Update -- Been Awhile

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Albatross, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    It has been awhile since I have posted, though I read the boards almost every day.

    My son, who in December had gotten out of detox for meth use, showed up at our local airport unexpectedly in February, with nothing but the clothes on his back. We told him he could not stay with us and gave him an old tent and a blanket and dropped him off at a spot close to day labor, but temperatures were below freezing the next night and he was rail-thin, coughing and running a fever. So letting him stay for a few days was something we felt we had to do.

    It was nice to have him home, and he definitely needed some "mothering," at least in the physical sense. He was eating like a horse, feeling better, had the light back in his eyes, but (as in the past) the days turned into weeks and we found ourselves taking on his responsibilities -- driving him to day labor, paying for his groceries, etc. Then we caught him drinking and told him to leave.

    A few weeks later he called and said he had checked himself into detox and was going to stay with friends when he got out. A few days after that he called and said he had checked himself into detox again because he started drinking as soon as he got out the first time, and he saw that he needed help. He said he knew he couldn't stay sober without some support and begged us to let him talk to us about the changes he wanted to make.

    When he showed up to talk to us, we were far from welcoming. At one point in the conversation he broke down in tears and said, "I want to quit, but I can't. I don't know how to stop. I don't want to be like this anymore. I need help and I don't know what to do."

    So against our better judgment, AGAIN, we laid the ground rules (again) and told him we were not going to be involved in the day to day of his life, but we would hold his money for him and let him stay for 6 weeks, assuming he stuck to the program, and save some money. He said he wanted to complete a hike he started and never finished. I think hubs and I have harbored the dream that completing a long-term goal might push him in a better direction, so we agreed to help him do that.

    He found a very good job and managed to save quite a bit of money. Around week 5 I noticed odd behavior and knew he had been drinking. We found out he hid his paycheck from us by swapping his debit card for an old one he had in his wallet.

    And even after that, we actually drove him to the trailhead, hoping that the hard work he had put in would be enough!

    What is WRONG with me?!?

    With distance came some clarity that I really, REALLY need to work on this detachment stuff. I need to make it my #1 priority. I have been working toward developing more healthy interactions with him. Then, about a month after we dropped him off, he did not show up to pick up a food drop. He was missing for several days and his phone was turned off or dead. I put out BOLOs, called all of the hiking facilities in the area, etc.

    Then the local police called to report that he had been arrested on felony possession charges.

    He has been in a holding facility for the last month or so. Initially he made every guilt and pity play in the books trying to get us to bail him out. We refused.

    As his head has cleared, he has become more reasonable and empathetic. We still have not gotten involved.

    His public defender arranged a deal involving 2 years of probation, but part of the deal was that he had to do his probation where he had "support" in the area. He is returning to our home state (not our hometown).

    We did pay a minimal fee to hold his bed at a 1-year residential rehab. He is responsible for the remainder of the program costs. If he doesn't complete the program or his probation requirements, he will be sentenced on the felony charges. If he does complete them, the charges will be dropped.

    As I type out this update, I am so angry at myself for letting him move back home, TWICE MORE, so that we could apparently fund his drinking, which escalated to felony drug use. The hike is just an excuse, or a tool, to get us to do what he wants. It always has been.

    And now he is in the area, and I fear being drawn into the web again.

    It seems so wrong on every level to tell my sick child to sleep in the woods with nothing but an old blanket. But apparently the other path only made things worse.

    Or maybe not. Maybe this is what he finally needed. Maybe he will see it through.

    I just don't know what's right anymore.

    I think that's why I have been hesitant to post. I think I have just been trying to pull away from his whole situation, but I keep letting it grab me by the wrist and pull me right back in again.

    At any rate, I am back in it, emotionally at least, once again trying to learn the hard lessons about letting go.
  2. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis


    I'm sorry you are in this place. Nothing you did affected him. Everything affected you.

    Detachment is like an ebb and tide for m.e recently I thought I was is a good place then our son started dating someone new and threw me for a loop. I wasn't ready for change, lol. It is also hard to detach when they are near.

    Thought our stories are different all the feelings are the same. I question and wonder when I. An move on and let him just be. I try but he lives with us as a part of the family and still needs the freedom of a young adult. We are constantly drawing boundaries for all.

