, true. My son hasn't been to visit us in over two years. We live about 3 hours away, and he used to come regularly. However, he is on probation pending a DWI hearing (for the first one), and he would have to pass a urine test for alcohol before and after leaving his area. He can't pass because he is drinking. DUH. We finally figured that out. So, it's hard to not think that he loves beer more than he loves us, because I know that his addiction is bigger than he is, but it still hurts. We drive to his city to see him on occasion, but he will meet us for lunch or a picnic, or whatever, but we never have in depth discussions about anything. It's almost as if I am meeting a stranger, and we talk pleasantries. Nothing more.

I was a single parent with him from when he was 10 years old, and when he was 20, I got remarried to a wonderful man that didn't have children of his own. He took my son in like his biological child, he said that he knew that we were a package deal. He paid for his college, (wanted me to quit spending my retirement), bought a condo for him to live, gave him a car and spending money. He also changed his will so that every single thing he owns goes to my son, because he said that Preston deserved a break in life, and he was going to give it to him. Still brings tears to my eyes, I never knew that kind of love. My son acts like he could care less. He doesn't know anything about gratitude, or how to have a healthy relationship with anyone. His reply is, "I didn't ask you to do that." We don't ever, ever remind him of what we have done for him, but if something comes up about any issue regarding money, this is his go to response. It breaks both of our hearts terribly. I have quit giving him money, I learned that anything that I could give to him, he could spend, but his life never improved.

Whenever he goes on a tirade, or accuses me of "negating" him, or minimizing him, I have to set a boundary and not engage his attack. I think I learned to not argue with him, and to not raise my voice when he gets mean. I have learned to stay calm and maintain my composure, because I learned that when he spews vitriol at me, he is really unhappy with himself. He tries to project his unhappiness toward me, but I've learned that if he can behave so horribly toward another human being, he must feel really awful inside-and that's not my problem, it's his. He knows that I love him and that I care about his life, but he is also angry that I've done a lot of emotional work to heal wounds, and I am in a loving, healthy relationship. He knows that he can have the same, but is too lazy to do the work. Once when he was in middle school, (I was a single homeowner, went back to college and also worked) he told me that he never wanted to grow up, all adults ever did was work! So, alcoholism is an easier solution to him to "handle" life, instead of getting off his butt and doing the emotional work required to fix what ever is so dang broken.

Preston is on a crash course to disaster. He is still drinking, and driving....I keep incessantly praying that he doesn't kill an innocent person. He is inevitably going to lose his great job, because there's no way that he can compartmentalize his behavior, his employer has to see that he is a train wreck in progress. So, when that happens, hopefully he will find his bottom, he clearly isn't there yet. We will no longer bail him out of jail, pay for attorneys, or any other means to lessen the impact of his fall. Yes, I would feed him if he were hungry, or if he needed medical attention, but he is going to suffer the consequences of whatever wrath lies ahead of him.

Thank you for your words about Al Anon. I did attend their meetings for a few months. It was a 35 mile drive, one way, and I felt that I wasn't receiving the nurturing that my soul was craving there. It was a very small group, and because Al Anon teaches "no crosstalk", I felt that I was not progressing forward. We read from the books and recited all the mantras, but I didn't want to drive that far in order to sit in such structure, it wasn't what I was searching for. So, I subscribed to Audible, and began listening to self help books on the subject. My new year resolution was that this topic was ALL I was going to listen to this year. It's been a godsend, and I've learned so much. I also have a good support group of friends that I can talk to about this, in addition to my precious husband that is right in the trenches with me.

I appreciate your note, and I have great compassion for the struggles you are enduring with your daughter. It is nice to know that there's someone out there that understands this madness. In a sea of what I call "Facebook Happy", where everyone posts their triumphs and victories, it's nice to know that real life isn't always such a neat little package. Let's stand together and be strong support for each other.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
We do stand together!!!

Your husband sounds amazing. What a wonderful support person and life mate!

In the end Preston and Kay need to decide to change. We can't do it for them. Kay seems to have no rock bottom. Things keep getting worse for her, but she seems to have a very strong tolerance for dirty living, no money and not having contact with her family. So nothing we can do. I think it's great that your son has a good job. There is hope!

