Advice On Enabling
Posted: May 10, 2018, 11:44 AM


Posts: 327
Joined: November 16, 2017



Hi all,

As many know, my son is 18. He acts 13.

I am always second-guessing if I am being normal helpful for his age or enabling. He basically has improved somewhat. He is clean of the harder drugs, for which I am thankful. However, he has a serious marijuana addiction lingering, that he justifies with numerous statements about it being legal, yada yada. He seems to truly believe that this should not count with legal matters. Enough said that he canNOT see consequences and his decisions are not based in reality.

Positives: at this time, he is not using the other drugs he was; he made up all his work at high school and is graduating; he has a job; he is being respectful to me. These are HUGE strides, for which I am very thankful.

The trouble is that he is still very lazy and irresponsible with money. I am suspecting every dime he makes goes to nicotine and marijuana. He is disrespectful and stupid about legal matters (listens to his friends who give very bad advice). He has trouble holding jobs because he calls off and doesn't seem to want to work too hard. I am not positive, but assuming he is driving intoxicated, at times. He is right on the line of getting better, with always the risk of diving back into the chaos he just got out of. I know he keeps in touch with the kids that are doing such risky things.

After graduation, I am going to set some parameters to live with us. And, he is going to have to pay a portion of his check to living expenses. He has a car that he can no longer afford with the hours he is working. And, he still is using a lot! It is hard to know how much he is making and what he is doing with it, because he lies about it.

All that said, I could not have made it on my own at 18. My parents helped me for a couple years, but I was responsible about it. I did not spend much, had a part-time job and went to college classes. Is it enabling to keep working with him, knowing he is smoking up so much of his money? I really don't know what to do this upcoming year. I know for sure he will have to pay a percentage of his check to us. My fear, and you all experience this, is that he is not easy to work with. He lies and he manipulates. He pushes things to the maximum point. So, I anticipate a lot of work in maintaining boundaries. And, I am afraid that if we allow him to live here, he will take advantage, feel like he can quit his job or work little hours, etc.

The second issue is I keep trying to find someone to help. Calling and setting up appointments with people. Should I just stop? I am starting to feel so stupid about all this.

Sigh...Any advice appreciated.

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Posted: May 12, 2018, 1:32 PM


Posts: 521
Joined: August 28, 2016



"He is right on the line of getting better, with always the risk of diving back into the chaos he just got out of. I know he keeps in touch with the kids that are doing such risky things. "

Parenting==

I think as parents we are always hopeful that this time they will get "better",but the statement you made about him hanging out with the same crowd is concerning. If he is around the same people that influenced him in the first place then he will likely not get "better".
I think if you are letting him live with you need to set boundaries and stick to them. He is still young and not mentally mature,sounds like, so if he is ever to be free of his demons he needs structure and boundaries. It will either help him change or he will bail.

All you can do is try and sounds like you have done a lot of trying! It is concerning he is still smoking weed a lot and basically you are buying it. I think you need to set some rules regarding his smoking pot, especially if he lives with you.

I don't think you should be calling around for him for help and making appts. for him. That is basically enabling and he doesn't have to accept any responsibility.

I know how hard it is to stop picking up their pieces and always wanting to fix them cause surely this will be the one time they change! Hah! All we did was delay any chance of our Chris getting better because Mom and Dad were always to the rescue and fixing him!

You have been a good mom and now you need to back off a little at a time and let this young ADULT start taking responsibilty for his choices. If he fails then you have done the best you could and he is responsible for changing it. That, in reality, is the only way they will make it--when THEY chooso to change their lives!