    Our son serves probation...there is no if s and or buts, your son will follow the rules or not. If not he will do the time. HeartbreAking but could be life changing.

    PrAyers and strength for you , you have done what all of us would have done.

    We are a group of hope.
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  3. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Administrator Staff Member


    I remember reading your posts. I don't post often but I wanted to reach out to you and let you know that I admire your strength and honesty.

    The ball once again in his court. The outcome is up to him.

    I support your decisions. Very difficult decisions to make.
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  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sometimes the threat of felony charges and what that will do to your future is enough motivation to turn things around. When my brother finally flamed out, because it really was more a flame out than a hitting rock bottom, it was the idea of what felony charges would do to his future that really got to him.

    Especially the loss of voting and being able to own a gun. It was enough to motivate him to do rehab the way he does many things - completely and without reservation even though it was Christian and he really disliked Christianity.

    I would continue to stay detached, and leave the ball in his court. I completely support your decisions.

    Don't beat yourself up because you tried something that didn't work. The fault isn't with you. It is with him. You didn't lie to him. You didn't scheme or manipulate. You did the best you could with what you knew.

    Now it is time to go do something nice for yourself!! Use the time, money and other resources you would have used for him to indulge yourself.
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  5. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    First, I'm sending you a really big ((HUG))

    No need to be angry with yourself. You did what you thought best at the time. Regardless of what we do or don't do for our kids the choices they make are their own.
    After years of not offering any kind of support to our son we decided to send him some money for Christmas this past year. 2 days later he was arrested for assault with a knife. His sentence is 2 years in prison.
    I too had "what if" thoughts. What if we hadn't sent him money, he wouldn't have been able to buy booze, get drunk and then end up assaulting someone. I quickly realized that regardless of what we did for him, he made his own choices just as your son did. That is on them, not us.

    It's always harder when they are geographically closer but boundaries should be strong and remain in place no matter if they are in the same town, same state, or on the other side of the world. If your son wants to get together I would suggest going to a public place, a park or McDonald's.

    Well of course it seems wrong. This isn't the way things were supposed to turn out. Just because our difficult adult children make choices that leave them in dire straights does not mean that we as the parents have to rescue them. In one of the letters my son has sent from prison he said how he hopes that our relationship can become strong and that I will welcome him back into my home.
    The only way I would welcome him back into my home is to see his "lip service" put into action. It's fine that in his letter he says he know he has a drinking and drug problem and that he's going to get his life straightened out. I've heard all of this before as I'm sure you have too. When I see my son get a job and hold it for more than a few months, when I see that he's being responsible with his money and can live in the same place for a year or more, when I see that his temperament has changed from being angry and hateful, when I see him show respect to me and my husband then maybe, just maybe, I might welcome him into my home.
    My son also wrote in his letter that when he is released he will be homeless. He was homeless when he got arrested. I know that he's trying to manipulate me into "rescuing" him when he's released. Not going to happen. I told him in my letter that he would most likely have to live in a halfway house and get a job.

    Albie, what is right is your sense of security. What is wrong is your son, my son and all the other difficult adult children who take advantage of us, who manipulate us, who abuse us. We as parents have done our job of raising them. We taught them right from wrong, after that the choice of what they choose is up to them.

    It's been said many times, if love alone could save them we wouldn't need a site like this.
    We can offer support to our kids by telling them that we love them, offering advice if they will take it, but we do not have to support them with money, we do not have to support them by letting them stay in our homes.

    I'm so glad you shared. Hang in there. When you feel like you're losing your strength draw on the strength of all of us here.
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  6. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    Please don't be hard on yourself. I read your post and saw myself there too. That is one reason we have our son far away because I KNOW I cannot be strong when I see him and if I saw him like that I would forget everything I have worked on too. It's just too hard.

    We hope that when they say they KNOW they need help they really mean it and are not just saying what we want to hear. My son is good at that too. I do think they WANT to not be the way they are but for some reason they cannot overcome their addiction. It's too easy NOT to I think. It's not something I understand.

