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Message Board > Families / Partners of Addicts > Relapse

Posted by: HopeMom November 30, 2019, 11:03 PM
My beautiful 24 yr old son has relapsed for the second time in a year. It’s a heartbreaking road that has lead us here, probably the same one as many of the parents on here has been on for years. His drug use started with marijuana when he was 16 yrs old and progressed to shooting up meth 8 years later. In addition, he has been in jail this last 2 years 7 times all drug related. He has been to two rehabs successful completing the last one and sober for over 6 months but then he says that he needs “medicine” for his anxiety and depression so he relapsed first to marijuana then within weeks back to Meth and cocaine. He has finally after years started talking to me about his problems which basically has been drugs taking his life little by little but totally consuming. I’m heartbroken for the life he has been living. I do believe that God has a plan for him but it seems like such a long hard road.
But I do have hope, this time in rehab is his choice and he is finally getting mental health treatment and real prescribed medication for his anxiety and depression. I’m hopefully but scared that he will fall back into the same pattern of drug use and legal problems. I’m tired of getting those phone calls at 2am with the recording “you are receiving a call from a inmate...”
Can others please share with me that medication helped their loved one move away from illegal drugs?

Posted by: samegame December 1, 2019, 10:58 AM
Hopemom, sorry to hear about your son. You are not alone and sadly your case and others are far too common.

Sounds like your son started early in life. The problem is that life and feeling is probably all he knows or wants because he has little to compare it to(a sober life). Until he wants to change and goes to rehab & programs on his own going to rehab for a judge, family, spouse etc won't work. Also regardless of the what pot lobby said it is not harmless . Rehab should be about getting away from the drugs, not substituting with other drugs.

The good news he is young enough which means still time for change and if he did try he needs to try again but again on his own.

Don't enable him no matter how desperate he seems. Only maybe some very common courtesy favors like a ride to the store(for food). Can't force the issue but you can set boundaries.

Hang in there. Keep yourself healthy and safe.

Posted by: Parenting2 December 1, 2019, 11:53 AM

I just wanted to reach out, as well. This is not an easy road for any of us. I am so sorry to hear about your son, and I can relate to your feelings of helplessly watching the progression. There are combinations of medications that can help. Everyone is somewhat different in what works for them. The problem with some people, my son included, is they don't want to take them or don't like the side effects or don't have the patience to keep trying medication combinations.

As hard as it is, I would try to back off as much as possible. Make your son the captain of this ship. I am working on this now. In hindsight, I can see that I was driving things too much when he was a teenager out of anxiety and panic. On some level, I think it is normal for a mom, but with addiction, you have to sometimes do the opposite of your heart. The more he is in control the better.

Again, take care of yourself and I am glad he is trying again. Please keep us updated and keep posting. It helps.

Posted by: HopeMom December 1, 2019, 6:20 PM
Thank you for your comments and kind words. It has been a slow process and the learning about addiction has been a terrible struggle for both me and my son. I feel all alone at I’m all he has because everyone has given up on him. I try to take care of myself but find myself sinking deeper and deeper into self pity. I hate the life he choose and want so much to have a do over... to show him he is the most important person to me.

I have to find hope when all else is hard to hang onto. I do find comfort in this message board because I know I’m not alone.


Posted by: Sallyana December 1, 2019, 8:53 PM
Welcome HopeMom. I really like your name. I'm sorry to hear about your son's addiction. It's a good sign he put himself into rehab this time. He has 6 months of sobriety in the past to reflect on. I hope he continues on the right path going forward. I think the prescription meds for anxiety and depression are a good idea if they work well for him. Also, they shouldn't be contraindicated with his DOC in case he uses which I hope he does not. I'm happy you are here for support and information. We all need each other.

Posted by: HopeMom December 1, 2019, 10:18 PM
Thank you... I hope to learn as much as I can so I can move forward. My son just called from rehab and his first medication trials didn’t work. He doesn’t like the way they made him feel and he claims he had insomnia. I don’t know if he is trying or just avoiding being in jail. I know one thing that this roller coaster of ups and downs has to stop.. I’m holding on but don’t know how much I can take.

