Hell Is Being An Addict's Mom
Posted: October 31, 2017, 3:58 AM

Posts: 617
Joined: April 4, 2016

I thought this was so spot-on and worth the read . . . especially in light of our recent conversations re selfishness, the pain our addicts bring us, and hating the phone. I'd love to credit the author but don't know who wrote this down . . . . I know I could have written this . . . .I swear that there is an Addict's Handbook. . . just change "son" to "daughter" and "Jack" to "Jill" and you have my story. I felt and feel that hell is truly loving an addict in active addiction . . .

Sending wishes for peace & blessings to all who love an addict and prayers and hugs for all who are battling addiction,



The shrill ringing of the phone had me bolting up in bed. My heart is racing. As I reach to pick it up, I remind myself to breathe. I handle the receiver as if it’s a deadly viper. I loathe it. The phone never brings good news. Only bad news and worse. I hope this isn’t worse. I place the phone to my ear, silently praying. Please God, please. I wait with baited breath. My world has just shrunk to me and the phone.


My throat loosens as a whoosh of air escapes me. He’s alive. Tears blur my vision. I angrily swat them away. “Mom?” Anger replaces fear, as I glance at the clock. 3 am. My heart sinks at yet another sleep deprived night. “Mom!” My son yells.

“What!” I yell back.

My husbands stirs and sits up. Rubbing his eyes he moans, “not again!” I push him back down. I got this. Besides, I don’t want him interfering. I know how to handle our son.

“Mom,” Jack sobs. “You’re never gonna believe what just happened.” My heart sinks. I pull up the bed covers wondering if I should just hang up. Well, I’m not really wondering, I know I should. Jack’s 3 am tales are never a good thing.

“Mom, are you even listening to me?” Jack has morphed back in time. He is six years old and about to have a temper tantrum. I scrub my eyes, still wondering what to do. There are no good choices. I am dammed if I do, and sick with worry, if I don’t.

“Jesus Mom!” Jack gears up, his tone shrill. “What kind of mother are you?. They’re gonna kill me, I swear! Don’t you even care?”

Jack wanted to pull me back into the – you don’t care about me game – I wasn’t going to play. Instead I said. “Jack, let’s cut to the chase. What do you want?”

Jack snorted. “Wow, Mom! That’s nice. Do you even care they’re gonna kill me?”

Something cold and hard blossoms in the pit of my chest. It might be despair, or exhaustion, or just plain hopelessness. Jack and I have been down this road a thousand times before.

‘You know that guy that I was helping?” Jack is off. He should be an actor. He is believable. I should know, I’ve fallen for his lines a million times.

“What guy?” I ask playing my part, because I don’t know what else to do.

“Jesus Mom! Haven’t you been listening? The guy that was sleeping on my couch! Well he’s gone and he took all my money, with him!”

I bit my tongue. I had too. There was so much I wanted to say. I knew this imaginary character didn’t take my son’s money. My son spent his money. Most likely on drugs. “So anyway,” Jack rushed on, “I kinda, well, Mom…” He trailed off, waiting. He wanted me to urge him, to finish his sentence. I didn’t. I stayed silent. “Mom?”

“Yes,” I whispered.

“It’s pretty bad.” He warned me.

“Jack, it’s late. Can this wait til morning?”

“Mom!” Jack screeched. “I’ll be dead by morning!”

I pulled the phone away from my ear. I held it to my pounding chest. I wanted my son to hear it. The distress I was in was unbelievable. Sometimes I thought my heart would explode. BANG! At least it would be over. A tear slipped down my cheek. Was this ever going to end? A horrible thought entered my mind. Yes, when you or he is dead. Then it will end.

I wondered if other mothers planned their son’s funerals. I did. I looked at caskets and thought about what I would say. I yearned for peace, and I’d know where to visit him. He wouldn’t be suffering any more, and I could finally grieve the loss of my son. I shook my head. I hated these thoughts.

“I need a hundred bucks!” Jack yelled, bringing me back.

