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7 Truths About My Addict That Took 5 Years To Learn

Friday, November 6th, 2009

I feel deep empathy toward parents just beginning the terrible journey of their child’s drug addiction — and those facing the turmoil of a next step: rehab, incarceration, dislodging the addict from the family home. These are still open and fresh wounds for my wife and me.

Following are seven hard lessons we’ve learned in our journey, all of which we denied in the beginning. We fought with ourselves and with each other about these things. It didn’t matter who was telling us the truth, we knew better, after all he was our son. We have come to accept these truths and now it is much easier to deal with the heartache and we’ve become more effective helpers for our son/addict.

1. Parents Are Enablers
We love our sons and daughters. We would do anything to remove the pain. Take away the addiction. Smooth the road. We’d give our life if it would help. I once wrote a letter to my son about using drugs. I used the analogy of him standing on the railroad tracks and a train (drugs) is blasting down the tracks and blaring its horn but he hears nothing. I told him it was my job to knock him out of the way and take the hit, that’s what fathers do. I understand now, I was wrong. All that would do would leave me dead on the tracks and he would be standing on another set of tracks the next day.

We raised our children the best way we knew how. At some point they made decisions that set them down this path. We can only support them and provide them opportunities to make another decision. This is a hard one. That is why at times sponsors, recovering addicts, police officers, probation officers, corrections officers, pastors, counselors can all do a better job than we can in showing our addict the correct path. That is difficult because no one loves our addict like we do but we cannot do what they need when they need it.

2. I Cannot Fix This
This goes to what I wrote above. This is a problem only our addict can fix. A concept such as this is very hard for me to accept because I try to fix everything. No one is allowed in our addict’s mind except them. They are the only ones that can decide to do something about this. This will not end until they decide to end it. Parents trying to make that decision for them only results in failure and frustration.

3. My Addict Is A Liar
Addicts will say anything to hide their addiction and take any action to mask the problem. I honestly believe at the time they do not even realize they are lying, they just say whatever they think you want to hear. I believe they have motives in this to seek approval and to give us pride. I believe addicts do not like themselves or what they are doing but at some point they can see no door out. Their only mechanism for survival is to seek somekind of approval through lying, even if they know they will be busted. I believe it offers a similar instant gratification as drugs. I think even a smile of approval from a loved one shoots off those chemicals in the brain that gives them a different high, even if it lasts only a couple seconds. When my addict tells me he is not using I really don’t hear it. I tell him often, “My eyes can hear much better than my ears.” Just as we seek evidence of their using, we must seek evidence of their NOT using. Do not rely on faith that they are not using because they told you.

4. My Addict Is A Criminal
Symptoms of this disease include illegal behavior. That is why he is incarcerated. Face up to it, Dad and Mom. He has done things wrong and he must pay the price, as they say, his debt to society. It does no good to bad mouth the police, the judge, the jail, the lawyers they did not put him there. He put himself there. When we see others on TV and in jail we think about how much they deserve to be there but our babies aren’t like them. We can justify and separate the wrongs by misdemeanor and felony but those are legal terms. The long and short of it, my addict has done things that got him put in there and he must pay.

5. Others Don’t Want Them Around
That is OK. He has wronged many people. We are the parents, it’s called unconditional love. It is not wrong for friends, brothers, sisters, grandparents, relatives to have their own feelings and pain about this situation. Some families have great support and no one abandons the addict, some people decide they do not want the trouble of an addict in their life. That is OK. We all get to make the choice and there is no wrong choice, it is just a choice by those people.

6. Life Will Not Be The Same
At 5 years old my son thought he was Michelangelo of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Running around the house with an orange bandanna tied around his head brandishing plastic weapons fighting evil and the bad guys. When we look at our addicts we see that 5 year old and mourn the loss and try anything we can to get them back. My addict is now a 21-year-old man. He is every bit an adult with at times a child’s maturity. But our world recognizes chronological ages, not maturity levels. Parents must do that too. I believe Michelangelo is lost inside of him. Those that are lost sometimes find their way back, but some do not. I can grieve this loss but it will not help him or us to move forward. An addict does not live in the past or the future. An addict lives in the here and now, if you want to help your addict you must live in the same world he does.

7. Homelessness May Be The Path He Chooses
Mom works in downtown Kansas City. When you drive down there you see homeless people with signs and some of them living under the bridges. They are dirty and hungry. They very likely are addicts, alcoholics or suffer from a mental illness. The one common denominator for all of these men and women living alone and homeless is that at some point in their life they had people that loved them. They are sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends to someone. That doesn’t change their situation. They made choices that got them to this point. They can make other choices, and there are people and organizations to help them change. The key is, they must make the decisions. If our son makes the decision to live this way, it will hurt me terribly but he will do this until it is time for him to change, I cannot change him or those circumstances. It will not help him for me to give him a bed in my home if he continues to live the lifestyle.

Why is This Important?
We struggled mightily against these truths, fought with every ounce of strength. We lost our fight. We have accepted what we wished was not true. My learning is: until you understand the truth you cannot find peace within yourself or really be able to help your addict. Accepting the truth is what allows you to help your addict by helping yourself.

I do not hate my son for using drugs and putting all of us through this pain. I hate the things he does. I hate the lying, the stealing, the using. I love my son very much, I hate his ways. It is perfectly okay to separate the two.

Editor’s Note: If you are a parent of a child struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, please join our community of parents and experts at Time To Get Help to find support, guidance and help.

Posted by  |  Filed under Addiction, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Taking Care of Yourself

634 Comments on “7 Truths About My Addict That Took 5 Years To Learn”

WField says:
November 7th, 2009 at 12:30 am

I can totally agree with your article. All those things, lying, cheating, stealing are because of the drugs and addiction. We need to continue to love them but not enable them. An interventionist and a good drug free rehabilitation center with successful methods is a must in this case.

November 7th, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Ron, thank you so very much for succinctly stating the seven things that parents MUST learn to accept.

Sadly, they are, every single one of them, TRUE.

We hurt, all of us, and each of us must make decisions that are workable for OUR families, not the families of other addicts.

There is no right or wrong. There are only attempts at survival for the families of addicts.

Shawn Leonardo says:
November 7th, 2009 at 11:19 pm

I may not be a parent, but I am a friend. I’ve been around it all, just fresh out of high school. I’m straight edge, which means I don’t drink, do drugs, or smoke, and have been for life. For parents out there, looking at this; things can be hard to see, realize, and most importantly accept. If your child has a problem with drugs/alcohol, it’s not the end of the world. You need to be there for your child, for the before during and especially after of helping them with their problem. You have to get involved in their lives, know which friends are really friends and which just want to share a bowl with your child. Alone, just you and your child cannot get through such a trying situation. You must work together to get past it and move on. Relapses occur because after rehab or whatever action is taken, there is no followup to keep them on track, even with outpatient and the sort. In the short, you must be the one to find the problem, and the one to initiate helping them, for if they have resorted to drugs/alcohol, they won’t ask for help as they believe they have found it, or are too ashamed to tell you.

Eileen Nevers says:
November 9th, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Ron, thank you for telling it like it is. I have been counseling families with teens and young adults who use drugs and alcohol, and the toughest thing is helping the parents understand those 7 things. I have seen parents use up most of their resources (time, energy, money) trying to “fix” their child, often short-changing the other children and loved ones in the process, sometimes even sacrificing their own health and well-being.
The real tragedy is that the parents’ “help” cripples the addict and slows or halts recovery. The longer it takes for the parents to decide to stop rescuing, the more the disease advances.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Ron Grover says:
November 10th, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Thank you all for your comments. I feel for the first time, after recognizing these truths and actually internalizing them I am actually able to help my son. Enabling my son and lying to myself only prolonged my pain and possibly his using.

Sheryl Letzgus McGinnis says:
November 11th, 2009 at 4:59 am


I am an author of 3 books on drugs and addiction and numerous articles both online and in print. But I can honestly say your words touched me. As I read every word I kept saying to myself “yes, yes, he’s so right, he’s telling it like it is.”

The only difference between my story and yours is that we lost the ultimate battle. Our son died of a multiple drug overdose on December 1, 2002. He was a paramedic and an RN and had everything going for him.

Unfortunately, what I call the Addiction Monster, claimed him at the age of 17 and he (and us) spent the next 14 years trying to kill the monster.

Your train analogy is one I’ve used often – I call the train the Addiction Express and the engineer is the Addiction Monster. We do all we can to keep our child off that train but they’re hell bent to hop on board.

Addiction is a horrendous disease – the brain is warped quite often beyond repair. Sometimes the only cure for addiction is death. Our son’s turmoil and despair is over. Sadly, ours endures.

I will continue speaking out about drugs and addiction as long as I live and I hope you will do the same. Your words were powerful.

Member Parent Advisory Board The Partnership for a Drug-Free America

Ron Grover says:
November 11th, 2009 at 2:51 pm


I am so sorry for your loss.

How is it we are losing so many of our brightest and most talented to this idsease? Our son is actually one of the most intellegent individuals I know but not smart enough to not get addicted.

I’ll keep speaking out. Education is the key for everyone, addicts, loved ones and most of all those that have not been touched by this monster.

Thank you for your touching comments.

Hanna Brown says:
November 11th, 2009 at 4:51 pm

I am a mother just recently entering this difficult path. My husband and I are lost when it comes to dealing effectively and rapidly. Thank you for all the info you provide for people like us. We would like to ask you where can we find a good rehab center with successful methods? We must help our daughter immediately.Thank you

kattfish says:
November 11th, 2009 at 8:20 pm

My mother just called me and told me about his website after watching a program called “The Doctors.” I am so glad she did. We, too, are struggling with my 21 year old son’s heroin addiction and reading your “8 things I know” really hit home. He was just released from incarceration for violating his probation. He is working, but I know every day is a struggle for him and for us. As a parent, I so want back the son I once knew, but he is gone forever and the most important thing I can do now is keep the rest of our family intact. Thank you for your insight, it helped me immensely.

Elizabeth P says:
November 12th, 2009 at 9:14 am

I too have a 18 year old that is addicted to drug. He just got up and walked away from our home and is now living on the streets. I get phone calls every now from his friends and then letting me know that he is still alive. I printed this article out because I have to remind myself of these facts all the time. We have done everything possible for my son, but he is the one that has to come to the realization that he is a drug addict. I just pray on a daily basis that we do not get a knock on our door….Thank you for writing such a wonderful piece.

Ron Grover says:
November 13th, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Kattfish, Elizabth,

I sorry you have your own qualifiers to enter this club known as “Parents of and Addict”. Both of you sound like you have many heartaches and stories to share but you appear to be ready to take the next steps and enter a place with your son’s where you are more healthy. That way at some point you will be stronger to help when the time is right.

Be strong and know that there are many behind you and are there for you when you need it.

Kat says:
November 15th, 2009 at 2:27 am

Like all the rest of the parents here, I too get caught up in the “once upon a time” when my son was happy riding his Hot Wheel down the street. Now, at 32yo he is in prison for the 2nd time….it seems if he’s out on the street we worry, and when he goes to jail we “know” he’s alive and not on the street. It’s not so much “why” but what we do in response to the reality of drug addiction and relapse is what matters. Maybe?

Liz Rehmer says:
November 16th, 2009 at 3:29 pm

You have stated the ugly truths for parents or for anyone who’s loved on is an addict. I went through 5 years of meth addiction with my son, and sad to say I made all of the enabling mistakes that a parent makes. Once educated though, I quit enabling him and prayed that he would get busted – to save his life. he did get busted, went to prison and came out almost the son I knew and loved. he has now been clean 2 years and is the son I knew and loved, and still do. I teach meth education in the school systems and to the public and your article is one of the best written and “right on” articvles I have ever read. Thank you so much for sharing your painful truths about your son and know that you are not alone. May God bless you, your wife and your son.

Ron Grover says:
November 16th, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Kat and Liz,

Thank you for your heartfelt comments. I really think it is almost impossible for a parent not deaing with this scourge to gasp that their could be a measure of peace having your own child incarcerated. It is a convoluted truth and peace.

My thoughts are with you both in your sadness of addiction and your joy when they are sober.

Best Wishes,

julia says:
November 16th, 2009 at 7:43 pm

What do you do if teh adult child has young children?

Janice says:
November 18th, 2009 at 4:32 am

I am 59,my son is 38.He has been a drug addict and alcoholic since 15.I sat down at my computer tonight to look up help and support for myself because one more time my Son is messed up and boy do I want to help but I know I can’t do anymore. Everytime he does well I get my hopes up and everytime I am brought back down. I have learned thru the years how to cope with a lot of it. He has been in so many treatment centers and prison and jail I quit counting them. And I will not have him committed anymore. I’ve done it a few times but he didn’t accept what he needed to do after that. I dread the day I get a call he is dead.I understand Cheryl’s comment that sometimes the only cure is death. He has Hepatitus C but that doesn’t stop him. I pray whenever I get a chance and that seems to give me comfort. Thank you for your truths here and everyone’s comments. I’ve cried reading them but I feel like I’ve been with understanding friends.

Ron Grover says:
November 18th, 2009 at 3:17 pm


I am so sorry for your pain. I know what it is like to be a bystander and watch the downward spiral, however not nearly as long as you. It seems so messed up when we watch and can see the hurt and pain our children are experiencing with addiction but we are helpless to intervene.

Your son must want to change, that is the hardest part for us. We want it to happen but cannot impose it, as you know in your efforts. Take care of yourself, another cliche but, “it is what it is.” By taking care of yourself you will be ready to help if the day comes where your son decides that the time is right. A fellow blogger once reminded me that we gave birth to our son, we do not owe them our life too.

Lynn says:
November 18th, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Until your adult child wants to change, do absolutely NOTHING. (And never take their word for it but judge on the way they’re living their life.) This is the best advice I can give. The more you do, the more it will hurt them. The less you do, and preferably doing NOTHING, the more it will help them — in more ways you can imagine. I hope everyone will read the book, “Don’t Let Your Kid’s Kill You.” It’s excellent.

November 19th, 2009 at 12:45 am


I took my daughter’s kids away from her. That’s what you do. You save the babies.

Cory says:
November 22nd, 2009 at 6:45 pm

This is a comment directed to parents about some truths from the reverse perspective. I am 19 and have had heavy experimentation with drugs and alcohol and I was never caught. Both my older brothers were addicts at one point and my three closest friends were as well so I do have a valid perspective to share. Here are some things I want you to know:

First, I repeatedly tried to tell my parents of where I was at in life, starting with small mistakes to test their stance. Do not shut down these attempts with anger, retribution and punishment or dismissal but learn to appreciate their honesty to open the lines of communication.

Second is while it’s absolutely true that no one can help your kids but themselves, judgement and intolerance (even directed at the activity rather than the child) will push your children away and possibly towards drugs as they seek to remove the burdens of broken expectations.

Third is that I know that being the parent of an addicted child is hard, in many ways harder than being an addict even. All you want for them to be happy and healthy but they seem bent on self destruction. For addicts everywhere I want to apologize, usually we know the pain we cause and take this pain into ourselves.

The last thing I deem it important to mention is that while addicts do manage to hurt themselves and their situations they are also capable and usually do accomplish things from time to time. Things such as getting a job or a promotion, or just staying clean for even a few days can be a major source of pride for them. Know that a few words of praise for even the smallest things goes miles farther than disapproval for their overall life choices.

I sincerly wish you all your happy endings and know you will be in my prayers.

Dana says:
November 28th, 2009 at 9:04 pm

We, too, have faced the horrible truth that our son is a drug addict. There are no easy answers. If there were we would all share with each other and our pain would be over. Our son is 31 and been an addict since he was 15. The process has taken a toll on his father and me both mentally and physically. The entire family has rallied so many times. We’ve been through it all, the lying, stealing, jail, detention, hopelessness – and yet he continues on his own journey. I think the hardest thing to understand as a parent is why, after being clean coming out of jail or detention, he makes the decision to start over. It is a choice. I understand that, but I don’t understand why a better life is not more attractive than living in filth and never knowing if it will be his last night – that there will be no more tomorrows – no sun on your face on a brilliant summer day – no Christmas mornings to share with your family – nothing but pain and disappointment. Sometimes I think if I just had the answer to that question I could make some sense out of this. Why pain and suffering and maybe death over life and love and joy.

Ron Grover says:
November 30th, 2009 at 3:37 pm


We struggle with the same questions of “why”. I have come to realize that living in the world of “ought to be” instead of living in the world of “what is” causes me a great deal of uneeded stress. For a long time we beat ourselves up with why. As I begin to understand a little more about addiction I was able to accept that why is a question without an answer that will satisfy any of our questions.

With this disease we as parents atruggle with blame. Who caused this, what did I do, why is this not different. By accepting that this disease afflicted my son I was able to help when help was needed. It’s funny, we have had many in our family with cancer and some died but some didn’t, and many with heart disease with the same result. We didn’t dwell on “why” with these diseases, we just helped the afflicted with life and their treatment. We need to do the same for our children. Then we hope for the best result of treatment.

tamara says:
December 5th, 2009 at 10:17 pm

I am the parent of an 18 year old and 21 years old. I was married to there father whom was an alcoholic and drug addict (i was young and thought i could change him) i divorced my husband due to his abuse and have raisedd my boys on my own, i tried to keep the father figure in there life which was an awful mistake, i can remember on his weekends (i had sole custody) they were all packed and happy to go see there daddy and he would not show, also sometimes he would show inebriated so I refused to let them go. Now I was the bad guy. As they got older the pain has worsened for them, my oldest was going to college and woudl be home throughout the day, his father kept coming to my house after partying all night and crashing on the sofa, he told me and after numerous occassions, i called the cops, what does the father do to my 17 year old? Call him a snitch. Not only have they witnessed the addictions but the mental abuse the extended family sufferes from the addict. Now my youngest whom was always full of life but within the last threee years has changed, caught drinking,smoking pot, and came to me a couple of weeks ago crying saying he is addicted to oxycontin.. My heart broke, I told him we can do rehab, he refused, he did want to go to his pediatrician which he did and confided everything to him, it is a nightmare, he says he is not using but I believe he is still using oxy, he said he only drinks every once in a while and smokes pot to make the detox easier. I told him you cannot supplement one for the other, you need a enviroment where they can help you. He has not taken me up on my advise and my next step is to kick him out, I hate to he is a senior in high school and will graduate in 8 weeks, i am torn but mentally and physically cannot stand by while my entire life has been affected by addicts. I am going to alanon tomorrow for the first time. I believe I need the help to be strong enough to say no more.
it is a true nightmare for anyone who has ever been subjected to an addict, but it is a parents worst dream to see there child take that path

Daniel Callahan says:
December 7th, 2009 at 2:52 pm

What an excellent article, to the point! Acceptance is the key to all my challenges…
Thank you,

Dan Callahan, MSW

Ron Grover says:
December 7th, 2009 at 3:21 pm


Yours is such a sad story. You and your son need help. I am glad to see you are taking a step towards Alanon. You cannot help him without being strong and this may help. If your son has taken the first step by talking to his pediatrician then maybe he would take the second by visiting a NA group. All you can do is ask. Maybe he can find a group with people close to his age in which he can relate.

It is such a struggle for a parent to watch this and know the consequences yet feel so helpless. I wish you luck on influencing your son in another way.

Mohan Prasad says:
December 8th, 2009 at 6:30 pm

My son is an drug adict and admitted in rehab centre four months back. He is going to be discharged in next week, after comming back to home he wants to see his old friends badly. His statement is he want tell them How bad is taking drugs.What to do ?

Ron Grover says:
December 9th, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Dear Mohan,

Everyone is different so hate to give a blanket answer but I believe that is not wise for him go to his old friends. Uour son needs a new life and that part of his old life cannot co-exist with his new life.

Ask him to go to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting and discuss his plans with them. Ask him to discuss his plan with his rehab counselor before being released. Ask him to develop a plan with his rehab counselor before he leaves rehab. I would wager that visiting his old friends that use will not be in any of those recommendations or plans.

Sincerely, I wish you and your son the best.

Rainelle Mishoe says:
December 16th, 2009 at 3:16 am


Just discovering this week that our 30 year old daughter is a cocaine user, I have read with interest your article. I have gathered as much information as I can this week. Ideally, I would like to derail her train. Realistically, I realize, as you say, she can only get help when she is ready to admit she needs it. At this point, I am the bad guy as she vehemently denies her usage or need for help. Thanks for your article to emphasize the journey on which we are to embark. I will print it to use as a “journal” if you will, from which to gain strength and hope she will wake up before she totally destroys herself. Everything you say is said so well!!

Debbie says:
December 16th, 2009 at 8:05 am

i’m the mother of a 30 year old drug addict. my son was hit by a drunk driver when he was 19 and became addicted to pain meds. i have enabled him since then… out of jail, new locations, apts, money…..i knew i could fix it! nothing i have ever done has helped him in any way. i love my son so very much. once again he is in jail and i want to help so bad…..i think the only way i can’t help is not tho have contact with him. my heart breaks everyday……my family is begging me to leave him there before he is in jail for something more serious. i have been to alanon i have read all the books……it took me years to realize I CANT FIX HIM..I STILL WANT TO… IM HIS MOTHER.. I CAN… MY HELP CANT HURT HIM I CAN FIX HIM I ALWAYS TOLD MYSELF.I CRY MYSELF TO SLEEP EVERYNIGHT AND NOW I DON’T JUST PRAY FOR HIM I PRAY FOR ME NOT TO BE SO AFFECTED BY IT…….WE THE PARENTS BECOME AS SICK AS THE ADDICTS……..AFTER READING YOUR TRUTHS WHICH BY THE WAY IS THE PERFECT NAME FOR THEM……PLEASE GOD LET MY SON BE ONE OF THE ADDICTS THAT GETS TO THE OTHER SIDE…………

Carol says:
December 26th, 2009 at 9:54 pm

my son is in rehab right now and he gets out next week. He has been living with my father who is 86. I have told him that he will not be returning there but i am afraid that he will behind my back, My father of course is his biggest enabler. any suggestions that i can give to my dad who just wants what is best for his first grandson? I know that my son has been involved in some petty crimes and i am torn if I should turn him in or not.

Janice says:
December 27th, 2009 at 2:12 am

I feel the hurt that all of you are expressing. My son wanted to come here for CHristmas. But he has been making phone calls to me and my other son that make no sense. Leaving me 61 messages on my cell phone within 1 hr! He spent Thanksgiving in jail. He has spent many other holidays there also. I chose not to go pick him up for CHristmas and ruin our day.My other Son didn’t want him around. He says as much as he has hurt me why do I keep hoping for change. It kept going thru my mind on Christmas and I had to push the guilt feelings away. My stomach does flip flops when I hear from him. Please pray for us and I will do the same for all of you. Thank you.

Stephanie says:
December 27th, 2009 at 2:35 am

I’m reading all of this, right now as I’m writing this my son who just turned 16 has been using for 8 months now, started with pot and has gone to caugh syrup, he’s used vicidines and I fear cocain now. He is completely out of control when he is home. Calls me names that are bone chilling. I am married and this is putting my marriage on the rocks. My husband which is his father deals so differently than I, he’s more calmer where I am just a wreck over it, I search, snoop, get in his face, call the police. Am I suppose to take his behavior cuz he’s on drugs?? My husband says I’m too much, I feel he’s lowered his standards because of the drugs and is more about keeping peace. I see my son slowing killing himself, I can’t stand it. I feel so alone…

Ron Grover says:
December 28th, 2009 at 3:55 pm


I understand your turmoil. It’s called unconditional love. Parents know exactly what it is and it is unfair for us to expect others without an addicted child to grasp it. Hope when all seems hopeless, continuing to reach into the fire when we have been burnt time and time agian before is what parents do each day. Recognizing for our addicted children this is not just an unacceptable behavior, this is a life or death struggle with a disease that is fatal if left untreated.

Be strong, as long as your son is living the lifestyle it does not good for you to lift him up if he is continuing to spiral down. Supporting recovery is good, enabling addiction is bad.

Ron Grover says:
December 30th, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Dear Carol,

I understand your plight so well. What your father is doing is so hard because he is doing what he thinks is right and he is doing it out of love. All of us do what we think will help but this disease has its own way of life and sometimes what we see and do as “normal” reactions only feeds the disease and enables the addiction.

Talk with your father about how incidious this disease is for your son and everyone that touches him. My suggestion is to provide alternatives to your father that actually help your son. My advice is when he leaves rehab he moves into a Clean Living Environment (CLE)such as an Oxford House or some other place. I’m sure the rehab where your son is at can make suggestions concerning places in your area. Many times our addicts need what we cannot provide and this is one of those times.


Bill Ford says:
January 2nd, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Ron your seven truths resonates with my experience. I have a 22 year old heroin addict with type 1 diabetes. He has been in and out of jail, hospitals, detox and treatment. I believe he knows he is at the end of his line. If the heroin doesn’t do him in the diabetes will at some point. He’s couch surfing right now, using and saying he wants to do detox again. He dropped by last night. I greeted him with enthusiasm, while holding my boundaries. Despite the ugly addiction. I like seeing him. I’ll qoute you “I do not hate my son for using drugs and putting all of us through this pain. I hate the things he does. I hate the lying, the stealing, the using. I love my son very much”.

During our visit, I commented on some reading I did about heroin addiction. You know son, I said, I hope your serious about going back into the detox unit at Compass Detox (Tucson); after 5 years of opiates, I hear that is about when liver damage shows up…” We talked about his sugar and getting in down as low as possible, since they will send him to ER if it gets to high… Always encouraging him when he indicates he has had enough. It’s a mystery to me why they continue. I watched “Drugstore Cowboy” last night. Whew!!! All I can say is that movie gives little hope to the idea that some deeply affected addicts will find the desire to get clean. Keep up the good work Ron.

mary L says:
January 5th, 2010 at 4:59 am

I have just read this entire article. I have lived through the years of an addiction of a young son. I too did all the wrong things, I thought if I loved him more, gave him more, allowed more abuse, he would see the light. But there is a saying, “Addicts will not heal by seeing the light,they will heal when they feel the HEAT”. I am now living through and watching my 18 grandson who is in jail, because of his illness. Addiction is a family disease. It effects everyone. My grandson is the son of by now 42 year old, clean and sober son. Healing does come for some who make that decision to become powerless over this baffling and cunning disease. With the help of drug rehab programs for the addicts there is also a program for the family and friends of the people we love, it is called Al-Anon, and Al-Ateen. I found the healing help for myself and the courage to learn how to detach from the person I loved and wanted to safe. And learned to focus on my self, to love myself and still love my son and grandson. We all have an illness, but we are all still worth loving.

Janice says:
January 6th, 2010 at 4:18 am

Stephanie, If there is an Al-Anon group near you please try going to a meeting once. Like Mary L says they do help you find help for yourself. I am 59 and my Son is 38. I have been living with this disease since my Son was 15. It helps to talk to other people in your same situation. I am praying for you and your family.
My Son also has Hepatitis C and is slowly killing himself. But with everything I have learned thru the years I still love him and put him in God’s hands.
And believe it or not I can have a good nights sleep and find that throughout the day I can concentrate on other things and enjoy the sun and birds and music. There was a time when I couldn’t find joy in anything. It also helps me to read all that Ron has put on his blogs and what others have responded. Please reach out to others in your area you are experiencing the same as you. It will help you.


M Madeline says:
January 6th, 2010 at 4:43 am

My daughter is 17. She is using and selling drugs. She is still in high school and I want to turn her in to the police. She is currently living with her dad who totally enables her. He has told me he will not drug test her because it is not necessary since she is doing well. Should I turn her in? My list of allies is thin. I have no leverage and she just lies to me when I try to talk to her. Her older brother was also a drug addict who was sent away at a younger age to treatment successfully. His father protested the whole way and still says it was unnecessary. My son lives safely and soberly across the country. Help me.

Ron Grover says:
January 6th, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Dear Madeline,

Your first question, should I turn her in to the police? The is a very difficult question and one that can only be answered by you. There are real consequences to bringing law enforcement into the picture at this age. At 17 she is still a minor and you have a lot more options about forcing her into treatment as her parent. Once she hits that magic age of 18 your options about forcing her to do anything are out the window without a court order. Use her age to your advantage. As far as turning her in, we turned our son in and it worked out well for him and us. He went to jail and then to prison for 8 months. He came out the other side in a better place and he has 6 weeks clean. I don’t know your location and circumstances but we live in a small community and I went to the sheriff of Leavenworth County, KS for advice assistance. He helped me tremendously, found him to be like a Sheriff Andy Taylor from Mayberry, a wise and reasoned man. But you must weigh your own situation.

Her dad must get on board or he is ultimately willing to enable her death. Untreated addiction is a fatal disease. Somehow the light must turn on for him either through education or experience. Good Luck with that.

Mom Vs Heroin says:
January 8th, 2010 at 4:45 am

This article is so powerful and true – and the perspective that many parents and family members of an addict are searching for.

There are plenty of platitudes out there… The real-life knowledge and common sense are harder to find. Thank you for sharing, and doing it so well.

Your voice, born of experience with your own son, is invaluable.

Helga Culbert says:
January 18th, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I just found this article today. My daughter has exhibited everything you are addressing and she is now 29 years old. I have known about her drug addiction for almost 6 years. She started using drugs at 16. Treatment did not work. She relapsed many times. When she was in jail, I did not bail her out. I have been through the ups and downs. For the last 2 years I have not have had any contact with her. This seems to be more her choice than mine. She married again, and had two children, all while on drugs as I know by her actions reported to me by her dad. I hate that she used while pregnant. I don’t know my grandchildren. Her husband hates me (according to her) and does not want her to have any contact with me. I know that she uses to this day and is raising two infants. My heart is breaking at times. I am always anticipating bad news, which is even more scary now since there are two little ones involved, who did not aks for this.

Deanna Ryan says:
February 3rd, 2010 at 6:03 am

I have become a alcoholic dealing with my son that at the end…………many years of me being their (my only child) he took his life……….

Eight years later, after breaking into gang homes, being on the streets, I have nothing but…………wine. I am destroying myself now. Help

Ron Grover says:
February 3rd, 2010 at 3:45 pm


I cannot imagine the pain that you have experienced dealing with your son. You have my sympathy.

If you want help take a step forwrad. There are people out there for you. I don’t know where you are located but go to and Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Call the Salvation Army look for others whose mission it is to help you with your problem. Reach your hand out, there are people willing to help you. You are not alone in this problem.

Juliek says:
February 3rd, 2010 at 3:56 pm


A first step is to call this national hotline: 1-800-662-4357 where there are people who can help you. It’s a toll-free, confidential number sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

A Mom's Serious Blunder says:
February 19th, 2010 at 4:28 pm

This is one of the best articles I have read. Thank you for sharing these truths. I need to find my peace and this has helped me in my search. You are a very wise man.

beth says:
February 21st, 2010 at 12:18 am

You hit the nail exactly on the head if i didnt know better i would have thought you were talking about my son. He has had a long road with addiction, rehabs, halfway houses & sadly jail & prison time. He is now 25 not a child any longer & we as his family can only hope that he has decided to turn his life around as his time to be released from prison is weeks away after 3 long years. Yes we have been supporting him emotionally & with prayers along the way as our love for him will never die. How very sad to be a mother & not know how to help or make it all better as we did when they were children….

Christine says:
February 25th, 2010 at 6:22 am

wow..this was exactly what i needed to read today..
My son also a drug addict,alcholic, gambler,bully and liar
has just been removed from my house. hopfully i will be strong enough to say no nomore when he once again knocks on my door. thanks for sharing

B Heart says:
March 6th, 2010 at 9:38 am

My wife’s teenage son has just started showing visible signs of interest in drug use, although when I say visible signs, I mean discussing taking drugs with people online, and accessing pages related to drug use, which concerns me.

What concerns me most is I don’t know how long this unhealthy habit has been of interest to him, although it may or may not have something to do with his recent club-going.

Unfortunately, it is hard for me to know what to believe, although my eyes are fully open to the dangers.

I’m not sure how my partner feels but basically it seems like my natural concerns for her ‘boy’ are speedily getting me into hot waters.

I am wise to the ways of the errant and the honest mistakes of the unwitting and even the less-than-clever ways of the fool, but what I am at odds with most is the uncertainties relating to deceitfulness and ability to trust.

How to face the coming challenges ahead and where to begin?

Susan says:
March 7th, 2010 at 9:55 pm

when I read that your son used to be Michelangelo from the Teenage Mutuant Ninja Turtles I cried. My daughter is also 21 years old. She was once a Ninja Turtle too. And I want desperately to see that perfect little girl inside the adult. I think this is the most painful emotion of all. I brought a child into the world and thought it was my responsibility to help that child be the best person she could be. And when she damages her body and her mind it feels like she’s destroying the beautiful child she once was.

Ron Grover says:
March 9th, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Dear B Heart,

Mom will live in a world of denial as long as she is allowed by her son. I know this for a fact, we lived in that world of denial for sooooo looong.

My phrase is, “My eyes can hear much better than my ears” Believe the signs not the excuse proffered by her son. By the time our son was checking our drug company websites he was in trouble.

Mom will deny, she will get angry, and this will only allow her son to go to a bad place. Education is the key. She must learn before she can accept. My life has taught me that adults learn by experience. Provide mom with the opportunity to discover that if the wrong path hasn’t already been taken, the fork in the road is close at hand. Provide her the opportunities and then help her with the resources. If you need, look to my personal blog:

Arthur says:
March 23rd, 2010 at 2:11 am

Thank you for this article. It helps me to do what I had to do today (3-21-19). I had to let him go. I told him I could only help him when he decided to help himself. And that was to seek help through and with the resources and means that I have provided for him.

afoolnolonger says:
March 30th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Thank you for your articulate words. After reaching rock bottom with a cocaine addiction 10 years ago, our son asked to go to rehab and came out changed and determined to be better. He said the real turning point for him was when he was in group therapy and heard all the awful stories of fellow drug addicts. Broken families, abuse, etc. When it came to him all he said was “I don’t have any of those issues, I came from a loving good family.” He stayed clean for 9 years in which time he got his college degree, began a promising career, married a beautiful girl, had a beautiful healthy baby. Last year he had an accident and was given morphine in the hospital which re-introduced his brain to the high that he once loved. He has been addicted since, spiraling down to even a lower level of drug use as his earlier teenage days. It is almost worse the 2nd time around as he has more to lose including his own young son. What makes it more tragic is that he has no desire to stop this time and will take whatever he can get his hands on, (pain pills, weed, adderall, xanax) like it is desperate for his survival. He is currently in forced-rehab- paid for by us, his loving parents, because his wife and child cannot cope any longer. He is angry and belligerent with us being involved. So I agree with you: Letting him go is the best thing we can do. Even if it means he dies.

We have accepted the fact that we might lose him to death. To be honest, this would be a relief. There I said it. Watching a beautiful, intelligent young man with so much potential waste his life and give up on his young wife and son is a living hell. The harsh reality is that addicted behavior is so evil and foul that nothing good comes of it. No happiness, no joy, no pride, no future to look forward to. Addicts live a sad, pathetic life and no amount of therapy, money, love, can help them if they do not want to help themselves. Our son has lost everything he worked so hard for in the last 9 years.

We have come to a sad realization that once an addict-always an addict. We had fooled ourselves into thinking he had overcome it and would never choose the addiction path again. When in fact the addiction monster had only been suppressed, only to be reawakened to it’s full fury and wrath.

It is nice to know there are others to learn and gain support from.

Thanks again for your comments.

Maureen says:
March 31st, 2010 at 1:45 am

Yes it takes years for some of us “enabling” mothers to finally get it. After several years of “if I help him get an apt, it might be his turning point” OR “if I get him out of debt he can move on with his life” and NOT seeing positive changes, I decided to get off his merry-go-round. My son is currently homeless, jobless, has no money and no close relationships. Like the other mothers whose children imitated “Ninja Turtles” I too have lost that son. Reading the messages from so many of you has inspired me to make my conversations with him more loving and hopeful, while standing firm with boundaries. I pray for all of us and hoe our “lost ones” will be “found” one day soon.

Helen Brown says:
April 4th, 2010 at 3:35 am

Our family has been in this cycle of living hell for almost 10 years now. Doing and saying all the same things as the rest of you here on this forum. You want it so badly for them, but they seem like they barely even try. Our son has never once called us to say come help me I’m struggling, he just keeps going back out after rehab, after jail. And says the same thing over and over, I’m gonna turn this thing around…But, then in time (sometimes days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months) goes right back out again. We have come to the place where, because it never gets easier, no matter how many times you go through it, of feeling pretty much exhausted with all of it. It’s time for us to say, we’ve had enough…coming to this resolution though brings me a new Problem … I’m really mad at him. Mad at him for ruining his life and mad at him for ruining ours. As a mother, I will fight for him in prayer until my or his last breath, but for now I don’t know how to keep from lashing out at him. The system as many of you know just keeps jockeying them back and forth from jail to rehab. He’s in jail now and I am going to be able to see him when he is put back in rehab again, but I really don’t have anything left to say to him. I want to support him as his mother and value him as a person but I’m tired of talking about the same stuff time after time without anything changing. Any suggestions…One person said, don’t do anything… What does that mean and look like??

Ron Grover says:
April 5th, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Helen, Maureen,

It seems like no matter if it is two months, two years, six years, (me) or ten years the pain is there. The disappointments and the sorrow destroy us from within just as the drugs do our children.

I am now working on myself. A new focus for when or if my son has a profound experience that he cannot live this way any longer. I want to be well enough inside of me to help when the help is needed. The hard part is I am not a patient person but have learned the hard and expensive way that sobriety cannot be forced upon him if he does not or is not willing to accept it.

“Don’t do anything” is not an answer. It’s not an action that will satisfy any of us. My “doing” now is doing for me and reminding my son that ‘I believe in you.” My hand is outstretched at his every step but today unlike the past it is his responsibility to grasp my hand, I can no longer catch him.

Daphne Roets says:
May 5th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

After having read this page, I struggle right now for the words to tell you how I am feeling.^6 years for me, a mother with a 24 year old son and a beautiful Grand daughter.Tonight I let go as my son walks into a homeless shelter,because no one wants him or can deal with the pain he inflicts on the people that love him.Including me.His mother…..I am not coping with this at all…..don’t know if I ever will…..but I will continue to read on as far as I can….and hope something,someone can help me just to make me feel I have done all I can.

Thank you and God bless to those families going through what I am.Thanks

Tammy says:
May 13th, 2010 at 3:09 am

As I comment now, I can hardly swallow, my heart is in my throat. My 34 year old son is in a motel room that I paid for. After being kicked out of their apt by his girlfriend. He is no longer allowed to live with me and my now husband, after 2 unsucessful attempts. They hava perfect 6 month old baby. This is his second child. His first child, my oldest grandchild who is 16, and him have no relationship — he is supported by me along with his mother. Now another innocent child. He no longer has a relationship with his brother or sister. He started drinking at 15. It is all true, I have been in debt, paid his rent, gave him money for 20 years. He has never had a steady job but yet, extemely intelligent. What a waste of a life. I want to get to the point — I help him by not helping him. I have not answered his calls tonight but I am consumed with looking at the phone, with that thought maybe this time. Ironically, his dad died of pancreattis and liver disease 4 years ago at 48, alone, estranged from everyone because of alcohol. As a Nurse and first hand witness I know My son will die if I continue to enable him.

Ron Grover says:
May 13th, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Dear Tammy,

Your last sentence is so true. Your son will die if you continue to enable him.

There must be a time that he lives with his consequences, if he has no place to stay it will not help him for you to rent him a motel. Sometimes homelessness is the path he chooses. Hopefully there are homeless shelters or Salvation Army like services where you live, that can help.

I applaud you for not allowing him back into your home. No matter if he gets better or not you must take care of yourself. I don’t know what will work for you but you must find help not to enable him. Go to an Al-Anon meeting, seek counseling or whatever it takes. If your son decides to clean up his act you need to be in a place you can help him and if you are not well in your life and decisions about his problem you will not be an effective helper.

Truth is, his girlfriend did what needed to be done for herself and her child. I would expect nothing less from a mother.

Ron Grover

Tammy says:
May 19th, 2010 at 10:34 pm


Thank You for responding, just actually writing my thoughts and reading yours and everyone’s comment helped tremendously. My son has agreed to seek help. I am glad cautiously because as we have all experienced with an addict, they know how to manupilate. Each time I dont help him , I Repeat to myself, I am helping Him.
Again thank you for sharing your heart ache.

Belinda Rhodus says:
May 24th, 2010 at 5:51 pm

My son has a drug addiction. I can fully understand every word of this article…We have to remember that know matter how deep in the pit our loved ones get, I believe God will always remain BIGGER than anything we face. I believe trusting in Him will ALWAYS bring the right results.
God Bless

victoria says:
June 13th, 2010 at 4:49 am

My sister gave birth to three children. The two older ones are boys, and the youngest is a girl. Our family has been dealing with addiction for 20 years now. Three years ago on Good Friday we found my 36 year old dead in his room at his Mother’s home. It was the most horrific sight I have ever seen. The middle child, the other son, has been an addict for 20 years. My neice and I had an intervention with my sister and her former husband, the father of the children. My neice, their sister is a very responsible R.N. with her B.S. degree and has a wonderful job and is a dept. head at a hospital. The two of us tried to explain to her parents how they were enabling their son. They have lost one to death by methadone. Now this son is on dilaudid, and he shoots it up. He has been in jail. They have always bailed him out. He finally had to do three years for prescription forgery. Both, my sister, and her former husband finance his drug addiction. At present, he is living with my sister. She washes his clothes, cooks his meals, cleans his room. She and his father have even taken him into the worse parts of town to buy his drugs. Both of his parents are well-educated. Today, I asked them three questions. Are you sick? Are you crazy? Are you willing to stop killing your son. We got nowhere. My sister thinks he is her responsibilty. I explained to her that even in nature the young birds have to leave the nest. This has killed our family. He will not stop at anything. The more he uses, the more he wants. He does not care what you say to him. He does not care if you can buy food for youself or not. He only cares if you give him money for drugs. I have head him call my sister every thing on earth. You can’t be kind or encourage him because he will take every advantage to use you. He is very smart and extremely handsome. He does not look like the junkie that he is. He met a really good girl with a christan background. She was very overweight. I knew this girl would be his next mark. He lived with her for about a month. He stole checks, got her to write him checks, stole from her. I was furious. How could his parents let him take advantage of this girl? Why did they not warn her? I never met her, however, I had made up my mind to warn her. I didn’t have to. Her mother, father, and brother came to her apartment. They live out of town. When they arrived, of course, he was on the couch high. They made him leave. Thankfully, they were in touch with their child. They did a background check on my nephew and found out what he was all about. He has been court order to rehab twice. That was with the family signing the papers and going before the judge. Therefore, he had to stay. His parents have paid for about 17 other private treatment centers. He never stayed more than three days. His parents lost thousands of dollars this way. Not to mention the fact that in one years time they paid $30,000.00 in attorney’s fees just to keep him out of jail. They are trying to love him to death. After our intervention with his parents today, they said, “you have not told us anything we don’t already know”. I called my sister later to check on her. She had already been manipulated by him. She will not put him out. They will not stop buying his drugs. This is killing our family. What else can we do? I told his parents today that they are as sick as he is. His mind altering drug of choice is dilaudid. They are addicted to him and his behavior. If he’s in a good mood, they’re in a good mood. If he has a bad day, they have a bad day. He is their mood altering drug. I am ready to give up. They allow him to come to Christmas Eve at my mom’s. It’s always been a family tradition. It angers me that my children have had to witness both of the boys addiction. Not to mention also witnessing them passing out in their plates. H E L P !!!

Ron Grover says:
June 14th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Dear Victoria,

It is so hard to watch someone follow an addict into the abyss, even if the ones following are not using drugs. That sounds like what your sister and brother-in-law are doing. I can understand their fear, seeing you lose a son they feel the need to do anything to keep from losing their son. Unfortunately there is not much you can do about something like this, and really nothing you sister can do about her son. This time “help” may require more than possibly you are able to give. it sounds as if your sister is addicted to her son through co-dependency as much as her son is addicted to the drugs.

You are saying and doing all the things I would do but just like with an addict you cannot convince them to quit. For a real change there must be a profound experience. (see: )

You mention that your sister has spent thousands on rehab for her son. Maybe you can convince her to spend a little on herself and her husband. This issue really seems like something a professional counselor needs to address. Family counseling for her and she can even involve her son. From what you describe it wouldn’t take much for a doctor to see this issue for what it really has become. Their are probably issues of grief, fear, loss, and addiction to deal with and that takes time. I hope you are successful in getting her help.

In all of this there are resources at Nar-Anon. Seek out a meeting not only for her but for yourself. Explore whatever it takes to put yourself in a good place about her and her families issue and then you can only hope that she may follow or you find the right thing to do to lead her.

Anne S says:
June 15th, 2010 at 6:30 am

I thought I was alone until tonight. Thank you all.

Cherie B says:
June 22nd, 2010 at 7:22 pm

I am a mother of a 23 year old abuser. What has been written hit home. I’m in the process of trying to heal myself right now. He enters rehab tomorrow, if he goes. Today was a day of him stealing from me and obviously verbally abusing me. Finding this website was a fluke, but much needed.

Martha says:
June 24th, 2010 at 9:17 pm

I am the mother of a 23 year old, whom we have just discovered has a “drug problem”. This was discovered when his brother decided to come forth and tell us. Apparently it has been going on for approximately 3 years. Our family has now confronted him and he is in complete denial. He is VERY angry. I do not know the extend of use, but I do know who the people are that were helping him use. When confronted he left our home and is now staying with those people. I am so worried that I too will suffer the loss so many of you speak of. He is very smart and very strong. I can only hope that he comes out of this on the clean side and has a happy healthy life. Am I hoping for too much? He is from a loving close family but has always had a fascination with the high style of life. He is always drawn to fancy cars, fast women, fancy homes and huge bank rolls. He has always so desperately wanted it all. It was like a sickness in itself. I think he felt that he was trapped in our humble loving little family in a moderate home and always wanted more. The people he has and is surrounding himself with have all that and that is why he is drawn to them. I can only “hope”, wow, that is such a big word with big meaning to me now “hope”, that he will make some right choices for his life. I will continue reading as all your input is so helpful and I thank you all for being so brave and sharing your experiences as I am sure it does help as it has helped me while I am in this fresh stage of being a parent who is now aware of their sons addiction.

Ron Grover says:
June 25th, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Dear Martha, Anne and Cherie,

Thank you for your comments to my 7 Truths article on The Partnership website. I really hate welcoming you to our growing club of “Parents of an Addict.”

You describe that you just found out about your son’s addiction and it is not uncommon that we do not find out until it has reached a serious state. Anger by your son at your discovery and confrontation is not uncommon. Addiction thrives in darkness and secrecy.

You have a long and rough road ahead. I do not mean to be harsh but it is a reality from many who have been there done that. My immediate advice is to seek out help. There are many avenues for this and you have to find something that helps you. Nar-Anon, church, writing, reading, counseling, whatever it is, you cannot do this alone. Avoid the world of denial, hope is our lifesaving ring but it will do nothing for your son the addict. But sometimes hope is all you have and you should never let go of it.

Now is the time to become more educated about addiction and addiction in families. I see you all have begun the process by reading The Partnership website. If you want to find others struggling with the same situation feel free to read our personal blog. Many parents of addicts maintain personal blogs that are real and raw struggles about being the parent of an addict. You can find many links to parent blogs on my blog. The address of my personal blog is: It is titled, An Addict In Our Son’s Bedroom.

Brian T says:
July 6th, 2010 at 10:38 am

We have supported our son (33) in our home through the last year as he worked towards drug free existence. We have been carers for his daughter since her birth 2 years ago. He relapsed only last month and had to be taken to hospital but is back in relative control now with drug suppressants.
He is bitter and angry with us for not allowing him to take more control over his daughter’s life. In truth we don’t trust him and the courts have given us parental rights to protect his daughter so we are using them. It looks as though we will have to force him out of the house and he has threatened that he will make our life hell.

Michelle says:
July 6th, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Can someone recommend how to respond when people ask you how your kid is doing? I am trying to move on with my life and stop suffering for my son’s choices. He was homeless a couple of weeks ago until a family member intervened. The family member has already kicked him out and I’m not real optimistic that he will remain employed, and off the street. It never fails that I will be doing fine, until someone asks me how he is doing and then I almost always feel the need to tell them (if they are a friend), which usually results in a panic attack or crying spell. Any thoughts or ideas?

Melinda says:
July 8th, 2010 at 3:02 am

I am the mother a 20 year old addict. Thank you Ron for sharing with us. It makes me feel better to be validated in the choices my husband and I have had to make. My children’s father is an addict and I left him 15 years ago today.My children have not had any contact with him. I had hopes and dreams for our 4 babies that they would not follow the same path, 3 made it. I love my son with all of my heart and making him leave his home and turning my back on him is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. He has been in trouble for minor things with the law, but was arrested for shoplifting and control substains last week. So he will do jail time now. I am relieved that he will because then I will know where he is every night. How messed up is that? I am so glad that I found this site. I feel like everyone here knows how I feel and that is such a blessing. Thank you agian!

Ron Grover says:
July 8th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Dear Michelle,

How do we respond when someone asks us the “QUESTION”? Honestly.

We spent years hiding from our son’s addiction. We denied it, we were ashamed of it, we tried protecting him from it, if we could have disappeared we would have. That strategy served no one well.

When we were able to overcome our shame we were finally able to take the first steps forward in helping ourselves and being in a place to help him when the time comes. We also began to realize that when people ask about our son it was because they cared about us and they cared about him. It isn’t fair to shut out these people that care for us because we are ashamed and embarrassed. I actually wrote a posting for The Partnership about overcoming your shame. .

This is not a problem unique to just you. Many have written about this subject on Intervene. I would advise you read other postings and comments.

Hope this helps,

Ron Grover says:
July 8th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Dear Melinda,

I understand and can feel deeply, exactly where you are coming from in your post. Only another parent of an addict can understand that sense of relief when their child who is addicted is in jail. Even though in reality we know jail does no good to treat addiction it gives us a brief break from the madness. Been there done that got the t-shirt.

Hopefully one day your son will have a profound experience that enables him to begin treatment for his addiction.

Ron Grover

Ron Grover says:
July 8th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Dear Brian,

I agree with what you have done. You must take care of that baby. We have one grandchild, not from our addicted son, that I could not imagine a child being exposed to a lifestyle of drugs and addiction.

Stay strong and do what it takes to care for that grandchild, even if it means a temporary restraining order.


Isabel says:
July 11th, 2010 at 1:17 am

Your child is 21, and no offense, but frankly I don’t think you have a clue as to how hard it is to be a parent of a drug addict. My daughter is in her mid 30′s and we’ve dealt with this more than half her life, but what seems like several lifetimes to us. She’s been through numerous and seemingly ongoing rehab, always to get herself out of the latest bad situation, and I’m quite frankly, sick to death of her but nobody ever writes an article about that! We’ve had guardianship of her children for years, she’s lost everything and apparently never reaches “rock bottom”, but I’ve reached mine. I have come to the conclusion they don’t take drugs because they feel so bad about themselves, they take drugs because it makes them feel good and how they feel is all that matters. I’m sick of the lying, I’m sick of caring and worrying, I’m sick of her.

Barb A says:
July 19th, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Ron – Found this website by accident. The list you have compiled is true. We have a dual-diagnosis daughter that is turning 20 this month. Been in and out of treatment/mental health facilities for a number of years. Hard to separate out the mental health portion from the addiction – an impossible task. Have to stop enabling – know in my head what is right but constantly fight with my heart. Have to stop wondering if what we are doing is “the right thing” as there is no right or wrong to all of this. The never ending struggle that does not have to be once you take care of yourself – which is where my husband and I continue to try and get to. Good information – thank you.

AnnaFitz says:
July 23rd, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Thank you so much for posting this! As a mother of a recovering heroin addict, I could not agree with you more!

DepressedMom says:
July 30th, 2010 at 7:39 am

I have dealing with my 17 year old daughter’s addiction since she was 14. I am so weary, disgusted, ashamed, hopeless, angry… I have watched this beautiful child morph into a creature who lies constantly, rarely bathes or washes her hair, smoke like a factory, drop out of school, hang around with trash and yell and scream at me constantly. On top of that, she has been arrested twice and probably will go back to jail again. I have to keep telling myself that I love this person but I’m not sure I do anymore. I’m so embarrassed of the police coming to my house and each time I expect them to tellme that she is dead. I put her in rehab but it was a scam and they took my money upfront, charged my insurance company and kept both payments. No one regulates these companies. I called the FL State’s attorney, the newspapers, the Better Business Bureau, etc. but no one cared enough to do anything. My daughter started off smoking pot but now smokes roxys. She has such a horrible cough that it sounds like there is something rattling in her chest. She calls me the foulest names. I gother into a suboxone treatment program to help her detox but found out she has been selling the suboxone to get pills. The drug dealers are everywhere and there is nothing being done about this horrible epidemic. This is in my opinion far more serious than the swine flu or even cancer. Thousands of kids/adults are dying from these horribly addictive drugs but they are so easy to get. Our family has been destroyed over this. I give up. I have lost.

Ron Grover says:
July 30th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

You don’t have to give up. You need to do something different right now. You have to take care of yourself first. By doing that you will be prepared if and when your daughter has a profound experience about her addiction and her life.

My son is an oxycontin and black tar heroin addict. He has been using since 15 and he is now 22. He has been clean for almost 2 weeks. I know 2 weeks isn’t much but it is better than the last 4 years. His only times of being clean was when he was locked up in jail and prison.

You need help from other parents that have experieinced the same heartache. I would advise you to visit my personal blog. It is more of a daily/weekly type accounting of life being the parent of an addict. In addition, on my blog are links to many other parent blogs that are dealing with the same subject.

There are wonderful people in all stages of dealing with this scourge on America. Lots of wonderful insight and knowledge. Share with others and the pain seems not so severe because you know there are others in the same position and they have the understanding that we all need.


Don Grover says:
July 31st, 2010 at 12:17 am


I came across your website tonight while looking for answers on my brother’s drug problem. First off, my name really is Don Grover. My father’s is as well. He is the same age as you and his son (my brother) is 21 dealing with the same problem. The parallels are ridiculous, both to the names and plight of the loved one.

What I am writing you about has to deal more with the corporate side of the drug problem. I am starting to believe there is little (very little!) to nothing that can be done to tell these children they need to get off drugs. It goes in one ear and out the other… they look you in the eye and act like they are listening and care about what you’re saying but they really don’t, it’s all about the drugs.

So, what is going on with these doctors that just dish out drugs like its candy (that is a crime!)? My brother has a problem with oxycotin/percocet. These are drugs that are provided by pharmacist/doctors. No matter what the prescription drug it can be abused… OCs, percocets, adderall, xanax, klonopin. How can these drugs be more strictly regulated? People say its big business making money and you can’t stop it, but now it being an epidemic throughout the country, I feel enough people in enough high places are dealing with what we are dealing with at the moment.

As you stated your son is in jail and I feel there is nothing I can say/do to help my brother, so I am thinking about shifting my focus (and rage!) How can we stop or at least hinder it at the source? I lived in Denmark last year and they are not having this problem (on the most part) because plain and simple they do not give out the drugs like we do in the US. Let’s take some action that might actually get through to someone because no one is getting through to an addict.

I know in one of your 7 truths you said not to blame other people i.e. police officers and judges. Even with my stance about doctors/law makers I still agree with this. The addict is the one that chooses to use not the doctor that is prescribing the drugs to someone. But, the doctor that is frivolously prescribing drugs is still committing a crime and should be stopped.

I really feel for your situation, my heart breaks every second I talk to my father and mother. I am greatly affected by my brother’s drug use but there is nothing that can compare to how the parent’s feel. I see that you regularly respond to these messages and I hope to get a response from you even if you feel I am working in the wrong direction, as you surely know I and my family feel lost. If you would like to consider starting a movement or explore in detail why all these drugs are getting thrown out to our loved ones by “responsible” doctors, I am more than game.

-Don Grover

Barb A says:
August 2nd, 2010 at 3:36 pm

My ultimate wish would be to win the lottery and open up treatment centers for 14 – 17 year olds to begin with. Somewhere affordable a parent could send their young addict for treatment longer than 14 days (if you are lucky).

Secondly I would build a secure facility where drug users could be sentenced to rather than sent to jail. If every county had these options and have them run by other than feel good social workers maybe more of them could get a taste of recovery.

Third I would be sure my community had half-way or three-quarter houses for them to go to once treatment was over. A place where they can continue to recover.

That is the pipe dream – reality is – it will not happen and I do not know what the answer is. We have all tried to figure it out one way or another over time.

Ron Grover says:
August 2nd, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Dear Don,

You made some very astute comments concerning availability of drugs. I’ve actually expended efforts in this area a few years ago. At that time my son was a fan of Fentanyl. He OD’d on this and nearly died. I had the empty packets in my possession and began an effort to find out where her got them. Rumor was he had a doctor in Lawrence, KS that supplied them. I contacted the Douglas County, D.A. and he was not real enthusiastic about following it unless my son was willing to go undercover and be wired while he bought them. My son was 18 and very heavy into using and he was no way going to rat out a dealer or source. I began my own investigation all the way to contacting the manufacturer with the code dates printed on the package. They could not/would not provide any relevant info because the code dates on the package were not detailed enough to link to any particular shipment. Plus, once they made the drugs it actually went to a distributor, located in their own facility for distribution. I tried to explain to them in my opinion their info on the packet was not comprehensive enough to be useful for a class 3 narcotic. They said it met all existing laws for labeling. I tried to explain it cost hardly anything to add traceability to packaging. I told them almost 20 years ago I was a manager with Colgate Palmolive and to this day hand me a bar of Irish Spring soap and I could them the year, day, shift and hour that bar was produced and if I had access to crew sheets I could give them names of the operators. I was informed that level of traceability was not required in their industry.

After getting no place with the manufacturer I called my congresswoman, Nancy Boyda, Kansas. She was interested in helping change the law but right up front she told me this would be a very difficult uphill battle and with the money of the pharmaceutical industry and the Congress people in the industry pocket it may not even make it out of committee. I wanted to push it. That is when it came to a screeching halt. She wanted to get it on a committee agenda BUT, she needed, especially my son, and I to be willing to testify in front of the Congressional Committee, if it got that far, to make an impact. There was no way my son was doing this so my efforts died at that point.

That’s just a story about my efforts in this area to date.

My focus has now shifted. Doctors prescribing this stuff when it is not needed should be jailed. But I do not want the medication banned. I had a complete shoulder replacement a few years ago and in the hospital I was given opiates for pain and sent home with opiates too. They work miracles when used properly but the key phrase, used properly and you can use them without getting addicted.

Here is where government needs to step in and I believe recently FL is trying to step up to the plate, finally. Have you seen the video, The Oxycontin Express?

My focus now is in education. The War on Drugs and The War on Drug Addicts has been a miserable failure. I am of the opinion that educate and treatment must begin getting the same emphasis as trying to stop the flow and busting dealers and addicts. At the current time it does not get teh same attention or respect. I write for The Partnership, I maintain a personal blog about parenting an addict, , and I speak to groups in the community and at schools about addiction. These are my efforts to support my personal belief in a new focus. To me we have spent way to much time and money attacking the drugs, dealers and users, and not enough time and money on the really hard question, WHY do people turn to drugs and what do we do when they have become addicted.


ps.: This was not a set up letter by a relative just so I could get on my soapbox about the War on Drugs. As far as we know Ron and Don are not related but I do think he has a cool last name.

Ron Grover says:
August 2nd, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Dear Barb,

I like the way you wish! Those sound like very good steps to working on this nationwide scourge.

I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that you win the lottery. Until then we can only hope that our leaders become enlightened to what this addiction problem really is not what they believe makes a good sound bite. If they receive enlightenment then we will see you wishes come true.

Sharon L. says:
August 7th, 2010 at 3:43 am

I often feel so alone and I can’t believe our family and my son are living the nightmare of addiction. My son started drinking and doing drugs when he was 15. He is now 32 and a complete mess. My heart breaks most of the time and I have gotten to the point that I’ve accepted the hopelessnes of this devastating disease.

No one can imagine the angst a parent feels unless they have been there. When I read the posts I realized you all are surviving somehow. Some days are harder than others but somehow we continue to go on. We continue to love our children but hate their addictions!

I will come back here, read and post because I don’t feel so alone. You all understand and live this sometimes unbearable life. Thanks for helping.

Sigrid Webb says:
August 11th, 2010 at 12:52 am

I could literally substitute my ‘being’ with yours…my addicted son, Miles, was that small boy with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, going with me to graduate school, helping me around the house, and acting mature beyond his years. It has been a long six years; he is still struggling, and I am to the point where I am asking for help – for me. I am depressed, despondent, and sad – every day of the world. I live in Roswell, NM, where there are no groups to go to and share information. Due to my position in the community, I wouldn’t be able to really be truthful anyway. What is on-line – where I can go for help? Who can get on-line with me and help me? I am so tired – too tired to keep trying to help Miles – I just need to get help myself!

Ron Grover says:
August 11th, 2010 at 1:35 pm


Unfortunately there are too many of us parents out there that could exchange our children because the circumstances are so alike.

There is help on-line. Search for resources like The Partnership. Many parents write blogs about parenting their addicted children. I have found great help in those. Please visit my personal blog, it is a more personal account of parenting an addict. On my blog there are links to many other parent blogs on the sidebar and simply by clicking on commenter signatures it will link you to their blogs and so on and so forth.

My blog address is:

You are exactly right that you need to take care of yourself. You are important and this disease can drag down everyone connected to the addict. If you do not take care of yourself you will not be well enough to help if and when your son asks for help.

One thing in your comment that bothers me and does not help you is when you say, “I live in Roswell, NM, where there are no groups to go to and share information. Due to my position in the community, I wouldn’t be able to really be truthful anyway.” Sigrid, this is how this disease thrives, in the darkness and hidden from the truth. You may be surprised at who is out there walking in your shoes. And I am sure you would be amazed at the support they can provide. I have written another essay for The Partnership about this very issue, if you want here is the link: . In addition you may want to read this article also:

Plus, feel free to write me anytime, I’m no expert, I’m just another parent struggling through this mess and learning as I go, just as we all do.

Barb A says:
August 11th, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Sigrid – This is a good place to start – and keep reading and reading about addiction. There are many good books out there to let you know you are not alone and some very good coping strategies. There appear to be some very good links from this website where real people can help you out.

Despondant could be your bottom where the only way to go is up. I can relate – between the addict, my job and the considerable loss of income due to a spouse job loss – I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I got tired of being tired.

Once you realize the addict has to make the choice to get better and really believe it – it is a starting point. It is very hard to let them suffer the consequences of their actions but you have to let it happen. Know you are not responsible for the choices they make and yes – start to take care of yourself. Things will get better – remember – the most destructive habit is worry !!

Good luck with your quest to better your life – I am sure you will be successful…

Sandy Bradshaw says:
August 17th, 2010 at 2:06 am

I really need some advice. My 20 year old will so anything he can get his hands on. He has been smoking pot since age 14 expelled from school the end of 8th grade for selling on school grounds. Sent him to therapudic schools kicked out for selling beer he was also under age, oh and then there was the stealing cold meds. He cant hold a job and has stolen from us, ect…. The problem is that he has an an undiagnosed anxiety disorder and tricatillamania Hair pulling an well we cant get him to a therapist so who knows what. I am bipolar 2 high functioning …with meds but this takes its toll!! my husband and I are seeing a therapist and he is telling us to do what you are saying. Is it fair with a unknown illness?? He said he also needs to hit bottom. I worry because he no longer seems to be able to do basic paperwork. his abilities are so low, he was a smart boy. He has been in jail for 13 days and is on probation but it was for graffiti. I think I am hearing the do nothing, but feel bad about the duel dig but I doubt he is the only one here. The rest of the family is not supporting this so I am back and forth. help anyone

NaNa says:
August 21st, 2010 at 12:52 am

My son is now homeless, a drug addict, has HIV and hep c from needles and sex. I told him I will no longer help him because I have just enabled him for years. I know he cannot last long living on the streets with no medical help. He has always had mental health issues, and other issues. It was impossible to get him the kind of help he needed through the years. I know all the advice I have gotten from professionals and freinds and family that he has to go down to come up, but I don’t think there is a comming up from where he is, only death

Gina C. says:
August 25th, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Thank you for this article.
My son is a drug addict, currently incarcerated.
The “ninja turtle” part of your article really resonated with me. I can’t look at my son without seeing the wonderful, creative child he was, so bright and full of promise.
I think that’s the hardest thing for me to accept: that whatever happens, that child will not be coming back. He’s gone.

Yes. It is time for me to stop struggling against this truth, to let that child go, and accept the man that my son has become.

Thank you. It helps so much to know that other parents know my pain.
Some days the whole world seems oblivious to it. I know that none of them can understand or help me. It’s so lonely and isolating. I feel that all the pleasant interactions I have with coworkers and friends are fake, because they will never understand what I’m going through or how I’m feeling or what my life has become. It’s just so hard.
But it’s true: hope is the most painful thing.
The endless cycle of hope and disappointment, when your hopes are once again dashed.
At this point, I’m afraid to hope anymore.

Sarah says:
September 3rd, 2010 at 12:59 am

Ron, I have finally come to the truth and as you did had to get a TRO for both of my young adult sons. They are 22 and 26. Still living at home and doing drugs and just lately the stealing from the banks and our personal belongings started.Several thousands of dollars of these items have been taken. Some were things sent down from several family trees. Can’t replace those!Of course they hate me but as you say remember the drug is what did it. You still love them not their behaviors/actions. The calls are killing me though. The cries, the pleaing it just kills you inside. I know one of them will do jail time because he was already on probation. Not sure about the other one who hasn’t had any probelms with the law recently.The investigation has just started and I am frightened. This is my second marriage and he has a son that we have to have at the for front now. He is 12 and he needs our focus now. We are in family therapy but time will only tell. I feel I may lose my husband over this becasue it takes such a toll on your relationship.He says he loves me but honestly it takes more than love to get through this dark ugly world of drugs and how they destroy families and especially trust. Thank you for the stories everyone. It did give me strength when I had to do the court papers for the TRO but there will be more crying and begging to come home, I’ll change, I’ll pay you back but I know after reading all of your life expereinces they have to to hit rock bottom even if it means jail time. They chose that path you didn’t. I may email later to check in with everyone. Again thank you for sharing so others like me can find strength.

CJ says:
September 6th, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Ron, I am in the myst of my son going to jail and trying to prevent it from happening. I have paid out my last cent to the attorney as my son lost his job of a bring home pay of $700/week. He is 21 and I have been fighting this battle since he was 15. I know I have got to STOP IT but I get sick to my stomach with the thought of him going to jail for 90 days or more. I have lost 10 lbs in the last 3 mths. Everything I just read on your post is true and I have got to let go!!! The more I read the more I realize it and thank you for posting this. I just need the strength!

Emma says:
September 10th, 2010 at 6:02 am


My son has been addicted to drugs for 3 years, specifically RX,over-the-counter meds, marajauna, cocaine, and sometimes alcohol. He is now 20 years old and a college student. Several months ago he was arrested and agreed to go into a rehab facility. Four months went by and he seemed determined to stay off of drugs. He attended AA and NA meetings on a regular basis and seemed happy. Now we are starting all over again. He has been arrested again and he is using again. He uses everyone. He doesn’t give any thought to the countless people who have helped him. The hardest part for us, letting go. Guilt that we haven’t done enough to paralyzing fear that he will get hurt or hurt someone else, has kept us emotional hostages for the last 3 years. We love our son very much, but the pain is sometimes more than we can handle. We too had a “Ninja Turtle” running around the house, and we feel as if we have been mourning for our son. I come from a long family history of drug and alcohol addiction. Too many times with unhappy endings. I pray for strength to endure and guidance to make it through, but I am unable to cope with it anymore. I know that we have to stop helping him until he is willing to help himself, we just don’t know how. We say we are going to then he calls and we hear his voice and end up helping him “one more time”. We will keep praying, trying and I will keep reading your tips over and over again.

Scott says:
September 15th, 2010 at 6:11 pm

When is it time to let go? It was time for me after he choose to move out and a year later of police, lying, and stealing, he wants to come back home. His world is closing in on him. I don’t know him. I don’t know how to handle him. I don’t know how to treat him anymore. I don’t trust him. He’s says he is “clean”. His face tells me different. I want my son back, but I don’t know this person. For now, I wait with prayers.

Ron Grover says:
September 16th, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Dear CJ,

Jail is not nice but sometimes that may be what an addict needs. I think of jail as “protective custody”. The honest truth is in the lifestyle of an addict, dealing with dealers, drugs and stealing to get money for drugs jail is safer than that life.

If your son goes to jail there are drugs in jail but they are much harder to get and the cost is higher. If he goes to jail he will have a lot of time for reflection and maybe an opportunity to get clean for 90 days. Plus our experience is when they get out usually there are conditions imposed by the judge such as probation that requires drug testing and community service. If they don’t do that then there are more warrants. It then becomes a vicious circle, but is that what you are running in right now?

The longer you enable by helping with lawyers and the like the longer there are no consequences for the life your son is leading. We have NEVER hired a lawyer for our son, he as always gotten public defenders. My justification is that we raised our son not to steal, regardless of his issues with addiction we will not condone theft or using. These are decisions he made so these are consequences he must pay. In fact it got to the point one day I actually called the police on my own son and had him arrested in our home.

Ron Grover says:
September 16th, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Dear Scott,

The time for letting go is when you reach the point that you realize taking care of yourself is important and without letting go you can no longer be healthy or in a good place.

Letting go is an emotional pesonal struggle but it is the best thing for your son. Trust your gut, that look in his face is desperation of the situation and refusal to give up the lifestyle that has him addicted. There is recovery but not until the addict chooses it. there is nothing we can do until they make the decision.

Be strong for yourself. Be stronger for your son.

Ron Grover says:
September 16th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Dear NaNa,

Where there is life there is hope. That is something to remember. Just be careful where you place your hope. Be selfesh, hope for yourself. Hope that you can find peace in your life, hope that you can be productive and joyful even with this heartache. Hope that you can find a way to take care of yourself and be healthy if your son decides to make a change and needs you.

Feel free to write any time. Also please check out our personal blog about parenting an addict. Only 3 months ago our son was speedballing, mixing cocaine and heroin in the same needle. Today he has been clean for over 2 months. Miracle? I don’t know but life is a day to day adventure, sometimes minute to minute.

Our blog address is:

Whitney W. Grubbs says:
September 25th, 2010 at 2:16 am

Dear Ron,
It is so sad to see so many sweet “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” grow up and become this. I too have a TMNT (5 year old Halloween costume). We have been dealing with a 18 year old son who has just this week told us that he cannot quit smoking marijuana. He has just started doing ex also. He asked for help this week, but when I started searching and gave him some choices he chose to go back to the place where he has been living. Your advice is wonderful and fortunately we have done all those things pretty much from the beginning. Tough Love. I am so sad to see that there are so many people suffering from this horrible thing. I will pray for you all and your children. I would like to hear more from people who have turned there kids into the law. Does it work? Or is that still considered “dealing with it the way WE want to deal with it”?

carla jacobsen says:
September 27th, 2010 at 4:24 am

My son is 22 yrs old…he is a heroin and any other drugs he can find addict.
This has been a 4 year nightmare. I have convinced myself that if he’s homeless then he will have nothing to get sober for?? Huh. Sound crazy but I really think that the cozy bed and food in the kitchen will keep him happy and clean.
Well Josh decided one day he would go to Teen Challenge for one year, and he did.
He graduated in July 2010. First weekend home he went out, he struggled with the fact that he couldn’t be like all those 22 yrs, I believed in that fact that a few mistakes might make him appreciate his life and decide he wasn’t going to go back. Its Sept now and I have kicked him out of the house today. Im completely broken I’m going to get myself help…the pain is so great that I almost think it would be better to just have him home, if I would have known this was going to be the pain I would have never had children..sometimes I can’t breath, and I lay in one place just sick. When I think of him out there I feel so bad. But I know he is not thinking of my pain. My promise to myself is to look at me, and worry about me and my other children. I want to know how I can get through my think scull that I cant cure him…please I need to really grasp that concept…..thank you!

Teresa says:
October 4th, 2010 at 12:44 pm

My daughter is 19, an addict, and is using prescription meds. I don’t know what to do. She doesn’t stay in our home very often but stays with the person who is supplying her with the pills. This man is 50 years old and has a 15 year old son of his own. How could he do this to my daughter! Do you think talking with him about what he’s doing is an option? I think she would agree to help if he would stop supplying her. I really need guidance in this situation.

Ron Grover says:
October 4th, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Dear Teresa,

Thank you commenting on my 7 Truths posting on The Partnership website.

I feel your pain. It is so easy to see how badly things are going from the outside. Our sons and daughters with an addiction cannot see their own world and what it is becoming. The addiction is a life on its own.

As far as speaking with her dealer. Do whatever makes you feel better but it WILL NOT stop his actions. You have several alternatives from interventions, to law enforcement or child services if he is dealing with a 15 year old in his home but this will not help your daughter unless she wants out. In fact it would probably anger her. After all, you are trying to put yourself between her and her drug.

If she is still maintaining her contact with you may have a small influence but do not expect her to quit because you can see how damaging it is for her to use.

Let me be blunt. Your daughter is an addict. She is getting her drugs from someone she feels safe around. She has a house in which to live. She has food in her belly. You don’t mention if she has a job or money to spend. She has you openly welcome her back into your home.

An addict decides to change their life following a profound experience. Can you see this happening in the environment I described?

Now is the time for you to become educated in addiction and taking care of yourself. There are many good books and resources, some are listed on my blog and The Partnership is invaluable with sections for parents. Feel free to visit my personal blog, .

Please feel free to write me any time. There is no magic bullet and it is hard. We all need each other to get through this with our children.

Ron Grover

Ron Grover says:
October 4th, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Dear Carla,

Thank you for your comment to my article on The Partnership Website.

You have written a very painful comment. It is painful because I have been in the exact spot in which you describe. It took me a long time to learn, I cannot bargain my son out of his addiction. I cannot love him out of his addiction. In fact I have very little influence with him and his addiction.

You must learn to take care of yourself and learn to not enable. From experience, I know that is the hardest lesson. Begin by getting help for yourself. NarAnon, counseling, speak with other parents, read, and talk about your son’s addiction and your life are all options. Choose what works for you and discard the rest. It is important for you to stay healthy, do not lets drugs consume your life and his too. I know it all seems overwhelming when all you can think about is your “baby”.

Your son must have a profound experience for him to change his life. As parents we can’t make that happen but by us enabling we can prevent it from happening.

I have a hard question for you to answer to yourself. If your son came to you today, and he said, “Mom, I want to quit this, help me please.” Would you know what to do, or would you do the same thing you have already done? Take this time to learn “what” the answer is to that question. That is how you help your son by being healthy and being there when the time comes.

Feel free to read my personal blog about our son and his addiction to prescription meds and heroin. It is a more personal day to day experience of parenting and addict. . Most all of the feelings you are experiencing we have written about this in this journal.

Ron Grover

Cathy Ann Shutts says:
October 8th, 2010 at 1:25 am

I decided to search for something that could help me and I came across this website. I just finished reading everyone’s comments and the 7 Truths have helped me tremendously. I have denied my son’s drug addiction for years. I knew it was there but rationalized that his problem wasn’t that bad because it’s perscription drugs. And after all he is on Methadone and they monitor it all! He doubles up on his methadone and then goes without. I’ve worried about him so much because he gets really bad depression. He is 33 years old and started abusing alcohol and drugs at the age of 16.
It’s just got worse through the years. I’ve taken him in many times but I didn’t this time! He got charged with assault and couldn’t go back to his roommate’s house. He has been living at the Salavation Army since Feb 2010.
He blames me for his addictions and the biggest mistake I ever made was taking on the guilt. I am getting sick over it all and I have to change! He won’t speak to me anymore because my husband and I allowed a nephew to stay with us for a few months. He is gone already because he got a job and his own place. We have let our son live with us many times but he never uses the opportunity to change his life around.
I wrote him a letter and said that I loved him and I hope that we can talk someday. It hurts! It’s hard to let him go! But I know that I have to! I’ve hung on for so long because I know he gets depressed and he’s even suicidal at times. I’ve come to his side so many times but I just can’t do it anymore.
And yes, I still feel guilty because he says things like “What kind of a Mom would let their kid live at the Salvation Army!”
It feels good to let this all out. I am working on myself to not blame myself anymore! I will heal but I have to let go of him!
Thanks for all of the stories. It has really helped me.

Val says:
October 9th, 2010 at 1:49 am

My son is now 21. He told us he was gay when he was 15. It took me a long time to come to terms with that. I was sad about it, but never angry. Nevertheless, I am sure that during that time, I was not the parent he needed. Neither was his father. He moved out when he was 18 and started using drugs shortly after that.

About a year ago, he came to us and said he was tired of living like that and asked if he could come home. We intially said no, and he moved in with other family. He hated their small town and asked again if he could come home. We let him. That was about a year ago. For much of this year, he has been clean, sleeping somewhat normally, eating, working at the same job, and finally we had back our son. He’s been with at the same job for about a year.