I am trying to live up to the name I have chosen on here for myself and others... but hope is hard to find sometimes in such hard situations. I’m going to pray myself to sleep I hope.

Posted by: NyToFlorida December 2, 2019, 5:10 PM
Hello, glad you found us! It helps to vent and get thoughts out. The years go by so fast, every year we hope this is the last year of addiction hell. Yet it continues! I do think WE have made progress in the last few years. Keep reading the other posts . Lots of good insight and information.

The discussion about medication is complicated and as individual as each addict. Basically my opinion is that they need to be free of medication for many months or a year before the side effects , withdrawal symptoms are out of the way, in order to see if the person needs medication for a real illness. Any medication given while they are withdrawing is treating the symptoms that are presenting themselves. Idk how much psychotherapist see it this way. I think they generally medicate what they see , which is the symptoms our addicts tell the doctor and then they generally get the same DOCs they were abusing!

Insomnia is one of the worst sx for my son. At one point the doctor gave him a very mild medication to take at night to quiet his mind. It worked well and is probably all he needs. Quitepine. It is for bipolar. I’m not convince he has bipolar illness, maybe if he does not abuse drugs for a few years he won’t need it.

I think suboxone , methodone, vivitrol, etc. all have good results when the individual reacts well to them and is working w their doctors to improve their life.

My son did not do well with them, relapsed too much, didn’t give them much of a try. Methodone gave him a sh**y attitude. But it works for those who really want it to.

Being in jail and rehab helped him the most and the fact we said from the day he was arrested that he could not come back home. We can not physically, mentally, financially have him live w us... and if we are part of his problem by enabling him and stressing him out, then it is not good for Him to be living w us. He needs to become an independent man that he was born to be. He can’t do that under mom and dads wing.

Posted by: NyToFlorida December 2, 2019, 5:16 PM
Ps I have a friend who’s daughter is bipolar. She does not abuse drugs and has been working with her doctors for the past 5 years regarding her medication. She is doing better than my son! Lives at home w mom, has 2 part time jobs, shows up for holidays, has a relationship w her family, never been to jail... she does not ‘love’ her life. Medication changes are difficult. She does as well as she can.

Posted by: HopeMom December 2, 2019, 8:04 PM
Thank you for such great insight and advice. My son is struggling so much and I think you are so correct by saying about your child not living with you to enable and stop growth opportunities. I feel like I have done so much of that and I don’t know how he will ever be able to function on his own since me and his father has both crippled him by doing so much and now he is entitled and expects us to keep going. One time when my son was in court he was asked about his income and he said he gets a allowance from his dad which was when he was 23 years old. I was so embarrassed for him and his father. He really thought that was his income. I read how many young people are struggling getting started in life because of entitlement... I think it’s called the “Peter pan syndrome” or “failure to launch”. I think if we would have made tougher on our son he would be working harder to help himself.
I do see how we have evolved and learned from this whole process of addiction both us and our son. I will continue to seek information and learn more about what not to do then what to do.


Posted by: Parenting2 December 2, 2019, 9:05 PM

Be easy on yourself over the past. It is tough to know what to do. I have been super nice to my other kids and they naturally have gotten more independent on their own will. I believe if my son had not dived into addiction he would have done the same.

The problem with addiction is they learn to manipulate on a master level to get the drug. So, even their loved ones are expendable in active addiction. It takes us a while, as moms, to get on top of this manipulation because (for me) I would never do this to loved ones, I thought he would never be so manipulative towards loved ones and I did not realize the power the drug had on him.

I've shared this other places, but what was a turning point for me was when I overheard a conversation with his friends. He was 17 or close. They were actually actively discussing how to manipulate their mothers for money for drugs. They will prey on our good intentions for their lives. it is the nature of addiction.