I sighed. I glance over at my husband. He had fallen back to sleep. Something hot and bitter filled my throat. How could he sleep, for Christ’s sake? With the phone pressed to my ear, I got of of bed. Might as well. I wouldn’t be going back to sleep again. “Where are you Jack?”

“I’m outside my apartment. I don’t want to go home til I get the money. They know where I live. I promised I would have it for them tonight and if I don’t – Jack stopped abruptly.


“Sshh, Mom.” He warned. “I think they’re here.

Alarm slammed through me. My logical mind knew they was probably someone Jack had made up. But my emotions over rode logic at the thought of my son being harmed, or worse yet, killed. Holding tightly to the phone – it had gone from being a deadly viper to a life saving ring – I dressed. Grabbing my purse and keys I headed for the door. “Okay Jack,” I soothed. “I’m on my way. Meet me in front of your place.”

“Thanks Mom. You don’t know what this means.” Jack purred. He was such a charmer when he was getting his way. I think it was his charm, I was addicted to. My exhaustion was gone. I felt like I could fly. I had hope. I was saving my baby!

“And Mom?” Jack asked in that ‘one more thing’ voice, I hated.

“What honey?” I said rather impatiently.

“Could you bring an extra twenty bucks? I’m kinda hungry.”

As if someone had pricked my balloon, all the feel good air disappeared. I was back at angry. How dare he ask me for another twenty bucks! Jack was selfish. Nothing was ever good enough. He always wanted more, more, more! Couldn’t he see what he was doing to me?

Torn between wanting to help him and hating his disease, I stand in a land where no mother should ever dwell. Hell isn’t a place I’m going to, if I’m bad. Hell is …loving an addict.


I forgot to read the fine print, when i signed up to be your Mom. I thought it would be smiles & hugs and quite a lot of fun.

I didn’t see the part about addiction, mental illness, pain, hopelessness or despair. I didn’t know life could be so flipping unfair.

But I now see something in the fine print that I didn’t see before. It also says to survive your addiction, I must love me more.

In Loving Memory of my angel, J. #forever21 #ihateaddiction #foreverloved
Posted: October 31, 2017, 9:34 AM

Posts: 344
Joined: October 25, 2016

OMG I have heard so many similar stories. And we are not allowed to ask logical questions or say no ... then the call escalates. I look back and wonder how I could have been so fooled ... trying to save him from himself. I have found myself in some bad parts of town and possible dangerous situations because of my own stupidity and my inability to say 'no'. Just by luck nothing really bad happened to me. I did end up in the hospital once because of an accident while trying to help my son but that wasn't exactly his fault...except I wouldn't have been where I was if not for him. Of course, they have no one else they can call except 'mom' according to them. All their so called friends are just as needy as them.

Posted: October 31, 2017, 9:38 AM

Posts: 519
Joined: August 28, 2016


That is so spot on! I can change the names and insert Chris because I have heard that exact same scenario more than once. I have felt those same exact feelings as that mom and it is truly "hell"!

The only time I have ever had any relief from it is when I disconnected with him 4 months ago for a 6 month respite. Then I still battle with the "worry about his well being" and the "guilt about being a good mom" or "did I do the right thing"!

In my case my faith and me letting go and letting God has been my only saving grace. My regret is only not having done it sooner, so just maybe, we wouldn't be in this situation in our retirement years and my son would be drug free!

Thanks for a great post!!

Posted: November 7, 2017, 9:15 AM

Posts: 454
Joined: August 4, 2015

Wow!! Just reading that filled me with so much anxiety. It was spot on!

Posted: November 8, 2017, 1:35 AM

Posts: 185
Joined: November 2, 2016

I will join the chorus. What a nightmare.

In the beginning, I was a slave to this. He was so convincing and I was so desperate to save him. I can relate to the tone change. Where he would convince me he was in danger and con me, manipulate me, SO convincing. Once he had his way, he could be totally flip about bringing something else or more money or whatever. There was no danger. Just a con.

What a miserable existence for my son and for me. I have learned I cannot save him, but I have to save myself for the sake of my family.