He recently lost his job. When I talk with him, I hear in his voice his despair. He’s lost weight and we see the bloodshot eyes. Maybe this is from his stress, but it could also be that is using again.

I am not sure what to do. Part of me says help him until he finds a new job becuase his depression over his job loss can send him right back to the drug pit. If our daughter lost her job, we would certainly help her as best we could. But, part of me says he had already started the path and that’s why he lost his job.

His electricity is shut off, and I know he is not eating. I don’t know what to do. I know I have enabled him some (we pay for his phone so we’ve never lost contact with him completely), but we haven’t done a lot for him. He’s never been to treatment.I don’t know what kind of help I can offer him that will not enable him if he is using again. But, I can’t bear the thought that we are sitting by and letting him suffer if he’s really not using again. As you all know, asking him will get me an answer of “no” but I can’t believe him either way. What should I do?

Ron Grover says:
October 11th, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Dear Val,

You posed a very good question that underlay’s so many of our thoughts and worries as parents of an addict in recovery.

The main thing is finding out if you are enabling their drug use or giving them a hand up in their recovery. If you can’t answer that question there is no answer to “what should I do”. I usually found that a heartfelt discussion and a really good drug test answered that question. If he’s working on his recovery and is depressed and angry due to his job issue then it probably won’t be a problem but if he throws up al the defenses we know so well……..

I have come to realize that enabling my son’s drug use was as a selfish act that made me feel better because I felt like I was helping him and in reality I was killing him. I enabled because it made me feel better. That’s a hard lesson to learn when you honestly believe you are “saving them” when in reality we are so lost within ourselves.

In recovery I believe it is OK to help. However, help is something that is dicey because just as we have grown through our experiences we should not rob our children of their chance to grow.

As far as being a parent of an addict in recovery I am exploring that new terrain myself. In fact I wrote an essay on that subject on my personal blog: There are tons of very good comments. I would advise you to look at these comments. They have helped me greatly.

I also emphasize with your dilemma about helping your daughter and your son. My words are; remember equal and fair is not the same thing. Addiction is a disease. If you daughter had cancer would you feel bad about treating them different? No, they have different needs at different times. I have told my kids I will not threat them equally, it is our intention to treat each of them fairly.

Ron Grover

Diane says:
October 29th, 2010 at 2:21 am

Hi everyone, I have been reading all your comments. Thank You. Tonight I dropped to my knees and asked God for help. He didn’t knock once or twice on the wall like I asked. Once for kicking him out twice for letting him stay. Then I told him Thanks when I found this web=site. My 28 year old addict had another I don’t no what to call it Mental break down Screaming meltdown. in front of his 2 year old daughter and her Mother. It was bad. He had just stolen 50.00 dollars from me Again. For the who knows how many times. I had called the police on him the last time,he was totally crazy. The police said that if I wanted to kick him out I had to go and get him Legally evicted., which could take months. He told me tonight I couldn’t make him leave because He lives here like the cops said. He had a naltroxene implant in him for heroin addiction for a few months. Then he didn’t what to keep doing it. Of course I paid for it which was expensive,.and he just stops taking it and is probably on it again Or something else, for sure
Any ways thanks for all the comments. Where do they go if they have no health Insurance. I have never had any luck
in Illinois

Karen LaForest says:
November 9th, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Dear Ron,

I totally concur with your article. My 23 year old son is a heroin addict. He has been in jail for drugs and stealing so many times I lost count. He is now in jail again for shoplifting, living in another state. He has been to rehab but always relapses. I know his entire future is ruined by this demon called heroin. I thank God for Naranon which has given me support and clear thinking although I still slip into enabling, even though I know he is lying and manipulating me. I love my son with my whole heart but I have to let go, let him be homeless, and decide if this is what he wants in life. Thanks for your article, Karen

kim says:
November 10th, 2010 at 10:17 pm

My son is 35 and has just been arrested for the 3rd time, this time for burglary and associated charges. He is a drug addict (crystal meth), a thief, and a liar. He has an $83,000. bond.
I am done helping him. I love him but I hate what he does. I am not in good health. This time, he will go to state prison and be forced to join a gang to protect himself.
My only real sorrow is for the two daughters he left behind. They are 15 and 12 and both cheerleaders and really great kids. Their mother has cancer but they do not know yet. They will soon find out their Dad is in jail. I am so worried about them. All I do is cry. Thank you for your advice and tips. I am following them. It is just so hard.

Jean says:
November 16th, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I am the mom of a 21 year old former ninja turtle too. My son was 18 and lived with his father’s house which later turned into a drug house. He was sent to the hospital in a seizure and almost died. Two days later he stole drugs from his grandmother and was admitted in a facility for a week. He lost his job and went into a recovery program about 4 days a week. He moved back in with me. He has been in an opiate recovery program for 3 years where he attends a meeting once a week and is given suboxone. He has held a full-time job for 2 years but recently started using xanax, muscle relaxers, etc. on the weekend. He started stealing from his family and a local video game store and was arrested&released with a big fine 3 months ago. He was reselling the games to a used game store&buying drugs. His stepfather and I decided to send him to his father’s house which is now drug free we hope. After we hugged him goodbye and told him we loved him, he went directely to the local video game store, stole again &was arrested&released with a big fine again. I informed his doctor of his behavior, and am going to meet with both of them soon. I want so badly to bring him back home. His room is dark&empty and I cry myself to sleep every night. I have to force myself not to invite him back to live with us. It will only enable him. He needs to want to change himself. I fear he will soon lose his job due to his growing addiction, but I can’t help him. I pray for help every day.

Jean says:
November 17th, 2010 at 5:04 pm

As I sat waiting in my 21 year old son’s doctor’s office, he entered the facility and his eyes became big as saucers. He asked me what I was doing there and worried that he’d be thrown out of his suboxone aided program he’d been in for 3 years. I told him I was there to warn him that if he stole and was arrested again, this would be the 3rd time, and it would be a felony and he’d lose his job. His urine test was positive and I informed him that if his urine test next month was positive, he might be thrown out of the program. His doctor and I both agreed that he’s in denial. I continue to pray for him.

Suzy says:
November 24th, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I found this site recently and it is a life saver. Has helped me so much to come to terms with my sons drug addiction. He hid his addiction from me for so long. I have gone through most of the hell everyone else is writing about, the lies, the thieving, the manipulation, broken promises. Each time he says he is not using and wants to get his life back together, I feel elated, help to pay off his debts, with his promise to pay me back. Then afew weeks later, my world falls apart again, as the lying and deceit start over. I have now learnt that enabling is only keeping him on drugs. I will not lecture, argue or blame him. I will not believe what he tells me, he doesnt even know the truth himself. I feel I am greiving the death of the son I once knew, the Ninja turtle you described. I feel my son has vanished but I have no physical body to bury and mourn. Yet I am in mourning, for the handsome, strong,happy,intelligent son I once knew. He seems to now be at the bottom, doesn’t keep himself clean, has distanced himself from the family, although still lives at home, he works full time but never has any money and hasnt paid me back as he promised. I am waiting for the profound experience to happen to him for him to decide to change his life. I no longer get angry,or feel guilty, I feel quite calm and will take all the advice I have read, to look after myself, accept he must make changes himself, and that where he is in life now, is a direct result of the choices HE has made. I will always love him but I hate his destructive behaviour.I think of all the parents involved and my heart goes out to them, but I do know, if we stay strong our addict will find their strength to beat this disease.

Jean says:
November 30th, 2010 at 3:24 pm

This was my first Thanksgiving without my 21 year old son over. When he didn’t show up I call and he claims he had a sudden toothache and says he has to make a dental appointment. A flag goes up. I call the dental office to have them put in his record “drug addict, no pain killers”. The next day he tells his friend he has the flu. Another flag goes up. I call the doctor office to warn them about his addiction. They tell me it’s against the law to flag his chart. I then say so when he comes in, you prescribe him pain killers for some fictious disease he convinces you he has, he overdoses, dies and you can’t stop this. Their answer was yes. It’s in the Lord’s hands.

Ron Grover says:
November 30th, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Dear Jean,

I know your frustration. HIPPA and privacy laws have their place but I know the frustration of taking my son to the emergency room overdosed and being treated like a stranger off the street.

Maybe there were abuses in the past but it seems we have gone too far the other way now in privacy and treatment. The funny thing is after being told at a hospital that I had no say in his treatment, care or release, even though he was clearly currently high and they knew it; because he was 18 years old; the hospital tried to high pressure me into signing papers I would be finacially responsible for his bills. !!!!

Aaron's Mom says:
December 3rd, 2010 at 6:33 am

Mom of a Ninja Turtle also (the comment of in your mind seeing THAT Son.. is so true)
Frustrated.. Hurt ..Grieving.. Mother of a 26 year old Boy now.
I have been through it all. The denial of the ADD- ADHD -Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) ,, ect.. in early grammar school to the point of taking him out of public school and enrolling in Private working 2 jobs to afford that .. in 6th grade went back to public then the suspensions started .. getting caught smoking on campus .. therapy .., then ADD drugs which he hated and coming home from work on the “Mama Intuition” to find him skipping school and hold with buddies and pot smoke so thick when I walked in on them .. to putting him in treatment right then to later on at 17 getting in trouble with police .. writing letters to judges arguing with Public Defenders for Youthful offender vs adult .. to having him once again placed in treatment.. and he has been jail free since 18.He decided to move to TN and I was so happy and he seemed to be doing ok till he hooked up with this gal and he went back to his old ways .. he just moved backed to Fla last week and is at his dad’s .. I get a call tonight SOS from his dad. Things are missing from house .. he is skinny dark circles you know the signs. So here I am just looking for a little relief and a new idea to help ME save him… and I know it is not up to me but him.. I have now learned that enabling is only keeping him on drugs…paying for his phone so I could always be in touch blah blah

Hiding the money I send him from his step dad.. trying not to even talk to him on the phone in front of my husband because then we fight .. It just goes on and on. I am 53 years old and this is wearing me down..

Your comments and the 7 truths have helped so so much.
I put together an intervention plan before reading here and will probably still follow through with it but with a different mind set…. I am getting 3 of my closest girlfriends and these are women who have known him his whole life and he respects .. but after this intervention .. I am going to have let him go and that is why I am hurting so ..

Thank you for allowing me to vent and please forgive my grammar mistakes.

John says:
December 13th, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Thank you for this. We have been struggling through almost all 7 of your points. Our son turns 23 this coming Saturday, and chances are we will not see him or hear from him. We had to kick him out of our home last week, and the only thing we haven’t done is press charges for theft.

As hard as it is, we have accepted that only he can control his destiny.

The Oxycontin is more important to him at the moment than anything else.

Jean says:
December 13th, 2010 at 4:09 pm

In following the progress of my 21 year old drug using son after I threw him out of my home a few weeks ago, he has started abusing drugs during the week as well as the weekend. He has been in an opiate recovery suboxone aided program for three years and was terminated from it now because he has stopped going to his meetings and continues to abuse drugs. He has one month to wean off suboxone under doctor’s care. I see his future falling apart. His job he held for two years will soon be affected by his addiction and his stepmom wants to throw him out. Please God, help my son!

Bev says:
December 20th, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Thank you to all who shared. I hope my daughter is doing better but I find myself suspicious at every step. I am just angry at every turn, every mishap. I am not looking to for the any more. I needed the reminder to “seek evidence of not using”.

Peter says:
December 29th, 2010 at 11:43 pm

I don’t know where to begin but first a thank you is in order to everyone on this site, especially Ron. My 21 year old daughter, the apple of my eye, has chosen this destructive path (oxy). When the sledge hammer finally hit me over the head I got her under a doctors care and rehab (she agreed to both). I am taking this thing day by day. It’s been three weeks. I guess I wanted to vent and also throw out some questions to see if I am doing the right thing because I feel lost and empty.

My daughter attends a local college and got good grades this semester (saw ‘em myself on the internet). When she is home, which is a lot, she still sees friends (and new boyfriend) I know are bad for her and is hardly ever at home with the family. Do I try to stop this and if so, how? She asks for money sometimes (saying she is going to the movies, etc.). Do I give it to her or cut her off totally except for school expenses? So many questions.

Like many of you, my daughter stole a lot of money from us to support her habit among other things. Am I expecting too much at some point that she would show some remorse for putting us through such heartbreak? She has become very manipulative, always blaming us like she’s the victim.

I nodded my head in agreement reading Ron’s 7 truths but it’s probably obvious I need some guidance. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks again.

Jean says:
January 3rd, 2011 at 6:18 pm

New Years Eve approaching scared me this past year because my 22 year old prescription drug addicted son was getting paid that weekend. His father is in control of his money who he lives with. On New Years Eve I called my son and told him I loved him and not to do anything stupid. He claimed he was staying home with no plans. The following day I get a call from his stepmom screaming into the phone that my son was high that morning. I asked my son what he took and he said a couple of xanax, translated means about 12. I asked why and he responded because it was New Years. I told him you’re an addict, that’s not acceptable! A few days ago he had been driven home from his job he has held the past 2 years because he was “ill” which translated means high His boss asked him to come in to talk to him about the incident. It’s just a matter of time before his job is gone. His stepmom was raging over the phone that she can’t deal with my son’s drug addiction. Meanwhile his father is shutting himself behind closed doors and doesn’t want to deal with this. I told her to throw him out. It’s not her job to deal with his drug addiction. She was the one who originally got him addicted to drugs by the way. She could not throw him out just yet, but it’s getting closer. I continue to pray to God for my son to survive his drug addiction and told him he needs to go to AA meetings. His response, “I’ll think about it.” which translated means NOT. Arrgh!

Ron Grover says:
January 3rd, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Dear Peter,

You have ask a lot of good questions and I hope I can do justice to your questions by relating some of my experience and opinions.

First one that stands out, do not give an addict money, gift cards, gifts or anything else that can be used to buy, trade or barter for drugs. Do not allow the $10 you give your addict for the movies or school expenses be the $10 that kills her. Even money for school expenses will be used for drugs. The question/analogy I use is this: if your child was playing Russian Roulette would you load the gun and hand it to them?

My son stole thousand’s of dollars from us and family members, not including what he has stolen from stores. At this time my son is in recovery. Has not used for over 6 months. Right now he is in jail but went in 3 months clean and vows that is how he is going to live his life. His sister was very angry about his addiction and stealing from us and her. She wanted nothing to do with her brother until he confessed and apologized. Here is what I told her.

Your brother has done some terrible things to all of us. It is OK for you to feel however you feel but let me tell you how I see things. Your brother stole from us all, he knows that and right now he is doing everything he can do just to battle the addiction in this early time of recovery. I cannot imagine being in his shoes and looking into a mirror. I believe every time he looks into a mirror he sees himself and can see deeper inside than we can imagine. I would not be able to look at that image very long. As far as remorse or a apology, he can’t give what he hasn’t got. I don’t believe he is there yet. He can’t reconcile all of this, the battle within himself about addiction is too intense. I told her she has to take what she has inside and live her life with what she see’s in the mirror, you cannot change your brother’s image in that mirror. You have to accept what is right now and not expect something that is not there.

Later that week she called her brother and invited him to his niece’s 2nd year birthday party at her house.

Peter, I am glad you found help in my 7 Truths article. I don’t want to be too presumptuous but I’d like you to read a couple other articles I have written for Intervene. One about Boundaries and another about living in the world of What Is vs What Ought To Be.

Please feel free to visit our personal blog too:

Ron Grover

Peter says:
January 10th, 2011 at 3:57 am


Thanks for your reply. It was very helpful. I also read your articles as well as “Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You” which was excellent. My daughter just completed day 30 of rehab and I look forward to day 31 but not beyond. Everything she needs to attend school I prepay as well as her commuter tickets so she receives no cash for anything as you suggested. She has not asked for money in three weeks and this has been done without a single argument. I don’t expect an apology anytime soon and I am not going to let that bother me. She is living at home while she goes to rehab. The boundries are she is in our home after rehab 3 nights per week. No argument so far. She also knows as far as school and recovery, the ball is in her court. I don’t expect things to go this well but I do feel a little more in control of things. I’ll keep tuning in.

Cindy says:
January 12th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

I have been struggling with this same situation with my 22 year old son…for the past 10 years. Your article helped immensely!

Mike says:
January 20th, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I’m a 30yo recovering addict. At 19 years old I lost everything and it wasn’t till my parents learned these 7 things till I could really start my path to recovery. I did and was clean for 8 years. I was injured in Afghanistan two years ago and to make a long story short was pit on pain meds that put me down that dark road again that now I can’t seem to get out. It’s amazing that even with my understanding of all this, my past, these seven things, me being a parent now as well I can’t recover. These seven things Ron wrote are so true. The biggest being the addict is a liar. I have to lie everyday, all day. At work, to my wife, my parents. It’s amzing that I’m losing everything I love but still I can’t stop. If it wasn’t for my kids I’d probabably end it all which scares me I think that way.

Ron Grover says:
January 20th, 2011 at 2:19 pm


Mike, despite today and how you feel you are an amazing success story. You see the truth, you know the truth. What you have done in the past speaks to your character, a relapse does not destroy you. A relapse is what it is and you do have the strength to this banish the monster one more time.

You are so right, addiction is nothing more than a pack of lies. The drug is lying to you, you are lying to yourself, you are lying to everyone. You have taken the biggest step, you told the truth to yourself. Now it is time to muster the courage to tell those you love and allow them to help you.

Something very difficult as a parent of an addict I had to learn was that I needed my son’s permission to help him. Unsolicited help never worked. Take the step and grant someone close to you permission to help you.

You cannot do this alone, as you know. Summon the strength from deep inside and reach out your hand for help. I am sure you have loved ones that want to hear you ask and you know cannot do this alone.

Seek out a meeting, a friend, a sponsor, a counselor, a pastor, a doctor or anyone that can help you get what you need. There is no tomorrow, there is only today.

Ron Grover

Mike says:
January 20th, 2011 at 4:53 pm

The reason I wrote this is because I think parents need to understand one thing if none other. Every word out of an addicts mouth is a lie. That’s the hardest for a parent to really grasp because they want to believe with all their heart. The addict lives in the now, right now. Say anything and do anything to get through this moment with no thought of the future. They will swear on lives, cry to show their sincerity which in a sick disturbing way is real because they start to believe their lies. I have fallen back into this lifestyle and hate the person I see in the mirror now. How do I feel this way and understand these things but yet still can not stop. I hope this helps parents understand alittle more what they are dealing with. Very few addicts have an understanding of addiction like I do which makes their situation even harder. They are like a plane flying with no pilot, it will crash eventually. The difference is I know it will.

Terri Athey says:
January 28th, 2011 at 1:02 am

I am trying so hard to grasp and believe those 7 truths. My 33 yr. old son was diagnosed with bipolar 3 yrs. ago, but beyond that he is addicted to Marijuana. He cannot handle being without it. He is verbally and mentally abusive to his wife and 3 children. I have tried so hard and felt so bad that I can’t find some help for him. He doesn’t work and his wife is ready to leave him and I’m scared about what he will do. It is so very hard for me to not feel like I HAVE to do something about this. I HAVE to find someway to help him and make things okay for him. Whenever I allow myself to feel that I can’t do it for him I feel scared and that I’m letting him down. My husband is an Alcoholic and I am able to let go of his disease but with my son it is so much harder. I feel so responsible and worried for his children as well.. thanks for the chance to share here and for the truths that I am trying to believe….

ludpatti says:
January 31st, 2011 at 4:56 am

I am HERE NOW!…enabled..did not want to belive…saw the signs, passed them over!..
He has 2 degrees..had a great fired. Not for drugs….but i believe issues behind them. It wasn’t until he came home..and stole from us..virtually Any and All we had to fall back on. It broke my heart, but woke me up. He is now in rehab….his first and I continue to PRAY..I know..knew then..I couldn’t help..he was his only savior! My father was an alcholic…he quit when he developed cancer of the larynx…lived a good life after..and was changed forever..I saw him through his last days…AHMEN.

Jean says:
January 31st, 2011 at 3:01 pm

My 22 year old drug addicted son was let go from his job he held for the past two years. His delusions told him his boss couldn’t tell he started using during the week, as well as on the weekend. He smiled as he said “Now I can get unemployment and maybe go to school full-time” later”. “Later” translated unfortunately means “probably never”. I suggested he go talk to a school counselor, but he’s too busy playing video games. He claims he’s been clean for the past month. I don’t believe it. His step mom is now getting disability and his father hasn’t worked in ten years. They live in a trailer and seem to be content with having no goals in life. I don’t get it.

Susan says:
February 3rd, 2011 at 12:54 am

Just found out son is addicted to heroin, I lost him years ago and now realize that was the issue. He has blamed me for all problems and I believed it…Now wants to go into therapy but still wont tell me he is addicted or using just wants money. We want to do an intervention So lost, he is so strange to me, thanks for listening

Angie Stidham says:
February 6th, 2011 at 10:06 pm

I am at the end. All things above are true. I have researched, begged, and pleaded for help and him to help himself. He is now in another stress center and says I am to blame, he hates me, and this is all my fault. Told me I would be sorry, because he has lost his kids and will commit suicide as soon as he is released. How am I suppose to deal with this and the possible outcome??? Do not know where to turn anymore, lost his Dad three years ago to cancer,and the rest of the family, I know, are tired of the same thing over and over. May God help and guide us.

Dixie says:
February 14th, 2011 at 10:26 pm

It feels good to know I am not alone, but the heartache doesn’t seem to end. I pretty much have the same story as everyone and it’s going to be very hard to “let him go”. I just keep thinking about my daughter and how wonderful she is doing. It’s amazing that you can raise 2 kids exactly the same and have them be exact opposites. I want parents opinions on if they think in patient rehab helps more than outpatient? Also, just hearing peoples suggestions helps too.

Eileen says:
February 16th, 2011 at 1:22 am


I agree with your sentiments, I have 4 children now all adults that were raised by the same 2 parents. How very different they are.
My oldest is a drug addict, the other 3 are not(thank God).
He was at an in patient rehab for 80 days and came out healthy and strong(so I thought) returned home to his wife and 2 children. His wife had been hiding her romance with pills, (oxycontins, roxys) etc. and so my son thought he could help her(what do they tell you in rehab ? you cannot fix another person -ask for help)and wound up on pills again.

The in patient was good, removed him from the people(?) places and things and gave his body and mind some clean time to heal. But I don’t think he really GOT IT !

Ultimately I think it boils down to their intentions and sincerity. Unfortunately my sons intentions are good but
twisted and we are back to square one ” I can do this myself, I do not need any help”.

So I pray/hope and try to keep myself together for the rest of the functioning family. My best to you.

LVC says:
February 26th, 2011 at 10:15 am

I pray for all you that have gone through this hell on earth. We have been living like this as well for nearly five years of addiction with our teenager.

It has finally taken it’s toll on our marriage, the drug addict stays in our home. I have been told by my wife to move out because I cannot get along with our drug addict.

A 25 year marriage down the drain because of a drug addict still living in our home.

Sue says:
February 27th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Hearing your child say they will kill themselves is devastating and can bring on a tremendous amount of guilt. I sincerely hope your son doesn’t do that, as it will affect so many lives in a terrible way. Keep in mind, though, that you have no control over what he chooses to do; ultimately, all the choices are his. Don’t accept the guilt – if the choices were yours to make, he wouldn’t be on this path. I’m only a year into this and am still struggling with feeling helpless and accepting that I can’t talk my son into making rational decisions, as the drugs make him irrational. In his mind, he is rational, and I’m not. The best thing you can do is try to keep yourself healthy and mentally strong so you can still function. I pray that you and your family will win this battle. God bless.

Mary Voltirakis says:
February 28th, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Thank you all for sharing this. I am a single mother of a 9 year old girl, and have been dating for 6 months a single dad of a 21 year old girl. He just recently got past his guilt and pain, and told me his daughter has been an addict since her mother, his ex wife, left them – she was 15 at the time. He said he wouldn’t want my little girl exposed to his, and asked me to break up. I know he may be right, I would definitely not want to have my girl get into trouble, but his girl is yet in another rehab program, she will be back home in 3 months and I am wondering. is he right that we should not date anymore, to protect my child? We care for each other so much, can this work? Any feedback on how to support him, would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all and good luck in your struggle!

Clare says:
March 4th, 2011 at 9:29 pm

My son is in the hospital right now. We all came to the hospital including his recent ex girl friend who he now thinks he has back. I want to tell him he can’t come back home unless he goes to a treatment center. My husband does not understand my feelings and thinks we should not turn our backs on him. That is not what i am trying to do. I am trying to have my life back as i can’t live this way any longer. I was the one who found him and has been there for years seeing this up front and personal. My husband works a lot and doesn’t see it all or just doesn’t look. Am i a bad mother for kicking him out or wanting to kick him out? Please advise. Thank you.

Ron Grover says:
March 4th, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Dear Clare,

You are doing the right thing. The easy thing and what would feel best to you would be bring him home and hug him until he knew he was loved. But, it doesn’t work that way.

When you say he needs treatment you are right. That is what true love for your son really looks like. Sometimes others can do more for our children than we ever could. Your son suffers from a disease that you cannot cure but you can make it worse by not allowing him to be treated for his disease.

Sometimes I find it so hard to understand, and yes I have been in this spot too, that we love our addicted children so much that we deny them the treatment they need because they have become so fragile. Set your boundaries and know that what you do is best for your son and support him going for treatment and don’t make it easy for him to avoid the hard by providing the escape route.

Best wishes for you, your son and your family.

Ron Grover

GiGi says:
March 9th, 2011 at 6:01 pm

We just found out our 18 year old daughter is addicted to Percoset. We put her in a rehab facility only to get a phone calls 3 days later that she was being too defiant and they discharged her. I was devastated, thinking what do we do now? The facility suggested that she go to and try to find a doctor that can help her. It is all so expensive. She has missed so much school and this is her last year of high school. She has been getting Suboxone from “friends” that are on the treatment plan so that she does not go through withdrawals. What do I do now?

Ron Grover says:
March 11th, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Dear Gigi,

I understand completely the frustration. You want to do anything you can to help and your daughter doesn’t cooperate and then it is all so much money. “If only I knew what to do!”

It’s not an easy path you or your daughter. We tried outpatient rehab for our son and that wound up being a joke to him when he was 17. By the age of 18 we had him in his first inpatient rehab and after 4 days he was tossed because he had his “buddies” bring him oxycontin to the rehab. Got him transferred to another rehab and he spent 30 days and insurance paid for about half the cost and I wrote a $6000 check to them and when he was released he was using again before the check cleared the bank. (using within 4 days) Long story short in another year he went through another rehab and stayed clean for a few months and relapsed.

He is now 22 and has been clean since last Sept.

I am not telling you this to discourage you. The reason I am sharing this is because sometimes we put unrealistic expectations on our addicted children because we do not always understand the addiction of our children.

You commented on this 7 Truths essay I wrote. Gigi, it not just a catchy title I used when I said, “that took 5 years to learn.” It really did take me 5 years to learn and internalize what I wrote. In your situation, read truths 1 & 2 again. That doesn’t mean give up, that means understand what you can control and what you can’t. Don’t get frustrated with your limits, they just are what they are.

There is a ton of good info and authors that have written about this very experience. I also suggest you explore. Here is a link to the essays I have written for The Partnership. Read about Boundaries, What Is vs What Ought To Be, Hitting Bottom, Rescuing and Lifeboats. Unfortunately each of these essays I have written was born out of a tremendous amount of personal pain but I hope they help you avoid some of the pain we suffered.

In addition, feel free to visit our personal blog about parenting and addict. You can find it here: There are links there to many other parents in all stages of dealing with addicted children.

Good luck Gigi and never be afraid to write anytime.

Ron Grover

Elizabeth says:
March 14th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I am 62 years old. My addict son is 36 with hepatitis C.He allmost made it to the doctor’s office for treatment. Then gave up. He has served time in prison. He has been in rehab a few times. He is currently on Methadone program and is now being evicted from his apartment. On Valentine’s Day, his girlfriend of 4 years (whom he was living with) passed away from a drug overdose.
My son is currently using prescription pills with the methadone.
I cannot help him. I’ve tried so many times before and failed. He contacts me everyday high or straight. I get so upset when he’s high. I cannot contain my anger towards him. Then I apologize. He apologizes.
I expect him to be by my door on the day he is evicted. He has no plan. He can’t live with me. Oh, how I want to take him back, but I know it won’t work. I am getting sick because of this. My husband tells me like it is. He will never change, he says. But this is MY SON. Help.

Ron Grover says:
March 15th, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I am so sorry for your heartache. It is so hard when what we see is so simple, all they have to do is quit. So simple and so impossible at times.

There is nothing you can do to fix him. You know this but it is so hard to see that fact after all He is “MY SON”. I know that so well. I have said it and felt it too but at some point my experience said what I was doing was not working for me.

There is no one that can fix your son but your son. What are you doing to fix yourself? What your husband says, “he will never change.” That may be true but it may be that he is not ready to change. Let me ask you one question. If your son came to you today and told you it was over and please help me stop. Would you know what to do or would you do the same thing you have always done in the past?

Where there is life there is hope. That statement is more encompassing than it reads on the first take. Look around yourself, do you see life?

The last word in your post, “Help”. Elizabeth, help yourself first then you can become a more effective helper for your son. I know from personal experience, fighting, screaming, arguing and apologizing gets everyone no place. Good boundaries, honest communication and recognizing the real world of “what is” helps you. In truth the only person you can really help is yourself.

Elizabeth says:
March 16th, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Thanks for answering me.

I never thought that my son could just quit drugs. I know that he has to go through a process of detox, rehab, then the hard part comes. I know that he has to want the help; not just cause he’s being evicted!
The help that I need is how do I not feel guilty for not allowing him to stay in my home?
Just as I thought, he has begun to talk about how he’d like to stay here until he gets a bed from rehab. He didn’t even call detox or rehab yet, so clearly he is manipulating me into letting him stay here for however long it takes for me to throw him out. Been there, done that.
The history here is so long, I could write a book. I am tired. I’m not one that is a happy person to begin with. I want to run and I don’t know where to go.

confused says:
March 22nd, 2011 at 1:25 am

My stepson admitted that he had a problem with drugs after we confronted him with a warrant of apprehension based on what his friends had told us, and his typical textbook behaviors; distancing himself from his family, no longer able to hold a job, not keeping up with his personal hygiene. He claimed that his addiction was for cocaine. We moved him back home, he started going to treatment, and after 2 weeks, we caught him having his drug dealer friend in our house..confrontation resulted in him leaving to live with his a new girlfriend. He came by for an hour at christmas, and then we had not heard from or seen him for 3 months. Mid March he calls to wish his father a happy birthday, and 3 days later he says that his girlfriend is pregnant. My husband went to talk to him,and he says that he wants his family back. Although hearing from others that he was blowing percocet and morphine up his nose, he is claiming that he had an issue with cocaine, but that is it, and he never had an addiction. He says that the only thing he does now is smoke some pot, and he just wants his family back. when asked about other drugs he denied, and when the percs and morphine were brought up, he admitted it, but then said it was only a couple of times. How do we handle this. I want to be there for him, but at the same time a baby doesn’t wipe the slate clean. If we buy into his story, are we just enabling? He has never stole from us, but his distance, anger, lies and blame game all points to drugs. I’m so confused…if he never had an addiction, he would have never admitted it in the first place right? I’m actually wondering if his “cocaine” addiction was something more? Help!!

Jean says:
March 29th, 2011 at 7:44 pm

I got a call from my 22 year old’s stepmom telling me my son signed a contract with her stating he would leave her home if he were still using. He used again and she said she asked him to leave and he wouldn’t. I told her to call the police but she thought if she choked him, it would bring him to his senses. Not! Violence solves nothing. She asked where his drug rehab facility was located and I told her you cannot force him to go. He was thrown out of rehab for violation of using recently. He is not ready to quit using and if you continue to allow him to break your rules, he will continue using. She still wants to be “good stepmommy” like I wanted to continue to be “good mommy” until I realized he wouldn’t stop using so I told him to leave. I love him and miss him but I will not tolerate drug use. I continue my nightly prayers for him.

Lori L. says:
March 30th, 2011 at 10:54 pm

My son is 19 1/2 and is living on a college campus. He failed his first semester and is on academic probation. I moved to Washington to live with my fiance (after I moved my son to SJSU in California, where we had lived together for the last few years). I promised to pay for the 4 years of college but things have changed and now he is using pot. He was arrested for possesion with intent to sell and we are awaiting arraingnment, the DA has not filed and says that they found more evidence. We dont know what it is. At the end of May, he will be kicked out of school and out on the street. I offered for him to move to Washington and get clean and start over, he does not want to, he wants to get an apartment and live in California. I can’t let go, I stopped sending cash and paying for things, then he asked for computer program to work on some music and he wanted it for pot – he conned my mother out of money too. He’s lying, getting parking tickets, in debt, the list goes on and on. He begs me and tells me Im a bad mom because he is going to get beat up or hurt if he does not pay his debts off…what do I do?

Patti Herndon says:
April 18th, 2011 at 12:24 am

As parents we need to guard our perspective. We are responsible/accountable in being the gatekeepers of our own perspective. When we have a son or a daughter that has a substance use disorder, then it’s especially imperative that we develop, and “own”, our perspectives, successes and failures.

We should never hand over our perspective out of desperation in a moment, or because we are struggling with anger and resentment about our kid’s choices…You know what I’m talkin’ about…that “what they’ve done to us”, stinkin’ thinkin’…You’ll drown in that misery after some amount of rise in that tide…but hey as long as you stuck to your principles, right? It’s unproductive. Period.

We are individually accountable for coming up with those strategies that will serve us in problem solving for our own particular circumstances. My prayer, my hope is that we all seek out and acquire those truly-supportive sources that ignite our sense of belief and our hope and our problem solving skill set. We all have this ability. But that fire can sure be suffocated by negativity and “CANT’s”. NO one was ever support to authentic change by being condemned or criticized…No parent, no addicted son or daughter.

It helps when we have sources for support – peer to peer, clinical, faith-based, etc- that utilize the balance-giving, healing intelligence in logic/love, reason and hope through healthy, momentum-serving connection. Connections/helps offered in a spirit of non-judgmental collaboration in problem solving -Support resources that don’t preach at us and tell us how we should think and feel and react…That we are “this” and we are “that”…And if you do or think “this” then that means you’re ___ and that just must be some kind of proof that you’re ___.

What serves problem solving is current evidence-supporting language, and resources that build individual and collective confidence and BELIEF onto “actual” prep and planning-Strategies that are adaptable and flexible and consistent. Yes. Those things “can” exist together…and they should.

Do ya wanna’ be right or do ya wanna’ help? A question we all need to answer individually. That being “right” thing -We struggle with that as parents…as people ;0). Our pride *whew*. So often in our parenting of an addicted son or daughter, we mistakenly think that standing firm, not budging, is the way to go 100% of the time. Standing firm on a premise that is not productive to hope and belief and problem solving won’t move anything anywhere. In fact, that kind of perspective acts more like an anchor.

Hearts that bend don’t break. Responsibly applied appropriate flexibility is key. That kind of thinking ”because I said so”, and “that’s what so and so said I should do because they said I was ___ and ___ etc.,” isn’t going to help you figure out what it is you need to do 100% of the time ;0) You gotta’ get smart about when and where to utilize the “I’m not budging” response or it could prove very unproductive and spirit crushing…

In order to create change you have to change something. That means everyone involved in addiction. And that, by the by, is ALL of us because it impacts all of us.

Being “right” because you’re scared and frustrated is not going to serve as much as being an educated, empowered advocate, interacting as a parent, in ways that serves to develop ours/our sons/daughters innate ability to problem solve for the individual situation and well as a collective.

We “can” move from where we are to where we want to be in our life -better health, better-healthier relationships with our family members…better lived moment’s, better-healthier communities – one step at a time. We can work on, and get better and better at, discovering that life-building, life-changing potential that is the blessing and gift of humanity -The very thing that makes us “human”. “That” is where our empowerment lives and breathes. Not in the “you did this, so that makes you “that”… and you better do this, and think this, or else that will make you guilty of “this”. Enough of that manipulative nonsense.

Learn, change, grow. That’s were it is. Families, individuals, community… POTENTIAL.

Asking interrogative questions (questions that demand a factual answer) is our responsibility as parents, no matter what the nature of the crisis or challenge we face with our sons and daughters -This is especially true when advocating for our substance use disordered son or daughter.

When we are feeling desperate and overwhelmed we are vulnerable to becoming dependent on other’s philosophies and advisements and we can forget to apply our own intuition/inner voice of wisdom in applying those advisements. Being dependent is not helpful. Being creative, tuned in, and independent, is. That doesn’t mean that you’re “forsaking” a collective philosophy. It means you’re utilizing the philosophy, and its, part’s responsibly. As you’re doing this you are also impacting the evolution of philosophies in need of adopting change in order to make it more productive to the most people. Philosophies/advisements in part or in whole may be, can be, or may not be appropriate, or a good match, for our particular circumstances. So we need to be alert/aware as parents, as advocates, clinicians etc…

The true nature of problem solving and gaining forward momentum (change), toward better health, well being and healthier relationships, and in moving forward from where it is we don’t want to be to be to where we hope to be, is only discovered when “we” figure it out for ourselves.

In taking onboard and utilizing nonjudgmental, hope-inspiring, evidence-based sources (and there is more than one philosophy/source for help, I promise you ;0) then, that change we are seeking will begin to become a reality. The road illuminated…the one that gets us to where we are heading.

If we’re choosing to see things negatively because we have not taken accountability for our own anger and resentments about our perceived lack of control over someone else’s choices, and we are using that to support our reasons for “not budging”…. then guess what kind of individual and collective momentum will be achieved?

The litmus test for discerning whether advisements/philosophies are about helping/supporting “you” discover what it is that you might do that will best serve momentum is just simply look at the language, the advisement, or philosophy it is offered in -What spirit/energy the advisement espouses. Is it phrased negatively and critically? Does it repeat words like “can’t”? Does it seem to cast another person in a negative light all in the name of “honesty” with self? These are potential red flags that you might want to pay attention to.

No one ever has or ever will make healthy, authentic, sustainable change by perceiving themselves judged, labeled, blamed, or in being manipulated by an individual, collective or collective philosophy into feeling guilty and ineffective….No matter what we might tell ourselves, this does not, will not, ever provide momentum. Before change can give us momentum we have to come to terms with ourselves and those things we have chosen that have contributed to the circumstances, whatever they may be, that we find ourselves in. That takes a lot of honest “self” work. Are we willing or not? Is the intent to control, or is it to inspire onto discovery of innate hope and belief and problem-solving skill set?

If you believe it when someone tells you you’re an enabler…then you’ll perceive yourself as such. What is the focus in that scenario? Answer? “self weakness” instead of “self potential”. Where did the energy go? Answer? Down the drain. If you believe your daughter is a liar, then, you will focus on lies rather than on solutions that are available to you in healing the relationship/circumstances. If you believe you cannot ____, then, quite simply, you won’t.

You might want to think about what you say or what you perceive, or espouse, about your loved ones’ intent that you know good and well would serve to, first and foremost, steal away their belief in what they “can” change. It’s not a good thing…for anyone.

The goal is to develop your own strategies with the help of merit-able support frames (there are multiple ones) based on what “is” within your “control”. There is so much that you CAN impact. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Don’t get hung up on that word control, either. It will have you chasing your tail, only to catch it…then what?

We need to be accountable for the individual work of raising our own awareness. That takes as much work, if not more, on the part of us, as parents, as it does for the addiction-challenged son/daughter/family member.

We are accountable to our kids in their addiction journey, just as we are accountable for our own journey. The words and phrases we “adopt” and consciously, or unconsciously, choose to use in our communications as well as pass onto others, transforms into energy. This energy, negative or positive, impacts perspective, and it then impacts actions… or inaction, for better or for worse. It has an insidious ripple effect…for better or worse. How are you going to choose to travel? It’s a journey. Learn, hope, change, GET GROWING!

Cory and Shawn Leonardo…you both are an example of a new generation of humanity (thank God!), that demands that we, as parents, listen, reflect, and respond proactively, compassionately, and effectively. Ever consider the field of addiction counseling/research in your life’s career choices? ? We could sure use your insight; honesty and ability to move us as parents from the dark ages, into the light. Thank you for your comments here. Your comments are oh so relevant and speak to a problem that my generation, and those before, are “mostly” not ready to look at – our pride gets in our way.

“Our children are not failed attempts at being us.” – Thank you, Paula, for your insight and inspiration.

Addiction is the journey. Recovery is the destination.

dennis says:
April 22nd, 2011 at 9:58 am

I am a catholic husband and father for the last 28 years and have six children. My second oldest boy is 24 years old this year and has been on drugs since 9th grad. Why is it that I dislike my wife for telling me that i need to do tough love and ask our son to leave if he does not get help? why is it that i believe every word he feeds me? why is it?

Ron Grover says:
April 22nd, 2011 at 12:26 pm


You ask, “why is it that I believe every word he feeds me? why is it?”

Fairly simple answer to that question but it is very difficult to internal the application. The answer is you are accepting your son based upon the values to taught him as you raised him. You taught him that lying was wrong. You are imposing your values upon your son. Your son does not operate on those values. Addiction controls his values. Addiction does not recognize that lying is wrong.

Look again at Truth #3.

Leslie says:
April 22nd, 2011 at 2:50 pm

My daughter is 36 and has been doing drugs for at least 10 years, that I know of. Her husband was abusive, verbally and emotionally, and used drugs to keep her under control. I never in my life would think that anyone could control my daughter in such a way. Her personality was not passive when she was younger. It took me a very long time to come to terms with the fact that she is a drug addict. When things fell apart, they lost their apartment which we paid to get them into, gave them furniture (and I know you all are thinking enabler, yes, but we needed to get them OUT of our house), they squatted at my son’s house, they stole things, the usual drug addict life. As a result, he lost his house as he was just going to put it on the market to sell. They would not leave. I took the kids, there were two at the time, who had missed over 30 days of school. She finally left the husband but then jumped right in with his dealer! Of course, I didn’t really know this guy, just heard rumors. Well, those rumors turned out to be true. They moved into an apartment and partied. He sold his drugs. His mama is very enabling, refused to see that he has a huge problem. He doesn’t work, goes to school so I guess that’s okay then. My daughter in the meantime had two OUIs, came to our house on the holidays and it was very obvious that she was high. I made a decision that I was not going to sit back and take it anymore. I confronted her and of course I got the usual denial, anger, etc. She figured that she/they can fool his mother why not me? She ended up in jail for four months. I had custody of her kids. When she was released, she used again, just not as obvious around me, got pregnant! During her pregnancy, she was monitored on Suboxone and I finally began to see my daughter again. I was so happy to have her back. She gave birth to a beautiful boy but he was monitored due to the drugs. He is fine by the way. She got custody of her daughter back too. I still have her son who is 15. Now, I’m seeing things I don’t like…again. Her boyfriend spent two months it jail for violating his probation. He has a suspended license but still drives. Still dealing. Mommy thinks he was in jail for smoking pot. She is in major denial. Things have been going back and forth for months. I have told her I refuse to watch her do down this path again and I refuse to take her kids in again! Done! BTW, drugs of choice, heroin, xanax when she can get it. He wasn’t out of jail 24 hours before he was using again and was sick as a result. To make a long story short, which may be too late, I do not believe anything they say. I am not nor ever was confident in her talk of not using drugs. She has never gotten any kind of help at all and makes no attempt to. In fact, she told me that I/and hubby should go to NA meetings because we have no idea what it’s like and that I should do my research before I make comments! I exploded! I have done more research that she could possible believe! I know more that she thinks I know. Again, I do not believe them for a nanosecond. I won’t believe them until I see some sort of attempt at meetings or whatever to show that she’s trying to clean up her act. My heart goes out to all of these parents who want so badly to believe their kids, but you just have to have that little bit of doubt in your head. Otherwise, you end up getting hurt over and over and can’t figure out what you did to make this happen. I didn’t do anything to make this happen. I tried to think that way, but seriously, she had a good life. Maybe it was too good. IDK. Her husband, father of my grandkids, he’s got issues besides being a drug addict and that’s a whole different and long story. I have my grandson who is seriously depressed because he wants to live with his mom but there’s no room. He takes a back seat to everyone and everything as far as they are concerned but he doesn’t say anything so they think he’s okay. I know better. I try hard to show him that I care. I guess I’m trying to say that if you are afraid they area going to be mad at you, yes they probably will be. It must be frightening to think of a life without their drugs. What I find with my daughter is that yes she gets very mad at me, but she knows deep down that I’m right. She doesn’t ever stay mad at me for long either. She needs to see that her life as it is, is not a good one. They live with his mother, he doesn’t work, they don’t have room for her kids. She wants money to get her own place, but I’m not giving her a dime. She makes promises that never come true, learned that the hard way too. Just don’t give up. Do your research. Drug addicts lie. Plain and simple. Sorry this is so long. Got a lot to say I guess.

Leslie says:
April 22nd, 2011 at 3:54 pm

This may not be the forum for this question, but what do you all think of legalizing drugs?

Patti Herndon says:
April 25th, 2011 at 12:33 am

One, short answer: It happens, Dennis. It’s to be expected, even. There are other answers…And you will get different ones from different people.

What you describe above happens to pretty much all of us in one form or another, along the way. It takes working through….those feelings of resentment.

I encourage you to think about the goal of formulating your own answers, with the help of education about addiction, all it’s factors -Biological, psychological sociological. There are so many learning resources available to us in this quest.

Most addictions experts agree that it is not one thing that leads to a substance use disorder. When we understand ourselves better, and our loved ones -the things that might be contributing to ours, and their reactions, perspectives and choices; then we gain something new maybe that we didnt have before…something we can utilize as we make our way to better lived moments.

It can be of immeasurable help to learn about the science of addiction -the “family science”, in particular, for the circumstances you bring up in your comment; but also the brain science. As you do this you will also begin to understand your own feelings and have better insight to the relational dynamic with your family members. This will serve your sense of peace and empowerment.

Family therapy is very helpful. When we can arrange the details to accommodate this kind of support it can make a big difference in all our “held” feelings. We could not always afford this kind of help in our journey…but then I realized at some point in the fifteen years, that we couldnt afford not to have this kind of help. We just did the best we could with finding budget as we could…Funny…When we decided how critical it was to our particualr journey, somehow we always seemed to get some amount in. It helped the family. It helped build healthier realtionships within the family. It helped…a lot. A good therapist can help tremendously – help to find the inspiration, courage and openness to “peel the onion”.

Addiction is beyond difficult and there are NO easy answers. We must find our answers by continuing to seek out sources for help and support until we feel like “we’re there”. Sometimes we think we are there…then we find that we are not really. So then we gear up and seek and learn some more…and we don’t ever give up on ourselves or our loved ones.

We do what it is we have in our power to do at the time…Then, we add more onto that as we learn more what helps us. We work hard at staying hope-filled. We choose to engage hope and more learning rather than blame and anger and attempts to control.

We probably won’t feel hope-filled at every turn. Sometimes we will have to sift through many feelings to find even a shred of it. Building hope and energy for the journey is a process. Three steps forward, two steps back. But that math has us on course, moving forward. Forward is good.


I encourage you to read the Intervene blog provided in the link below. This blog served to add oh so much momentum to my own journey right when I needed it.

It is informative, encouraging, logical, and straight forward about the family-related realities associated with addiction. It focuses on the “cans” within our grasp, rather than blame and the “you should do ___”. You should think ___”. That approach won’t serve us in truly learning for ourselves what will best serve ourself and our addicted loved one.

Reading it twice is recommended.

Addiction is the journey. Recovery is the destination.

Ron Grover says:
April 28th, 2011 at 12:18 pm


Your question about legalization of drugs needs to be addressed but I am not the authority but I’ll give you my opinion.

Right up front, I am against legalization of drugs.

The war on drugs appears to be a never ending battle. We are making no headway to ending illegal drug use in this country. In fact many may have the opinion that not only is our war on drugs is not only ineffective but in reality we are losing.

The answer to winning a war that you are currently losing is to change the strategy and tactics. Overall the majority of money allocated to the war on drugs goes into law enforcement and we see the results today. That doesn’t mean we should stop funding law enforcement in their efforts to eradicate drugs but what is working when we arrest addicts when they are released with no treatment, they immediately begin using and breaking laws in using their drugs and stealing too obtain drugs.

It is time we as a nation, because it really is a national security problem, pay for and devote more resources to treatment and research of addiction. Without working on the root cause we will forever be chasing the tail of this dragon and it cannot be slain in this manner.

As long as we are doing the same thing we have always done and getting the same miserable results people will continue to look for the lazy and easy answer of legalization. That makes it an individual problem and not a law enforcement problem but we have solved nothing with legalization. An addict is an addict no matter if their drug of choice is legal or illegal.

The big issue with addiction is that right now it is viewed as a law enforcement issue when in reality it is a health issue.

Stephen C. says:
May 2nd, 2011 at 6:32 am

This is very interesting to read, especially because I am a 21 year old who struggles with alcohol and substance abuse. I’ve used marijuana, cocaine, and pescription medications, and although I have not been caught by law enforcement, this does not mean that it couldnot be a reality I would have to face in the not too distant future, because even for as smart as I like to think I am, I cannot overcome human error. No one can for that matter). But I know this is not who I am, this isn’t how my parents raised me, and I know it hurts them tremendously, especially with how soon its been since I’ve been able to admit to them as well as myself that I have a problem. I’ve let my spending and useage get out of control to the point where its affecting my job and financial responsibilities. In the grand scope of things, I’ve only been using marijuana for 2 years and more serious drugs for about 1 so its not something I’ve struggled with for a long time, but I see how quickly I can destroy everything I’ve worked for thus far without thinking twice of the long term reprocussions. The hardest part for me coming forward was to see my mom struggle to find answers and understanding, and kept repeating over and over, “I don’t know what to do, I just don’t know what to do.” And that killed me because she’s always been the one with the answers but I told her she doesn’t have to know what to do, I just needed her to listen. But I also wanted to see how other parents have reacted to their children struggling with this issue, and it brought me to tears to see this page, and to be able to relate to what these facts revealed in my life, but it was also comforting to see parents that haven’t turned their backs on their children and have helped them through what I can relate to as the most dificult time in their lives, because honestly I don’t know what I would do without them, and it would kill me to see their backs turn on me, even though I wouldn’t be able to blame them if they did. I appreciate the thoughts and efferts that went into parental support and will definately be recommending this page to my parents. I may not be proud of the decisions i’ve made, but as a whole I know my problems aren’t what have defined me as a person and I would be proud to know I could provde them with an outreach because I know the toll it has taken. I haven’t looked into any programs or counseling yet, but I am motivated and willing to change not just for me, but for the people who love me and want to see me succeed.

Ron Grover says:
May 2nd, 2011 at 1:52 pm


My advice to you is to seek help today. Look for a rehab, seek out a NA meeting or do whatever you need to do. There is no use in going down your current path any longer than you have too.

As far as how your parents deal with this and cope; read this essay I wrote about what it is like being the parent of an addict.

Ron grover

Carol says:
May 2nd, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Stephen, Thank you for your honesty. My daughter is I believe addicted to drugs and her life has gone downhill very rapidly in the past 2 years. She is in trouble with the law, most recently for theft which I believe was prompted by her need for cash to support her habit. My husband and I have cut her off financially, telling her we support her and wish her the best in life but can no longer give her money, bail her out, etc. if she wishes to continue living where she is – a bad environment with “friends” around constantly who we believe are also addicts – and doing the things she’s doing like lying, stealing, not working. She hasn’t spoken to us in over 3 weeks although we live in the same small city. I am asking, from your point of view, what you think she expects from us, and what would it take for her to wish to turn her life around?

Leslie says:
May 4th, 2011 at 2:43 pm

My daughter and he boyfriend are moving out of his mother’s house this week. I have concerns. Seems that over the weekend they had an argument which resulted in her getting a black eye by “he threw something and accidentally hit me”. When asked what he threw, she has no real answer. If that happened to me, I would know what it was that hit me hard enough to leave me with a black eye. She knows I doubt what she says. I want so badly to call and report it but haven’t yet. Anyway, she ended up having a huge argument with his mother as she told her she deserved the black eye. That she doesn’t know what it’s like to have a family who love her, etc. Well, she has no clue as to how much I love my daughter. She has no clue as to how much her son is involved with drugs and selling them. Her and her sisters answer to helping him was let him move in with his mom, not work, just go to school so that he doesn’t feel “stressed” to sell drugs again. (caught twice already). Needless to say, that blew my mind. Anyway, now they are moving. They have a 7 mo son together and my daughter has two kids, 13 and 15, from her marriage. Without getting into the enabling and being there all the time to watch the baby and make sure that they are “sober”, how do I handle this? If I take the baby all the time, in my eyes, that makes it easier for them to keep using drugs. He went to jail for two months and in the first week she was using her chosen drug of Xanax all week. Then he went to a hockey game and she used that again, guess she was angry with him. He doesn’t want her using that (ironic), but I guess heroin is okay with him. She can’t do anything when she uses xanax. She knows I know what she takes,I’ve confronted her about this many times. I’m afraid that if I’m not there often or whatever, something happening to the baby because they are getting high. Or, worse, some dealer or addict decides to steal from them thinking they have money or drugs all the time, which they don’t. He’s smarter than keeping drugs on him or in his house all the time. I know I can’t protect her, I speak out (loudly) if I know she’s high but it doesn’t get me anywhere because she can’t remember what was said or what she does, so that doesn’t work….I’ve talked to her when she’s been sober, she at least admits she’s an addict. She told his mother that he’s an addict and a dealer. I guess what I’m asking is how to protect the baby and my granddaughter and grandson without enabling the “adults” to continue using easily? Geesh, these stories are always so involved and evolving all the time. It’s not an easy answer to anything here. But, ideas are helpful so I guess I’ll keep asking questions here….thanks.

Dave says:
May 12th, 2011 at 5:07 pm

This is heartbreaking reading, we have a son in the hospital now, in another state, addicted to bath salts? We don’t know if he will survive, he was in rehab, checked himself in, and they kept him two weeks and let him go and he relapsed immediately. Are there any victory stories here? What percentage overcome? Anyone? Or is it a lost cause?

Sonia says:
May 13th, 2011 at 5:09 pm

I have a 20 year old step-son that I believe is an addict. He says he smokes pot, but I think there is more. What I do know for sure is that he has had a terrible accident where he almost died and has stolen many precious (of both monetary and sentimental value) items from us. His father, mother and I all have different perspectives on how to help, or not help, him. I feel they are enabling him and they think my suggestions are too severe. For example, if he can’t pay his gas or car registration, his mom will pay for it because otherwise he won’t be able to get to work and pay for school. We know he continues to smoke pot but my husband says that there aren’t any consequences we can impose on him because he is an adult and pays for his own things. He says he won’t take aways the car nor ask him to leave the house. While I understand his feelings and the guilt he would feel if something were to happen to his son if he did put him out, I feel like I’m accepting this behavior in my own house. I have asked for him to go to rehab, but instead they chose a therapist that gives more therapy to my husband and ex-wife and how they should treat my step-son, but my step-son doesn’t go. Basically I have no say in this matter. I also love my step-son very much and it hurts when my suggestions are not validated because “he’s not your son”. I also have another two small children in the house that I worry about. I would like to know how I should deal with this problem. Every time I bring up an issue regarding my step-son’s behavior; leaving messes around the house, eating all of the food in sight, not paying his bills, his lack of responsibility, it ends up in a huge fight between my husband and me.

Jean says:
May 20th, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Mothers Day this year was sad because it was the first one that I didn’t invite my 22 yr old drug addict son out for dinner with me as we’ve done every year since he was born. He called and left a message wishing me a Happy Mothers Day which really surprised me. He wanted to stop by but I couldn’t see him knowing that he is still actively involved with drugs. I love him so much it hurts not to see him. I heard that he was very upset that I did not call him back. He is still enjoying being jobless like his father and stepmom he lives with. I still don’t get that life??? How can you wake up in the morning without goals?

Leslie says:
May 20th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Does anyone know about legal issues that can arise if children are found in an environment that is not shall we say ideal? Here’s my dilemma.
My daughter has been on a downward spiral of late and things are getting worse. There has been developments which make me question what’s right for the kids. Her BF has finally opened his eyes, as being an addict himself, he couldn’t see what we did. Now he sees it and is very concerned and has come to me for help. My help is that I get custody of the kids and get them out of there. He doesn’t want to be that harsh yet, wants to talk with her and me there, give her an ultimatum and such and if she doesn’t comply, then we take the kids. I’ve tried to tell him that if something happens in the meantime, could be two weeks could be two months and the law gets involved for some reason, could be crying baby for hours after he’s left thinking she’s okay and doing as we have asked (I don’t trust that at all) and a neighbor calling the cops or her going for a walk to the park and nodding off on the grass with the baby in the stroller, anything. He is the father of her baby, not on the BC because she was not divorced yet, and she has threatened him with that. She is fighting more and more with him and I know that’s because he’s not using and she doesn’t like that so is looking for a way for him to leave. I have custody of my grandson, 15 and he wants to live with his mother. I was unaware of how low she has sunk at that point and told him that it was okay, etc but I would call him and discuss it with him before I have to go to court. My issue again is with his sister living there and not taking her out and trying to explain to him why it’s okay for her to be there and not him as he has been left out for a very long time already. He feels rejected by her, or has for years and now she is in her own apartment with room for him, he wants to go. I do need to talk to both of them about this issue and soon, but again, I’m not in total agreement with how the BF wants to deal with this. He has talked to his counselor about it but I don’t think he has told her everything about her, like her passing out and him not being able to wake her, her passing out on a lawn and being taken by ambulance, 2 OUIs, jail, the usual stuff. I think he has kind of glossed it over so as to make her not look too bad. I’m more concerned with my grandkids and the legal issues of them being there if something should happen. He can do whatever he wants or handle it whatever way he wants. He thinks that if we are together with this, it will make an impact on her. I doubt it. I think she’ll lie and sometime, maybe 3-4 months, she’ll be back to doing this. I want it to be done! I’m sick and tired of dealing with it and I want an end. Rip off the bandaid! Ya know? He’s tiptoeing around and it could end up costing her her life but he says he’s new to having to deal with this, never saw how bad it was before and is trying to “take care of her”. I get that but I’m done with it. Anyone know about the legal issues or the possibility of my losing the kids with them being there? I’m afraid of them being put in foster care if the law gets involved. And my grandson has already been involved with court for truancy and if he fails to comply, they will take him before the judge and decide if he should go to foster care as it is, Add this to his plate? IDK. Thanks for any advice you all have. Appreciate it very much.

Terri Pete says:
June 7th, 2011 at 2:21 am

My 23 year old son is a heroin/meth/alcohol addict. He is filthy and lives under a bridge. I saw him on the street tonight. My heart hurts. This is just not fair.

Molly says:
June 8th, 2011 at 5:47 am

Your article is so very true. It seems like you’ve been through a lot, and I can feel your pain. I wonder if you can give me advice, even though there is not a standard formula for each case. My son is 23yrs old. He failed his college, that cost us a lot of money. Now he is unemployed and doing drugs or alcohol almost every day. He used to try to conceal the fact of using, but now he doesn’t deny it at all and says that he doesn’t have to quit. Basically, he uses our home as a crush pad. I am at the point to throw him out of the house. I cannot let him walk all over us, and take advantage of us. My husband thinks that we need to give him more time to find a job. The problem is He isn’t looking for a job, and he won’t as long as he lives with us. I’ve made up my mind, but inside I still have doubts if I’m doing right thing. A friend of mine said that this is the last thing I would want to do. She says it will push him even farther into a deeper hole from which he won’t be able to come out. Do you think I’m doing a right thing???

Julie says:
June 29th, 2011 at 2:48 am

I needed this site today. Thank you to all of you for sharing your struggles. My 20 yr old addict son is still living with us–for now. He started smoking pot and using ecstasy and hallucinagins in high school. We found out shortly before his 18th birthday. He went to 1 week of rehab, but wanted to get out and start junior college. He sounded remorseful…. It has been a nightmare since: he moved on to meth, then heroin, both and who knows what anymore. He is the 2nd of 6 children. He insists he just experimented for fun–that he was always happy with his life. But not anymore. He talks a lot about not wanting to live and being a coward for not being able to end it all. He went into detox for heroin but wouldn’t do any follow up. He got a DUI last Dec and has no license, court-ordered classes, and a fine. Just today, again, he fell apart saying he owed a dealer money and needed help. (This just happened 2 weeks ago as well.) I tried to be strong, but he promised to sign a contract with us and give up his phone, etc. My oldest son is home very ill from college, my 17 year old daughter says she doesn’t want to live here anymore. My three youngest are broken hearted. My addict son is vulgar, dirty, and loud. I have accepted that he must choose to recover, but I just don’t know how to help and not enable…. It’s consuming me!!

Shelia says:
July 1st, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Are people still posting comments ? Wasnt sure if this was still an active site. I surely hope so. I just cannot believe all these storys that are the same as my story of my addicted 22 year old son. I kicked him out of the house for a 3rd time. Its just sad and hard. But within our minds and hearts we really do know whats the right thing.

thanks to this website and thank you for sharing the pain. Its not just storys its real pain to the core.


Shelia says:
July 1st, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Julie I understand your pain completely. This is not easy. Especially when my son texts or calls me everyday and says he is stuck by his dad. His dad has issue’s as well but does have a nice home for him to stay. Its not my fault that he has put himself in the situation over and over. My 16 year old daughter does really good and when he was there he just upsets the whole household and my husband his step father. I cannot imagine the pain and agony that you have your addicted son and more then one other child living with you. God I know how hard this is. God bless you and everybody on this site.

David D. says:
July 2nd, 2011 at 2:08 am

Thank you for the blog. I have read it tonight, because I needed it tonight. Along with the 7 truths, I also found comfort in the posting of other parents who are struggling. Thank you.

Gail says:
July 10th, 2011 at 5:13 am


Thank you so much for posting the 7 truths. It has really helped me to understand addiction better than any other article I have read. Addiction is horrible and it has been a nightmare for our family. I have a 21 yr old son who has been battling heroin addiction for about 3 years and currently is in jail for the 3rd time for shoplifting and this time while on probation. Not to mention the week before I had to kick him out again for the 4th time, because he stole my car in the middle of the night and wrecked it. Don’t know what is going to happen to him this time, he hasn’t had his court date, but I am not bailing him out anymore nor getting an attorney again. He’s been in several inpatient and outpatient programs. It is a vicious cycle, home, rehab, jail, over and over. Nothing seems to work. I really think he needs to be medicated. He was such a smart, very caring, compassionate fun loving person, and now all he does is lie and steal. I really think he wants to quit, but I really truly don’t think he is mentally able to, I think the addiction is more powerful than him. It has taken over his mind. I also feel like there should be wayy more long term inpatient rehabs instead of these 30,60,90 day ones, but I think the only long term ones are in prison. It’s a shame because this is a medical condition that needs to be treated long term, but they are treated like criminals, since it is illegal and they break they law when they are on it. Thanks for everybody’s posts, it helps to read them

Jane Peterson says:
July 22nd, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I am living this nightmare with all of you. I still have not found a balance between dealing with an addicted child I cannot have living with me, and getting on with life and work. I would appreciate any advice in this area.

Cheryl Reyes says:
July 23rd, 2011 at 5:33 am

My son is 21 was active in our church well overseas… good while on overseas bases… got to AZ I decided he was ok on his own went to work lots of hrs dad did too… he found drugs/ he smokes heroin and at a loss now.. on his own very gone … never prays.; forgot his upbringing.. I am at a loss… I now drink ever did and am horrified of getting phone call my baby is dead… help me pray for me.. PLEASE

Leslie says:
July 23rd, 2011 at 12:56 pm

My 33 yr old daughter is a drug addict. I have just accepted this truth. It has been very heartbreaking.
She has 2 children.
I want her to go to rehab and I will take the kids.
I don’t even know where to begin to do this.
Daughter has alienated herself from the entire family and only contacts me if she needs something. Usually it is to babysit.
What is the first step to help the grandchilren??

Suzanne says:
August 6th, 2011 at 7:05 pm

My brother is over 50 years old, and has been drinking and using drugs for most of his life. He lives in a broken down motor home in a trailer park. He was on meth, a skinny wreck, but he broke that habit and is currently overweight. He was a commercial fisherman, but a bad back has forced him to stop working. He is currently taking classes and working toward finding a new career. He has tried to get on Supplemental Security Income because he cannot do the same type of work he used to do, and his disease is progressive. However, he keeps getting the run-around, and up until last month he lived on $252 per month and food stamps. He just got word that his monthly income is being cut by 1/4th to $197 per month. I am so worried that he will become homeless! I want to help him. I want to just give him the money, but his girlfriend has started drinking again. This is such a tough situation! My parents do not have the resources to help, although my mom talks to him and visits him. What shall I do? Thank you.

Karen says:
August 13th, 2011 at 2:50 pm

My daughter just returned from a visit from Hawaii where her brother lives. With high hopes for a reunion she calls me after her return and sadly informs me to start funeral arrangements because her brother is addicted to Oxycontin. He continually excused himself throughout the visit, to what she found out that he was getting his fix (snoring Oxy). As they were out site-seeing, she could see that he physically was needing another fix, as he “just started feeling bad”. She loves her brother deeply and is now older to see and to feel the bleeding heart one has for someone who is addicted and now carries a burden of hopelessness for someone they love. My son went through the gamet of teenage partying, incarcation, rehabs, punching holes in walls, stealing, lying, scaring the hell out of me one night, name calling and disrespect on many levels-unable to come back to the house. The last time I saw him, 3 yrs ago, I recieved the expected midnight call, he was being released from jail. I had visited him throughout his stay, had good talks and plans to move forward. It was agreed when I picked him up that we would drive through the night to his Aunt’s and from their he would board a plane to stay with his half-brother in Hawaii (could it be any better to start anew?) I just knew if he got away from his buddies, he could do better…he has a job, a girlfriend and his brother loves him, but can’t live with him-he has for a long time, has a addictive personality. I feel there is a pain so deep within him that only God can touch, he just has to get the door open, so I pray for him…and me…and my daughter. Tough love never seems to go away, thanks for sharing the 7 truths and may God bless all of you and your families through this journey.

Peggy Kudla says:
August 17th, 2011 at 12:37 am


It took me 7 years to learn the 7 truths for Parents. Addiction is a curable disease. After being married to an Alcoholic for 20 years. He quit! Guess why. I left him. We are back together now. He has been sober for a year.
Our son Brad is 20 he has been abusing drugs and alcohol for the past 7 years, we are going to kick him out very soon, I know he will be ok. We can’t fix him, he has to do it himself.

The only way to change someone elses behavior is to change your own. After all you can only control you own behavior. Good Luck on your Journey everyone!

lisa says:
September 2nd, 2011 at 12:29 am

My 20 year old son is a herion addict. I stuggle to accept this. I do not want to believe this has happened to my baby. My husband and I fight about him a lot. I do not want anyone hurting his feelings. Iwant to go about life acting like I do not see anything people are just picking on him cuz they do not know. He has recently came out of rehab and I just found out that he has used again. This article has helped me see clearer. I have had to go see a psyciatrist for anxiety I am really struggling with this I still think they need a rehab for a lot longer then 28 days although he doesnt think he needs to be there thanks for showing me I am not alone in this

Ron Grover says:
September 6th, 2011 at 1:56 pm


I understand completely what you are going though right now. It is so hard to watch your child in this downward spiral. We had the same experiences with rehab, Multiple times our son went to rehab only to relapse. I do agree 28 days in not nearly enough to rehab from opiate addiction.

I have found it very helpful to talk to others in this situation. There are many resources for this but I found for me blogging was the best. You must seek your own help. My first suggestion is that you seek out a Nar-Anon group in your area.

A couple of things you said in your comment I would like to address specifically. “I want to go about life acting like I do not see anything people are just picking on him cuz they do not know.” Please Lisa this will not help you or your son. I have many other articles on The Partnership website, one in specifically I would like you to read about this is: There are many other articles that I have written, each of them developed from first hand life and experience of dealing with a child addicted to opiates. Here is a link to my essays on The Partnership wbsite: Plus there are many other fine authors on Intervene that you should review.

Another quote from your comment, “My husband and I fight about him a lot.” Addiction is a family disease. My wife and I were not always on the same page. My experience is that learning and acceptance is different for all people. Just because you are married doesn’t mean you will have the same feelings about this disease or situation. This takes patience and lots of discussion at a time when crisis and drama are not at the center of a discussion. Work on this alone and together, men and women process this differently, spoken from experience here. That doesn’t mean you and your husband will always be on opposite sides. It just means you have to recognize where you are and accept when he is too, likewise that point works in reverse too.

Additionally I would like to refer you to my personal blog about being the parent to an addicted child: On my blog there are links to many other parents in the same situation that write of their experiences. Feel free to look them over and comment.

If you need to write feel free to write me personally at:

Ron Grover

worriedsick says:
September 6th, 2011 at 4:26 pm

I found texts on my 20 year old sons phone that indicate he is selling marijuana. He is in college and doing well. We are taking his car away and telling him we have a zero tolerance policy. What we are unsure of is whether or not to stop paying his tuition and room and board, or give him 1 chance. We really have no way to know if he stops or not…I’m so worrried. He thinks he’s invincible and won’t get caught. It seems so irrational

Sheryl says:
September 11th, 2011 at 10:29 pm

It helps so much to not feel so alone. My husband died from cancer 7 years ago and my daughter has been in a downward spiral ever since. The emotional and financial toll has been overwhelming. I could have written the 7 truths myself. She’s back in rehab again. This is number 6. Can she really break the grip of heroin? My heart is broken as I remember the little girl with great compassion and spirit. Is she still in there? She seems so altered. I try and believe but it can be so difficult. Where has optimism and hope gotten me? Sometime it feels impossible to function but I have to…I have no choice. Losing my husband was horrible but this is somehow more painful.

Carbleanne says:
September 13th, 2011 at 5:48 am

I’m almost at a loss of what I want to say here- I can so relate to almost everything that has been said here- I believe that all of us that have experienced life with an addicted child has learned what unconditional love really means. The truths are also so very accurate as hard as some of them may be to admit- Once you have set your boundaries- don’t forget to let your child know how much they are loved- and that you will be there for them to help in recovery -but will not support their addiction-and encourage their every step- no matter how small- they are so very miserable and can barely live with themselves-and please–always tell them you love them– everytime you see them- as difficult as it may be- you just never know when you may never see them again- My son was also in an auto collision and subsequently prescribed oxycontin- It was a four year nightmare- (with the blessing of his daughter as well)-& of course on to heroin, etc., before we lost him this past year- It was the typical cyclical journey of 911 calls, rehap, jail time, some clean time, and relapse- be ever so aware of their vulnerability to OD after abstinence whether from jail time or rehap- This whole journey with my 25 year old son has been more painful than anything I could ever imagine- My blessings to all of you- and I wish you the best- through this very difficult time- I’m not sure there is any “one size fits all” answer for any particular addict- just know the “truths” and listen to your heart-

AJ says:
September 13th, 2011 at 11:48 am

I feel that most people find every excuse in the book for drug addicts. Everyone is entitled to make mistakes in life, but when one’s mistakes continually rip a family apart, I find that beyond excusable. I disagree that one should let the addict decide. If they’re F’d up on drugs, they don’t know the difference between a lemon and an apple! They need “tough love”! I found in my experience that most parents of drug addicts do not make their children accountable for their actions and behavior. Whether one is blind, deaf, inflicted with cancer or a drug addict DOES NOT ALLOW THEM PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT. My stepson stole valuables from me over and over and my wife has dones nothing to support me and our marriage. What message does that send to her son? That no matter what he does to his stepfather, “mommy” will always be there. That’s a total crock! How is this person ever going to mature if his mother doesn’t grow some cahoneys and make him accountable! Tough love is the only answer. You can try reasoning, talking, but when that doesn’t work you need to take strict measures. Aggressive cancer requires aggressive treatment – you don’t poor iodine on cancer; you need strong chemotherapy. I realize that one has to make the choice to get better, but in the process, they should not be allowed to screw over people, especially their own family members without some sort of repercussions. That’s the whole damn trouble with this world – we baby the hell out of our kids and that does absolulety no good. My wife should put her marriage first! That kid knows how to play her like a fiddle and do whatever it takes to pick apart at us! I’m sick and tired of these games. I’ve gone above and beyond for both of them and feel that unless someone takes the bull by its horns, this kid is going to end up just like most – dead! It’s hard to reason with people who “simply just don’t get it!” I love my wife and want to love my stepson, but my wife never encouraged her son to respect himself, me or anything. All I am is a bank account to pay for things that he should rightfully pay for. I work a second job delivering pizza to help clear my bad credit caused by my wife and stepson. I have no sympathy for drug addicts who simply don’t give a sh*t!

Ron Grover says:
September 13th, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Dear AJ,

Thank you for you comment to my 7 Truths article on The Partnership at website.

I can so relate to what you are writing. For a couple years I lived in the spot you are but it was not my stepson. My addict was my son. The only answer to this mess of addiction was “JUST QUIT!” Addiction was nothing more than a “weakness of character.” I would actually scream at my son, NO LIES, NO STEALING NO DRUGS! JUST WHAT THE HELL IS SO HARD ABOUT THAT????

After a few years of that and getting no place doing the same thing over and over I began to dawn on me that if I continue this in this manner the crazy one may actually be me. That is when I began to open myself up to learning instead of believing I had all of the answers already. Only then did things begin to get better for me and my family.

My suggestion for you is to take some time to deliberate about this disease and how it is affecting you in other ways besides monetarily. What is it doing to you, your relationships and what is driving the anger. You will not, and cannot control this disease through force. Even tough love as you mention has its own limitations and consequences. Read some of my other essays posted on The Partnership website along with reading other essays on the Intervene site by many other great parents that have walked in ours shoes.

Please seek out help and understanding. Attend a Nar-Anon meeting, find a counselor, seek out therapy or a church group. Do whatever works for you. For me it was writing. I began writing a personal blog about parenting an addict. I found many others in the same situation. I credit some of these people with saving my life or at least saving my sanity.

I would like to invite you to see my personal blog about parenting an addict. Right now my son is clean for over 1 year after 7 years of active addiction. If you want to talk personally to another dad that has been through this feel free to write me anytime.

Ron Grover

scared to death says:
September 13th, 2011 at 5:50 pm

AJ, I’m just about to begin reading the stories above. However the one BIG thing in your story is that it is your step son. We humans “think” we have the answers and know what it is we would do if it were our biological child. However until it is your blood, I promise you, you would have a different “feeling”. Your head would still tell you the “right” things but the tug at your heart would make a difference.
I just stumbled onto this site and I can’t wait to read the stories and reply again. God bless all and I pray the journey ahead of us will be a positive one.

JN says:
September 13th, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Today I searched on “Why does my mother continue to support her drug addict son” and found this article and all of the associated posts. She is 84 and he is 53 and she has been through hell with him for the past 25+ years. He will not leave her alone but she will not listen to me (her 51 year old daughter who no longer gives either of them money). She needs to tell him NO now, because her health is bad and when her time comes, he will be living on the streets. It is so sad.

scared to death says:
September 13th, 2011 at 11:24 pm

My son was diagnosed with ADD while in elementary school. By the 6th grade we decided to have him take medication to help all of us, him, his siblings and myself. This did in fact help. He is a very bright young man who is naturally mechanically inclined and had talent in drawing and writing as well. By the time he finished the 10th grade he was refusing to take the medication. I had guilt not knowing if medication was the “right” thing to do or not and I was getting less and less able to have the fight with him. He stopped taking it and his/our world started to spiral out of control. By the time he was a senior he had moved out and back in twice and the fights were daily. With a song and a prayer he graduated and took off to another state to live with grandparents and work, which didn’t last very long.

Within the next year he was out of control. On his 21st birthday he was arrested agian, he had several charges (drugs, forgery (prior offense) and stolen vehicle) and for the next ten years he would be in and out of prison on the same prior charges because he would violate parole. During this time of being in and out he was homeless and unable to keep a job if he found one.
Now, here we are today, he is 31, getting released from jail, no job, no license, no money but he does say he wants to make a change. He wants to be able to get some kind of education and his life back together.

I am going to drive to another state to pick him up when he is released and bring him home. I’m scared to death. I can relate to all of the above comments. His being in jail was best for “me” because I knew he was not in a ditch somewhere dead. I fear while he was homeless he was using and who knows even selling? How desperate does one get when your homeless?

Question, is drug abuse the elephant in the room? Is it okay to address it openly? I don’t want to trigger him but I’m also a matter of fact kind of person. My son’s biological father is a drug abuser. I moved the kids away from him when they were 4 and 6. He is currently serving charges on his 3 meth lab charge, he was a very abusive person to me. My son has followed the same path. I have walked away from my son and his issues many times, but still always told him I loved him and when he is ready I’ll be here. Without his ADD medication as an adolescent he could have an awful temper. I want to help but I can not let him tear my home or my marriage apart.

I went to a local Al-anon meeting last night. Good, great resource to have, But I need to ask real questions. Where do I go for this? I want all the answers I can get and I don’t want to trigger him.