So, we have no choice but to take care of ourselves, learn about healthy boundaries and keep them. And, then, we will fail. Even after over 3 years dealing with still fall into the trap sometimes. The latest trick my son likes to do it blow all his money and then create an emergency that he cannot get to work in X number of hours (so...if I don't bail him out, I will be responsible for x,y,z.). Of course, we all know what is going on. He knows he is doing well at this job and wants to manipulate me into "gas" money which is actually marijuana money.

Unfortunately, we have to learn to be very savvy and harden our hearts in a healthy way.

Happy belated Thanksgiving to everyone reading. I have been thinking of everyone over the holiday and all the struggles we face.

Posted by: Sallyana December 3, 2019, 12:23 AM
Sometimes I wonder how well I even know my daughter anymore. I can only imagine what she has all done in her life since she's had her addiction. I'm sure even my imagination would be shocked....I can't imagine sleeping in someone else's car...that would be enough to make me run for help...but she's still trying to find a way to live that supports her addiction....

Posted by: mtnmom December 3, 2019, 12:51 AM
Welcome HopeMom, to a place that we wouldn't wish on our enemies but this message board is so welcoming & helpful. Hopefully you also find comfort in our experiences & coping skills.

Little positive note here: My son is a 20 year Meth addict. They last year & a half have been hell for him and my family. But after being arrested 4 times in about 6 weeks for harassing an ex girl friend & then being released from jail, he's had a bit of an awakening! He has relocated from his old "area", he is working & found a man who wanted a roommate but also needed someone to housesit & dog sit while he's gone for 3 months for training. This man is a deputy sheriff too! My son is starting work next week, has affordable housing & is responsible for 2 fur babies. Things are good right now!

Hang in there & don't be afraid to come here & lay it all out for us, we are here....

Posted by: HopeMom December 3, 2019, 9:14 AM
Thank you all for the messages. I really don’t know where to begin most days and the nights are even worse. I found myself laying down every night not being able to sleep and waiting for the phone to ring. I can’t believe how much power I have allowed to have over my life and it is interfering with my functioning. I have a good husband who has tried to be supportive but I know after 2 years of the roller coaster ride he has had enough with us having my son’s addiction control so much of our lives and decisions. Right now, my son is in rehab (his 3rd) and I’m not sure it’s going to work but I know I feel better when he is there and not doing drugs or in jail. What a sad life addiction causes a person to have and pulls everyone that loves them in.
My hope continues another day because where there is a breath in him and me we continue to try and fight it and put it behind us.

Posted by: Parenting2 December 3, 2019, 8:15 PM
Unfortunately, I can relate to every word, HopeMom. It is awful!!

Slowly, I have been able to detach and not let it control my life, but it is not easy and it is so painful no matter what.

In the end, we have to sort of block them out and reboot our lives so to speak.

Posted by: HopeMom December 3, 2019, 9:44 PM
I find comfort in knowing that I’m not alone but also it so alarming that we live in a society that looks the other way so much.

Last couple of times he got arrested in Florida, the local newspaper picked up the story about him getting caught three days apart and he was physically carrying another addict like a baby along a highway because he wasn’t responding and my son was trying to get help but the police decides to arrest him for possession which I understand he had illegal drugs on him but for goodness sake what about him trying to do the right thing by another person with a problem or even more what about going to the dealer! No, the newspaper decides that it was newsworthy to talk about the users and not the dealers!

I know he has problems but I think if we gets to the root of our society’s drug issue and get it out of US or at least decrease it then we will start seeing our children turn away from drugs if not available or why don’t we start employment situations for these addicts to have a purpose!

Posted by: NyToFlorida December 4, 2019, 8:42 PM
I hope the person your son was carrying was able to receive medical treatment.

It sounds like your son was trying to do the right thing, but was in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Classic addict explanation) my son was arrested for stealing a bag of potato chips. we would not bail him out ($250) and we did not pay for or talk to any lawyers. He stayed in jail for 4 months because of a previous DUI (sleeping in car on residential street with engine running and had various pills not in original container)

It took me a few years to understand that my son knew he was manipulating, making wrong decisions, using our good nature to his advantage, never giving back to us. early this year it all hit me so clearly. I can not let myself be put in that position again.

