My 35 year old son with AIDS was home after a short jail stint and a 5150. He smokes meth and is super unwell. I have rescued him with housing before due to what I thought was bipolar until I found pipes in his room about six years ago. When he landed this last time I was hoping he would get treatment, to no avail. His health was not good as he could not take care of himself, due to the meth use. When he was remanded to jail for missing a court date, I told him he could not come home but that we (my wife and I ) would help him get into treatment. When he was gone, we cleaned his room of all of the drugs and packed up his things. He was let out and landed at the door but I told him that he would have to go to treatment or to a motel. My wife and I paid for two weeks at a motel and I have not heard from him since. I have such mixed feelings, I do not want a front row seat to his life but I also know that he is incredibly unwell. I wonder if I did the right thing.
I’m so sorry for your struggles. I am also the mother of a 26-year old struggling with addiction. Nothing makes the journey easy. They are mentally ill - the disease of addiction affects their ability to reason in profound ways. Even though you may have seen him, mentally it sounds like he was checked out. The best is to try to get him into long-term treatment. (My son is attending inpatient rehab and we will try to get him to stay longer than 45 days) I will tell you that you cannot control his health or even whether he lives or dies. You truly don’t have that power. As a mom, I follow my heart and instincts and try to do the best while not totally sacrificing my own life and well-being. Hugs and love to you.
Thanks for asking and sharing @Peglewiswalden - I’ll start by saying it is SO hard for us to answer your question.
What I will say is that we take the approach of learning from what we see not to work and revising our approach to find what does work. If we keep trying the same approaches that aren’t working, Albert Einstein would determine that to be the definition of insanity! All that to say, if you feel this decision isn’t working then in the future let’s explore other options.
From a CRAFT* perspective, we use the influence of our relationship and behavioral change techniques to influence their behavior to change away from using. it’s harder to do that when they’re kicked out, so from the CRAFT perspective we’d prefer you had face time with him. However, we also teach about understanding our own limits so we can thrive. Because if we’re not doing well, we can’t be of much use to our loved ones. If we discovered the ‘kicking out’ was more of a decision to save our own sanity, then we’d likely want to put a plan in place to have a safe location for him to be where we could still stay in touch.
Love to share more CRAFT skill-building with you through our course - it really truly has the power to change everything, and we just got started in our next Group Cycle so it’s the perfect time to join in - HERE if you’re interested.
Your job as mother of a person struggling with addiction can get a lot easier with evidence-based skills and frameworks.
*CRAFT is a unilateral method - meaning it works with one family member or friend to effect change with a loved one.
I had the same feelings about my 18-year-old son that we kicked out. He completed intense outpatient and came home used again I put him in sober living came home relapsed again and we had no other recourse but to kick him out. He’s been sober a year and he’s got a full-time job. At the age of 19 he’s done more growing than we ever expected. It’s so tough to make the decision to kick your child out but for our sanity it was the right thing to do. He’s struggling to make ends meet but he had realized that the only way to survive is to stay sober so he can make it to work and pay his bills I could just only hope this lesson sticks
Dear Mr. Jefferson, I can hear the feelings in your words and I hope that you continue to have faith in the unseen unknowable future. It sounds like your son is making great strides and wants to succeed as you also want him to be successful. It is hard to hold your boundary- when my son first came home at 22 I insisted. I thought my will and support was enough to solve his “problem”. He had 5 years of sobriety, or so I thought. When that information was found to be “overly flattering” (let’s say) I told him he couldn’t come home and live with me. Not just because it would make for a lousy dynamic for a grown-ass man to be living like a kid with his old-ass mom, but also just for myself- in the peaceful serenity of my home, I wanted to honor the peace I have created in my house. He dealt with it, and found a way. Good luck to you, Mr. Jefferson. I can tell you love your son very much. As he heals, so will you- and you will heal as much as you allow yourself to do so.
Thank you. We are all, as loved ones of those with addiction, doing the best we can to love them without enabling them. I commend you for being able to do that. If only they realized how blessed they are to have someone who loves unconditionally. My sons father won’t even speak to him. I could never be the parent who couldn’t love their own child just as I could never be the parent who could aid in them using and risking loosing them forever. Thank you so much for sharing!