I grieve the loss of my son even though he is still alive. I miss him, but he is gone.
Posted: November 12, 2017, 9:56 AM

Posts: 354
Joined: January 10, 2016

wow! was this person listening to my phone calls! When I finally stop enabling it was when I have a broken bad and getting thrown out and they took the TV because my landlord feels I will sell it. She was probably right. I said well I am sorry. I just paid two weeks rent and you still don't have money and you paid 4x what I do. The park bench is ok right now. Maybe they will pick you up and put you in a nice warm jail with food and a bed. I am done.

I pick and choose when I want to help him. I help is partner not him. He still has the mentally and calls when he is wanting right now it's the teeth mom I will feel like a better man if you can help me get my teeth fix. I am still on the fence with this request.

Posted: November 12, 2017, 10:56 AM

Posts: 519
Joined: August 28, 2016


Just fyi we heard the same thing when Chris teeth were rotten from meth. He said he would be able to get a job easier if he had decent teeth. We took him to dentist who said he needed them pulled cause couldn't save them. He already had 6 upper and 5 lower pulled for abcesses. He wanted us to spring for implants! The dentist said he didn't have enough jaw bone for implants due to drug use and smoking. He recommended pulling them all and dentures.
Chris consented and got dentures(same day he had teeth pulled so wouldn't be without teeth) and after walked out with me and started cussing and carrying on in the parking lot. Said I talked him into dentures and he wanted implants. I said I wasn't even in the room so how could I have done that. He said I wanted dentures for him because they were cheaper. He left and didn't talk to us for two months.
Dentures were $3000 and implants were $40,000. If i could have I would have got him implants but he destroyed his bone with drugs and they would have fallen out. Nothing to implant them into!
Don't know how your son feels about dentures but he may have to settle for that. Somehow no matter what I do for Chris it is never enough or the right thing!

Good luck with your son--it does sound like he is trying!

Posted: November 13, 2017, 7:28 AM

Posts: 354
Joined: January 10, 2016

He is ok with getting dentures . He only needs upper they are trying to save his bottom teeth. :)..
Posted: November 17, 2017, 6:14 PM

Posts: 25
Joined: August 28, 2017

All this is so like my situation. My son is 41 he has lost his flat now sofa surfing or sleeping rough.
He came two night ago and he was normal as normal can be and begged me to let him stay it was lovely he was his old self , this is because he had not money he got his social security yesterday and today he arrived and he could not stand still out of his mind on amphetimins it was very very hard for me to say no you cannot stay here in that state and It broke my heart to drop him in the nearest town to fend for himself i did not hav3e the strength to baby sit him.. I have told him he is welcome if he is clean but not when he is using. I am ashamed to say for the last 25 years he has in some way or another ruled my life i need to let go and live my own life and hope that people do not think i am selfish in doing so.

God bless all you mums and keep the addicts safe for another day as god knows when i will receive the knock on the door and yes i have planned his funeral many many times
Posted: January 6, 2018, 5:28 AM

Posts: 45
Joined: December 25, 2017

Pretty much exactly the same thing happened to us about 5 years ago. From memory I lost £750 on that occasion and when i saw my son the next day he didnt even mention it.

Its easy in hindsight to see how stupid i was but, however rare, these things can sometimes be genuine and who wants to take that chance with thier vulnerable 'childs' life.

In reality for us it was an incredebly cruel ploy to extort money from us. Our son does not understand the difference between savings (of which we have none) and credit (which at one time we had lots of) and merclessly tried to get whatever he could from us.

Even now, despite the fact i have tried very hard to explain the hell we went through trying not to loose everything partly caused by the financial cost to us of his problems he still justifies his demands by saying that although we have no cash, we still have access to credit (!)

Thier ingenuity knows no bounds, false demands for money for food, money for fuel, money for debts, money for car insrance policies that are cashed back in in an attempt to get the money i paid for the policy put into his own account, fake threats to his wellbeing, the car i borrowed money to buy for him cashed in at the junkard for scrap, the fake thefts of my stuff in his posession, the selling of our possesions lent to him to replace the item taken in the fake theft, the fake episodes of loosing cash i had just given him, short term loans from companies he will never even make the first payment on, the list truly is endless and will make boring reading to most of you because sadly many of you will have already experienced this.