I watched a lot of addiction and recovery videos in YouTube. they convinced me that my son knows what his is doing and he can do better if he puts his effort into it.

similar to what parenting said. I was devastated that he chose to treat us in such a disrespectful way, and acted like we should be happy to continue 'helping' him.

Our help was only helping to keep him in active addiction.

Posted by: Parenting2 December 4, 2019, 11:43 PM
(Just a note: HopeMom this is not in reference to your son. I just thought I would write my thoughts in response to NY, as it is very common with ongoing addiction!)

Yes, NY, I think it is worth repeating: they know they are manipulating us. As hard as it is to stomach, they will tell us they love us to get drug money. They will make us feel guilty to get drug money. They will create "emergencies"; cry; break things; yell, lie, steal to create a situation that they can continue using.

It took me a long time to accept this. I remember the first time it really, truly dawned on me that my son was having a "heart to heart" with good old Mom, including tears and hugs----to get in my good graces to ask for money later. It was a horrible feeling to realize my son would do this to me.

Even now, as I said, when I think I have a pretty, good grasp, he will occasionally "trick me" into something that a few hours or a few days later, I will be like...."wait a minute". Sometimes it can be so subtle and cunning that it freaks me out. Bottom line, MY SON sees me as an ends to a mean (his addition).

In the beginning, I think there was hope for him to change. Now, he has been so deep into it....I think it would take a real, solid spiritual program to change his manipulative, game-playing behaviors. And, he is not interested. For him, he has moved into an area where he has fundamentally changed who he is. I know he could change if he wanted too, but he is really proud of his ability to be good con-man. I can tell he loves to hustle people and get away with it.

I have seen addicts change into amazing human beings, even "better" than your average human. So, I know he can if he ever wants to. But, I have to move on and keep detaching. I don't want the constant turmoil. I want a quiet, healthy life. And, that is OKAY. Okay to detach and let him go.

Posted by: NyToFlorida December 5, 2019, 8:30 PM
Parenting - thanks for the response. I have been happy to have limited contact with my son. Time to detach and restore my energy and sanity. I would not want to be still dealing with daily or weekly sporadic contact. It is so exhausting. Even now, he is in my thoughts daily. I hope something good is happening, but I don't want to be on this end of the phone call telling me how bad life is... that he is cold.. tired of the shelter... or impossible to 'get ahead' without help.... I look at the phone from time to time, but I don't want it to ring... lol... he had good news last week, but we know how that can change quickly..

Someone asked if our attitude toward our loved one changes in addiction. It has for me in the past year. I would not be disrespectful, but I don't care to see my son. I do feel happier and have a good conversation when he reports good news. I just don't want to feel sad anymore.

I work with someone who has an autistic son. I wonder how she stays positive and not so sad. I think it does have something to do with "doing things" to improve the situation. she is constantly scheduling things to do, school, camp, dance, doctors visits for her son. Maybe there is a similarity - when our loved one is early in addiction we 'do things' to help. It keeps us busy and hopeful. It is different, she has all family members, parents/grandparents, sitters, helping too.

Posted by: HopeMom December 5, 2019, 10:11 PM
Thank you for the responses. They really hit home. I have been feeling the same ways the last couple months. I’m so sick and tired of being sick and tired. It makes me feel guilty still to think I’m not able to help my son but I see all my help has been unsuccessful to date.

Last night, the phone rung and I saw the number knowing it was him calling to find out what I have done to get him out of his latest drug charges (he has had 7 possession charges in the last 1 1/2 years). Before I had so exhaustedly called magistrates, home confinement, jails, prosecuting attorney’s offices, arresting officers, etc. to plea for their help and give him chances after chances. But now after the list of chances he has had...I feel like all my efforts are just that- my efforts. I have had to evolve to this place to realize that helping him is really not actually helping him. So, last night when he ask- I told him that the public defenders office has his number and address and I gave him their information and suggested that you call to see if his case is being continued since he was in rehab which I know he only uses to stay out of going to jail and he Heart is really not invested. At least I don’t think it is... yet.