Ron Grover says:
September 14th, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Dear Scared To Daeth,

From your description I would say, Yes, drug addition and abuse is the elephant in the room. A lot of people learn to live with an elephant simply because they are afraid of the change or scared of the “what ifs”.

You ask where to go? Al-Anon is a great start. If that group cannot help you find other groups that involve other people and possibly other opinions. Seek out counseling or therapy because if you are not sure or comfortable in your own self you cannot help your son.

It is easy to get tunnel vision in trying to solve issues for someone else like your son. We tend to see what we want to see and go right pass other alternatives that don’t fit in our belief in how it has to been done to satisfy our own psyche.

I want to simply ask a few questions. Why does he need to come home? Are there things you can do for him that no one else can? Are there alternative living situations in your area for addict and ex-cons? How did he function while in jail and prison without you? Can you trust him in your home alone? Do you want you life of turmoil back because that is your only point of reference? What should be and is expected of a 31 year old man? How do you really picture your son? Are there things others can do for your son better than you?

These are just a few questions I would ask that you need to answer. Nar-anon, counselors, and therapist can help you if you need help getting to these answers. However, no matter who helps you these are questions that ultimately you must answer to yourself. And do not think this is the end of the questions and answers. There will be many, many more and for most of them there are not set in stone answers.

Good luck and feel free to write any time.

Ron Grover

Ron Grover says:
September 14th, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Dear JN,

It is so hard to watch from the outside. Addiction is such a hard and complicated disease and you are not the first to write me about an elderly parent. Even from my own experiences my mother who is 81 and my father-in-law who is 82 have such a hard time with addiction. My mother sounds more like your mother, “nothing we can do but try and love him out of it.” Partially through fear and not knowing what else to do this is the only alternative and solution they know. Even with constant heartache, I know my own mother would not give up her belief. My father-in-law is just the opposite, “throw him in jail and throw away the key.” But, every time we see him he sincerely asks, “How is Alex.” My father-in-laws response and actions are borne out of frustration and not knowing what else to do. Fortunately, my son now has over 1 year clean and has a good relationship with both grandparents before it was too late.

I don’t have any thoughts about what you can tell your mother. The disease is so complicated and the addict will manipulate anyone, no matter the age or relationship to satisfy their addiction. All you can do is try to protect her from not only him but herself. Make sure there are proper financial and whatever physical safeguards.

Ron Grover

scared to death says:
September 14th, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Oh Thank you Ron, I really didn’t expect you to answer so quickly. This is a wonderful site you have, thank you for sharing.

What I ment about the elephant in the room is this; Is it a bad thing to just say it, talk about it? Address it in casual conversation with him? Or would that be a trigger? And for instance if I wanted him to read a book about it, would that be a trigger or a negitive?

Answer to your questions:

He is being released from jail soon and he had asked to come home after all of these years. He hasn’t seen or been around family in a long time and he has come to the place of needing and wanting family in his life, he says. If I will be helping him, I want to pick him up before he has any time on the street.

He is in a mountain town that is very expensive to live and not many jobs and he would be homeless, back to the shelter otherwise. I have been ok with him being in a shelter in the past because he never showed any interest in making any changes. I can help him with a few connections to find a job for him and give him shelter till he can stand alone again.

He must have survived ok in jail and prison because I wouldn’t send any money and I only took his calls a couple times a year. I did buy food for him when it was possible thru the system but that was only a couple times.

I do not know that I can trust him, which is a big chance we are taking. In the past he stole some gas from us but nothing more then that, that I’m aware of. I do not want the turmoil by any means however I have been firm and straight with him and if he is ready for a change I feel as his mother I’m the only one to give him that chance. My husband and I will stand firm together. If he blows it, he will have to leave.

What I expect of a 31 yr old man is to find a job and go to it. Pay any outstanding fines he has and follow the laws. I told him no drugs no alcohol no driving without a license no weapons and no contact with old friends from his old area (which is 45 miles from here) and respect to his family.

My son is to me, still a young man wanting to please those around him but cant seem to make a good decision to save his soul. He can not think before acting. Completely, impulse driven and reactive. I see him as needing love and he has been without anyone truly on his side for 10 years now. He is somewhat proud and has tried to keep his situation away from his family as much as possible. He has not seen his sibling but maybe once in 10 years. I feel at the same time knowing that his sister and brother have both finished college makes him feel like even less of a person?

I think a good mentor would be able to turn him around. I think he would go anywhere do anything for an opportunity. He was always a pleaser. What someone else could do for him would be to counsel him. And to see he has potential.

I’m not sure if you wanted me to answer those question to you or just to myself LOL but here they are. I have an apt with an addict therapist along with my husband next week before we leave to get him. At the very least I have gathered resources to use if he gets here and is willing to get help if/when needed. I have gone to the meetings so it would not be the unknown which would maybe help him in going as well.

Do you have any insight on ADD and the possible connection to drug abuse? Am I kidding myself to think that is the missing piece?

Again, thank you so much, this site is the best thing I have read!
We are also in KS, but closer to Wichita

Brenda Meglio says:
September 16th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I just read over most of these stories and I have to ask if we need to have medical bracelets available for addicts like the ones the diabetics wear so that if they get injured they are not given narcotics. I read those 2 stories about those people that were doing so well after so many years and then were thrown right back into the throes of addiction because they were medicated with narcotics. I can’t tell you how scarey this is to me. We just found out in April that our son is a heroin addict. He is 19. Went to rehab for 60 days. Had a relapse after 90+ days. I would hate to think if he had 10 years of sobriety under his belt, he could have something like this happen. What can I do to get this to happen? Where are those bracelets obtained?

Ron Grover says:
September 16th, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Dear Brenda,

I understand exactly what you are saying about bracelets. My advice to my son and someone else that asked me about what to say without getting into all the “stuff” about addiction. I told my son to get it in his medical history that he is “allergic” to pain medication containing any type of opiate or codeine. That may not be the ideal or work in all situations but it gets that into his medical record. Then if we as a nation ever get to the 21st Century and have ALL medical records computerized and on a national database it would help with this situation.

Ron Grover

AJ says:
September 21st, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I agree with everyone’s comments. However, if it were my “biological kid”, I would show my wife and my marriage respect. My biological daughter would never be allowed to take valuables from my wife or family without some sort of consequence. Whether a kid is biological, adopted, foster “whatever” doesn’t mean they should not be accountable for their actions. We have to stop saying that if it were a biological kid. I lived with an alcoholic mother for over 25 years. My grandfather, her biological father, would not tolerate her doing this to herself or her family. It was difficult when my father died 38 years ago. I’ve been to so many counselors. My hobby was music and my stepson took away my past-time that I’ve had for close to 37 years! He shows absolutely no remorse. I don’t feel sorry for him after all I’ve done to try to help him. When one’s problems start to take a family down, someone needs to step in. My wife should support “me” her husband. I made an agreement to put my 25 yr old stepson on my medical plan. After the things he’s done to me, I don’t owe him a penny! Yet, I try to help him. Now he’s not trying to pay back any of the bills that are incurring. Is that right? Again! No accountability! These people get preferential treatment from the wrong folks, who continue to enable them. How will he ever become a true, independent human being! His mother allowed him to drop out of high school with no plan for his life and now when he screws up, I have to put on my cape and come to the rescue. Biological kid or not – this is unacceptable! Parents need to be accountable for their children’s actions before they become adults so they can learn to make the right choices. Addiction is a bad choice. I’m tired of helping people who a) don’t want to help themselves b) don’t care that their actions are affecting many others. I also don’t expect any less from my biological children than I do of my stepson! That is the major problem here with his behavior! He feels he can do whatever he wants because he “has problems” and those problems exclude him from accountability. And my experience with drug addicts is that they are very disrespectful, know-it-alls, rebellious and lack no concern for the law or authority. My stepson was all of this before he became an addict. All the drugs are doing now is amplifying this. I agree that I can’t let this eat me up, but what else do I do when my wife does not want to meet me and our marriage half way? Enablers are not helpers! They’re destroyers! I have to deliver pizza part-time in addition to working 90 hours a week because of the nonsense that my wife and stepson are doing! Sorry, but my biological daughter would not be allowed to get away with any of this without some sort of consequence. You tell me if my stepson steals from a total stranger whether that person would not prosecute him! Again, no preferential treatment to addicts.

Catherine says:
September 22nd, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I have been reading not only Ron’s article which is great but all of your letters. I should say trying to read because I am crying so hard that I can’t see. For us, 5 years now with an absolutely beautiful , talented, extremely intelligent daughter with a horrible opiate addiction. She keeps trying to get clean, does well for a short time, relapses. We have depleted our savings and all of our emotions and joy for life trying to help her. Doctors, therapists, rehab, the works. She begs us for help, and then she relapses. She goes from ” Momma, I love you so much and am so sorry and the guilt is killing me ” to calling me horrible names, blaming me for everything, etc. I can’t take anymore , I don’t even want to open my eyes in the morning. Our current problem is in trying to help her we put her on Suboxone. Being uneducated in all of this we trusted the doctors telling us it would help. Very expensive and she has been off and on it now for years. Now she is horribly addicted to THAT ! I am trying hard to not enable but what do I do with this problem? She cheats the suboxone, either gets more on the streets, or sells/shares it with others and then gets mad beyond belief when I refuse to pay for anymore of that. Then she gets withdrawals and sick and back out the door she goes to do whatever she has to do to get something. She is 21. I am just besides myself and my heart is broken. In so many ways it is like we are in mourning, in my opinion. Good luck to all of you that are in this same horrible position, my heart aches for all of us and for the addicts.

Rachel Lauria says:
September 23rd, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Dear Catherine,

We are sorry to hear that reading these posts is making you so upset, but hope that you feel encouraged and know that you are not alone. Learning to take care of yourself in the midst of a loved one’s addiction and attempt to remain sober is a very difficult task, and we hope that you have support during the process. It sounds like your daughter is really struggling in her addiction, and might benefit from speaking with her doctor about treatment options. It might also be helpful for you to do some research about Buprenorphine (another name for Suboxone). Here is a link that you may find helpful, not only for information, but also for supportive resources and online support communities that you can join or participate in: . In addition, here are some other websites related to Suboxone that you may find helpful: and

There are certainly places and people who you can speak to about what your daughter is going through. For example, organizations like Nar-Anon and Al-Anon Family Groups may be good places to start to find local meetings where you can talk to other concerned parents and loved ones.

Catherine, we also want you to know that you can contact the Partnership Helpline if you are looking for more information or answers to questions about ways to better communicate with your daughter or other treatment options. The Helpline can be reached at 1-855-378-4373, and there are Parent Specialists available to speak with you from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. To learn more, you can visit

We also encourage you to join our online community for parents called Time To Get Help where you can ask questions and get answers from experts and parents; share your story (and read other parent’s stories); and find words of hope and inspiration to help you through this difficult time

Karen says:
September 29th, 2011 at 11:55 pm

I can definately relate to everyting that everyone has said….. My 23 year old son has been battleing opiate addiction for 7 years and I truly see no end in sight. In and out of rehabs and jails. I was a big enabler and am now learning how to stop hurting him by trying to help him. I became a co dependent as well, I became so addicted to his addiction that I was totally engulfed by it. I need to learn to let go and I WILL, yet I think it would be easier to cut of my leg. we all love our children and I feel deeply for all who have written here, it is not easy to accept that OUR child fits into all this but they do. My heart and prayers are with each and every one of you. noone really knows the true pain this causes to a family unit until it hits them and I do not wish this nigtmare on anyone. This addiction monster does not discriminate and will steal the soul from anyone willing to give it. I want my son back so bad, and had him for about 4 months until he relapsed. I fear terribly that the cure to my son’s addiction will indeed eventually be his very own death. how very very sad, but I somehow must go on, it is a struggle but it is what i must do for myself and the rest of my family. I will always love my addicted son, but it must be from a distance now, in order to save myself from HIS downward spiral……. thank you all, and may God bless each and every one of us and our addicts,PLEASE!!!!!

Catherine says:
October 3rd, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Thank you Rachel for all of your advice and the time you took to write in my behalf. I will definitely look into the sites and organizations you have suggested. The Suboxone is a very double edged sword and around our area the addicts use it to bargain with between each other , trading it or selling it. I pay approximately ten dollars per strip for her then found out she sells them on the street for up to 30 , then goes and gets opiates. Unbelievable. Karen, I read your post and once again tears streaming down my face. So many of us so horribly effected and it is like reading a letter I could write myself. I tell my daughter all the time at this point, ” if this is how you choose to live your life I cannot change your mind no matter how much I have tried but I want out, I want my life back.” She chooses this for herself in so many ways but forces it on us. We don’t get a vote. Every moment of every day it is THERE, looming over everything you do. Part of me wants to force her out of our home and part of me is afraid to do so. It is like there is no answer and no matter what you do you lose. Has anyone had any experience with the Vivitrol shots? Once a month and supposedly works better for opiates even than it has for alcohol. Thanks and keep strong! I just have to tell myself every day that somewhere inside me is just a little bit more strength to get through yet another day.

Karen says:
October 4th, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Lynn.. thanks for the advice on the book, got it right away and am almost done reading it. how true are the pages of that book. take care and God bless

Shannon says:
October 13th, 2011 at 7:56 pm

My sister is a drug addict. Anything she can get her hands on. Xanax, Percocet, Vicodin, Cocaine, Spice, bath salts. She crushes them up and snorts them. The drug use I believe is her way of coping with her mental issues, borderline personality disorder, OCD, anxiety, depression, etc. She self-medicates. She even pretended to have cancer and then doctor shopped and went to the ER for pain associated with said cancer. Even before the drug use our family has struggled with her. Now she has completely torn us apart. Over the years I have allowed her to move in with me several times because she has children that she does not support. Those children are like my own. The last time she came home high, she was asked to leave and not come back until she was sober. My parents and I cared for the kids as usual and while she was gone for three weeks they did well. As a matter of fact, with her gone, the meltdowns and behaviors went completely away. When she left, she partied for a week, went into detox for a week, then didn’t come home for another week, nor would she even contact her kids. The issue we have is that she is getting pain meds from friends, hanging with druggies still, and in addition to her mood stabilizers and antidepressants she’s already prescribed, got Xanax lsat night after a nice display at the urgent care. That, combined with the Percocets I KNOW she is taking, which make her angry, mean and violent, makes her slurr her speech, act drunk and unable to walk well. I want to have her removed from the house but how can I do it without her taking the kids, since I have no legal rights? Should I call CPS? I talked to a past CPS worker who said that drug use isn’t enough to have the children removed from her custody (and since she’s taking prescription drugs, they won’t show up on a UA anyway), emergency temp custody can no longer be filed for without CPS involved because the courts are to overfilled with just such cases involving drug abused parents. I have to cite the specific incidences where she put the kids in danger by taking them out to strangers’ homes or doing coke right at the park where they were, then driving home under the influence. I’m at a loss and am afraid of her as well.

Kelsey says:
October 13th, 2011 at 10:20 pm

I am not sure how long it took me to read all this – but a lot of time .. some of your comments have helped me more than any other words spoken or read, and I have read a lot .. I have a 26 year old Son addicted to EVERYTHING – it started in the Air Force where he got hooked on oxy’s for a bad back .. then heroin and goodness knows what else 2 years later – 2 rehabs, one was a very good 4 month VA program – he came out full of promises and went back to school ( criminal justice degree, how ironic is that) – had 2 jobs – a good home and now back in jail for the second time for breaking and entering and a DUI for bath salts ! and not the kind you saok in a tub with .. I mean BATH SALTS – what in the world is that .. and it’s legal in some States still, with all I had learnt that was a new one to me !!. I can say, I too have the same feelings some of you have – I feel better when he in jail because I can answer the phone without dread in my heart. I love him – but I do not like him .. I was an enabler .. a big one .. I kept thinking like many of you – without a car how do you work . so I gave him mine which he wrecked in 3 weeks .. like all of you the lies which like many of you I know they do believe thier own lies – the stealing, I think 1/2 of the items at the local pawn shop came from our house or garage.
For me in order to stop “helping” him I had to harden my heart and get cold inside – for me it was the only way to help him by deadening my feelings for him and telling myself it was ok not to like my own son .. and it was ok for me to say My son is a drug addict and realize people do not judge your parenting skills for it – you find more and more people you thought you knew also are dealing with addiction somewhere within the family. God Bless us all and our addicted loved ones. My fear is the old saying – “once an addict always an addict” the success rate is very low. My X husband ( with whom I am still close to) was a prison warden for 30 years and he has seen it all .. and even he says our son is one of the worst cases he has ever seen, unfortunalty his son from a previous marrage and our son together are both addicts. It is all very sad and I hope this does nightmare does not follow through to the next generation and the offsprings of all our addicted youth.

Kelsey says:
October 13th, 2011 at 10:47 pm

One thing I did not mention – not to scare you but not all jails are drug free havens either. The jail my son is currently in just arrested one of thier oun guards for drug trafficing oxy’s to the inmates along with her husband – her husband is in the same cell as my son .. not a great feeling. Also Steroids .. ever wonder why so many inmates get so bulked up .. my son was HUGE after 6 weeks in jail the first time – he went in at 140 pounds and came out at 175.. now…. unless the food was a lot better and bigger portions than I was told you don’t gain that type of weight doing push-ups .. not in 6 weeks. one more thing – if you think your kid is doing Bath Salts and you drug test them it WILL NOT show up .. bath salts are not detected with most over the counter drug tests .. hence my son passed his last drug test while flying high as a kite. sorry non of this is good news but my belief has to be the more educated we are the better chance our addicts will have. You have to know as much OR MORE than the addict or you will never know if they are clean .. or dirty. Your gut tells you a lot but educate yourself and you will be surprised what small signs mean big problems ..

Karen says:
October 15th, 2011 at 11:50 pm

I last wrote on sept. 29th, ny son has since been incarcerated and I was devastated at first, but quickly remembered my need to let go. It hurts to say this but at least I know he is not dead in a ditch somewhere. His sickness is turning him into someone I know longer know. God, I can not believe this is truly happening, but it is and I must stay strong because I know how badly his addiction wants to weaken me and break me….. and once and for all I have decided not to let it. repeating the serenity prayer helps me to just simply accept period. I have no choice. The book mentioned above “Stay Close” was real and true and we have all been there and continue to remain involved……. it is scary to see and read that more than likely this ugly thing will reign in our lifes forever. we must be strong and hang on because just when we think it is almost over, we often find out it has hardly yet begun.

Kelsey says:
October 17th, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I just ordered Stay close …

Karen says:
October 17th, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Kelsey…… you will not be able to put it down. sure tells it like it is…… scary as it may be.
Take care

Cyndi says:
October 24th, 2011 at 12:43 am

I cannot believe how much and how deeply an epidemic this is. I knew but didn’t know on a personal level about drugs. I am different today because it is personal. I was an enabler but am no longer. I will not let it destroy my marriage or what is left of my family. My eyes are open and I am learning. I’ve even watched on YouTube teenagers doing drugs! What is happening??!

I do not know how to handle the guilt. My son is an absolute liar and lays the guilt on me for kicking him out of the house. He even called me from jail to say it was my fault he was in there, so I should bail him out! He asked me “What kind of mother kicks her own son out of the house!” then, he said he shouldn’t be alive at all!! I cannot stop the tears from flowing. I cannot stop the anxiety and fear and not knowing.

I see homeless people all the time now and wonder, why? What happened to them? Is it really better being homeless? I too was glad when my son was in jail because then he had a place to sleep and food to eat.

Karen says:
October 24th, 2011 at 11:35 pm

I was a BIG enabler as well, and am still learning how to stop. My tears, fears and anxiety still flow and probably always will.We are mothers……. but we can not fix them, no matter how bad we want to. We can only love, PRAY, and wish them well. This journey is a long hard one, one that i wish I never had to take,,,,,,,,,,We are never alone though, just knowing this site is here has helped me immensely. I will be seeing my son tomorrow for the first time in over a month and the visit will be taking place behind bars. OH, how that hurts my heart, but I feel i am ready now. Take care,

AJ says:
October 28th, 2011 at 12:39 pm

These comments are very encouraging to those who were enablers and have realized that it does not really help the addict. I can’t imagine how hard it was for all of you and I’m very glad that your strength is helping you see that enabling is just a “band-aid”. My wife is an enabler and I can’t tell you how hard the last 10 years have been. It is true that no one can fix an addict, but they can encourage them to look within themselves and make an effort simply by making it known to them that you’re not putting up with it. When they know that they can twist your emotions and use guilt to make you cave, they got you! Drug addicts need tough love. A friend of mine told me his own mother took his suitcase down to the curb and NEVER bothered with him. He eventually turned his life around. When he was sick, his mother did not put herself and her family in a financial mess. She took him to a clinic and boldly stated that he was not covered under medical. I’m still trying to bail myself out of so many financial messes because my wife chose to extort monies to pay for her son’s rent, cell phone, etc. etc. I live in fear wondering when her son will guilt trip into something else. I haven’t seen in 4 years, but just want to slap him once in his face. If he were my son, I would not have babied. Cyndi is right! This is really an epidemic. My psychologist told me that most of it is parenting or lack of being stern and providing consequences. My stepson never had any of that. Many parents today have no clue what their children are doing and whom they associate with. We can’t be with them 24×7, but in my case, I noticed many signs that my wife did not aggressively attend to. My role as stepfather was not to help guide her son. I’m simply a bank account and it’s very frustrating to see that my 25 yr old stepson is doing nothing with his life. So, in many cases, it is the parents that are to blame. Not that the parents purposely wanted such outcomes, but because they were too soft in their reaction and in handling the changes in their teens. We can’t be whimps and that to me is one of the biggest reasons why children turn to drugs. Stay strong and put your foot down! All my best to all of you. You should be very proud for your accomplishments!

Shelia says:
October 30th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

every single word of this could have been written by my husband, including michaelangelo. how our hearts are breaking today. we have been telling ourselves so much of this over the past year and even more so in the past 3 has taken us 10 yrs to reach this point of realization; that we are enablers in allowing him to stay in our home and providing all his needs.thinking at least if he is here we no he is alive. but the breaking point has come. no more lying and stealing will be tolerated. and as i say this i’m thinking, it’s 32 degrees outside, where will he go he has no one else, no job, no money, nothing. how as a parent can we get through the threshold we need to cross….the pain is so great….god help us.

Karen says:
October 31st, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Shelia…….. we all must realize we are not helping them but hurting them. By givivng them all they need and want we are actually helping them die, they must learn somehow to move forward and live their lifes. One very important thing that I have learned is to never deny an addict of his own pain. I say all of this while my son is incarcerated for 60 more days, he WILL be on the streets after that and YES, it scares me to death, but they can NOT be trusted. I feel your pain deeply, I have lived it for six years. did Not cause their addiction, and we can NOT cure it, no matter how badly we want to. please take care and maybe even think about some counseling for yourself, it has helped me. I have been used, stolen from and manipulated beyond believe and WILL not allow it anymore as much as I love him, I can no longer be his enabler. We have lifes to live to and I no longer want to be a part of my son’s destructive journey anymore than necessary. God bless you and our addicts…… PLEASE

Ron Grover says:
October 31st, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Dear Sheila,

I am so sorry for your circumstances and heartache. When I say that I know how you feel it is from experience.

As I read your comment it is clear you are at your “breaking point”. The struggle for you is what do we do and how do we do it. My suggestion is before you do anything in anger and frustration, of which I made many mistakes in taking action during those times I would carefully sit down, you and your husband and map out your boundaries. Throwing him out into the world and cold will not be satisfying for you or effective for your son. I threw my son out several times in anger. Fed up with the stealing, lying and drugs and I would yell, GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE. To what? We found him once living in our garden shed after I threw him out. He couch surfed to other addicts. He slept in his truck. Nothing was effective for either side. He didn’t get it and we did not sleep better at night.

Finally as my wife and began setting clear boundaries it helped us. With the actions we took we could really feel we were doing best for us and him. For instance, just like a landlord. “You cannot live here any longer because our values include living a life of honor. You seem to not be able to do that so we are formally giving you 2 weeks notice to find another place to live. If you need a ride to interview at a clean living facility, rehab, homeless shelter or the Salvation Army we would be happy to assist but you can no longer live here. You are welcome to visit only if you are working an active recovery program.” When we had that talk it was not one of anger or one that came after the proverbial straw and camel. It was after my wife and I finally decided that our life was just as important as his. That’s hard for a parent to realize.

“how as a parent can we get through the threshold we need to cross….the pain is so great”

There is not an easy answer. There is no easy methodology but if you love your son and I mean really love him you will do what it takes to help him. That dosen’t mean provide for his drug use. It means you will do what you have to do and fully realize that no matter how much you love him he needs more help than you can provide. Some of that help comes from others but most of it comes from him. He must be placed in a situation where a he has a profound experience that drugs do not have to control his life and he does hold the key but it will be hard and painful for him. My son once told me the only thing worse and harder than be addicted is quitting.

Feel free to look at our personal blog. Our son has been clean for over 1 year. If you go back in our blog to July 2010 and read backwards you can see just how bad it was for us too. Our personal bog is more of a day to day journal of parenting an addict.

There are many resources to explore, Nar-Anon, counselors, the Partnership help line 1-855-DRUGFREE. Seek out the assistance you need there is no reason to go through this alone.

Feel free to write any time.

Greg says:
November 7th, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Our son has been using drugs (pot, opiates, others?) since he was in high school. Two years ago he seemed to realize that he had hit rock bottom. He got himself cleaned up on his own enlisted in the Navy. His aptitude score was off the chart and he qualified for the nuclear power program, one of the most challenging programs in the Navy. He was doing great in the Navy, complete change in personality and behavior, we thought he had come back from the brink and things were looking good, his mother and I were ecstatic. He called his mom yesterday to say that he had been implicated (never failed a drug test) for drug use and admited that he had infact been using. Navy has zero tolerance, he is being discharged and now has nothing. My first response was he is not comming home then my wife and I began to believe if he was home we could offer some help. However, I am now convienced that comming home would be a bad idea. He has no money, no car, no job, no place to live, I don’t know if I can really come to grips with just cutting him loose. However, he says that he has to take care of this on his own, nobody else can do it for him. We were devistated when he told us what was going on and we are scared to death of what is ahead of us. This website has already been a big help.

Martha, God loves you and him says:
November 8th, 2011 at 11:41 am

I hurt every day. A single parent. It’s extremely hard. My siblings on numerous occasions have stepped in to support me in times of crisis with my son. I’m grateful for them doing that…but often, I feel alone. I don’t have a close relationship with them. Why am I writing this…i don’t know.Nut I think support is important. I am embarrassed by the things my son has done, doing. Name in the paper. How are people looking at me? I go to Alonan. But I wished someone would just call me. Ask me how I’m doing. I wished my family would call and not get weary of the situation. I love my son. But I refuse to allow him to make me feel guilty anymore. I made some mistakes but I have repented. Sometimes, I don’t know how to pray anymore. No one can understand the anguish and confusion that a parent goes through unless they are going through it, especially a single parent. I am angry at the fact that my son thinks everyone is supposed to feel sorry for him. No repentence for the wrong he did. I don’t how im supposed to act sometimes. There is no manual for this. God knows all before, during and after…but what I really wished is that i had, is for someone to be of support. God bless.

Karen says:
November 8th, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Saw my son yesterday in jail………. he was very negative and unsure of everything. He told me “you can no longer hold my hand, Ma”. I knew this already but hearing it from him was strange for me, at first I could feel my emotions getting involved, but I immediately put up “my wall” and when the visit came to an end and I had thought about what was said, I felt kinda free….. I felt that he, himself had finally “granted” me the permission I needed to let him go
such simple words seemed to give me some much needed strength…………..Hope i can continue on with this feeling. this battle within is tough,,,, I need to stay tougher than it.

Karen says:
November 10th, 2011 at 12:00 am

OUR addicts ARE sick, they have a disease… a contagious one, and they WILL make us sick as well if we allow it. Just a little something I learned that I thought I would share. prayers to all involved.

Karen says:
November 10th, 2011 at 10:44 pm

hmmmmmmm.. the jail my son is in just had a 22 year old inmate death. drug overdose!!! Dear God….. help these addicts PLEASE….. or shall I say please help them to help themselves.

Ron Grover says:
November 11th, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Dear Martha,

Dear Martha,

Thank you for your comment to my essay on The Partnership at website.

First of all, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There are many of us out here that have walked the path you are on now. You do not have to shoulder this alone. You are right to go to Nar-Anon meetings. There is help at meetings. If your group doesn’t meet your needs seek out other groups. There are areas on The Partnership website for you to share your issues and concerns. There are professionals available on the Parent Helpline 1-855-DRUGFREE .

Martha, you are not alone.

I’ve been there too. I am known in my community by many people. I was a small time politician, school board, I ran bond campaigns for the school district, active in our schools and in youth sports. My son’s name came out in the local paper for the crimes he committed in his desperation to get drugs while he was addicted. None of that matters. Your son is suffering from a disease and we all know those things are symptoms of the disease, not the values you spent your life instilling in him.

If you need to talk to someone, feel free to write any time.

You may want to read my personal blog. It is more of a journal of day to day parenting an addict. In addition there links to many other blogs written by parents of an addict. Link to them and see you are not alone and there are people that understand where you are right now.

Ron Grover

Steve Lentz says:
November 15th, 2011 at 8:30 am

I fully understand what you’re saying.. & in the flesh, if that’s all there was to turn to, then yes.. you’ve got it all figured out !! But let me at least express my view & what I’ve seen. I’ve seen drug addicts & I mean full blown 10 & 15 year addicts completely healed in an instant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Instantly !!! Today I can tell you of many Alcoholics & Drug Addicts who are completely healed of these awful addictions & they were healed instantly by Jesus Christ. Please believe that Jesus is the answer. The Holy Spirit will come into your life & heal you instantly !! I know that this is not very popular & will probably get a lot of negative feed back. But I’ve lived it, I see it everyday,& I pray that anyone who want to be saved & free from addictions, turn to Jesus Christ & give your life to him & in return he’ll send his Holy Spirit to cleanse you head to toe & not only will you be healed.. you’ll be saved !! Ready for the Lord’s return to take us home !!

kerstin says:
November 16th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

So true and so very painful. It breaks my heart every day.
All of what you wrote is happening to our son. Currently in jail, again. He was such a bright kid, so smart and happy. Now I do not reckognize him. He is very hateful and
bitter. All sorts of mental problem, brought on by his drug use. It is a nightmare. I have to disassociate from all this, act like this is not happening as otherwise I cannot function for all the heartbreak involved.
Anyway, thank you. You reminded me of the reality. I feel so bad, like I am a terrible mother and I wreck my brain that there must be something I can do. Never a solution. Only waiting. For a miracle.

1lovingmom says:
November 20th, 2011 at 2:55 am


Thank you for your article. It brought me much needed support. I brought my 28 year old son to a homeless shelter today. I am heart broken. He has been there before after years of crack and heroin use and although he has lived with me for the last two years, I can not longer trust him and my own happiness and energy has been depleted trying to help and reason with him. As you said.. I love him i just cant stand his ways.

May God bless each and everyone of us who hurt inside and may God bless those who suffer from addiction. We all suffer from addiction in one way or another.

Thank you for your letter. It offered me much needed support on a very difficult day.


Leslie says:
November 21st, 2011 at 2:02 am

My son came by a few minutes ago. He has a black eye and a busted nose. Seems three guys came into his apt. with a gun, one beat him, one held the gun, and the other sat there and watched. They thought he had money because he has sold pot before, maybe currently. Of course, he says not. Says he is not addicted. So, his one of his roommates is mad (understandably) and my son is going to stay here a while. These thugs now have his license, along with a key to my house. I have a younger son, 16. We are trying to figure out how to fix the doors (just in case) so noone can come in. Even as I write this, I know how totally insane I must be. I cannot risk my youngest son. But I am sick at the thought of telling my “addict” that he will have to find another place to stay. He has been coming by about once a week to spend the night. He never officially moved out, but has referenced an apt. he has with friends. Temporarily, ignorance really is bliss. Just the tiniest bit of time not worrying, crying, trying to save someone who does not believe they need saving, there is absolutely nothing wrong, everybody does it,I would be so surprised to know the people who use, blah, blah, blah. I read all the posts, and I’ve been told the best thing I can do for him is make him leave. I get the whole responsibility thing, him being responsible for his choices, especially me not paying the consequences for his decisions. I just can’t get past how making him leave is going to help him. I know it in my head, but I can’t get it down to my heart. I sometimes wish I could move to get away from it, but I know that’s not the answer,even if I could move. No support I understand from the other parent. Everyone thinks it’s just a “he needs to quit.” DUH! Of course he should quit. Wow, what earth-shattering news. It gets so tiresome. And all the idiots out there who unknowingly condone and reinforce the addiction with their uninformed, careless comments. I guess only people who live with and have been hurt so much could be stung by such. They definitely do not mean any harm, I am just so very tired. And I know it doesn’t matter what anyone says or does. Outsiders just do not have a clue how totally awful this is, how consuming and endless. Thanks for listening and having this site.

Sad4Family says:
November 25th, 2011 at 1:19 am


Thank you for your article- I’ll be printing it out and giving it to my parents. My brother’s addiction has been tormenting our family for over a decade now and they have continued to “help” him at every turn, always with some excuse. He is extremely smart and has a good degree that could afford him a wonderful career, so paying expensive lawyers every time he’s gotten arrested was rationalized by saying that these charges would keep him from ever having anything to return to when he gets clean. Paying rent and utilities is justified by saying that nobody else wants him living with them because none of us can stand him. Putting gas in his car or other such things is justified by saying that, if we don’t, he may rob someone (other than us, which is what’s usually happened, resulting in our things ending up at pawn shops) and maybe even hurt someone or be hurt/killed in the process, etc. This has been going on for SO long and my parents and grandparents are totally destroyed by it and also trying to raise his young son, the mother of whom is also an addict. The poor little boy, who is so smart and sweet, has 2 drug addicted parents that don’t take care of him, and I fear for him once my grandparents and eventually parents are not around anymore. I also know that it will leave me, the remaining family member, with the responsibility of raising him. I don’t even speak to my brother anymore because I’m so infuriated with what he’s done to this family. He has totally sold them on the idea of “disease”– backed up by numerous rehab/detox facilities and counselors who have aided his belief that he can’t control this, making us constantly question “how can we take a harsh role with him and turn our backs, if he truly cannot help it?” and I still don’t have an answer for that. Ron, what do you think? Doctors have also sold my family on methadone clinics, suboxone, etc, and other extremely expensive “therapies” (yeah right) that don’t make anything better, yet they have brainwashed my family into believing he MUST have it. It hurts me so much to know that eventually, if/when he dies (he’s already been in the hospital 4x from drug overdose, and is still alive), I know I will be racked with guilt for having turned my back on him, no matter how much I know in my mind that I’m doing the best thing for myself. I wonder if the rest of my family will at least find solace in knowing they never stopped contact/help. However, my rational mind knows that this has been going on for SO long and nothing they are doing is helping. I have shut myself off to the point that I am no longer affected by him, I’m affected by seeing what my parents and grandparents are going through, and I hate this for them because they have done everything they believed was best, and I see it shaking their once-strong faith in everything they stand for, as years keep passing without God answering their prayers.

Thank you all for listening, if you read all of that.

Thank you, Ron.

Pam says:
November 26th, 2011 at 12:32 am

I happened upon your website last night. We have been dealing with our son’s drug addiction for 10 years. He has been through rehab several times, his health is terrible, and yet he still continues to use drugs to get through life. Besides us, he has had many supportive people willing to help him achieve and maintain a healthier lifestyle. He is unwilling or unable to accept responsibility for his actions and blames everything or everyone for his lot in life. Yes we are enablers, though we have gotten much better in the last few years in setting limits. The 7 truths could be written for us. We can relate to the line “my eyes can hear much better than my ears”. Our son cannot fool us anymore. I believe his end will be tragic, but know that we can’t do anything to change his path. Our hearts are broken and emotional pain is a constant in our lives.

Nicole says:
November 27th, 2011 at 3:26 am

My 18 year old son is in jail. He shoplifted from two stores…mostly food, cigarrettes and some other items. I am in Naranon and my sponsor said not to bail him out. I listened and did not bail him out. He gets out in 12 days and my husband will not allow him back in our home. I want to take him to a rehab place but I am told not to offer unless he says he wants help. I can’t imagine how awful it must be for him. I am feeling terrible guilt. But I know he has to want to get better…we have offered two detoxes with outpatient, therapy and meetings. After second detox we laid down some hard and fast rules and he said he couldn’t live here anymore. So he left with his cell phone and car and for 6 weeks has been couch surfing, living in his car, selling drugs…until the jail phone call last week. I know he will want to come home when he gets out of jail but I have been told that he will steal from us…he has already and he owes us for stealing my husbands truck in the middle of the night and doing $2500.00 worth of damage to another car. We paid the people off but we refuse to help him monetarily and now he has nothing. There are a couple free rescue mission/rehab places he could go. Tomorrow we go to visit him in jail. I am trying to do what others have suggested who have gone before me….but it is really hard.

Chris says:
November 28th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

I have spent the last four years enabling my son. I have given him money, paid for things, paid his rent (after having to have him leave because he could not stay clean, non-violent, respectful or in school while living in my home). I have gone into such serious debt trying to keep him alive… and keep him from mentally abusing me, harassing me for money, food, help. I have nothing left. No money, no strength. There is no one to help. I am terrified about what will happen in a few days when I don’t have the money to pay his rent for him again. I want him to be okay… but I’m broken.

Anis says:
November 29th, 2011 at 2:11 am

I have (had) a boyfriend for 6 years, we lived together for over 2 years.
I finally had to leave because of many reasons. I tried stopping him from being an enabler, but we had fights about it all the time, because he’ll say things like: He is MY son, or, she is My daughter:…unfortunately, they both are heavy into it. I left because I had to protect MY kids almost 16 (boy) and 12 and half daughter, that have heard our fights over and over and that have seen his kids all messed up…His son totally disrespected me, and stole from me (not sure who exactly) so many things, jewelery, I pod, X box, the Wii, MONEY, CHECKS…………like you said, they need to help themselves, but when is it going to stop?????Their dad recently found out that his daughter is shooting, and he’s devistated….What do I do???

Ron Grover says:
November 30th, 2011 at 2:46 am

Dear Chris,

You may be broke but your are not broken. Broken people would not be on The Partnership website looking for answers and advice.

You must not be scared of doing the right thing. Parents enable and until we learn that and how to stop our addicted children stand no chance against this disease. I never understood what enabling did until I grasp the concept that every time I enabled it was the same as if I bought the heroin and pushed the needle in my sons arm with my own hand. I would NEVER buy the drugs and shoot him up so why would I enable him to do it to himself.

You know what you are doing to enable his addiction. You must learn what to do to stop. Yes, it will be painful you and your son. He will be angry, threaten, manipulate. Those are symptoms of the disease. If you stop enabling the disease it doesn’t mean you stopped loving your son. It means you love him more. It is easy to enable his addiction and you actually feel good doing it. This will be hurtful and you and him.

Feel free to write any time.

Ron Grover

Ron Grover says:
November 30th, 2011 at 2:49 am

Dear Pam,

I know your heartache but always remember. Where there is life there is hope.

Our son spent 7 years in active addiction. In the end he was a heroin addict and was speedballing. We had come to the conclusion that would probably be his killer. In July 2010 our son had a profound experience and has been clear and sober since. Where there is life there is hope.

They may seem like hollow words but you must take care of yourself first.

If you want to read more about our life as parents of an addict feel free to look at our personal blog. It is more of a day to day experieince of parenting an addict. Prior to July 2010 our son was in active addiction. Since that time up until now it is more about supporting his recovery.

Wishing you well. Feel free to write any time.

Ron Grover

Ron Grover says:
November 30th, 2011 at 2:52 am

Dear Sad4Family,

Yes Sad, I read every word, more than once. You put a lot into your comment and I want to try to answer you the best I can.

As you know and are frustrated with there isn’t really a whole lot you can do about your brother or your parents. The words may seem hollow but the truth is you must take care of yourself first.

It took me 5 years before I was able to accept the disease model of addiction. But there is nothing about this disease that says you must “enable the disease”. From your letter it sounds like your parents are enabling the disease not supporting your brother. If they were in reality supporting your brother their behavior would be drastically changed. How I learned the difference was a realization that while I was enabling my son it was the same as me buying the heroin and pushing the needle into his arm with my own hand. The reality is when you enable that IS what you are doing. I came to the conclusion, my son may die from his addiction but it wasn’t going to be from me buying and injecting the drugs. If he was going to kill himself using drugs he had to do it on his own.

When your brother wants it bad enough he will stop. Reality, sounds like he has it pretty good right now as an addict. Food, shelter and transportation as long as he CONTINUES to use. Am I right?

There is a lot I want to say but Truth #5. Other Don’t Want Him Around. It is OK for you. You get to make a choice.

Feel free to read our personal blog. It is about parenting an addict. More of the day to day struggles. My son has been clear and sober since July 2010. If you read before that point you can see our struggles parenting and learning how NOT to enable and suffer the consequences. In addition there are many other parent blogs linked to mine. Maybe it will help and you can share with your parents.

I wish you well and strength. Feel free to write any time.

Ron Grover

Ron Grover says:
November 30th, 2011 at 3:06 am

Dear Nicole,

Thank you for your comment to my essay posted on The Partnership at website.

I understand completely your frustration and concern for your son. Truthfully I agree 100% with your plan. Rehab seldom works until they are ready and they reach the point of asking for help and the plea can’t be just to escape trouble. Your son must have a profound experience before the need to change becomes stronger than the need to use.

Sounds like you have set a clear boundary and I wish you the strength to do what you must do. Living with you he has violated your rules and you do not have to settle for that. He must be shown his actions have consequences. That isn’t being mean, it’s just dealing with the disease on its terms. Yes, there are shelters and places for your son to stay. No they are not comfortable and he will find many of them will not accept him if he continues to use. Living on the street and in his car is so fun or comfortable after a couple of days.This is his choice not yours. He knows what he must do, he just as to get up the determination to do the work. Couch surfing and mouching off friends can only last so long. They will get tired of his crap too.

I wish you luck and strength. Feel free to write any time.

Ron Grover

Sherry says:
November 30th, 2011 at 6:39 am

Please help me. I don’t know what to do,even for myself anymore. I can’t even talk about it, too much to type and I swear I just don’t feel like I have the energy to do it. My almost 29 year old addict son has almost drained the life out of me, literally. I’m lost. Truly lost.

Ron Grover says:
November 30th, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Dear Sherry,

Please don’t feel so alone, there is help. Call The Partnership free Helpline, 1-855-DRUGFREE

There are professionals on staff M-F from 10-4. This is not a crisis line but a parent help line.

ohmygodewww says:
November 30th, 2011 at 11:56 pm

I recently found out my daughter, 14 has been smoking pot. I am a recovering addict and for me this is devastating. She wrote a blog about it and it has given me some insight to what’s going on in her head, however I am better at being the addict rather then being the enabling parent. I realize this is the start of a VERY long journey…

You can see her blog here (, if you want a peek into a teens mind and rationale about doing drugs.

Kristy says:
December 4th, 2011 at 12:29 am

My son is 22 years old. He is an addict. He uses loratabs, zanax, and whatever else he can get his hands on. I want to believe that he is sober, I know he is not. I asked him to take a drug test but he refused. I feel so horrible today. A man knocked on my door this morning and said my son sold him a xbox that does not work. I then noticed that my 9 year old sons xbox was missing cords, etc. At this point I am unsure if it is really the one I bought. I confronted my son and asked where the cords were and how this is a boundary issue. He became very angry and said he was going to just move out. I asked for the keys to my house. He punched our entertainment center, threw his phone, and stormed out of my house. I have been in denial for such a long time and I really want to help my son. I did call a rehab center and they gave me advice; stop enabling him, take your house keys away… so I decided today was the day. This is the hardest moment of my entire life….so far! I want him to be safe, not hungry, and loved. I know this is “tough love” and is it ever “tough”. I can only pray for his life; I can replace the xbox and other things he has stolen. I cannot replace him. I am so very sad and broken hearted right now! I hope that others who have to walk this journey and feel this pain find some peace somewhere for I am searching hard to find it… God Bless!!

Madeline says:
December 4th, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I have a 38 year old son who is incarcerated for the second time with a court date tomorrow. I have read the book “Don’t Let your Kids Kill You” which was a life saver for me. I do not enable my son. His sister does not enable him. He is a college graduate, was just fired from an excellent job, and can charm his way into anything.

Not to be callous, but I can’t live his life. I got him through Cub Scouts, Soccer, et al. I saw to his financial aid in college and he worked and graduated with a super grade point. All of this does not matter when it comes to addiction. His father is an alcoholic whom I divorced 30 years ago. I like my life now with my daughter, her husband, and my beautiful grandchildren.
He is not part of it. I have not enabled him to the best of my knowledge. I did get a phone call collect from jail wanting to apologize to me. This does not fix anything. He hung up before I could get my credit card. Thank God.

I love him. I don’t like him. I have friends that ask me if I’m going to bail him out and do all this stuff for him to help. They don’t have a clue that it won’t help. They think I’m cruel and hard-hearted. He is 38 years old. This is his problem. He got himself into this….he can darn well fix it himself. He takes great pleasure when he thinks he’s made me miserable. We haven’t spoken since the last time he got out of jail. I hope they keep him there for awhile. Then I know he won’t be bugging me. I don’t believe anything he says. He’s on his own. But I do dread the “phone call.” In the meantime, I have a life to live….and Christmas shopping to do…..and parties to go to.

I’m not stupid.

Pam says:
December 5th, 2011 at 3:04 am

Hi Ron: thanks for replying to my e-mail. Just to give you some further info on our son, and the circumstances we are faced with: our son is addicted to drugs such as morphine, oxycontin or any drug that will put him in lala land and make him forget his troubles. He will swallow or inject. He has been to rehab several times. When we finally asked him to leave our house, we found huge quantities of needles hidden all over the house, not to mention many precious heirlooms and other things he stole from our house. Right now he is living on social assistance for a medical disability, ie. he has active Hep C and was in hospital for a blood clot disorder as well. His Hep C is serious with an enlarged spleen and evidence of serious cirrhosis. When he gets his cheque for the month, food and busfare are not priorities and when he runs out of money he phones us begging to bring him food, etc. When he has come over, he has stolen from us, and so we do not allow him in our house. His sister wants nothing to do with him. He called us a couple of days ago and told us he had been vomiting black bile, so we went over there to see if we could take him to the hospital and he refused to go, but wanted us to buy him Advil for a migraine. We told him we wouldn’t do that but if he felt he needed to go to Emergency, that we would take him. Two weeks ago we took groceries to him and I found needles in his apartment (yes I was snooping). That was the night I went home and read your article. Reading it has been like a lightbulb going off for us. We made a decision that we would no longer ask him questions or snoop, because it just caused us pain, and because he always lies anyway. We no longer engage in any negative conversations. We just simply tell him that we love him and hope he will take care of himself. We wish we could believe that somehow he will want to make his life better, but feel that it is too late.

Eva says:
December 6th, 2011 at 1:50 am

Just found this blog tonight. My 22 yo heroin/cocain addicted son just called to say he has called a rehab and confirmed himself a spot. For the cost of airfare I will send him for the 2nd time in 4 months because its the first time he has asked for help.

His addiction – in 4 months I have learned words I never knew before, like IOP, suboxone, 12 step. He has been an abuser since he was 17. I lived in the same house as this young man and never knew a thing, was he that good at lying or was I just that blind and trusting?

I didn’t know things could spiral so quickly. In 4 months he has stolen all my jewlery, over $6,000 cash, a full set of silver that was my grandmothers and my car, at least twice. He was kicked out of our house and I filed a police report for the theft. Even if this rehab is succesful, he will need to address this warrant when he returns.

Letting go —I know what it means and 80% of the time I can, its the other 20% when I find myself suddenly crying in the shower that I still struggle, just like so many of you.

Thank you all for your stories, it is a sense of comfort to know I am not alone.

Karen says:
December 6th, 2011 at 11:56 pm

My son will be getting out of jail in about a week and a half…..homeless, on the streets once again. on probation for 2 years, he messes up he automatically goes to prison for at least 3 years. visited him last night and there is every indication that he will not make it. (I have been on this journey for quite some time now and see the signs very clearly, unfortunately). Terrible thing to be waiting for, your own son to hurry up and mess up and go to prison, so you can have some sense of relief.Will this heartbreaking, devastating nightmare ever end…………..????????

LitlGrADuck says:
December 12th, 2011 at 4:44 pm

You were so right and I was so wrong.

Cynthia Smyth says:
December 16th, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I found this site looking for ways to get my son the addict to stay away from my 81 year old mother. She is a push over and buys into all his crap. I’ve been down this road with her before with 3 of my brothers (2 now deceased), a nephew and a niece. Now it’s my own kid so I feel guilty and even more helpless.
My sister and I have tried everything, said everything until our faces are blue but she will still let him back into her tiny apartment because “Gram, it’s cold and I have no where to go”. He stayed there last night after I positively ID’d him using the debit card he stole from her!
When I threw my oldest brother out of her place and showed her the 3 crack pipes, the burnt spoon, a needle and lots of tiny bags, she finally didn’t let him back in but continued to give him money, food, cigarettes. This went on until I literally put her in my car and drove her 500 miles to my sister’s home and left her there for 2 months. He is now in a nursing home and she still visit’s him occasionally.
My son was sentenced to 3-6 years in prison. he was released at his minimum but was back in within 6 months. He lasted nearly a year after his second released. Now he has maxed out with no parole or probation. Before I could call his PO, now I have no recourse but to sit and pray I don’t have to ID his body. Better in prison than in a casket.
I cannot be at Mom’s dorrstep 24/7 to protect her from him. What am I supposed to do?

SadSingleParent says:
December 20th, 2011 at 8:03 am

It is so difficult to go through. As a single parent with no family I tried my best. It is hard, the lying, stealing, and the grief. It is so hard to go on sometimes but I know I have to. I used to look forward to going to work. It is so difficult now. Thank you all for posting here.

SadSingleParent says:
December 23rd, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Especially at this time of year this is very hard for me. If you can will you send a thought and prayer for my son? I will be sending thoughts and prayers to all of you also. God bless all of you and your families.

SadSingleParent says:
December 23rd, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I would like to add that I was in denial, always believing in my son and trying to think that everything was okay, but it wasn’t. I’m going to get the funds together for rehab for my son. Please pray that everything falls into place. I have been far from a great parent but have always been there. Thank you all.

Karen says:
December 24th, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Merry Christmas and May God bless us all at this wonderful time of year.

Mbreezer says:
December 24th, 2011 at 10:09 pm

I have a 30 year old son who is an alcoholic and a crack addict. He has caused much grief for my husband and myself as well as his siblings and his children. He has stolen and caused great financial expense – for the past 6 years. I thought that things had started to level out for the rest of us after situations that happened a few months ago that caused a complete break in relationships – until today, Christmas Eve, when he calls regarding needing a place to stay. It’s Christmas Eve. I say no, my husband is so torn. And the worst part is that it is most likely a 100% chance that my addict son doesn’t care about anything but his own current need. Not even his children. And so here we are with the pleasure of having him come back into your life – or try to – whenever he wants and rip your peace to shreds with one call.

susan says:
December 25th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I hear and feel everyone’s pain. It is a tough road that I never in my wildest imagination though I would ever have to go through. It has been 4 years and my son is 22, I keep hoping and praying for a miracle, but am continuously dissapointed. No one in my family has been through something like this and no one is ever equipped to handle it! His father is in the end stages of alcoholism-I thought I alone would be enough of a role model and also his step father, but having an alcoholic parent does a real number on the kids. Never give up but live your life first!

Kerstin says:
December 28th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

It is Christmas and I have no idea where our 22 year old son
Michael is, what he is doing, wether he is still alive or not. He is somewhere out in the streets of California, high and mentally unbalanced through his drug use. He was an honor student and in the Honor Society in his High School, almost won the Spelling Bee of the region. Last time I saw him he could hardly hold a conversation. “Give me some money!”, that was all he could mumble. He threw me out of the apartment at 10 p.m., when I was not fortcoming to his demands. He told me I was on my death bed with him! He stole from us, abused us, and called us terrible names.
So we left America and went back to live in Europe, where I am from. We moved on with our lives, because really his bevavior will kill me one way or the other. I cry every day and pray to God to make a change in our sons life.
Thank you for this web page, it makes me feel less alone in this struggle. Really, we all need a miracle.

Suzanne says:
January 2nd, 2012 at 5:40 pm


A world where loyality is defined by keeping secrets for you, pretending to believe your lies, allowing you to abuse others and when the objects of your wrath (yes, we are “objects” to you) dare to defend themselves or continue to try and help you, you bury them deeper.

A world where the truth is BAD and love is defined by squashing those who try to stop you, while embracing the very thing that has caused you to do that.

A world where denial is your friend because it can’t talk back.

A world where you silence anything that is REAL by viciously attacking it.

A cycle where you do horrible things to yourself and others. You feel so bad about what you are doing, so you use more to numb that pain

A world where your life is slipping away, you are burying yourself alive and those who love you are expected to throw more dirt on top of you (or have to keep silent while you swallow more dirt).

A world turned upside down, inside out, spinning out of control into the darkness.

We try to rationalize with you, try to explain the reasonable, state the obvious. And we wonder WHY ISN’T THIS WORKING???

And then one day our eyes open and we realize that we can’t fight something unreasonable, something irrational because it can’t hear us. It lives in a different “world” with different rules.

And WE surrender. And WE begin to live. And WE begin to thank God for allowing US to finally see. And we go on…

Bruce says:
January 3rd, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Thanks for the great reading material. My 25 year old son just went to detox this morning, rehab to follow. He uses pain pills, booze and coke, and last night fell down the exterior stairs at his apartment. He split his head open and said he could see his skull. Over 30 stitches later, he chose to call for help with his addiction. He called my wife, who called his town AA Intergroup and initiated a 12 step call. This is his second round, the first time, we forced him to go after he fell off the roof and landed on his chin. Evidently, losing a testicle, having two 10 hour surgeries to reconstruct his face, and having lost most of his teeth, was not his “bottom”. He has also been beaten up twice, both resulting in ER trips, probably in either drug related fights, or just drunkeness.

I’m distraught that he is suffering, want so much to run to him (he lives in another state), but I will not. I know that he must do this himself and that this will take people with qualifications to show him the path. I really liked the train track reference above. He will probably lose his job, we have no idea how he’ll pay for rehab, but for this moment, we are living in just this moment.

So I’m terribly sad, but also grateful that he is taking this step and prayerful that it works this time. There is a reason why he is still alive.

Christine Bacci says:
January 9th, 2012 at 10:48 am

I went shopping this afternoon and actually did a little dance in the car park, my daughter after being 2 years clean decided before Christmas that drugs would re enter her life, not thinking that they would also enter ours (sisters, father, mother, grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins and friends). After the tears and the sleepless nights, this afternoon something just clicked. I want a good life with my husband, family and friends I have so much to live for I have so many dreams and so many places I want to see and so much more that I want to achieve with my career. My daughter through her addiction has taken 8 years of my life, I will not let her take any more, I wish her all the very best with her choices and hope she has a wonderful life whatever it will be, but I am done with the worry the heartache I have loved you and have been the best mother I knew how to be, I wish you well my darling, I will always love you but I have to let you go.

Dianne says:
January 11th, 2012 at 7:58 pm

I had my suspsions for about a year that my daughter was doing drugs. When my daugher was 10 months old she had a liver transplant then at 15 she needed a kidney transplant. So as a result of her medical conditions, I did just about everything for her, until two years ago when I started to let her go on her own; she is now 21. This past summer she rejected her liver for the first time; she told me it was because she was not taking her medication properly. I believed her at face value, but always watched from some sign. She was told that her liver would not survive another rejection and that she would not get another transplant. I thought this is it she finally gets it. Well a month or so ago, she started seeing this person, who has a lot of bad baggage. He has been convicted several times for selling drugs, has had his parole revoked for testing positive to opiates amoung otherthings. My daugher is in college and when I found out what this person was like I told her and she says he is clean now. I know that is not true. My daughter started stealing things out of my house to give to him and now she lives with him. I know she is using drugs, not sure which ones. So unlike all the other parents’ in this article I do not have time on my side. So I stopped enabling her and shut down her cell phone and I no longer pay for college, which I am not sure if she is still enrolled. My daugher is living in a trailer that does not have a fridge or stove. It hurts to know that she wants this kind of life for herself. I pray everyday that she gets picked up by police and be forced into rehab before it is too late. It also makes me angry to know how hard I fought for years to save her life and she is destroying it.

Pat says:
January 16th, 2012 at 8:43 am


Thank you so much for this web site. I’m going to a local Al-Anon meeting this week – for the first time – but am struggling so much tonight that I can’t sleep. My 32-year-old alcoholic son basically threatened to end his life tonight, implying that it would be my fault because I wouldn’t buy him a bus ticket to a friend’s house in another state where he allegedly has a place to stay and can get a job. He (again I say allegedly) is stranded about 8 hours’ from me on the interstate after having been kicked out of a girlfriend’s house by her husband (he thought she was divorced, if you can believe that). He says he only has enough money for one more meal and slept under an interstate overpass last night. I could spend a lot more time explaining how he got to that point, but this is just one of many examples of how crazy and chaotic his life gets, and guess who always get the call to “help” him?

Anyway, reading every single entry helped. My son is a good-looking, charming, deceitful alcoholic who has struggled with his disease since he was about 15 and been to rehab five or six times since then, most recently last summer. I have made so many mistakes, making so many excuses for him over the years. It is amazing how well he has learned how to manipulate me and others to the point where he has been able to live with one relative or friend(including me) after another, making one excuse after another as to why he just can’t get to AA meetings, can’t get a job (or why he was fired from one). Meanwhile, he drinks every chance he gets, “stealing” alcohol from family and friends when he has no money. He has had one DUI with no jail time, probation now almost over and rehab last summer as I said, but started drinking a month or so after rehab.

With the help of my second husband and some wonderful new friends, I have become stronger, but still made the mistake of answering the phone when he called tonight. I say “mistake,” because even though I am now able to refuse him money, I still haven’t learned to handle conversations with him: I tend to listen while he goes on and on, trying to convince me of this and that, then raging at me when I won’t help him.

Tonight wasn’t the first time that he threatened (or more like insinuated) suicide, but it was the first time I ever hung up on him. Actually, I had already told him I was going to get off the phone (My husband was trying to coach me from the sidelines, trying to be helpful), and it was after I told him I would hang up that he said it would be the end for him and said, “See you in Heaven.” Now, of course, I feel guilty and inept for not being able to respond in a better way, something to the tune of, “I love you, son, and will be horribly sad if you chose to do that.”

I am so exhausted, frightened and feel so guilty (whether I should or not)and sick to my stomach right now. My son can no longer stay at my home or with other elatives as the whole family is now working together and we are all telling him the same thing: get to a Salvation Army Shelter, an AA meeting,etc. But he says he hasn’t had a drink in a week now and “just” needs a bus ticket so he can have a place to stay and a job.

SO. I am trying to block him out and focus on me now (not to mention my wonderful, long suffering husband). I do know that I need help (and WILL be going to Al-Anon), but I also know that prayer truly makes a difference. I am not particularly religious and do not attend any church, but that doesn’t matter and I encourage the rest of you parents to give it a try if you haven’t already.

God bless and keep us all and once again, thank you, Ron. Writing seems to be a good therapeutic tool for me, too, so maybe I’ll try this again!

Don says:
January 17th, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I read this today and read many of the comments including this one: “Ron Grover says: November 13th, 2009 at 5:01 pm
Kattfish, Elizabth,I sorry you have your own qualifiers to enter this club known as “Parents of and Addict”. Both of you sound like you have many heartaches and stories to share but you appear to be ready to take the next steps and enter a place with your son’s where you are more healthy. That way at some point you will be stronger to help when the time is right.Be strong and know that there are many behind you and are there for you when you need it.” I focused on this one of the many follow-up comments because this one was written on the date that my son died of an overdose. While most of it is true, I would have to say that this 26 months later, I have concluded that concepts like “detachment” are inconsistent with compassion, which leads to improved readiness of offering rehab when the person relapses. I am sorry that I learned to detach and that my son learned to detach. I know that in our situation that there is a much greater outcome that our son would be here today if we didn’t learn about those things taught my many programs. What we need to learn is how to be vigilantly compassionate without enabling. This is different than detaching. Am I healthier now than when my son was alive? No.

Karen says:
February 9th, 2012 at 11:44 pm

being the mother of an addict…… I have to say it really sucks to feel that calm before the storm feeling, AGAIN!!!!!!!!

Tommy says:
February 15th, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I just picked up my 18 year old (daughter’s) car. All she has left is the cell phone that I provide for her. That too will go away in a couple of weeks. She lives in a ghetto setting now. She was once a excellant dancer on the high school dance team. She is pretty and popular. She danced since she was 2 years old. She went to church with our family for most of her life. That is all gone now. This is the hardest, most difficult thing I’ve every faced. I in and out of Iraq and her actions scar me more than any war zone I have been in. Everything I have read here is accurate. She needs a miracle – I am taking care of myself in preparation for her return to sanity.

Pat says:
February 17th, 2012 at 5:47 am

Your words really helped put things back into focus tonight. I received a disturbing message from my son’s pregnant girlfriend that she was in the ICU unit of the hospital. I was able to contact her at the hospital but the whole situation has me so upset. I have been receiving calls and request for money from them for the last day or two, but had been detaching and not letting myself get sucked into the drama again until tonight when I got her message. I am so worried and afraid for both of them. I know in my head that neither of them will get clean unless they want to but my heart tells me that I need to fix this. I really was looking for some help when I ran across this article. I needed the reminder that I CANNOT FIX THIS. It is in God’s hands and all I can do is pray for the best and not judge. I am trying to be supportive but not enabling. It is such a hard line to follow. It has been over 10 years of battling this disease with my child, and a lifetime of living the disease as a child of an alcoholic.

February 17th, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I had my suspsions for about a year that my daughter was doing drugs. When my daugher was 10 months old she had a liver transplant then at 15 she needed a kidney transplant. So as a result of her medical conditions, I did just about everything for her, until two years ago when I started to let her go on her own; she is now 21. This past summer she rejected her liver for the first time; she told me it was because she was not taking her medication properly. I believed her at face value, but always watched from some sign. She was told that her liver would not survive another rejection and that she would not get another transplant. I thought this is it she finally gets it. Well a month or so ago, she started seeing this person, who has a lot of bad baggage. He has been convicted several times for selling drugs, has had his parole revoked for testing positive to opiates amoung otherthings. My daugher is in college and when I found out what this person was like I told her and she says he is clean now. I know that is not true. My daughter started stealing things out of my house to give to him and now she lives with him. I know she is using drugs, not sure which ones. So unlike all the other parents’ in this article I do not have time on my side. So I stopped enabling her and shut down her cell phone and I no longer pay for college, which I am not sure if she is still enrolled. My daugher is living in a trailer that does not have a fridge or stove. It hurts to know that she wants this kind of life for herself. I pray everyday that she gets picked up by police and be forced into rehab before it is too late. It also makes me angry to know how hard I fought for years to save her life and she is destroying it.

Police dont force you into rehab they force you into court and then workhouse or jail or community service. Rehab you have to go to on your own. If she has a liver that failed or kidney transplant that failed and is stealing from you most likely culprit is opiods.

Teri Shelly says:
February 18th, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Wow, thank you all for your knowledge and wisdom. I have a 22 year old son that I know has been drinking and smoking pot on a regular basis. He drinks to get drunk and he smokes pot at least 5-7 times a day. We warned him over and over again about smoking pot in our house and he continued to do so for about 1 and a half years until we told him to leave last May. He managed and stayed with his girlfriends family for over a month until he finally found a few room mates. Up until he entered grade 10 he was an over achiever. He was above his level in hockey, was the school favorite in all athletics and won a few awards along the way. He actually scared us because his life was perfect and we knew when and if he fell it would be a hard fall. It happened and he didn’t have the tools to cope with failure at any level because it wasn’t part of his vocabulary. I knew he was smoking pot from about age 17 on and drinking heavily when given the chance. He also lost his alcoholic grandfather around that time and it devastated him as they were very close. He did move out for over a year but due to financial reasons he moved back home for about a year. This is when he couldn’t follow the rules of the house and not smoke pot in his room. We knew he was doing it and I caught him many times but he would do it after my husband went to bed and when I would talk about it the next day, my husband thought I was making it up or something. I finally put my foot down and told my husband that the next time I caught our son smoking pot in his room that he was going to deal with it and I didn’t care what time of the morning that was. My husband caught on very fast that it was indeed and issue. I have suspected that our son has done more than drinking and smoking pot but I have no proof, however in the last 3 months his cell phone bills have gone from about $80 per month to over $300 per month. He has a more than adequate monthly plan but I am suspecting that he is now into selling drugs. Am I wrong to assume that his change in behavior and his cell phone bills may be another sign that things have escalated? I am pretty sure I know the answer to this but because he lies constantly he will deny, deny and deny. My husband and I have almost separated over this many times. I am the realist and my husband still thinks or still tries to believe that our son is just going through a phase. If indeed he is selling drugs, he could end up with a bullet to the head and all my husband and I have done about it is fight. I need to find out what I can do, where I can go just for some help. Many of your posts have helped me greatly and I do agree with most. I can’t make our son go for help, I can’t tie him down and throw him in a facility if he doesn’t want to be there. I already know that but how, as a family can we all be on the same page. I also have a daughter 2 years younger than our son who is just graduating from a 4 year course in Nursing. We had to look at the affect it was having on her too when he was here smoking pot in his room. They used to be very close but my daughter hardly has anything to do with him anymore because she doesn’t endorse his lifestyle. If anyone can offer up anything else please help me out here. I am going to go back and read all the posts again just in case I missed something. Thank you once again for starting this blog. I do appreciate it very much.

Ron Grover says:
February 18th, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Dear Terry,

Thank you for your comments to my 7 Truths essay on The Partnership

I read your comment and saw so much my wife and I have experienced.

It is not always possible for your husband and you to be on the same
page. My wife and I had the same issues at times. It is very important
for you both to try and understand what you are dealing with and talk.
It is hard and sometimes you may need outside help, Nar-Anon or
Al-Anon, maybe a counselor or just another parent that has been there
too helps. Your son will play you against each other and it works.
Darlene and I had some pretty big disagreements and it was shaky at
time for us too. We finally talked that addition may destroy our son
but we were determined it would not destroy over 30 years together. Our
final resolution was we worked hard to understand addition, read books,
watched videos, talked to counselors at rehabs and talked to other
parents. The we agreed that when we disagreed each of us would follow
the most conservative course. For example; throw him him out? Only if
we both agreed in our heart, if one didn’t feel deep inside it was
right, then he stayed until we were both on the same page.

The second thing I would say to you is look at boundaries. Your son has
not respect for rules. Isn’t that obvious. Rules and laws are not
respected by addiction. Making a rule he couldn’t smoke weed, drink or
use drugs in your home, how is that working. Rules are different than
boundaries. My simplest explanation is rules start with “You”,
boundaries start with “I”. You have no control over your sons actions.
You only have control over yourself. When you set boundaries for
yourself you have options. For instance, I will not live in a home
where drugs are being used illegally. If that is your boundary what are
your options, you have many. You can move, he can be evicted, you can
pay for a motel, he can go to rehab, you can choose to ignore your own
boundary. See it is about you taking back control of your life and not
letting him control you and your other children. Get the idea? I have
written more about this subject on my personal blog. Please feel free
to visit it. My personal blog is more a day to day record of parenting
and addict. Today my son is clear and sober but if you go back before
July 2010 you can see how is was during his active addiction.

Ron Grover

Rene says:
February 19th, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Ron, found your article while searching the web for some answer I think your article is great. but I just do not
what to say to nephew when he comes home from rehab. I am at a total lost for words. Do you have anything to help me
with this.

Thanks so much

Johanna Bos says:
February 22nd, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Dear Rene,
Reconnecting with family after treatment can be stressful on both ends. Your nephew may feel as if no one trusts him and feel as if he is being watched all the time. You may worry that he will slip back into his old habits and want to make sure he doesn’t. All of these feelings are normal and to be expected.If everyone can talk about what they are feeling, you nephew has a good chance of continuing on his journey towards recovery with your support.

The resources here may be helpful:

Sandy says:
February 24th, 2012 at 8:27 am

My 27 year old daughter is a drug addict. She has stolen $30,000 from me over a period of 3 months. I am tired, feel hopeless, and alone. I am tired of the stealing, lies, kicking her out, worrying about her, taking her back in, calling the police, the hospital and other authorities. I cannot remember when I last smiled. God help me..thank you for letting me vent.

Jean says:
February 25th, 2012 at 3:07 am

I haven’t written in here since May 20, 2011 because my 23 yr old drug addicted son who lives with his father and stepmom was doing well for the past 6 months until a few days ago. I introduced him to a girl who had just had foot surgery and they hit it off. I was so happy for them and about a month after they were together my son sounded high on the phone. He had stolen his girlfriend’s 8 vicodin pills and took all of them at one time and some relaxing pills. She was devastated and I told her to get him back into rehab. He got thrown out of my house last year and now he was thrown out of his father and stepmom’s house. He was told at Aurora Psychiatric Hospital where he had treatment twice before and was thrown out for abusing suboxine which aids opiate recovery that he could not go into an overnight program because insurance doesn’t pay for it it it’s opiates. How stupid is that? The kid is higher than a kite, it is Friday night and they tell him to come back next Tuesday for a daytime program. So now he moves in with his girlfriend who is scared that he might overdose before that. I was told that he could probably go into an overnight program at Rogers Hospital but he already convinced his girlfriend he will be fine until next Tuesday. I asked her if she comes home from work and finds him laying dead on her floor, how will she feel? She agrees with me that he should go in overnight, but he won’t do it now. He has her convinced with his lies he will be ok. This is the same guy who stole her medication she needed for her foot and lied to her that he was drinking. Now he has a new enabler. She loves him but it will kill him.

Suzanne says:
February 27th, 2012 at 3:04 am

My beautiful 24 year old daughter and I no longer speak. We have gone through all the typical things I am sure you have all experienced. But, after reading what Ron has written, all of these posts, I begain to understand how to let go with love. So, here’s what I have been doing every week for the past few months. I simply write a text message to her that says, “I love you Michelle.” She always responds back within seconds and says, “I love you too mom.” With that I know she knows that no matter what, I love her, and I am here when/if she chooses recovery. No matter what she is doing/has done/may continue to do, I just want her to see those simple words…

Suzanne says:
February 27th, 2012 at 4:11 am

One night a few months ago I decided to attend an Nar Anon meeting. Totally by accident I found myself in a N/A meeting instead – an open meeting. The room was VERY crowded and when it came time to introduce myself, I explained that I had accidentaly misread the schedule and asked if they would allow my to stay. I listened as the speaker talked – his story was incredible! Then, as each woman talked about their lives – prostitution, prison, near death, etc. they looked at me and I cried. They embraced me. Some had been clean for years, some for months, some were still using. But, they just seemed to gravitate toward me. One woman who had been through hell and back (lost her kids, had been a prostitute, had lost EVERYTHING) said, “I wish my mom had cared enough about me to attend one of these meetings.” We hugged hard and long. At the end of the meeting they came over to me and each and every one said, “She has to come to this on her own.” They told me to keep myself safe (from her actions – to protect my belongings, etc.) But they also reminded me to always let her know how much I love her. I knew it, but hearing it from these women sounded different. That meeting – the accident – was a beautiful moment for me. If you can ever attend an open N/A meeting I strongly suggest you go. It changed my life.

Susan says:
March 1st, 2012 at 12:31 am

I am praying for all of you please pray for me, my family and my 23 year old son too. Thank you

Linda says:
March 2nd, 2012 at 1:24 am


Thank you for sharing your truths and heartache with us. I also have an adult son who has lost his way. He is addicted to prescription drugs. I no longer can believe a word that comes out of his mouth. He has broken my heart. I still love him very much but I am feeling more and more a need to distance myself from him. I know deep down that the drugs are running his life. He is headed down and I don’t know how to stop him. My husband and I have tried everything. We thought we could fix what was wrong with him but now after several years of trying everything we can we realize that there is nothing we can do. I know he has to be the one to make the changes in his life. We know this but our hearts still ache. It helped me so much to read all the posts on this site. My heart goes out to all of you. I can say with truth I know what all of you are going through. We are not alone. May God give us all the strength we need to make it through this.

Kim says:
March 12th, 2012 at 11:13 am

Wow what a fantastic site this is, to realise there are so many parents and families out there feeling just as I do. My beautiful son who is 27 now and addicted to speed, ice and whatever else, has turned into a ranting, raving, abusive lunatic. I have only come to realise in the last few months how much I have enabled, protected, helped him along the way. It is very hard to find the strength to say no to him, but I pray each day that I will stop all the enabling.
I feel as weak as him. I cannot say no to him. Where does it all end.
Love reading all the stories, and it does give me hope.

Shannon says:
March 16th, 2012 at 1:09 am

I discovered this site tonight…as I just had my son arrested today for stealing 2 of my anniversary rings and pawning them.. this is the 2nd time I have had him arrested for stealing from me, my mom, my business, and other family members..And of course I dropped the charges last time and he only spent 4 days in jail.. That was about 4-5 months ago, since then he has stolen so much more from me, and every time I would catch him, he would be remorseful..and even pay me back in some cases, but then do it again, and again, he is 22 years ago and he is addicted to opiates.. I have cried and cried, but I know I have to stay the course this time, as bad as I feel for putting him in jail.. I also know that I may be saving his life.. I trust in God that he will bring my son back to me, I just have to pray that I can stay strong enough to commit to the “tough love” that I know is necessary now. Your 7 truths are so true and I will print them and read them everyday as I struggle with this.. My son was a also a Ninja Turtle, a Power Ranger, a Cowboy… And your so right, I still see that precious little boy. I have to be strong for him, for my other son..(he is 12) and my husband. This is by far the HARDEST thing I have EVER been through. God bless you all that are going through this!!

Shannon says:
March 16th, 2012 at 1:32 am

I discovered this site tonight…as I just had my son arrested today for stealing 2 of my anniversary rings and pawning them.. this is the 2nd time I have had him arrested for stealing from me, my mom, my business, and other family members..And of course I dropped the charges last time and he only spent 4 days in jail.. That was about 4-5 months ago, since then he has stolen so much more from me, and every time I would catch him, he would be remorseful..and even pay me back in some cases, but then do it again, and again, he is 22 years old and he is addicted to opiates.. I have cried and cried, but I know I have to stay the course this time, as bad as I feel for putting him in jail.. I also know that I may be saving his life.. I trust in God that he will bring my son back to me, I just have to pray that I can stay strong enough to commit to the “tough love” that I know is necessary now. Your 7 truths are so true and I will print them and read them everyday as I struggle with this.. My son was a also a Ninja Turtle, a Power Ranger, a Cowboy… And your so right, I still see that precious little boy. I have to be strong for him, for my other son..(he is 12) and my husband. This is by far the HARDEST thing I have EVER been through. God bless you all that are going through this!!

Karen says:
March 17th, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Shannon…… I feel your pain and cried when I read your post. i am sure you have or can see some of mine on here. The tough love thing is soooo very hard, been there myself and will probably be again. you are doing the right thing and yes, may indeed be saving his life. This site has helped me so much as well, just to see other peoples posts ,knowing we are not alone in this terrible nightmare of addiction. KUDOS TO RON!!!!!!! God Bless

Marilyn says:
March 19th, 2012 at 10:45 pm

This is a club I didn’t want to join.

My parents became alcoholics. It’s hard to understand when you are 11 years old. I was binge drinking off and on, depending on peers, from 13 to 30. I just quit before I planned to get pregnant and never went back. My baby sister started at 13 and hasn’t stopped. She is in her late 40s.

My 18 year changed her peer group to party kids when she was 13.

She had a less than perfect childhood due to my leukemia and my husband’s rage.

I spent 4 years, with the help of the police, hunting down the older male drug dealers who were supplying her. It helps to be a computer hacker. Between the dealers going to jail, burglary, threats and 2 people ODing, she has some reality.

She’s in college doing well. She may have slip ups but I have plans for dealing with her eventual arrest, if she chooses to get high.

If only my husband would not give her money, an iPhone (he gave me her old phone which turned out to be very useful), do her laundry, run errands, etc. We have had huge fights about this. Divorce would solve some problems and create others. He is doing what he believes is right, just like I am. It’s useless for me to try to change his compulsion.

I have been going to Al-Anon. It has helped a lot. I am not crazy with worry all the time and when I am, I have tools and people who understand who listen to me. It’s too soon to tell but the change in my behavior may be letting her relax and take the focus off the past and the blame.

That’s my story.