He was already doing this sort of thing when he was on cannabis but it goes to a completely new level with heroin.

Recently we tried to get his bank account up and running. He was in no hurry to do this but now he was living with us again we had more time to help.

We do this because we think even in a sea of destruction it must help even if we can only fix little pieces here and there.

We got to the bank only to dicover the account overdrawn by hundreds of pounds! According to my son money had been fraudulently removed and he wanted to find out who had took his money.

It was only when we got home and i was able to go online that the real story emerged and it had actually been my son who had spent the money and then he had lied to the bank saying he had lost his card. The bank had temporarily given him the missing money but then realised something was wrong and took it back leaving him overdrawn.

2 weeks later my son is now telling the social security he has been the victim of fraud to try and get them to advance him 'hardship' payments so he is now even re using previous lies in new situations where they might still work.

His latest 'trick' to enable him to use is the 'i am leaving home for good' game. If only!

Yesterday he had that social security advance he had begged burning a hole in his pocket so the desire to use was at a peak.

Each time he 'leaves home for good' its actually for about 3 HOURS and then says he is cold and has no place to stay so i furiously drive back to get him on the agreement that he will never ever do this to us again blah blah.

Why do we do it? Because he makes our life hell if we dont with his relentless moaning about how we are the bad ones for not giving him more money and trying to stop him doing the only thing that he enjoys. It goes on and on until my wife and i are 'hiding' in seperate rooms trying to ignore him (cant reason it out of him, goes around and around in circles)..

Finally of course, the prospect of him being out of the house under any circumstances seems like a very good one indeed and so he gets his way. I am deeply ashamed of this but 10 years on i am tired of fighting, i am an older man, i no longer have the energy, the money, or the patience.

No more though. I now realise this is only making the whole situation even worse. His recent relapses are spoiling the beneficial effects of the buprenorphine and he is slipping backwards fast. However bad it gets he is having no more of our time and money. He knows where the door is but its going to be a long walk to the next town so i am getting ready for another round of protests later...

This post has been edited by Jet0912 on January 6, 2018, 6:52 AM
Posted: January 6, 2018, 10:51 AM

Posts: 1279
Joined: June 27, 2016

Jet - I can relate to all that you posted. One rehab we sent our son to was covered by insurance. the next one, a year later was not. it cost us $20K out of pocket. all of our children are out of school/college, we recently had a glimpse, in the past two years, of what it is like to build a savings account - so we are trying to hold on to that. our son is 28 and I can say for the past 10 years he works good jobs, but has never saved a dollar, and always runs out before the next pay check. Always complaining the cost of gas, food, cigs, is too much. My hunch is that he has spent very little on those things (otherwise he would have an abundance of gas, food, cigs) and the bulk of his earnings is spent on the street. It is only the past 4 years that we realized he had an addiction - pain meds, Xanax, etc. we always thought that 'he is holding a full time job, how bad can the addition be..'. he held it together for a few years. this past year he came back home. worked 8 months in his field, but lost his job in October. Now has had a few odd jobs. Sad to see him starting over. but a necessary lesson for him. Hard for him to deal with too. after 10 years of working, he should have something to show for it, yet does not even have a car in his name. we wanted him to put our old car in his name and pay insurance. he never did. and then we would have the fear of knowing that he will not keep up payments.

Currently, he seems to want to do better. has been seeing dr's. is on a few meds. I don't really like him being medicated, but it is better than being addicted. He is showing interest in his newest job

Life has been rough in our house this past year. son live partially at girlfriend house. during a a few weeks that he was not working, he would come home during the night, eat, and then sleep until 2pm. This enraged his dad who would barge into his room screaming at him in a tantrum. we suggested he should not live here - not healthy for us or him. he still came back.

my husband works as much as he can so he is not at home dealing with the problem. I get stuck holding down the fort, making decisions, being in the middle. I was let go from my job a few months ago. Good and Bad - a much needed break, and time to deal w this addiction problem.