At the end of the conversation, he said he didn’t think he was going to call me as much because it wasn’t “good for him” and told him that I fought we both need a break. I’m feel like I’m on vacation right now from the craziness and I just want to enjoy some peace. The more I think about everything you both have said the more it really makes sense and helps me so much, again thank you for your messages and time. Warm Regards and Prayers, HopeMom

Posted by: Parenting2 December 6, 2019, 10:59 AM
Oh my goodness, that last bit about calling "not being good for him" when he does not get what he wants really hit home. My son hijacked my emotions for a long time. There was a time, early on, when he could hook me just be saying something like that. I am SO glad I finally realized I was being manipulated.

Posted by: HopeMom December 6, 2019, 6:03 PM
I’m getting there... slowly but the more I think about what he says and does the more I can see he manipulates me. He even throws up that if he goes back to jail that he will kill himself because he knows that his life means more to me than anything in this world. But it slowly getting easier for me to say no and go on as best as I can with my life. I have so much I have worked for.. a successful business and marriage that I’m so proud of. I don’t talk to people anymore about having a son because it only brings up hurt and I won’t hide his addiction. I did for too long in the past and that didn’t solve anything. I really don’t like when I run into people that I know that has kids the same age or went to school with my son and they tell me how well their kids are doing and then turn around and ask about my son. I usually say something like “he is going through some challenges or has some growing pains” but I’m starting to just tell people he has a drug problem.

No more hiding.... I’m going to really start living my life again.

HopeMom with Hope!!!

Posted by: NyToFlorida December 6, 2019, 8:57 PM
Hello Hopemom - a few bits about your recent posts:
Read my Crisis Update, around March 29th, I had left home for a few weeks to avoid being trapped into enabling. I came home overnight to go to a job interview. My son showed up. we had a brief conversation, I gave him $20. he left. reminded me of your conversation - WE all Need a Break! At that time I stopped 'doing', stopped being the middle man. I let my husband handle communication w our son.

One of My turning point was when I was having a brief conversation w son. I said something like , 'I cant believe you don't know how to pay a simple credit card bill' He said 'Its not that I don't know how, I choose not to" (my brain went -- WHOAA! WHAT! - my next thought was - if he chooses not to... Then I choose not to! ) (I had been paying $25 a month on his CCard. ) It was Dec 2018 I stopped paying his CCard - it was a small amount I was paying down until he charged it up and got a second one and charged that up in a week! ($500 limits) I know he does not care, so why should I. I have not paid them at all. Some day they will go to collections and he will pay them or not .

In that post Buggs posted a nice poem and good insight.

Your son is 24 still young enough to change. My son turned 30 a month ago. His addiction started when he was about 21 - during/after college. This was another motivation - 30 years old - were not doing this anymore - he is old enough to take care of himself! I understand the motivation to help them when they are in their early 20's - thinking it is a blip that they will get past.

Also reminded me of a post 'She Just Stopped' - I will try to bump up to the top of the posts.

regarding court details and rehab - in our experience the social worker at rehab works with the client (your son) and the court system to post pone or bring him to appointments.

Story time: at some point last spring we were trying to get our son to go to rehab at the hospital, he was in for two week but was still on 'medications' bc he went in as psyc patient bc of trying to exit the car and saying he'd kill himself. so they gave him medication - which was same that he was abusing. then he did not want to do the rehab program so they discharged him w 5 prescriptions! he did not come home but husband tried to get him to go back to the hospital, (here's my point) my husband kept calling the hospital manager of the rehab. she was helpful at first and said he could come back, but after a few weeks of calling -- saying he's going to go in, asking if he went in... the woman basically told husband to 'call me when you know he is here in the building'. he also tried calling attorney's office , and court office... the people on the other end of the phone responded -- WHO are you? WHY are you calling. he quickly realized NO One wanted to talk to DAD!