Shannon L says:
March 20th, 2012 at 2:01 am

This is the gf in Jean’s messages….he did end up doing things behind my back and ended up in the hospital a few days later (I spent all day in the hospital scared to death, he did heroin and took my 225 lyrica (oh I only took 50 mg before so I didn’t know it was that bad), but he has been in rehab ever since and has been doing really well. I go to meetings with him every Wednesday (and I work 10.5 hr days, so I get up super early so I can be with him!). I get very upset when I learn about times I thought he was OK but was really high, but that is part of the therapy. That SAME day he was supposed to go hang out with me and made excuses to stop at a friend’s place, we went to eat at Wendy’s and he didn’t even remember. He took 7 or 8 of my Klonapin he stole. I KNEW he was going for drugs that night which caused a bunch of problems, which is how he “tried to get back at me” with the lyrica. The crazy thing is I would have passed out like crazy taking the klonapin, and he seemed fine. It blows my mind. And I had his phone and he lied about who he saw. Nice times. REHAB and so many better times to come!

Kerstin says:
March 27th, 2012 at 6:51 pm

This is from Kerstin to Kim:
Dear Kim, your message caught my attention. Your words could be my words and I am sure our suffering is just the same, as it is with all the other parents here.
What really blows my mind is this unbelievable change of a person on drugs. My son was the best son in the world.
NEVER gave us a problem. Until he started with whatever.
It changed him in to a raving lunatic too. I used to make exuses for him….,it must be a mental desease, otherwise this is not possible. Now I am quite sure it is just the drugs. So nasty and hateful, it is impossible to comprehend
the change he went through. The stealing, the lying, and
the madness. My son acts like he was growing up in some
slum, that is where he feels comfortable. Picking cigarette butts off the street, begging, demanding, threatening,
delusioned, and totally off his rocker. I wish I could help
him, but I can´t. I pray for him. If he was living with us, we would all sink to his level. I cannot allow him to do this. This is not how I was raised. The shame involved is unbearable. It is very sad. But this is his choice.
Still waiting for a miracle. Kerstin

Donald Bondick says:
March 28th, 2012 at 10:16 am

This is the way it is because it does not – it does not get any, any better until the addict wants to change – and believe me after 20 years of addiction to heroin and 36 years with alcohol – it must be tough love and no other way – period. I have six years of sobriety. We have lost two loved family members to drugs & alcohol. “No one understood…” they told us, they “just needed a break in life.” My brother-in-law hanged himself just over a year ago after having almost 15.8 years of forced sobriety in the Federal Correctional Facility. The coroner found every anti-depressant and a fifth of vodka in his bloodstream. Likewise, my beautiful nephew Tony did likewise, at the age of 36 two years ago. Addiction is real and must not be the “elephant in the middle of the room.” Thanks for letting me see these words everywhere I go. We love our children so much we just want our kids back that we “used to know.” Our kids are gone if they are using heroin, prescription opiates, painkillers, Xanax, alcohol and once more- especially heroin. If you read this Joe, I love you with all my heart and soul – this much I know and so do you. I too sit here waiting for that miracle Kerstin, waiting for that life-giving miracle. My thoughts are with all of you and I share your pain. My name is Donald and I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict – remember just stop using for today and today only. One day at a time.

mike says:
April 2nd, 2012 at 3:38 am

Stealing, lying, major league stealing and pawning of family items and money. Cries, lies and has been detoxed maybe a dozen times… Won’t work won’t even look ! Wife ready to kick him out, friends don’t have anything to do with him nor do they trust anything he says.. He has tapped all of my friends and business associates. I’m beyond mad my wife and i are depressed and worried beyond belief. Grandkids at risk…. any help mike

Johanna Bos says:
April 2nd, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Dear Mike,
It sounds as if things in your home have reached the boiling point, I would very much like to help you, but it would be more beneficial to speak directly. If you get a moment to call the Partnership Helpline at: 1-855-378-4373, Monday through Friday 9am-4pm, EST.
I hope to hear from you soon,

Johanna Bos, LCSW CASAC
Parent/Substance Abuse Specialist

Lynn says:
April 5th, 2012 at 5:10 am

My 21 yr old son has been using heroin since he graduated from HS 3 years ago. I’ve had him in medical detox, rehab (left early), 3 sober livings (kicked out of all 3 them). Recently he was arrested for poss of Heroin and Burglary.
He has been in Jail for 1 week and I won’t accept his phone calls. He saw the Judge today and has to spend another week in Jail to see the Judge again . I’m done now. He is officially homeless. I can’t do anymore for him. He steals, lies and uses. I don’t want him in my life. I’ve lost my tall handsome son. He was once my little buddy. I can only hope Jail makes a difference. Honestly, I don’t think he’s done yet. Addicts will tell you what you want to hear. I’m done listening to false promises. I will know when he’s done by his actions.

Karen says:
April 6th, 2012 at 11:46 pm

I went to a local highschool today to participate in their teen issue program……. there for the 1st time ever I told MY story… my story of the nightmare through my sons opiate addiction, to the entire junior class and staff (over 100) people. It was one of the hardest yet best things i have done. our stories need to be told and this epedemic needs to stop. By the time I was done I had alot of the students crying and recieved a standing ovation. I have never spoke to an audience before, but feel the importance of this is great. I am so proud of myself and hope with all my heart that I changed the life of just one of them. i told them in no uncertain terms the hell they will face , the hell I have seen my son face and continue to see. How drugs “thrill you and then kill you” trust me it was a no holds barred story, truth is truth and theses ugly,evil,sinful nightmares need to be shared with the upcoming generation or we will truly be living in a teenage wasteland. This site and my experience with a loved ones addiction has changed me in so many ways. I have become stronger than I ever thought possible, I live in reality now, I am no longer hiding and hoping to change things…. I did not cause this… I can not control it and Most of all I can not cure it. therefore, I must move on and live. My love for my son has not died and never will, I still see him when it feels right for ME. I know it will take a miracle for all of us and some of us will get one and some of us won’t…… but I have to leave all that sorting out up to God. speak out and let your voices be heard people, tell it like it is to those who will listen, because these opiates are killing every single day. Do what I did today….and don’t be afraid to let the tears flow w/ your words, it allows the audience to feel and see your pain. set yourself free… for we are the real prisioners of this horrible addiction that we try so hard and for so long to run from. Face it Head on and kick its ugly ass!!!

Liz says:
April 7th, 2012 at 3:08 am

8 years ago I lost my1st born, only daughter when she was 21 yrs old in a car accident. An ex-bofriend was driving (under the influence of heroin and other substances) and out of rage plowed the vehicle (passenger side first) into a house. She died at the scene, and he did 3 years at State prison. She left 2 brothers behind, who at the time were 17 and 18 years of age. They were both devastated by the loss of their sister and they grieved in very different ways…the oldest devoted himself to getting completely inlvolved with church activities and the youngest took the long and destructive road of drug addiction. So starts my painful experience with living with a heroin addict and unfortunately not alone as I have learned by reading all the stories on this site. The usual symptoms followed: the lies, and the stealing, and the rage, and the sickness, and the trips to the hospitals and rehab faciities, the bailing out, the money lending, the kicking him out of many places, the living in the streets, bringing him back home, kicking him out again, living at the Salvation Army, crying evey night wondering where he was at, was he alive, was he hurt, was he hungry, was he in jail, and then doing it all over again. Then it all felt like it was getting better (hopeful): got a place of his own, had a job, had a baby…then we got the dreaded phone call: your son shot a man and turned the gun on himself. What?? This just happened a little over a year ago. Still going through the loss of 2 of my 3 children, still going through living with a heroin addict, still going through the brutal reality of both their deaths. I feel angry, sad, guilty, ashamed. Those living with a heroin addicted child know what I mean when I say: I also feel relief. I still to go to work, am there for my husband, my son and my granddaughter. I don’t know why I have not gone out of my mind…and I still feel I am living someone else’s life. So unreal…so sad!

Sue says:
April 7th, 2012 at 4:19 am

Lynn: I just read your comment and you are so right. When you wrote: “I will know when he’s done by his actions”. I almost have to pretend I am deaf. My ears have no use in this situation.

Michael says:
April 7th, 2012 at 2:46 pm

It’s been 10 years now since my son, a once promising student-baseball player, began his journey into drug addiction. Stuggling in college, he was prescribed Adderal for his attention deficit by the campus health department. Soon the prescription became an addiction, and when he could not longer get refills as quickly as he took the pills, he went to the street and found methamphetamine, and 3 years of college and a promising baseball experience were tossed away.

Now, 10 years later and a day before his 30th birthday, he is again missing from still another state run drug diversion program that would lead to a life of recovery, if only he committed himself to sobriety. But he cannot. He is an addict who choses to use rather than face the pain and wreckage of his past: the DUIs, the totalled vehicles, the unpaid medical bills and court fines, the felonies from heroin possession and an addict’s unreliability that prevents him from any meaningful employment, and most of all, the inability to accept responsibility for his situation – past, present or future.

I have been guilty for years for enabling him. Though recently my help has been only a reward for positive behavior such as enrolling in rehab and getting pyschological help, I still am too quick to try to fix him when he “relaspes”, a term he so easily accepts as normal – as I did also, saying it to rationalize my enabling behavior.

He is again on the streets. With his birthday tomorrow, I pray he gives himself the gift of another chance while I, too, worry that death will be his ony release from the pain.

Jean says:
April 8th, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Today it is Easter Sunday and my 23 year old son who is in rehab for the third time and thrown out of his mom’s house, his dad’s house and now his girlfriend’s house is in jail this weekend calling all of us to come bail him out with $1700. Not! You sit there my darling drug addicted son and you call your druggie friends to come bail you out. You have lied and stolen from us too many times and now you can sit in that jail because you are not a fit human being and need to be locked up like the animal you are when you are abusing drugs. Maybe this will be the rock bottom you have never gotten to, maybe right now you are realizing that you are homeless, jobless and friendless. Maybe now you are realizing you need to bring God into your life and grow up and stop blaming the world for your misfortunes. Then, my dear darling drug addicted son, I will put my arms around you and forgive you and let you back into my life. I will always love you but dearest son, you are the only one that can make the decision to stop abusing drugs and realize that your girlfriend who took you into her life and loved and cared for you, still loves you, but you have caused her such unbearable pain that she may never forgive you unless you start praying this minute and surrender yourself to a higher power.

Pam Johnson says:
April 15th, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Thank you to everyone that has shared. So many different stories and yet all the same story. I too have a drug addicted child, 20 year old daughter. My daughter is currently incarcerated for nearly 10 months, has been given 2 opportunities in rehab paid by the state of which she ran from the first and decided to smoke “spice” at the other. Needless to say the state is “done with your daughter”. We are left with her being released on In-Home incarceration and still with no substance abuse help. A condition of her in-home incarceration will be to attend counseling. I am looking for a good drug abuse counselor in my area. We live in northern Kentucky, 5 miles from Cincinnati, Ohio. Any referral would be greatly appreciated.

Prayers to all!

Michelle says:
April 15th, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Me too. We disovered our 18 year old son was doing drugs just before Christmas, he ended up being Baker Acted due to an overdose of “Bars” aka xanax. He’d been seeing a psychiatrist for depression who thought “he’d only been smoking pot and drinking which all high school kids do”. End of therapist and life as we knew it. I know about addiction having lived with his addicted father for 23 years. On and off recovery over and over. I thought I had grown enough to be able to live with this, had my limits set, quit enabling and was not sucked in by irrational thinking. He’d been clean for a few years. And then last month I came home from work early to find him smoking pot with our son on the front porch. I’m taking our 16 y/o daughter and leaving. I refuse to be a part of this any longer. I want life for myself and my dd. I grieve for my once Honor roll brilliant son and I grieve knowing that in reality I can do nothing for him except say I love you, you can come to my new house anytime you want except when you are high. I know I may never see my Ninja turle again, only Brother bear’s pillow case as my daughter now calls him.

lorie ann says:
April 16th, 2012 at 4:11 am

Thank you for saying out loud what I know deep down. I am an enabler.
My 18 year old daughter is a liar, a thief and an oxycontin addict. Last summer she went off to the city for college with her longtime boyfriend and their baby. Within 4 months,they had broken up and my daughter was raising the baby, dealing with daycare and going to school. She met a new guy who I now know was a street kid and was her drug dealer.
She has changed so much in such a short time that I knew something wasn’t right with her. She quit school, hardly ever left her apartment, never wanted to be around family, and was always ill. I was worried sick especially for my grandson so when she and the new guy said they wanted to leave the city, I rented an apartment for them in the small town where I live. They moved here 2 weeks ago.
Last week she was on my computer and left her facebook page open, someone messaged her and I saw the confirmation of her drug use. When I confronted her, she admitted it and said that she and the new boyfriend want to get clean and that was why they moved here but I caught her trying to get more pills today.
I called the drug helpline and they gave me the number for a local clinic that provides treatment. Tomorrow she says she will call them. I truly hope so but somehow I doubt that she will. The new boyfriend is a scam artist and he has taught her well.
The most ironic thing is that she kicked the baby’s father out because he had started using oxycontin and had become an addict.
My sweet little grandson is now staying with me but he belongs with the beautiful loving mother he used to have…god I hope she comes back

colleen says:
April 17th, 2012 at 11:19 am

My son wrecked a car which I purchased for him in July, 2011 while on drugs. The car burned down to the ground, him and his “buddy” were lucky they got out alive.

He came back to live with me and my husband and in December of 2011, I received a call from my ex husband telling me that our son had broken into his house and stolen a bunch of items with (again) a “buddy”. When my husband and I looked through our home, we realized that my son had taken $3000 worth of my husbands dead fathers jewelry and pawned it off. The pawn shop had melted it all down and it was gone.

My ex and I got son into rehab. He didn’t want to be there. He says he is not a drug addict. My parents agreed to let him stay with them. He thanked them by stealing $3000 cash from my dad’s bedroom. Once again, he was homeless saying that he would change, that he was SORRY. I put him up in a motel and nearly went broke trying to keep him there. I thought about buying a house, divorcing my husband who said my son wouldn’t change, I considered renting my son an apartment. My dad came to me and said that my son seemed to be better, and he could come back and live with my parents. I started noticing things didn’t add up. GPS’s, chargers, shoes, MP3 players were showing up and that didn’t make sense on a $7 an hour income. This weekend I found out why. He’s car hopping, stealing out of people’s cars in my parents neighborhood. Using the stolen credit cards to buy K2 and lord knows what else. He was arrested and is sitting in jail calling me collect every 5 minutes. I finally accepted the charges and was stunned when he said, “You’re bailing me out today, right Mom?”

No. I am not bailing you out. I am broke from the attorney fees from last year, trying to keep you in a motel, trying to pay your bills, buy your food, keep you above water while you were digging yourself an even deeper hole than I ever thought possible.

At this point, I was told to go to the court hearing and tell the judge that my son is a drug addict and hopefully they will get him into a long term drug program. But my son still says he is not a drug addict. I asked him, “Then you must just be a theif, but either way, you will sit in that jail. No one will bail you out, and you are not welcome back to any of our homes. YOu figure this out on your own this time, we are all wrapped up.” He hung up on me after shouting a few obcenities.

I have a 17 year old daughter who is devastated by this. She too, wanted to believe he was getting his life together. I took his uniform to his place of employment and let them know he was in jail. When asked why, I told the manager that he was a drug addict and asked her if she noticed anything. Last week my son was supposed to arrive at work at 7 p.m. He arrived but never left the car. She thought it was odd that the car was running and he was in it, but never got out. She said she forgot about it because they got busy, but looked out at 9:30 and the car was still running so she sent out another employee to check on him. He was passed out in the car with the lights on and the car running.

I still see the little boy carrying around his blanket and asking to watch Barney. I used to long for the day when my kids were independent. I thought it would be easier. How I long for those days now.

Felicia says:
April 19th, 2012 at 12:07 am

I lost my 19 year old son to a pedestrian accident. He had been using drugs for awhile. He was drunk the morning he was killed. Now, my 27 year old is in outpatient rehab, but thankfully holding down a full time job. It was pure hell for a few months, and has been hell off and on for several years. He really likes to experiment, evidently.
I cannot understand why he would put us through this, we have lost a child we dearly loved. I feel like my energy and life have been thrown away to drugs. I do not even drink. I just struggle through life trying to keep my oldest son’s behavior a secret. He was really good at keeping his father and me in the dark for a long time. He has had 2 DUI’s. He got off the alcohol and I took him back and forth to work for months on end. Then, we find out why even though he has always worked, he never has any money, he spent it all on drugs and girlfriends. This is no life at all. I help out my elderly Dad who lives 20 miles away, and if he knew the truth, it would kill him.
Sometimes it is a relief to go to my Dad’s house and just work myself to death cleaning and yard work and doctor’s appointments. It’s a different reality for a few hours. I am relieved that my son got himself into outpatient rehab, but I know the hell, the lying, the stealing, the disrespectful name-calling and drama could all come crashing back if he gets off the meds. God have mercy on all us and our grown adult children. The worst has already happened to our family. I could not live through another death.

Nicole says:
April 19th, 2012 at 2:45 am

Can someone tell me if I am doing the right thing? I have come to a point of exhaustion. My son has been involved in drugs for almost 2 years. I am not sure what drugs he is doing, although he says it’s pot. It could possibly be more like cocaine or pills. He barely eats( has been that way for 1.5 years), feels ill often, he suffers from anxiety and cannot sit still. He does have ADHD as well. He also drinks to get drunk quite often. He has chosen to live outside my home and his father’s. His new found friends are of the utmost importance, but has no time for family. He only calls if he wants money for debts he supposively owes, drives or food. He lies non stop. He is kicked out of school for the umpteenth time and is inconsistently showing up at work. The only reason he still has a job is because his father owns the restaurant. He was caught for drug trafficking pot just recently and has a court date two days after his 18th birthday. He has stolen cheques from his father’s business and wrote and cashed a $420 one. His father has paid over $4000 in debts for him(which outrages me) and his grandparents continue to cater to him to a certain degree. No one wants to be on the same page as me. I want to bombard him with us all united and say we are no longer tolerating your behaviour. I want him to know that our family is no longer going to endure his threats for money, pleas for help unless he goes for help. The only problem is I am the only one willing to do this. I cannot go another moment with my phone ringing and hearing more negativity. I will always be here for my son. I love him so much, but I cannot put my other two sons(8 and 11) on the back burner no longer. Can someone tell me if I am making the right choice or am I being a neglectful mother. I know his father will probably tell everyone I have turned my back on my son. But I just can’t take this I have fought with every agency out there to get my son help, but no one would without his consent. Please give me some direction. I am so exhausted, emotionally drained. I would give anything to have my son back. I miss him so, but I don’t think he is ready for change when he has it too easy.

Lisa says:
April 21st, 2012 at 1:36 am

My son is 29 yr old, handsome, smart has 2 beautiful daughters-yet he chooses drugs over everything and every body. He shoots up opiates-he lies, steals from me his wife his bother and sister. I feel so alone and it hurts deep in my heart. I just want my good little boy back. He has been to rehab twice but as soon as he gets out he is back on drugs. I’m so tired of dealing with this, hurting- being embarassed. I have turned it over to God, its to big for me. But the loss of a child to drugs is devastating. My prayers for you all.

Karen says:
April 23rd, 2012 at 10:14 pm

to Nicole…. I have been in the midst of this for over seven years now and trust me when I say I KNOW your exhaustion. It is a living nightmare. My 24 year old son has been in rehab for over a year and he still struggles daily. He starts a job tomorrow, his 1st in about 2 years. Time will tell what he will do when he has money in his pocket once again. My son did all the things your son is doing and then some, believe me. This took away my life for a while, I became addicted to his addiction and could only constantly think of ways to help him…. finally I read a phrase that slapped me in the face, It read “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. I was going insane and had to step out of the hell of addiction in order to save myself, so my answer to your question is No, you are not neglecting your son. you are saving yourself. YOU be the dictator on when you see him and what you are willing to tolerate and give the rest of it up…. just like we are faced with one of the toughset decisions ever (to be in our childs life or not). They are faced with the tough decision of getting clean and unfortunately only they can make it. All the love in the world can not, does not and will not stop the nightmare our sons are facing. MY best to you and God Bless

mara says:
April 26th, 2012 at 11:15 pm

My daughter is 19 and she is a drug addict. At 15 she started using meth and I had her locked up in a juvenile drug program for 6 months. When she got out she started drinking alcohol instead. About a year later, after being found half naked in an alley, she decided to give up the alcohol. Little did I know, she moved on to bigger things. She has been using Heroin for the past year, started out smoking it and when that didn’t work anymore, she started shooting it a couple months ago. The sad part is that I didn’t even know she was doing Heroin. She wasn’t living with me so I didn’t see her frequently. She has just confessed everything to me yesterday and showed me her bruised and battered arm and swears that she hasn’t used since last saturday. She just started a new job and has been going, but lots of drug addicts function for a while with jobs. She is staying at my house, but I’m not sure this is the right decision to be making. She claims she has no where else to go and refuses to got to an intreatment rehab. She also refuses to stay away from all the so called friends that are either still users or are trying to stay clean themselves. I’m so terribly confused for what I should do. Am I sending her to her death if I remove her from my home…or am I helping her live.

Kim says:
April 30th, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Our 17 year old daughter was court ordered into Easter Seals, against her will. She lived there for 60 days. It was hard, especially because she was in a co-occuring unit because of ADD and learning disabilities. We were unaware of how often she had been using, didn’t even know she was an addict. She told others but not us, what she was using. Though she hated the first two weeks of the program, she soon realized the positives about the program. She is home now, and has been clean for 3 weeks and counting….

Jerry Otero says:
May 1st, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Dear Mara,

There are no right or wrong answers, only our attempts to survive in the midst of the most troubling of circumstances. As parents, we all make enabling mistakes, and are prone to feeling that we are to blame for their children’s drug problems. We then, either do too much or too little.

Even our most well-intended actions sometimes serve only to help to “cripple” our addicted children further. But despite this, the advice we get from friends and family, and even professionals must weighed out with, and workable within the context of our own families, not the families of other addicts.

The difficult decisions we face as parents of addicted children, can only be made by us, since it is only us, who can truly understand the feelings of being a bystander, staring into the abyss as our addicted child spirals downward.

In facing the myriad thoughts, feelings, and questions that arise when attempting to squarely stare down this problem and effectively help with our children’s addiction, we must fearlessly ask ourselves about our worst fears, and reconcile our ambivalence about them.

I say this, because we will often deny, that things have gotten pretty bad already despite our best efforts. It might very well be that you have reached your own breaking point, and by now know that things will continue to get worse without your intervention.

To that end, I recommend that you start with the basics of educating or re-educating yourself about drug addiction and what you can do as parent of an addicted child.

A good place to start will be at the Intervene and the Get Treatment sections of our website. There is a vast array of resources for you to sift through, and it might be overwhelming, so I highly recommend that you call me at the Parent Helpline at 1-855-378-4373 so that I can assist you in making the best use of what the has to offer you.

Ask for me directly – I am looking forward to helping you further when you call.

Until then, I wish you and your family,
All the best.

Parent Helpline Specialist
The Partnership at

Becky says:
May 2nd, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Ok, our son should be a senior this year, but as the story goes is doing drugs instead. Pot we know for sure and we know he has experimented with ecstasy. We have had him tested at the police station and they only test for weed, but we know he has done ecstasy, and probably other drugs, it doesn’t do any good to test any way, he is addicted. He went to OYCP for six months , stayed clean, but came home and with in a week was right back at it. He did get eight high school credits at OYCP, but that was all. He is now supposed to go to job Corp on the 15th of this month but came home again last night, high. He is supposed to be clean when he goes. We don’t think he will make it, he tells us he is taking something that will get rid of the drugs. He is working two hours a day at quiznos, but probably would not be if weren’t for me. He turned eighteen in January. We have kicked him out three times since then but being the enablers that we are let him come back. He has stolen from us, broke our bath room door. Lies, uses foul language around our eight year old twins, does not participate in family things, only wants to eat, sleep, come and go as he pleases, making a mess of the house on his way in and out and use the meager money he makes for pot and whatever else he takes. This has been going on for four years now, he refuses rehab, not that we can afford it anyway. He is verbally abusive when he does not get his way. I think after reading the blogs here, my husband and I need alanon. We are both sad, depressed and it is not fair to our other two teens, nor the twins. Pray for us that we can let him go and not take him back. We all need to survive happily without the turmoil, sadness and constant worry. Becky

Lucifer says:
May 4th, 2012 at 11:25 am

Listen I used to be an addict to oxy’s. I been off 3 years I was young but I got off 160 mg of oxycotton and did things for money but being so cold to your child is the wrong way to go about it. The fact my
Parents help me get off by NOT using the 12 step program. Their unconditional love is what stop me from relapsing and suicide bevause I wasn’t sent to a rehab, I DECIDED to quit cold turkey and my parents held
The bucket for me when I was throwing up and they didnt lecture
Because they understood I knew it was unhealthy they just ask how they could help, they asked why I felt depressed and anxious not punish me. And when someone is sick is sending them to jail a real
Way to deal with it we need the government to legalize drugs but regulate even the illegal drugs one like Portugal’s drug law. But your treatment to his diease is to punish something he suffers when he is withdrawing . And I told my parents I would take random drug test. It should be interpersonal not distant cold shoulder approach because people use drugs most time to cover problems.
And having a program which talks about the drug everyday is bad idea and if u must
Tamper a heroin
Addict of slowly reduce his dose as u show he or she there is more to life but u cant do it by going cold turkey they must learn to live while tampering them
Off so they can adjust easier, also your view is black and white and make him out to being worst than he really is: he maybe depressed,because addicts have other issues, also if u truely care for his well being treat him like a human bevUsse he knows ur position, also he’s safer staying with you than being on the street. Sorry for the confrentatiomal
Attitude and bad grammar just my
Phone is about to go out

Holly says:
May 8th, 2012 at 2:56 am

I feel that I have read every book, blog and article on drug addiction. My 21 year old son just admitted to me (last night) that he needs help and is addicted to Klonopin, it will be a long road, but we can only do the best we can. We would like to get him into the most successful treatment that is available but how do you choose a facility? Certainly not by their websites, I have been reading blogs and the comments by former patients make physically sick. Last night was a shock, we knew something was wrong after he totaled two cars within one month, he was never cited for anything, but I could tell he was on something. Everyone thought because he passed the sobriety tests all was well, everyone but me. The main lesson I have learned from this is to go with your gut instinct. Maybe if I looked a little deeper a year ago I wouldn’t be writing in this blog right now. There were other signs as well, one day we were driving him to his first night of class (college) both cars had just been wrecked that month so we drove him that night. He was fine (he appeared fine) when he got in the car but he changed into a different person within 10 minutes. It was the scariest moment of my life, he was talking a mile a minute and then crying the next. The hospital admitted him right away, after endless hours and tests, they found NOTHING! I guess Klonopin doesn’t always show up in tests from what I have recently read that seems to be the case. He is a shell of the kid he used to be, I know he will never be the same, neither will we. Today I researched treatment centers, they are all a blur now, too much info at once. I did scan his FB and figured out his source, it’s a 57 year old women that lives in our town, one of his friends grandmothers. She sells her pills on a regular basis, she keeps the script but doesn’t need or use the meds, she just takes the money as a side job. I could confront her, turn her in or think about it for awhile, I choose the third. I’ll deal with that another day..

Holly says:
May 8th, 2012 at 4:57 am

In my previous comment it may have seemed like this was all new to me, not so. Our family has been dealing with his issues, pot, alcohol, ecstasy and God knows what else for the past seven years. Outpatient therapy didn’t work, he didn’t take it seriously, and once completed he was off the hook (15 at the time), or that’s what he thought. We watched him for the usual signs and after awhile they were back. He lies (very well), the stealing just started this year (I think). I’m missing fine jewelry that I have had for 30 years, it breaks my heart to think he stole it to pawn, it’s just so hard to believe he would do that but I know that is something addicts do. I don’t understand the way he lives by that I mean his room/bathroom. He has no respect for his or anyone elses belongings. He has put holes in his walls, ruined the carpet and lives pretty much in squalor. Cigarette burns on his bathroom sink like a bar would have. The amount of our belongings that have been destroyed by him is amazing, I know they’re just objects but they are our keepsakes from 30 years of marriage and he could care less. He has now asked for help and I hope/pray that we can assist him on that path. I am tired of his lies, bailing him out of debt,and feeling like a stranger in my own home. I will always miss my shy little blue eyed boy, I don’t think I’ll see him again, not the boy I knew. He was/is my heart.

Jerry Otero says:
May 8th, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Dear Holly,

After reading your recent blog comment detailing the challenge of finding the right treatment provider for your 21 year-old son, I wanted to touch base with you to let you know that the staff at the Partnership at a’s Parent Helpline is here to assist you.

Other parents have found the right drug abuse treatment program by utilizing the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator. Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), you can find them by following this link:

The Partnership’s Treatment e-book is another valuable resource that may be helpful to you in formulating relevant questions to ask treatment providers during your search:

I also invite you to telephone us toll-free at 1-855-378-4373. Anything we discuss will be kept in the strictest of confidence, and we then can then help you to go through the vast array of internet and other resources available, selecting the most appropriate treatment for your son and your family.

Just a word or two about Klonopin Withdrawls: After even a short time on klonopin, a sudden cessation can result in some very grave problems. Anxiety and racing heart, tremors and seizures are all common occurances.

Suicidal thoughts and depression can worsen to dangerous extremes. For these reasons, it is advisable to only begin a gradual tapering program with medical supervision.
When you call, you can ask for me directly. I look forward to speaking with you at that time.

Parent Helpline Specialist
The Partnership at

Denise says:
May 8th, 2012 at 11:17 pm

So, I guess I have to ask, so what is help and what isn’t? My son has just been arrested for many things. I am told not to get a lawyer for him, he needs to pay the piper. So, do I send him money to buy the things he needs inside? Do I get a phone account so he can call me collect? Nothing seems normal, normal feelings can’t be trusted. He has done some horrible things but he is safe now, behind bars, and for this I am grateful. I really thought my next phone call from his girlfriend was to tell me he was dead. And what happens when he does get out? I can’t let him back in my home. I have no idea where to turn. I’m tired, angry, embarrassed, hurt, confused, shall I go on? It truly is a living nightmare and I just want to wake up.

Hazel Carmack says:
May 10th, 2012 at 12:07 pm

My daughter is and addict and has been for 7 years, she is 31 years old. She will not agree to get help, we have done everything we can to try to help her, We have stopped enabling her. She has been to detox 2 times and comes back out and starts drugs again the same day. She says she will not go to a long-term facility because she has a seven month old baby. Drugs are more important to her than him. If she doesn’t get help soon she is going to die, is there anything left that we can do?
Thanks, Hazel

Jerry Otero says:
May 10th, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Dear Hazel,

Your daughter’s resistance to seeking the treatment that she needs is not unusual. According to recent research at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), only about 10% of the 24 million plus individuals in the United States who need drug rehabilitation actually receive life-saving care from an addiction treatment center.

Moreover, those that do get the help that they need by entering into some sort of treatment, often short change themselves by circumventing the drug rehabilitation process shown to help people overcome their struggles with addiction. Half measures usually bring half-baked results. Unfortunaltely, this seems to be the case with your daughter.

An effective drug rehab experience addresses both the psychological and physical elements of drug dependence through detox, counseling and aftercare. These three elements treat not only the immediate risks associated with drug addiction, but also teach the life skills that are needed to move forward with a drug-free life. Too often, we see people who opt to simply engage in the detox process, leaving out the much more challenging behavioral changes that are needed to sustain hard won treatment gains.

There are no easy answers nor are there any quick-fix solutions, and any intervention designed to motivate your daughter needs to make sense in the context of your own family, not the families of other addicts.

To that end however, i recommend that you read our Intervention and Treatment e-books which can be found by following this link:

I am also going to direct you to a recent blog post Published by Dr. Michael Pantalon, author of “Instant Influence: How to Get Anyone to Do Anything–Fast” (Little, Brown and Company), it addresses the complex issue of “tough love” – exploring some common mistakes parents make as we struggle to strike a balance between what is too much or too little.

I also want to let you know that the staff at the Partnership’s Parent Helpline is here to help you to make sense of some of the more troubling issues that emerge as we watch our children’s addictions spiral out of control – seemingly helpless to effectively intervene.

The toll-free number is 1-855-378-4373. You can ask for me directly, and anything we discuss will be kept in the strictest of confidence.

Until then, I wish you all the best.

The Partneship at
Parent Helpline

Mary Ann says:
May 16th, 2012 at 11:42 pm

I am so sorry you are experiencing this pain. You might feel more comfortable writing to your son in jail and perhaps mail him stamps so that he can write to you. You can also call the court and ask if they have a drug treatment court program that you son may be eligible for (usually these programs are for non-violent offenders). Drug treatment court generally consists of outpatient treatment, sober living, mental health treatment, neurotherapy, drug testing and appearing before the judge on a regular basis. If the participant relapses or breaks the rules they are sanctioned and sent to jail for a short period of time (45 days) and then go straight back to treatment. If the offender is able to complete the program (in most cases a year with no sanctions) then the offense is forgiven and they do not have a criminal record. In many cases, a court-appointed attorney helps the offender negotiate drug court. You can always write to the judge and explain that you love and want to support your son, and that you believe the best this for him is treatment and sober living. Even if there is no drug court in your county, the judge is always able to give the offender a choice between treatment and jail. Please do not feel guilty for telling your child to “call me when you get to rehab.” You may get comfort from attending Al Anon meetings — you are not alone and you do not have to face these horrible things by yourself.

Shirley says:
May 18th, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Unfortunately I to am a parent of a son who started drugs at 14 and is now 35. It has been hell. The pain of watching the one thing you love more than life itself destroy themselves has to be at the top. No one should go through this. It makes me so angry that I wish our great country would give the death penalty to all convicted dealers. ALL!

Ron – We have no money to put our son in rehab and we are raising his son. Where can I take our son for help, he is on Medicaid. We live in Houston, TX

Cathy says:
May 18th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

After reading the previous posts I feel as if I am reading my own son’s biography. He is exactly everything all of these parents are describing of their own child and situation. My heart and prayers go out to all. My son is 34 and has been addicted to heroine,to my knowledge, about 4 years. Most recently he was taken to the ER not breathing and blue as the pants he was wearing. This is the second time this happened. I am to the point where I pray that God will just go ahead and take him home.

Liz says:
May 18th, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I have these 7 steps posted on my refrigerator as I have a 21 year old daughter going through a similar situation only that she is an alcoholic and drug addict except only drug she hasn’t graduated to yet is heroine. We have tried everything including fighting with each other, removing this child from the home, placing her in programs, having discussions with her, etc.. Nobody including my insurance will take her into an inpatient program because either she has to be suicidal or they want her to do outpatient treatment. Well guess what? That doesn’t work because this girl skips town for a week by foot since getting a dwi last year, doesn’t take her medications, sells her medications, steals from us and lives in her own world. My husband and I sound horrible by stating that she would be better off in jail or 8 feet in the ground but what she is doing is not only destroying herself but is mentally destroying us as a family.

Holly says:
May 19th, 2012 at 6:04 am

Thank You Jerrry, I appreciate the information, he did go to his GP and admit to his addiction (first small step). He will be assessed next week (earliest they could get him in). After that we assume he will be put into detox since the withdrawal from that drug with no medical assistance can be dangerous. Next week can’t come soon enough, he just wrecked another car tonight and ruined a neighbors personal property (took out a fence). His girlfriend claimed she was driving (she only has a permit) and maybe she was but only because he was very messed up. They both also left the scene of the accident, remarkably neither of them went to jail, maybe that would have been best. If he doesn’t fully accept the treatment (not just go through the motions) we are willing to provide for him, he’s out. I’ve had it.

sarah says:
May 19th, 2012 at 6:26 am

my 22 yo is a heroin addict, has been for five years, I feel for all of you here dealing with this.. all of us. Our hearts break.

Cathy, my heart bleeds for you, I know exactly how you feel. I sometimes pray that dreadful prayer for him as well… but I’m reminded that where there is life, there is hope. We must pray, we must have hope, but we must protect ourselves as someone said above, so that we can be there for them when they are ready to be helped. We must keep ourselves sober and clear and healthy. Gods will not ours be done, and perhaps our poor addicted babies are paving the way for something far greater than we can ever comprehend.

Libby Cataldi is the author of a book called “Stay Close”, ironically, my son had read when he did a 5 month stint in jail, he told me to read it, that it was the story of he and I exactly. The book changed my life and how I think and feel. I highly recommend it… its about the PARENTS of addicts and their journey.

Lynda says:
May 20th, 2012 at 4:29 am

Thank you Ron for your insight. I too have a 21 year old with an addiction problem. The lying and stealing I know all too well. I just keep thinking there’s got to be a way to change this…help has to be out there some where. What you said about the train tracks…I so often think If my son was a little boy and ran out in the street, of course I’m going to go after him and get him. I feel like that’s what I’ve been doing in his life and to no avail, nothing is getting better, I am looking for a good support group in western Michigan, any ideas? Thank You again, Lynda

Debbie Snydet says:
May 25th, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I need to know an idea of where to start from here.I am a mother of 3 sons addicted to opiates.Oldest is 40,middle is 35,and youngest is 25.Youngest is in jail for past month and half for second violation of probation.35 year old is on Federal probation right now and has been saparated from his wife for a year now and they lost both of their kids from drug use.My same son of this has lived with me since their separation and my 25 year old has never left home.He has a lot of mental and emotional issues due to sexual abuse which he told me about at age 16.Abot seven months ago,my ex husband of 30 years had to move in with us because he lost his home from enabling the oldest 2 which are his sons,and since he has been here,my 35 year old has gotten a lot worse with his addiction because of his dads enabling and all we do is fuss and fight from all this and now im about to lose everthing because of him being here,He has a big big heart i know and i dont have a heart to even throw him out and he has nowhere to go.I hate having a heart at all anymore.Its not going to help my youngest son when he gets out of jail with all this bad still going on.Im so depressed now i dont wanna get out of bed anymore
.Anyone have any suggestions what to do from here.Would truly appreciate any advice?? Thank you

Addicted to my addict says:
June 6th, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I am a mother of a 24 year old addict. My son, is a heroine addict, poly-user and supplements with alcohol off and on. I totally agree with all you have written, Ron, in your article. However, I am at a loss as why nothing is ever mentioned about events that may have paved the path of addiction for the addict.

In other words, I agree using drugs and abusing substances is a choice. Most definitely. But I also know once an abuser crosses that very fine line, and becomes an ‘addict’, choice goes right out the window, for the most part. I completely understand how the brain works and what part neurotransmitters, dopamine, receptors and addictive personalities play in the life of an addict. I also know, there are usually events in life that helped pave the road to addiction for our addicts. There are no perfect parents, very true, look what Adam and Eve had to endure when Cain killed his brother Abel in the Bible. So if we parents are going to be completely honest without ourselves as we are expecting and wanting our sons and daughters to do, isn’t it part of our own recovery as well as that of our broken addicted children, to explore perhaps those mishaps that ‘helped’ bring our children to the place of escape through ingesting pills, comforting themselves through the use of a needle or lulling themselves to sleep by means of the bottle?

I don’t believe having an addictive personality alone can steal our children lives from them. I am convinced that self-esteem or lack thereof has a huge impact on our children giving themselves over to the addiction monster. While I have not read your book and I surely would like to, I have read many books on addiction, one fantastic one I highly recommend to anyone going through the journey of addiction with a family member or friend, is “Why Can’t They Just Quit” by Joe Herzanek. I learned that no human being is immune to addiction to one thing or another even if it is not specifically drugs or substances despite how they are raised. But I have come to realize, mistakes parents make with their children, can create many of those pathways to addiction and having a solid, loving, healthy and open to communication type of relationship with your child is paramount in ‘shielding’ our kids to the harmful monster lurking everywhere.

Going through several years of psychology has taught me that what a child learns in the first six years of their life, sticks with them for life even unto death. If adolescents/teenagers mature in loving homes yet lack close relationships with their parent(s), the monster you speak of will subtly and assuredly lures them away from what our children know to be right. I am a woman of faith, so I believe having a personal relationship with Jesus can provide the strength to say no more times than not, and reminds our children that God has a plan for their lives, and they should, too. Often, parents are so busy providing for their family’s needs, moms are so busy with household duties, that the children literally choose the wayside rather than the straight and narrow path because there is no one noticing they are straying until they have chosen the harder, more dangerous and often eventually life-taking path. I am ‘not’ blaming we as parents, for our addicts choices, I am merely trying to remind parents to be proactive in their kids lives. Providing for them, giving to them and meeting their most basic daily needs as most parents see their part in raising their children, is never enough. Open communication, loving and gentle concern, firm and consistent boundaries, being an active part in our children’s lives, listening and reading between the lines as well as getting counsel from others when bumps in the road are felt can help many kids steer clear of addiction and avoid this often lifelong journey of addiction and recovery.

Looking at the end product without examining the creative source will only enable we as parents to continue raising future addicts. You are right, the enabling must stop, but I don’t believe it begins when the addiction monster has full reign of our children’s lives. I firmly believe the enabling began when we, as parents, failed our children in the most important ways….by building a firm foundation for them and walking the journey of growing up alongside them, every step of the way. Sometimes hanging on, and sometimes letting go, but always by loving them in tangible, concrete and supportive ways, all their lives.

Your thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

Holly says:
June 7th, 2012 at 4:26 am

I disagree, our daughter has never had any issues with any drugs to include alcohol and tobacco. Her brother and her are like night and day, and no we don’t compare them as they are two seperate people. They were raised together with love and support, he just chose a different path. There is no rhyme or reason to addiction.

Susan Lawson says:
June 11th, 2012 at 10:55 pm

I am suffering so. I have a 23 year old son who came home from Full Sail University with a degree in Animation at the age of 20. He came home addictied to drugs and alcohol (I did not know) and we have been battling this horendous disease ever since. I am crying as I write this to all of you who too are loving, suffering, caring, and just reaching out to anyone who will help. I know what all of you are saying, but I and my husband and children are in so much pain. It has sucked out all joy. I am sick and exhausted. I used to be such a positive happy person and now I am anxious and so sad. Last night I whent up in his room and found some blackish looking residue on his Calendar. There was a little cup of water and a fan was on. I confronted him, but he will not admit anything. He has been to a 30 day program and treatment afterwards – outpaatient. He is in PTI for assault when he was on drugs – behavior he would never of done if not for all the drugs. They told me in the behavior clinic that he is severe ADHD – how do you put him on more drugs to treat the addict. Do I let him go or do I find a psychologist who can treat both the ADHD and addtiction – it is taking everything we have – it is if a devil hAs taken over his soul – he refuses to get spiritual help denying God exists. I once read there is no hope for those who do not heal spiritually. I have no where to turn – I am afraid. It is like a boy with a beautiful mind – he can play music, art, had an incredible website, but he is stuck in this self destructive path and destroying all who love him. I need help. Can someone tell me what to do.

Karen says:
June 12th, 2012 at 4:33 pm

9 days from today….. My son’s graduation day from his 14 month clean and sober rehab stay…..That is if he had not have screwed it up 4 days ago! UNBELIEVABLE ……OR NOT!!! 8 years later into my son’s addiction journey and he is now once again on the streets penniless with the clothes on his back. He is 24 years old, I am 44 and have literally bent over backward to help him and try to “save” him, although I did learn and set boundaries. 4 days ago when I got the call, he had been kicked out of rehab ( a place that bent over backward, as well) I was stunned (kinda), he missed his little sisters highschool graduation. THAT broke my heart, to see her heart so broken. For once I got pissed , which is what I think I needed to do…… no more crying, feeling bad and sorry for him and his foolish ‘mistakes” time after time after time. I told him for the 1st time in this 8 year nightmare……goodbye and good luck. he will forever remain a part of me and will forever be in my heart. but I choose life and I want to once and for all start living it. I feel free. my advice is set yourself free, free from the addictve hold, the chains that have taken us…… as loved ones over for far to long. serenity…courage…..wisdom.
May God bless each and every one of us and may he watch over and bless the ones who tie us all together.

K Eickhoff says:
June 13th, 2012 at 3:56 pm

I have sat here and read through every response, and I am trying not to cry. My God, what a demon the addiction monster is. The struggles, the heartache, the incredible gut-wrenching pain that everyone involved in and around the addict’s life goes through!

My son is 22 and has been battling prescription pills and pot since around 15. At 17, his first arrest came (not from the drugs, but behavior because of them). At 20, I sent him away to a relative out of state for two weeks to try and get clean. That worked for maybe 2 months. At 21, he realized he needed help and went to rehab. That lasted about 3 months as well.

Now, we are battling not only the addiction, but the side issues: pent up rage, selfish behavior, total disregard for authority, etc. Then this weekend, he got arrested again. When I went, for the fifth time now, to bail him out of jail, he was so cavalier about the whole thing, I became angry. I broke, began screaming and told him I couldn’t do this anymore, that he needs help.

I wrote him a letter on Monday, calming explaining how much I loved him, but that I couldn’t help him anymore, that this was his burden to carry, not mine, and he needed to seek professional and spiritual help. I also mentioned that I realized this weekend that I am an enabler, and that I couldn’t do that anymore, because the next time might be his last breath on earth. I also told him that until he does, contact needs to cease.

Of course, now he feels that I have abandoned him, is telling anyone that will listen that I have “disowned” him, which couldn’t be further from the truth. He even intimated to one family member that he would “go home and make me sorry.” Of course, he didn’t, and I know he is hurting right now. But every single thing else I have done has not worked.

My question to all parents out there that are struggling with this is: did I do the right thing?

Holly says:
June 14th, 2012 at 4:57 am

To K, I think you did the best you could. I too am where you are now, I feel like I am throwing him away but then again, if we continue on the same path, where does that leave people like you and me? They depend on our emotions to carry them through, who helps us??? My husband has a high profile job out of state so he is only at home two full days a week, I don’t think he realizes how bad it is. This is not not how I pictured my midlife years, I think we have to claim our lives back and let them them sink or swim. I say that but I still have a 21 year old addict who will not go to rehab (because they are all nonsmoking) living in our house. I am so tired of it all.

Susan Lawson says:
June 15th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

You know I went to Family Week when I my son was in rehab and learned that I cannot be an enabler too. I did not know what to expect at Family Week, what kind of people whould be there etc… and I found they were all like us – parents, spouses, family members all trying to help their addict. All were doing just as we had done- the wrong things thinking we could help the addict. The room was full of emotion, pain, just like in these blogs. When my son came home -he was going to fly with his degree – but then the relapses and the lies, etc… all over again. It has ruined our marriage, hurt our other children, taken our hard earned finances and I now think I too am joining all of you who want to be free. This is my son’t journey – I will be their to support HIS recovery if he takes it seriously and gets self help, but I no longer will believe anything he says – it is in his behavior. His behavior can’t lie. So – I am going to find my own help through a 12 step program of those housing addcts and start my own recovery from living with an addict for the past 4 years. I have come to realize I can only give him my prayers. Other than that, I have nothing left to give. I will no longer support his habits and all the uglyness in his behavior that comes from the use of drugs AND drinking (his other drug of choice). I think we should all pray for each other and lift those we love up to the Lord’s healing grace and then we let go and try to trust. My mother who raised 8 children – some who also went astray for awhile (one with a terrible drug problem – could have easily died – now takes care of her in her old age. She also said to pray to God and his wonderful intercessors – the saints etc.. She said to pray, hope, and don’t worry (Padre Pio). Hard to do, but we must try if we are to live with joy and endure our sufferings.

Dwainna says:
June 16th, 2012 at 1:00 pm

My son is a meth addict and we have battled this demon for over 10 years. Most of those years we procrastinated and made excuses for his behavior. He would come home for the holidays and sleep most of the time but I just knew he was depressed and he was. Eventually he ended up in jail and luckily we got a Judge that made an attempt to help us save our son’s life. She made a 90 day drug treatment a condition of his bond. Financially, we didn’t think we could afford it but God helped us find a way. (Completed 12/15/2011) I have since read and educated myself on the affects of meth. I now know it’s a disease and has to be treated just like any other illness. Right now he’s mentally handicapped and when I think a decision he has made or is making is insanity – I stop and go back to what I have learned.

The central nervous system has been damaged. The receptors aren’t working and his dopamine and serotonin levels are depleted. He is not mentally able to make the right choice right now so we have to hang in there and parent him just as we did when he was a young man even though he is now 29. It takes at least a year for your chemical levels to replenish to a level that will enable the addict to make better choices. And yes, I know they will never fully return and my son will not be the same intelligent boy that once would have taken on the world. However, many meth addicts do make it but it requires a good support system and lots of patience. Some might say we are only enabling him and he will fall again. They may be right or at least partially right. Due to the nature of this drugs destruction I believe he may have lapsed at least once but that doesn’t mean he has relapsed. It’s just a set back. It takes time and yes it’s a battle everyday not only for him but for us. We all have set backs but that doesn’t make us a failure and we all learn from our mistakes. There are times I think I can’t do it another day then I reflect back on his first arrest. I remember telling his probation officer “his dad and I have been told it takes tough love and that we need to pull back our support and let him go”. She looked at me and said “if you don’t help him – no one else will”. That statement stuck with me. Our mistake was not acknowledging his drug addiction from the onset. We should have started our fight that very first year but we didn’t and every time he would do good it just gave us a little more false security – that he was going to grow out of it. That’s a myth. Kind of ironic since “Myth” quickly turned to “METH”. I choose to think if we had have put forth more EFFORT in the beginning we might not be where we are today but we can only look forward as the past is the past.

This story is hard for me to write as I know it goes against what many believe is the wrong path for treating the addict. You see I know about losing the battle as we lost our 19 year old daughter with cancer. I remember all too well the day they told us – Your daughter has a cancer that we haven’t been successful in treating and all we can do is try to make each day count. However, I fought with her and for her until the end. I never gave up and we spent every penny we had in an attempt to save her. My son’s prognosis is like “Deja-vue”. I have read story after story about husbands and wives divorcing, families losing their child to an overdose or multiple other drug related deaths. Families that are in financial ruins as they could’t stop helping their child. And then there is still the separation and destruction of the rest of the family unit as many can’t stand to watch their brother, sister, child, grandchild slowly killing themselves. I would dare to say that perhaps some of my own family feels the same way but I choose to believe it’s because they don’t understand that this is truly a disease just like any other disease. Our daughter had bad days and would “lapse” but we didn’t give up because she lost some ground. We kept on fighting, praying and hoping for a miracle. She was a fighter and it’s probably her strength and courage that has mad me strong. On the day we learned that the cancer had gone to her liver – she looked at me and said, “Mom, God knew the day I was born the day I was going to die and I’m still going to die on that same day”. My faith tells me she was right. Just as they have laws that keep you from euthanizing a terminally ill patient – they should have them for addicts as well. If I turn my head and say I can do no more – you tell me what’s the difference? I would never have walked out of that hospital and I knew short of a miracle we couldn’t save our daughter. I do know that it’s possible we can save our son. I hope my optimism will bring me back to this forum to share with you our story of victory. The one where my son was a fighter and together we whipped his addiction. He’s my only son and he’s worth fighting for. I love him dearly.

If you are a parent just starting to battle your child’s addiction – dig in now. I would ask you to maybe even take it a step farther. Do what you can to lobby for our judicial system to be educated on addiction. Let’s try to take out the stigma that this young person is just another drug addict. These are our children who are battling for their life. I promise you this is not the life they choose but this demon is much bigger than they are. May God give you the strength and courage to fight for the cure and not the kill. This is a disease…

My son was attending a Technical School Program and went to rehab before he graduated. After completing his 90 Day program he returned to school and graduated June 15th, 2012 and managed to make the Directors List. He is going to a Drug Addiction Therapist and is making progress. I am so very proud of him. He will also be going on a Mission Trip to Africa in July.

I know this is a battle that he will always have to fight but I have Faith that he will continue to make strides in his recovery. This is truly a day by day journey but it can be done. Our lives have been forever changed by this experience but we have grown stronger as a family and we will continue to support him in the recovery process.

Kevin says:
June 17th, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Thank you for your article. It was my ex girlfriend that was the addict. She thought that I didn’t accept her, but I loved her very much. It was the things she was doing hat I didn’t accept. Here is a huge difference. I love everything about her. I jus wish she knew that and could see the difference. But I guess they can’t sometimes.

Liz says:
June 19th, 2012 at 8:40 pm

It helps so much to read about everyone’s situation as we have been battling the same issue with our 21 year old daughter. From DWI last year to drinking and drugs that have never ended has put us emotionally drained. We were enablers in the beginning but caught on quite quickly and the one NO NO was to not give cash and to hide anything valuable. Our final straw was on May 14th when she went to her psychiatrist for the first time and in an hour he was able to diagnosis her which I find quite alarming since he didn’t even know her. He determined that she had ADHD, severe anxiety, and possibly bipolar which runs in the family. He was quick to after an hour give her adderall and xanax, another drug that she abuses with alcohol. Just giving a drug addict more drugs. After being one day on adderall and feeling weird on it, off she went to get the load on. That was May 14th and she was not let in the house after that. She showed up on Sunday June 17th because her boyfriend’s mother had no clue she was there and was no longer wanted there so off she comes to our house ringing the doorbell at 7 p.m. Over the weekend she got anxious from being at his house for a month and decided to hang with “the crowd” for the weekend. All bruised up and cut from blacking out from being drunk, she told us she had enough and wanted treatment desperately. Off we went to a well know rehab facility and finally after a year of trying to get her into inpatient treatment, my insurance finally accepted. She has only been there since yesterday and we can only pray that this is the start of her journey of becoming sober which we are so skeptical since she has let us down so many times. She has so much potential and had a great job who loved her there and even offered her a promotion but unfortunately the substances took over after 4 months of working there. Thank you Sarah for the recommendation of the book called Stay Close by Libby Cataldi as that has helped me somewhat keep my sanity and really helped me understand alot and to also know that my husband and I are not alone with this aituation.

Rick F says:
June 21st, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Butterflies in the pit of my stomach churn. After years of living this addiction nightmare with our youngest, 28-year-old son allowing him to move back home with us where we would provide a roof over his head and a meal, he could work and save to get ahead as best he could, to meeting his obligations incurred with his felony conviction probation, due to robbery to feed his needle, shooting, oxycodyn addiction. He agreed to stiff rules, i.e., letting his Mom hold his earnings for him, atending church with us, etc., etc. He slowly quit keeping everyone of them and don’t think he gave Mom a penny to hold. Instead, he began pawning our stuff. Multiple times the same items and we’d go ‘buy them back’. Sometimes he’d take enough flak from us, he’d buy them back – that was good of him, right. All my yard equipment, including since last night the riding mower are in the pawn shop. He and some ‘friends’ were stripping the pastic off a new pack of copper wire he said someone ‘bought’ for him. And all this enabling, because we are…or were trying to get him to the point of attending a college program that he is now registered to attend in August that will give him an opportunity to make a future for himself. But he simply won’t have it. He constantly transfers responsibility and accountability to someone or something else and told his Mom today he just wants to get out of here and he doesn’t want to go to school! (Nevermind bus transport is free and the non-pay back grant of about $3K to cover the course has already been approved.
The police came by two days ago with a complaint from a nice older lady who said she thinks he took money from her while doing her yard work but the police didn’t have enough to charge him. We both wish he could’ve had something making our job easier. This very night we are at the point of trying to decide which is best for our son: Allow him to get on bus to another location or turn him in and do what is right in having him face the worst – probation violation there and new charges here – likely minimal time here because we could choose not to prosecute but ensure he gets taken to location ‘A’ where the felony probation will be violated and prison directly ensue. Or do we let him ‘flee’, get our stuff back, not let him back into the house, get him a Greyhound ticket and allow him to avoid accountability until he get caught on new charges and have even more prison time? It appears our patience to help him, as our other children pleaded with us not to give him 4th, 5th — 8th and on chances. A parents love runs deep. We’ve clung to the hope he’d ‘get it’ and turn it around. And all we’ve seen was our own heads get spun around in disappointment and more displays of disrespect and pain. Tonight we decide which.

Dar says:
June 23rd, 2012 at 1:49 am

My brother is 50 years old and he has been in jail time after time after time for meth.I am 42 years old i added it up and he has spent more than half of my life in jail.he has 2 little girls that he only wants to see if he in jail.He always says im done no more mother is at her end.Hes always gets paroled to here house.The state needs to help him not jail him.hes needs medical help.

Kim says:
June 27th, 2012 at 3:41 am

Are there ever happy endings? Do methadone clinics ever work? My daughter has had an opiate problem since age 16. She is now 21. She went to a methadone clinic on her own. Is this just another way to get high? She desperately struggles with paying for it. Should I help pay if this is actually a step toward recovery? She still lies constantly and still has friends that you look at and just know they use… And if she lies to me one more time, I have promised my husband, her step-father, that I would kick her out. She is a beautiful, young girl who literally has nowhere to go. I cannot afford a live in rehab. She has no insurance. I am afraid that if I kick her out she will shack up with other drug users and if she is making progress, it will be lost. I feel stuck between her and my husband.

Marlene says:
June 28th, 2012 at 9:00 am

Thank you so much for sharing and Thank God I found this webpage. My son is 18. I have just kicked him out of our home after 3 years of hell due to his erratic and violent behaviour as a direct result of Alcohol and Drug abuse. It broke my heart to do it, but his last act was that he tried to set fire to the house whilst drugged and hallucinating. It took that incident for me to go back 3 years and write down everything that he has put myself and his father through. Its mind boggling, but there is a clear pattern. We didn’t want to see it initially. Although he has not been arrested and charged for a criminal offence, I have lost count of the number of times he has spent in Detox and picked up under the influence by the Police only to bring him home again. We tried counselling through his High School, alcohol and drug counsellors, private counselling, and family support from those who’ve won against their own alcohol and drug addictions. Even so, its been hard to convince famiy and friends that he is an addict, because the sober Cole is intelligent, sporty, caring, gentle, kind and very talented musically. He’s lost so many of his good friends and his invitations to their social functions have dried up due to his alcohol and drug behaviour. He’s like Jekyll and Hyde. It breaks my heart to watch and I feel so useless. My son’s father is still in denial and I feel quite alone. I’m going to stay in touch here. It helps to read all of your experiences. Lets hope and not lose faith that our addicted loved ones will find their way.

Marnie says:
June 28th, 2012 at 4:26 pm

(This is the letter I wrote and sent to my son this morning.)

My Beloved Son, Tyler, I love you to the furthest stars in the heavens. I will miss you greatly. All the wonderful times we had together are very precious to me. I mourn the lifetime events and moments we will never have with you. You have chosen a life of dishonesty and addiction for yourself over a life filled with goodness, love and family. I can no longer be a part of your dark life. Any life removed from God, is dark and evil. I have tried unsuccessfully for 6 years to bring you back to us. I have put my life on hold in this attempt to save you, but I now realize that you don’t want to be saved. The choice you have made for your life is to continue into the darkness and ultimately ending in a lonely death.

I want to gallop on a horse across prairies in Montana. I want to ride a gondola through the waters of Venice. I want to drink at an Irish pub in Dublin and beer gardens in Germany. I want to tour castles and pyramids and watch wildlife in Africa. I want to play bocce ball with my family and teach my grandchildren to cook. I want to feel the sun on my face while planting tomatoes and lay in the damp grass at night counting the stars with my husband. I want to dance at my children’s weddings. I want to feel my heart bursting with pride at their graduations. I want to do and see, feel and taste everything this beautiful life God blessed me with has to offer. I want to live.

Addiction is such an evil monster. It does not only affect the addict. It grabs a hold of all the people who love the addict as well. It sucks away all the joy for life. I have been spiraling down with you, but I am CHOOSING a different path than the one you have tried to take me on with you. I had hoped that you loved me enough to want to give up the darkness and live in the light with me and all the others who love you, but your love for the drugs are greater. Just because I gave you life does not mean I have to give up my life for you. I won’t any longer.

People that love me, begged me to live for them and with them. I choose love, Tyler. I wish you would too. God gave you free agency to make your own choices in life. You have a choice whether to put that next needle in your arm or not; whether to take that next pill or smoke that next whatever or not. You have a choice as to whether you complete a detox and rehab program or not. You have a choice whether to steal or not. You have a choice whether to lie or not. You have a choice whether to graduate college or not. You have a choice whether to be happy or not. You have a choice whether to live, or not.

God = happiness and love. Satan = addiction, lies, thievery, unhappiness. They are polar opposites of each other. God loves us so much that He gave us control over our own decisions such as how we choose to live our lives or even whether we invite Him to live it with us. I choose Him, Tyler. You can too, or not. He would help you, but the decision to turn to Him for help is of course, yours. Satan, as you know, is willing to help you too. He does not want you to have love or happiness in your life. He does not want anything good for you. He lures you with his addictive candy. God gave you the choice as to whether you will accept Satan’s offers or His. As long as you still have breath in your body, it is possible to choose a new path for your life.

My health has been deteriorating while trying to rescue you. I am making a change, Tyler, so that I can live. I do not feel guilty for this change because I have tried with all of my being to save you. But I will not let you drown me any longer. If you choose to live, Tyler, you will have a place in our lives on our happy journey experiencing this world. The help is there for you when and if you choose it.
I will love you always,

deb says:
June 29th, 2012 at 12:57 am

Wow..I, too was looking around the internet for answers to what there is left for me to do to help my daughter, who is in treatment for the fourth time and due to come home soon. As bad as it sounds, It makes me feel sick to my stomach to think of her living here again. I know i am not alone, now that I have found your blog. What is amazing is that it is still active after all this time!! I have not gone to Al anon or any of those groups yet, but one day maybe I will go. Your thoughts reflect what I have often thought in these last few years. All 3 of my kid are addicts, one is recovering (3 years) and I just recently returned her children to her after having them for 3 years. My youngest daughter is 21 and has been diagnosed with a mental illness recently and is convinced that all of her drug problems stem from being undiagnosed for so long. I don’t really buy into that but I guess its possible. Im just so tired of dealing with this sadness and drama…as I know everyone here is..
Thanks for your amazing blog….

Sheryl C says:
July 2nd, 2012 at 1:56 am

For the first time in 11 years I do not feel alone. Our son has been struggling with addiction to crack/cocaine since he was seventeen. We recently allowed him back home to once again try and get his life straight. I cannot even count the number of times we have done this and always with the same results. He starts off strong for the first few months and then eventually goes back to a life of drugs and ends up in jail or on the streets. I can relate to the comments of feeling relief when they are in jail because atleast they are safe. Although my husband and I have had great support from family and friends they now are tired of hearing about it and quite frankly I don’t blame them. It is a broken record. Today my husband and I returned from being out of town for one day (his mother passed away last night). My son is not here and neither is my car that I let him use while we were gone- so he could go work out at the gym. My other two adult children ages 25 and 20 are so disgusted that my husband and I keep allowing him to come back that they have cut themselves off from us. I know letting him come back is wrong but we really don’t know what else to do. I started searching for answers on the web and found this site. It is such a relief to know that there are parents out there like us. The letter from Marnie to her son Tyler touched my heart and made so much sense. I am at that point and just needed affirmation that it is ok to move on and let him know I am not going to do this anymore. I want to not have guilt over this decision and start living again. For years I have carried the guilt of “a mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child” When he is not with our family I feel like I put on a happy face but really feel like I am walking around with a brick in my pocket. No more! Thank you Marnie for helping me see the light and to all the other parents of addicts out there thank you for listening.

Karen says:
July 4th, 2012 at 4:14 am

To cheryl c… no offense at all, since I too have been where you are at. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. things WILL NOT change until HE wants them too. I was truly addicted to my sons addiction for alot of years and it pretty near destroyed me, I have finally broken those chains that bound me and I am free. I love my son deeply and always will, but refuse to drown and resurface, only to drown again and again. Live for YOU,,,,,, you will find peace and serenity. I never thought it was possible, but please trust me it is and it is wonderful. what we have to understand is WE need to recover as well from the pain, turmoil, and asbsolute horror of our loved ones addiction. take care and stay strong. Live YOUR life, they are! sometimes seeing us become strong makes them strong. God Bless us all…… if it is meant to be our sons will come back to us…… our real true sons!

Michelle says:
July 5th, 2012 at 1:21 am

What’s so sad to me is that there are so many posts on this article. I can also relate to this. My son is a drug addict and my husband and I have enabled for so many years because just like the rest of you, we don’t want our kid on the streets but we are now 45 and we are finally starting to realize that no matter how much support he has, there are always excuses. He can’t be trusted, after all, he is a drug addict. We are the only ones sacrificing in this relationship and even though it might matter to him…somewhat…the drugs will triumph over us every time. We have an open offer of rehab….any time he’s ready. Unfortunately for us, and for so many others, rock bottom doesn’t come until it’s too late. That’s my fear anyways. It helps and hurts to know that we aren’t alone. Love to you all.

Dorine says:
July 9th, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Our son is 21 and has been drugging since he is 15. We like to think he came from a good home. It’s a matter of days now until we will ask him to choose detox or go off on his own. We went through this last summer and ended up taking him back in, psychotic, skinny as rails, and collapsing. That was the wrong address. He runs from everyone and everything. My husband and I know we’re helpless. We’re in an AlAnon group… Sometimes I wonder if life’s worth living… we’re in so much pain… and we’re witnessing our son in so much pain. And he’s getting stranger by the day. I have a home art studio and kids come to my home everyday for lessons… so the period where he can live here is coming to an end. We’ll have to inform him of that … give him a date… and find help to keep us from drowning in our sorrows. I know there are other horrible diseases… but this one can bring us all down… Thank you for writing an article that says it all so well.

JULIE says:
July 12th, 2012 at 8:00 pm

My son will soon turn 21, and we were recently told (by him)about his addiction. We suspected for a long time, but told ourselves something else. Tomorrow we go for an evaluation, at which, I hope he can enter either an out-patient or in-patient facility. Preferably the latter. The health insurance companies and the “system” itself make it so hard and complicated to get help. So we forge ahead and keep trying. He admittedly wants help, and while we are going thru the “process”, I am trying to educate myself about addiction. I can’t believe what I have learned from this website alone. Reading the posts from all the other parents who are suffering thru this insidious evil, is a small comfort, but at the same time, so heart-breaking. That said, my most recent worry is not so much about him kicking the physical addiction from the drugs, but about him copeing, and using strong life skills when he gets better. Another words, releasing him into the wild that he just recovered from, seems pointless. My son’s dad lives in another state, and we have briefly talked about him going there for a while as part of his recovery. Any thoughts or comments on that would be most helpful. I am trying to gain strength & information everyday. I would be grateful for any help. Thank you for your amazing “7 Truths” also. I don’t feel alone anymore.

Jerry Otero says:
July 12th, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Dear Julie,

Thank you for being part of The Partnership at’s growing online community,and thank you especially for sharing your family’s story.

Your concerns about “next steps” for your son, are understandable. While it is true that successful completion of a treatment program for addiction is a huge step on the road to recovery, it is equally true, that most people who struggle with addiction are not yet ready to function independently upon completion of the initial phase of treatment.

They have fulfilled an important and essential part of their goal to overcome their addiction, but still require ongoing support afterwards. This critical phase is called aftercare, and participation in an aftercare program often makes the difference between abstinence and relapse.

During the aftercare phase of treatment, relapse prevention skills are taught and practiced as well as the following:

• Understanding the risks and problems involved in recovery
• Development of relationship skills
• Stress, anxiety and anger management
• Understanding and coping with family dynamics
• Identifying and coping with relapse triggers
• Vocational education or job skills development

Additionally, a big part of recovery for adolescents and young adults involves:

• Understanding their addiction and learning relapse
prevention skills
• Learning to recognize their emotions and regulating
emotional responses to relapse triggers
• Becoming aware of irresponsible thinking patterns and its
connection to substance abuse
• Participating in recreational activities to stave off
• Developing a sense of personal responsibility
• Understanding how their emotions interact in the family
• Developing healthy habits and behaviors
• Developing skills for independent living
• Goal-setting and rewards – to help develop positive self-
esteem and a sense of accomplishment

This is an extremely tall order, and it is important to remember the recovery slogan “Easy Does It” because this is a process not an event!

Your son may take a few steps forward and then one or two back. The challenge for you is going to be knowing when to step in and when to keep your cool.

To that end, I want to invite you to call me at the Parent Helpline (number below), so that we can talk a little about how you can manage to be the best parent possible during the challenging times ahead.

The call is free and everything we discuss will be held in the strictest of confidence.

Until then. I wish you and your family all the best.

Jerry Otero MA
Parent Support Specialist
The Partnership at

JULIE says:
July 16th, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Dear Jerry

Thank you for your reply and for touching on one of the many things I worry about…the future and the life skills for an addict. My son is starting an intensive out-patient program next week, and the intake coordinator said that she thinks it will work for him. She said the drugs “haven’t gotten to his soul yet”, based on the fact that he is so remorseful, sad, and ashamed. She said normally the addicts that walk in are empty, have blank stares, and little information to offer. As sad as that is, I took it as a good sign, and hope it will get us through. My son does want so badly to get better, and I really do believe he can, but I stop at being overly happy as I remind myself that the whole thing is about living “one day at a time.” Today is day 8 of not using and he hasn’t even started the out-patient therapy yet. I get more worried over each day that passes as I can’t imagine how hard it is for him. I just remind him how proud I am, and that I’m here as long as he participates and gives 100%.

I think I will take you up on that phone call through the number that you have provided. You hit the nail on the head when you remarked about knowing when to step in, and when to keep your cool. God knows I’m working on that one everyday!

Thank you again for your gracious offer & kind words.


Lisa says:
July 17th, 2012 at 4:53 am


Glad to find this blog. I think drug abuse is becoming an epidemic in this country. My daughter is 15 years old. When her urine test came back positive for adderall, Xanax, marajuana and cocaine, I was devastated. She ran away and I found her five days later. She could barely stand up. She hadn’t eaten in five days. Her petite frame was withered to 90 lbs. her cheeks were drawn. I am so traumatized. Haven’t stopped crying. She doesn’t even realize or care about how she is affecting her family. She is currently on house arrest however, I fear she will still leave. I suspect that drug dealers and loser friends will somehow deliver her drugs. I saw in earlier blogs that parents see their addicts as the kids they once were. I have pictures of my little girl holding up her honor roll certificate with so much pride on her smile. I was proud. Now she is my biggest disappointment. She is my failure. I don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t afford an inpatient rehab or a bootcamp. My husband lost his job from all her court dates, dr appointments, and late nights spent looking for her and callin her. She associates with other kids that are addicts and dealers. I’m afraid for her life. I just want my baby back. I don’t even know her anymore. Sadly, I don’t think I want to. I don’t know how much more torchure my soul could take. I just pray. I tried every aspect to try to talk to her. I had her hospitalized twice in behavioral health. She is manipulative and tells everyone what they want to hear, then does whatever she wants without remorse. I can’t see anything good coming out of this. I pray for us all.

Lisa says:
July 17th, 2012 at 5:03 am

To Marnie,
Your letter is very touching. I pray he chooses the light God offers. Good Luck!

Andrea says:
July 17th, 2012 at 5:25 am

My story, my pain, is similar to all of the above. Tonight I was feeling so low and (physically) heavy of heart that instead of going promptly to bed with the hopes that sleep would overcome me, putting an end to another sad day, I got on the computer and typed in “I have an addicted child”. The weight of my pain from having a drug addicted 26 year old daughter has peaked to the point where I can hardly function. I too, found solace in the shared experiences of other aching parents. I was thankful to have found this web site!
My daughter’s addictions started in her teen years but I was apparently too blind to grasp the severity of them until the law was involved. Ten years later and we’ve been through all of the ups and downs described by everyone on this web site—agony to say the least, but with bouts in between where all was good and you were feeling hopeful.
Thus far, in the year 2012, things have taken a turn for the worst—and after 7 years without any trouble with the law!—which may only be saying that she didn’t get “caught” doing something.
The new drug of choice? Meth! The nightmare of this drug has kicked me into the “tough love” mode more than anything else my daughter and I have been through. But then,I too, like all of the others, are just finally so sick and tired of it all that a vein bursts.
For the first time in my daughter’s drug career I had the locks changed on the doors of my home. She can only be there if I am home—I’ve only seen her twice in 7 months. She bounces from house to house, basically living out of her car, going where ever the drugs are. She has a warrant for her arrest for failure to appear in court, which I discovered when a notice came to the house that her drivers’ license had been suspended,and I called the court to find out why. She has drug possession charges against her and she is still carrying on like she doesn’t have a care in the world. And of course she doesn’t—only where she can get some meth.
She drives a piece of crap car, the best(and maybe the ONLY car)among her peers. I keep up the liability insurance on it and it soon expires. I have promised her that if she doesn’t deposit the car in my driveway that I will call the police. And I intend to do just that. Of course she warned me of how much worse things will be if she gets stuck in a bad situation where she can’t escape possible harm or death by driving off in her car. And yes, that thought worries the hell out of me. Thankfully this web site made me see that I truly cannot do more for my daughter besides pray. And this sorry life she is living is her choice. I have to let go, this situation is killing me, slowly but surely.
Even in spite of this reality that I am willing to accept, I have one question for everyone who suffers along with me. How do you block this out of your head when you go to bed at night? Staying busy during waking hours helps ward off the hopeless thoughts, but when the day is done and my head hits the pillow my mind always strays to uncomfortable things. What my daughter may stoop to, or put up with, just to get her next fix. Not knowing where she is or if she’s safe. It’s so frightening. The parent instinct to “protect” your child, and the hopeless feeling you have because you can’t, is just unbearable. Being strong is a hard row to hoe when the mind is at rest. How does one really find peace?
I say my prayers with the hopes that a miracle will happen and life will get better for us both. And now I will check this web site for whatever comfort I can find there. Thank you all; my prayers are with you as well.

Lorraine says:
July 18th, 2012 at 1:12 am

My son is 25 and a heroin addict. At least, that is the most current addiction that I know about. We think his drug use began around age 11 or 12, but I didn’t realize what was happening until he reached high school. OxyContin, marijuana, probably crack, definitely meth, with alcohol mixed in to round it out.

He became violent, as did his friends. They threatened me, his father, and his younger sister. I took my daughter with me across the country to start a new life and to finally be safe. His father is still there, still enabling him, resistant to all information showing him how much his ‘love’ is hurting his son (and likely expediting his demise).

While I don’t enable my son (and have cut off communication with him), my daughter still fights between hope and despair.

We live in limbo. We’ve lost him, but there is (as of yet) no closure. I personally have said goodbye to hope, because I know that he will never choose a life of sobriety over that of drugs…because he is also dependent on his relationships with other users, especially his addict girlfriend.

I saw a photo of him on Facebook the other day, and it felt like I’d gotten the breath sucked out of me. At 25, he looks like an old man. Sunken cheeks. Gaunt. Empty/hazy eyes.

Word from his father is that he has respiratory issues — chronic cough, wheezing, voice change — and, to my horror, is also occasionally coughing up blood (hemoptysis).

I’m in the medical field, so my mind is already contemplating the worst. It sounds like cancer, or perhaps an embolism.

While I’ve suspected for several years that my son’s life will not see him into old age, I’m now thunderstruck at the possibility he may not reach 30.

The worst part is that I’m torn between exacerbated grief and almost wishing it would finally end…for him as much as me and my daughter.

Even without his other health issues, this addiction is death in excruciating slow motion.

Jacquie says:
July 18th, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Thank you for writing this article, I am slowly learning the truths with both a son and daughter addicted to heroin and with two of them working together against us, it’s a losing battle. There is such a huge gap in the support available in the UK, with my son having a drugs test this week and wanting help to stop his addiction and being told he has to wait a whole week to get a prescription and has to still be using a week later. The other alternative was suggesting we buy methadone from the street! My daughter has just been released from prison so they are together again….and my son also used to be a teenage mutant ninja turtle and I just want him and my daughter back.

Maria says:
July 19th, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Did I write this?!?!?!
I am still learning to accept everything, and I AGREE WITH ALL YOU SAY!!!! The part I cannot seem to swallow is that “only if he let me fix him then he would be ok!”… LOL, right? RIGHT! It is up to him, but darn it, I could fix him if he just did what I told him too… Hard to be a parent of a child who wishes nothing from me regarding control of his actions. Or inactions. That’s even worse.

I have heard the lies (I always tell him “how come I see your mouth opening and closing but no words come out”? because I don’t believe a freaking word). I think my son could eventually be a homeless person and … could I let him go out into the streets like that? I don’t think so!!!!

My son used to mow the carpet with his little plastic mower, making engine motors with his mouth. I told him to roller blade, we went to Spain together countless time and walked everywhere hand in hand. Where is that now? Gone but not forgotten>
To all of you here, let’s be strong. We are not alone.

lasko says:
July 20th, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I live with my husband and sister and her son and grandson. Her youngest son (23), who has admitted to taking oxycotin and we know has bought percocets on the street and refuses to get a job (claims he cant find one because he doesnt’ have a licence, which he lost to OUI, then subsequently not paying his SR22) wants to move in, because he is going to lose his apartment. He recently came to stay for a few days because he owed a drug dealer for pot.My other sisiter and brother are very concerned for his welfare but more for the welfare of my helpless great nephew. His mother thinks we are overreacting. We thought it would be a good idea to bring him here and see if he is in fact an addict, and then force him to get a job, but my husband thinks this wont work. But honestly, I don’t want him to live here if we don’t know how deeply he is addictied. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Patti Herndon says:
July 20th, 2012 at 5:11 pm

“I personally have said goodbye to hope, because I know that he will never choose a life of sobriety over that of drugs”…

Existing in that spirit must be an excruciatingly painful/stressful way to live out your days, Lorraine. I can completely empathize with how you are feeling. But, I’m wondering how it is ‘you know’ that your son will ‘never’ be capable of improving his choices/his health/his life?