(((((HUGS)))) Lori
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Posted: May 21, 2018, 5:19 PM


Posts: 454
Joined: August 4, 2015



I agree with Lori. I think that if he's going to continue to live with you, there has to be stipulations and he has to be paying you some money towards expenses. He also needs to be making his own phone calls.
Anytime I have started doing stuff for my son, I remind myself that if he's fully capable of getting drugs, he can sure call and schedule an appointment.
I think we, as parents of addicts, just have such a hard time not being able to fix this! We want our kids to be normal. Thankfully, your son is young enough still that he can turn it around if he chooses to.
Take care


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Michelle
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Posted: May 29, 2018, 11:26 PM


Posts: 327
Joined: November 16, 2017



Thanks so much. It is hard to let them fall. I know I am doing better than I was when I found this place. But, I feel like I decide to let him fail....and, I DO let him fail....I have totally stayed out of situations like going to jail, etc. But, sometimes, when it starts getting scary for me...you know, when he starts getting better, comes back around, and you see the cracks forming, you see him slipping, I cannot bear it. Then, I start this pattern of calling and checking on things...Telling myself I am not enabling, just getting him some help or checking on something. I think watching the house of cards collapse is worse than living in total failure, sometimes.

Eventually, when the fall seems to be really big (or too much for me to bear), I do realize that I am trying to cushion the fall. So, let him fall, but try to throw a pillow under him. : ) I need to stop!!!

He has a lot of positives going on right now. He has a chance to really get out of this lifestyle, and he seems to be seriously considering it. But, you know, he is SO on the edge of it all. And, young and clueless....But, I need to back off and totally allow any and all consequences to occur-good and bad. LET GO!

Thanks for the posts. I needed them. I haven't seen him much in a few weeks and he has been working a lot of hours. We had a good day today, great talk, went to lunch. Tonight, I came home, and he was stoned out of his mind-in a marijuana stupor. Of course, he denied it, but he cannot live with us, if he keeps doing this in the house (which he will never admit).

Thanks again for the reinforcement.

On a positive note, he did graduate and I find it easier to start letting go each day that passes. It helps that he is getting older. I don't feel so tied into the parenting trap. Moving to seeing him as an independent adult. Getting there!

This post has been edited by Parenting2 on May 29, 2018, 11:27 PM
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Posted: May 30, 2018, 9:19 PM


Posts: 1573
Joined: June 27, 2016



Hi Parenting - my son is now in local hospital rehab. I am embarrassed to tell what has happened in the past few months, while my husband and I thought we were helping by giving him means to go to work (we cant be the reason he cant get to work - if he's working he must be ok! --- NOT!) he has been getting to work by the skin of his teeth for a year. anyway.... he tried to detox on his own - too hard -- especially w nothing to do all day - and dealing w withdrawal - mainly insomnia. finally he agreed to go to the hospital. He DOES want to be a better, healthier person. Just watched a Dr Phil episode pertaining to the 'brain damage' the long term drug use does. after seeing that I wish I had been stronger to push my son into rehab or not give him a car, even it meant he could not work. (but he hates being at home with nothing to do) cant see the consequences of his actions.... at all..... now - I know he can not be alone at home, can not use our cars, what to do..... as much as I want him home, he needs to be in a situation where he is held accountable to be drug free for a long time. 1-2 years - maybe his brain will function again.

it is just depressing to understand the damage he has done and that is the reason for his low functioning and adolescent thinking and denial.

advice - don't think that marijuana is ok. it isn't. I told myself that for the past year. my son didn't smoke weed. but did other stuff and abused his rx meds. even though I could guess what was going on, I still went along with it, thinking he wasn't too bad bc he made it to work each day, and thought he would pull himself out.... he couldn't. and now back to square one. he has nothing, no job, no gf, no friends that don't do drugs.... no home. he is in a hospital. and after that - we don't know.... I only know we all keep doing the same thing over and over. he is in the same place he has been in 5 times over the last 5 years. I know in my head how it should be - we just are not able to make it be that way.... mainly bc of my son, and then bc my husband and are not on the same page.... always opposite solutions.....

maybe see if your son will move to a sober living house and pay his own rent there.
that's the only option I can see for any of them. set your sights and keep trying to push him in that direction. He needs his independence and you and your family need a break.