Posted by: NyToFlorida December 6, 2019, 9:06 PM
Another thing about letting them deal with their own court issues is that its one less thing that you bailed him out of. one less thing to hold against him, even if it is not said out loud. It is liberating to NOT spend more time and $$ on a situation that you are not responsible for creating.

It took our son months to get to a point where he was not angry with his situation and took ownership. He did want to take care of the court stuff himself. even while in addiction he kept going to the court dates, didn't want us involved. In heinsight, I think he kept showing up, but postponing it to the next month bc he was avoiding the consequenses of DUI - license suspended, fees to DMV, jail or probation. (when he got arrested for stealing chips, the court rolled the past offense into the mix. that is what he ended up staying in jail for.

back to the main point... early on his phone calls were angry. when I said we would not bail him out or agree to take him home, he said ' then we have nothing to talk about'

(oh - nothing to talk about until he wanted me to put $$ on his commissary account for snacks)

It is hard to let them 'fend for themselves' but it is necessary for them to grow.

Recently, my son called from NYC, after he got out of the rehab. (he is with another person who was discharged on the same day) He is staying at a night time shelter, meaning he has to leave it in the morning. there is some kind of program associated w the shelter, he has applied for social services and might have guidance to get a job or housing.

during the conversation he said he wants to do this on his own.
I said it is not punishment that we cant have you live with us. He said he knows that. I said when dad yells it is not that he is angry at you.. He said " I know, he is angry at my situation, I know he loves me, I want to figure this out on my own."
He wants to have the feeling of doing it on his own. When we do it for him he does not feel the consequences and he also does not feel the pride or success or responsibility.

Just hoping the progress continues, even if it is slow. At least once a day I feel awful that my son is struggling, I know it can not be easy even when he does want to do this on his own. I would be nice if it were spring instead of the beginning of winter!

I'm glad our stories help you!

Posted by: Sallyana December 7, 2019, 3:17 AM
I think too, we, as parents/spouses start to change too, the more we learn and experience. This forum and the sharing helps to speed up the process and the learning curve. I think handling our emotions while trying to not be enabling is really difficult. Addiction hits just about every emotion. I think we all are trying to do the best we can. I know we all love our adult children/spouses otherwise we wouldn't be here.

Posted by: NyToFlorida December 7, 2019, 10:50 AM
sallyanna - Yes! That's what I was trying to say!

Posted by: Sallyana December 7, 2019, 11:04 AM
Your posts are spot on NTF ....I get so much from them and I'm sure we all do....Bless you sister!!!!

Posted by: HopeMom December 7, 2019, 11:49 AM
I could agree more with both of you!!

Posted by: mtnmom December 13, 2019, 11:37 PM
HopeMom!! Enjoy the peace as long as you can, take a break from enabling your son's bad behavior & let him figure it out or pay the consequences. It is ABSOLUTELY OK to allow yourself some peace and for your son, he does need to decide WHO in his life is bad for him & better for him. As I frequently told myself "I DIDN'T CAUSE THIS, I CAN'T CONTROL THIS & I CAN'T CURE THIS". Your son caused it, he can't control it but is the only one who can when he decides to get help & he has to figure what works to "cure" (we know it isn't cured...") his situation & addiction

Good luck Momma!

Posted by: axor001 December 15, 2019, 12:35 PM
My daughter, 26 was sober for 6 years and then relapsed last summer. We are struggling since then. Same pattern as you are describing....

Posted by: NyToFlorida December 15, 2019, 1:27 PM
Axor - so sorry to hear that. 6 years sober! Life is such an emotional roller coaster. Wanting the best for our children, seeing them succeed, and then relapse. It is not an easy time. Wishing you strength to get thru the holidays, control what you can, avoid what you cant. Thank you for sharing.

Posted by: axor001 December 15, 2019, 7:48 PM
Thank you NyTOFlorida

Posted by: Parenting2 December 17, 2019, 12:06 PM
Wow! I am really sorry to hear that. That has to be devastating. Keeping you in my thoughts. I hope she works it out to get back to recovery.