When we choose to allow ourselves to be influenced by the negative, albeit well intended… but, perhaps, inappropriate or not particularly helpful-to-our- circumstances kinds of advisements/opinions, we risk piling on to our already difficult circumstances even more negativity and hopelessness about the future.

Despite what we may think: We are not, actually, helping by labeling ourselves or others as liars, cheats, thieves, enablers, codependents etc. When we use these kinds of negative labels- under the misguided thinking that doing so will somehow ‘snap us out/snap someone else out of ‘denial’-we are really only creating additional barriers for ourselves/for others.

The journey of addiction is difficult enough without self imposed blame weighting us further down.

Lorraine…You could benefit by considering getting some support with what ‘could be’ a clinical depression that you ‘appear’ to be experiencing – This based ‘only’ on what you share. I encourage you to seek out resources/supports that will fuel your sense of hope and increase your sense that you ‘can’ begin to cope increasingly better with your very difficult circumstances. You deserve to be able to live your days in that spirit…and it’s entirely possible to achieve that, in time, and with patience. A well matched therapist or other education/support-based resource can help you get there.

Hope is a clinical component in recovery…yours/your sons/your family’s. And ‘coping’ is an innate ability that we all have. That coping ability can escape our awareness sometimes when we are faced with extremely challenging circumstances on an ongoing basis. When we are consistently in ‘crisis mode’…as is so often the case with a son/daughter struggling with a substance use disorder…we can lose our sense of our own strength and ability to problem solve through the challenges. It’s completely understandible. What we deal with as parents of a child with a substance use disorder often strikes us as shockingly surreal. That constant ‘shock’ uses up our energy…then we stall.

There are times and circumstances when the vast majority of us will need some help in increasing our coping skill set/our creative problem solving ability for the challenges/crisis we face. We must seek out, then vet, the sources that will ‘best’ match our circumstances/utilize our strengths and have us increasingly feeling better confident and increasingly hopeful about our challenges.

Think: “Persistence rather than insistence”.

Be mindful not to engage sources/language/attitudes that serve to have you reflecting on all the things that you frame as having ‘gone wrong’, and/or have you forecasting what ‘will go’ wrong. This brand of thinking only makes us feel less hopeful. We have to ‘cut it off’ before it drains our energy tank.

It’s not a product of some kind of enlightenment or escape from ‘denial’ that will have us ‘giving up on hope’ and believing that nothing is ever going to change’. That’s not an arrival or an epiphany of some kind…It’s a bona fide stall. It’s the result -that void of hope- that comes from our allowing ourselves repeated exposure to an energy draining abyss of fear/frustration/self (or other)blaming and resentments.

Hope is a requirement for your health and well being during crisis and challenge. Addiction poses a continuum of challenge…That’s what makes it such a draining experience. Hope is the foundation for building coping skills that serve to sustain us in the addiction journey.

It’s a long, long process for the vast majority of us parents with kids who have a drug/alcohol addiction.
If I had invested my energy, as well as developed my expectations/my hopes/my planning based on all those that counted my son out, or who arrogantly/naively labeled me, my son or my family, (when they knew little, or even nothing about me/my son/my family, much less our circumstances)…Well let’s just say I doubt very much that we would have gotten to the place we are now…15 years later.

I think it’s probably a good idea that you not have contact with your son…for his benefit, as much as yours, until you’re able to approach his/yours/your family’s challenges in more hope. People who are impacted by a substance use disorder (who are in active addiction, especially) don’t tend to make progress, in terms of harm reduction and contemplations, onto actions, about their ability to abstain from using drugs/alcohol to cope with their feelings/life stress when they are exposed to loved ones/others who demonstrate a lack of faith/belief in their ability to make positive change and healthier and healthier choices, little by little.

Your son’s odds of achieving recovery will improve in the presence of those who support his sense of self-efficacy (self efficacy: the belief that we as individuals hold that we can effectively cope with our challenges and circumstances-no matter what they may be).

If I can support to you in finding a resource in your area aimed at helping you improve your hope-scope, don’t hesitate to contact me.

You are in my thoughts and prayers, Lorraine.

Addiction is the journey. Recovery is the destination.

Patti Herndon says:
July 20th, 2012 at 8:15 pm

“Thankfully this web site made me see that I truly cannot do more for my daughter besides pray.”

I am thankful, too, for this website. But, not because it inspired me to a ‘prayer only’ approach in regard to my son’s substance use disorder and the related challenges in the addiction journey. To the contrary, in fact.

My participation on this website has inspired increased hope,coping and problem solving for my circumstances. I’m a better support to myself/my son and others as a result of being engaged by the content of this website, and those things I might apply to my circumstances, with the goal of improving my quality of life, and supporting my loved ones/friends sense of self efficacy…by its inspiring me toward critical thinking about addiction over the past four years -whether I agreed with everything I read or not. And for the record: I certainly do not agree with everything I read. I consider that a very healthy thing.

It’s interesting how we as individuals come away with a whole different perspective by reading/processing the same words/input. It’s a choice- what we come away with.

But,I do believe prayer is an awesome help along the journey. But I think it’s reasonable to suggest that believers, in most circumstances, understand that prayer is not the ‘only’ thing we should do/can do to support our loved ones toward/in recovery. It’s a real good place to start though…

Dear GOD, in YOUR infinite wisdom and compassion…I pray that YOU will guide us out of the abyss of resentments, bitterness and anger so that we can more clearly see ourselves, and our sons/daughters, through YOUR eyes.We know heavely Father that You do not see us as criminals, liars, theives or as unworthy of companionship/trust/love in this earthly place. Help us see/claim YOUR vision of us/for us so that we may guide our kids’ and others hearts to YOUR will. Amen

Addiction is the journey. Recovery is the destination.

Sue says:
July 21st, 2012 at 2:09 pm

My addicted 25 year old daughter is in a 28 day center. On the day of her release from this treatment she is going across the country for another 90 day in patient facility. After that, she wants to find a sober living.
I’m extremely proud of her drive to get better.

But all of that came after I ‘let go’. I, like so many of you, tried to control this. It was only after I stopped that she hit her bottom. She hit it hard (in front of me)and it wasn’t with violins playing or birds chirping. It was without a doubt the scariest and most heartbreaking day of my life.

When she hit it, I was there when she said, “Mom, please help me.”

Through sites like this and NA meetings I had grown so much stronger through her active addiction. So, when the bottom hit, I was able to function (at least on some primal level) and help her to help herself.

Reaching out to others really helped me.

I pray for all of you.

Techknowledgy says:
July 21st, 2012 at 11:14 pm

My wife has a son who is a heroin addict. He has caused nothing but major turmoil in our lives, and after 11 years of marriage I am pretty sure I have had enough of the lies, deceit, enabling and thousands of dollars thrown down the toilet to try to help him. ( I could fill a book with stories about what he has done….. just use your imagination….) I just came back from a week long business trip to discover that while I was gone he was here (he is NOT allowed in the house) and she fed him and God knows what else. She lied about that too. I used to love this woman. Now there is no trust, and her constant helicopter parenting has made me loose all feelings for her. I just feel pity for them both. Mine will not be the first marriage lost to this. Nor will it be the last. What a shame. All she wants me to do is coddle to him and heap praise on his 10 days of detox. I hope he burns in Hell.

CC says:
July 24th, 2012 at 2:07 am

Is there hope?

Patti Herndon says:
July 24th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Hi CC,

My son is in long term recovery and living a healthy, hopefilled life after a very difficult and very long journey through addiction. That makes the answer to your question, “Is there hope?” an unequivocal, irrefutable YES. But, something tells me you already knew the answer…You, as a loving parent, ‘feel’ it in your soul -that sense of hope. ‘That’ feeling is the citical-to-recovery foundation that every other recovery-purposed thought and action will be built on as you journey.

It -hope, that is- is a clinical component in recovery. With out it, there is no foundation to support those efforts that are/will be necessary to foster healthier and healthier choices/actions/interactions by everyone in the family.

Recovery happens every day for scores of individuals and families. The reality is many, many more people recover from their substance use disorder/addiction than do not. We can help our loved one to and through recovery by becoming educated about the biological, psychological sociological influences related to addiction…and by getting appropriate-for-our-circumstances support for ourselves/our kids.

Keep on keepin’ on CC. You and your addicted loved one deserve a life of ever-increasing hope and health. Know that it happens…all the time. Recovery is a process that takes time, and willingness to change, by all – not just the addicted family member.

We make an increasingly wider and smoother path to recovery for ourselves and our addicted son/daughter as we begin to choose to knock down the barriers formed by our resentments, anxiety, fear, bitterness, judgment and blame.

Addiction is the journey. Recovery is the destination.

Patti Herndon says:
July 24th, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Dear GOD, in YOUR infinite wisdom and compassion…I pray that YOU will guide us out of the abyss of resentments, bitterness and anger so that we can more clearly see ourselves, and our sons/daughters, through YOUR eyes.We know heavely Father that You do not see us as criminals, liars, theives or as unworthy of companionship/trust/love in this earthly place. Help us see/claim YOUR vision of us/for us so that we may guide our kids’ and others hearts to YOUR will. Amen

Patti Herndon says:
July 24th, 2012 at 11:59 pm

This particular blog entry’s subject matter and emboldened points of reference- which were undoubtedly intended as help to other parents traveling a similar road-does little more, unfortunately, than to proliferate stigma, and obliterate seeds of hope before they can even take root…as well as to attract misery-loves-company thinking as it ‘feeds the monster’ of anxiety and anger related to the addiction journey.

Wanna know how I know this?: Look at the comments it’s attracting…”I hope he (my step son with a heroin addiction)burns in hell”, and “Do nothing for your child”,and “I personally have said goodbye to hope, because I know that he will never choose a life of sobriety over that of drugs”…” etc. Talk about shameful!

With so-called insights and ‘support’ like this…who need bother with trying to problem solve for the actual challenges we are experiencing in our own circumstances…Besides, after saturating ourselves in the ‘you can’t do this, and you cant do that for your “addict’ son/daughter, and No one likes them or wants to be around them’ and ‘they are all liars and theives and criminals’ and ‘we are all enablers’…Gee, what in the name of God can we expect to have left in terms of energy reserves toward ‘actual’ strategies, problem solving and appropriate decision making for our circumstances. ‘Self-fulfilling prophesy’.

It’s irresponsible, its not helpful for us as parents and parent advocates to project our ailing perspectives related to the way we view our OWN PERSONAL circumstances, and to off-load our own unresovled anger and lack of belief in our ability to problem solve effectively about our sons/daughters substance use disorder, and the challenges it brings,under the pretense of “here let me help all you enabler, codependent, helicopter parents out there”. GOOD GOD. Enough with the stigma already!

Turnin it around: This comment, which is about number 20 on this thread, is being resubmitted by me and is directed to ‘techknowledgy’ and other parents on this thread that clearly need a dose of actual ‘truth’.

Cory says:
November 22nd, 2009 at 6:45 pm

“This is a comment directed to parents about some truths from the reverse perspective. I am 19 and have had heavy experimentation with drugs and alcohol and I was never caught. Both my older brothers were addicts at one point and my three closest friends were as well so I do have a valid perspective to share. Here are some things I want you to know:

First, I repeatedly tried to tell my parents of where I was at in life, starting with small mistakes to test their stance. Do not shut down these attempts with anger, retribution and punishment or dismissal but learn to appreciate their honesty to open the lines of communication.

Second is while it’s absolutely true that no one can help your kids but themselves, judgement and intolerance (even directed at the activity rather than the child) will push your children away and possibly towards drugs as they seek to remove the burdens of broken expectations.

Third is that I know that being the parent of an addicted child is hard, in many ways harder than being an addict even. All you want for them to be happy and healthy but they seem bent on self destruction. For addicts everywhere I want to apologize, usually we know the pain we cause and take this pain into ourselves.

The last thing I deem it important to mention is that while addicts do manage to hurt themselves and their situations they are also capable and usually do accomplish things from time to time. Things such as getting a job or a promotion, or just staying clean for even a few days can be a major source of pride for them. Know that a few words of praise for even the smallest things goes miles farther than disapproval for their overall life choices.

I sincerly wish you all your happy endings and know you will be in my prayers.”

Addiction is the journey Recovery is the destination.

Patti Herndon says:
July 25th, 2012 at 12:45 am

Here’s another resource that can help parents and other CSO’s (concerned significant others) who are ready to invest their energy in strategies designed to facilitate recovery.

Joy says:
July 26th, 2012 at 5:18 am

My 17 year old daughter went to jail for hurting me, then 2 months of intensive rehab, then 2 months of a half way house. She blamed me for all of her trouble. I brought her home on a homepass. The second night home she diappeared and went back to the old friends, the drugs, the drinking. She has now been living mostly on the street in filth with a terrible criminal lowlife boyfriend. When she does contact me she calls me unspeakable names and uses awful language

She was so beautiful. She had a sunny happy personality. She was extremely gifted musically and an A student. She has dropped out of high school. She is unrecognizable. She is an almost pathological liar.

I don’t understand what I did wrong. I loved her so completely. I was a dedicated stay at home Mom. What did I do that caused things to go so terribly wrong. I feel like I can’t go on anymore. I can’t be happy for my 2 other daughters and their successes. I see my other children but I feel so overwhelmingly grief stricken by my addict daughter. I am not the mother that I used to be.

I am filled with shame being seen in my community. Out of the entire graduating class of hundreds my daughter is the only one who has dropped out, who is a failure at life because of her addiction. My daughter has posted terrible things about me on facebook. Saying how much she hates me and is now happy living the party life.

My health now is in serious decline. I have gained so many pounds that nothing in my closet fits. I tried going to a counselor but even that was too much effort and she just looked at me with such hopelessness and pity that I could never go back.

I don’t have any hope. I spent all my financial resources on helping her recover. I feel it was all for nothing.

Lorraine says:
July 26th, 2012 at 7:57 am

Patti, I find it quite astonishing that you can find it appropriate to pass judgment on parents who have found the courage required to share their grief on a public blog page.

You chided me for being ‘negative’. You have NO idea what my family has been through, regardless of your own experience…just as I have NO idea what any other family has been going through.

Pain is personal. Living through a decade of pathological lying is personal. Surviving battery at the hands of your own child is personal.

Yes, I have given up hope–at this time. After his three stints in rehab, two stints in county jail, and two in state penitentiaries, yes, I have given up hope at this time. He has a solid pattern from which he never wavers: stay clean on the outside long enough to appease authorities/probation (never more than 60 days), then start up again…or, failing a probationary UA, get thrown back in prison. He has never sought out individuals as friends/lovers who do not use. He has never made any attempt to obtain a residence on his own, in his own name.

But he always swears to me that he’s clean. I can always tell that he is not. When I call him on it, or ask if he’s finding NA meetings helpful, Mr. Nice becomes Mr. Abusive in a millisecond…hence my reason to cut off communication. He can’t be respectful, I will not be victimized. By anyone.

His father told me a few days ago that he’s undergoing lung resection (partial) for pulmonary embolism, likely brought about by his drug use. I can assure you that Tylenol will not be administered to treat his postoperative pain.

And the surgery will definitely not bring him to ‘bottom’.

You don’t know my son, Patti.

The shred — no, the sliver — of hope that I carry with me is more than eclipsed by the reality of who my son is, who he has always been.

EVERY time I have trusted or believed my son’s word, I have been burned, and burned badly. If he achieves sobriety, I will rejoice with him. Until then, I am living quite safely 2000 miles away from a violent, pathologically-lying, manipulative addict.

I am quite aware that I cannot lead him to sobriety. But I don’t sit around with the delusion that he will achieve it in this lifetime…with the network of enablers in which he cocoons himself, “bottom” will be next to impossible for him to reach before his health takes his life.

If that’s ‘shameful’ to you, so be it. My feelings are my own, and they are honest. I’m sorry, but how dare you criticize anyone’s honest emotions.

Had I known this page was going to be religious and preaching in nature, I would have abstained. Next time I’ll be sure to read the fine print.

candy says:
July 26th, 2012 at 10:23 pm

hello everyone…
I found this site because I typed in a question about my 15 yr.old son that was picked up this morning on a runaway charge.
He was already had charge on him a few years ago for smoking
marijuana.I found out that he and some friends of his broke into some cars and stole their GPS’s. I found them in his room and now I know what I have to do to help save my son.Even though he is already in trouble because of running away,testing positive for marijuana again and having brass knuckles on him when the police picked him,if I turn my head the other way to finding these in his room,I will be enabling him.So it’s off to the police department.I want to thank all of you and remember this….we are parents FIRST!!!!!!…..Our
children have enough friends…God Bless You All and STAY POSITIVE!!!!

Mary Hughes says:
July 29th, 2012 at 7:31 pm

I agree with Lorraine, Patti has no right to preach to others. I too am experiencing pain from an addicted daughter, she is 33 yrs old and has been using crack and heroin from being 19yrs old.
I have now decided to let go and leave my girl in the hands of the Lord.
See, I don’t believe a word she say’s, she’s a thief, excellent at manipulating a situation, has robbed me and her father blind, not to mention her Nana who also is suffering this nightmare. I have had gangsters turn up at my door for money she owed, I could go on, and on, and on….
You Patti, how dare you pass judgment on parents who have found the courage required to share their grief on a public blog page.
Lorraine, I pray that peace and happiness enters yours and your loved ones lives.


Jerry Otero says:
July 30th, 2012 at 8:21 pm

To All Bloggers Who Post Here,

The popularity of this blog (346 comments on this thread alone) necessitates that we emphasize the virtues of Netiquette: (being polite, kind, and respectful in a virtual public place).

Everyone who posts here is entitled to their own point of view, but as the moderators, we must insist however, that everyone follow the 3 basic principles of respect, honesty and understanding.

To that end folks, let’s always remember to be polite, kind, and respectful. Have basic good manners. Respect all forms of personal recovery. Refrain from insulting others or posting personal attacks. Carry on “nasty arguments” in private messages or email.

These will ensure that we maintain a supportive and positive atmosphere for all participants. Thanks in advance to all of you, and a very special thanks for being part of our growing online community.

Jerry Otero MA
Parent Support Specialist
The Partnership at

Lori says:
July 31st, 2012 at 10:45 pm

I feel like Isabel. I have plans to move away from this city I live in and start another life. My son has been an alcoholic for the past 11 years. He is 26.

I need to get away from his mess of a life that he is living. He has refused any help whatsoever, lies, cheats. There are some good things, but considering his path…well, he’s never been to prison. Jail yes. He has never cost us a load of money for legal help, fines etc, thankfully. Not that we could help him anyway, we live paycheck to paycheck.

We have been supportive and encouraging, but he uses us when he needs help, disappears when he doesn’t and has no use for us otherwise. I don’t know if he steals, he is secretive about everything and who would know with the lies? We have opened our home to him, but also will not tolerate alcohol here, so he stays with loose women who have their own issues. They keep him around despite the drama he causes because God forbid they be without a man. As long as he has a pulse, he’s mine kind of thing.

Been a christian woman all my life and tried the love and understanding bit, went though the rage phases, blame stage, you name it. Now I just need some separation to move on with my life. It can’t stay on pause anymore. I don’t know what I am about, because there is no ME anymore.

In addition, I was raised in a co-dependent family with both parents who had alcohol problems and basically was the adult. I’m TIRED and want to live a normal life before it’s over! I don’t plan on abandoning my son, he will know where we are, and he will be welcome to join us, but his alcoholism won’t be.

I feel I should be afforded the right to live without alcohol playing any effect in my l life at all if that is what I want. My husband and I want to enjoy our MARRIAGE as he is going into his last few years of working. We’ve been blessed with a very happy 27 year union. How many get that? It’s now or never with selling our house with the economy, but we’ve planned and dreamed of this time since we were first married.

May sound selfish, but since I’ve dealt with alcoholism most of my life I’m just plain burned out, exhausted and we’re young! Both of my parents became sober and went on to second marriages that were very happy.

There is hope for my son, but he needs to be the one to find it. We’re tired of him. Wonder how long it will take for him, if ever, to become tired of his own choices and constant deception.

Thanks for allowing me to read your stories. You all sound like very loving and caring parents. I feel a certain level of embarrassment. I was a stay at home Mom, homeschooled, worked odd graveyard shifts so I could be there always, very open and honest with both my boys. Love them beyond words. My son needs to understand that he cannot keep loved ones in a holding pattern against their will. Hope he can respect me for not letting my life slip away.

Patti Herndon says:
August 1st, 2012 at 7:28 pm

In this thread: “I hope he burns in hell” – As well as other words that are anything but hope-building and supportive. In four years of participating in the intervene community and reading near every post and every comment by visitors, I’ve never read anything as disturbing as some of the comments on this thread -that one in particular sent chills down my spine. I find it interersting in the recent comment activity that there has been no response to the ‘gentleman’ that spewed it. I can’t even believe it was allowed on the forum in the first place.

There’s a reason that the spirit of the comments rolled the way they did. These hope-depleted comments were inspired by anger, by blanket assumptions… that people who are challenged by addiction are liars, cheats, criminals etc. It’s still rolling that way. Good God. It makes perfect sense why the extreme negative comments followed. It also makes sense why one, lone,very astute, very intuitive young person attempted to help parents out…help us recognize that our perspectives/beliefs and views about them/their addiction impacts their choices, impacts their recovery for better, or for worse. It’s so important that we pay attention to ‘that’ message/Cory’s message.

Responsibility/accountibility/compassion and senstivity regarding recovery includes thinking about what impact words will have on others who are seeking and deserving of resources that will help them problem solve for their circumstances -despite our present state of emotion. It’s not ok, no matter how awful ‘we’ are feeling as CSO’s, to emote to the point of marginalizing those challenged by substance use disorder. Projecting won’t help us or anyone else cope effectively with the individual circumstances we face. And in it’s worse form,projecting our hope-void experiences onto others/complete stragngers will act as a catalyst to cause that someone else seeking help to give up on ‘their’ circumstances before they even begin. None of us have the right to do that to others. These kinds of choices only serve to proliferate stigma,to project hopelessness, bitterness, and resentments regarding addiction. These kinds of conscious choices in communicating make the journey harder for all of us.
It’s not a matter of honesty that will have us projecting that we do not have…prognosticating that we ‘will not ever have’ faith or hope in our addicted loved ones ability to make positive change. That spirit of cognition is a matter of our own personal stall. And our stall impacts our loved one who is challenged by addiction. What we ‘put out there’ impacts the journey for our loved one as well as for others challenged by addiction that we will never meet. We are held accountable in one way or another.

Read Corys comment…as many times as it takes.

Cory says:
November 22nd, 2009 at 6:45 pm

“This is a comment directed to parents about some truths from the reverse perspective. I am 19 and have had heavy experimentation with drugs and alcohol and I was never caught. Both my older brothers were addicts at one point and my three closest friends were as well so I do have a valid perspective to share. Here are some things I want you to know:

First, I repeatedly tried to tell my parents of where I was at in life, starting with small mistakes to test their stance. Do not shut down these attempts with anger, retribution and punishment or dismissal but learn to appreciate their honesty to open the lines of communication.

Second is while it’s absolutely true that no one can help your kids but themselves, judgement and intolerance (even directed at the activity rather than the child) will push your children away and possibly towards drugs as they seek to remove the burdens of broken expectations.

Third is that I know that being the parent of an addicted child is hard, in many ways harder than being an addict even. All you want for them to be happy and healthy but they seem bent on self destruction. For addicts everywhere I want to apologize, usually we know the pain we cause and take this pain into ourselves.

The last thing I deem it important to mention is that while addicts do manage to hurt themselves and their situations they are also capable and usually do accomplish things from time to time. Things such as getting a job or a promotion, or just staying clean for even a few days can be a major source of pride for them. Know that a few words of praise for even the smallest things goes miles farther than disapproval for their overall life choices.

I sincerly wish you all your happy endings and know you will be in my prayers.”

Addiction is the journey recovery is the destination.

Gretchen says:
August 6th, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Well, I seem to have begun this long, heartfelt journey that you all are taking. My 20 year old son is a drug addict. My heart is breaking, but I am trying my hardest to be strong for my husband and other three children. At this moment my son is apparently homeless. He has no car and no job. I know that he has sold almost everything of value, including most of his clothes. I feel like someone has taken a part of my body away from me. I have appreciated all of the comments (I did not read the negative things going on) that I have read (which has only been at the beginning of this blog). It is very important for me to know that I am not the only person going through this in the world, although what a shame that there are so many. I am trying so hard to wrap my brain around addiction and understand it. I feel as though I am in a constant tug of war between my heart and my brain. I know what I need to do and it is one of the hardest things I believe I’ve ever had to do. I never imagined that I would be traveling this road….but I am sure none of us thought we would. I feel as though, at this point, all that I can do is pray. It is hard to have joy and pep around my other teenagers, but I am trying. I know they need me strong. Wow, I will never make judgement on anyone else’s inadequacies. One never knows what another one is going through. My son is bright and handsome and smart. I can’t wait to be proud of him again.

Michelle says:
August 9th, 2012 at 4:46 am

I want to say thank you to all of you for sharing your personal stories. I felt so alone and helpless. I have a 19 year old drug addict. He has been using since middle school. We put him in an outpatient rehab about 3 yrs ago. He went right back to using. On May 29 of this year I received a phone call in the middle of the night from the ER. My husband and I rushed to the hospital but were not allowed to see my son, he was under arrest. I was devastated. Finally the officer let me see my son only because my son was so incoherent they couldn’t get any info from him. They were able to get my # because my son said his last name and they had us on file. My son took 3 stamps of LSD a Valium and smoked incense that night. The police were called by multiple home owners because my son was breaking thru their glass. He was arrested and taken to the ER . The doctors said with the amount of drugs in his system he should have died. My son didn’t even know who he was or who we were. He went straight to jail for a month and a half before they posted bond. We bonded him out and have made him go to meetings and he has enrolled in college. He was doing great, So I thought. My instinct was telling me something was wrong, I went thru his room and found evidence of smoking pot. We don’t give him any money but he got $10 from his grandma and he said he bought incense and smoked a little and didn’t like it so he thru it away. I don’t believe him. He lies so easily and has no conscience. I don’t know how much more I can take. I have another younger son and 3 step sons and my 19 year old just zaps the happiness and life right out of me. I don’t know what to do. I can’t afford to send him to rehab again and even if I could He doesn’t think he has a problem. Meanwhile we are awaiting his court hearing in Sept. He is facing 2 felonies and possibly more jail time. And he still says he’s not an addict. Thanks in advance for any advice!

Joan says:
August 9th, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I have recently been scolded by another parent for speaking about our kids drug abuse. Us parents have been in contact throughout this addiction journey and I thought we were on the same page. But its obvious that we all have different ways of dealing whether right or wrong. If i could keep it all a secret i would, but its not helping anyone. I feel if we are all talking and sharing what we know is a goid thing. Am i wrong? Advise/opinions.

Charles says says:
August 10th, 2012 at 10:16 pm

My son who is 33 has turned once again to drugs and alcohol. I am so tried of this I do not know what to do. Today I googled “god how can I help my son who is an adult”. This website was where it took me! I read the 7 Truths and have lived them all this past 18 years. I am lost. I have called the rescue mission here and the mental health center and both are willing to help and help quickly. Of course he doesn’t need help he says its us who needs the help.
A little about him, he has 2 daughters, one 13 who he has never seen or met and a 3 year old who he loves dearly. His wife of 4 years left him about a month ago because she wanted to be with her first lover (who she has 2 children with (who live with family)) again. He is on drugs and now she is also. He has never held down a job for longer than 2 months because he thinks they are plotting against him. He ends up getting fired. He has a low IQ as does his wife due to very heavy drug use (huffing) at 15 or 16 years old.
He works with me as I own my own business. In the past 3 years I have injured both knees. My hip became damaged due to the way I walk. I did not have health insurance so I make my own way. This past year due to the economy I cut back to just me. My son has been helping me by carrying tools to getting on ladders for me.
In the past I paid for him to get help, His mother (we are divorced since 88) has let her stay with her as she lives in the country. He and his wife couldn’t get into town so it helped them stay clean.
Today he blew up on his mother calling her every name in the book and became somewhat violent towards her at their home. She called me, told him to leave, pack his things,and get out. I called him and he expressed that he didn’t need what she was doing to him and trying to take his daughter from him. We also got into a big argument and I told him I was done as he never does what it takes to get right. His mother took him to the edge of town and dropped him off. When I spoke to her I tried to tell her about my conversations with the mental health center and the mission. All she could yell about is that she never wants to see him again!
He will be out of money in a couple of days and will be calling the both of us(he will be sober). I don’t know what to do except stick to the 7 truthes and pray he goes to the mission. What do I do!!!!!

Ron Grover says:
August 13th, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Dear Michelle, Joan and Charles,

It is so hard for us parents to see the consequences of our child’s addiction. But we must allow them to suffer the consequences of their addiction. If it means jail then so it is. My wife and I began to look at jail as “protective custody” because we felt our son was safer there than on the streets scoring and using more heroin.

There will be no change until they decide to change. I spent years trying to fix it for my son. As you read it took me 5 years to understand.

Joan, do not be afraid to seek help from other parents. There is a wonderful online network of parents helping each other. If you want to tap into those resources visit my personal blog about parenting an addict. The title is “An Addict In Our Son’s Bedroom”. located at My son has been clear and sober for over two years no but if you want to read about our trying times during his active addiction go back to before July 2010.

One thing I learned in all of this is that you must learn to take of yourself too. Following the life of an addicted child can make you just as sick as your child.

Good luck and never give up. Where there is life there is hope.

Ron Grover

Sandy says:
August 15th, 2012 at 3:01 am

I stumbled upon this blog accidently while searching for information on drug/alcohol addiction. It’s staggering how many parents are suffering from this. My daughter is 22 years old and is addicted to pills, alcohol and drugs. It is really just hitting me that she is a full fledged addict. Not only that but she has co occurring disorders. She is bulimic and has depression and anxiety. And it is also just becoming a realization that I have been an enabler. In the past I have threatened that if she didn’t follow my rules…no drugs/alcohol..home by a certain time etc, etc, etc…she can’t stay here….but I never follow through. How can I just let my daughter live on the street? She has had all classic things happen to her….been in trouble with the law…in and out of hospitals….lost jobs. She just got out of jail (1 1/2 months) for burglary. She was on heroin and broke into 7 cars in our neighborhood. (still has to go to court to be sentenced) I did not get her out of jail….her bail was lowered and I still didn’t get her out…finally the judge let her out with no bail) She went into a rehab 2 weeks later. I just got the call from the psychologist that this program is not for her. He said it’s a very strict program and she would be better off in a different facility. He is checking on some but if he doesn’t find one he will be releasing her. So what I need to know is: How can i be sure that she isn’t drinking or doing drugs….and how do I go about enforcing my rules and if they aren’t followed then telling her she has to leave…and actually making her leave. How do i put her on the street? I know it is time for me to stop being an enabler but I just need to know how to do it.

Ron Grover says:
August 15th, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Dear Sandy,

You are struggling down the same path we have all traveled. It is tough, there is no minimizing and there are no “silver bullet” answers.

First of all, seek out help. NA, AA, Nar-Anon, Al-Anon great resources but there are other ways too. You must find what works for you.

“How can I be sure she isn’t drinking or doing drugs?” Mom, she is an addict, she is going to do drugs. How can you really tell if an addict is lying about there not using? There lips are moving. She is addicted and without help and a profound experience she will continue to satisfy her addiction.

“How do I go about enforcing my rules…..” Addicts do not respect the concept of rules or laws. This is about establishing your boundaries and detaching with love. An easy way I have learned to understand about boundaries vs. rules; rules start with “You”, boundaries start with “I”. I have written about this on my own blog:

“How do I put her on the street?” You’re at the right article. Truth #7. there are others out there better at helping our sons and daughters then we are. Nobody loves and cares for them like we do but there are some places we are not allowed because we love them so much.

Feel free to visit my personal blog. On my personal blog I write more of a down and dirty day to day life of parenting and addict. My son has been clear and sober over 2 years now but you can read about our life while he was using in the archives, prior to July 2010.

Good luck Sandy.
Ron Grover

sally b says:
August 15th, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I have a 24 year old son who was molested for 5 years from the age of 14 by a youth minister. As a result of his trauma he is now a drug addict. He might have become an addict anyway at the same time I think his trauma escalated his addiction. I am also an adult child of an alcholoic and have been in Al-Anon for 28 years I am 57 years old. I thought I had it all figured out with my program until my son’s addiction just had me by the throat. After 3 years of treatment he is still homeless and using. My program tells me that it is crucial that I take care of myself and listen to my gut. If I don’t I will not be of any help to anyone much less myself. This might sound crazy but I am grateful for all of this mess we have gone through because I have grown so much and am even closer to my Higher Power more than ever. I do hope my words can help a mother in pain PLEASE run don’t walk to the next Al-Anon meeting. You will not regret it.

Brenda Beck says:
August 16th, 2012 at 6:33 am

I also stumbled across this sight last night. It has helped confirm some of my feelings. Here’s my story…I was married to an alcoholic for almost 20 years. Six years ago I finally left him after reading “Codependent No Longer”. I moved 8 hours away and our two children chose to stay with him. At the time our daughter was 16 & our son was 12. In the years to follow the kids would come and live with me when dads drinking became overwhelming. During the past couple of years both of my children became addicts. Heroin being the most recent and most devastating. Two years ago I knew nothing about heroin, I thought it was a drug popular in the 70′s and had no idea it was still around. As my children were growing up I had always reminded them that every choice they made in life, good or bad would have consequences. I had also told them that if they ever ended up in jail that I would not be able to help them. After dealing with an alcoholic for so many years I had learned to detach. Never realizing that I would again need that tool just around the corner in dealing with my children. My son turned 19 on January 29, 2012 and didn’t get to celebrate his birthday with him because of the drugs and the lies, but he left me a voice message on my cell phone the next day letting me know that he was disappointed in me…..I still have it. On Feb 20th he was a passenger in the car of his sister’s boyfriend and they were pulled over by the CHP in Willows, CA. They were both subsequently arrested. That was on a Monday. I was so happy that he was in a “safe” place and would have several days of no drugs….a chance to think without drugs!! Since they were both addicts they detoxed in jail. My son, Kenny, was violently ill. I had no idea of this since I had not spoken to him. On Thursday, I spoke to the nurse (my daughter had informed me that he was ill) at the jail and she said it was just “typical” detox. On Saturday the Shasta County Sheriff arrived at my door to tell me my son had died….. It had been almost 6 months…the pain is unbelievable…tough love is good I guess, what choice do we have…but please be aware and prepared for the worse. I remember telling Kenny not to long ago that his addiction would end in one of 3 ways…rehab, jail or death. Looking back I guess I didn’t really believe what I was saying either… with only my daughter left and I know that she is still fighting the “monster” I have had to detach again..”Letting Go &

Brenda Beck says:
August 16th, 2012 at 6:35 am

“”Letting God”

Debbie says:
August 19th, 2012 at 5:29 am

I am the mother of 4…1 is my hero that fought for our freedom in Iraq…1 with a mental disablitiy..1 thats livin his life the way he wants and is content and happy, but then i have 1 (my Yongest which is addicted to everything he can get his hands on…I’ve bailed him out of jail many times, take him to his court hearing so he doesnt go back to jail, the list is endless…about 3 months ago I threw him out of my house. and thats when the heartache really began…a parent should not have to kick their child out of thier lives…I have never been so sad in my life…I cry everyday but I know i cant give in. I spoke with your family doctor about committing him but he said since hes an adult i can;t do anything unless he makes a threat to hurt himself…I don’t understand….I love my boy and want him back…all this stress has caused me to have to go on depression drugs which I have never been a depressed person….that just makes me even more mad because now his stupid desions have effected my whole world and who I am…he steals from the local stores ( I life in a small town) and they tell me alot how hes not allowed in thier stores anymore….I understand thier point and would not want him thier either , but now I feel I’m being watched and not welcome….as others have said i pray for the day he does go to jail, at least hes dr, clothed and safe…but at this point i don’t know if i could ever let him back in my life….I hope there is someone out there that understands.

Thank You for listening

SallyNZ says:
August 19th, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Last night I googled “parents with addict children” and stumbled on this post. I have never blogged nor responded to blogs before nor ever sought information about a topic via blogs before. What I have read about 7 Truths and postings from those dealing with addict children has struck a chord with me and although what I have read and learned as a result may not save my sons life I am sure it will help me save mine and that of my granddaughter, husband and family.
Less than six weeks ago my 26 year old son confessed his meth addiction. The news was an enormous shock, at the time it was also heightened by the fact that he was in a very bad way physically and needed to get medical help to prevent him from becoming dehydrated. He has been using about 14 months or so we have been told.
Our lives have been turned upside down from that day on. After his confession it was as though his own boundaries had been removed and he went wild very very quickly. We can only guess it was because he felt he didn’t need to hide anything from us as he had been doing throughout his “double-life”. Eventually we thought we had it sorted and were doing the right thing. Although we have no experience of any addiction we sought help from resources available to us in NZ, read what we could (avoiding the internet initially), spoke to medical professionals, talked to each other, talked to our son and cared for his beautiful, smart, bright, bubbly 4yr old daughter. We thought we had it under control and we THOUGHT we were seeing and hearing the encouraging steps from our son that we so longed for. We were wrong.
The turning point for us came yesterday. We live in a small house that suited us perfectly well until we were invaded by a hideous, angry, controlling, unpredictable, lying person. Our son has no job, his partner and mother of his child has kicked him out (without knowing about his meth addiction), he has no money, his car has no warrant or registration so is a magnet for expensive fines, he has no where to live, no where to parent his daughter the 6 nights a fortnight that he is responsible for. So we thought we would rent out our house and rent somewhere bigger to give him somewhere to be and somewhere to parent his daughter. Because he was going to go to rehab…soon….and he would go to detox…soon….and yes of course he had stopped using…because he said he would, right?! WRONG. Something was troubling me deeply with this new plan of ours and this article has helped me see exactly what that is. What we have been doing up to now has been enabling our son to continue his meth habit and were about to make it a whole lot easier for him. We thought it was support. But all we have been doing is make it easy for him to keep using. We don’t want to live with him anyway. He is ghastly! What were we thinking?! Too bad if his life is uncomfortable and chaotic. That is his choice. We have cancelled the rental home. He has been on a meth bender this weekend so we have asked to have a couple of hours with him tomorrow afternoon so we can let him know our revised expectations, boundaries and code of conduct if he wants to spend time with us in our home. We will protect our beautiful granddaughter and will take legal action to ensure she is safe and nurtured if we have to. When we were raising our young sons “enabling” used to be a positive word in our parenting. We used to enable our sons so they were empowered, informed and learned about consequences of their decisions in a safe and managed way. It isn’t easy to immediately see that with a meth addict enabling isn’t a positive parenting technique any more. Actually it isn’t easy to see anything immediately such are the initial feelings of shock, grief, shame, anger, hurt, embarrassment, confusion and frustration which are overwhelming. Day by day we toughen up. Day by day our exterior becomes harder, more dubious, incredibly skeptical, less shocked and the feelings of shame and embarrassment dissipate. We are still angry but are working on that as we do not want to live our lives as angry people. Trust has been shattered but love has not gone. We are just protecting it until we are no longer vulnerable. Of course we have hope. We want a healthy son and our happy, fun filled loving family back but we have seen now that it will be a long road and we need to keep ourselves strong. Only by doing this can we keep our granddaughter safe and provide the right kind of support when our son is ready for it. That isn’t now. This article has helped us see that. Kia kaha. Be strong.

Frank says:
August 21st, 2012 at 6:47 pm

It was a blessing to find this site for I am aware that someone else’s experience can give me wisdom on handling my 19 year old drug addict son. He is presently in the process of being kicked out of the military (after serving only a few months) for making unhealthy choices that were attributed to spice in which he is addicted. Believe it or not, it can be found in your local store. I am aware upon him being released; he will need a place to live. Now my way of thinking is this – either he stops using, enrolls in a rehab program or consider finding somewhere else to live. I have another son at home that I don’t want to be possibly influenced by my eldest son’s behavior. In addition, I want to protect the sanity of my wife and I. My question is – am I being too tough or are these healthy boundaries?

Avigail Halberg says:
August 29th, 2012 at 10:31 am

I cried for years. my son refused to see or speak to me. He chose to live with his fathers parents after our divorce. he began smoking dope drinking and experimenting but it was kept from me. I would wake at night knowing something was wrong calling on the heavens to help to protect and keep him safe. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia a few years ago. He refuses contact. I dreamt for years of rescuing him longed to see him mourned grieved wrote letters etc but my own health has been deteriorating so much that I have been forced to focus on myself. Ultimately this is my primary responsibility.

Lynn says:
September 3rd, 2012 at 11:47 pm

I am so so angry that my son died from drug abuse. The DR’s continued to give him pills instead of rehab. I miss
him so much he was like most of you say about your children a wonderful son when he was younger. I had know idea the mixing of the drugs until he overdosed, he refused rehab and
his Dad (my ex) took his side, he has a drug problem too. My son left me a blessing (his daughter)his girlfriend cant have her she also has drug issues. I tried to get my son away from his Dad and out of the city so I he moved when he was 14 and his Dad followed us 200 miles away, I hate my ex
tough words but the hard thing is he was wonderful to the boys when they were younger I had no idea he was selling cocaine to DR’s and lawywers. The other son didnt really get into it but the son that did is now dead. The loss of my sons daughter to foster care and than to me was hard on him but still not enough to get him to stop. I knew he couldnt quit drugs if he couldnt do it for the one person he loved his daughter. He said to me one day ” You know Mom maybe you and my Dad are just going to have to bury me” it haunts me, his heart was bad from drugs I was on the way to cardio with him when he said it. I sat silent I didnt know what to say, I was confused and scared he never told me enough and he lied to me so much. I fought with him alot over his daughter I have guardianship and atleast now she wont be a part of her parents drug addiction. I loved Andy more than life itself I would of gave my own life for him if I could I cry everyday.

Julie says:
September 4th, 2012 at 5:30 pm


You are not being too tough. You MUST have boundaries. I am just learning this and can’t believe how simple it actually is. The tough part is putting it into action. My son is currently in an in-patient facility, due out next week. His first rehab, he has a job to return home to, a vehicle which he paid off, and other healthy blessings. We love him so much and are so proud of him going into rehab. But I have written to him that, although we are here when he gets released, it’s all up to him. If the time comes that he crosses OUR boundaries, then he has to go. But we are willing to give him that chance, now that he is clean and clear. I pray every night for him, that he is strong enough and can withstand the disease. I know how much he wants to be better. They all do. No one wants this disease, they are just powerless over it until they decide to change it. So take care of YOU, keep those boundaries, and follow thru. And I pass on to you to try an NA meeting for parents. I go once a week, and it saved my life. I pray each day that I am strong enough to keep my boundaries too. God bless.

Kyle says:
September 5th, 2012 at 4:51 am

Sally, you need to help him now. He is early enough in his addiction to receive help. It’s going to be hard but stay on him. I am personally an addict trying get clean off of crystal meth but it’s hard because I have no support from my mother because she doesn’t know. And my father died when I was 12. I guarantee you that thing he needs most is your support. Set a day to spend the whole day with him from morning to late night. Do not let him out of your sight so he we come down. Some signs you need to look for to see if he gets high behind your bak is the mouth. It’s called tweaker mouth and you get it when high meth. Your mouth is so dry that its white or in serious cases yellow and if you want to be sure then have him spit. If he is high, he will not be able to fully spit if he has not had water or anything to wet his mouth for 30 mins to an hour. Secondly make sure there is no tin foil or light bulbs that he can use to smoke lying around(that is if he doesn’t already a have a pizzo/meth pipe on him. Also check his arms for needle marks. Once he’s at that stage your battle will be much harder and believe me, if he isn’t there now, he will be. Anyways after you spend the day with him let him go to bed in your house in a room and go in there at about 2 am to see if he’s awake. Do not let him hear you coming because he will pretend he is sleeping because he will be paranoid of that already. If he is awake that means he’s high. Because you come down after a few hours and you go right to sleep for a long time. It is not a good sign if he doesn’t sleep late. After you are sure he is not high take time to have a talk with him and whatch out for manipulation. Act caring and supportive but don’t let him give you a sob story and don’t feel sorry for him. After this either keep a close eye on him while letting him live with you. If you feel you can’t trust him to make the decision to stay clean with your help and close eye then 6 month rehab with half day passes every other week to spend time with you and his child and child’s mom if she still loves him. The battle will never end you will always have to keep an extra close eye forever because once an addict always an addict. Using or not he will always fight the addiction. And don’t rely on being able to smell the smoke because its undetectable

Stephanie says:
September 6th, 2012 at 1:04 am

My niece is a heroin addict. She is 17 yrs old and has stolen over $10,000.00 worth of stuff from her father and sold it. Where do you get help from when the police won’t do anything? My brother wanted to press charges against her and they won’t do anything! I do not understand this. The only way to get her into a mandated program is to have her arrested. All of the rehabs in the area are booked solid and will only take in new patients if they are currently in jail. She was put into a program a week ago, but it wasn’t an ordered program. She stole drugs out of a workers purse there and distributed them to other patients. They sent her home. I believe they should’ve called the police and pressed their own charges. We all believe the only way she can be helped is to get her into one of these programs but what do you do when no one will help?

Jerry Otero says:
September 6th, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Dear Lynn,

When we lose a spouse, sibling or parent our grief can be particularly intense. But, loss is understood as a natural part of life, and although we can still be overcome by shock and confusion, there can be nothing worse than losing one’s own child.

It’s unnatural. It’s wrong. And, it adds untold difficulties and complexities to the grieving process.

While there are no easy answers, the American Psychological Association recommends the following strategies to help come to terms with loss:

• Talk about the death of your loved one
• Accept your feelings
• Take care of yourself and your family
• Help others that are dealing with the loss too.
• Remember and celebrate the lives of your loved ones

Additionally, I recommend that you call me at the Parent Helpline (number listed below) so that I can assist you in making the best use of what The Partnership at has to offer you.

Until then, I wish you the best.

Jerry Otero MA
Parent Support Specialist
1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373)

Prairie Sunshine says:
September 7th, 2012 at 7:23 am

Our son is an older adult, 30, and for the past 10 years has used drugs, almost any kind, and alcohol. He has managed to quit all the drugs but one, but now vodka is his drug of choice. And we are talking a lot of vodka. Two years ago we did an intervention and he went to treatment. He was better for a while, but was still drinking. He has now developed grand maul seisures which he has everytime he tries to come off the vodka. Seizures run in his father’s family and I am sure all of his problems have made him more susceptable to them. He has fallen, hurt his head, broken and refractured three ribs from having these seisures. He lives alone and cannot remember having the seisures. He does have a job, but has had these seisures at work and had to be taken to the hospital, where he usually spends 2-5 days getting fixed up, and then immediately goes back to drinking when he is released from the hospital. His job offers him no medical insurance, so he has a lot of bills, some of which have been written off due to my help with paperwork. He drinks a quart of vodka every two days and has also developed pancreatitus. But continues to drink. He is on seisure medicine, depression medicine and anti-anxiety medicine as because of prior drug use has developed chronic anxiety. He has become a loner with no friends. His life is work, drink, sleep. He is super thin as he does not eat much. He appears to have no ambition to clean his house or do dishes or wash clothes, etc. This past December we got him into a state paid for rehabilitation home, only to have him drink the very day he got out. We brought him home to stay with us for 6 months, but could not stop him from drinking. He tried, we tried, he finally got this last job and moved out of the house to a different city. He is now telling us he wants to go to treatment again. We have tried to be supportive, we pay his phone, car insurance, medications and I buy him food. But we are getting ready to retire and cannot continue to do this. I know we have been enabling him, but his medical condition of being an epilectic has made it hard for us to abondan him. I am the worst, I just love him so much. He just got out of the hospital 5 days ago, and was back to drinking that evening. My husband has had it and will have nothing more to do with him, so I am having the only contact with him. I worry day and night thinking I am going to get a call saying he has died. It consumes my life, I had a nervous breakdown last summer because of it and have developed an itchie nervous skin problem too. My husband has an ulcer that has come back. Please tell us what to do, how much should we help him, what is our next step? I am always still hoping, my husband on the other hand is just mad, believes our son does not try and has no more sympathy for him. This has caused a great deal of stress between us because I feel it is our duty as parents to be there for him to help make decisions, etc. Helpless out on the prairie.

Debbie C says:
September 8th, 2012 at 12:48 am

I need to know how to live with my son. He started using heroin approx. 8 months ago with a girl he started dating. I didn’t know anything about heroin. I know know just how dangerous this drug is. I thought it was something people used in the 70′s. Well it is on the streets again and kids are dying. I never dreamed my son would be shooting heroin. It has torn our family apart. We kicked him out of our home after his girlfriend stole thousands of dollars worth of stuff from us. After 4 months away from home he asked for help and wants to quit. I have called and got him into a meth clinic. Not the best choice but he has no insurance. He is doing well as far as I can tell. He signed papers so I could find out if he misses any of his doses. He is moving back this weekend.

What are the odds that he will relapse? What can I do to help but not enable him. I know I have to stop enabling him and make excuses for him; but I will never, never give up on him. My heart breaks for those who have lost their children to this horrible monster. God bless!

CJC says:
September 9th, 2012 at 4:12 am

My son is 27 and an Addict. At the moment Meth is his choice of drug!
Ive lived with my sons addiction for the past 12 years, ever since he was 15.It started with paint sniffing,marijuana then got introduced to heroin at the age of 16.
He went on to stealing, lying, abusing his family, where violence became an every 2nd day occurrence.He even tried to choke me at one time, which shocked the hell out of me.
Ive had him burgle my house many times over, and I’ve reported him to the police, but because they say he lived here they couldn’t charge him with the offense.
Ive had to put up with him going in and out of jail many many times over and have always tried to support him when he’s been released. But I have now got to the point where I just can not do it anymore and its very frustrating knowing that you have to finally give up on your own child for your own health and safety of others.
His addiction has been anything he can get his hands on just so he cant live in the world of reality.
At times Ive hated him I mean really hated him, and Ive told him, I love you because your my son but I hate the person you’ve become.
I use to feel great guilt for thinking the thoughts of hating him, but now I can see I’m not alone. I love him dearly as the boy I gave birth too, but not the man he’s become I do not like at all..I look at him at times when he’s been on the drugs and is coming down off them. All I think is you discuss me, I know some of what I write is harsh but its reality.
Ive sat many years waiting for that knock on the door telling me he has died from an overdose,and sometimes you wish it would happen sooner rather than later, just so you don’t have to feel the pain and hurt of their own self destructive life anymore.
Like everyone else s stories on here, I wish I could have my gorgeous boy back instead of this evil monster….
Also when he does go back to Jail that is when I sigh with relief knowing he is safer…So sad to have to think your own child is safer to himself been in Jail :-(
I no longer have friends or family asking me how he’s going or anything anymore as im sure they know what the answer will be.I use to feel very embarrassed about him and it took me many years to actually say to people “He is a Drug Addict” or I have a son that’s one.
But once I was able to actually say it, it became a relief and a reality. So for many years I guess I buried my head in the sand. “Not Anymore”

Thanks everyone for your stories, I’ve sat here for a couple of hours reading all that you have written and it has helped me to understand that I am not alone.

Amy F says:
September 9th, 2012 at 4:33 am

My twin sister is going thru this with two of her sons right now, dealing pills and using them, and she enables the youngest one badly, and he knows what he is doing to her, I just wish I could get her to an Al Anon meeting, the 7 truths describe her to a T…..and Him as well. I am afraid for my sisters life and her health….The things she has done to protect her baby is terrifying…Her youngest son is going on 22 and her oldest just turned 32 and he is the one that started the younger one on pill..I just pray to God for him to help her seeing she is hurting him more that helping him by allowing him to keep returning home and turning her home into complete chaos…

Craig Fellows says:
September 9th, 2012 at 8:45 pm

My pain is so acute. I can not stop crying. I wish there was another way for my son to recover without him going through all the suffering he is about to encounter. I am kicking him out of our home in five days if he does not come up clean on a urine test. He has been struggling with his addictions for a long time now and I don’t know why. There is nothing but love in our house for him and yet here we are. I would ask God to take my life and spare him the suffering if he would. I am so lost. I don’t know how I am going to survive this pain in my heart and life. It is too much to bear.

Cheryl Lynn says:
September 11th, 2012 at 3:19 am

I once was filled with happiness and love
No one could stop me from reaching for the stars above
My life was fulfilling and I loved waking up everyday 
My family was perfect and brought me joy in every way
I was often told that I had a permanent smile
I never hesitated to go the extra mile
Now I can only cherish those memories in side my heart
I wonder why addiction had to tear MY family apart
I rarely smile and avoid my friends
I wonder when each day will finally end
I no longer have dreams nor desires
Spend my life putting out your fires
My life is clouded with resentments
Failure seems to be my only accomplishments
My body aches from my internal hate
Why have I been delt this awful fate
I wish you could see
Not only has this addiction killing you, it is also killing ME!

My son is 21 years old and has been addicted to Heroin for 3 years, has been in 3 inpatient rehabs, jail 4 times and countless outpatient programs he is officially homeless now. I recently wrote this poem only because I could no longer tell him how I feel and I am ready to take MY life back!

Carole says:
September 11th, 2012 at 4:07 am

I feel your pain Craig, and I too have trouble not crying. Tonight I went to visit my youngest 40 year old son, who is a really nice guy, before he is sent to back prison for a “vop” thats a violation of probation. (you might as well get to know the lingo because if your son continues you’ll get very familiar with legalese). No one would believe our story, but every family has one that is just as horrific because it is happening to them. Our family story is of addiction: an alcoholic, abusive father of several sons, (whom i did divorce and is deceased) vehicular deaths, watching one son die with aids from heroin and two suffer who from manic depressive disorder /or bipolar disorder (probably exacerbated by excessive pot smoking). And i tried to save them all. I’m the mother and tried to do my best, but now I’m old, I’m tired, I’m poor and about to lose my home and I’m sad. I’d like to add that I’m alone, but I’m not, I still have a 50 year old moocher with me who along with his bipolar/manic behavior believes he is helping me. Not to mention I’ve also have been “blessed” with a very spoiled grandchild who is attending college, whom I suspect has inherited her father’s bipolar personality..and I tried so hard. God knows what will happen next. They all did drugs of some kind, and I tried to help them! Now, I’m 75 years old, still working and trying to hold on to what’s left of my savings…which would not last two months were I to lose my job or become ill. Drugs are about loss. You do them, you lose. Even if you don’t do them and you allow them to permeate your life, you lose. Look at me I’ve lost everything and never did drugs. I just loved my kids and believed I was doing the right thing….obviously I was very wrong. All I want to do us cry, but I work, and keep busy. I pray a lot, particularly at night when I can’t sleep. Sometimes chanting or repeating a specific prayer while breathing deeply helps, I tried asking god to take my life, but it doesn’t work that way. Someone once told me that the closer we get to God, the more the devil will try to make us question our faith. There’s been many times I’ve had to have a long talk with myself about that one. I needed help this week real bad, I prayed for help and found this blog, and also found an alanon meeting very close to where I work. So go ahead and cry..crying never killed anyone; if it did I’d have been dead many times over, but help yourself. Pray hard everyday and know that you are not alone. When I found this blog, I thought. “wow, I didn’t realize that there are so many parents out there who feel just like me.”. Thanks to all of you for giving, even me, courage and hope.

Carole says:
September 11th, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Cheryl Lynn: I your poem is right on for me. Thanks!

Debbie says:
September 12th, 2012 at 3:11 pm

So many sad stories! I have a picture of my son when he was about 4 years old taken at halloween in his transformer costume! I so want that little boy back. I read in an article (at MY counselor’s office) that we have to not live in the past but in the right now like our addicts are living. I can only take action for myself. I meet with a counselor experienced with heroin addicts, see a stephen minister weekly and am going to particpate in a yogi/medication trial for fatique (brought on by breast cancer and stress). I don’t know how to heal my marriage; it’s almost beyond repair. Right now I am concentrating on saving my sanity. I am blessed, my son has been going to the meth clinic every morning and I am hopeful he will get off this horrible monster with their help.

Jerry Otero says:
September 12th, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Dear Stephanie,

Admittedly, the following is the most extreme measure that you can take, but have you considered involuntary commitment?

The laws regarding involuntary commitment for substance abuse vary widely among states, but if you have already tried everything else to no avail, you might want to explore the support you can get from the laws in your locale regarding this form of intervention.

You can read more about this at the Partnership at’s Newsroom blog by clicking on the following link –

Alternately, you can call our Parent Helpline where you can talk to a trained professional who can help you to brainstorm other possible solutions.

Either way, I wish you and your family all the best.

Jerry Otero MA
Parent Support Specialist

JEAN says:
September 13th, 2012 at 5:07 pm

i hv been going through this with my son since he was 12 he is now30 i hv tryed everything i can think of rehab more the i can count ,jail my heart aches and i feel i hv 2 lives one my normal life with the guy i just marryed and the other of a son on drugs i keep the phone by my bed when i sleep by my side when im awake waiting on that call saying my son is no longer with us last time i sent him to rehab in az i spent all my saving i had to send him only for him to walk out to the streets and end up with hep.c and now his liver is felling my son is diying and theres nothing i can do but plan a funeral when he goes.drugs does not only take over the person who takes them but the sister who is missing the close bond of her brother the mother who remebers when they was born all the hope for a great future and the father who is use to solveing all their kids problems has to set back and watch his son kill himself. this is the first time i hv ever told anyone this there is only a handful i hv told not because im a shamed but because i dont want the people who dont understand to call my son a junkie his not his my son with a diasese i go on every day and cry myself to sleep every night. my son is dyeing and im dying with him ….. from a mom in PAIN!!!!

Carole says:
September 14th, 2012 at 2:18 am

Jean: I’m so sorry for your pain. Perhaps your son can or will seek treatment. Hep c does not necessarily have to be terminal if treated. Great strides have been made recently. I know it will not take away your pain, but I will include you in my prayers because I know, after loosing a son to drugs..he was an IV heroin user and died of aids, how deeply the pain resides in your heart. Have hope and know that even if you feel alone, there are many of use who are walking this road with you.

Cheryl Lynn says:
September 14th, 2012 at 4:58 am

Thank you Carole.
Your story is heartbreaking and I too have asked god to take me early. I guess now that I think about it I know that is a cop out. I assume our children ask god the same while they are suffering from withdrawals. I must say things have really changed in the last week once I decided I needed to take MY life back. I pushed my son out on the streets, ignored his calls, called all the family and told them not to help him, filed a restraining order and even called police out when he showed up, doing this made him suffer, go hungry, sleep in a park, realize everyone is done helping him fail, after a week of torture he spent an entire day trying to call me, walked over 7 miles on a hot AZ day, showed up at my door begged me to talk to him, I sat outside with him and said you can keep walking or allow me to drop you off at the state detox facility, he agreed to go. I fed him, let him shower and dropped him off. AZ has a grueling program which requires approx 24 of stand and wait before you can even be assessed for detox! He was finally accepted for the 5 day medical detox today! Praying is all I can do from here! Hugs to all of you. Just remember sometimes selfish pays off!

JEAN says:
September 14th, 2012 at 11:55 am

Thank you Jean yes all the storys on this page helped me know im not alone witch by the way is so sad there is so many of us but i feel the thoughts in my head they are normal and others are thinking them to thx you for hving this page its the first time i hv reached out to anyone…..from a mom in pain

Sash tee says:
September 16th, 2012 at 7:14 am

I too have an addicted son who has a place at university from Sept, with a ‘gifted’ bursary due to his ability to dilever the ‘goods’ and sheer intelligence.

13 years old I found out (I noticed) to date dealing with his all consuming addiction to skunk
Educated him and I on risks
Got counselling/family mediation
Tried to involve school/banned certain friends from our home
Withheld access to money
Drug tested him
Sent him to another city at 15 years to get him away from the ‘crowd’
He returned clean (for a while)
He stole/lied/lashed out/broke things/sold his property/got into drug debt
Watched/nursed him through psychosis that lasted 10 days at a time,
got expert help
Gave up my PHD to tend to him, became ill myself
Threw him out three times – this time is the last
I am a heart broken mother, for seven years we have fought this addiction. I know I cannot enable my son any longer, he is 20 years old and has thrown it all back – we are no further along -I read an email I sent him three years ago which is so right for now – intellectually I know what I have to do, yet it so goes against my every cell and feelings as a mother – and this morning I have sobbed and sobbed in pain for me and those who so dearly love him and the battle to stay strong,
This blog has helped and I needed to be reminded of why I cannot ‘help’ my son – it is for him to hit rock bottom and want to climb out, I cannot go down with him. My arms are wide open if the day comes when he is no longer in denial he is an addict and wants help. It’s just so hard to be strong and hopeful.

Lin says:
September 16th, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Great article! We have been dealing with our adult daughter’s addiction to pain pills for the last five years. She is now in her second round of rehab. She checked herself in as she will lose her boyfriend and one year old if she doesn’t straighten out. We have told him we will not fight for custody as we are in our 60′s. There is really nothing you can do but hope, pray, and don’t enable. For four of those five years, we and her grandma have given her money, time after time, bad idea. In retrospect, when she was arrested for DUI, we bailed her out, paid costs, etc. More bad ideas. Now we give her nothing. And it’s hard to be encouraging, I might add. But, we’re trying. BTW, she was an honor student, NCAA athlete, college grade, so it does happen to anyone. Hope she makes it. Thanks for the article, tho tooo late for us.

Eugene says:
September 17th, 2012 at 4:36 am

Our son, now 28 spent his 1st night away from home (runaway) at 11 years old. He entered the 1st drug treatment program at 15. Between the ages of 15 and 18 he was inpatient at 4 adolescent treatment programs including one where the state assumed custody to get him into the program. He has been in three adult programs including completion of a 1 yr. program when he was 21. We participated with him as family members and have been through every kind of substance abuse program you can imagine. Unfortunately we only now have come to understand that we have enabled our son for 17 years. There have been long periods of sobriety but it does not have much meaning if relapse is always the final step. We now have a daughter-in-law and grandson who are living this seemingly endless nightmare with us. I have not experienced what many of you here have been through but I fear that it may lie ahead for us. I am touched by the honest accounts of lives changed and lives lost. I will pray for you who are now or have been the parent of a drug addict. Peace, hope, and joy can be hard to find on a lonely night when the child (or adult) you love is lost in drug abuse.

JEAN says:
September 17th, 2012 at 7:25 pm

WHERE IS MY SON; i look into my sons eyes and see no hope no happiness no feelings and no love; the drug has taken over his body his soul is slowly dying and so is his body; i miss the hugs ,voice full of hope, the smile and laughter over the little things fishing, a soda, a walk in the woods, the simple hug; now theres just pain sorrow and angery, where is my son, drugs has taken him over, his is not him any more he is drugs walking in my sons body. where is my son will he ever come back, will i ever see him smile, laugh, hug look at me and say i love you mom and i need your help; WHERE IS MY SON

Summer says:
September 20th, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Hi. 39 days ago, we found our 22 year old son on the bathroom floor, purple and not breathing from an overdose of heroin. That night changed my life dramatically. He was taking too long in the bathroom and my husband went to check on him, calling his name. When our son did not respond, my husband opened the door and found Joshua on the floor with a needle next to him. We were in complete shock because we did not know he was using heroin. We were hysterical, screaming, crying, performing mouth to mouth and running for the phone to call 911. The paramedics were able to revive him and took him to the hospital where he was admitted into ICU. After a couple of days, he agreed to an inpatient drug rehab. He was there for 30 days, cooperated and really heard the messages they were sending. He came home last week and is now in IOP 3 nights a week, while also going to 12 step meetings. I am grateful and thank God that he is alive. Your 7 truths are good truths to live by. I understand that I can’t fix this and that my son’s choices are his choices. But… my biggest fear is that my son will relapse and I will find him dead in his bed or in the bathroom. If we did not find him that night, he would have been dead by the time we woke up the next morning. We had no idea our son was using heroin. We knew that he was depressed/anxious, and that he was, self-medicating himself with percocets (supposedly) – which was bad enough. He told us that he would take one to take the edge of his anxiety. As soon as we found out about the percocets, we got him counseling. Never in a million years would we have guessed it was heroin. Our son never got into trouble as a teen, never gave us a hard time, was always loving, helpful and just a good person. Our world has been rocked. How do I get past my fear of him relapsing and finding him overdosed again or worse?

JEAN says:
September 21st, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Summer i hv learned to tk one day at a time. there are no rite or wrong just whats rite for you im not all knowing just a mom like you going through the same thing

Jerry Otero says:
September 21st, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Dear Summer,

I was wondering if you knew that each Monday night at 9PM Eastern/ 6PM Pacific, SMART Recovery® Volunteer Facilitators provide an online meeting to address specific issues encountered by friends or family members who have a loved one affected by addiction.

The meetings share SMART Recovery® tools that can be implemented by family members to help with emotional upsets, effective communication methods when dealing with loved ones, and more. Techniques employed within the CRAFT program are also shared for the benefit of meeting attendees.

To participate in the Family & Friends meetings, registration is required at the SMART Recovery® Online website: Meetings are reached via a pulldown menu at the top left corner of the forum pages.

For more information on SMART Recovery® for Family & Friends, please visit:

Jerry Otero MA
Parent Support Specialist
1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373)

Julie says:
September 21st, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Your story is very much like mine. Except, through the grace of God, I did NOT find my son on the bathroom floor. I can’t imagine the horror that you felt, and still feel when you reflect on that. My son (long story short) came to us, after we suspected, and admitted his heroin/crack addiction, and subsequently entered an in-patient facility four hours away. He was not mandated legally, in fact has not had any legal issues, but said he needed to go to get started with recovery. We agreed of course. I talk about it like its an ordinary day, but the whole process was like watching someone else move around in your own body. Believe me, I understand. He is out now and doing well. Back to his full-time job, which he never lost or missed time from. While actively using, he held a full-time job, paid off his truck, has a 401K & life insurance. It’s like an epidemic. It doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad, rich or poor, smart or silly…it happens. That said, you asked how you get past the fear or relapse, or worse. For me, the answer is: you don’t. BUT, the good news is this: RUN, don’t walk, to an NA support group for parents. It has saved me. You listen & share with other parents going through the exact same thing, and at times, some stories are worse. You will learn, just by listening, different ways to cope and to let go, just a little…you will learn how to communicate with your addict, and how to take care of yourself. My son thinks it’s so great that I love it so much, and that I have learned so much. He feels like he has a partner, and there is no subject that is off-limits for us. Do yourself a favor, at least try it. My heart goes out to you. You are not alone. Remember that.

crying mother.. says:
September 22nd, 2012 at 6:50 am

my 22 year old middle son shoots n deals heroin. i cant stop crying.ive been cryin for weeks now. he is denying it over and over tired of the tired of having hope only to be hurt again and again.i miss my son.i miss the little boy who stood up in church one sunday morning and told the congregation that his hair smelled like roses. will he ever come back? he steals thousands of dollars of merchandise from his employer to sell at the pawn shop. im just waiting for the phone call from the police. his girlfriend is leaving him n taking my granddaughters with her. hopefully i will be able to see them still. he has stolen hundreds of dollars from his brother(my oldest)and we both are hurting badly. where will it end?? who is goin to call me?? the police or the hospital??or the coroner? how do you get through this? ive have been through a lot of things in my life but this by far is the most painful. i will not enable him. but i am at a loss as far as what im supposed to do to help him,help his brother,help my grandchildren. i know that i am goin to have to get some kind of proffesional help.because if i dont this will destroy me physically, emotionally and mentally.

Summer says:
September 22nd, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Thank you everyone for your responses. They are very helpful! I really appreciate the kind words and helpful suggestions. Jean, I am doing my best to take it one day at a time. That is my motto nowadays. Julie, that is how my son is too. He was actively using heroin while keeping a full-time job. I believe it is an epidemic too. How long has your son been clean? I am grateful that my son is going to his meetings, working and smiling like he used to. He is showing an effort in his recovery. I guess I am still in shock over everything that happened. I have tried the naranon meetings and like them and will keep going. Jerry, I will look into those meetings. Thank you!!!

JEAN says:
September 25th, 2012 at 4:32 pm

is there meetings on line for parents that dont ask for you to apy to go to them

Jerry Otero says:
September 25th, 2012 at 4:33 pm

To Summer, Jean, Julie and all others who are posting to this blog – Thanks for being part of our online community.

Don’t forget, that we’re here to help – ask for me directly!

Call us at the Parents Toll-Free Helpline
1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373)
Monday to Friday, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm ET

Jerry Otero MA
Parent Support Specialist

September 26th, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I must say i am a addicted sone who would lie cheat steal and i no am in two months of counsling and rehab and the only way i started any of this is when my parents kicked me out and stop giving me money. I dont care what they say every time they gave money you might think your helping them from not being sick but it will just happend over and over again. the only thing my parents helpp me with now is the rehab programs and doctor visits and that should be the only reason you give your child money. I feel awful for what i did to them cuz my dad lost his job and my mums retired and im adopted by them and all i ever did was screw up after highschool and i just hope they can forgive me im still depressed but it helps when i get hugs and they call me to go out to eat and tell me they love me so i just hope this sorta helps parents dont enable just help.

Sue says:
October 2nd, 2012 at 1:25 am

Addicted Son: Thank you for your post. I wish you well in your recovery. It is very difficult to let go when my child was so sick. It hurt in a way I can’t describe. I’m a mom – how can I leave her alone like this? But I had to and I just kept praying and loving her. This disease is especially hard to treat because of the costs involved to treat it – insurance companies pay so little and treatment facilities are so expensive! From everything I’ve read and been told, most people need more than 28 days in a treatment center. It frustrates me! I wish the stigma of drug addiction and alcoholsm wasn’t what it is. It is an ugly mean disease and hurts so many.

cher says:
October 3rd, 2012 at 10:14 pm

On 10/13 I will celebrate with my son 5 years clean. Everything I read here is true, but what works for one family may not work for another. You do what you have to do as long as you can sleep at night and look at yourself in the mirror in the morning. Addiction is a disease. You must look at your addict and see sick on their forehead. If the disease was cancer would you abandon them. Of course not. /there are ways to help them without enabling them. I found that meeting with families anonymous was the saving grace I needed and once I changed the way I was dealing with my addict, he started to change as well. So rather than try and change them, you try to change yourself and it kind of rubs off. /god bless

Jennie says:
October 4th, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I have twins that are 19 years old (identical mirror image twins). I have been through the last year of dealing withdrug use, stealing, lying, pawning, etc. I made them move in with their dad. That was 3 months ago. That lasted 4 weeks. He told them they had to pass a drug test that day or move out. They showed back up at my door. I have a 3 and 4 year old also that see all this. I let them in. I typed out a letter to them giving them 2 options. 1. get help for the drugs and avoid all friends or 2. move out. So they both were ok for about 4 days. I had stated in my letter if you steal from me one time – you have to go. Well yesterday I woke up to find one of the twins stole a check from me, for $30.00 forged my signature and deposited into his new bank account. he said he was getting the money to pay me back, haha.. right. no jobs. I have been seeking a treatment center but all have very high out of pocket costs that I cannot afford. Drug of choice here is smoking heroin. And they do it right in my house. I can smell it and I hate it. I want them gone and I don’t want to deal with them. I love them but I was up til 3 a.m. with them in and out arguing and high of course and denying it. My whole house is in turmoil. At 3 a.m. I told them I can no longer deal with this and they would have to go today when they got up. How do I enforce this? They have no where to go. Do I tell my bank I didn’t sign that check and get my son in trouble for forgery which is a felony in Nevada. ??? I love my twins so much but my husband and I and our other children are suffering while they are high and have no respect or concern for others in the house. I am done watching, looking at phone records, trying to run off drug dealers, sleeping on my wallet, hiding my keys, locking everything of value up in the garage, setting up booby traps when i do sleep so they don’t sneak in my room.. my hubby is their step dad and is fed up .. I don’t even tell him everything they have pawned or stolen… I can’t take anymore…. my son told me last night that i don’t care about him if i kick him out because he will be living on the streets… but I do care and I don’t want to live like this anymore…. please advise.. I want to run away from this life. I can’t see the future.. willthey be 25, toothless with brain rot from drugs…omw.. I pray not, they are so handsome and smart… I cannot go one more night with them in my house… i’m so torn…

Julie says:
October 4th, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Dear Summer

I haven’t been on in a while, but I did see your kind post asking about me and my son. We are hanging in there and working very hard. He attends classes 3 evenings a week, and I go to NA meetings once a week. We are all learning every day. I hope things are going well for you and yours, and that you are finding peace in living your “new life.”

Jerry, thank you for your kindness and for the information. I am grateful.

Summer…maybe we could somehow exchange emails and chat sometime. I’m not sure how we go about that since this is anonymous, but maybe I could find out through one of the numbers Jerry provided.

For now, I wish you all peace & happiness…

Sue says:
October 6th, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Cher. Thank you for your post. I couldn’t agree more. What other disease do we treat like this? Addiction is so powerful that it takes over all that is right, is rational, and turns a person into a slave. It is like watching a tumor grow and knowing that we have to wait, watch it spread and progress to near death, before we can do anything. When people with Alzheimer’s are in the grips of the disease, they often become mean, irrational, etc. Yet, we understand that they are this way because the disease is ravaging their brains. Is the treatment to throw them out on the street? But, we have no other choice with addiction – it’s the only ‘cure’. I think of addiction as the devil – it just creeps in and takes over. Imagine if you were taken over by a force like that.. I guess what I realize is this: My daughter is NOT her addiction. She was in there (actually she is recovery now – thank God) all the time. She became harder to see – mean, manipulative — all of it. It became hard at times to separate her from the disease. We are so ashamed of the disease (society) so we are forced to fight it in secret. For the addict it goes like this: “If I admit I’m addicted – forget getting a job, or having friends, or being accepted.” And while that is happening, the devil (addiction) is screaming at them and convincing them that they are in good hands. And because of our misconceptions about addiction: parents: “Ssssh, don’t let anyone know your child is addicted because others will blame you – see you as a bad parent, judge you and forever judge your suffering child and family” Maybe WE have to come up with another way to fight this disease? The ‘hitting bottom’ and then maybe, just maybe they will get better treatment plan is not only out-dated, it has taken too many lives. We have to come up with a better plan – our kids (and anyone suffering) from addiction deserve more. No one WANTS to be addicted.

worried mom says:
October 7th, 2012 at 2:53 am


Please update on how you are doing….I’m in much the same state and have been thinking about you often. Thoughts and prayers are with you….and with all of us parents going through this hell.

Jean says:
October 7th, 2012 at 1:07 pm

My last posting was April (Easter) time and my 23 yr old former ninja turtle son was in jail calling us to bail him out. His former g/f was pregnant and unfortunately he chose drugs instead of being a father and she went thru an extremely painful period and aborted the baby. My son got out of jail and hooked up with another female “enabler” who is also a recovering opiate user. He went to enroll at MATC to become a drug counselor and couldn’t even show up at his first class on time and dropped a few classes immediately. I really don’t believe he’s attending at all. His new g/f lives with her grandparents and he got thrown out of the house where he was living with a male friend where drugs were being abused by all. He has had no job for over a year and is proud living off the government. I prayed that this new g/f would be enough to stop my son’s addiction, and my husband and me met with my son and g/f recently for dinner. The first red flag was my son told me he needed one day’s notice before he met us, probably to appear clean. We invited his younger brother to dinner who still has not forgiven him for stealing and selling his video games. My son was sweating profusely but the evening went well. A few days later his g/f called and said my son had taken 15 ambiens which probably equaled 50 and other drugs she didn’t know about. I filled her in about how he was thrown out of rehab 3 times and arrested for shoplifting and told her he lies and will tell her what she wants to hear. I have not heard from either of them for days now and unfortunately it will only get worse. I had planned to have them over for the upcoming holidays and now I pray that he will still be alive by then. Son, please bring God into your life!

Mary says:
October 12th, 2012 at 5:44 pm

First of all…. I am the step mother of an addict. My husband has two daughters…. both have been a handfull for 12 years. One has gotten her life together, and partly because she cut off her sister and mother (who is a terrible drug addict). I have tried to be paitent, but it is finally coming to a head for me and my husband. His daughter and ex wife live together in drug infested home with others….no jobs, warrant on his daughter, etc. She has decided to go to rehab, and she is on a list. In the meantime my husband has been coddling her, and I am at the point where my empathy and compassion is no more, and it is taking a toll on our marriage. My guilt and anger is almost unbearable. I am going to alanon, but I fear it may be too late for us. My guilt of not being emphathetic anymore for his daughter is consumming me, becuase I too am a recovering alcoholic (18 years), my husband 11 years..and I feel I should be more understanding. Even if she got sober…..I am so burnt out….. I have been supportive in the past, but now I am over it…. I can’t even be supportive to my husband and that feels awlful. Drug addiction scars alot of families. Good luck to you all…. and I am sorry for your losses and pain…. I feel it everyday and watch my husband worry for his daughters life on a daily basis…it is no fun to watch. I do have a daughter as well, and so far she has not gone down that path….I hope she never does.