for 4 months I was telling my son about a local recovery center, therapy, dr's, programs.... idk if I had anything to do with his decision, but at least I had the resources and support available to tap into when I needed it and when he needed it. but it was when he lost everything, job, car, gf, that he wanted to detox. and still he could not do it on his own. I don't think he has the will power to stop if he has the means to find drugs. sad again. but determined that he has to abstain in order to have a life. I just don't know how to pull that off without going into the same old habits.... it's too hard for us to say no to him, also. (sorry for repeating myself)

--- we will get there. I guess I have to remember that he can not make these decisions about his life and we must do so

This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on May 31, 2018, 8:57 PM
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Posted: June 6, 2018, 12:20 PM


Posts: 375
Joined: October 25, 2016



NY I know how frustrated you must be. We try to do the right thing, help them, encourage them, guide them but they can’t seem to get things together. What does it take to make them see the error of their ways?

I just wanted to point out after reading your post some things I noticed. You say he wants, he can’t stand, he needs, he can’t ... I am wondering if this is all kind of one sided. What does he actually DO about changing things or is he just doing what he wants to do and you are doing all the trying. What you are doing sounds like what I have done. Tried to logically find a solution to the problem. I was unable to find a way to change my son through logical means. The various methods used spanned years with much money spent. Sounds like you could be headed in that direction.

My advice would be to find a way to let him go. Let his problems go. He has to make changes himself or maybe he won’t change. Do not seek resources unless he asks you. Do not provide transportation and gas money. Sounds like you are cushioning the fall. Warning ... you leave him on his own you have to watch him sink or swim. Things generally will get much worse and harder emotionally. Harder to say no the worse their situation gets. It is hard to see them suffer but it is their life and their choices. We can’t control it without causing more harm than good. The pattern will repeat over and over unless something changes.

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BUGS
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Posted: June 7, 2018, 9:44 AM


Posts: 375
Joined: October 25, 2016



I apologize if my previous post sounded a bit harsh and not very supportive. I was in a snit when I wrote it. Someone I know saw and talked to my now homeless son. I try to keep my mind off it all and stay detached but the whole thing makes me sad and mad all at the same time. So many conflicting emotions are hard to deal with. I see other adult children his age and younger with careers and good jobs. He has lost everything and has never kept a job for long. Couldn’t keep him in school ... literally let him off in front and he would walk out the back. I don’t know what he is going to do to get out of this mess. I am resentful that once again we are expected to help him. We can not and will not help anymore. I am afraid he is starving, unhealthy, unsafe and won’t find anyone else to help. I am not sure if he is mentally able to help himself. I am also bitter about how he just threw away all the opportunities he had and didnt appreciate any of what it cost us, emotionally and financially, to help him. He took and took but never thought about others or future consequences. Now he is homeless and we are seniors. I would like to see him get things together before I die. I will never understand why he couldn’t find a good path and just stick with the program. He was such a smart kid but always went his own way.

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BUGS
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Posted: June 7, 2018, 7:52 PM


Posts: 327
Joined: November 16, 2017



Bugginme,

I did not take your post negatively, at all. It is the truth. I feel all your same emotions. It is SO tough. SO painful. Those thoughts come and there is nothing to stop them, at times. We are in the same boat, with so many opportunities and a great family base....yet, it doesn't help. I guess we will never really understand, but I have to think it is some type of mental illness that we just can't "see" that makes them go so far. But, it does get to a point, sadly, that we have to chose between them and sanity, because nothing helps at all. I have no answers, but thank you for sharing, because it helps to know I am not alone.

I just spoke with someone who I never dreamed would be dealing with this. In fact, in my mind, I always thought she must be judging me, because their family seems so perfect. I found out after another personal embarassement, that she has dealt with the same exact thing. They have a child they cannot even find anymore. Adult, 30 something.....same situation. Great promise, great family support, and now intentionally missing and does not want to be found, going around drug houses in another city.