    Maybe the fact that you DID have your son close and he felt the love and caring that he can somehow reflect on that in his darkest days and know that is worth staying sober for. I know that my son misses that and hope that in some way that is some incentive for him to stay on track but I don't know.

    I admire you for everything you have done and continue to do. We all know there is no wrong or right answer here. We are all struggling to get to the same place.

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  7. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I just wanted to tell you, I get it. Don't beat yourself up. This rollercoaster gets all of us at one time or another. What's done is done. Sit down, take a deep breath, and recognize that you can re-start your own journey again, today.
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  8. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Oh Albie. Does it ever end? I find myself at times realizing that "normal" families couldn't possibly understand US.
    Please don't beat yourself up, it was just a small part of the marathon-not the whole race. Keep running...for you. He will run his own race as he has to this point.
    I choose to believe this! I know deep down that our sons want more than where they are now, it continues to take much work for me to like/love my son and appreciate his good qualities. So, I work on me. That concept was so foreign early on as I had never put myself before anyone. You, like many of us, have gone above and beyond. Try to accept the place he's in, the place you're in. It's funny how I can look at another family and think "wow, they've tried it all to help" and yet for me that voice in my head still says "maybe if we did this?" I see you, I feel your heart. You've done it all. Prayers.
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  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh Albatross, I'm so sorry. This stuff is so hard.

    Your post made me think of that quote by Maya Angelou, "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."
    That's all we can do Albie, we can only do our best and that's what you did. These are our children, we want to give them a chance......so we do......and I'll wager that every one of us here has given many, many, many, many chances before we.....knew.....better. It is what is.

    With everything else you have on your plate with your son, please take guilt off of it. Letting go and accepting what is with my daughter has been the hardest thing I have ever, ever done......give yourself a break.....

    Sending you a big hug.....do something very kind for yourself to soothe your mother's heart and recognize that you always do your best......and that's all we can do.

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  10. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Oh Albie, hugs and more hugs to you. This is the hardest journey to be on, we all just want the best for our kids, no matter what we have all been through. There's that "what if this could be the pivot point" thought, or whatever motivates us to try just one more time.
    Please don't be so tough on yourself. What Mothers heart doesnt yearn for their adult child to want better? Choose better? I know I do. I find myself slipping down that rabbit hole, just aching from the misery of my twos choices.
    Take some time for you sweet lady.
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  11. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Alb...I think you are phenomenal. This stuff is all just SO HARD and your son, like mine, is so young really. You have hope that things will get better. They say the right things, they DO the right things, for a while at least, and you hope even harder...then it comes crashing down.

    You've done nothing to be mad at yourself about. Maybe this IS it this time. How are any of us to know?

    Hang in there dear lady...we are all with you.
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  12. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much for your replies. It is such a blessing to know that I am not alone, that there are other moms who understand the difficult choices these difficult children place on us. Thank you, too, for reminding me that each go-round is an opportunity to try again, to do the best we can at the time.
    Exactly, Ready. That voice is always there. Having you validate it, helping me see that it always will be there, helps me gain some perspective.
    Thank you for sharing your story, Tanya. That too helps me gain some perspective. It's so easy for me to magnify my role. My involvement or lack of involvement is not the problem, it's the bad choices.
    Yes, this is where I am too, Tanya. His emails have been frantic and blatantly manipulative efforts to get us to do what he wants (in this case, to get him a bike and to somehow (?!?!?) get him out of urine drug tests). Both big N-O's, obviously, but it's just SO exhausting...Some honest conversation between two adults would sure be a nice change...
    Thank you, RN. That is great comfort, and I hope you are right. I hope, too, that as his head clears he will (re)learn better and more honest ways of interacting with people than the guilt trips, pity plays, and attempts to horrify that he seems to rely on.
    This was the reading in Al-Anon yesterday:
    "[My adult child] cannot be the source of my happiness or sorrow. The gift of life is personally mine--as his life belongs to him--to enjoy or destroy, as each of us wishes...I am not his guide, master or keeper. We are individuals and must each find our lonely way. My sources of comfort and strength he refuses to share; I have learned through bitter experience that it is reckless to offer them."
    Thanks again, ladies. You guys are great :tickled_pink::love_heart:
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  13. wisernow