Violet says:
October 13th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Our 29 year old daughter has been in rehab twice after using for the past five years. Her drug of choice is opiates. She took up until she learned she was pregnant at five months. Then resumed after the baby was born. He has liver screenings and they claim it is not from her opiate use, but I don’t believe it. Anway, going to meetings just put her in contact with other users. Her husband said he will kick her out and take the baby away; he has become “the police” of her. We told her we suppport his position, and will not help her in ANY way. So far, she appears to be doing well. We could always tell by her eyes. My question, does this work? No meetings, no sponsors? That route didn’t work. Anyone?

ronel says:
October 13th, 2012 at 6:07 pm

I have not seen my son or heard from him for more than 2 years. He did alot of bad things while living with me and not working….I love and miss him sooooo much. At this moment I do not want him back in my life, unless he is clean and sober. He is angry with me, hates me even though I was the one in his family who wanted to help him!! His father is in denial, and actualy gave him alcohol at the tender age of 7!!!! Now my son is an alcoholic and drug addict!! How can an elderly mother handle this? I now suffer from depression and struggle financially!!! Soooooooooo tired!!!!

Violet says:
October 15th, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Hello, Ronel, The pain of not knowing is added to the already pain. My husband and I are early 60′s and convinced all the stress over the past few years has taken its toll; I’m sure on you, too. I hope your son comes back to you clean, sober, and sorry. You are not alone.

John B says:
October 16th, 2012 at 7:05 pm

I goggled “parents of children with addiction” and came across this site. We’ve struggled with our now 32 year old son and his addiction for around 15 years. He started drinking in high school, flunked out of college and moved back home. Eventually he was arrested for stealing drugs and completed a drug court program (after serving time in jail for not following the rules). For several years after that he had a good job, worked overseas as a civilian contractor, got married and moved away to accept a good job with a different company. Eventually the drug abuse started again – this time disguised as treatment for post-traumatic stress and other disorders. He was divorced and we let him move back in with us. It was a disaster. He was collecting unemployment so he had just enough money to keep buying drugs – including on-line pharmacies that would Fedex them to the house. (don’t get me started about how easy it is to buy drugs online) Eventually he stole from us, started pawning our things and when we forced the issue about moving out, he attempted suicide. We checked him into a hospital and made it clear he wasn’t moving back in. He drifted from program to program and was eventually homeless. A friend got him into a long-term program and he lasted two weeks. Afterwards, he fell in with a pretty sorry crowd and eventually ended up in jail. He spent nine months in jail, was recently release and is in another long term program and has been there a month. We think this time the experience in jail has scared him straight and he seems to be committed to staying sober. He’s got access to some great resources.
Sorry for rambling on, but the posts on this website have really hit home. We’ve made every possible mistake, from denial to enabling — you name it. The only thing that has worked is standing firm — as a family. I wish we had done that many years ago, but we’ve learned our lesson. I hope this is helpful and would be glad to respond to anyone that is in a similar situation.

Donna says:
October 20th, 2012 at 6:26 pm

My 19 year old daughter stole from us last year. We had her arrested on Oct 25, 2011. She has a diagnosis of bi polar disorder so since this was her first offense she was accepted into mental health court. She is living with us again and was doing better until she started to see her old boyfriend. To my knowledge she is not using right now but I have been told it is only a matter of time if she goes back with the same people. She lies constantly. I think I have been given the correct information about returning to the same people you were with when you were using. Does anyone have any advice?

John B says:
October 23rd, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Hello Donna:
Our experience was that when the lying started then the drug use had resumed (or vice-versa). It’s hard to tell at first but sooner or later she’ll have a full-blown crisis. The only way our son dealt with reality was when he had to spend time in jail because he wasn’t following the rules. I don’t know if mental health court is like drug court, but I’m sure there must be consequences for bad behavior. Putting your daughter into a full-time program (if that’s affordable) can also help. After we’d run out of money and patience, I found there were programs for indigents that my son could enroll in. He’s in one of them now.

Sue says:
October 24th, 2012 at 1:10 am

Addicts lie! Part of the game. If they have stolen from you, then don’t let them in your house – meet them in public places. I know it sounds tough, but it has to be. Set up boundaries and STICK TO THOSE BOUNDARIES. No matter what – your word is your word. Your word can be the thing that saves their life. Addicts will only change when they have gotten so uncomfortable that they have no other choice. When pushed into a corner, they can survive this — but we have to just stay tough, but compassionate. I love you son, I love you daughter… I’m here when you want to get better. That’s it. Take an inventory – write down all the things (even hidden things) you are doing to help them use and stop doing those things. Look into treatment options (if you want to be the one to help) while they are using because you never know when they may come to you and ask for help. That’s all you can do. Pray, love and set boundaries.

Cheryl Lynn says:
October 25th, 2012 at 5:29 am

@Jennie I have only one! I couldn’t imagine dealing with two at the same time! I have said a prayer for you tonight. <3

Kicking your child out is the hardest thing in the world to do, second is having them arrested! I have done both. Unfortunately it’s the best thing for them. It might be what saves their lives!

I often tell people I have been robbed of the joys of parenthood! These are the years we should be able to sit back and enjoy watching out children mature. Sighhhhh, maybe next year.

Raquel Lynne says:
October 25th, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I am at my wits end. As a parent you want the best for your child, and mine had has more than his share of life experience. He has been oversea’s quite a few times. Do you think that our children are pampered pooches? my son expects everything but does nothing in return, an is addicted to drugs. Firstly dope now hard drugs. As a parent I am scared yet how can I help?
My husband, our sons father wants to kick him out , I think so long as he is here at least I can watch over him. But I think this is drivng a wedge between myself an my husband. What to do , stand by my son, who hates me, if I don’t give him money for his habit , or let him stand up be a man an live his life as his dad says should happen! I feel it is easier as a man to let his child fend for themselves as they are not the one that gives birth to this wonderful creation that is known as life! I don’t know how much more I can bare, it is down to the child I love or myself? Sometimes I think if I end my own life it might make them think more of their own! WHY IS IT THAT NO-ONE TELLS YOU OF THESE THINGS IN LIFE1

Jenny wilson says:
October 30th, 2012 at 2:23 am

My son is 39 and slowly killing himself with morphine. I divorced his father and have married again to a really good man but he does not understand my constant support of my son or the fact that he has had thousands of dollars of my money. I cannot speak to him of it now as it causes extreme friction in our relationship, my son has stolen from us and broken into our home to take possessions of ours to the pawn brokers. Now my son comes to see me with all the right words to tug at my heartstrings and often gets money from me. My heart breaks for the son I have lost and I have tried everything I know to “fix” the problem for him. I know I cannot but mother mode is very difficult to relinquish. I love my son wholeheartedly but he is destroying himself and our family. I cannot take my own advice and refuse him most of the time I am weak and vulnerable and he knows it. I don’t have my real son at all and I am constantly grieving for him. I want him back, I would do anything to achieve this. I want to fight for him but I know he must fight for himself. In the depths of my despair I still have hope, though everyone who knows of my son’s addiction tells me I’m an idiot. There are no tools to teach us how to cope, we have to learn ourselves, and it’s the hardest lessons I’ve ever undertaken. Will I go to my grave not knowing my son as a father, husband and loving family member? I’m beginning to think so. I hate myself for thinking this way but I know it’s inevitable. In the meantime I continue this nightmare that I never wake from and try to live in my reality.

Tricia says:
October 31st, 2012 at 1:06 am

Hi, my son is a addicit! My husband and I have struggled with my son’s addicition for many years. I have four other children who have tried to help him also.He got married had two wonderful children thought he was doing well. My husband went into business with him. After 8 years of his behavior we gave him the business. He got into trouble with the drugs lost everything went to jail. When he got out we helprd again because we did not want him having stress and go back using,wrong thing to do in hind sight.Got in trouble again and again my husband gave up and that cause problems with him and I. His last time we let him do his home confinement here met old girlfriend married and now he is right back again.
Tonight I let him no I am done. I am so drained and heartbroken!!

Joy says:
November 3rd, 2012 at 11:06 am

I spend hours reading these posts and relate to all the pain. What I don’t see in the struggle we all share is the same shared sense of not having insurance or money to afford rehab for our children who are now young adults. My daughter who I made leave for the tenth or so time is willing to go to a rehab but none will take her. There is no hope left.

Sharon says:
November 11th, 2012 at 1:50 am

I have a 28 yr old son who has been using the better part of the last 12 years. He as been in and out of jail for burglary, petty theft, etc. This is his way to get his pills. The last time he got out he came home and did okay for a few months then started stealing from us to support his habit. We kept giving him another chance until we were out of town and he stole his stepfathers safe with his prescription pills and coin collection worth thousands of dollars. This was the last straw. We moved forward with pressing charges and told him would not support him any more and that he was no longer welcome in our home. A friend bailed him out and he got in trouble again. Someone bailed him out again. He just got arrested again about a week ago for a felony punishable by life and is being held on a 50K dollar bond. Of course he says this is he wakeup call as he always does. My question is do I just sit here and let the cards fall where they may knowing that he could very well get a life sentence. Or do I fight to get him a lesser sentence that will probably still be no less than 10-15 yrs? I finally undertand that I need to let him reap what he sows but this is serious. I don’t know what to do! I want my son back!

Lesley says:
November 11th, 2012 at 8:50 pm

I am so glad I came across this site I know feel I’m not alone and that my feelings are normal.

Jean says:
November 12th, 2012 at 1:29 pm

It is getting close to Thanksgiving and I was making plans to have my 23 yr old drug addicted son over who used to be a ninja turtle. He just came out of a relationship with a wonderful girl who I keep in touch with. They were pregnant and he decided to do drugs instead of having the baby. She couldn’t handle it alone and ended the pregnancy. He was on probation when meeting his latest former druggie girlfriend but she won her addiction war. Unfortunately he did not follow the few rules of probation and landed in jail for 5 days. The one positive thing from jail is he wasn’t allowed to use and got clean. He came out apologizing to me which was his first step to sobriety and I looked forward to having him and his gf over for Thanksgiving. Within the week he was caught shoplifting and will spend the next 7 months in jail. Again I sit here trying to cope with another holiday season without my baby near me. Will 7 months in jail be enough to bring back his rational thinking skills or have they all been destroyed from years of drug use. I pray to God daily to give him faith to believe in a higher power. He will be spending his 24th birthday in jail this month and the holidays. I still blame myself and think what could I have done different as a parent to stop his drug use. The answer is nothing. He needs to choose to stop it.

Sarae says:
November 12th, 2012 at 9:01 pm

I have been sitting here reading all these stories and it just hurts to see all this going on. My husband and I are just beginning our battle with our 21 year old son that is addicted to heroin. We had to take a stance and it was very very difficult for both of us. We gave him the option of treatment or to move out. He chose to move out. Now I worry about him everyday wondering if today is his last day. He now lives with a meth addict about 2 hours from our home. I lose a lot of sleep, have nightmares and just spend a lot of time worrying about him. I do attend family al-anon meetings but I just keep blaming myself for my son’s behavior. I have 2 daughters that are also very worried about him. We are at a loss, any advise would be appreciated.

Lesley says:
November 14th, 2012 at 3:22 pm

It will be my daughters 21st birthday this month and she has now been missing for 4 months. I am going out of my mind with worry.

kelly says:
November 14th, 2012 at 6:45 pm

While new to the blog I am not new to the pain.
I am grateful for an outlet to express what I have yet to find the strength to subject myself to at Alanon/Narcanon.
I miss my son,like all of you I miss their potential, I miss what could have been.I am aware enough to know his weakness does not define me but it does greet me daily. Like so many of you we have done what we could to give our child safe haven, like many of you we too have been left behind.
I sent my son a text today after a dream in which I faced his death, while many in the “normal” world never have this dream I felt its reality and it cut me to the core.Do not mistake, my son has been offered our hand as a lifeline when and if he is ready.Yet selfishly I felt the need to put it somewhere undeniable, attainable and as proof to myself we have done all we can.
“Tell my son we will never stop praying for his return,we will love him forever and will be here for him when he decides to fight you off,until then we will ache for what you have taken from him, from us, we will pray for what remains and never forget the boy we used to know before you stole him”.
God Bless.

chris says:
November 19th, 2012 at 4:17 am

I have no reason to post, and a part of me feels kind of dumb for doing so, but at the same time, my 18 year old son just left in handcuffs and for the life of me, I can’t think of one person in my life whom I want to talk to about it, but at the same time I want to talk about it badly. My mind, and the “experts” say that calling the police and making him face the consequences is the right route, but my heart is laying on the floor around here somewhere and I have no idea if it will ever be the same.
My wife and I have been in this fight with drugs and my son for 3 years, and it has challenged our relationship, and been HELL on the other children, and my sons mother, his grandparents, everyone. We have all lost items of value, and had money missing. My son has been incarcerated as a juvenile twice, and spent 40 days in a juvenile treatment program, and still his addiction grows. Just when we all feel he is turning the corner… BOOM! the drugs make us miserable again.
I have spent much of my life as a stoic man, who sees the world for what it is to me. I rarely wander too deeply into the land of emotions my wife habitates, but I have opened my eyes to find myself sobbing over the pain that has invaded our family and lives through my sons addiction. I know that I have experienced emotional pain that rivals the joy I felt when he was born.
I know I am knee deep in this mess now. I know there is no promise of a happy ending. I know what K-2, ketamine, oxycontin, extasy, and plant food are. I wish I didn’t. The sad truth is, I know my son is in deep, but others have sons and daughters in deeper. My heart weeps for anyone dealing with this slow death of those we love. I’m not sure I feel better having written these thoughts, but I think I must have needed to. I am not seeking sympathy or advice, I have had soooo much advice I could build another garage to keep it all in. I think I felt better reading other stories that let me know I’m not alone, so I write so that you will not be alone in this either.
I love my son with all my heart. I can’t help it or stop. I have forgiven him for all he has wronged me, and I know God has forgiven him and loves him. those thoughts comfort me. he will have damn few comforts in jail tonight.

Ron Grover says:
November 19th, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Dear Chris,

Chris, I am the father of a drug addict too. You have written MY story in your comment. Sometimes all we CAN do is write, hurt and cry. I’m not going to offer any advice. I would offer just a very few words for you to consider and extend an offer for you to read my personal blog. It is about my journey as the father of an addict. Today my son is clear and sober. He entered recovery July 2010. If you want to read about our horrors and learning feel free to go back in time prior to July 2010. I know how hard it is. You can write me any time and if you need another dad to talk to e-mail me and we can just talk. Sounds corny but sometimes that is all you need to do to feel better.

No advice but here are my very few words to keep in your mind. Where there is life there is hope.

Ron Grover

Ron Grover says:
November 19th, 2012 at 10:10 pm


Your comment is hard and there is absolutely nothing I can say to make you feel better. I do want to remind you of a few things that you already know. First of all never forget, where there is life there is hope.

Secondly, you are not alone. There are many of us that have been where you are now. Reach out, sometimes all we can do is talk and hug each other. It does hurt so bad. I know what you mean, my son was in active addiction for 7 years. Today he is 24 years old, clear and sober since July 2010. We had periods of time we did not know where he was and what he was doing. By the end our son was speedballing with heroin and cocaine. We planned his funeral and was merely waiting on a body. Today he is clear and sober with a 1 year old son, added bonus he is a wonderful father.

Please read my personal blog. It is a more personal account of parenting an addict. If you need to talk, e-mail me I will share my phone number.

Be Strong, you are not alone.
Ron Grover

Sue says:
November 22nd, 2012 at 12:15 am

On this Thanksgiving eve I want to extend a warm thanks to all of you for sharing on this site. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your families tomorrow.

To Ron: Please give a special thanks to your son Alex. If it weren’t for Alex, none of us would have this special place to share. I wish him and your entire family a blessed Thanksgiving.

Susan says:
November 23rd, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I knew I was not alone going through this, but so many? I have been living with this for over 10 years. There have been periods of a semi normal life, but they don’t last for long. I ask my son for honesty, but he just tries to cover things up. I am not stupid or naive. Its been a very long road and I wish I could see an end but there isn’t. I want to share my story but it would take me writing a book and there would need to be several of them. I have been lied to, masterfully manipulated, blatantly stolen from, and still I fight this battle. I will never give up on him. I cannot keep cash in the house, it goes right to the bank because if its in my purse and its not in my sight for even a few minutes, some of its gone. Not all but some, usually 20.00. Most people wouldn’t even notice it, but my pennies are soooo tight, its the difference between eating or not. He has never admitted to it but when the doors are locked, its just me and him and I know the money was there when I got home (I count before coming in the house),use the washroom and its gone when I come out. He vehamently denies taking it. I know he did, he knows he did it but will never fess up. The other day a syringe was lying on the floor beside him. Again its just him and I. No one is allowed in our house but us because of so many years of what we have been going through. His response was OMG where did that come from. His pocket obviosly but do you think he would admit it? Not a chance, must have had a ghost put it there.
I have tried so hard to make him see that I do understand that he may have relapses as much as I want to believe he won’t, and that we need to be honest about whats really going on. I think the shame of what he does when he does it
flips a switch and perhaps he wants to truly believe he couldn’t do it but he has. I know he is trying hard and has gone through withdrawl so many times, as a parent I think it is worse for us if not just as bad. We have been through hell and just can’t find the way out. I know he can’t do this alone, but I can’t help if he continues to play me for an idiot. He knows I only want to help but each and every time I call him on something so obvious, he trys to turn things around and says things like thanks for the vote of confidence or your so good for my self esteem. He says these things in anger and I know its to take the heat away from the issue. As a parent I used to avoid these arguments because he could turn them around so well. I used to find all kinds of evidence and just get rid of it, thinking he would know that I found it. Now however I confront what I find and express honestly what I know is going on. Of course he denies it, and tries to turn it around. Now I only say that I don’t want or need a confession, just for him to know that I know, I understand, and am still very proud of him for the things he does do right. Until he gets that, we will wander through hell together but separate. Perhaps someday we will find our way out together side by side. If not we will both perish.

maryann says:
November 24th, 2012 at 2:37 am

Thank you for sharing this article over the Internet. I lived with a marijuana addict, they do lie, they do not admit they are addicted. He was not my son, but someone I loved. His brother a doctor told him he needed help. He did not listen. I told him too and gave him medical articles and tests to prove he was an addict. He was in denial, talked about his problem, but continued to smoke pot, spend time with other pot smokers. And wanted me to join him in this destructive, unhealthy lifestyle. I asked him to leave. While it was painful, I am the better for not watching a person live a horrible life, and try to destroy mine. I am the better for it. As you article pointed out, an addict has to want to stop, talking about it, is just talk. They are very distrubed and insecure people who live an a strange fantasy world of wanting dopamine – the pleasure of an artificial stimlant as destrutive as harmful drugs is a very dark world. And I light living in the light and leading a healthy lifestyle. Life has it challenges, and it is better to live without and addict not willing to change for the better and to start doing something – such as counselling and help – than ruining ones happiness living with one not willing to change for the better.

reluctantfrontliner says:
November 25th, 2012 at 2:56 am

For the past few months my extended family and I have become part of this terrifying reality of addiction. My adult daughter a single mum with two kids has gone down this path and, yes, all of us who love her have been drawn into the abyss.

As with others I came across this site by accident after keying in the words “My child is a drug addict” – not words I thought that I’d ever be entering into a search engine.

I have read many of the posts and taken careful heed of the seven truths. Thank you everyone who has shared their stories.

If I sit and let the “what ifs” rule my mind I feel almost paralysed with fear for the future. And so I “get-on” with normal daily stuff – this week, going against the way I felt, I put up lots of Chrissy decorations to brighten up where I live. It worked.

I used to say to my daughter, “You’re a great mum!” and she was. Now? No.

Will I be able to say those precious words again to my daughter? Maybe – maybe not – it’s up to her, right?

Dakfla says:
November 27th, 2012 at 4:27 am

My beautiful 20 year old daughter is homeless tonight. I don’t know where she is or what she is doing. She completed her second thirty day in- treatment program on Thanksgiving Day and was using withing 24 hours…. $40,000 for in-treatment, plus two half way houses in a year equals her sleeping on the streets tonight….I am printing this 2009 article and putting it on my mirror and desk to refer to it all day long. I need to stop feeling sad for her choices and take care of me.

Jennett says:
November 27th, 2012 at 12:47 pm

My son is age 42 and has been drinking vodka, been in jail; lost numerous jobs, and had a stroke….all of this since he was 16 years old. I am now 62 and I do feel dead inside. I don’t know what to do. He is living in a motel room; his unemployment checks will run out in a few weeks. Can you imagine, he wants to come and live with me and his dad. The stroke has made things 10000X worse. I am dead inside.

Jean says:
November 27th, 2012 at 1:40 pm

My former ninja turtle 23 yr old son just informed me when I visited him thru a video visitation in jail that when he was arrested for shoplifting and sentenced to 6 months that he wished his g/f had come with him that night. He felt he was going to do something to land himself in jail. My hope is that he knew he would be forced to stay clean in jail and this was his first step to recovery. His new g/f has no sense of how to deal with his addiction and lashed out at me. I told her she is loved and needed by my son and myself and she apologized. I gave her info on a nar-alon meeting she needs to start attending to deal with what loved ones go thru when they have a drug addict in their lives. She will be given all the tools to work with. I told her to pray for strength.

Jennett says:
November 29th, 2012 at 3:24 am

Jean, no offense, but I think it would be best for your son’s girlfriend to move on. She is in for a life of downward spirals. Why would she want to do this at such a young age? Maybe I am wrong; I just think this may ruin her life. But if she loves him….??? I don’t know of course.

Al says:
November 30th, 2012 at 10:53 am

It will be almost 14 years when we lost our brother due to drug addiction. He ran away depressed, angry and in not so good mental condition. Up to this day, we don’t know if he’s still alive or dead, probably alive, probably dead. My mother died six years ago and I still feel her pain over not knowing where my beloved brother was.

I sort of moved on. We, the surviving family members talk about the past as casually as we could. In my case, certain events bring the painful memories back to my mind. The most recent being me accidentally hearing the songs of one of my most favorite singers over the radio and then reflecting on how her life up until her death had also seemed to have lost it all because of drug addiction. Her mother’s pain must be as great as my mother’s.

Just as I felt relief over reading these countless letters of families suffering and who have suffered, I felt that perhaps it will also give a bit of relief to other families if I write this letter.

From reading the article and contributions from other readers, the one thing that gave relief to me the most is the knowledge that addiction is a fatal mental disease and it could fall on anyone regardless of age, sex, race, status or condition in life. And if I think of it similarly to other fatal diseases of the mind or body, I think I would be able to accept, even with great difficulty and a very long period of time, that it could happen to anyone, not be ashamed of it, not blame anybody else, live with those memories of endless pain, anger and helplessness, and finally accept the loss where there was no body to bury.

patricia says:
November 30th, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Why don’t we give better education to health care professionals specifically doctors. They presribed the medication that addicted our daughter, over and over again. I thought their motto was “do no harm”. How do you repeatedly give a 21 year old opiate prescriptions knowing they are highly addictive? Shame on the medical profession, their approach to pain allieviation is a big contributor to this terrible epidemic.

Ron Grover says:
November 30th, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Dear Patricia,

Just as an FYI. That is beginning to happen. Part of it is through The Medicine Abuse Project in which The Partnership is a part of nationally. There is a long way to go to help the docs too.

Please take the pledge Patricia. Send these links to your doctors.

Ron Grover

kelly says:
December 2nd, 2012 at 12:33 am

Our son, the boy we used to know anyhow, decided it was time to seek treatment for his heroin addiction. While I am greatly relieved he has made this decision I am terrified at the prospect of another failed attempt. I am angry with my lack of confidence. I guess after so long of seeing what this person who used to be my son has become makes me fear for the future. I feel like I am swimming in a lake of shit I didn’t make. Everyday is consumed with thoughts I never imagined I would be forced to think. I wish I could be excited and dare to feel joy but I have unfortunately learned those emotions will continue to evade me.
The boy we used to know seems to be motivated and working on his sobriety, but I am not foolish enough to think that is enough. I am terrified for his release in to the real world, when the reality of the carnage he has to face sets in. If you are weak enough to say yes to heroin how will you ever be strong enough to say no to heroin???

Ron Grover says:
December 3rd, 2012 at 4:28 pm


I understand completely your emotions our son went to 4 rehabs. In the end he actually got clear and sober in the basement of his girlfriends house going cold turkey. However, I do believe the things he learned in his multiple trips to rehab were the foundation blocks for his ultimate success.

One thing that was so hard for me was realizing that my son’s recovery was exactly that, HIS recovery. I so much wanted to send him off and see him come home fixed. You and I both know it doesn’t work that way.

Now while your son is in rehab is the time for you to work on yourself too. We become just as sick as our children. As you said, “I am swimming in a lake of shit I didn’t make.” We must take to time to clean ourselves off and be healthy enough to help when help is needed. Go to Nar-Anon meetings, seek counselors, read, talk to other parents of addicts or as I did, write. This is crucial to your healing.

While your son is working on himself you must work on yourself. After all, it does no good if your son changes and is dedicated to recovery if you are still the same person.

The only success my son had after rehab was when he left rehab and went straight to a clean living facility like an Oxford House. There he found support for his recovery with other addicts, but once he came home he would relapse.

It’s hard on a parent because we want our son back, but it is easy to fall into our own traps. After my son had been clear and sober for a year I reflected on what I had learned about parenting a son in recovery. You can find what I wrote on my personal blog here:

Good luck and be strong.

Ron Grover

C.L says:
December 11th, 2012 at 10:20 am

I am doing a project on illegal drugs and have read these posts. They have given me a first-hand experience of how the families of a drug addict feel. I have sympathy and empathy for you. God bless you and your children.

Vicky says:
December 11th, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Having children is about so many things, some of the strongest elements are about giving our children a life, either different from what we experienced or trying to give them a life we feel enabled us to grow and become the people we are. Addiction robs you of those hopes and dreams.

I have been down the addiction path with my son since he was 14. I didn’t realize it was addiction back then, but with hindsight and all that I have been through, I can see that is when this nightmare began.

My son was a normal kid who went to school, had friends, had a family, had his moments and then had an experience that I feel lead him down the path he now absolutely chooses.

He experienced a situation that is still unclear on what exactly took place, but he was at the beginning of all of this a hero. He was responsible for putting a pedophile behind bars. The main witness and only person brave enough to work with detectives, give video evidence and appear in court. His school abandoned him and so did a lot of his peers, and so the merry-go-round of craziness began.

I know looking back, that I dealt with a lot of his behaviour, because of what he had been through and what he had choose to do, which was a brave, brave thing.

He became physically abusive, threatening, stealing, smashing up my house, not observing any boundaries or parenting. I had him arrested each time he assaulted me, because I wanted him to know that it was not excusable.

I knew he was using drugs and abusing alcohol, but I did not to what degree? I just kept thinking about what he had done, and how I needed to help him, because he had done a wonderful thing.

Now I realise that it does not matter what lead him down that path, only that I cannot make him un-choose it and that me and my husband have decided we would no longer be enablers and have made him leave home.

We have had him in programs, seen psychologists, psychiatrists, groups. You name it we tried it, and all that he did was use those environments to manipulate us to get what he wanted. We had to try, but I now realise that it’s up to him to really want to get better.

Life has been a crazy rollercaoster with some of the worst emotions – being a parent and having a child behave in the ways an addict does and can raises so many feelings. I think people need to know what those feelings can be and that they must not allow those feelings to unwittingly make them enablers:


My house did not feel like a safe place to be, I suspected my son all of the time, because of all the lies and deceit. I felt like I had somehow failed him. I felt like a failure as a parent. I was afraid of him. I think a lot of those feelings allowed me to accept certain behaviour’s when I should not have.

I know now that I have done the best thing for my son. I have drawn a VERY clear boundary and made it quite clear what I will and won’t accept. I am no longer an enabler. And, now that we have distance between us I can parent him in a much more healthier way, which is in part, because he is not around causing chaos and manipulating everyone.

It was one of the hardest things I have had ever had to do. I cried after he left for days and days, doubting myself, worried he would hurt himself.

Sometimes the healthiest things to do are the hardest things to do, but I know I am being a better parent by makng him responsible for his own actions and choices. I want him to want better for himself and want more, and I am always available to help him do that when he is ready.

I love my son, but I can honestly say that I did not like who he was choosing to be. There’s such a lot of tension between feeling guilty about not liking their behaviour and still loving them as your child, and the two in these kinds of cases are definitely not mutually exclusive of each other.

It’s taken such a long time to get to this point, because there is such a steep learning curve, and one that you are not always even sure about, there’s cultural pressures about how you should behave as a parent, and we as parent’s I feel are just programed to feel guilty.

It’s a nightmare that only feels more palatable the more you educate yourself about the dynamics of drug abuse.

Me and my husband are going to go to our first meeting tonight with other parents who has kids with substance abuse.

Life must go on…

Vicky says:
December 11th, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Apologies for my typos and sp errors, wish I could edit those. :-)

I also wanted to add that every time we offered my son the opportunity for a better life or another option his behavior’s pretty much surmounted to him saying “no thanks”. He wanted to get high, stay in bed all day and go and hang out with the friends of his that also used drugs. He didn’t get up for school,and we tried many things, even a new school, but every-time we tried something new it was his opportunity to stall for more time, to make it seem like he was going to change this time. He even fooled the drug tests we administered at home, which was an idea he came up with in family therapy to help us feel more trusting of him. He tried to make us feel guilty by saying things like ” you never trust me, so how I am going to get better when you won’t give me a chance”?. If someone wants to get better, they would not fight all the boundaries you set in place to help them do that. Remember the end does justify the means to someone who uses drugs, believe me.

You like to think that you have raised your child better than to be a liar, a thief, and a master manipulator, but it’s the desire for the drugs that causes all those horrible behaviors, and unfortunately the choice of our kids who pursue the next high. I wanted so badly to get to the route cause of what led my son to want to hide behind a veil of ‘high’, but he wanted the high more. He has to work out what is causing him to want to live life so destructively. We can be facilitator’s, but only when there is some truth to facilitate.

Be vigilant with drug use.
Don’t be fooled into thinking it will go away if there are signs that it’s out of control. When someone is willing to steal, and lie and cheat then there is a REAL problem that needs addressing and the first way is to get tough!!!

Being tough might save your kids another 2 or 3 years learning how to get better at lying and using drugs.

I wish I had of had ZERO tolerance from the start and given him the message we have now, do drugs and you cannot live here. I warned him that it would happen, but I feel like we gave him too many chances. All in the hope that he would not be one of those kids with a problem or that we could avoid feeling shameful, because we must have failed in some way.

It’s been nearly 4 years and I am today for the first time telling myself out-loud that my son is a drug addict, and there is stil apart of me that thinks I am overreacting.

Tasha says:
December 12th, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I have two adult children who are addicts. My daughter is 21 and has particular issues with pills. My son is 19 and is addicted to Crystal Meth. My daughter has more of a desire for recovery but she also has an 16 month old son so has more “reason” to recover. My son on the other hand seems bent on destruction as his addictions seem to get progressively “worse”. His father is so angry with him. They have had physical altercations over the past two years. I have appreciated the comments on this site. I have begun to look for answers outside of myself because I am feeling at such a loss as to how to deal with my own emotions. I love my children so much and have always considered my most important job as being their mother. I have dedicated my life to making everything better for them but I know that as adults they have to take responsibility for their choices. I have recently suspended my son’s phone services, which may seem like a minor thing to some but to me is huge. This was my connection to my son…but it didn’t seem like it was serving that purpose and has been causing me more pain than comfort as he was not answering my calls anyhow.

I am so angry with all of this. I want it to be better but know that I might have a very long journey ahead of me. I appreciate the opportunity to “talk” to others with similar circumstances.

Sincerely, Tasha

Ryan K says:
December 13th, 2012 at 9:39 am


Thank you for you message I am a recovering addict and i have been battle with getting off and on the train for the last two years. My addiction took off when my mom past away from tongue cancer when she was only 46. I was there every step of the way but watching her getting worse every day took a toll on me. I can truely say just from my own experience that the addict has to want it for them self. My family loves me but after the third time relapsing they all walked away cause I the addict took everything I could to get what I wanted. I know only time will tell but I’m finally trying to show and not say just like you said. I have a beautiful little girl now and she never has to see that side of me.I was going no where and it gets worse everytime. All you can do is be there to listen to your kid don’t force them just put it out there that you are there if they need anything and if u want them to be complete honest do not judge them it wasn’t the real them that hurt you it was the addiction. I am greatful to have read this thank you

Jean says:
December 14th, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Happy Birthday to my 24 year drug addicted ninja turtle. This is your first birthday where I am not even allowed to see you in jail because someone already saw you early this week. I go to Christmas get togethers where all the proud moms and dads talk about their sons in the service or their daughters who are professionals. They ask about you and I have to hold back the tears and put that all too familiar fake smile on my face and come up with yet another lie about what you are doing now. I feel for all family and friends of drug users who are locked up at this time of year. I never dreaded holidays until this year when I had to accept the fact that my firstborn is locked up like an animal in jail. My son is in for 6 months and will definitely be forced to be sober. Will he be able to stay that way when he gets out? Hopefully he will realize that his so called drug user friends need to be discarded in order for him to survive. He needs to pray for strength.

connie says:
December 15th, 2012 at 6:03 am

My son is 24 years old and has been an addict for 5 years now. He has been to 4 rehaps, a halfway house , addiction therapist, in and out treatment programs, suboxone program and none of them has worked. He maintains a job but I think its only to support his habit cause I will not give him money. He is not in trouble with the law , he is a very good addict if there is such a thing . But tonight I told my son that I’m done there are no more programs no more therapist the only way to stop is to just stop or I will never see I’d speak to him again. Please god tell me I did the right thing I want my son back!!!

Ron Grover says:
December 16th, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Dear Jean,

First of all I am sorry you are going through this, I know exactly how you feel. Our son spent holidays and birthdays in jail and rehabs. It is hard.

As much as we want our children in our arms and safe there are times that is not best for them. We agonized so much when our son was incarcerated. We cried our baby doesn’t belong there. But we finally began to understand that jail can also be seen as “protective custody”. We realized that at times our son was safer in jail than on the street scoring more drugs and jamming a needle in his arm.

It is possible to accept your sons circumstances without it ruining your holiday. I have written about this in posts on my personal blog. Here are a couple of links I hope will help. Feel free to read more about our own personal journey and struggle. Today our son has been clear and sober since July 2010. If you want to read about our life during active addiction go into the past before July 2010.

Feel free to write any time.

Good Luck, Be Strong

Ron Grover

Susan says:
December 17th, 2012 at 1:18 am

Our son began drinking/using entry drugs during high school,and over the course of the years tried almost everything he could. We were naive and in denial for much too long, and believed his adamant denials when we did confront and accuse him. Finally, on his 28th birthday, our “present” to him was a drug intervention, and 30 days in a detox/rehabilitation facility. During the family session at his completion, he admitted all the drugs he had used over the past 13 years, and it was shocking. How could we have been so blind? He asked to come live with us upon completion, and was clean for maybe 6 months. 9 months later, we asked him to move out, and have had little contact with him. When his father was seriously ill, he did come to the hospital daily to visit, and seemed to be sober… Until tonight I have not talked to him since. He had called his father yesterday to say he knew he was not welcome at our Christmas family gathering, but he wanted to send gifts. At first I was just angry at my husband for even answering the phone call. My daughters were angry too, and so tired of the turmoil his addiction has caused our family. My husband called our son back to tell him the only gift our family wanted from him was a phone call telling us he is seeking help for his addiction. I ended up talking to him for the first time since July, hearing the voice of the child I love so much. Yet he is telling me that he continues to drink beer, and smoke pot, but he is doing so much better than before… that it has been 5-6 months since he did cocaine. and I’m supposed to feel good about this???? The drug interventionist told us that when a drug addict’s lips are moving, he is lying. If he admits the beer and pot, what isn’t he telling us? He knows we love him, but just one phone call and I am back in the turmoil again. Am I wrong to demand sobriety for him to be included in our family gatherings? I’ll send him a Christmas card and birthday card, but to see him in person is to look at the pupils and wonder…”is he high?” “Will this be the last time I ever see him?”

Pam says:
December 17th, 2012 at 4:55 pm

My son is 26 yrs old and has been using drugs for 10 yrs. He started with using pot, then illegal pills and now heroin. We have kicked him out of the house numerous times because he has stolen money, jewerly, video games from his brother, just to sell for drug money. He does not have a job because he can’t pass a drug test. He went to rehab this past September but only for 2 weeks because that is all his medical assistance would pay because he does not have medical insurance. Two weeks was clearly not enough time to help! His brother noticed last night that more of his things are missing. When I asked my son about his brothers things, he naturally denied taking them. My husband asked me how much more am I going to take, because I’m the one who keeps letting him back in the house to live. My fear is that he is going to kill himself either by overdosing or shooting himself. He tells me all the time he should just die because everyone thinks he’s a piece of shit anyways. His best friend died last year from an overdose and he was with him when it happened. If I kick him out again, will this be the last time I ever see him?

So scared that I’m going to loose my son…

DMJ says:
December 18th, 2012 at 12:23 am

My daughter has had problems dating back to twelve years of age,while in grade school she was rated as a genus. When starting fifth grade everything started going to pieces, she went from top of the class to bottom. I always new she didn’t have that outgoing personality, she kept to herself at an early age. Things got worse and we wound up sending her to a school in utah for girls which dealt with the problems she had. Everything went well and she graduated one year ahead of time, she came back home and for a short time I thought we were over the nightmare. Within 6months she was behaving the same prior to her going away for school. Flash forward to today and she is now living on skid row addicted to heroine and looking worse everyday. I don’t know what to do, ive had her in at least 5 detox units, and set up for 4 rehabs only to violate herself and not get in. I have a christian based non medical re-hab ready to take her but she wont go for nothing.I don’t know what I did wrong, or didn’t do at all. My daughter looks like she is melting away and she dosn’t even care. I was watching the story of Karen Carpenter and how she starved herself to death, and my daughter looks like she did at the end.Im looked upon as a week person by many family and friends, but she is my little girl all of 5’2″ and 20 years old.Don’t know where I went wrong raising her, but I wish I had a second chance at it. I won’t give up hope for her getting through this, but I know ive got to pull back and let her deal with this.

Pam says:
December 18th, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I told my son he was not welcomed back in our house. I told him that I’m done hearing him say he is changing that I need to see the changes. He said to me what I feared in my previous post. He said, “well I’m letting you know now this is going to be a Christmas you or anyone else in the family won’t forget and you will be spending money and its not gonna be cheap……I’m sorry for ever being born mom and I am sorry…….So this is gonna be the last time I can ever say this but I LOVE YOU!!!! And GOODBYE!!! will leave something behind to explain everything IM SORRY!
I talked him out of it, I think. But I don’t know what to do anymore. My son is crying for the love from his Dad and my husband will not give it. Everyone in my family, except me, don’t want anything to do with him. I don’t want to loose my son but I feel like it’s going to happen. I’m going out of my mind!

CC says:
December 19th, 2012 at 5:06 am

My 30 year old son has just been arrested …again. Not sure what all he is into aside from some “prescribed anti-psychotics, and antidepressants” My last call from him told me to taste his death in my mouth. Bit info, my son has been on heavy drugs for years, without a successful intervention. Pam they will use us every chance they get. Talk to someone that can tell you just how this can play. Mine started at 18 when he did a good enough try. They know you will react. mine managed to con 50 bucks from me right before this last threat. I blame myself…Tis one of several crosses mothers have to bear. But please do not ever forget the life around you, others need you too. please don’t neglect them! I worry for you.

Sally says:
December 19th, 2012 at 6:35 am

I just found out yesterday that my 13 yr old daughter has been suspended from school because she was caught smoking pot on school property.
She blames her father and I because we got divorced and she witnessed our fighting. She then told me that she was bullied for being overweight. She does not have ANY self esteem from what it seems.
I moved back to our old neighborhood to give my children a better life and she encounters these people who offer these drugs to help her deal with her feelings? My ex checked her cell phone and he facebook and they were talking about “bars” and ha-sheesh (not sure of spelling). She claims she never tried those things but i don’t believe a word that is coming out of her mouth. We all intervened and she did not show an ounce of remorse. SHe was pretending to cry and say she’s sorry but i could clearly see those were crocodile tears. She said she dosen’t want to smoke anymore but how is she to be trusted? I have taken away her phone and all her computer priviledges. What else can i do???

Pam says:
December 20th, 2012 at 12:41 am

To CC, I’m sorry we have to go through this with our children. My husband also says that my son is using me and that he uses suicide because he knows it gets to me. But I don’t want to take that chance that he’s bluffing. What if he’s not and I ignore his threats and he goes through with killing himself. I would have to live with that guilt for the rest of my life and I couldn’t do it. Thank you for your response and I try not to neglect the others in my life. I know they need me as well.

Jean says:
December 23rd, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Dear 24yr old x-ninja turtle: Today is Dec 23 and we will have a half hour together thru a jail video screening to celebrate Christmas. I bring with me today your brother’s, aunts, uncles & girlfriend’s wishes that you are doing better and are missed. Our holiday traditions continue without you and hopefully next year you will be back with us. You stating “it’s not so bad in here and I miss eating steak” doesn’t show me yet that you are progressing. At least you are in a “safer place” now–jail. Isn’t that a reference to death? I miss hugging you and continue to pray for you to reach that point where you say you are tired of being locked up like an animal and are ready to be responsible. Please read your bible and pray for strength my sweet firstborn son. Hopefully some day soon you will realize how much your family loves and cares about you.

Jean says:
December 24th, 2012 at 2:26 am

Ron – Could you please change my wording in the paragraph awaiting moderation (“safer place”) should read (“better place”) Thanks. Jean

Myron says:
December 27th, 2012 at 3:34 am

These 7 truths are literally so true! As parents of a 28 year old daughter with addiction and borderline personality issues I am able to intellectually accept these truths but it is my heart that is much harder to convince. I recently read a book that stresses these points “Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You” by Charles Rubin which was very helpful. We also found that Family Anonymous (FA) seemed better fit for parents of addicts. My heart goes out to all of you, will keep you in my prayers.

Cara says:
December 27th, 2012 at 11:38 pm

I have been reading these blogs, and sorry to say I also live in these nightmares. I have two Adult children that are drug users. it has almost drained the life out of me,, sometimes I feel like I cannot take it another day. I have a very large family but feel so alone. They all try to be understanding and be helpful, but I really don’t think you can understand unless you have a sick child, meaning a addict.. This Holiday seasons has been very hard for me. I have come to that place in all this madness that I have to let go of them and pray that some how they will fine there way back. I love them both with all my heart, but hate what they have become. It has been 8 years since my daughter started using and 5 for my son .. I will just keep praying for them because, I feel that God is there only hope…

Susan says:
December 28th, 2012 at 8:24 am

How do I know if he is using, for sure? He is now 19 and living for free with a family friend because he wasn’t living by house rules and was asked to leave! Sometimes when he comes over, he is happy and laughing and back to himself, then within hours he just snaps and goes into extreme bouts of rage, for little to no reason, he has no pride in his personal appearance, wears track pants everywhere, sweats profusely when he’s here during happy times! My husband thinks I’m crazy and that he only uses pot….so where is this rage coming from? I’m about ready to leave and let my husband finally come to terms with our reality we call son! I want to find out for sure, so we can get on the same page, denial is not the right page! How can I find out FOR SURE that he is using?

Tasha says:
January 3rd, 2013 at 5:55 pm

One of the hardest truths I have had to deal with as the parent of an addict is that it was not within my realm of control whether or not my child lived or died. The consolation that I did find came in a book by Ruth Bell Graham “Prodigals and Those Who Love Them: Words of Encouragement for Those Who Wait”. The truth is, as parents, the only consolation we can have is to know that if your child accepted Christ he or she will never be alone…the promise stands firm even when the child does not walk with Christ. God will heal but you as a parent have to accept the fact that it might not be when you want it and the healing might come when they rejoin Christ. My faith alone helps me through each day, I am praying for each of you. Believe me when I say that I am not always so positive but at this very moment I live in the Joy that lives in me.

Angie says:
January 4th, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Dear Ron,

Thank you so much for your blogs/website. I see that your son, Alex, is doing well now, and this gives me such hope.

My son has been a serious addict (crushing/snorting pills) for about 2.5 years. He did go for inpatient rehab for 30 days one year ago. I begged him to stay fo 90 days inpatient but he refused. Now, I believe the addiction is worse than ever (perhaps injecting poor man’s drug – heroine).

Your 7 Truths About Your Addict are my truths as well. Essentially, if we continue to enable them, we help them self destruct or even worse, help them kill themselves. This may sound morbid, but I envisioned myself standing in front of my son’s coffin asking myself, “Did you help him do this by giving him money… even for food, rent, etc.?” Because, guess what, if he doesn’t have to pay for any of that, he gets to spend every last dime on drugs.

I still show my son love, speaking to him periodically, and if he comes to see me for a couple hours @ my house, I feed him. However, there are rules: (1) He must be sober when he comes to my house or he will be asked to leave; (2) He doesn’t ask for money; and (3) If he ever steals from me, he will go to jail. As I am sure you can guess, I don’t see him very much but that is okay. If I let this destroy me too, then what has been accomplished? If he ever does decide to get clean, I want to be there for him emotionally and physically. The best way I can be there for him right now is to work on myself… Make peace… Forgive him and forgive myself… For me, this is done through prayer and meditation. I will continue detachment with love, which means caring enough about my son to allow him to learn from his mistakes. If you think about it, it takes far more courage to do this than to stay on the merry-go-round that is so familiar to us.

Mersenne says:
January 5th, 2013 at 9:18 pm

This is the best advice I’ve read, though probably the hardest to follow. I’m the stepmother of an adult addict. He lives with his mother and stepfather now. He’s been an addict for ten years. Alas, his mother enabled him for years by believing his lies. I was the scapegoat–the one who accused her “innocent” son of stealing, etc. Even after he was arrested and violated parole…yes, she enabled him. And when she found out he was dealing drugs again…more enabling, and more lies. He’s still an addict and a criminal, I believe, as I haven’t seen the behavior that would indicate otherwise. I get how it’s very tough for a “real” parent to see the truth about his/her child, but please, the truth is the necessary first step to healing. From someone who’s watched helpless on the sidelines, I urge parents to follow the advice here–it may well save your child’s life.

Debbie says:
January 12th, 2013 at 9:11 pm

I have read these comments and every emotion mentioned, are the ones I am feeling right now. My son is also an addict, the first time was a couple of years ago. He left home for three months when he was 18. I had my suspicions it was drugs. At the end of the three months we had a visit at 4am from a policeman telling us he was a passenger in a car in an accident. He came home with a fractured spine. He was on drugs but became clean with our help and support. He met a lovely girl November 2012 and was happy…until a few months ago. I found out he was back to snorting a drug called dolly. I kept finding cut up straws in his bedroom. He lied when confronted. Then two weeks before Christmas he admitted he wanted help. He started going to a drug clinic once a week and narcotics anon once a week. He said he didn’t want to lose his family and girlfriend. I felt hope. But the weekend before Christmas I found out he had done it again in his bedroom. He doesn’t go out much, he works from 4pm to 10pm every night. When I go to bed I hide keys and phones and even my purse. To do this on your own = a big problem especially as its costing him 200 a week. Well I told him he had a choice, if he does this again then he has to move out. A week later he was clucking, I sat up all night long soothing him and congratulating him on being honest and getting through it. I was pleased he was opening up. Then at 5am we went to bed. At 5 mins past I checked on him, there he was taking his drugs. I was so traumatized to see this that I cried. His girlfriend has not got a clue, I feel I should tell her but am afraid he will go more downhill. He moved out that day. He now house shares, he still has his job. I am now showing tough love in order to save him but still feel guilty. My life is a nightmare. His girlfriend thinks I threw him out because he has anger issues, and she thinks the meetings he goes to are anger management. She must think I’m a terrible mother. I haven’t eaten or slept properly in the last week he’s been gone and have lost a stone in weight since Christmas. He wants to get clean but refuses rehab because he fears his girlfriend will find out. He needs more help than drug clinic once a week and an once a week.

Debbie says:
January 12th, 2013 at 9:18 pm

I must also mention I ave two daughters, 15 and 19 , whe feel I am so wrapped up in their brother that I am not there for them. I am, I love them dearly but I’m so consumed with fear and sadness. My husband who s the father to all three of them has also now agreed to the tough love approach.

Roberta says:
January 14th, 2013 at 11:12 pm


My family is dealing with my sister who is addicted to heroine. I have been dealing with substance abuse in my family since I can remember. Or not dealing with it so well? I don’t have time to get into every detail but I am seeking help about something very specific. I’m looking for resources for myself and my parents on how to deal with this situation. My parents are currently raising my sisters two children which adds a different dynamic to dealing with her. The kids go with her some even when it looks evident that she is high and I’m concerned for their safety and well being. I don’t want to step on my parents toes here. I know they are doing their best. Please help!

Sue says:
January 14th, 2013 at 11:34 pm

I wonder how you feel about ‘raising the bottom’ for the addict? The notion that the addict has to hit bottom but that loved ones can raise it – make that bottom happen faster. Hasten the discomfort for the addict so they hit faster and hopefully less hard. Stop enabling the addict – seems like the first step in raising the bottom – no money, no car if they are using, etc.

But how about these:

Interventions – some are done with the person knowing and some are not. Are they a good idea? Do they work – in the long run?

Debbie (who posted above my comment – hope you don’t mind Debbie – I wouldn’t know what to do either) wrote: His girlfriend has not got a clue, I feel I should tell her but am afraid he will go more downhill. Should Debbie have said something? In a way – is this a way to ‘raise the bottom’? My instinct says no – because his girlfriend wasn’t enabling the drug use.

If a parent knows their child is using at work – Should the parent notify the employer? Certainly could raise the bottom, but again, my instinct says – no, not a good idea.

My daughter is in recovery now (almost 7 months) and I was fortunate enough to attend two different family programs at the facilities she attended. She told me that when I yelled at her (when she was using) it was a trigger – it made her use more. She doesn’t blame me for her using, but she said it didn’t help one bit when I got angry. When she hit bottom it was because her boyfriend (her supplier) was arrested and she had nowhere else to turn. Her back was against the wall – no money, no boyfriend, no drugs. She admits now that nothing I said or did during the time she used made a bit of difference – except this… She said, “I knew no matter what – you loved me mom. I knew when I was ready to stop you would be there. When you yelled at me – I got scared you stopped loving me and I used even more.” Yelling at my daughter certainly did not ‘raise her bottom’.

I realize every situation is different – there is no right or wrong way to handle things. Every child is different, every family handles things differently. I do know this.. I think I read it here, on Ron’s blog.. Whether the addict choices recovery or not, things will never be the same.

Ron Grover says:
January 15th, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Dear Debbie,

I understand your fear and anger about your son lying to you and his relapse. It is a part of addiction and how it affects not only the addict but all those they touch.

As far as the girlfriend, she needs to know and she needs to make a decision for herself what to do. The sooner she learns the truth the better it is for all. Addiction is like a mushroom, grows best in the dark surrounded by a bunch of bullshit. Truth and light is the only way to confront what is happening with your son. Allowing him to hide and lie only enables.

An important part of this process is, how are you taking care of yourself? Are you going to meetings, seeing a counselor, reading, learning, talking to other parents? Without proactively taking care of yourself you will be drug down into your sons morass. Do not allow addiction to destroy all things and everyone.

You also have two daughters that are dealing with this pain too. Siblings are not immune from the effects of their brothers addiction. They need help too. There are groups for teens to discuss their loved ones addiction like Al-Ateen. They can also benefit from counselors. I hope you do not allow them to fend for themselves. This has a traumatic effect on siblings of their age.

Be Strong and Good Luck
Ron Grover

Ron Grover says:
January 15th, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Dear Roberta,

You raise a very difficult question to answer with such little info and background but I will say this, take care of those babies.

Let that be your overriding concern: Take care of those babies.

Now what must you do to do that? Does it involved court orders? Should social services be involved? Is termination of parental rights appropriate? Foster care? Adoption by your parents or another sibling realistic? Court ordered supervised visitation only?

You see there are so many things out there to consider but each carries it’s own baggage and heartache. Most immediately I advise you and your parents to seek counseling from someone familiar with family addiction. From there it may become more clear about what you should do. You can’t help anyone if you don’t help yourself.

Feel free to write any time.

Be Strong
Ron Grover

Sufya says:
January 16th, 2013 at 11:31 am

thank you every one
very informative and interesting topics.
No matter how long you run after your children to help them find help with addiction. you only make it your journey not theirs.
please raise awareness of the communites to search for the dealers re educate them and help them be human and make a difference with supply reduction

Joanne says:
January 17th, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Ron, I had a counseling appt this week and shared with her your “7 Truths”, she printed several copies and plans on sharing them and said you were right on with each point…so as you can see, we are in the hands of a “good” counselor, reinforces all the things you talked about. I sound like all those bloggers above, our son is 31, using since 15, heroin for last 5 years. Don’t know where he is now. Said he was going to a 28 day program and then bed to bed to a 4 or 6 month rehab facility – can’t even tell you if this is the truth. Younger brother, who is 8 years younger, has great deal of anger, worries tremendously about us and really never bonded with his brother – the drugs took that away too. But I’ve learned some lessons this long road as well: God didn’t create these children to be addicts; their choices made them that way, but there is a hole in each of their hearts and besides good professional counseling, I truly believe they need a great deal of spiritual healing. They hate themselves; hate their lives -who could blame them? I have a very strong faith and never give up on prayer or hope, but only he can do this. I remember a counselor from the past said something that really stuck…you can allow the addict to take himself down (you have absolutely no control anyway), or you can allow him to take the whole family down. I would suggest to all the above writers to try a good counselor, one that knows addicts inside & out; don’t give up on prayer – it brings tremendous peace to OUR soul even if it cannot always help change the course of our child’s life; stay active – be with good people/good friends; enjoy laughter and enjoy life – it is such a gift. That’s probably what hurts the most – our children don’t see the beautiful gift life is. I actually began a woman’s prayer group in my home, Monica’s Moms (after St. Monica who prayed for 33 years for her son to change and he did!). We pray, socialize, offer support etc. Nothing helps as much as sharing your burden with others and in return, helping them. I will keep everyone above in my prayers – joanne

Debbie says:
January 20th, 2013 at 2:37 pm

A week has passed and I am much stronger. I have thrown myself into my job (I work at a school) and my two daughters. Last Tuesday my son turned up at the house crying and begging us to be in his life. I hugged him and said while he helps himself then I will help him. I also made it quite clear that no matter what, I love him and always will but I won’t have an addict in my life controlling me. I also told him that I have to think about his sisters and their well being. We are hoping to move later in the year after my daughters exams. He wants to come too so I have given him a goal. Get clean and concentrate on passing his driving test, then he can come too, to a new area and new start. I don’t hold my breath but we all need a little hope. I don’t know wether this is right or wrong but I am preparing to except that it might not turn out as I hope. Also my son has now got a sponsor helping him, he still goes to his other meetings too. We met him in town for a coffee and a sandwich yesterday and he felt quite low as he is having a few problems with his girlfriend. All I could say was if he told her the truth she might understand and support him. If she doesn’t then he knows where he stands. I am biding my time tho, and if he goes down hill more then I will be telling her for sure. On a brighter note, he asked if he could come for dinner today, so I’m preparing a family roast. He turned up an hour ago and he is bright and happy. His skin is looking healthy and he’s hungry. No yellow skin or black bags under his eyes that he had when he lived at home two weeks ago. His face also looks like its filled out abit, no sucked in cheeks in sight. I am also eating more and I think I am feeling on top of the world today. Tomorrow I know could be a different story……..

Liz says:
January 21st, 2013 at 3:23 am

I’m so grateful to everyone here who shared their stories. I am looking everywhere I can to find information on addiction and am so glad I found this site. I’m not sure if my grandson has a problem or not, but last year he had a bad tooth (he is 19) and his mom took him to a dentist who prescribed Vicoden. He now uses tooth pain and since his teeth were not well taken care of,that is the most believable, to get more. His mother has taken him to urgent care and dentists who seem to have to problem giving scirpts. I had no idea he had gotten so many until I took him to urgent care after a tooth extraction. He was complaining about extreme pain and the doctor on duty remembered him and pulled up a three page list of prescriptions along with the doctors who prescribed them. Apparently the DEA keeps a list and they were all legally obtained. I was worried (and embarrassed), but my grandson convinced me that it was just because his teeth are painful and that he does not abuse them. Last night, while spending the night, he took 8 of my husband’s pills (they were in another type of bottle but he found them). This was in addition to the ones his mother gave him along with ibuprofin. She gave him two bags and asked me (via text) to hold on to the vicodin but he gave me the ibuprofin bag and kept the painkillers. I believed him because I don’t take them and my husband has had his bottle for months after surgery but didn’t need them. Stupid me didn’t even know what one looked like. So, I talked to him and told him that he couldn’t be in my home if he was using or stealing. Of course, he said it was only because of the pain and I want to believe him. I suggested to his mom that we try rehab but she said it’s only been a few months and he couldn’t possibly be addicted. He called me and said that he did not need rehab. I count that he took about 20 pills between late yesterday and this morning. I am getting his teeth fixed, of course, but do you all think this is addiction or a temporary problem? He swears he will not take them when his teeth are better. Thanks for your help and for listening.

Stephanie says:
January 22nd, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Our son is 19, 20 in May. Is it ok to take all of his belongings to a storage unit take away his house key and give him a key to the storage unit?

Stephanie says:
January 22nd, 2013 at 11:51 pm

He comes home stoned and acting all wierd and we have 2 other younger children at home. I really don’t want them around all that.

Joanne says:
January 24th, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Stephanie….I would encourage you too. You don’t want someone using around you or the other members of his family. When and if he’s ready to talk, maybe you could come to some agreement that he can return IF and WHEN he agrees to get rehab counseling, works and/or goes to school etc. As I said in my prior e-mail above, we have been dealing with this for 16 long years and maybe if we had done something like this back then at 19 or 20 instead of 27, 28, or 30, the road would not have been so long. But we can always look back with the should’ve, would’ve and it’s pointless. We are taking new tactics now and hopefully, it is not too late for our son. Be strong and good luck….we all know how difficult this is. Joanne

Joanne says:
January 24th, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Well, posting again – venting really at how deplorable the system is. I heard from our son after 2 weeks, sounded good, clean and ususally I have very strong feelings about this. He did go into a 28 day but because he tested NEGATIVE for drugs, Medicaid would not approve a 4 to 6 month program. So as he said, he has to use in order to get into a place…..unbelievable!!! So, he and his counselor are trying to get him into a good half-way house where outpatient counseling is what he will concentrate on as I don’t think they can work. So, for now, he is clean and taking good steps but as we all know, that can change from day to day. Talk about a system set up to fail- I am always so saddened and angry at how treatment is for the addict as well as the mentally ill. Our politicians just don’t get it.

A friend of ours just called, he and his wife have been a wonderful support system to us even though not completely understanding as they have three great kids, yet they are tremendously compassionate and supportive. This man also has a nice friendship with our son as he was his confirmation sponsor. He said our son just sent him a text picture the other day….extremely powerful. It was an addict at a table, needle in the arm, and what was going into his arm was attached to an arm standing behind him….the arm was Christ’s arm putting into the addict’s veins His healing power…our friend was blown away and just texted him back…..”that says it all doesn’t it?”

Thank you for the opportunity to vent! joanne

Ron A says:
January 25th, 2013 at 1:26 am


I just got my son admitted to an inpatient detox and hopefully off to a inpatient rehab and then a 1/2 way house. That is if a judge doesn’t decide to violate his probation and put him in jail for his first drug related offense.

Ready you 7 truths really hit home. #6 really hit me because I just this morning pictured my , now 25 year old son, running around dressed like Donatello. Guess I am not out of tears yet.

I know there will always be a pain from this. But, thank you.

Marlena says:
January 26th, 2013 at 1:36 pm

My 20 yr old is an addict. She finished rehab, went to a half way house then somehow got a ticket to Boston and bolted. It wasn’t 24 hours before I got a text message saying she had screwed up. I told her I was sorry to hear that but now she was on her own. I love her but it is time to take responsibility for herself. I wouldn’t even provide her, her ins info. She left her card at the half way house. She had to contact the owner for the info. I had my own card less than 20 feet away when she called, but I wasn’t moving. I gave her the greatest gift I could….I let her go. It is up to her to decide what kind of life she wants….not me. I will always love her but I refuse to do anything for her. If you want to get high….go get high. If you want to get help…go get help. We live in a great country. If you don’t want to be homeless there are shelters….maybe not luxurious but it’s is a roof. There are soup kitchens and food banks. So if you are starving and cold…you chose that. There are options…even for addicts. She called to tell me she had gotten a place to scholarship her and she was returning to florida. She asked if I wanted the number of the counselor she was working with…I told her I loved her and that was great she had done this for herself…but no I did not want the number. This was her deal….not mine. I don’t expect her to talk to my doctors….don’t expect me to talk to yours. I am treating her like an adult. An addicted adult….but still an adult. I don’t engage in teenage drama outcries and crap and I don’t enable, beg or assist. She is on her own. I will always love her but I will not help her anymore at this point. How did I get here? Simple…instead of thinking she would die all the time, I flipped it. The natural course is I will die first…not her. So then what happens? Exactly what I did….she would be on her own. So even though I am not dead, when it comes to me doing anything but talking to her at this point….and by talking I don’t mean engaging in drama or any verbal abuse…I mean hello how are you etc….then yes I am dead.

Joanne says:
January 28th, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Marlena – WOW – good for you. I wish we had had the strength to do that when our son was 20, maybe then, we still wouldn’t be at this with a now almost 32 year old. We didn’t feel we were enabling,but we were, and each year we get stronger and less enabling. Right now he is in a shelter where I volunteer (not the best situation) but he’s been there on and off for about 1 1/2 years. There’s a program he’s interested in going to in Florida, cost is minimal however they require parental involvement several times a year. Since he has walked out of each and every place after a week, we have advised him we will not even discuss it till he has completed some kind of 6 month program, even a half-way house for six months. So far, not much progress is being made on his part, but we are not budging. Like you, he asked me if I wanted to talk to his counselor. I’ve been there and done that and I think it’s just another form of manipulation on their part – involving us in their “drug drama”….. My husband and I are 58, have our own health issues we need to monitor, including high blood pressure, so he needs to take care of this on his own too. He has hepatitis but because I told him I was not available to drive him back to where I live, which is where he found a doctor, he just let the treatment for this drop. I told him I might consider helping him occasionally, if he found a doctor nearer to where he is for my convenience, but now no word about treatment. It’s his health issue and if he decides not to treat, he will have to deal with the consequences. We are just plain tired of 17 years of his addiction. Asks us what we are doing each weekend, hoping we take him to a movie or dinner….we decided we are not giving up our weekends. Now we are suppose to be his social life??? We have another son and great family and friends we would rather spend our weekends with. Ocasionally, we will see him for dinner – our time/our terms. You really do reach a point of enough is enough and good for you to getting there so much sooner than the rest of us! joanne

Joanne says:
January 28th, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Ron: Is it appropriate for me to commenting here? This is your blog and now that I’ve done it a couple of times, I am thinking I am overstepping my boundaries and if I have, I apologize. After dealing with this so long, I feel a great deal of empathy for everyone dealing with this. Please advise me if I am out of line here. Thank you – joanne

kate says:
January 29th, 2013 at 3:29 am

My son is 22 and has been using drugs for about 4 years on and off (mostly on). He had a couple of H.S. sports injuries and got addicted to vicodin. He has never been arrested probably because I have protected him (only steals from me). Wrote out checks signed my name, takes debit and credit cards when I’m not looking, has pawned items in the house, etc. Last year he checked into rehab..seemed to help for a little while. He was doing pretty good for 4 months but then when my father was sick with cancer and on vicodin liquid and phentonol patches -he stole a patch. He quit his job recently, stays at home reading and writing and goes to the gym to work out. He helps out around the house. He never looks high to me?? Now he says he is taking saboxone. He won’t talk to me about it, says he can quit on his own. My father passed away on 12/31/12 this was tough on us, he was close to his Grandfather. I am so sad my son is an addict. My son thinks I don’t care about him being an addict that I care more about the money he is taking. I am so sad, so worried, and at the same time mad he is stealing from me. and I don’t know what to do. I suggested he goes to NA or a counselor but he keeps telling me he can quit on his own…I don’t believe that anymore.

Larry says:
January 30th, 2013 at 8:06 pm

My son is 23 and has just been released from jail for a probation violation stemming from his addiction and a previous adjudication. I cried reading through the comments as I am able to identify with many. I know my son needs help that I can’t provide. I know I need help, but don’t know where to look. He lives with my ex-wife and I’m sure she needs help as well. It helps seeing these same feelings put into words.

Ron Grover says:
January 31st, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Dear Larry,

First of all Larry, I am so sorry you are going through this but, you are not alone. You do not have to do this alone. There are many resources for parents. It just seems so overwhelming at times.

Go to a Nar-Anon meeting. You can find schedules online. If there are no Nar-Anon meetings go to a Al-Anon meeting or an open NA meeting. Seek out a counselor experienced in dealing with parents of an addict. Find other parents of addicts, have coffee and share. You can also call The Partnership Helpline at 1-855-DRUGFREE, there are great people there that can help. Feel free to visit my personal blog about my experiences parenting an addict: There is a wonderful online community of parents. There are many links to them on my blog and it is like a spider web you just keep reading and learning. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Feel free to write anytime. It’s not as easy as just giving him a place to live and hoping for the best. It is hard not just for the addict but the positive in everything, it is not impossible.

Ron Grover

Joanne says:
February 1st, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Larry, our hearts go out to you. Take Ron’s advice. I am seeing a great counselor (as is my husband and younger son) and it has helped tremendously. She knows addiction in and out and has been of great help to us, especially me. There is no handbook for this most destructive family problem, so you do the best you can; educate yourself; get a good counselor; try to get you and your ex on the same page regarding your child.

I volunteered today where my son is living, a mission in the city. The director suggested we get him a bus pass to help with his appointments. I have a feeling the counselor may see this as enabling, but my husband and I talked and we decided to get the bus pass. However, only a month’s worth – if he is seeking the help he needs, and right now he is, we will help him out in this particular situation.

We try to take what those living with him advise us, what the counselor advises and what we feel in our hearts – that isn’t always easy.

The toughest line to walk is between enabling and assisting when it is appropriate. But we all make mistakes at times, but we learn from them.

He is seeing a good counselor and seems to be really facing some realities of his addiction, but admits he has a long way to go. With our son, he has always sought help, always wanted help, but always relapses with the heroin. But as parents, we just cannot give up hope but not giving up hope doesn’t mean making it easy for them.

Take care of yourself and I strongly encourage you to seek a good counselor. I found a few in my immediate area on line and called each of them and kind of “interviewed” them and chose Shannon and she has been of wonderful help to us

God Bless you and keep strong and don’t give up. Ron’s son is an example of someone that can change.


Holly says:
February 3rd, 2013 at 2:43 am

Joanne, I agree with you about the lack of resources for rehab. We have offered to pay for anything that our 22 year old son requires but NO ONE will admit him unless he is using at the moment. This is ridiculous, as he spoke to the counselors himself and told them he is substituting alcohol for Klonopin to get him through (I guess detox), it isn’t working, he told them that fact. He is worse off than ever but there is no help, he is of age and as far as our local facilities are concerned there is nothing we can do. I am fed up with the whole system. We sat at one rehab facility (with our son) for over two hours to see a counselor and we had an appointment, he was ready and willing to go but they said no as he hadn’t had the drug in 24 hours. I am disgusted by the lack of REAL help and false promises from every agency I encounter. God help us all…

Holly says:
February 3rd, 2013 at 3:51 am

Again I write, as I am so sad and frustrated as to how all this has come to play. I look at t.v. and I wonder, do people really have these wonderful perfect families? I thought I did one time and I wonder what went wrong, what did we do wrong??? We’ll probably never know the real reason, he’s such a great liar, but we have become “truth finders” and he always loses in the end. Sometimes it is painful to point out the truth, sometimes it’s hard to stare straight into its face, and I still don’t accept it. Does it make sense, no, but it’s how I feel, denial I suppose. We all remember our children as little ones, and all the funny sweet/quirky things they did back when and it is hard to reconcile them to the people they are today. We (myself included) say they had everything growing up, unlike us, they had cell phones,computers, Internet, debit cards etc., maybe that world was too much at once, I guess we’ll know 20 years from now. I myself am thankful that I grew up in a much calmer time (the lame 80′s). I know people smoked pot back then and did a few other things but the world of prescription drugs had not evolved yet, and what disgrace it is.

Joanne says:
February 4th, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I’m sorry Holly. Yes, the frustration is unbelievable. The best I am hoping for right now, is our son stays in counseling. He likes his counselor, she seems to be digging into a lot of feelings he has kept bottled up, and trying to get him to really look at himself. But history never proves itself great with our son.

I had my counseling session Saturday afernoon and as usual, it was very helpful and from what she said, I got an A for moving forward since I began with her several months ago. She feels my husband and I are “taking our lives” back which she said is essential when dealing with an addict. We had gotten our son in for a haircut and bought him a bus pass to get to appointments and I thought for sure she’d see this as enabling, but she didn’t. Felt the haircut was very minor and the pass needed to go to his various appointments, with the stipulation we get the pass month-by-month because tomorrow it could all go to hell again….you know, the roller coaster ride.

As far as the sytem being so flawed, what is also frustrating is not being able to intervene on their behalf when they get to be my son’s age. Your son is quite a bit younger I think, so this may not be as critical as our situation as far as getting involved. Let’s face it, we can make more calls, make more noise etc. for our children’s rehab, but as we have continuously been advised, “don’t get involved; he’s 31 and needs to secure his own help/care etc.” and I truly get that and agree. So I guess another option is leading them towards areas/people that they can maybe get some advice, help, direction from, the help not coming from us as the parents.

This is not the platform for this debate, but really instead of concentrating so much on gun control, how about fixing the addiction/mental health crisis in this country!!! I just cannot get over the stupidity of our leaders and I think it has to do with the fact that if they are not touched by any kind of mental illness/addiction in their own families, they just don’t give a damn. The counselors themselves know how awful the system is but their hands are tired as well.

Hang in there and try to find a good counselor if you are able to do that. You’re not alone, trust me. joanne

Janet says:
February 14th, 2013 at 4:22 am

This is my first time I visit this website . I am happy to find this group and as the same time there is so much pain in each letter that breaks my heart.
When a few weeks ago the new town shooting happened , I could not stop crying for days . Every time I saw the faces of those innocent children on tv magazines and newspapers I sobbed . Their murder , reminded me of my beautiful , innocent son .
My son is 22 years old and struggling with addiction for 7 years . I am starting to loose my hope and accepting I lost that sweet boy forever. I didn’t lost him in a shooting rampage . His life and dreams were destroyed because drug dealers are everywhere and they are killing our children more than individuals who have guns.
My son was not shot , he is still alive , but that happy boy is dead for years and I feel the same pain that the new town families are feeling.

Ron Grover says:
February 15th, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Dear Janet,

You are so right our children are being murdered every day through drug addiction. Every six weeks there is the equivalent to a 9/11, another Newtown, another Aurora CO movie massacre, and a Virginia Tech as a result of addiction. Every 19 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week another person dies from using and abusing drugs. There is a crisis in America.

The solution to this problem does not rest solely upon drug enforcement and the police. In fact we have seen over the last several decades that has been a poor solution. Nothing will be easy but the real solution lies in education. We all must stand up to educate and work with our young people to slow this epidemic.

Do not lose hope in your boy. My son was 22 when he decided to enter recovery. He was an active addict for 7 years ending up as a heroin addict that was speedballing. (mixing heroin and cocaine) Today he has been clear and sober since July 2010, he is a good father to a son and works a full time job and now he is planning on returning to college part time. Where there is life there is hope.

Feel free to read my personal blog too. It is more of a day type account of parenting an addict. Today I write more about recovery life but if you want to read about our active period go back in the archives prior to July 2010.

Where there is life there is hope.

Feel free to write any time.

Ron Grover

Debbie says:
February 17th, 2013 at 9:30 am

Well how stupid am I? My last post a few weeks ago said how well my Tom looked. I believed that showing the tough love and asking him to to move out worked. But hey, I didn’t show enough tough love did I? I still fell for his lies. He now has three payday loans and owes 500 in rent and drug money. He is still working at the moment but how long for? Has asking him to go made it worse? I finally made the decision to tell his girlfriend but gave him the option of telling her first. He just turned his phone off and ignored it. So I text her the whole truth. Nothing. She either has changed her number or choosing to believe Tom. I can’t ring her as she is angry with me for Tom moving out. She thinks I’ve got a cheek to worry about him after making him move out because of his anger issues. She falls for his lies every time. The only other option is, she’s on it herself. But I really don’t think so. She lives an hour away and they get to see Each other every weekend. I think I should step back now and let him hit that bottom quicker. My two daughters are coping well and just getting on with their own lives. I can’t cope and think I will now enquire about counseling. My husband has detached himself from the situation and when he sees his son at work he just ignores him. I’m not allowed to talk about him and I’m breaking my heart. I really can’t see any hope. I’m beginning to give up.

Eva says:
February 17th, 2013 at 10:34 am

My daughter who will be 23 in a few weeks, is addicted. I was aware when she returned from college (immediately after graduation) distraught because her boyfriend of four years dumped her with for her best girlfriend from college. I had barely seen her for the four years, wondered and asked her about drugs because of the large amount of money she was requesting. She has since then taken had to admit to drugs, got caught, went to inpatient (once electively now 2nd time committed).

There appeared to be a period of no drugs during the months of IOP and their drug testing. Then they dropped her because she had been drug free on their tests and she wasn’t complying as they wanted her to with psychotherapy. They say she is bipolar and not willing for psychotherapy.

She has clearly decompensated since then back on drugs not seeming to care whether I know or not. She is in the psychiatric hospital after a bad paranoic episode and when I visit her I get the distinct since she thinks she has figured out how to outsmart the system as she looks way too happy with herself.

She won’t let me participate in the treatment as she is sure that will keep her there longer.

I think I can’t let her back home. She has other family at home including a young one that we do not want around this. But, based on what I have learned about her, I am sure she will go back to the friends who help keep her on drugs because she has no where else to go.

It is all up to me and I am losing hope and energy.


Amanda m says:
February 21st, 2013 at 3:25 am

My 21 year old step son died 2- 1/2 weeks ago from a drug overdose. I read every post and didn’t see one I can relate to now.
we did not enable him. In the last year he has been living in crummy motels, beat up cars, and the mercy of friends. I bought all the 12- step not enabling him stuff. I accepted the things I can not change, but now he is dead. DEAD. Dead from the drugs that consumed him; dead alone in a room filled with drugs all alone.
Hug your kids!
Love your kids!
Tell them you don’t want them to die!
Even though we thought we had accepted that his drug abuse would result in his death, we did not really accept it. Not compared to the pain we now observe (and his 4 siblings).
Thinking he might die is very very different then actually cremating him. I bought the program. I lived the program. I prayed that by my absence he would find the path. But the truth, he died. He died alone.
His life, as miserable as it was, contained with it a small glimpse of hope. A small grain of hope that one day he might grow up and be a man and stop using. But the truth is, there is no hope . There is no second chance. He is dead. Enabling is hope. The last hope.
If I had kept him under my own roof for one day, one more month, one more year, he would have made every one miserable. My girls would have been tormented. But he could be alive. He might still be here. And there might be hope.
May none of you ever ever know the pain I feel right now.

Jerry Otero says:
February 22nd, 2013 at 12:25 am

Dear Amanda,

I was so sorry to read about your son’s passing. I know that he was suffering, but it is difficult to fathom the loss of a child – so young – so full of life. Losing a child to this disease leaves so many scars — made especially worse by the guilt of having embraced the “tough love” approach of putting the child out and then losing him forever.

I don’t know how I could possibly try to comfort you in this terrible time, but if you need to talk to someone, please feel free to call me at the Partnership at’s Parent Helpline (number below).

You may not be ready to talk to anyone about this yet, but if you are, I encourage you to reach out to me (my name is Jerry – just ask for me directly), and if you like, I can put you in touch with our National Parent Network. Many of our members have suffered similar losses and can offer their support and share with you how they managed to deal with the unthinkable.

Until then, I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Jerry Otero
Parent Support Specialist
The Partnership at

Ron Grover says:
February 22nd, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Dear Amanda,

I am so sorry for your son. There is no way I can imagine the pain. On the same day I got an e-mail that you had posted your comment on the website I got word from an acquaintances that I had spoken with a few times about their daughter had been taken by the monster too. They went into her bedroom at home on Wednesday evening at 8:30pm and found her dead in her own room. Some very good friends of ours lost their son on Jan. 8. He was 31 years old and they had tried everything, rehabs, commitment, tough love and out the door, he had been in jail and prison multiple due to his addiction. Their last effort was they helped him rent an apartment. He was found dead from an overdose in the apartment they helped him rent.