I had to giggle about you and your wife 'hiding'. During December when at the Mall shopping for the holidays, I went into the ladies rest room. It was so peaceful and quiet. I wished I could 'hide' there forever... how low is it that you wish you could live in a public rest room in order to avoid your family!! LOL

We cant change the past. We can change the future. Start setting boundaries of what you will NOT do. Start w easy ones... Do not pay off debts that are his. do not get envolved w banking or his social security, etc.

maybe housing is something you have to deal with for a while, but start looking for alternatives for him - government housing, sober living, etc. example - he wants to live his life style, he can do what other homeless people do. do not set him up in housing and pay his rent.

have the mindset - 'son, you can live the way you want, but we do not want to be part of it'
then figure out how to get him off your plate one bit at a time.

I know it is a lot all at once. do one step at a time. the first step is realizing and admitting you need to change. You are there! Congrats!

This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on January 6, 2018, 11:15 AM
Posted: January 6, 2018, 11:21 AM

Posts: 1279
Joined: June 27, 2016

Grannie - I hope your situation is getting better. I am glad you were able to tell your son he can not live w you when he is using. That is a reasonable boundary. I am glad that he did leave and did not cause a problem. It is emotionally very, very hard to put your child out. but the good thing is that you followed thru. It is your right to live in your home comfortably. The good side of the boundary is that you leave the door open. He can come back if he is not using. therefore it is HIS CHOICE. Remember that. best wishes for a happier new year!
Posted: January 6, 2018, 11:49 AM

Posts: 10
Joined: January 6, 2018

I'm reading this and saying to myself yes, yes. Almost to the word, just change son to daughter. The dreaded sound of the phone. The lies. OMG the lies I believe. The secret wish for it all to end that you can barely admit to yourself.
We've been on this road for 15 yrs and my daughter is now 36. I'm a ping pong ball bouncing from anger to despair and sadness. We've tried rehab, suboxone, methadone, tough love, jail - A Boyfriend who OD in the car next to her. Another who was shot in my house while I was away doing a drug deal. I've run out of ideas. Thousands spent on promises of jobs, drug tests, special shoes and shirts for non existent jobs. You name it. NOTHING I do makes any difference. I tell myself I need a willing partner to fix this mess and I don't have one. Is that just an excuse?
There must be SOMETHING I should do? I think that if I drag her off to some magical rehab in the middle of nowhere I can save her. What kind of mother just gives up?
Posted: January 6, 2018, 1:00 PM

Posts: 519
Joined: August 28, 2016


Mothers are the eternal optimists and never give up --however, when we continue enabling behavior in our kids that leads to self destruction and even their demise-- it is time to change the one thing we can change and that is US!!!!

I have been through every scenario and event listed on these posts and battled this since our son was 16. He is now 47!! We have tried every imaginable remedy to FIX him and spent our retirement doing so! It NEVER works!

Six months ago we changed strategies and stopped all contact from his drama and told him if he changed his life and was drug free in 6 months or getting help we would speak to him again but he would still be responsible for his own well being. It is 6 months this month and we haven't heard from him.

The breaking point came when he threatened us an wished us dead. We knew then we could no longer contribute to this adult man and it was time to let go and let God!

Maybe if you start by making changes and setting boundaries now you won't end up with a daughter that is in her 40's and still an addict! I think letting them live with you is a mistake and only makes them less responsible for things they should be providing for themselves! Why get help to change if everything is provided like a roof over their head, a comfy bed, food, etc.???

I hope this year is a fresh start for you and you can fix the things in your control ! Us moms never give up --we just redirect and help our addicted kids in a different way-- a way that will give them a chance in life--one to succeed on their OWN! Our love never stops!