Sigh...it is baffling why these things happen. Big hugs.
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Posted: June 7, 2018, 10:19 PM


Posts: 521
Joined: August 28, 2016



Buggingme--

I feel your pain and I know it will never change. I am a strong Christian and I have faith,but I am also a realistic person and I now understand that this whole process that I have tried to control for so many years was a waste of my time, energy, emotional well-being, and sanity!
We have dedicated our life to "helping" (enabling) our now 47 yr. old addicted son Chris, only to be 72 and 84 and still remain in the same scenario as we were when he was 16. The saying"nothing lost nothing gained" is not true for us!!! We have lost so much I can't even begin to tell you how much! Aside from our financial loss the most important thing we have lost is our belief in the ability of our smart and handsome son to succeed in this life. Now we realize that we will go to our maker without ever seeing the potential of our son succeeding and having the life we imagined him living.
We trust God's plan in all this and that is our only saving grace. It still hurts and we may never know the why's of all this, but we accept it.
I hope you find peace in your life and the realities of it and awareness that we are not in control!

(((HUGS))) Lori


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Posted: June 7, 2018, 10:56 PM


Posts: 1573
Joined: June 27, 2016



hi Bugs- No apology needed. I think I was looking back at the past 5 years. seeing the help and opportunity, guidance we have given, while trying not to let it drag us under, and coming to the conclusion that 1. the drug use really does change their thinking and when they are in it, they cant see out of it. 2. my son has had good chances to change and I was sad bc I was seeing that he might be one that never changes. 3. it really is up to them - if we could fix it for them, it would be done already!

I know it is not helping to enable them. we have kept it very minimum in the past year. I am not saying its OK. I guess it is like we are as sick as them bc we keep doing the same thing over and expecting something different.

Thanks for responding - it was good to see you back!

I hope your son finds his way someday.


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Posted: June 8, 2018, 8:33 AM


Posts: 375
Joined: October 25, 2016



I didn’t really go away. I read the posts but sometimes I need to step back and not participate. I often don’t have anything to add to the conversation that hasn’t already been said. My advice is probably not very good anyway. I am no expert and you see how well things have worked out for us. I try to stay busy. When I am idle is when I start to dwell and get depressed. I need to move on but find it hard. This forum has really helped me. There aren’t any groups around me and I lost my counselor. Husband is tired of hearing about it. He is coping in his own way. Family and friends never ask because they are afraid of what they will hear. You guys are my support group. Since I came here, I know I am not alone in this craziness.

I am glad Rich is here. And all you other men if I am forgetting someone. We need a man’s point of view. PapaBear was good at offering a different perspective. I have noticed that many have left. Maybe went to that Facebook page. I don’t do Facebook. It was brave of me to join this forum. lol

This post has been edited by BugginMe on June 8, 2018, 9:15 AM

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BUGS
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Posted: June 8, 2018, 9:33 AM


Posts: 375
Joined: October 25, 2016



There is a fine line between enabling and nurturing (parenting). There is no right or wrong. No reason to make excuses or feel guilty. You have to do what you think is right at the time. I think when a parent stops enabling it is most often a gradual process. Becoming less and less over time until we have had enough and stop completely .. or we keep doing it forever. You want to give them every opportunity to change ... especially young people. My opinion is the chance of change decreases with age. And you have to factor in are they really trying or just telling you what you want to hear. There are too many variable so each case is different. Two points are important ... they need to be responsible for themselves and suffer the consequences of their actions. Otherwise they will forever remain dependent and never modify their behavior.

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BUGS
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Posted: June 8, 2018, 8:22 PM


Posts: 1573
Joined: June 27, 2016



True statements! :) hugs to all


and the fine line between nurturing and enabling depends more on the child (addicts) behavior than on ours.

Parenting - if you question if you are doing too much, do less.
it is odd - maybe because of our (enablers) genetic makeup - I find that I will take a lot of crap, but wont dish it out. I become afraid to push back. not for any real reason. In heinsight, the times that I have pushed back, gone out of my comfort zone, have made the most difference. I think.


Buggs - you are right - it is a long road - all of what we do over a year and many years does not go unnoticed.