I know these may seem to be empty words right now but nothing you did or didn’t do caused what happened. The disease/monster did this to your son and you did what you could. You loved him and you did all you were capable of at the time to help him with his addiction.

I feel sorrow in my heart for you and your message is what every parent of an addict fears the most. Today my son has been clear and sober since July 2010. Tonight I’m going to hug him one extra time for you and your son. I only wish your son was able to find what my son found.

I am so sorry,
Ron Grover

Joanne says:
February 23rd, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Dear Amanda:

How my heart breaks for you and I cannot imagine the depth of that pain. I also truly believe it when you say that fearing the death of a child because of drugs and actually burying a child are two different things. All of us of drug addicted children keep that in the back of our minds, but when the reality hits, it can never be fully anticipated.

Ron and Jerry both gave you good insight into your situation, one offering to have you talk with someone, which really might help a great deal, and Ron with his words of comfort and truth.

The sad truth, hard for anyone to except with addiction, is that you could not have done anything Amanda to prevent this so please, do not beat yourself up over this. I wanted to add to their thoughts by sharing a situation my sister recently went through.

For years, she had been telling me about her friend Carol, whose son had been an addict for years and for years, I prayed for her son, David, and my sister would keep me updated about him. Carol and her husband NEVER put him out, really never did tough love or whatever you want to call it, probably helped him, but they handled it the only way they knew how to. Her son worked and was going to school etc. And for the past two years was doing very well, loved his job, his school, etc. Yet, she admitted, they always were waiting for the other shoe to fall. Whenever he got his check, the worry began.

Sadly, David went out one night after getting his paycheck, and he overdosed. She was called to the hospital, where the rehab happens to be in, and they assumed they were going to visit him because he had relapsed again. Instead, their son had died. The police said she was fortunate, because an older gentleman that David had been doing the drugs with, called the police and alerted them, which the police said is highly unusual, because normally other users will just leave the person there for someone else to find.

So, they too have buried their son and Amanda, they did all the things you are saying you should have done – but it didn’t matter….he died anyway. They found a letter in his room afterward all about how happy he was, how great his life was going and then this….what explanation is there?

There is NO formula for dealing with an addict, there are no circumstances that guarantee recovery. We all do the best we can with our own family dynamics.

I remember a counselor I had years back who said exactly the same thing but he added this caveat to what he said, “an addict can take himself down because of the disease or he can take himself and the rest of the family down with them” and from what you said, it sounds like if you had allowed your son to be with you, that is exactly what would have happened.

That doesn’t, dear Amanda, take away ANY of this pain for your right now, but please know in your heart, you did the best you could and we really have no control over this monster/disease.

I do believe, though, that your son has done his suffering here and there is no more suffering for him. He is wrapped in loving arms, and he IS healed now and forever and you will see him again someday, the way he was born and created to be, a loving, productive soul!

If you feel comfortable please privately, e-mail me your address. I would like to send you something. (

Please know, my mom’s prayer group is meeting this Tuesday, and I will offer my night for your son and your family.

God Bless you, Amanda, and I pray for peace in your heart right now.


angela says:
February 24th, 2013 at 1:21 am

hi, i also have someone very close to me abusing drugs for years, has been in counseling for over a yr but acts like an angel there and everyone loves him, he uses his friends urine to pass his drug tests, no one has been able to help him not even family or girlfriends,and iv been wondering if writing a private letter to his counselor would help at all about the drugs he has been using, from 18yrs old now 27 yrs old, started with drinking and pot, synthetic herion pills, cocaine, smoking crack, booze every night, thank you, should i write a secret letter??

Amanda says:
February 26th, 2013 at 3:25 am

Although I am not the parent of an addict, I have suffered along with all of you and still continue to at times. The addict in my life is my boyfriend, partner in life, and father of my two youngest children. I have been on a journey of finding my own recovery through NARANON and hope to inspire others through my blog, I would live to share and connect with you.

Joanne says:
February 26th, 2013 at 11:25 am

Ron, I am very sorry to seemingly “take over” your blog. That was not my intent. One of the readers contacted me and properly chastised me. I only meant to share our experiences, others, give words of support and encouragement. I did not realize we were only to vent on this site as this reader claimed and not offer our own experiences. I have tremendous faith, this has gotten both my husband and I through this, and perhaps I have stepped on some toes by sharing that. I do not apologize for that. But I do to you, Ron. Your son’s progression is of great hope to me and thank you for sharing it. Amanda’s story touched my heart deeply and I felt the need to reach out to her directly. I will no longer comment on this site.

Pernilla Burke says:
February 26th, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Dear Amanda M, my heart hurts reading your post and the pain must be indescribable. Thank you Jerry, Ron and Joanne for your words.
You are in my prayers,

Ron Grover says:
March 1st, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Dear Angela,

Sounds like your son is manipulating everyone around him including counselors. Writing a letter is a personal decision, keeping it confidential is your option. For me I would write the letter and I wouldn’t be secret about it. In fact I would even inform my son that I was writing the letter even before I wrote it, but that is me and my ways may not work for you.

This monster of addiction lives in the dark and grows on secrecy. I am not afraid of pulling back the covers when it is required.

Feel free to write any time.

Ron Grover

Karen says:
March 2nd, 2013 at 5:24 am

My heart breaks more and more every day. There have been more and more deaths of addicts lately and quite frankly, it scares me to death. My heart goes out to each and everyone of you living in the same nightmare that I am in. I would truly give anything to wake up and find it just that…… a nightmare. But unfortunately it is all to real. My nightmare just keeps getting scarier and scarier. I tell myself everyday, where there is life there is hope!

Jeff M. says:
March 2nd, 2013 at 9:23 am

I wish I could say it was encouraging, reading so many of these stories, but as a father with a 21 year old heroine addict, I still feel beaten by this illness. Our daughter, Jessica, who currently lives at home with us, just left to visit relatives in another state for 12 days. She knows she needs to leave the state she is living in now, to distance herself from all her contacts, etc., but the truth is also that my wife and I (of 27 years) are getting beat down daily, repeatedly, and are losing our fight, and needed her to go as well. Jessica’s addiction to heroine started a little over a year ago, but her abusive behavior (screaming, cussing, threatening her life or ours, running away, breaking things, etc) started when she was 13. We have had 9 years of pure hell trying to cope with her. Her brother, who is 2 years older, has suffered greatly from her as well. We have tried tough love, counseling, rehab facilities, but nothing seems to be working. Her family life was good and stable with both parents always around and active in her schooling, sports, camping, family vacations. We attended church regularly and we as parents had really good friends who were good influences. There were no drugs or smoking in our house ever (except prescription medicine at times). We are lost and feel hopeless. Our main concern now is when she returns in 12 days – what do we do then? She wants better in her life and just when we think she is making strides she goes down again. I believe she has some manic depressant in her, as my sister in law shows the same traits even at age 47 and she is one of the worst manic depressant people I have ever experienced. Help anyone?

Kim says:
March 4th, 2013 at 2:03 am

What do you do when you go for help and get turned away.. Being told my son has to be free from all drugs for 72 hours before they can help. How do you cope during the 72 hours.. So we called a crisis hotline which gave us an appointment for MARCH 19 TH !!!!!
I am not sure what to do.. I’ve been in a hotel room since Friday afternoon – to wait until I can search for help again tomorrow…

Renee says:
March 6th, 2013 at 3:42 am

Dear Ron:

Your article was just what I needed to read. I have been hearing it from my spouse who sees it in his profession on a daily basis . I know what I need to do, I’m just scared to death that he will end up deceased. My son is very suicidal and when things get “tough” for him he attempts suicide. I’m so scared that when I cut him off and stop enabling him that he will kill himself by the drug of his choice. I have put in in in-patient rehab after rehab and he just leaves. He is stuck in Florida now depending on me for food and shelter. My heart hurts I’m so scared.


Catherine says:
March 6th, 2013 at 2:16 pm

This is utter nonsense! The greedy pharmaceutical companies are making money off our children. We are not to ACCEPT drug addiction in order to make ourselves feel better… we need to stop accepting that this is a decision of our children and then dump them in the cold somewhere. These pills have created money for rehabs, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, websites, doctors, pushers, jails, judges, lawyers… it goes on and on! Our children did not make a decision to get addicted! Their immature brains did something totally irresponsible with something created by greedy grown-ups. The drugs are being processed to make money. The drug pushers don’t care who they kill and now the “professionals” are saying there is nothing we can do! We need to get these drugs off the street, out of doctor’s hands and stop giving them out to every one who says “ouch”. The pharmaceutical companies are creating poison … they should be paying for rehab for every single illegally addicted son and daughter out there. Where are these companies when they get addicted? Handing out very expensive PILLS! This is BS to say it’s their choice and we can’t help it if they die. BS!

Theresa says:
March 11th, 2013 at 4:56 am

Yeah, I see that little cute affectionate boy he once was, however now I know he’s lying whenever his lips are moving. Is it for me or for him? Both. He wants trust from me, wants me to praise him and pat him on the back, and although I reassure him that I love him either way, he isn’t happy unless I believe that he’s not using. I too, trust my eyes more than I trust his words. I’m just so done with it, I don’t know what to do.

We’ve had police, rehab, jail, stealing, lying, counseling, NA, etc., but the bottom line is that my son doesn’t feel that he has a drug problem…never mind the two totaled cars and the lost job at one of the big three in Detroit, the failed college semesters, the room that looks like someone dumped a trashcan in it, the refusals to quit smoking in the house…I’m ready to quit my job and move away, far away, to a tiny little house that is big enough only for me. The little boy is long gone and he’s never coming back. All that’s left is a young man who doesn’t care.

kelly says:
March 11th, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Kim, I feel your agony and frustration.
If you are fearful for your sons safety and he is currently using you can always try the ER. If your son is a danger to himself, has hinted in any way of harming himself, you can emphasize that point when you bring him in. They will take him high and it may actually help the process..Sad to say.
God Bless.

Jerry Otero says:
March 11th, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Dear Kim,

I am sorry to hear about the delay in getting your son into a treatment center. Without knowing more about what’s going on, it would be hard for me to weigh in on what you should do to expedite the process.

If you have the time, however, I do suggest that you call me at the Parent Helpline of The Partnership at (phone number below). We can talk a bit about what’s going on, and I will do my best to brainstorm possible solutions with you and will share my ideas on what you can do.

The call is toll-free and confidential. Until then, I wish you and your son, all the best.

Jerry Otero
Parent Support Specialist
1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373)

sad but true... says:
March 15th, 2013 at 12:01 am

i have 1 year clean after doing heroin for 22 years everyday of everyone of those years,everything you say is the much more can be said,heroin turns your brain off you just don’t care no more,i had to be beat down into complete darkness to get’s still affecting me and i have forever done permanent damage to my body and my’s a life of pure hell…

delamarie says:
March 16th, 2013 at 9:51 am

We confronted my son this evening about his addiction to heroin. We only found out about it this past Monday when one of his friends contacted us and told us it’s been going on a long time. He lives with his girlfriend and other roommates in another town. His friend told us that his girlfriend got him started. The signs were there but we were blind. We were supporting him financially because he was in college. Tonight we told him we knew and we were not going to give him any cash whatsoever but perhaps we would buy him groceries occasionally. Although he denied it at first he admitted it once I shot a few holes in his story. We were surprised how quickly he folded. He told me he has to quit on his own. He had tears in his eyes. He said that programs don’t work. Later he texted me to leave his girlfriend out of it and don’t involve her. He has always been an independent thinker, smart, introspective but cynical about 12 steps, programs, psychology, spirituality, etc. Is there any possibility he can quit on his own? Do we just let him know we are here for him if/when he is ready to go into a program? Thank you for this blog. I’m so sad & when I woke up tonight, I started thinking of him and can’t get back to sleep. I’ve been trying to surround him with white light. It seems like all I can do to help him . . .

Brenda says:
March 16th, 2013 at 11:48 am

After reading all of these entries and having lived the past six years with an addicted 30 year old daughter, I must say it is always the same process parents go through. Denial, frantic fear, help, trouble, help, trouble, acceptance and finally letting go. Somewhere in all this you will spend a lot of time beating yourself up for all the wrong things you did raising your child. Please note that this is pointless and consuming. Eventually, you will figure out that you weren’t perfect. News bulletin: None of us are Gods.
It takes a long time to get nowhere with an addict and yourself.
If I could save anyone with a word of advise, it would be to get your child into a minium 3 month rehab stay once,(don’t panic), after that, let go. At this point, the child knows exactly what they need to do if they wish to stay clean. I haven’t heard or known of one addict that has stayed clean after one rehab stay. (Just mentioning this to save some more grief) That is all you can and should do for them. The rest is up to them.
Then it is time to figure out how to lead a good and full life for yourself and the rest of your contributing family.
Prayers are great.
Maybe, just maybe, somewhere down the road, things will work out how you hoped. I am not there yet.
Good luck and God Bless.

Nancy says:
March 17th, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Isn’t it time for our country to get the proper help for drug addicts. Instead of throwing them in jail invest some money into a treatment center where they can not just leave on their own free will. Instead, they throw them in jail with the drug dealers, child molesters, murderers, robbers etc. They need court ordered help in a certain environment with people that have the same problems and understand. Unless you have thousands of dollars to put them into some fancy rehab advertised on TV you are basically screwed. SAD BUT TRUE.

Shelley says:
March 21st, 2013 at 5:13 am

I think my tax money is going to the wrong place – AGAIN! It can cost up to $400 a day to keep someone in jail (depending on the Instituion); rehab is not that expensive (and of course depending on the program).

Karen says:
March 21st, 2013 at 1:29 pm

REALLY!!!!! ?????????? My son who is serving 9 months for breaking probation is now in solitary confinement.In a cell 23 out of 24 hours, let out one hour a day. For pills found in his cell that he “swears” were not his. my heart aches, but I hope he is at his lowest and deepest depths FINALLY!!! May he find what he needs in his 30 day stay in what I would consider hell. But then again his life to me has been hell for years now….when will it ever end~~~~~

kathy says:
March 23rd, 2013 at 9:36 am

I empathize with each and everyone of you. My step-son bought a bus ticket and showed up on our door 3 weeks ago without notice. He is nearly 40. Since he was 18 he has been in and out of prison. Often on the streets and off the radar. Prior to this we hadn’t seen him in several years. In addition to the alcohol and drugs, his body and face are covered in tattoos which are vulgar, racist, and completely offensive. This coming from someone who is not a prude. We have a teenager still at home who is horrified. Yes we love him, he’s helped out around here since he’s been “visiting” and I am grateful to spend some time with him despite all the ugliness. We discovered he is homeless, and with the tattoos completely unemployable. I am not exaggerating one bit about how bad they are. Question is not what? I bought him some clothes. Got him an ID and his older sister helped get him foodstamps. Do we just have him pick a city and buy him a ticket? He is getting way too comfortable here and is disrespecting our home. He has poor hygiene and my whole house is starting to smell like him. He got drunk and urinated all over the place and puked in the sink, then went to bed and wet the bed.

The truth is the only time I really sleep well is when he is incarcerated and I know where he is (besides under my roof). He never speaks disrespectfully to us, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to monitor a grown man regarding his baths, doing chores etc…

My other grown children are all fine and I wouldn’t let them live here for an extended period either. My DH and I have a life to live and one more minor to get raised. I am under no illusions about helping him get on his feet. That will never happen. Are there any other options besides the street?

Thank you for listening.

Ron Grover says:
March 23rd, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Dear Karen,

Where there is life there is hope.

Also I have another essay on here that may help when your son is released. It is about detaching with love.

Good Luck and one thing I always thought of when our son was in jail and prison. We began to see jail and prison as “Protective Custody” because we come to realize he was safer incarcerated than on the streets scoring and shooting more heroin. Mixed up world when we see jail as good and freedom bad.

Feel free to write any time and you can check out my personal blog about parenting an addict. Our son has been clear and sober since July 2010.

Ron Grover

Jackie Winn says:
March 25th, 2013 at 5:57 pm

I never learned.
Here is my story. My son died as an addict and an alcoholic in a jail cell (suicide cell) He was on probation and was sent to jail for being one day late payinf a $35.00 probation fee. Before he was taken away he told the probation officer just how much he had been drinking, which shocked even me. He was arrested anyway. He should have been sent to inpatient detox, but instead was jailed and cut off from everything-cold turkey. Hell of a way to die. I believe he was begging to be given medical aid and was put in that cell, but now I must wait for the report from the coroner’s office.
Prior to his death he told me he could not take it any more and was making phone calls appologizing to people for the wrongs he had done asthe 12 step program said to do. I believe he knew he did not have much time left. Now he is gone. I have delt with this horrible addiction and kept him off the streets (and yes was an enabler) I have come to terms with that, I also know had I not done so , he would have died sooner. Sad way to die. I was forced to face the fact that no matter how much I prayed and tried and willed it, I could not help him. He died on Sunday March 17 2013 in a cold jail cell. I can’t wrap my mind around that. There is an investigation going on but that does not change things. He is gone forever. I have to live with the fact the Erik, my son, was never happy, never had a relationship, never got married, and will never experience a happy life. all these things are denied for him. He was 34 years old and had been an addict since his teens and I never saw the signs. Yes, looking back now I see them…far too late. But could I have stopped it? Only God knows. All I can hope for is that God has taken him to a better place and now he is happy, but it has only been a week, and I still am torn up and worried about that. I lost the battle and my son paid the ultimate price. Watching the news that night nearly killed me. I still wait for the phone to ring and see him comming across my yard or comming out of his house. I have not been able to go to his house yet. I have holed up in my house after the memorial, and have his photo and ashed here with me. I will never get over this. I failed.

Sunny says:
March 26th, 2013 at 12:15 pm

My son is 22 next month. He is tall, beautiful, green eyed with a smile that makes women swoon, add to this athletic, funny, clever & witty. Now add to this aggressive, mean, hateful, cruel, jealous, liar, drug dealer & also an addict.
What is going on? I loved this boy with all my heart & soul. Where did I go wrong? Where, where, where?
I believe in lymbic imprinting; I was sexually assaulted & several months later found myself pregnant after treatment. But I never once though of that through out his life UNTIL he started to show signs of depression & anxiety, having nightmares as a 3 year old. I had been married to the man who assaulted me, with no support & so on I had no where to turn. Then of course child abuse became an issue. I divorced. My lad turned to drugs, first THC, then the occasional party pill, lots of alcohol, then very thing else. No work, no friends left, every single bridge he crossed he burnt, every single hand extended to help, he not only bit, but figuratively speaking, ripped it off & threw it at the person offering the hand.
On Christmas eve I was called in the early hours of the morning to the hospital emergency room, he had been found beside the freeway, unconscious, the ambos thought they were attending a dead body. I thought that was the rock bottom people talk about. Oh no way, we have gone from horror to horror, bashing his girlfriend in public, bashing his stepfather on the front lawn, bashing his brothers, stealing…and very thing else I’ve read on the other posts.
In between all of this a baby turned up, mine, a lovely 41st birthday gift! The baby never took to him, always crying & reluctant to so much as look at him. However there was just one other reason to hate us.

Now he is sober 3 months for the first time in 6 years. He is in the the third stage of joining the defense force, he is reading, he’s working as a volunteer so as to keep way from the element that would tempt a relapse, but wanting to work to keep busy. And the baby plays with him when he visits, in the sandpit, playing kitchens, kicking the football & hitting the cricket ball & most recently swimming together at the local pool with not a single cross moment.
It’s early days I know, we may not have a happy story to tell in a month, next week, or even tomorrow.
Take heart dear people, we are strong & must keep going, for our own sakes & the other family who love us & need us.

Betsy says:
March 27th, 2013 at 3:14 am

I have 3 children and they’ve all suffered from heroin addictions. We’ve been on this roller coaster since my youngest child (daughter) shot heroin for the first time at age 15. She is now 20 and has been drug free for almost 3 years. She went through several treatment programs, the last one being a year long program. My middle son(age 22) is now in a year long program and doing well, fortunately was court ordered. My oldest son(age 26) was recently kicked out of the year long program and is spiraling downwards almost as fast as the speed of light. We have kicked him out of our home for I’m unable to witness him being high anymore, it hurts too much. I also say things I wish I wouldn’t have, so distance right now is the only way. My husband and I have become very weary, to the point I’m worried about our own health. At times I’ve felt like our family was written similar to the Book of Job. I to, worry so much about a death of one of our children, the worst fear a parent could have. Every day I see young people in the obituaries that I’m sure many are drug overdoses or suicide. We live in tough times. I pray, I seek counseling, I go to parent groups who also have children on drugs. All these help, but the pain is still there. I pray for all of you that have lost a child to this awful disease, as well as all of you who are struggling to get help. And all those who are in recovery we must thank God for that blessing, for it could change in an instant. We must live for today as well as the addicts do for that’s all any of us have. Thank you for reading this.

Patti Herndon says:
March 31st, 2013 at 12:14 am

Renee: If your son is in crisis…if he is suicidal/exhibiting self harming behaviors, then, the focus on obtaining clinical/medical care is key…It’s warranted.

I’m so sorry for your experience of fear for him….for ‘all’ that you both have endured. I have been there.

Mom…You are courageous and there is ‘no time’ for engaging cognitions that would have you speculating on anything other than, “How do I get him the urgent care he needs/deserves for this immediate mental health crisis/his demonstrated suicidal/self harming behavior?”. That’s the priority. Once risk of suicide has been recognized/identified, nothing else is worthy of our energy/our focus EXCEPT seeking stabilization on our kid’s behalf.

It’s not likely going to be beneficial -to the requirement/the goal of stabilizing your son’s mental state/his health- in directing your cognitions/energies/thought processing into an area of focus that would have you pondering ‘whether or not you’re an ‘enabler’…or ‘how bad’ an enabler you are …or whether your ‘addicted to denial’….or whether your ‘addict’ is a liar, a thief, or a manipulator…or, that, ‘when his lips are moving he must, surely, be lying’ *sigh*…and on it goes. And, cue stigma: and the increasing probability that we as individuals and a collective, will lose sight of the forest for the trees.

The attempt to determine this VERY subjective stuff,(‘stuff’ that serves little -right now especially), becomes monumentally irrelevant when considering that your son is, apparently, (based on what you share above) experiencing a very serious mental health crisis – One that requires all your focus of energy be directed in obtaining the most appropriate, urgent care possible in consideration of your location, resources, etc..

YOur son is ill. I know you understand this on a deeply personal level. He requires clinical intervention/supports…MEDICAL CARE that will facilitate a stabilization so that, in some amount of time, there will be opportunity for the two of you to shift focus of energy to those resources and tools that actually increase both your senses of self efficacy/hope. (Self efficacy is the belief that we hold that we can effectively manage any challenge(s) that presents in our life).

You love your son. He loves you. You’re a caring mom doing your best to advocate on behalf of your son/your family. That’s obvious. And that’s how it oughta’ be, as well.

We don’t disconnect. We don’t detach. We don’t ‘tough love’ a crisis/an addiction/a co-occurring disorder away…Contrary to the, decreasingly, popular and, largely, false) notion (hence the ‘decreasing’)that ‘tough loving’ is the only way to ‘make’ someone see the light/save their life. That’s just FALSE.

No. To the contrary, we ENGAGE. We demonstrate the EXACT same level of conviction/dedication/investment/empathy that we would if the medical crisis was say, our kid’s impending or potential kidney failure/potential heart failure, etc. That kind of engagement is what is required to help him stabilize.

He needs you, mom. He’s stuck. He’s depressed. It’s CLINICAL. It’s physiological. It’s psychological. It’s brain health. It’s ‘family systems’ health…its complex.

This crisis is not a reflection of someone who has a ‘lack of will, or some ‘spiritual’ deficit/bankruptcy’ or some disease of ‘chronic selfishness’, or some unexplainable lack of altruism….Nor is his condition a result of ‘willful, bad behavior’…

He is ILL. He does not have the coping tools because of his physiological, likely chronic, condition. He is unable to problem solve his way forward -Right now.

But that’s what appropriate clinical treatment is for in these high risk circumstances. He, absolutely, CAN acquire that ability to improve his health/his choices/his life, little by little -with appropriate treatment/care, and the consistent and informed support from his concerned significant others (CSOs). But, our expectations need to reflect the reality of our circumstances, our son/daughters level of challenge… in order for us to help them.

It’s critical to his ability to engage/discover his own reasons for ‘pushing on’. In order to have ‘the best’ odds for achieving this critical-to-recovery self efficacy/hope for the future; he requires that you demonstrate consistent, ‘genuine’ belief that he can do just that -no matter what level of challenge he is going through, at any given mile in the journey. So…roll with him, right where he is. And, believe, verbalize, OWN that he has the ability to make healthy change, little by little.

Godspeed, Renee. I’m lifting a prayer for you both.

Addiction is the journey. Recovery is the destination.

Patti Herndon says:
April 1st, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Betsy, I am thinking about you and your two sons and your daughter. I am thinking about your family. I will keep you all in my prayers.

I feel inspired by your heart, your steadfast dedication in the face of the ever-present, ‘not knowing ‘exactly’ what to do’ at every turn’. But,then, none of us know exactly what to do at every turn. We just do our best, on behalf of the greatest kind of love we can experience, here, in this earthly place.

You help remind us of what it is we ‘can’ always do: Remember our obligation, as parents, to keep on hoping.. to strive to consistently demonstrate, verbalize, grow and OWN that sense of hope. Hope/faith WILL soar on our behalf when and where we can not. And, hope DOES serve as a bridge to recovery and better lived moments. Hope is a critical and clinical component in recovery. As we lean into our sense of hope, we increase our capacity to cope better and better with the beyond difficult challenges -whatever they may be. And, as ‘we’ cope better,as parents, we experience increasingly-productive energy that we can utilize for building strength, and healthy connectedness in our relationship with our addicted child.

As we strive to learn more and more about addiction,(all its aspects: biological, psychological, sociological), and how we might apply that gained knowledge/wisdom,transforming it into recovery-purposed thoughts, onto action; We have achieved momentum in the journey on behalf of our addicted son/daughter…. on behalf of ourselves…on behalf of our family.

Yes. We will continue to try the ‘next’ thing because of our dedication/our goal to help our son/daughter toward, and through, addiction into recovery, better health, better lived moments. We believe in their ability to engage recovery, little by little. We will persevere with them.

And, we will never surrender our hope…no matter what.

Betsy…Thank you for being a beacon of hope to every parent on this thread.

Addiction is the journey. Recovery is the destination.

Parents please google “Self Management and Recovery Training -Friends and Family Support” -(SMART RECOVERY FRIENDS AND FAMILY).

Bunnie says:
April 3rd, 2013 at 1:48 am

Love is the only cure. Dont let them get to the streets thats where it ends badly. love them and dont give up, and stop them dont enable! you can do it if it can be done . It cant always be done but if there is a chance it can you must do it. love them, keep them close do whatever it takes. Sending them away is just giving up. Sometimes you cant win but if there is a chance take it! Sometimes you can make the difference.

bunnie says:
April 4th, 2013 at 8:50 pm

One problem I see in dealing with addiction is the lack of programs designed to help young people. When a program is available they set rules that addicts cant keep due to the very nature of their problem. They fail and the failure is not only quite expensive if you have insurance or not but also discouraging. The rules set need to help these kids build their confidence not prove they are addicts that cant quit using and participating in risky behavior. instead of UIs maybe work programs and volunteer. Each kids has a particular set of weaknesses and they need to focus on their strengths first and then address their weakness but not kick them out when they are wanting help.

Desirae R says:
April 5th, 2013 at 2:50 am

Hello my name is Desirae. I am 22 years old and am a recovering addict. I have 8 months clean today. I think this article is brilliant and a blessing to many for realization that their son or daughter can not be fixed by love or negative rejection and that they have to make the decision themselves to stop the madness. Sometimes in my case it’s not as simple as going to rehab and meetings. I just want to tell you that I have been trying for three years now to stay clean, I was always able to get around 4-5months and then I would just use. Impulse was my biggest problem. The one of the reasons I have made it to this point is because of methadone. Now I know if anyone has heard of this program they may only hear the horror stories and controversies but if you really take the time to research this program saves lives. I did not condone methadone myself for many years because of the stories I’ve heard. But I realize that maybe if I had stayed on I might have 3years clean but who knows. This is a government funded program and has about a 99% success rate if the patient complies with their responsibilities of their clinic. And they usually do not accept people their first time of attempting to get clean. Ill explain why and what it has done for me PERSONALLY. They usually do not except first timers because they need to be shown proof of multiple failed attempts of sobriety. Which in my case was three rehabs and even before rehabs trying to detox myself. What methadone has done for me has given me a chance to focus on my recovery, I go to an awesome counseling center that is partly a methadone clinic. Usually every county has their own center for this, just to be informative for parents looking for these places usually non-profit places like where I go are more strict because the government runs it. Those are the best you should stay clear of places that do not mandate at least 3-4 hours a week of therapy usually 3 group sessions and one on one. Another thing is take homes, if they provide take home before 3 months of clean sobriety it’s probably not a good idea. Addicts when in sobriety need structure they need responsibility. I myself drive an hour each way for my recovery even though there is a clinic 10mins away. I prefer this place because they are strict and I would drive hours to find my drugs, so why not spend hours on recovery? Also because the one 10 mins from me is a place not as strict and you can usually see that by how many people are lingering outside. No one is just standing outside when I go. I am just giving you options if your son or daughter had been to more then one rehab and seem to relapse around the same time everytime they get clean. I was at a point to just give up the house I am gratefully able to still live in.
I was ready to give up my car, my family, everything- and these things weren’t even being taken away, I just wanted to give in to my drug, and willing to be homeless and do things to put me in danger to get my drug. Luckily because of being in recovery before I was able to recognize these things as being wrong. When you are in the midst of your addiction everything has an excuse and reason, a sober person can realize these things are dangerous or just plain stupid but when most of your time as an addict is finding ways and means to get high nothing really bothers you anymore or you have a delusional mindset.

Going back to what makes methadone a better option or a last resort for people who fit as candidates. The way methadone works is what alot of people misconstrue because yes– it is a narcotic now before you judge just think I myself hated it, I thought people who chose it just wanted to get high, I heard that getting off of it was torture and lots of other crazy stories. But what I didn’t realize was that those people did not follow the program, and the people telling me these things are also going by hearsay. Now what it actually does- it has given me time to breathe, I relapsed all the time because I have mental disorders too and was constantly having racing thoughts about using and with my disorders they caused impulsive behavior even being on medication. Methadone taken as prescribed will help curb cravings and once on a blocking dose you will NO LONGER BE ABLE TO GET HIGH if you decide to relapse on opiates. Another thing is that it is not all about the methadone, it is a PHARMACOTHERAPY PROGRAM,Which is just like with mental illness or cancer you receive your medicine and the program is usually 75% therapy and 25% the medicine. Which for me has truly helped me focus on myself and the process of recovery.
Also I’d like to mention that I myself am dealing with a truly loved one who is currently struggling with active addiction. My fiancé. We have been together for 9 years, grew up together. We both used together for the past 4 1/2 years on and off. He has had a whole year sober but one decision takes you right back to where you start. It’s a long story but this past summer of 2012 we broke it off because of circumstances and he continued to use as I went to rehab in late July. It has been very trying ever since having to see him struggle so much alot of it up until a month and a half ago has been environmental for him because of his parents being alcoholics and his father is verbally abusive because he’s too old to hit his mom and his brothers are all heroin addicts as well. So it was very hard to get him to stay sober when in the other room or right in front of him his brother(s) are getting high. Somehow surprisingly I have not used but came very close. I would catch him high, him lying, I’d find the paraphernalia in his room and I believe if not for the program I wouldn’t have been able to stay sober, now I do not condone putting yourself in risky situations but often people new to sobriety try to test their limits clearly knowing what can and usually does happen but they do it anyway like hanging out with people they used with even if that person is clean. The addict brain is so amazing yet disturbingly wired that the visual situation of seeing that person can cause feelings of stupid euphoric recall. Ohh that’s always awesome! Not!
I really apologize for the rambling but I thought giving you a chance to hear from someone recovering that it is possible and there are plenty of options if no matter how hard they try they just can’t get a grip on it. The WORST thing you could possibly do though in those situations are to criticize and give up on them. You have no idea how painful it is to hear the disappointment in your voice when we really do want to be clean but even we have no idea why it can’t be that way. Just to also say addicts are the kindest, caring and most giving people out there when we are sober. Do not give up the hope that your child is gone. Sometimes yes, we need to want it ourselves but if they want it for themselves because of someone they love, their parent, or their child that’s just as well. I also know many people who were forced into it maybe because of family or legal issues but even that can be enough because sometimes people realize that they really did need the help but they were so deep they have no idea how to get out. Another thing is when your addict loved one is first getting clean don’t expect anything, because sometimes you don’t realize that for an addict especially getting clean their first time has to relearn everything as if they were in a bad accident, sometime you think your expectations are simple but for us it’s hard. Addicts will be very emotional when they get clean. Make sure you have clear communication and do not pry or constantly ask “are you okay?” “What are you doing?” Those things are honestly annoying and sometimes if we’re not okay we don’t want to say anything. When addicts don’t have a job do not rush them back into it. These are high expectations–simple for you not for addicts. If the addict brings it up be supportive, or when approaching them about it try to analyze what to say because you don’t want them to think its a race even if it is. As addicts we beat ourselves up enough that when we see or hear that disappointment we keep the beating up more then slowly it can become a relapse that’s why I say having no or even low expectations is the best. What you can do to help your loved one new to sobriety is make lists for them, keep them on a schedule especially if coming out of rehab, staying busy the first year is key especially those first three months. Also stay open- open-minded and open communication tell them if something is bothering you, tell them they did a good job washing dishes. Yes it may seem a bit much but understand most addicts drug use begins in their teenage years you have to realize when sober their usually not at that mature state of what their age is. Plus hiding your emotions for soo long and you feel them at full force when you first get sober can make them very sensitive or irritable or both( like me). Again rambling and probably repeating myself. Please if your loved one cannot stay clean and you think that this might help, do the research!
One more thing; my mom is very protective and is just an awesome mom. But if you knew her you’d know that my mom would have never even considered me to go on to this program if she didn’t think it was good or a scam because she did the research read the good and bad. Please be informed.
I have all of you in my prayers. If you ever want to talk you can contact me through email any day any time I check daily!

I wish you all well because it doesn’t take luck to star sober it takes work! Remember its a family disease the addict isn’t the only person sick.


Mark says:
April 9th, 2013 at 3:38 pm

My son is 25 and I was plunged into this well of despair 11 years ago. He has been an addict and I the king of co-dependents for that long now. After his last stint in jail I tried to give him his room back, but found him unconscious on my bathroom floor after shooting up antidepressants just because he’d never tried that. I had to kick him out of the house, or risk the loss of the rest of my family leaving me. So hard for me. He’s living under a tarp in the woods in northern Michigan. He nearly froze to death twice this month. I am beside myself with grief. I know I’m doing the right thing but that is small comfort. I can relate COMPLETELY to the list. I am CONSTANTLY seeing him as the little boy I love, and it tears me up. How can I possibly stop torturing myself like that? Drugs truly are the nearest thing we’ve come to incarnating satan…

Jean says:
April 13th, 2013 at 3:28 am

My last posting was Nov. 27, 2012 when my former ninja turtle now 24 yr old drug addicted son had been in jail for a few weeks and not getting out until April. So let’s see, hmmm what did he learn? Well every two weeks I visited him thru a screen he said he spends his time playing cards and reading books. He’s fed, has a warm bed and the guys are kinda cool. Oh geez they’re so cruel they actually made him do some jail laundry. Boy oh boy that will sure teach him not to do drugs, huh? NOT! The kid gets released from jail after me his mom, and the rest of the family don’ get to spend holidays and his 24th birthday with him and he is now considered clean of drugs for the past 5 months. So what does he do? Within two days of being released from jail he steals his girlfriends meds because he can’t cope with all the stress of now facing reality meaning getting a job considering he has nothing in the bank and his student loans that he wasted are all coming due. So he calls mom to possibly take him into my house if he gets thrown out of his girlfriend’s house. Sorry son, you had two chances with me. He does have an interview scheduled for a job and he says he will be good now and go for it. Good luck baby. I really do love you but you need to accept God in your life to succeed.

Holly says:
April 14th, 2013 at 5:21 am

Thank You Desirea.

Ron Grover says:
April 16th, 2013 at 3:53 pm


I cannot imagine the pain you are suffering and I cannot imagine the pain your son suffered at the hands of this disease. You are not alone. I know it is very soon but you also must take care of yourself too. Please seek help from someone even if it is just another parent that is walking in your shoes. There are way too many parents out there traveling your path.

Also, I suggest you call The Partnership Helpline. Speak to Jerry or Denise they are counselors that can help you. 1-855-DRUGFREE The helpline is staffed M-F 9-5.

Please take care of yourself. You are not alone. Feel free to write any time.

Ron Grover

EJO says:
April 23rd, 2013 at 5:18 am

Once again you are off on your own into the desert in 90 degree weather (he is homeless) and we don’t know where you will be staying out there (he has been doing this on and off for the past month). I am saddened by the fact that we did not get to hug goodbye, so I could wish you a safe journey and tell you how very much you are loved by so many. May G-D be with you and guide you through these travels safely, I hope to see you soon my son ~ Love, Mom

This is all because my husband and I are trying not to enable him by letting him come home and do nothing with his life. He has not been using the hard stuff for months…we are told he is only smoking pot at this point. But we feel if we allow that because it is the lesser of the evils he will take advantage of that. He wont get a job, because he feels he is better than an minimum wage job, he is 24, college educated and feels it is our responsibility to support him and take care of him because we are his parents…….Please advise….He will not go to therapy of any kind because we wont let him live at home.

Jerry Otero says:
April 23rd, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Dear EJO,

This is really a difficult and stressful situation — and there are no easy answers. One size does not fit all, nor is there any one answer that applies to everyone. No magic bullet, no recipe book quick fix answers. This is really different for different kids, different families, different contexts.

That said, if you feel that you are ready to try something different, why don’t you call me at the Parents Helpline (number below) to speak about how to leverage the love you have for your child into a postive reinforcement approach, that will increase the liklihood of him making the positive changes that you want for him while improving the quality of your own life.

The call is free and confidential — so why not do it today?

Until then, I wish you and your family, all the best.

Jerry Otero
Parent Support Specialist
1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373)

Karen says:
May 1st, 2013 at 5:26 pm

so my son has been in jail (again), has been since Dec. 24th. He may be getting released late July. I have been writing and recieving letters from him all along. He writes about how scared he is of getting out penniless with the clothes on his back and nowhere to go. homeless on the streets once again. how do I not allow him back into my home (we have tried this x3 already) and will he ever be able to understand why I can not allow it. Or will I indeed allow it? as a mother this is all so confusing, but how oh how are the streets going to help him? As his mother my heart breaks and I do not know where to turn. he has had so many oppurtunities and wonderful chances to change his life around but failed each time. I know Ron, that where there is life there is hope………..but I am at a loss of what to do next. maybe doing nothing at all is best!???????

Ron Grover says:
May 1st, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Dear Karen,

Thank you for your comment.

It is so hard to know what to do and I can feel the exasperation and care in your comment. It’s hard if not impossible for me to throw specific suggestions because I don’t know your life and his and what all has gone on but that isn’t going to stop me from offering things I might try even with the limited experience.

Your son is in jail for I don’t know what but regardless I feel that jail does no good for addicts. Jail is not rehab and “locking them up” hasn’t worked in the past for most addicts, and it didn’t work for my son even though he was in numerous jails.

The responsibility for your son’s recovery completely rests on his shoulders. As a parent we can do things to support them if they want help but they must want it even more than we want it for them.

The question as I understand it from your comment is, “What do I do when he is out of jail at the end of July?”

I’d do this if it were my son. Does he want help? Assuming he is clean and detoxed from being in jail I’d provided a list of NA meetings and times. Depending on your location I’d provide him a number to reach the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army has programs for homeless and rehab, depending on your location. I’d volunteer with the Salvation Army before he gets out to better understand if they can help, plus they need caring people in all areas. Want to help him directly, clothes from SA or Goodwill. Meet him for lunch so you can buy him lunch and encourage him in his recovery. If he is doing the right things, believe in him but don’t believe him. Suggest he work close with his PO, if he has one to find work. If PO doesn’t help finds lists of service agencies for him that may help.

I agree with your boundaries. They are your boundaries not his. This isn’t about you denying him a place to live this is about you doing what you must do so that you are healthy enough to help when help is needed.

Karen, this is very important and so very hard for a mother to understand, fathers too. Every single day of the year all over the entire planet addicts walk in off the street, out of homes and from anywhere they may be and make the decision to work on their own recovery. It isn’t because of us or what we do, it is because of what THEY are. The most we can do is provide encouragement, love and sometimes maybe just a map or list of resources. That’s what we do now, we help them help themselves. It’s a fine line, but when you want them to find recovery so bad we learn to toss “tough love” aside and show them real love. We stand where we never dreamed we’d stand, we say things with love we never dreamt we’d say. We get support from others on this path because no one that hasn’t walked this path can truly understand. Many can empathize but you cannot do this alone. There is no magic bullet or mystical phrase that makes it all better. You know that too well.

Hope this helps. Wish I had a magic wand but……….. Guess that doesn’t come with my pay grade.

Feel free to write me any time, I do care.

Ron Grover

Michelle says:
May 2nd, 2013 at 9:30 pm

My son is a smart, musically talented soon to be 21 next month if he makes it. He has battled a heroine, opiate addiction since 15. He comes from a loving catholic upbringing and was taught to be caring and morally functioning person. His dad is a functioning alcoholic (lawyer)- I’m a heart broken remarried mother with a loving husband. My son relapses all the time. Has been to treatment 3 times. I thought he was doing better, has a full time job with a great agency, bought himself a car, etc. things are going downhill fast. He calls rambling saying know one in AA will help him – the y just say you need to pray about it or they don’t take his call at all. He says “Mom I hate this disease so much – why can’t I be normal, I’m so embarrassed and feel so unstable” on top of this he has epilepsy. He is now out of his apartment because one of his girl roommates feels he is not a good influence. Please help me say the right thing when he calls me for support or at least give me a suggestion. He is presently sitting in his car talking to the walls and scared?? Help please…???

Michelle says:
May 2nd, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Called the the drug free parent hotline but no call back.

Karen says:
May 3rd, 2013 at 3:19 am

Ron,,,, How do I write you directly?

Ron Grover says:
May 3rd, 2013 at 8:24 pm



Sue says:
May 11th, 2013 at 1:43 pm

What a blessing to have found this page! Although knowing each other most of our lives, my husband and I recently got married. Thinking we would mainly have issues with his son and my one daughter, both mentally unstable, alcohol abuse in his son and we suspect something with my daughter. We got “the call” his daughter was being taken to the hospital…..heroine….. She has a pain pill problem a couple years ago and after a bad experience one night she quit. She lives in another stat and was planning on moving here with her boyfriend this fall. They would stay with us for a couple months till they got jobs and an apartment. We are now anticipating she will be moving here soon. She is a wonderful young lady and I love her dearly. I don’t want to enable her but want to give her a chance and want her to get away from that environment so she has a chance. We know we will have to keep money, valuables, and prescriptions under lock and key. Definately not looking forward to being a prisoner in our own home. I feel very guilty that I will be placing my 15 year old son in that same prison and the addict environment. My three oldest daughters are adults. We are going to seek out counseling for us on how to deal with this prior to and while she is living with us. I know it would be wise to involve my son in counseling but hate he will have to be exposed so close to home this life style. We have never had much exposure to the addict world. This isa journey I fear. My husband is a incredible man but when it comes to his kids, he is a very serious enabler and ignores dealing with the problems. I have addressed this concern to him and he acknowledged the problem and will try hard to not do this with his daughter this time. Ihave my doubts as he allowed his son to be horrible and terribly disrespectful to me and not once ever intervened. I fear we are about to commit marital suicide. I definately do want to help my step daughter without a doubt. I want to set boundries with them both ahead of time that I won’t accept one relapse, drug, total dependancy that I will handle everything, I won’t be abused as I was by his son, and won’t allow any craziness around my son. I know I am setting high expectations but they do not and have never lived by boundries. It has always been allowed to be a free for all. I love my husband so deeply and we have an awesome relationship. I can confidently say he will allow his daughter to break boundries, relapse without consequence, etc. No matter what expert or how many experts tell him he will be signing her death warrant if he does it once. How then do I deal with this? I am so scared.

Karen says:
May 12th, 2013 at 3:28 am

Recieved a Mother’s Day “letter” from my incarcerated son today. Bittersweet indeed. He said some very kind things to me and about me. Deep down he has a heart of gold, THAT is one of the hardest parts when dealing with an addict, being his mother….I know the REAL him still exists somewhere deep within the depths of his being. My hope for him is that it someday comes out to Stay, until then…..I stay strong, because, I have no other options.

NOYB says:
May 16th, 2013 at 5:04 am

My daughter is in her late 20′s for years she has been into drinking doing crystal meth. Her friends from Kitchener and Cambridge used to supply her with Crystal Meth. Now she abuses Cipralex and alcohol almost everyday. She wants to take drugs and drink alcohol. Then she has an obsessiveness to ride her bike after filling up with drugs and alcohol. When she does not get her way she threatens to kill herself. This has been going on for 20 years and it has taken a toll on my marriage. My husband has been up on a peace bond and former restraining order for fighting with me and putting my life at risk. The fight was caused by my daughter. I have not been able to talk to anyone for almost 20 years and I can not believe I am telling the world now. I could be moving out of my marriage soon and back home with my parents. When I return home both my daughter and my husband are going to be on restraining orders to stay away from me. I am tired of being abused by both of them I am tired of being victimized and having my life threatened. When I return home I am going to go back under the witnessed protection program. I can not remember when was the last time I been able to sleep for fear that my life is in danger.

Karen says:
May 20th, 2013 at 12:04 am

Saw my son in jail…. 1st time I have seen him in 5 months.It was very good to see him and hug him. But I feel as though nothing has changed. He seems to be in a state of confusion and voiced that he is uncapable of making decisions and/ or choices. When I look in his eyes I see emptiness, blankness. I have accepted that all this is what it is and there is nothing I can do but love him while I can. A strange thing happened after I 1st saw him and hugged him…… A barrier went up in front of me, I think it was my own defense mechanisms taking over. all I can say once again is that it was so good to set my eyes on him, but there was nothing positive there………. We did cry a little together. When I look at him I think I relive the pain and I also think the mother in me feels his struggling and his pain… I know that it is beyond my control. I am very glad that I went and may go again before he is released/if he is released. I will always be a part of him and him a part of me but realized today he is like a poisoin to me. I love him to death but am so afraid of him and the pain he can and has caused in my life. Does all this sound strange? I have to just do the best I can and carry on with life and be as happy as I can when I can, dealing with this for 10 years has done this to me. I guess dealing with addiction is crazy like that.

teresa says:
May 29th, 2013 at 6:54 am

To all parents living with addiction in their lives, I am one also and our 25 year old son has spent the last 6 years in and out of jail. Please consider going to alanon. It helped my husband and myself so much. Ive chosen to focus on my other children, my grandchild and especially my husband. I love my son but my life was being sucked out of me with his addiction. How could I ever understand why someone would do that to themselves. Im now numb to him, hes in jail, he writes us letters mostly blaming or manipulating, I dont reply, I burn the letters. I cant help him. He has chosen his path in life and I must choose mine. It took a long time to do this but I now live a good life. My heart goes out to you all.

bunnie says:
May 30th, 2013 at 7:37 pm

My son got addicted to Oxycontin and started using other drugs shortly after including heroine. He is a good son and a good person but has a drug problem. When I found needles that is how I found out. He started in denial saying hes fine he wont do it again it was just one time. Well it wasnt. For the next 2 years I researched how to help him. My best info was from other addicts that both succeed and didn’t. I came to the conclusion that tough love and rejection dont work and the decision to stop has to be his. So, I started talking to him alot, a real lot. Over several months he went from I dont have a problem, to I have a problem I can control, to I have a problem and need help to control it, to I have a problem please help me, to I want to quit!. He has been on sunboxone for a few months and has kept a job for the last 4. He feels like he can stop the suboxone now but may need to get a prescription for ativan for anxiety if he can. Hes improved so much and we are going to keep at it. Some of the things we had to do:

My husband had to decide to if he could handle the stress we had to and still have to go through. I told my husband my son will come first but that I love him and understand if he cant stay. My son found some friends got mad he quit and were hostile, some would not stop offering him drugs, some tried to quit too. He had to make some hard choices about who he could be around. My son had to figure out why he wanted to use various drugs and start talking about it and finding alternatives. We made a huge effort to not have drama even though emotions were high almost all of time. We made deals about what behavior was ok and how we would deal with it when things got out of hand. All in all hes doing great and it all because he decided to. We had to take a lot of emotional stress and had lots of arguments over things but in the end we relied on being loving, forgiving and talking things out and remembering whats important to us. My prayers are with you all and we continue to persevere. Dont give up, be gentle and realize your son or daughter did not wake up and say hey I think Ill be an addict and ruin my life and yours today.

bunnie says:
May 30th, 2013 at 7:55 pm

I would like to add some after thoughts.
He lied all the time and was a criminal and danger to himself and others until it became bearable for him to be honest with me. That required me to stop judging, punishing,and trying to make him do things or fix him. I had to repeat and say your responsible for what your doing. I love you and if you come to me I will help you as much as I can day or night, whenever you ask. That was very hard, and I felt like I was being tested by him, the rest of my family, and by the whole world. I took a lot of flack for not just kicking him out and I thank god I didn’t listen to it.

Karen says:
June 1st, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Two young men from my town… dead one in ICU from heroin overdose….scares me to death :-(

Barb Schaefer says:
June 10th, 2013 at 9:57 am

My daughter has been struggling with addictions for years in and out of crisis centers, rehabs, she is now 36. she has at times been homeless, I seems to go from bad to worse. I have felt the way most of you other parents feel that wide range. The worst being the anger an the immense sorrow helplessness and dread that the knock on the door will come once again to tell me another child is gone . She was arrested the other night. I found myself being grateful at least she cant use in jail and maybe will stay alive awhile longer. If they keep her long enough maybe she can regain some kind of ability to think about how far she as sunk. I do not trust her any more. people are right about that. they lie and manipulate and steal from you and even there own children. She wanted me to put money in her account at the jail this may sound cold but I could not. I just thought about all those times she would lose apartments full of furniture and those children’s things. these addictions change everyone lives not just there’s. What else can I do to help to end this problem that is claiming so many lives and hurting countless others. I would be glad to help.

jeanette says:
June 21st, 2013 at 3:32 am

When my 16 year old daughter was in rehab for the second time she told me the painful truth of one of the consequences of her addiction… she had been sexually assaulted multiple times by several guys after ecstasy was put in her drinks while out partying. As her mom, I wanted to rip their eyeballs out. She refused to press charges for fear that they will retaliate. I could not see anything worse than that happening. Unfortunately, she has dropped out of high school (1 month prior to graduating), relapsed several times, wiped out all of her savings, had scabies, bed bug bites, the list goes on and on. She is currently in rehab in Florida, for the 5th time. We all fear that this is her new way of life. She works a short time, gets anxious, stops taking her anti-depressants and relapses. This vicious cycle really takes a toll on the whole family. Unsure if she will be alive long enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

My Son's Mom says:
June 23rd, 2013 at 2:39 am

I’m reading all these comments with tears in my eyes. It’s a lonely road to have a child on drugs; feeling this undeserved guilt and judgement from others that never experienced this.

My 19 year old son lives with my husband and I and we just gave him the ultimatum; attend meetings and find a sober friend or leave. My son is a loner, preferring to abuse drugs in solitude.

He’s bi-polar and struggles with horrible depression that started in his preteens. He has been hospitalized more than a few times, in rehab once, and even lived in residential care for 18 months, but it hasn’t stop him from wanting to self destruct.

They call him a “garbage pale addict” since he will ingest anything to get “high” or escape his pain. There is nothing off limits with him; some of the worse abuse coming from completely legal substances like cough syrup and substances you can order off the internet.

A few years ago, I was blessed to meet and remarry the man of my dreams; a blessing in my life that I never thought could happen in such chaos. But of course my son’s addiction has become a huge stressor, now that it’s rearing it’s ugly head again. My husband stands firm in conviction that he will not allow my son to ruin what we have, but often I find myself feeling torn in two. Even though it’s my son that made all the poor choices in life, I feel guilty that he suffers the way he does with the depression. He’s already OD’d twice.

How does one carry on with their own life when you have a child like this? Even when you decide you have a right to your own happiness, there is always this feeling of dread as you wait for the next shoe to drop. Seems unfair that they get to numb their pain, but we don’t.

mad mom says:
June 25th, 2013 at 4:40 am

look its not the parents fault,my daughter oldest of 5 of my children,has a bad addiction!!!!she just in the past 2 months lost her apartment,lost her job,and I have the 2 kids!!!she just told me about the addiction 2 weeks ago,and be leave me,I have never even smoked a cigarette,drank alcohol,or did drugs!!so be leave me its not the parents fault,my heart cry’s out to my daughter 22 years old has 2 young kids, that want there mom back!!!she has hide her addiction well says she has been on drugs on and of for 4 years but she says it was controlled!and now it is not!!!I pray she gets back on track,everyplace I go to get her in rehab there is a dam waiting list!!!she says shes ready to go to rehab,but rehab has no room!!

Taylor says:
June 27th, 2013 at 2:27 am

After reading this is makes me really scared because I don’t know what to do with my sister. I’m not the parent obviously, but I see my sister destroy what my family has had for years all because of some social problem that she has, and she must think that there is nobody out there that cares about her because she is starting to resort to drugs and it is really upsetting to me being her older brother. I know all that I can do is to care about her and love her, but seeing the actions that she is taking makes me real scared because I don’t know how she is going to be able to take care of herself in the future. I want to just wake up one day and all the problems that I see get resolved, but I really can’t see that happening anytime soon. My prayers are for her every single day, and I hope that she can someday overcome these issues that she has. I’ve told her again and again that I miss that little girl that I would run around with outside and have fun with, and who would always wait for me after school to hangout, but she just nods her head and basically blows off what I have to say, which makes me even more sad.
If anyone else out there knows the pain that I am feeling which is what it looks like from reading the comments on this article then it would really mean a lot for you to write back and give me some kind of comfort, because it just hurts me way more than it should be. I just turned 21 4 weeks ago, and I should not have to be dealing with this kind of stress, it makes everything else that I accomplish on a daily basis feel obsolete. All I can hope and pray for is that my sister someday comes back to the family, because I can’t take this fucking demon that I look at on a daily basis which I have to mentally transform into my sister.
Thanks for your support – Taylor

janelle coulton says:
June 28th, 2013 at 9:31 am

This a really fabulous website and it contains some good advice and really emotional stories. I too am a parent of an addict, and I pray every day that she will give up doing drugs once and for all. I will be adding this blog to my reading list so I can return and see what’s new. I will also place a few links to this blog on my websites as this is good information and some of my visitors may appreciate knowing about this site. Thank you for a truly great resource.

Jean says:
June 28th, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I am the mom of the 24 yr old former ninja turtle who has been a prescription drug abuser for years. He has been out of jail now for a few months and is working hard at his new job, has a beautiful, smart g/f and is clean and welcomed God into his life. Here is a link to share that I just sent him:

bunnie says:
June 28th, 2013 at 5:21 pm

We are still doing well, there was a minor set back a few days ago, I noticed he was avoiding family so I got him to take some time and sit down and talk and found out he had gotten depressed and bought some Vicodin and taken it. We talked about 3 hours … very sad stuff. He was very depressed about friends and being lonely. In the end he flushed the Vicodin and he felt better. The next day he txt me at work and told me he really appreciated talking. Hes still doing really good, well better then Ive seen him over the last couple years so I am hopeful. I can see he is getting better at handling his emotions and is not so easily upset so I hope this is progress. We persevere…

Jodi says:
July 1st, 2013 at 11:55 pm

I needed a boost today and am so glad I found this website. It is amazing to me how much life my Son has sucked out of me, out of my family, and, especially, how this has hurt his sister. Sometimes I think that breaks my heart more than anything. He is 21, she is 19. My daughter has looked up to her brother forever. Now that his Dad and myself and, pretty much, everyone else, has stopped enabling, he is guilting her into trying to “Help” him, which is a bunch of BS. I have told her that, that she is going through the same thing the rest of us are, she is just his sister. She finally seemed to understand why I had cut him out of my life after he stole my credit card (prior to going into Rehab for the second time), getting out and then using it once again. She couldn’t understand, prior to that, how I could “abandon” him, only because she was afraid that if it happened to her, she was afraid I would leave her. This has been a long road, 5 years of trouble, 3 stints in Rehab, Arrests, jail time, probation, the list goes on and on. He was a gifted athlete, so smart, and so beautiful. The lying is what gets me. They are so good at it, but then it gets to the point that you don’t believe anything that they are saying. I am at the point now that I am praying that he gets arrested and put in jail in order to keep living. I have horrible visions of his funeral and of getting that phone call. God help him and me and all of you!

Thank you for letting me talk to all of you!

Is there hope? says:
July 3rd, 2013 at 9:45 pm

My story is like everyone else’s or worse: 4 inpatient rehabs, boarding school, residential treatment facilities, two wilderness programs, 8 outpatient drug stints, several sober livings, and still, at age almost 21 we are in the drama today of having to drive 6 hours to retrive the car from the impound lot which is full of used needles and dirty clothes, receipts from the Christmas gifts from last year that were pawned, our silver forks and knives, and ten tons of trash. I found this site by googling this question :”Tough love and jail time for addicts: do you accept phone calls or not?” This is the 5th time he has been in jail. Before now the offenses were basically either leaving treatment or violating probation. This is the first felony and its for having two pills in his pocket without a prescription, but he could have been in before for many worse things. We could have prosecuted for the checks he wrote off our account but we never did. We have done tough love of letting him live on the streets three times, and these always ended up with him going to rehab just to get a bed but deep down the commitment wasn’t there, or else maybe the ability to surrender wasn’t there, or the ability to delay gratification is just not in the realm of possibility in his dna. Anyway, while in jail before I always got a phone account and let him call every day. This is the first time we aren’t answering his calls. It brings me down, it stimulates those emotions of pain and sadness, but then I feel like what a heartless mom. I don’t believe in withholding love. I believe in helping from the heart while shutting the door with tough love. Here is the dilemma now. Will withholding emotional support while in jail help him get closer to rock bottom? Is that what will help him feel so alone that he will seek the depths of his soul and finally surrender to the higher power? I know there’s no answer that will fit for everyone. But that’s what’s on my mind today.

Is there hope? says:
July 4th, 2013 at 12:08 am

To add to my last post: I have transformed as a person as I have been on my parallel journey of trying to “fix the problem that I can’t fix”. The first year or two I was in total denial. We were extremely close and my role when he was young was to keep him from feeling the pain that came with his ADHD etc etc, although I didn’t realize until later that that’s what I was doing. How did I know if I was having a good day? If he was having a good day. Then, later, I was enraged at the nurses at psych hospital number one for putting my depressed child on a unit with druggies! How dare they! Little did I know he was the ring leader. I went from denial to intense grief. To see this person in pain was unbearable (still, now, I feel his pain in jail but it’s much less now. I have detached emotionally) I used to shop in the grocery with tears randomly streaming down my face. I knew on a gut level that he was different, that he was more incapable, more fragile, that he couldn’t handle what normal people could handle, so when this or that was stolen I was so forgiving. I was dealing with sickness afterall. So he stole again from us and since we hated feeling his sorrow when he sat in jail we didn’t do anything about it legally. The drama has been endless; I couldn’t begin to list it all on this blog. He just got out of two back to back stints in the hospital because he almost lost his hand due to a bacterial infection. I learn that it has to do with IV drug use, that his circulation is so bad and/or the super bugs target the hand sometimes (?) I learn through word of mouth that this has happened to so and so and so and so too… I had to learn to take my maternal instinct and bury it in the ground. My identity, my world view. It was Unity Church and new thought that turned the tide for me. Also maybe families anonymous. I began to see the situation differently, from a spiritual angle. It helped me question everything–human suffering everywhere, injustice, evil, Christianity, our role as humans on planet earth. How could anyone go through this – and there must be a purpose or something on some cosmic level? This level of inequality of quality life made no sense. Why can’t this person not see that this move will lead to death or jail if jail is so intolerable? Then you research addiction as a disease and see that it’s a brain malfunction, literally a disease of willpower. They honestly cant help it. Unless they somehow learn to surrender to a God. It’s an invitation to the divine perhaps. Is this what these people have to go through in order to really get to God? To surrender totally? I have no answers but I have reframed my opinion of my son’s journey. It is his journey, his path, his illness, and my job is to offer love and support but not enable ever. As in, “I love you so much that I am getting a restraining order if you come near the house” . It is also my job to find my own personal path, my contribution to humanity and to rise above my addiction to stopping his suffering and to learn how to live a life worth living that is happy, peaceful, and doing what I am good at doing. My sadness and anger and resentment and need to control serves absolutely no purpose. So I choose to be happy now. I choose to release this problem to God, or to my son, and to be available to him but to trust that somewhere there is sense in this. To trust that although from my human eyes this makes no sense, perhaps on some spiritual level it does. So we go on. We are choosing to hire a lawyer right now even though to many this would be called enabling. Maybe we should, maybe we shouldn’t. We just all need to go with our instincts since there are no directions to this game. Detach with love. Do what you can. Hope for recovery. Trust that it’s all going to OK, recovery or not.

Karen says:
July 7th, 2013 at 2:52 am

my son got out of jail (again) at 9 am this morning, and is now once again on the streets. My haert breaks for him but I know I am NOT in control of him. I have to take care of me now. 4 times I have taken him in and 4 times he failed. This time I said NO, my heart shattered. he is now in God’s hands.

Lori says:
July 10th, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Your article made me cry. I have been online all morning trying to find help for my son who has a drug/mental issue. I too, mourn for the days of Ninja Turtles and what might have been. But those days are gone.. He is severely depressed and seems to be schizophrenic now. I assume from the constant use of synthetic drugs. He wants to move back home and I cannot allow it. Your article made me feel slightly less guilty about my decision but I want to save him. I am praying that he will find his way back to sanity.

Karen says:
July 11th, 2013 at 3:26 am

WELL….. 3 days after my son was released from jail. my making the right decision to not let him come home was reinforced……. by HIM!!!! let the saga continue :-/

Kate gerrie says:
July 11th, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Im sat here with tears running down my face after reading all of this. My 18 year old son takes drugs, has lied stolen and just about destroyed our relationship and we are now estranged. There is a huge hole where my funny loving and intelligent son used to be. Drugs have stolen him away and stolen his motivation and morals.
The police seem powerless to do anything to help or prevent any of this happening. I just want my son back, not this aggressive angry immoral stranger.

My Son's Mom says:
July 13th, 2013 at 5:20 pm

My husband and I decided that my 19 year old was signing a contract with us on accepted behaviors and what we would NOT tolerate. In a nutshell, he has no more chances to get high here in our home and put us through the nightmare of walking on eggshells. He will be put on the street, even if he cannot support himself. I pray it does not come to this, but it’s taken my husband and I a long time to find happiness and security with each other. We mutually agreed this child of mine is not going to steal anything more from me in the way of sanity. I did not cause this and I have given him every opportunity to be a part of a real family. The ball is in his court. I must add that when I was married to my son’s dad, he looked the other way as this kid became completely out of control. My husband of today does not do that. He’s very loving towards me and my son, but is the firm backbone in our family. Parents; we have a right to happiness and they need to be put out if they are stealing, lying, and abusing drugs under our roofs.

Mary says:
July 26th, 2013 at 3:48 am

My son is an addict too….. |m separated and my ex-husband gave him any drug he wanted… My son 22 years old was homeless and been through rehabs several times. (I have got him 4 places to live and keeps getting evicted) I have enabled him lots of times trying as I thought I was saving him…. I am away on holidays and my eldest son rang me last night and told me my addict son was stabbed…. I am numb and saddened by life.. My son was on the streets and using heroin everyday (smoking it) dont know if that makes a difference smoking it….. His addiction was so big he left the emergency hospital to find a bar or whatever else he could find and my eldest son (god help my eldest son his father and brother are addicts) drove around trying to find him to save his life… .. I cant even be left alone to enjoy a holiday they are tooooo needy… I have a 5 year old little girl…… I am so so so heartbroken and torn… All the comments here are helping me I do not feel alone…. May God and all his angels be with us the carers and ease our pain…. Thank you all so much not for your pain but to make me feel normal…

Kathy says:
July 30th, 2013 at 2:09 pm

I am so so tired of this life !! My 25 year daughter is an alcoholic and addict. Our life has been consumed with her “issues” since our family did an intervention 4 years ago. She has spent nearly all of those four years in rehab 6 times, half way houses or a stint of living with an abusive man for a short time. The only time I see my little girl is when she is happy in rehab and sober. She used to be satisfied and happy while in the half way house but her addictions have become worse and now she was kicked out of the last half way house she was in. She has had two children during this time and has lost custody of both. I struggle every day with this roller coaster! I am grateful for al anon and for sites like this where people understand the pain . I try to detach but it sneaks right back up to the surface when I least expect it. I will keep trying.

bunnie says:
July 31st, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Still doing well still on suboxone and ativan. Hes not working and has lost most of his friends. I have not seen any indication of any other drug use or risky behavior since my last post. I have started to reward him for his good behavior and try to associate excitement and reward with non-drug related behavior. Its like having a child all over again. He doesn’t work at all and Im fine as long as he is making progress. He wanted to go back to work this week but after talking about about he decided hes not ready. He still needs to get completely clean so it may be a while. Next step is dealing with temptation and depression … and managing money with those. This is going to be hard.

justme says:
August 5th, 2013 at 2:02 am

Son (26) has been using Meth, Heroin and pills and stealing from family and strangers. Now has several police charges and facing hard times. No job, going thru an ugly divorce, sleeping on friends couches, bills adding up and he’s in an “I don’t care” state of mind. He thinks he will just get a lawyer and all will be swept under the rug. WHEN should a parent intervene? Do we have to wait for him to “come to a realization” or can be just call his bluff and basically grab him by the neck and make him go?

I would like to have an addicts point of view also. Would a parent taking action before the addict is ready be the thing to do? Is there anything that parent can do to get the addict to realize what’s needed?

I don’t want to loose my son by waiting! I want to jump start his “path to realization”, but how?

John Keller says:
August 6th, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Yes i agree that life will change forever, but you can recover your old life partially in time with patience and understanding.

John Keller

bunnie says:
August 16th, 2013 at 3:14 am

Still doing well. I have to check myself all the time because he acts normal but if I get on him about just normal things he breaks down so I have to learn hes very fragile. Again keeping the environment drama free, that means no guild, no shame, no pressure, no stress helps him deny his cravings and thats really hard to remember. He seems to be excited that hes doing so well and that he may be able to help a friend or two. I am encouraging that and trying to continue to reward him for being clean so to replace those good feeling he got from drugs. I dont know the answer and it may be different for everyone but I think it starts with love and being open to talk a lot without anger, sadness just talk, talk talk … will keep checking in and hopefully get to post his method of getting clean some day to help others. …. prayers for you and yours…. ……

Patricia says:
August 16th, 2013 at 4:28 pm

My daughter is a beautiful 26 year old college grad with a BS in nursing. She is bipolar and uses any street drugs she can get her hands on. She stopped taking her bipolar meds October 2012 and by January 2013 she had jumped off our 2nd story balcony and broke her leg. Her behavior has become worse by leaving our home and giving me custody of her 5 year old daughter. I have been putting her up in weekly suites to keep her safe from the streets but she has been evicted from every on of them. Today she was removed from the last weekly I will no longer support her high risk behavior I have tried every way that I know or thought were helping her but it has simply prolonged her outcome.

Barbara says:
August 18th, 2013 at 6:32 pm

I am at the beginning, my daughter is in treatment but has not been totally honest with her caregivers so each week is something else. I think she is finally at the point that all information is out. Tomorrow will be a big day for us. It will determine what the next step for her will be and I believe she is choosing inpatient. Once approved by our health provider. Keeping her safe between now and then is my goal. Just keep her safe… She has been in one on one counseling now for about three weeks but again was to scared to tell the full truth. She has only had one drug test and up until now she told them she was hooked on opiates (pills) and smoked marijuana and hash oil. She loves her counselor as she treats drug addiction and anxiety issues. We have been trying to get her on Suboxone and that has been a challenge. Not enough doctors are certified. Her appointment has been cancelled and moved twice. Now it is set for the 27th, but she has reused since then. Today is 60+ hours clean and she is detoxing, in a lot of pain with body aches and stomach cramping. She went to her first opiates group meeting on Friday night and they were appalled that she has not been given the suboxone yet. Group leader is putting in calls and emails to get this process moving. With that the truth will be out and they will want her to go inpatient. We had already discussed this at previous meetings. What I must add due to the amount of money that I have lost is: Parents, if you have ever given your child a pin number to your bank accounts, change them all immediately. My card kept vanishing, I thought it was me not knowing she was so bad off. I thought I would loose it and then find it. It was an account with money in it that I didn’t monitor closely. Banks did nothing to notify me. Between her and her boyfriend, they stole a lot of money. Then my jewelry started disappearing. Luckily, I fond the pawn shop and got it back.

Barbara says:
August 18th, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Final comments for now, we can’t give our children ropes to hang themselves with. This can happen to anyone. Parents keep your stuff private from your children even if you trust them. I never in a million years believed she would do this to herself or us. She was in chronic pain and took matters into her own hands due to the company she was keeping. These all seemed like normal kids. She doesn’t drive so she needed people to help her out with this. She would sneak out of the house at night and meet someone on the street to give her what she needed or leave and now come back until morning right before I woke. She continued to work as we commuted together but she could not stay awake in the car. It was driving me nuts. Now I know why and I know the truth. It can happen to ANYBODY OR ANY FAMILY. I pray for her treatment, I pray for support and I pray she caught this early enough. Once clean, I pray we can find something to help her pain levels (going to check in to acupuncture) as she will have to be drug free. I know the truth and I don’t trust anything, anymore. I hope that one day changes for all of us.

BrenaLaine says:
August 22nd, 2013 at 6:45 pm

I have a 22 year old daughter who I just newly discovered is a heroin addict. The stuggles begin :( She is in detox right now and is supposed to move into the rehab area on Sunday. I struggle to learn the why and how, we had NO idea that this was going on but has been on and off, escalating all the while for about a year. This was a model child, straight A type student, good girl . It is all sooo completely unexpected and unbelievable. I struggle with not being angry in order to communicate but she hung up on me today, mad that I went through her phone which i pay for, have always paid for and the photos she has show all of the drug use. I said to her calmly on the phone when she called me from the facility, “I must say, having gone through your phone, I am shocked by the extent of your involvement in this stuff” I am trying to gather information all in the quest to understand and to HELP her. I am going to be very aggressive in doing whatever it takes to help her. Am I wrong to go through her phone? Does the privacy rule even matter, when it comes to something like this situation? Please help and give me some advice. I feel horrible, have never snooped on my kids like this before and certainly not now that they are grown. Thanks for any help. I am devastated and just trying to function through the day. Thank you, Bren

Doc says:
August 26th, 2013 at 3:21 am

My 18 year old grandson is in his 3rd year of drug addiction. Pills of one kind and another seem to be his choices plus Heroin taken orally or smoked, and pot. He has absolutely tortured his parents for the past 3+ years and has had a terrible affect on the family. Total disrespect, threats to his parents and brother, and absolute disregard for everyone. He has been in juvenile detention for months. A judge had sent him to a US military run Challenge Academy for troubled youth. He has been to more than one rehab program only to quit in short order. At 18 he was transferred to jail for 7 months and currently is in a county program administered by a “drug court”. My question is this; his father is a good man but cannot take this kids behavior anymore and totally ignores him when he is at home. His mother feels about the same but is more supportive, but neither are enablers. Does his father disassociation hurt the chances or the sons recovery?

jb says:
September 1st, 2013 at 4:23 pm

I am just beginning to realize the path my daughter is on or maybe just now seeing it for what it is. I will be losing my granddaughter to her father in another state because of my daughter’s addiction. I have been so fooled in believing her denials of addiction. In discovering this site, I now see that I need some help in re-inforcing the bounderies that I and the courts have set. Lord help me please.

kelly says:
September 3rd, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Addiction, saying the word aloud is enough to put the fear of God into any parent. We learned a year and a half ago our son, honor student, college student full time scholastic scholarship recipient could now add addict to his lifes resume.This was not part of the “plan”. Our son has entered treatment 4 times, each time he comes out we are shall I say, hopelessly optomistic, and I mean hopelessly in its true form.Afraid to once again be held hostage by this disease, afraid to hope or trust.
he is back in treatment as we speak, one week in.he went on his own and when I hear him say he wants to stop I believe him but can he? Our son is financially independent at 23. he is a responsable, caring young man who is also an addict. We offer him unconditional love and are there when he needs an ear or a diversion from his cravings. We encourage him to follow the 12 steps and tell him we love him. As sad as I am for the life I now have I must move forward. I will continue to love him unconditionally, but will be available only for his sobriety. This time when i pick him up from treatment i will hand him an empty gift wrapped box. i will tell him to open it and when he questions its lack of content I will simply tell him this is your recovery. It is its own gift, i can no longer hold it keep it or be responsable for it, you can bring it with you anywhere and everywhere, it is a gift in and of itsself. Cherish it praise god for it and share it with everyone you please. it belongs to you to do with what you want…I love him and pray he holds it close and recognizes the symbolism in the true form i mean for it to be.

Donna says:
September 7th, 2013 at 8:23 am

I feel my story is rather unique compared to the ones I’ve read while searching for help,advice etc.I am a 54 year old woman who has had 9 very complex orthopedic surgeries in the past 6 years and needless to say have taken and become addicted to opiates off and on.I am at the point in my life where I have to take them occasionally but am trying very hard to not become addicted again.My goal is to not take them at all.I face a huge obstacle with this because I live in a home with myself who is disabled,my elderly parents and my 57 year old sister who is disabled as a result of morbid obesity,diabeties,some mild cardiac issues however she has been a severe drug addict since her 20′s.She takes anything and everything goes to pain management monthly and has my parents convinced she needs these drugs for her so-called chronic pain.She has been hospitalized several times d/t drug overdoses.Last year it got so bad we found her on her bedroom floor covered in feces unable to get up and barely able to even talk.She spent several days in the hospital came home and less than a week later the same thing happened again.This time the police had a long talk with my parents and convinced them to Baker Act her and file a petition with the courts for mandatory rehab I was at last hopeful they were at least taking a stand and my father told her she could not come back to live in his home unless she quit drugs.Well low and behold she was coincidentally diagnosed as a diabetic which is no surprise because of her weight .But my poor dear enabling mother dropped all legal action and she was allowed back home with no changes made whatsoever she was convinced if she put her i rehab the wouldn’t care for her diabetes and let her die.I was able to stay clean for a short time especially when i thought they were going to force her to get help or get out.I was devastated when I heard the news because I knew I couldn’t stay clean living with a full blown addict.I’ve tried so hard to explain it to my parents but can’t make them understand.It’s like its okay for her to take all the pills she wants even though I know she’s not really in much pain,I know this because I’ve been a nurse my whole life and know what chronic pain looks like and also because I live with chronic pain every day of my life.Any addict knows if you try living with someone using there are constant triggers all day every day. i lived with a relative in a drug free environment for over a year and stayed clean I rarely thought about drugs because there were few triggers but unfortunately that is no longer an option.I’m stuck living with this severe addict trying to stay clean and I don’t know how that’s possible.I’ve begged my parents for help and it does no good they say that I’m tougher than her that I use her as an excuse even when i’m not using.I am so depressed and unhappy and scare and have no where to turn.

kelly says:
September 9th, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Donna, I feel your desparation. I am sure you know in your heart if you are to have a drug free safe life you must remove yourself from your current environment. If your parents rely on you to care for them you will need to let them know you cannot care for them while your sister is living in the home. if they choose to continue to enable her than you must seek help for yourself. It is often said and so very true, when on an airplane you are instructed in case of emergency to place the oxygen mask first on yourself, without it you can help no one else..This is especially true when dealing with addiction. The environment you are existing in will kill your parents and your sister that is inevitable,you need to decide if you want to be included in that as well. Please see a county social worker to get your options.

nana says:
October 8th, 2013 at 8:23 pm

I have been going through this for 27 years..with my son and other family members. I have a little bit of a different take on it….

The PAIN we feel isn’t caused by them. Not from the losses and incarcerations and disrupted families and broken dreams..the PAIN is our sadness for them. We want them to be alright, happy, safe…for all the things they could have been. For parents, they are always our ‘babies’. We had dreams of happy holidays and grandchildren and a happy old age.

Addiction is a horrible thing. The cravings are so bad and so painful and their minds are not their own. All they want to do is stop the pain. And they only know one way to do that. It is as if they had a brain tumor. I have the belief that they cannot decide – to stop. And we cannot stop them. We cannot fix a ‘brain tumor’.