    wisernow wisernow

    So sorry you are going through this again. Please don't beat yourself up. You have done EVERYTHING that a parent would want to do. Sad part is that your son needs to make his own choices and you need to move on with your life. He will come around IF and WHEN he wants to. This is what is so frustrating for all of us in that we have no control. What gets me is how manipulative these adult kids are. When I focus on that it helps me get angry and that anger then gives me the courage to carry on and detach just a little bit more. My therapist said, without strong boundaries he WILL suck the life and money out of you. and its true. I struggle every day with that but am getting better at it. Someone had posted a while back that if you are giving but are feeling anxious or not right about giving, your inner sense likely knows you are being manipulated. I have tried to listen to that voice. Please be kind to yourself. Hugs to you.
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  14. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I have pulled back all communication with my son right now due to our relationship being built on deceit and manipulation. I cannot have a relationship with ANYONE unless it's "real".

    His dad is handling him right now. Thank God for my husband who is so strong.

    I so agree that having an adult relationship - like we have with our older boys - would be so awesome.
  15. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    I am so very sorry to hear of your latest challenges. First you did nothing wrong you are a mother and you live your child. Know in your heart going forward that you have him an opportunity to change and grow and he was just not ready. You did the right thing by disengaging and you will now know you can not control his behavior and you can not take accountability for it. The hardest thing I did was. It allow my 17 year old home when I knew he was sleeping on the street. These are not easy choices we face. Be good to yourself.
  16. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    How are things?
  17. Snow White

    Snow White Temporarily in the Magic Kingdom

    Just got a chance to catch up on some threads - sorry to hear of the latest issues with your son.

    I think that each of our children have a different "rock bottom". I also believe that each of us have a different "detachment". It's often hard to get to the place we need to be but more so when we are parents. It's in our destiny to see that our children do better than us, just as our parents wished for us.

    Don't be angry with yourself. You tried to do what you thought was right. Often we have to make mistakes so that we learn how NOT to make them again. Sometimes that lesson takes more than one try!

    I've started saying "NO" to my daughter's usual lies/deceits/manipulations for money, etc. and each time she manages to pull herself through. Your son will figure it out - hopefully sooner than later.

  18. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Little Boy Lost. Some days are harder than others to resist that place of self-blame. Always easy for me to tell the other moms don't go there. Some days very hard for me to follow my own advice!

    RN, thank you for asking. My son is finishing up his first month of the 1-year program. The program keeps them pretty immersed in meetings, sessions, counseling, etc. Tomorrow is the first time he's been allowed "off campus" other than his job. We will be visiting him for a few hours. Going to see a movie and probably lunch. It will be the first time we've seen him since April. I'm very nervous about it, honestly....

    McDonna, so nice to "see" you but so sorry to read about your daughter's ramping up behavior lately. Yes, your daughter will pull through, as will my son. Let's stay strong.
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  19. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Our visit went better than I feared. I spent a lot of time beforehand trying to figure out what would happen, what *I* wanted to say and how I wanted to say it, etc...then realized I was focusing on what I wanted *FROM HIM* and how I could make that happen.

    Nope, I don't control that part, that's why I'm so nervous....try again.

    I realized what *I* want is to just get to know him again, SOBER, and let our relationship evolve from there. It has been such a long time since he's been sober for any length of time.

    Once I was able to drop all the other expectations, I was very excited about the visit.

    He looked great -- has gained about 30 pounds since we saw him last (but still underweight), clear eyes, clean, well groomed, much more engaged. He is still complaining/blaming somewhat, but overall a huge improvement. The program keeps him very busy, and he's a little uncomfortable with their heavy focus on religion.

    For our part, we tried not to engage -- no soothing, no fixing, no advice. Just let him talk, and he would eventually catch himself and move on.

    Overall it was a really good afternoon.
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  20. Snow White

    Snow White Temporarily in the Magic Kingdom

    What positive news, Albie! I'm glad to hear your son is physically better and emotionally improved. It must be a bit of a relief for you, even though you know he still has a long road ahead of him. Best of all is that you know that (for the moment) your son is safe.

    I hope that you will now take some much-needed time for yourself. You deserve it!