Keep us posted!!!
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
Somebody told me today that children bring forth despair in parents. And this man who said this has great kids.

I think you are a marvelous mother and you and your husband are wonderful parents. I think Preston is blessed to have you. All of the work you've done to be the very best mother you can be under circumstances that only thwart and sadden you--is worth everything, whether or not Preston can respond. Everything you can do, you have done. Oh. I know the pain and fear when you can't do more.

I wish you as much peace as you can find.
 

C Han

New Member
Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. I think that because Preston doesn’t want help from us, my backing up and becoming an observer might bring him to the place where he’s had enough of his misery. I only pray that God will prevent him from harming innocent others in this progressive decline. I know that I’ve reached MY bottom, there’s nothing more I can do. The state of his mental faculties are beyond my scope. Prayer is my only tool available to me. I have found some level of peace in knowing that I have no other tools in my toolbox. I so very much appreciate the positive things in my life that are coming from this. My husband is my rock, and I am deeply grateful for the love, support and insight I receive from him and everyone that has been so kind.
 
Welcome. I am so sorry that you are suffering. Almost all of us here are dealing with a similar scenario with our children. But each of us finds a response that suits our needs and situation. I am like you. I can't bear the way my son is, and how he treats me. At the same time, he is mentally ill and I can't stand it when he is on the streets with nowhere to go.

I think it's a question of finding a way to respond that you can live with. The problem for me is that I have never found this.
I find it absolutely intolerable when my son is on the streets--and I don't know where he is and how he is. I just feel eaten up alive and my health deteriorates. This is where and how I am now. But I am in a worst-case scenario. Almost all of the other parents here have found a way to handle their situation, for better or worse.

The one thing I know is that there is NOTHING in the world that you can do to control his behavior. He is addicted and I was told by a psychologist that specializes in addiction, that if we try to push an addict, it only empowers the addiction. That the very best thing to do is to leave them alone, to detach.

I don't think that necessarily means not see or speak to them. What I think it means is to not urge them to stop or do one other thing, and do not help them, in such a way that you are enabling them to continue drinking or drugging.

I think this is what Ms. Lulu is doing: she is setting boundaries for herself and her home--over which she has control--but not trying to do so over her son. She's helping him according to her need to help, not according to his demands.

Al Anon is on the internet now, on zoom. It's very easy to google for the contact information and times of online groups. There are a number of them, in different timezones and countries.

I am glad you've found us.
I just stumbled upon this site and read your letter...it is my story. I have a 35 year old homeless son whose situation breaks my heart all day every day. He isn't an addict (does smoke weed) but his greater problem is mental health, personality disorder and God knows what else. Most days, I just think that it would have been better not to have had children, when no matter what you try to do to help their situation, doesn't help, and all you can do it ache for them. I just started therapy because, I felt like I was going to lose my mind over the situation. It's funny, you have the therapist and well meaning people telling you various things to do about your child, which "is suppose" to make you feel better...but the bottom line is these are your children and when hurt, you hurt for them. For me there doesn't seem to be anyway around this.
 

C Han

New Member
I’m so sorry for you and your son. Mine does have some mental health issues. He suffers from depression and anxiety, coupled with low self esteem. But on the other hand he thinks he knows everything and no one can tell him anything. It’s extremely frustrating, when he has consistently made horrible decisions when he drinks. Sigh. He is sure that there’s not a problem. I have gone to therapy extensively, but I still struggle. There’s a page on this site called Detachment, and it is very helpful. I still have a really hard time being genuinely happy for people that I know that have kids that are doing great in life, and then I feel like a jerk for not wanting to engage with them. I know you are with me in wishing that our children would make the right choices and steer their lives to a better path. But it is their life, and we have to give up the dreams we had for them, they create their own truth. I find that my thoughts are always with him, but I’m powerless. So I try not to cause strife in my own life by being sad about something I can’t fix. My husband is my rock, and I’m grateful to him beyond words.
I hope you have a support system to help you through this. Hugs to you, I completely understand this and hope you find some support here. This forum is helpful.
 

ksm

Well-Known Member
C Han...

Here is the article on detachment. I read it often! It is on the Parent Emeritus forum, near the top... ksm

 
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