I’ve almost lost my son three times. Somehow I’ve prepared myself for that now. The life he’s living is so sad. He’s thought of suicide himself. What I had to do was ‘decide’ that I needed to find joy and happiness beyond this, not just for myself, but for others. They need me. I do this for my other children and grandchildren…and his children who are now Fatherless and Motherless. She is now incarcerated. I have not heard from my son in over a year.

Somewhere out there is my ‘little boy’…who doesn’t have his own mind anymore. And except for mere circumstance, luck or God, he won’t have it again. He’s not ‘him’. I keep praying for a miracle, of course. Someday there might be a medicine, a pill to fix them. It is a slow poison.

I mentally detach, but I’ll always love him, my son.

Nadia says:
October 8th, 2013 at 8:32 pm

I write this with the heaviest feeling in my core. My sister, who is 7 years older than me, has now been an addict for over 15 years. She is now 39 and has nothing to show for it. She is a single mother to a beautiful 18 year old girl with a bright future ahead of her, or at least we thought. To cut a long sad story short, we have just found out that my niece is doing cocaine with her mother ‘my sister’. After hours of interrogation, my niece finally confessed to us 2 days ago that her mother cut her very first line a year ago. Up until now, my sister has been living with her daughter at my parents home, I’m sure it isn’t necessary to mention why. She has been in and out of rehab 3 times. She has relapsed at least 10 times this year ,that we know of, and my parents are paying for her studies – she started a two year course in the beginning of this year in pursuit of a ‘fresh start’ – one of many- and new career. I repeat she has relapsed 10 times this year and as far as my parents are ‘aware’ she has been clean for over 2 months and doing very well. My brother, other sister and I received news of my niece and addict sister’s recreational activities two days ago. We have not told our parents as of yet as we are now consulting a NA professional, counsellor and psychologist in order to have decide on an effective approach/plan before we confront our parents with this news. This time my siblings and I are taking charge. My parents support and unconditional love has quite obviously not been an effective strategy in fighting my sister’s addiction and as a result has cause more destruction.

I am ashamed to call the addict in my family my sister. I resent her and hate her for the pain, suffering and trauma she has caused us and specifically my parents.

What kind of a person- after experiencing the hold this drug has on you, the anguish it causes you and the people around you, after experiencing your life fall to pieces – encourages their teenage daughter to go down that exact same path.

For over 15 years our family has never had the joy of experiencing peace and extended happiness. I know this might not be the case, but I feel like my sister has done this on purpose, she is trying to turn her daughter on purpose, she wants to bring down everyone with her. She wants to make sure that should she die, our living hell will resume with her daughter!

To all drug users and experimenters, whether once off or frequent, not only are you simple-minded and naive but you are SELFISH. If you can’t make the decision to be drug free for yourself then make the choice for the people you ‘love’ around you.

Regardless of what the ‘experts’ say. From this day on I will no longer call her my sister. After 15 years of forgiveness, encouragement, prayers and support, I write her off and sadly start over again with my 18 year old niece who may still have a chance.

Ellen says:
October 14th, 2013 at 6:56 pm

I also have a Son he has been an Heroin addict since he is 16 he has been in and out of Prison and rehabs to many to count always praying he is ok afraid to answer the Phone
In my heart i believe Prison is not helping and Rehab is not long enough to help I believe instead of putting them in Prison for 5 year or ten years put him in Rehab for that Time with all the help they need give them all the med he needs he was getting shots for a while and they help him but to get them you have to drive pretty far and if u do not have any Medical coverage you wont be able to get it it is real costly so I am a mom that is Heart broken I dont know what I can do anymore .Missing my Son

Jean says:
October 17th, 2013 at 6:02 pm

My 24 yr old addict son who was a ninja turtle got out of jail for stealing to support his drug habit about 8 months ago. My husband and I got him a great job which he did great at for about 6 months. Recently I noticed he was drinking and his g/f verified that. It seems he cannot cope with negative feedback of any kind which is pretty sad in today’s world. I thought I raised him to ignore criticism. So his coping skills are to medicate. Yay it’s not drugs this time, but alcohol. Oh Lord help my child and ask him to pray for his own sobriety. Yes he did indeed lose his job now and asked me to send him job leads but to no avail. When I did a surprise check up on him, he was home at 1pm taking a nap. He barked at me and had not even tried getting a job. I asked him what his future holds and he said nothing. I cried, gave him a hug and told him I’d pray for him. There’s nothing more I can do but I’m hoping to hear from him saying he is employed as the holidays are approaching again I’m praying that maybe this year I will have my son back sober.

Marc says:
October 18th, 2013 at 3:36 am

Last week my son brought cocaine into my house. My other son has told me that he was taking cocaine. He smokes dope but has stopped doing it at home. He really wanted to be in the army and now he won’t. I called the police. I’m devastated. I feel like I’ve wrecked his life. He worked with me during the summer but was good some days bad others. He would work hard then loose control and rant at work. He stopped me from going out of my house one day. He yells at me and now that he isn’t working for me sleeps all day and is gone either most of the night or all night. Hasn’t got a job….Where did my awesome sweet boy go. I’m so sad I just keep crying. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want my son to go to jail.

Donna says:
October 18th, 2013 at 4:28 pm

My 27 year old daughter has been fighting addiction for two years now. The first bad incident to happen, I rushed in to rescue her. Being a RN/Paramedic, I am not ignorant to what I was running in to. What I was ignorant to was the severity of injury my daughter was willing to inflict upon me. My standing in front of her made no connection in her drugged mind. She beat me unmercifully, leaving me with a concussion. I have never tried to physically rescue her again. I have praised her good times, called her on her lies and begged her to not make me cry anymore. All to no avail in the end.
Her husband has left her now taking my 7 year old Grandson with him because we simply cannot trust her to take care of him. I get daily calls from her, always when she is drunk or high. I can’t let her stay with me because she has already stolen from us. Her siblings have nothing more to say to her.
I now stand at the crossroads as she’s wears out her welcome of the only friend she has left who has agreed to house her. I know she will be homeless soon.
The weight on my shoulders is overwhelming.
I can save a stranger’s life, but I can’t save my own child.
Any words of encouragement or advice as to where I should direct my expectations?
I have already put her in rehab and checked her out physically for any underlying medical conditions.
I’m lost.

Jerry Otero says:
October 18th, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Dear Donna,

This is really a difficult and stressful situation — and there are no easy answers. One size does not fit all, nor is there any one answer that applies to everyone. No magic bullet, no recipe book quick fix answers. This is really different for different kids, different families, different contexts.

That said, if you feel that you are ready to try something different, why don’t you call me at the Parents Helpline (number below) to speak about how to leverage the love you have for your child into a postive reinforcement approach, that will increase the liklihood of her making the positive changes that you want for him while improving the quality of your own life.

The call is free and confidential — so why not do it today? Until then, I wish you and your family, all the best.

Jerry Otero
Parent Support Specialist
1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373)

Pernilla says:
October 18th, 2013 at 11:37 pm

Donna- all I can say is that we hear you and everyone on this blog have gone through similar situations. You are not alone in this struggle. Many have faced letting their adult child go homeless for just not having any more options or choices to make. Don’t loose hope for your daughter. She needs you even though it doesn’t seem that way right now.
I strongly urge you to call the helpline at the partnership for 1-855-DRUGFREE and speak to a trained clinician who can help you. The call is free of charge.
Please also visit – a community of parents struggling with addicted teens/young adults.

You are in my prayers,

Robert says:
October 22nd, 2013 at 2:08 am

I think only experienced parents can help me with this dilemma. I knew my younger cousin was having troubles at home (in a different city) with marijuana use. From afar seemed like the usual acting out stuff although I think it did affect his education. Eventually he went to yet another city for college.

We have had minimal contact. Recently he emailed me for help, that he didnt want to upset his parents yet again. He said he got caught smoking up on residence and needs 200 dollars for the fine. Obviously it all sounds very hokey and obviously I do not plan to give him the money. I told him he should seek out help for drugs on campus and tell his parents and that he could contact me anytime for non financial help. I tried to be absolutely non judgmental. I did not hear back from him…

So the question is, do I tell his parents about this?

a person you have taught my parents to TORTURE says:
October 28th, 2013 at 10:22 am

Dear Ron Grover, I have struggled with addiction for the past two years and i feel some of this information in this article made my journey to stable, employed lifestyle ALOT FUCKING HARDER TO OVERCOME! I WAS ABONDONDED ON THE STREET AND LEFT TO LOSE EVERYTHING AND THE THINGS YOU RUB INTO MY LOVED ONES MINDS MADE MY LIFE A LIVING HELL. I had to resort even lower of myself and learn raw unemotional fucking survival on the streets. this literature turned my loved ones back away from me PERMANENTLY I am not even believed by my mother whom I have begged and pleaded for help, fearing that the 2.5 months i have worked towards is going to inevitably be ruined with worries that i will not have a place to stay that has a supporting crowd of people. I was worried of losing all my possesions (3rd time) and have told myself I will not let this happen again.

I meet with a councellor once weekly and have done regular blood and urine testing for drugs. Only to be told I am a liar and that i would even cheat a blood test somehow like i cheat everything else. I have worked so hard on my addiction and trying to maintain stability with living and eating and because of all this forgive and forget bullshit makes my parents kick me back down when i am standing on one leg literally.

Linda says:
November 10th, 2013 at 12:28 am

Reading this article was exactly what I needed right now. My 28 year old son was addicted to pills for eight years and I had no idea. I saw him every day, so how didn’t I know? He finally made the decision to enter rehab. He was only in there 28 days, but he came out ready to change. He went to every meeting possible and carried his Big Book everywhere he went. I was so happy that he was really trying to kick this thing. A few weeks ago, he texted me that he was in the hospital. Of course, I ran over there. When I got there he told me that he didn’t want me to hear it from the doctors, but he was now addicted to heroin. He thought he was having a heart attack. My first instinct was to turn around and walk away. How dare he disappoint me like that. I didn’t leave that night. I stayed with him only to find that he wasn’t having a heart attack, just a bad reaction to the heroin. In the weeks since I have tried to get him help, but he insists that he is not using. However, he is coming to me constantly for “help” financially. He is not working and needs money daily. He is really tapping me out.I don’t want to not help him, but I don’t believe a word he is saying either. When do we trust them? Do we ever? Tonight I offered to go get his asthma medication because he couldn’t afford it, but he refused that saying that he had just called it in and it wouldn’t be ready for an hour, so could he have the money. I gave it to him. Why did I give it to him? I’m sitting here now thinking about how I would feel if tonight was the night I lost him. I appreciate reading all of your stories and it makes me feel better that we are not alone. What is this disease and is stealing our children from us? How do we stop it?

Galina says:
November 19th, 2013 at 12:56 am

My son is in rehabilitation facility for his Percocet addiction. He was taken 4pills 30mg daily for 5-6 month. He is there for a week, and I was able to visit him. We have to fly 5 1/2 hours to see him. I would love to do it every weekend, but today on the phone he ask me not to come. Because he needs some time to get his thought together I dont know what to do. We really want to be there for him and support him. He has depression and anxiety. Maybe that the reason. I dont know how should I act. Maybe someone can share any kind of experience, or give some advise. Would really appreciate any kind of help!

Jerry Otero says:
November 19th, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Dear Galina,

It must have been really tough to hear from your son, that he didn’t want to see you — that he needed some time for himself. But, maybe this is an opportunity for you too to take some time for yourself. This could be an excellent time to educate yourself and to prepare for his eventual discharge from treatment and maybe even a return back home. Supporting his early recovery will require a lot from him, but from you too.

I suggest that you follow this link to our Medication-Assisted Treatment e-book for Parents & Caregivers of Teens & Young Adults Addicted to Opioids

Here you will learn more about medication-assisted treatment – what it is, how its used, where to find it, and how you can best support your child through treatment and his early recovery.

I also recommend that you take this time to review the 20 minute Guide to CRAFT that was developed for us by the folks at the Center for Motivation and Change by following this link:

With topics like taking care of yourself; parental collaboration; understanding behaviors; your love matters and positive reinforcement, the 20 minute guide is a must read for any parent who seeks to find productive and positive ways to support a child’s recovery from drugs alcohol. I believe that it can be helpful to you too.

So try not to take your son’s wishes too personally, and fill your time up with constructive things for yourself and also use the time to get yourself up to speed on all the things that you can do to make a meaningful contribution to this crucial time in your son’s life. That is, his early recovery.

If you want to speak to a trained addiction professional about any of the above or anything else, please call me at the Parent Helpline at the Partnership at (number below) the call is free and confidential and may help to put a few things into perspective and help you develop a game plan to achieve your family’s goal of supporting your son through this difficult time.

Until then, I wish you all the best.

Jerry Otero MA
Ass’t. Director, Helpline and Parent Services
The Partnership at
1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373)

sherry says:
November 20th, 2013 at 6:45 pm

It’s sad to see so many others hurting the same way I am right now.Reading your stories make me feel not so alone.I have a 25 year old daughter that is pregnant and already has a daughter that she never see’s and a baby she gave up for adoption.She still lies to my face about being high “Im not high”I know I can’t help her but it’s so hard to see her like this and it makes you mad at the same time.I feel like she is on death row and Im just waiting for the call and I just go back to when she was a little girl and asking her, her hopes and dreams and I know drug addict wasn’t on the list.

velda hiscott says:
December 6th, 2013 at 11:15 pm

I am a 77 year old mother of a drug addict. He lives down the road, 20 miles from town in a shack on property provided by a christian neighbor. He has a wife who has learned is ways as a drug addict. They came here to Louisiana from the drug infested area of Everett, WA, the worst area of Washington State. My son is 48 yrs. old. It seems to me that he is trying to do his best to overcome his addiction but I’m alone in my efforts because the family is not believing anything he says. He’s 48 yrs. old and and to the outside world, one of the kindest human being alive. Too me, he’s my son. He grew up a spoiled son by a father that gave him everything. When his father gegan to realize they were out of touch, the problem became mine. I loan him my car only to make sure he and his wife are able to get food. I cannot help them because my social security is small. I cannot sleep at night when I know he’s hungry and I cannot help but help him in time of need. I try to find a place for him to get help for his addiction but no one offers help. I iive in Louisiana and I don’t know where to begin without help. I love my son.

Bdwyre says:
December 8th, 2013 at 5:03 pm

My 31 year old son just checked himself out of rehab (his third) to be with his drug-dealer girlfriend. He’s had issues with drugs and alcohol since he was 20 but things really went downhill when he started dating her. He has lied to us (I don’t think he’s capable of telling the truth any more), stolen from us and his employers, and has turned my world upside down. In June I found him passed out in my laundry room at 3:00 in the morning – there was a needle in his arm. He was shooting up heroin. We got him in rehab and he actually begin to look and act like his old self. Three weeks ago he left rehab. I give up. I can not and will not see him again. I can’t stand to see the dead look in his eyes, his messy appearance, his lack of response when I talk to him. I can’t bare to hear any more lies. Right now I’m just living minute to minute. I know that my son is doomed and there is nothing. NOTHING, I can do to help him. My sweet little boy, who was an outstanding athlete and active in church, is gone. He left me a long time ago. I miss him. And I miss the man he could have become. My heart is broken. But I am through.

Karen says:
December 10th, 2013 at 4:52 am

I just have to say Holidays for some reason are an extremely tough time for addicts and those of us affected by them. My son was arrested last year on xmas eve, I got the call at 2AM, I was suppossed to pick him up at 8am to spend all of Christmas with the family. Can you say heart broken, instead he spent 9 months behind bars. He is now once again behind bars due to past charges catchung up with him. He only has to be there for 10 days thankfully. I have high hopes he will be spending the holidays with the family this year. But as I mentioned above Holidays have a way of reaking havoc to the addicted and their families. My thoughts and prayers are with ALL of you may God bless each and ecery one of us with peace in the New Year. I recently read a quote “It is so easy to have faith when the blessings of God are piled highhigh upon us, but the real test comes when disappointment arrives and sorrow pulls up a chair.” How true How true. Faith,Hope, and Love to you all this holiday season. <3

Ebbie says:
December 13th, 2013 at 3:58 am

I did not chose to learn about addictions… it chose me via my son and his girlfriend. April 18, 2013 my world fell apart. I received a phone call from the girlfriend (23)that she and my son (27) had been arrested for copper theft. They had a baby and they had taken the baby with them to do this deed. I was an emotional wreck. I also had a 6 yr old child at home who loved his brother so very much. Every day I was falling more apart then the day before. I was not sleeping due to the baby, the emotional turmoil of dealing with this mess was seriously effecting me. My heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest. I begged them to give me a name of someone that could take the baby in. They gave me nothing. I was so mad at what they had done and the fact that they took this child with them and I truly felt that I could not take this child in. Not in the state that I was in. I’ve reached a point in my life that I don’t have the patience for babies that I used to. This child had had no routine. I was not for them having this child because their lives were a mess when they became pregnant. They have bounced around from place to place. No stability at all. I have no idea there was a pill problem. I knew my son had done pot in high school and he drank too much for my taste but never knew that pills were in the picture. I ended up having to take the child to Social Services, which was the most horrible ordeal I’ve ever had to go through but I knew she would be with people that were trained for this and who were able to handle multiple children. I, at this point could not deal with my own and this mess that they placed in my lap. I forgot to say that they had been living with me and my husband at the time. They had been doing this for months and bringing their stolen goods back to our home. The jeopardy they placed us in just made me boil inside. So, its been 8 months now. The girlfriend got out and we helped her find a place, she got her daughter back, and we just found out last week that she has apparently relapsed not once but twice and was put back in jail for 2 days as a reminder where she will go if she has another dirty urine. Social Services has the child again. Mostly because my son does not think she is ready to care for her 100% and that she needs rehab. I cannot tell you the emotional hell I have been put through. My son is still there and may get out in a week, if not, then mid February. He is now so angry that she has done this yet again to their child. I am angry all over again. I hate this. I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy!! I don’t know if I am ready to embrace the “addiction” protocol and recovering program or maybe even call it mumbo jumbo. I don’t know. I don’t understand why anyone with serious jail time hanging over their head would go back. The girlfriend says she did it becasue she was stressed raising the child on her own and all the requirements of drug court and social services. I told her it would be a lot for her to handle and that she should let her stay in foster care until she is well and has her life on track. But noooo, we have to drag this child through hell yet again. I guess you can see I’m very angry still. Often, I just wish I could pack my bags and move and not leave a forwarding address or phone number. I’ve told them I cannot help them any more. They are the only ones that can turn this around. They have to want and apparently the girlfriend isnt strong enough to. Her mother is an addict and has a man that just puts up with it and takes care of her. I grew up hating drugs and never did anything!! Now I feel like I’m supposed to embrace it. So, if anyone has any suggestions on how to handle this.. I would be most appreciative!!

Candice says:
December 14th, 2013 at 7:19 pm

I am reading all these posts and crying at the same time. I am sharing because I need to. My incredible 36 year old son, a land developer, wonderful father, successful musician, and one time millionaire is now a broke heroin addict. We have been dealing with this for 5 years and have slowly and helplessly watched him spiral downward. It all started with a prescription for oxycodone and come to this. Finally, just recently, he was busted for trafficking heroin. My mom bailed him out and I put his lawyer retainer on my credit card (we realize now that this was a huge mistake as even the likely possibility of jail time has not stopped him). The thoughts of him sitting in jail is even hard for me to comprehend and I feel sick thinking about it.

I have done everything I possibly can. I have begged, pleaded, written letters, laid guilt trips on him (probably another mistake), and physically been on my knees praying that he hits rock bottom and gets help. The roller coaster is unbelievable. I was calling him on a daily basis, and every call ended up with me crying and him angry. I finally realized that the calls were counter-productive and slowly killing me. The other night I had a final phone call with him, telling him I am here if he needs me and hung up with a broken heart. I feel myself slowly sliding into depression with the realization that there is no end in sight. Its not just what he’s doing to me and my husband, but his loving grandparents, his daughter who adored him and my daughter, who is frustrated and angry.

I wanted to say thank you Ron for your information and to everyone for your posts and for sharing. Knowing that I am not alone in my heartbreak is some consolation although it’s frightening and overwhelming that there are so many people dealing with addiction.

Mandie says:
December 16th, 2013 at 4:26 am

I have an almost 21 year old son who is an addict. Alcohol and drugs! He is so angry with the world and talk to me horribly. I cry myself to sleep. He has been kicked out of everyone’s house for drugs, stealing and his anger. He has a 19 month old son who he now barely sees. He thinks everyone owes him. He is now living between buddies houses who all drink and do drugs and his fathers who is no better.

There is no resources to help him here unless he agrees to it! I am at a loss.

All I do is cry! He calls me and wants something, he gets an answer he doesn’t like and he calls me names!

I don’t even talk about him anymore because its embarrassing! And most family and friends know just don’t ask.

Patty Anzalone says:
December 16th, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Reading the 7 truths is my 7 truths. My daughter is 25. She’s became addicted to heroin at 19 yrs old. She found 15 months of wonderful recovery but a year ago relapsed into hell again.In that 15 months she got a wonderful job,saved money and bought a car ,got her own apartment. In a matter of 3 months it was all gone.
My daughter wouldn’t call her life (or mine) hell but I do.I feel like I’ve been sentenced to a life of hell. The hell of worrying so much I feel sick.The hell of wondering if she’ll ever live the life I know she was meant to live. The hell of wondering if she’ll live to her next birthday. The only saving grace is I know she has a home. She lives with someone ( another addict) and because they have a relationship she won’t be kicked out.All I have left is hope. I am in such mourning of who my daughter used to be.
I want that daughter back so much. But each day goes by I feel like she’s further and further away.I can’t really type much more because I can’t see that well through my crying my eyes out. I’m just grateful a place like this exists. Thank you.

gail says:
December 18th, 2013 at 6:41 am

I became aware of my son’s drug use 10 years ago. That week, after I asked his dad to bring him home so that we could get help for him and us, his dad left our home to start a life of drugs with another woman. It has been a nightmare for 10 years, with my son being supported 100% financially by his dad in spite of his continual slide into deeper and deeper addiction. Five years ago, his sisters and I were able to put an intervention together, and my son willingly went to rehab, but would only stay for 30 days. He left and said that he was committed to staying clean. He did not continue with his recovery. At the point that he went to rehab, I started attending al-anon, and that has helped me tremendously. I still struggle with boundaries, not enabling (especially emotionally), and my own issues of codependency. But I have come a long way. In November of last year, my son stopped showing up for work, after he had just received a promotion. His sister lived nearby, but she could not even get him to come to the door when she checked on him. It reminded me of the first five years of his addiction-how I would drive to his apartment, just to see if his light was on, if he was alive. I encouraged her to go to alanon, but she would not go. It was a very scary time for all of us, and then, suddenly, he showed up unexpectantly at my house for Christmas. It was a nightmare. The tension was enormous. He was depressed, sullen, and would not talk. He slept all day and stayed up all night. It was a terrible Christmas. In fact, out of the last 10 years, my family has only had one Christmas that has not had some major event that ruined it. In January of this year, my son’s best friend told us that we must act quickly, because my son was planning to take his life. He had a plan and a day. So, I and his sisters quickly got with professionals, and I flew out to his home and we did an intervention. It was horrible, but my son finally agreed to go to a dual diagnosis treatment facility. He was very angry about it, but we hoped that he would stay for 90 days and get a good diagnosis and treatment. But after 30 days, his dad bought him a plane ticket and enabled him to leave. My son is an adult, so we don’t have any control over him. His dad is also on drugs, and he has given him thousands of dollars throughout the years. My son has hardly worked, has major credit issues, and looks like walking death. But he is well-funded. After he left rehab in early February, he went on a major drug binge with his girlfriend. I had told him that if he left treatment and went back to using drugs instead of pursuing recovery, he could not come to my home. It was very hard to tell my son this, but I had reached the point of finally realizing I had no power and in fact, was probably causing more harm by being a listening ear to all of his promises and philosophical rants. The drug binge climaxed with my son and his girlfriend in a hotel, tweaking on meth, convinced that people were after them and the hotel room was bugged. He has been in and out of this psychosis since that time, always ramped up with his meth use (and whatever else he is doing) This story goes on and on, but basically I know I am powerless over all of this-and that my son and his dad are a unit. In May, his dad called to tell me that he had given our son some guns, so that he could defend himself against these “gangs” that are after him. No one has ever seen these people, talked to them, or seen a single piece of evidence that they exist. I was horrified that my son now had guns, given that he was suicidal and paranoid too.

In August, while I was on a trip, my son showed up at my house and totally ignored the boundary I had set. My mother let him in, and he slept for a day. He called me and told me that the people were after him again, that my house was bugged, and I was in danger. I demanded that he leave, and fortunately, he did. But later I found that he had bought all kinds of tools, and he had taken apart my router to the internet and unscrewed several things around the house. I suppose he was looking for “bugs”

In September and October, I would periodically get emails from him saying he was 30 days sober, 40, etc. I praised him for it, but took all of it with a grain of salt. I knew he wasn’t in recovery, that he was “white-knuckling” it. In late October, all hell broke loose, and my son ended up arrested, taken to a mental health facility for assessment. I was so relieved, and even his dad agreed that we would not bail him out. He was facing multiple charges, and I was so relieved he was going to jail. I hoped he would be at least safe, and perhaps would finally get help. But no charges were filed, and now he is free again. He is trying to make contact with his sisters and me, but I told him I just can’t take this any longer, that I refuse to watch him kill himself. I told him I would write him twice a month, but I would not have anymore conversations on the phone with him ( they are a waste of time, and I do believe they were a sort of “fix” for him. He also doesn’t make sense, and he often says he has to be careful about what he says on the phone…..” He acts exactly like a schizophrenic, which my doctor told me is the case when they use meth. It is very frightening.

His sister wants to come home for Christmas, but neither of us want anything like last year to to happen again. We are both afraid of him, not the real person, but the one on drugs. She doesn’t want to see him at all until he agrees to get help, which he still refuses to do. I don”t want him to come either. I have prepared an e-mail to him, but I know I don’t have control over whether he decides to show up anyway. So I need to know now what I will do if he does.

This is all so sad for all of us. We love him dearly, but the person that shows up now is not my son. He told me once that I just don’t accept that he is an addict. I replied, “I accepted a long time ago that you are an addict. And when you accept it, maybe you will do something about it.” I want my son back, and my daughters want their brother. But right now he scares us, and we just can’t take it anymore. I am working hard on my own issues, but it is really tough during the holidays. He calls and leaves messages. Most of the time he is crying. I don’t pick up. I know this seems to him, and possibly to others, that I have abandoned him, but I have not. I pray constantly for him, and I have no shame in asking others to pray for him. I just know that I am not the answer, and I am truly worn out.

I don’t know what I will do if I get the dreaded call that he is dead, but my prayer is, “God, whatever it takes to bring him to You, I ask that you do it. I ask that you spare his life, but ultimately, I ask that he know You have never left him. ” And I pray for wisdom. One thing I have learned is that everyone has an opinion about all of this, but until you have walked in it, you really don’t know. And I am sure that my son feels the same way about all of us. That is why I try not to judge others. We are all a mess.

Thanks for letting me write this. As long as it is, it could have been even longer.

Bunnie says:
December 18th, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Well my son has been drug free for 2 months after a one week relapse that caused him to be delusional and that made him want to move and go to a inpatient rehab. Move to get away from friends offers and drama,and rehab to deal with the anxiety and racing thoughts he was having a hard time getting away from.
Hes doing really great and working and dealing with some anxiety. The family support is pouring in now that they can see the light and see he really is trying and have educated them selves. Our family is closer and in fact hapier as we all have his well being in common now. Please keep communication open with your loved ones, keep stress out of the picture. Make them feel loved not punished nor ashamed and dont give up, they are worth it!!! Every bit of it they are worth. Its not about will power. You cant punish it out of them, nor will they stop because its too hard to continue. While science works to find better ways to address drug addiction. You can help them with mental, physical, and spiritual support.

Jerry Otero says:
December 20th, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Dear Gail,

Thanks for joining the online community of The Partnership at We are a drug abuse prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery resource, existing to help parents and caregivers effectively address alcohol and drug abuse with their teens and young adults.

As a parent of a young adult myself, I share your many concerns about your son’s drug abuse. That being said, knowing just what to do however isn’t always as clear. There are no right or wrong answers, but advice to abstain must be grounded in accurate and balanced information and must acknowledge your son’s intelligence and ability to draw from his own experiences.

Tough love, kind love – what’s a parent to do? One approach, and an alternative to the nagging, begging and pleading that we are often reduced to, is called the Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT).
Click here to link to HBO’s website about the CRAFT intervention .

In short, it’s a positive reinforcement method that teaches family and friends effective strategies for helping their loved one to change and for feeling better themselves. CRAFT works to affect the loved one’s behavior by changing the way the family interacts with him or her. It is designed to accomplish three goals:

1. When a loved one is abusing substances and refusing to get help, CRAFT helps families move their loved one toward treatment.
2. On its own, CRAFT helps reduce the loved one’s alcohol and drug use, whether or not the loved one has engaged in treatment yet.
3. CRAFT improves the lives of the concerned family and friends.

The CRAFT program teach families how to impact their loved one while avoiding both detachment and confrontation, the respective strategies of Al-Anon (a 12-Step based approach), and traditional (Johnson Institute-style) interventions in which the substance user is confronted by family members and friends during a surprise meeting. While all three approaches have been found to improve family members’ functioning and relationship satisfaction, CRAFT has proven to be significantly more effective in engaging loved ones in comparison to the Johnson Institute Intervention or Al-Anon/Nar-Anon facilitation therapy.

CRAFT is a skills-based program that impacts families in multiple areas of their lives, including self-care, pleasurable activities, problem solving, and goal setting. At the same time, CRAFT addresses their loved one’s resistance to change. CRAFT teaches families behavioral and motivational strategies for interacting with their loved one.

Participants learn, for example, the power of positive reinforcement for positive behavior (and of withdrawing it for unwanted behavior), and how to use positive communication skills to improve interactions and maximize their influence.

Specifically, CRAFT teaches several skills, including:
• Understanding a loved one’s triggers to use substances
• Positive communication strategies
• Positive reinforcement strategies – rewarding non-using behavior
• Problem-solving
• Self-care
• Domestic violence precautions
• Getting a loved one to accept help

Many of these skills are valuable for the family even if their loved one does not enter treatment or has already begun the treatment process. Additionally, the skills remain essential over the long run for families in navigating and maintaining a positive trajectory for themselves as well as for their loved one.

CRAFT is not a quick fix, but rather an approach that can benefit both the substance user and the family in the short and long terms with a holistic plan of action and a more optimistic view. Maybe CRAFT can work for you and your family too.

Read more about CRAFT by clicking here:

Recommended Reading List
From Chocolate to Morphine – Everything You Need To Know About Mind Altering Drugs by Andrew Weil and Winfred Rosen
Addiction Proof Your Children – A Realistic Approach to Preventing Drug, Alcohol and Other Dependencies, by Stanton Peale, Ph.D, J.D.
Get Your Loved One Sober – Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading and Threatening by Robert J. Meyers Ph.D. and Brenda L. Wolfe, Ph.D.
Inside Rehab: The Surprising Truth About Addiction Treatment-and How to Get Help That Works by Anne Fletcher

Please phone me back at the number below, after you have reviewed this, if you, want to discuss any of the materials I sent, or just to blow off a little steam.

Until then, I wish you all the best.

Jerry Otero MA
Assistant Director, Helpline and Parent Services
The Parents Helpline at the Partnership at
1-855-DRUGFREE (1855-378-4373)

bunnie says:
December 20th, 2013 at 7:49 pm

> Gail, Im so sorry for your pain and I know what your going through. If you search this thread I have many postings. It sounds to me (Im not a dr.!) like your son needs mental help. He may be schizophrenic or bi-polar, or suffering PAWS especially if hes trying to get off drugs by himself and using substitution. He needs medical help! He probably is delusional and cant do this alone. You need to get him help. Often addiction is due to underlying mental health issues or mimic them and he needs help. This may seem harsh but if he were having mental issues that did not involve drugs would you expect him to get help alone and not tolerate the symptoms. I dont mean to be critical and dont know your situation but know if you find out later you could have helped him and didnt you will regret it. I have a schizophrenic brother and he copes very and has now for over 20 years but did a lot of bizarre stuff and put our family through hell before he got the right treatment. I am grateful to have my brother, I dont know what I would have done without him in my life and grateful my mom hung in there even if she had to find him and drag his butt home and get drs to see him. It was disruptive and crazy and at times seemed too hard but once he got treatment that was right for him we all rejoiced.

Robin says:
December 21st, 2013 at 9:44 pm

My heart breaks for all of us with children that suffer with addiction. In the lst several months we have lost 2 amazing young men to drug use. My son has been abusing them for over a year now. I recently kicked him out of my home, could not stand by and watch him slowly kill himself. Strange how we all have something in common! How bright our children are and how they chose drugs. I am broken, shattered, and sick. I don’t have the funds to get him help. He said if he had a way that he would. I’ve taken him to three places only to be told he need insurance. God please deliver my Son! I do believe in miracles! I pray you all receive one! God watch over our children, keep them in your care. Give us strength to get through the heart ache and sorrow, please help me keep the hope alive for their recovery. Thank you Lord, in Jesus name! amen

gail says:
December 22nd, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I appreciate each of your posts, but I think I have not really expressed clearly what is happening with my son. You are absolutely correct that he needs help, and I have tried to get him help. He will not stay in any program, and it is further complicated by the fact that his dad is completely supporting him, and he does not want him to get help. I have case workers that are very familiar with this situation, and they have concluded that his dad is his biggest problem, and that he will not get well until his dad breaks. His dad is on drugs too, addicted to several prescription drugs. He has even done drugs with my son. So far, nothing I have said, or done, has impressed his dad with the seriousness of this. His dad has the money to get him help, and I do not. I was about to cash out my entire 401K to try to get him help after his last drug binge, (even though he was refusing to go) and the case worker said it would do no good at this point because of his resistance to getting help, and his father”s enabling. I do agree that he is either bi-polar or schizophrenic, but when he went to treatment dual diagnoses facility, he decided the doctors didn’t know what they were talking about, and he convinced his dad to help him leave. I am not dealing with just my son; I am also dealing with his father. It is insanity at its highest level. I do not understand how a father can give guns to his son when he knows he has mental and drug issues. I am so afraid that he is going to harm himself, and there is nothing I can do.

I will look at CRAFT, and I will continue to do what I can. My son is highly intelligent, and he knows what to say to make people happy. When he was sent for assessment after his aggravated assault arrest, the case worker said the he seemed just fine, and they let him go. I couldn’t believe it. I was prepared to go to court by myself and have him committed. When I begged his dad to help us get him back him treatment, his dad said no. I said, “He is going to die.” And his dad said, “We all are going to die sometime. If you can get him in treatment without my having to pay for it, go for it. But he likes doing drugs. So good luck.” I asked him if he was just going to continue to pay for him to take drugs, and his dad said, “Yes, I guess you could look at it that way.” So his dad has spent a total of $45,000 in ten years for rehab for our son. But he gives him probably close to $80,000 or $90,000 a year to not work and do drugs. Does anyone have any suggestion here?

If anyone has an idea of what I or his sisters can do that we haven’t already tried, I am certainly willing to listen. But I do think his dad is going to thwart every effort here. I can’t describe the insanity of it. It is so sick.

Thanks for listening. I don’t mean to sound defensive. I do realize how dangerous this is. I just am powerless.

Elizabeth S. says:
December 28th, 2013 at 6:08 am

I am crushed. My son is 19 and had a bright future. He was best looking, most popular, most likely to lend a hand, likeable, loveable, trustworthy friend & son. Someone people could look up to…now he steals, lies, cheats, manipulates to get what he wants. I still see my little boy and it breaks my heart. He wont admit he has a problem and I am doing everything I am “suppose” to do to NOT enable him. I had to kick him out of our house today. He was home from college visiting or Christmas…my 7 year old found him smoking pot in her play house! This is pure H*LL! My heart is broke, my faith is questionable and I don’t think I can take any more of it- I love him so much…but he is so lost and I don’t think he cares. I just don’t want to hurt anymore.

I just want to enable him so bad… I want to save him, I want to fix him, I want to cure him, I want to control him, I WANT MY BOY BACK!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m broke.

angie dawson says:
December 29th, 2013 at 10:29 pm

I need help. My son is 23 and a heroin addict. I tried paying rent and buying groceries but he lives 6 hours away and used the money for drugs. When he calls to say he is hungry or cold I feel compelled to send money. I think the only escape for me is death. Mine not his. It has affected everyone. And pretty much ruined my marriage. Please help me. The only relief I have is sleeping or being drunk. Which I don’t want. I just want to have my life and the loving son I once had back

Cindy says:
December 31st, 2013 at 1:09 pm

It’s 4:33 in the morning as I lay here in the middle of another sleepless night with tears flowing. I just read each and every posting, identifying and connecting through first hand experience with the anguish and pain. My 22 year old son is addicted to prescription opiates, obtained somehow in the underworld on the streets. His story follows the same path so often described here as does my sorrow and sense of helplessness to do anything to stop him. We are in Canada, this deadly problem is also an epidemic here, not only in the USA.
As a result of reading this I am going to join a local support group for parents if I can find one, as so many have said, this is killing us as well, slowly but surely through the anguish. To all of you I say thank you for sharing, I don’t feel as alone and isolated now. There are so many of us going through the same horrible pain. As 2014 arrives tomorrow I wish you all the same hope in finding peace and strength within yourselves to survive this. I also share in the New Year hope with all of you that my addicted child will overcome this addiction monster, regain his health and realize his incredible potential in a life without drugs.
Ron, to you and all if the other parents who have written here, a big hug (with tears).

Nance says:
January 3rd, 2014 at 1:41 am

My daughter just OD’d today. We are waiting to hear how she is. She was at a friend’s house, thank God her friend had the brains to call 911. Our daughter is 24 now and she has been a herion addict for approx 3 years,… at least that’s what she told us. We were totally blindsided by this news,… we only found out because she was pulled over and arrested for possesion of herion and needles. We had NO idea, talk about feeling like a bad parent!! Since finding this out, things have just gotten worse. we have had her put into rehab, 3 times… it worked for maybe a week each time. She has been arrested twice, second time we wouldn’t bail her out. she spent over a month in jail and hated it. When she got out, this past Nov. she was doing great and staying clean (so we thought) until today when we got a phone call from the police, she was blue when her friend found her in her bathroom,… but the EMS got her breathing again. The officer said she was doing ok… last her knew. We are waiting on a phonecall from the hospital right now, they were evaluating her. I have to say, She is the best at hiding and lying and manipulating…i swear she could have been an actress. We love her more than life itself, but we are at a loss. We have been through it all,.. this is her second time OD’ing… what does it take for her to stop?? Why can’t she learn from any of this??!! Her friends say to me, it’s the best feeling in the world, if you never did it, you could never understand it! sorry, i just needed to vent, my hubby found this article and i just had to write something, knowing that i am not alone makes me feel a lot better,… and just know that none of you are alone! We are just dreading that phone call… when she is not ok. A very big part of me will die with her if she dies. Please God, let her get better. God bless you all and stay strong, I know my husband and I will, we have to. She is our babygirl. xoxo

Pam says:
January 5th, 2014 at 12:19 am

I wrote on this website in November 2011. I believed that our life could not possibly get worse. Our son, who is now 33 years old has been addicted to drugs for over 18 years. He has been in rehab several times, but has always found a way to get kicked out of these programs. He lies, steals, manipulates everyone to get what he needs. His injecting has cost him his health. Along with advanced Hep C, he is in and out of hospital with life-threatening cellulitis (skin infections), the last 3 of which required surgery to release pressure from the wounds. He has been in ICU for blood clots and sepsis. He has not learned and continues on. We have long since enabled his behaviour and keep a safe distance from getting involved, besides telling him we love him, but cant fix him and hope he sees that he needs help. He lives and sleeps at a Salvation Army shelter. The reason I am writing today is that we received a phone call from an elderly woman who informed us she has given our son approximately $15,000 and she is destitute and wants us to help her by giving her money. The pessimistic side of me wonders if my son has put her up to this, the compassionate side worries that he has once again taken advantage of a person willing to help him. However, I told her that my son was no longer my responsibility and that I could not help her. I suggested that she contact the police. Every year my husband and I pray that our lives will be better, less stressful. It is not starting off any better than the past. I love my son but right now I am filled with rage!

Steven Shaw says:
January 10th, 2014 at 4:46 pm

I completely agree with everything you have said I know from personal experience I started using drugs when I was 18 and was mixing with the wrong crowd and they started messing with heroin and I eventually tried it because I thought it wasn’t doing any harm SO STUPID LOOKING BACK NOW!! I did eventually get hooked and did all those things lied,stole,cheated,got in trouble with the police and even tho my parents stuck by me through thick and thin still didn’t stop me treating them like crap tho the more they wanted me to stop the more I did it and I carried on that life for 23 years then 11 months ago my mother was dieing and on her death bed her final words to me was get off that crap before I end up where she was going!! And it totally blew me away she died 10 mins after saying that to me I was in floods of tears and it all became clear to me all the years of trouble I caused both to my mum and dad and my siblings yet on her death bed her final words wasn’t to my dad pledging her undieing love to him it was to me the troublesome drug addict that had made her life a misery and even tho she had severe dementia she still remembered me and still wanted me to be clean and drug free after she passed I took a long hard look at myself and finally saw what everyone else had seen for years and hated it and myself because if I had changed years ago maybe my mum would still be here?? Anyway I made a decision 2 weeks after we buried her to get clean and make that change I have now gone 10 months nearly 11 clean now and don’t get me wrong it was really hard at first changing what had been my life for over 20 years but I had my mums voice in my head and the promise I made to her and now it’s a lot easier as the months go on dealing with greif and kicking a drug addiction at the same time prob wasn’t the best idea but it made me more determined to kick it so my final words are to the people I respect more than anyone the parents of drug addicts past and present I have the most upmost respect to you guys because even tho you get treated like crap you still love unconditionally so parents carry on your good work and don’t give in because hopefully they will see sense and finally make themselves someone that makes you proud..

Lost and helpless Mom says:
January 13th, 2014 at 11:36 pm

I am a mom of a, soon to be, 23 year old son. I am not sure how long he has been using heroin. It seems that everyone here is going through the same thing and for once I do not feel alone. He is my youngest child and my only son. I often think of the time I was pregnant with him and running around making everyone laugh up until now. I find myself wondering what happened, where did I go wrong?? How can I FIX THIS! I can’t feel his pain, but I can see it! I see his struggles, I see his feelings of betrayal and guilt. I cry all the time and like most of you, I wait for that one devastating phone call. He has already OD a few times and was brought back to life. Some people suggest tough love in the hope of opening their eyes; such as asking them how they want to be buried?? VERY HARSH! I also did another no no… I sent him money while he was there with his friends because he told me he had no food. He had no place to stay, he was living on the beach, and to no avail, it changed NOTHING!!! He played me as they become very good at playing with your heart.. I have tried several different tactics, offering meetings, rehabs, a place to recover far from where his friends are… I have had him live with me several times with limited responsibilities. I have shared my story with other people going through this and it feels like there is no end in site. I told him he cannot live with me anymore because he needs help that I cannot give him.
I have come to the realization that I am not GOD and I am not my son. I cannot change him and I cannot judge him. I can only be there for him for emotional support.
This is no excuse but may have had something to do with triggering him not being able to cope… His father was an addict and alcoholic and ultimately committed suicide when my son was just 12 years old. Since then, he has held all his feelings inside and has never really grieved the loss of his father. I had taken him to several different types of therapy and none of them worked. My son has been in and out of detox, but has not reached the incarceration part of it yet. However, one thing some of you may not realize is there are more drugs in there… the fact is, they are everywhere. No matter where they go, if they want it they will find it. All I can do is pray and God leads him in the right direction. It is a devils drug and he holds no discrimination! I am fighting this maternal instinct everyday! I am trying to cope and I am trying to be strong! It is very very hard.

Lost and helpless Mom says:
January 13th, 2014 at 11:57 pm

@ Angie You are not alone! I just found this site and I don’t feel so lonely anymore. The more you read, the more you learn that you are NOT ALONE!! We are all struggling and reaching for some miracle! If you notice, we all have pretty much the same story. Many have great advise! Keep the faith! Hang in there!

Brenda says:
January 14th, 2014 at 6:55 pm

I have been enabling my son for many years…we never thought that smoking pot was so wrong…but i kept cleaning up his life for him. Just recently (12/28/13) we found out he was snorting heroin…that was the last straw. We contacted Steps to Recovery and got the ball rolling. One week later we were in Florida checking him into First Step Behavorial Health…it is one week that he has been there. Our lives are getting back to some normalcy…we don’t have to lock our bedroom door anymore in fear that he will steal something so he can get more money to feed his addiction. It is the best thing we have ever done for him and ourselves. It is extremely hard that he is so far away and we have minimal contact with him…but he is getting the help he needs and hopefully will be able to function in the real world again. I forgot to mention…he is 26 years old. All of you that are struggling with this I wish you the strength to get your loved one the help that they need.

Karen says:
January 16th, 2014 at 4:54 am

@ Shawn….. I am one of those people that you respect the most. I am the mother of an addict. Thank you so much for sharing your very emotional story. keep up the good work and always remember your mother’s last words, until her dying day she never lost hope in you.

tracy says:
January 16th, 2014 at 3:31 pm

My son just turned 35 years old. He was raised in a good home with Christian values. He has a business degree from a reputable business college; although he’s never taken advantage of that. I first learned of his addition from a client of mine; a DEA agent who had his house under drug watch. Heroin was being delivered there like a pizza and the DEA was trying to find the main source. I had him detoxed and convinced the judge to let him go to rehab, He spent 18 months at Cenikor in Ft. Worth Tx. When he left rehab I had for the first time in many years the son I had known and loved. He was BACK, He started renewing old friendships; old drug buddies and is now doing meth and heroin (black) again. We have enabled him over the years to the tune of over $200,000.00, No more!!! Totally Done with the enabling. Sadly many of the Cenikor folks he knew have died overdosing on, you guessed it, heroin, He has been told that he’s on his own and we are encouraging him to move to a sober living situation out of state. His apartment is paid up thru March and then he’ll be on the streets. This week I received a call that another of his friends from Cenikor had overdosed and died after 3 years of being clean. You would think that would have an impact on him. Time to take care ME

Karl says:
January 23rd, 2014 at 4:56 am

I have been duped by a master and I feel like an idiot. My 22-year-old daughter has been on a downward spiral for a couple of months – starting when her fiancé was convicted of a crime he committed before they met and he was sent to prison. She went into a depression, which cost her job. She is a hairstylist, so getting another job was easy, in a nice salon – but in a bad neighborhood where she met some really bad folks. At Christmastime, she carved out about a half hour to spend with us, and she looked terrible. We suspected drug use, but she claimed she was only smoking pot, but she was working full time, paying her bills, and it seemed she had her stuff together. A few days later, I found out from a friend of a friend she had been fired from her job. That’s when everything unraveled for our family. She disappeared for a couple of weeks – in the car I own. Last Wednesday, she showed up at our house and set off the alarm (I changed her code so I would know when she came in). I rushed home from work, and there she was, sick as a dog with tonsillitis, withdrawls, hungry and needing a place to stay. She admitted to heavy meth use. She had been evicted from her apartment and her mom and I moved all her stuff out while she was out and about. All of her furniture and stuff is in storage. A week earlier, her dogs were taken away by Animal Services as she had abandoned them. We found out about that after the fact. She also pawned the iPad we gave her as well as the laptop computer I gave her last year when she was in school. She also trashed my car. Ugh!

I gave her three choices:
1. She could have the car back after she completed treatment and got a job. She could also stay with us as long as she stayed sober and was working.
2. She could leave the car and keys and go about her merry way. I would sell the car and keep the money.
3. She could keep the car, and I would report it stolen and she could work that out with a judge.

She chose option 1 and we sought treatment though our insurance company. She seemed remorseful and ready to go. The inpatient treatment center near our house had a bed available, but when we went to check in two days later, she threw an absolute fit and wanted to wait until Monday to check in, and promised to do so. We had a nice weekend as a family – bought her some new clothes, got her an eye exam and new contacts, etc. We spend hundreds of dollars to outfit her for a month or more in treatment. Well, Monday came, and the treatment center called and no longer had a bed available since she wouldn’t commit when it was originally offered. We then scheduled an intake appointment for the next day at another facility, and she said she was on her way to the appointment, and she never showed up. That was two times and I have now had enough. I have suspended her phone – she is not going to make drug deals on a phone I am paying for. I have also listed the car as stolen with our local police department – which will cause the police to arrest her after seven days and impound my car. She isn’t going to use my car to sell and deal drugs and to hide from me – especially when I am the owner and the insured. She is running with a very rough crowd and I expect this will end up with her in jail, in a hospital, or dead. I’m hoping she will seek treatment, but I’m not holding my breath. It is sad, but I refuse to let her destroy my life or our marriage.

I am fed up with her. We’ll see how it goes. She showed up on our doorstep because she was sick and needed to go to the doctor, some food, some clothes, and some contacts. I will not be duped again. If she chooses not to seek treatment, she will not be running amok in my car and with my phone line. I will continue to pay her student loans because I am co-signed for them, but my bright 22-year-old, outgoing, successful hairstylist has turned into a lying, conniving, user, and I won’t put up with it. I wish her luck out there.

Deb says:
January 28th, 2014 at 2:31 am

My 23 year old son and the father of my beautiful granddaughter is addicted to meth, heroin and dealing also as I am told. He is such a kind hearted handsome loving father when he’s clean. It’s been a long time. He has no job, no home no money except what he gets from dealing I suppose. He call me the most horrible names a mother can hear! My heart has been shattered. He’s been in jail 3-4 times and looking at more time for his latest offense. I’m angry, embarrassed and so terribly sad that I just want to hide from everyone. I love my son but hate what he’s doing and the person he’s become. I don’t want his daughter to have a father like that! Every little girl deserves a “daddy”!

kathy says:
January 28th, 2014 at 6:19 pm

My son is 39 years old and has been addicted to drugs for 10+ years. He currently has a felony charge, has been incarcerated several times, and is still facing several court dates. He has no place to live, no money, unable to find a job, and no transportation. He is currently living in a shelter. I have enabled for many years. I need to know how to help him if I can, and what possible resources are there for him. He needs a job not only for money, but self esteem. I do not want to keep enabling him, but have no where to turn for help. Anyone that can help in any way?

Jill K says:
January 29th, 2014 at 5:10 pm

I wanted to share a ray of sunshine. My 21 year old son lives in a long-term sober living house, and is in outpatient treatment. He started using when he was 14 and at 19 was addicted to multiple drugs and affording it by stealing from me and by dealing. One afternoon in September of 2012 I sat down with him, with an expert by my side, and offered him a choice. Go to a 30 day inpatient treatment (I found one with a stellar reputation about 200 miles away and a bed was available), or leave my house. While we were talking I had someone remove his car from the garage (I had paid for it, so it was really mine) and I had his phone disconnected. I told him he was free to leave but could not take anything. Or I said he could try rehab and see if it would work for him. He was scared and miserable, did not want to live with drugs or without. He was terrified of detox. But with love and several hours of talking, he left with the gentleman I hired, and went to rehab. That was 17 months ago. He had one relapse but chose to put himself back in the hospital for detox and then move into the sober living house. He goes to meetings daily and is fighting with the demons that constantly call him back to drugs. I pray for him, I encourage him, but this is his fight. I go to Al Anon and Nar Anon. He has the tools to fight this disease. Only time will tell, but at least he knows there is life without drugs and he is surrounded by many people who are in a healthy and happy recovery process. He knows it is possible to win!!

tracy says:
February 5th, 2014 at 4:47 am

After 18 months of rehab my son is back using drugs and most likely heroin. We are cutting off all financial support and trying to get him to go into sober living. He’s 35 but maturity level is about 18 most of the time. Enabling only allows continued drug use. Money, buying groceries, paying their rent only allows them to do what they do best–use drugs, manipulate and lie. Freedom from drugs is an inside job; they know the solution and they have to chose to find it and want it. Be supportive of positive events, but STOP enabling; the results never change.

blondee says:
February 5th, 2014 at 2:48 pm

just going thru all this w/36 yr old son, he is in jail right now for the stealing. very hard, this is not a situation that started overnight, he has been clean for long periods but this time is the worst..heroin is his choice of drug.
was huge relief when he was jailed. was first good nights sleep hubby n i have had in a long time cause we knew he was safe! not easy listening to a son beg u to get him out that he has learned his lesson…i ask for prayers for him please. i understand it has to be his decision but as a mom all i want to do is take it away n help him. i am his biggest enabler. we agreed if he ended up in jail we w not get him out, i encourage him to take steps to help himself …i have cussed, prayed, yelled n used tough luv but i don’t know if i have the strength to get thru this, the only thing keeping me sane is his 3yr old that i have custody of. by far the hardest thing i have had to deal w in my entire life.

Holly says:
February 6th, 2014 at 5:22 am

I have been writing to and reading this blog for a few years now. It helps me when I feel alone and lost, I guess I feel a common bond with all the other parents going through this Hell. Our son seemed to be on an even keel the past twelve months but recently I notice his behavior has changed. I see all the subtle signs, they’re not blatant, but I can tell he’s back on the Klonopin. He’ll never admit it until he’s faced with trouble, I feel resigned, I realize relapse is normal. He thinks he’s fooling us, but really he’s just fooling/cheating himself out of a life. Good points are, he has own apartment now, a job and another car (the seventh we’ve purchased) He’s been out of our house for nine months now, I finally have peace. Granted he’s less then a mile down the road but I have my home back. To this day all valuables are kept under lock and key, such a shame. I really thought he had beat the addiction, I only wish that was true. We will continue to support (not financially) he will always be our son.

Margaret Doust says:
February 7th, 2014 at 6:12 am

Our daughter died in 2003, not by overdose, but she ended it herself. We enabled her for 4 yrs. Our counselor said for us to stop helping her and at our next (and violent)
confrontation I told her just that. Two weeks later she was dead. No, I don’t blame myself or the counselor but I write just to show you how things can pan out. I was tired & desperate I now know (from her diary) that she knew we loved her & stood by her, she wrote: I have destroyed everything, hurt everyone and I want to get out of this mess, but I can’t ask for help anymore, everyone has had enough even my mum said so. This insight confirms, the addicts must feel the certainty of love & support guaranteed for them to ‘ask’ for help.I could have said ‘ I am changing the way I help you from now on, but only you can change or fix things.’ Maybe that would have left a door open for her, I cannot and do not regret any action I took, I did what I could with what I had, she knew we loved her. My emphasis is that addicts need an enormous amount of guaranteed support in the background to even contemplate
asking us for help.They must be made to feel we are optimistic for them, that we want them in our lives, love their positive actions & attributes.At the same time know that we won’t live with violence or theft brought about by the effect of drugs. We must find ways to live with them and enjoy a relationship outside of the life they have with drugs. Like taking a cancer patient out for the day and enjoying it all without talking about his illness.He might look terribly sick, need assistance to walk, but we don’t point out the obvious. He likes being treated ‘normally.’
This is a big challenge, put yourself inside them, try to ‘be’ them, this gives you insight into the times they can be their old selves and help them feel included and not an ‘outsider.’ They know they are addicted, they don’t need to be told, and if they love you they don’t want to talk about it with you. They are embarrassed or ashamed, they can remember how life used to be for them and for you.Show them you have expectations of them even if they fail in a task ask them again another time. We have to study and practice this new style of communication, it does not come naturally.
My thoughts are with you all, I wish you well.
Western Australia

Karima says:
February 14th, 2014 at 1:14 am

My heart goes out to you Margaret. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. You made some very good recommendations and observations.

I disagree with a huge amount of what this author says. I believe it is based on the best information about addiction available in 1975. I won’t take the time to dissect his article but wanted to tell anyone reading this to base your strategy on information available in 2014.

Your child does not have to “hit bottom” before change can occur. It’s OK to be frustrated that our children are being incarcerated for things they did under the influence of their disease, rather than given effective science based medical treatment. There is no war on drugs, just a war on addicts and maybe big time dealers. Our children are simply pawns in the money making Prison Industrial Complex. Treatment isn’t as lucrative as incarceration for long periods of time.

My Mom has severe dementia and often does and says things that are totally out of character because of the injury done to her brain by several neurological disorders. If she was more mobile she might even commit crimes, but no one would consider arresting and incarcerating her. No says she made “choices” that got her into this situation although many times these neurological disorders are worsened by poorly controlled hypertension, improper diet, and poorly managed stress.

Everyone who tries drugs doesn’t become addicted and I am pretty sure that few people with the disease of addiction made a choice to develop this disease. No one knows who will become addicted and who won’t, not even the scientists know for sure.

And the USA does a very poor job of treating the disease of addiction unless you are very well informed about what constitutes evidence based, science based, comprehensive care, provided on the continuum of care model and supplemented as needed by medications some of the quite new, that have shown great promise for opiate addicts. The USA is far behind Europe in how we treat and manage the disease of addiction.

We can’t expect our addicted children (no I don’t believe we need to treat them based on their chronological age any more than we would treat any other child suffering from a brain injury based solely on their chronological age) to make new choices, when they don’t even know that some of the choices (such as medications) exist.

In my state you need 400 hours of classroom education to become a licensed nail technician and be legal to put fingernail polish on people. To be a”Certified Addiction Counselor”, licensed by the state, you don’t need any type of degree, just a GED and 150 hours of classroom education. Licensed treatment facilities only have to make sure that 30% of their staff have this “prized” state certification! And counselors only need to make sure they have completed their 150 hours of training within the first 5 years of their employment in the field! I am certain a vet tech needs more training than that!

The criminal justice system thinks that going to AA/NA meetings constitutes treatment, it’s free, so that’s what they ask individuals with the disease of addiction to participate in so they don’t have to spend any money on treatment.

There is much work to be done before our children have access to the comprehensive long term treatment they deserve. Helping your child find treatment and educating yourself about the various types of treatments and their effectiveness is not enabling your child.

We may not have caused their disease, we certainly can’t control it (or we would have long ago) and no one (not even the addict who makes good choices) can cure this disease. It must be treated and managed on a long term basis. And if our children chose to reject treatment and disease management then unconditional love and encouragement is still in order. We do not need to be victims, martyrs or enablers. And we don’t have to “detach” either.

It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how much scientific information is presented, even to the parents of children with this disease, individuals with the disease of addiction continue to be labelled as “character flawed individuals making poor choices”. As my doctor explained it I need to understand that my son is “obsessive/compulsive” about opiates. When he says he’s fine, or he isn’t going to use again, he’s not lying, he truly believes it! I can’t believe it, because my brain is not altered, but I can’t call him a liar either because he truly believes it in the moment he says it.

My heart goes out to all parents watching their children’s lives turn out totally different than we had all hoped for. The “anticipatory grief” that we suffer is nearly identical to the grief loved ones suffer when dealing with a family member with an incurable progressively debilitating diseases like Alzheimers or Cancer. I do agree that we cannot allow ourselves to live in the past, or worry obsessively about the future. We can only live in the moment and pray for our children and ourselves.

We aren’t all enablers, we aren’t all co-dependent, and no two people or even two addictions are the same, and therefore there is no single way to treat people with this disease that will work for everyone, every time.

May God bless us all and protect our children. I find comfort in my belief that if it my son’s time to go, he will go, (no matter what) and if it is not, he simply will not.

Mariam says:
February 15th, 2014 at 10:00 pm

My son too like all others ,was a great boy with good grades ,good in sports, loved the gym and was also given a title Mr.Attitude for a Prestigious fashion show..Its been almost 2 yrs he was on Marijuana…But when did he get hooked on to Heroin we do not know…Of course some typical yougsters behavior like back answering,getting angry lying too existed.The worstwas he was always with guys,(not really friends )and used to come home late.Sometimes ,he would promise he would come home early and for about 15 days things would be fine.Then again the same problem..During the fashion shown, for 2 months he was working out , well dressed and eating the right food..A very good diet….Then after the show,we did have financial difficulties for a while and could not continue with the Prestigious Gym…But assured him I would put him back…things were quite ok..then slowly started smoking Marijuana more and was also injecting while he would swear he was not..and would say, he hates the sight of injection…I tried speaking to him softly , with love making him understand about the effects ..And encouraged him to study, and do Modelling…I was like a friend..I loved him and still love him so much..But I guess am weak ,I cry a lot…with the fear of losing him…and just a week back he never used to return home for a day….He even stopped talking to his girlfriend,which was shocking as he genuinely loved her the most..He cannot live without her…After she insisted he sort of hesitantly agreed to go to Rehab…And the best part is he is aware of rehab, their treatment, and relapse….Lot of trauma my husband and myself underwent… He is now in Rehab…but wants to come home in 3 days..But I know this time its not home he wants to come but go away from all of us…I attended the first session of counseling this morning and felt little better.I don’t want to lose him…please pray for my son and so shall I..they are wonderful people…So please dont hate them…I hope my son realises himself and let goes the problem…..

Mariam says:
February 15th, 2014 at 10:21 pm

I cry, am the root cause….I love my son.God help me get back my son….Every minute every second every breath I take I think of my son….I hate myself….

Jane says:
February 15th, 2014 at 11:14 pm

I have spent days reading this thread in entirety. I have learned a lot and I realize we are not alone in our childs short but ever so serious addiction. She is in detox due to come out next week and start out patient treatment at aMethadone clinic. I find it sad at best that one recovered addict expressed how well this is working for her and no one reached out or expressed an opinion about it. Everything she said was accurate. I for one feel comfortable that this is a very safe and good way to help someone abstain fromopiate use vs subox which is more expensive gives them a high easy to detox off of and is known in the suburbs to be used by kids so they can use again. Please I ask you all to look at Methadone as an option. This gives you TIME on your side to deal with the psychological side through intensive therpay.

Petra Ward says:
February 21st, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Dear Ron
I wish i would have read this blog years ago. If only i knew then what i know now. My son is 22 and started drinking and taking prescription pills at age 15. He is now a full blown heroin addict but will take anything he can get his hands on. He has been in and out of rehab,and did several stints in boy school and jail. I thought the birth of his son almost 3 years ago would help him want to change, but it didn’t. Neither did almost dying from an overdose several times.His body is starting to give out on him and his mind is messed up. Hardly anything he does makes sense anymore. I keep beating myself up on a daily basis on what i could have done different. maybe if i hadn’t got divorced, maybe i shouldn’t have had more children, ect…the guilt is what contributed to me enabling him. i just wanted him to feel loved. I was very naive, i have never even seen drugs before, and i’m a very gullible person to start with. My son took advantage of that.I have lost my Marriage, the little money i did have and a couple of month ago he totaled my car. I’m staying with a friend that agreed to let him stay too. He got himself kicked out after stealing things worth thousands of dollars. The lying and stealing kept getting worse. Just recently he started getting verbally abusive. The rage i saw in his eyes was scary. I told myself i would never throw him out but i had to do whats right for my other two children. He stole from them as well and they were scared of his out bursts. He is staying at a hotel that his dad payed up for one week. He started a job about 2 weeks ago and he already used his first pay check on drugs. he is supposed to use his checks to pay for the room but i’m afraid to hope that he will. His dad is done helping him. he paid for cars, lawyers and never got one thank you. I just lost my job and if he does not pay for the room he will have to go to a shelter.but h can’t stay there forever either. I do what i can , take him to work, bring him food, help out with his son….but i feel so hopeless. am i going to be that 65 year old taking care of my 40 something year old addict son with my social security?

Judy says:
February 28th, 2014 at 5:40 pm

After struggling with alcoholic and drug addicts all of my life; losing a 25 year old son to a drunk driver (and watching his two children struggle to live with an addict mother); losing family members to liver cancer and other fatal illnesses due to addiction; and now having to deal with a daughter who has been struggling with addiction most of her adult life (and now trying to help raise her son who was born into this psychological nightmare of not knowing how to behave due to so much drama and violence and not having any normalcy around him except when I can get him out of it for awhile); I just can’t cope anymore with the mindgames and guilt that has been forced on my just trying to deal with constant worry and chaos out of concern for my grandchildren. This website has helped me more than you know to finally accept that I can’t fix her or anyone else I can about, through all of the methods of helping that others have suggested, other than just trying to go about life without letting myself get sucked into the emotional blackmail of trying to keep my grandson safe and letting her get what she wants. I have to accept that she is the only one who can ask for help if she really wants to come back to reality, but I really believe she has gone too far to admit she has a problem and ask for help. I have had my grandson call with fears that has mom is dead because he can’t wake her up from some of her drug induced sleep. I just try to stay close to him to make sure nothing happens to him–I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t try to get him away from her and something happened to him. As long as I’m near enough to him to make sure he has someone to turn to in the event of an emergency, I have to just bite my tongue to keep from making her mad (she’s manic-depressive bi-polar and we have come to physical violence when she was in a rage, so I can’t afford to make her mad enough to do something to me and leave my grandson helpless with no one. So, if anyone can gain any insight into this madness from my experience, I hope they get help early on so they don’t waste a lifetime (and possibly a “normal” life) trying to think they can fix things–life is just too short and the young children born into this deserve a chance to break the cycle and have a better life. Thanks for the advice of just accepting it and knowing that what will happen will happen as a result of the addicts desire to come back, not something we did or didn’t do to help.

hopeful mom says:
March 1st, 2014 at 5:33 pm

I am reading back posts and realize how much it helps me. I have recommended this site to many people. Some who understand first hand and some who have no clue what a family goes through when they have an addicted loved one.My 23 year old son is in jail as I write this.He is finally starting to realize the consequences of his actions. After reading this article I was able to let go of the guilt and put the blame where it belongs. I know our son knows we love him but he has to make the choice for a better life.Only he can do that. It will always continue to be a hard journey.I will not take anything for granted. Thanks for all the support this site brings to so many people.

Patty L. says:
March 12th, 2014 at 1:45 am

I found Alanon in 1993, March, after a very dear friend, my guardian angel showed up and introduced me to a whole new way of life, after a horrifying short-term second marriage to an addict. Being born into a family with a sister, 18 months older, and a brother 7 years older, both becoming heroin users in their teens, I chose a different direction, but not after having to make a choice to stay away from drugs. I married at 20 to a marijuana user (a happy “hippy”) who was gorgeous and really talented. He had so much “potential.” I had two children with him, 5 years apart. At 27, I chose to leave after giving him an option to give up his love affair with pot and alcohol. I found out he had been a “meth” user for 2 years. Then, the short term 2nd marriage, marijuana was his gig, but highly manipulative and controlling. I spent the next 17 years in a relationship with a clean and sober man, but my codependency prevented me from successful business operations, always hiring people I could “help.”

I joked and called myself “Sister Teresa” and “Princess Diana’s” Replacement. Constantly helping, saving, and rescuing, taking charge and dominating situations to “help” and “show others” the way. I ran interference with my 17 year old daughter (2002) and she sidestepped using. My 12 year old son was already into pot. He stole from his dad. I sent him to a boarding school in Utah for a total of 27 months ($5,500 per month) to change his life. We had recovery in there and we changed our little family. I knew his father was his Red Flag and Trigger, and my son sounded like he knew. I would say, “You are Luke Skywalker, you have the practice of sobriety down, but the darkside is always lurking.”

My son came home and was on track. Within 12 months, he was sneaking off to his dad’s house and when he showed up one day, he was high and his behavior… he was in a fury. His father grimaced with an “I won” look on his face and tears streamed down mine. My words were ” you have NO IDEA what you have done.” I was devastated and my heart broke into a zillion pieces. That was 2009.

I dived back into my program truly learning “Trust God, don’t play God.” I realized I was so arrogant, I believed I had the power. As if I lost my arms and legs, I stepped aside and let my children go. They were hell bent on “hurting” me and they stayed out of my life.

Since then, my 29 year old daughter sent her 11 year old son and 8 year old daughter to live with their father. She now is a heroin addict. My son, who has a 1 year old, the mother lives in CA and won’t allow him any access, until sober. I’m very involved in the program, so I called “the men” and they reached out to him. But, he still calls me and I can see he’s not doing the steps. He had a job, a place to live, and said he was “great.” Within a few days, he was homeless, jobless, and back where he was.

My brother died from heroin in 2009. My partner went to prison for white collar crime. Both my kids are using. Their father has no accountability. With all of my time, 21 years, I still hurt. I just found out he relapsed this morning when he called and asked me if he could “hang out” with me.

I want to cry, but I don’t. I want to talk to someone, but I haven’t. I probably will soon. I’m sharing this so a reader can see that this is a one day at a time deal. My recovery and healthy commitment to myself is where I can stop the insanity. I don’t save, enable, create a crisis nor prevent one. I have no power. None. Only when they are TRULY ready and say, “I want to LIVE!” I cannot give them the will to live.

The love affair with these drugs are so fierce, that nothing… Not their babies, not the love of their family, not the love of a great mother… Is enough. They must decide.

I miss my babies, my family, so very, very much… I pray to find a great male partner. I’m very cautious and patient. I’m breaking my patterns. A man who can see this and understands how powerful awareness will create a great union… Under God. Ultimately, the ONLY thing I have left is a GREAT relationship with a Loving Heavenly Father. I talk to Jesus and believe there is more for me.

Until then, I work on myself practicing becoming a great real estate agent, my career is amazing, I am in great shape as a yoga practitioner, recovery, church, and that’s enough. I can’t wait for the day when my children return whole and healthy… Until then, I stay back. The boundary… “You do your part, I’ll do mine.” 6 months of sobriety and I can move forward with you.

I hope this helps the reader, in some way, learning that WE have a huge part in the family disease of addiction. To know how to “BE” with a heroin user as my child? Just love them… See them whole and complete. The “self blame,” guilt, and the question that “what did I do?” I sometimes play the tapes of our lives and see when I did unhealthy behaviors. I blame myself but keep it hidden. It feels like it’s my fault, even though I know better.

If anyone has any suggestions for me that you think will assist? Please share.

Claire says:
March 13th, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Please help, my son is 15 and started smoking dagga last year September. Since then he has been suspended and in November he was expelled out of a very good high school. I have found him a new school for this year, but his “friends” that were also expelled are also in the new school. I have found, a bong, and a small pipe, dagga seeds. We have always had such an open relationship, we still talk but he is more distant, which is breaking my heart. How do I get him to stop or to not mix with these other boys????

Tim says:
March 17th, 2014 at 10:51 pm

My son is 17yrs old and has drug problem. he’s in trouble with law. In addition, he is high functioning autistic, depression and borderline IQ. I understand the TOUGH LOVE but his issues and he’s only 5 foot tall, the thought of prison just breaks my heart. He’ll get abused in prison. I just cry thinking about this.

I feel so hopeless and depressed. any thoughts appreciated.

Vicki S. says:
March 23rd, 2014 at 3:45 pm

I am so thankful I found this website and especially to Ron for sharing this information. I think realizing we are not alone as parents of addicts helps all of us to cope. I received the first call from the police when my son was 16 years old. I remember saying to my husband I hope this is an isolated event but said or is the just the tip of the iceberg. Over the past 8 years I have seen the entire iceberg and it has been the biggest heart break of my life. During the 8 years I have lost my husband to cancer and often wonder if the stress of our son’s addiction somehow played a role in his father’s illness. My husband was only 48 years old when he died to leukemia. The gradual loss of my son is like a wound that just doesn’t heal. He has been to prison twice and is facing another incarceration and I am looking forward to it! I am a nurse, educated health profession but there is nothing more powerful than your connection with your children. Thanks for letting me share, really it is all we can do as parents of addicts.

Joanne says:
March 31st, 2014 at 8:50 pm

My heart goes out to everyone. Haven’t posted in a couple of years. The sadness continues doesn’t it!

Steve Shaw – your mom not only loved you here but trust me that love is continuing in the place of beauty she is in now. I am sure it breaks your heart, you suffer great pain and guilt, but how proud she will be when she meets you again and knows you beat this. You cannot change the past – only the future so don’t dwell on what you did to them, how you hurt/disappointed them etc. I never dwell on that anymore – I handle each day as it comes. Living in the past.. It’s pointless, just concentrate on what you are doing now. My son is probably around your age, early 30′s and he too has used for almost 20 years. We have stopped enabling after we finally learned and got it. Mainly because enabling only prolongs the inevitable….our children have to make a choice, they either want to live and will seek the help they need, or they don’t. The choice is theirs. Our friends’ son OD’ last year and died. He was much younger than our son so they did not have the learning curve we did. He was doing well, living at home under their roof – isn’t that a guarantee? Absolutely not, the mom was home watching a movie, assuming he was upstairs reading, the father came home from an event, went upstairs and found him dead with a needle in his arm.

As parents, we think we can fix it and we can’t – only our child with God’s help and their willingness and determination can. My son has been clean 7 months now, in a very good program he likes and is taking full use of, something he has never done before. He is playing guitar and found another “addiction” – a good one. He was out of town last time he relapsed, NO ONE would give him a ticket home and I just kept repeating the same mantra – “We love you but until you get yourself into a program, we cannot speak with you.” He found this program and we communicated again – Never did he feel unloved, they need the assurance of love to keep going forward.

Am I an idiot believing this is the end – of course not, could it be – I don’t know – I am Christian and my faith is a tremendous anchor for me. I know miracles happen – I have seen them. I know people can change – I have seen it. There is little I know for sure but I do believe that standing firm with your child, while at the same time assuring them of your love (not always easy to do), letting them take responsibility for their addiction and taking your own life back has to be part of the plan. Counseling is also of great, great help to a parent.

I believe one thing very much because I have seen the willingness my son has to change and his love for God – he has told me repeatedly, he will not be able to do this without God in his life – because of this, he will be healed in this life or in the next. Of course, with all my heart, I want it to be here in this life, but again, I have no control over this.

This is the worse, most difficult journey we have ever been on, and I will never understand the reasons. But there has been good out of all this darkness – gifts I call them, too lengthy to post here.

I am grateful each day for another day my son has lived, that right now, NOW, he is doing well and that is all we can ever ask for as a parent of an addict.

I will keep all of you in my prayers, especially once a month when my moms’ prayer group meets. Do not be discouraged – things can be better but it helps tremendously to find a good counselor who can guide you to make the difficult decisions parents of an addict need to make.

I apologize for going on so long – good thing I only post every couple of years – Joanne

Terri says:
April 6th, 2014 at 4:53 am

Thanks so much. Your website is just what I needed tonight. I have such anxiety it causes chest pain. I wake in the early morning hours and cant sleep always feel in a panic. I too feel very isolated. Not so much ashamed. I have accepted that his addiction if not my fault. I know I am a good mom. My family has stopped asking how things are. I never have anything good to say. My friends keep asking me where have you been we never see you. I keep to myself with my husband and daughter trying to keep us mentally healthy. Addiction is exhausting. My handsome 26 year old former ninja turtle Donatello son has been spiraling downward for 1 1/2 years now. He was living with his girlfriend and 3 year old daughter at her moms. Wound up in rehab early April last year, only stayed for 20 days. Nar Anon for 2 months and back on again, Oxy, Meth, weed whatever. Stole from mom in law, my self, his step dad, his little sister. Took cash advances on credit card and is no longer paying his school loan that I am responsible for. My husband and I have not let him stay with us since last June, he was homeless for 2 months last summer. My sister look him in and he stole from her. He was able to rent a room since October. He does work, somehow. I guess to feed his habit. He was arrested for shoplifting a few weeks ago, just received a summons in the mail. We have always spent time together on Sundays for dinner and just hanging out with my granddaughter. He lies to me non-stop about using, says he only smokes,I know it I can tell. I tell him I love him, I have offered to go to a meeting with him or to find a therapist he could talk to one on one. I told him to let me know when he is ready. So now my husband and I are upset he has robbed everyone who loves him and gives him a chance now he has turned to retail theft. From what I read above it only gets worse. I feel horrible that I told him he can’t come to my house anymore. I don’t want to turn my support away from him. I have learned not to be disappointed. I really want the son I know and love back. The monster is vicious and he is winning. Thanks for the information you provide. It is invaluable. I pray to God everyday and will continue to, for all of us parents and our addicts.

Myra says:
April 7th, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Hi Ron,

My son (24) has been struggling with heroine for a few years. Two years ago he went to Harmony, a 28 day rehab in Estes Park, Co.
He started using again right when he got out.
He was rendered homeless and lived in his suv that did not run. I told him to let me know when he was ready to get help and I would be there. He went to John 3:16 (a spiritual men’s bootcamp) in Arkansas last year for 6 months and came home end of Jan. 2014. His job was waiting with full benefits. We all thought he was going to stay clean. I told him he could live with me for 3 months free and save up all his money to get a place to live and transportation. He had fallen off the wagon pretty quickly unbeknownst to me. It started with him thinking he could drink alcohol and progressed to smoking heroine and now injecting. He decided and got excepted back to John 3:16 but wants to give two weeks notice and then go. He looks terrible and my fiance found heroine in his room and I think he thinks it’s ok to stay here and use until he leaves.
I am planning on telling him he has to go to John 3:16 immediately or leave my home until he leaves. Do you think that is right?

Thanks, Myra

J S Chopra says:
April 13th, 2014 at 8:27 am

Hi dear.
I am an indian and recently found that my teenager is involved in it. Very scared. He does not come for days together. Found I-kul eye drops from his bag.
Need some sincere advise. Please come back to me. Here, we do not have good rehab centers.
r k

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