This post has been edited by duchesschama on January 6, 2018, 1:01 PM
Posted: January 6, 2018, 2:20 PM

Posts: 97
Joined: January 21, 2017

Thanks, Lori, for always giving us such insight. Brace, you state there must be something you can do. Trust the answer....let go. It is the only thing you can do. This is quote from an Alanon member: detachment is not detaching from the one you love, but detaching from the agony of being involved in their addiction. If your assistance was the answer, all your child's problems would have been solved by now. I have learned that being the "swooper" that tried to pave a good path, and the "scooper" that was there to clean up the b.s. my son left behind only crowded him out of the picture. It gave me a sense of calm and peace to know he was not on the street in below zero weather in MN, but it crippled him. It gave him a false sense that things are not as desperate as they truly are. Why should he seek recovery? Mom will do the hard work...she will lie awake at night drenched in despair while i am off numbing myself again. But, then it will only take one phone call with a crazy, unsolvable, overly dramatic situation, and she will "swoop and scoop" again. He finally gave me the gift of a huge hit right between the eyes when he called me some very vulgar names while lying in a fully furnished bedroom in my home. Something snapped. I put him on the street, and changed the locks. Please keep posting, and take solace from the stories you will read. We all reach recovery at our own pace....as do our loved ones. As soon as we step out of that space, they have room to step in. Sending peace and strength, Libby
Posted: January 6, 2018, 2:32 PM

Posts: 10
Joined: January 6, 2018

Thank you for the replies. It seems unbelievable to know that others have experienced almost word for word what we have been going through. One day I'm so angry that I'm screaming at her to "get out of my house" and the next day I feel so guilty at those words that I can't forsee a future for any of us. The only thing she wants from us is money. How do you live without hope?
Posted: January 7, 2018, 12:33 AM

Posts: 732
Joined: October 5, 2015

Cbrace....It’s not that we live without hope. It’s just that it’s hard to find it at times. Everytime we’ve hoped for this or that to happen in the past, it’s just never worked out. Maybe after this long we’ve just got low on hope. But I do think deep down we all have a glimmer left. I’m just too tired to look for it at times. Is that giving up? I don’t know. I go through my phases I guess. I see you’ve been going through this a long time like some of us other mothers on here too. Mine was 16-17yrs old maybe at the beginning until now a 36year old this year. Now they’ve been on drugs longer than they’ve been off them. I think you need to get to that place in your head where you no longer take the blame for this happening. Give it back where it belongs, it’s all on them and not us. That’s what would drive me insane, was my thoughts of what did I do wrong as a mother for this to happened. Then I found this website. Coming on here and reading other posts will help you too. So stick around! We’re all here to help each other get through those rough days when hope is hard to find. Take care. Mary.

This post has been edited by Mandm on January 7, 2018, 12:37 AM
Posted: January 7, 2018, 10:31 AM

Posts: 10
Joined: January 6, 2018

Do we every stop blaming ourselves? Endless nights of thinking a beautiful child was put in our arms and what did I do to have it turn out like this? The beginning years were great and then at 13yrs. it all started going downhill. Should I have been a tougher parent? More watchful? You're right, it drives you crazy.
My husband can't live with the thought of her being out on the street. I'm trying to do more tough love. It's tearing our marriage apart. He always uses the expression 50/50. Maybe this job she needs money for is real? What if this time she's telling the truth? When he doesn't hear from her he calls and texts. Me? I'm grateful for no contact and 24 hours of peace.
Thanks for letting me talk.
Posted: January 7, 2018, 12:52 PM

Posts: 200
Joined: November 16, 2017

yes, you do finally stop blaming yourself. I still ruminate on the tragedy and the unstoppable course, but I no longer blame myself. I understand his struggle and all it entails.

Just be easy on yourself..this is a hard road we have. Take it one day at a time. I am glad you have us for support and try to find a local al-anon meeting, too!
Posted: January 7, 2018, 3:06 PM

Posts: 97
Joined: January 21, 2017

One of the things i have always said is that if my son were a rocket scientist, nobel peace prize winner, cured cancer.....etc... would it not be completely arrogant of me to sit back and say "Yup, all me....he would not be where he is without me" however, we are quick to throw ourselves under the bus when their lives go awry. I feel it is just as arrogant for me to take all responsibilty and ruminate about where I went wrong. It still happens, no doubt. But not as fiercely, or as often. Libby
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