This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on June 8, 2018, 8:29 PM
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Posted: June 20, 2018, 1:31 AM


Posts: 327
Joined: November 16, 2017



I agree this forum is a godsend for me. I noticed some people seem to be 'missing'. I miss seeing their posts.

This week, I really went off the grid. I did not even really plan it. It just kind of happened. I left my phone and could not have much contact. It was SO good to get perspective. And, really see the amount of responsibility I was shouldering. It is too hard to explain in detail, but all the small nuances came shining through. I am doing way too much. And, he NEEDS to be more compassionate, ethical, and responsible. I am under no obligation to interact if he is not respecting me.

I just want to be free from contact with this slimy, underbelly lifestyle. I worked hard to make my life something...I have really worked hard on myself, gone to counseling, work hard at respecting others, etc. Over time, I have left behind a lot of toxic people and places. I love where I am right now, and I am feeling a strong need to protect it. I really wish my son could share that space, but he can't right now.
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Posted: June 20, 2018, 11:16 AM


Posts: 115
Joined: August 29, 2015



"I really wish my son could share that space, but he can't right now. "

That's HIS choice...not yours
That's HIS responsibility...not yours
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Posted: June 20, 2018, 3:07 PM


Posts: 375
Joined: October 25, 2016



Who remembers the good old days without cell phones? We could run errands, go shopping, have lunch, and spend the day alone with no contact with our families.Doing whatever we wanted or nothing at all. We were on our own when we drove away from the house. Days without answering machines or voice mail meant we didn’t have to listen to stuff if we didn’t answer the phone. Now that was real freedom!

People learned to solve their own problems when not connected to Mom 24/7.

This post has been edited by BugginMe on June 20, 2018, 3:14 PM

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BUGS
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Posted: June 21, 2018, 10:04 PM


Posts: 1573
Joined: June 27, 2016



Bugginme - I agree, somewhat.... I do remember being stuck in a snowstorm with a flat tire and walking dark streets looking for a pay phone! but that only happened once in a lifetime!


I also think about how, now with cell phone usage, things happen so fast. In the past we had to walk or drive to a friend's house to see if they are home. Or meet them some where, and who knows if they would show up. things happened so slow in the past, that one would have time to decide NOT to do it.... now, everything is impulsive!

Parenting - this sight has helped me too. my phone is in my purse, haven't looked at it for the past 5 hours. I forgot where it was! I usually keep it on silent.


You are in a tough, tough spot. I have been there too.

This post has been edited by NyToFlorida on June 21, 2018, 10:25 PM
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Posted: June 23, 2018, 2:22 PM


Posts: 8675
Joined: April 24, 2007



QUOTE
My opinion is the chance of change decreases with age...


Which the very best argument for stopping the circus when they are still young. Get off the merry-go-round...you will never change what you are willing to tolerate.

Peace ~ M&M

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You will not change what you are willing to tolerate.

user posted image
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Posted: June 23, 2018, 2:31 PM


Posts: 8675
Joined: April 24, 2007



QUOTE
...and the fine line between nurturing and enabling depends more on the child (addicts) behavior than on ours...


I'm sorry, but this patently untrue. Doing anything for them that they can and should do for themselves is enabling. A parent can always love and nurture an active addict without enabling and this depends ENTIRELY on our own behavior and choices. We do it because we are codependent and think we have the answer to someone else's interior life and problems. As they say in the rooms, "It's an inside job."

"I know that you know the next right thing for you and I have faith that you can do it when you are ready. I love you and always will. Go fight for yourself...we will be here waiting." Step back and leave things alone...that's the simple answer.

Peace ~ M&M

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You will not change what you are willing to tolerate.

user posted image
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Posted: June 27, 2018, 8:34 AM


Posts: 2246
Joined: March 23, 2006



I read this once a long time ago and it seemed pertinent to this conversation.

If you do something for someone else that they are capable of doing themselves you are literally robbing them.



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Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:27

May the Force be with you.

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should just get used to the idea....Robert Heinlein.

You can spend the next 24 hours reaching your true potential or sliding down into your own particular hell. the choice is always yours.
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