I am at the end of my rope--I have been living through my 25-year-old son's addiction to heroin for five years. With almost one year sober, a graduation from college, a decent job and a wonderful girlfriend, just when his life seemed to be taking positive turns, BAM, he is back to using--and this time, it has meant stealing money from me to feed his habit. I am so devastated, and know that there is nothing I can do to help him with this any longer. He needs to pay consequences to his actions. I know this means putting him out on the street, and this thought stresses me to no end. You see, he is also a dual diagnosis case with a mental illness. I would so welcome advice from those who have dealt with this as I know, Mr. Sheff, you have as I have read Beautiful Boy numerous times. How do I put him on the street with his paranoid fears and live with myself for doing that? I know I am not helping him by harboring him in my home, yet cannot afford many of the facilities that would be most helpful for him. I am a single parent and the only person he has left in his life to guide him through this. But, I, too, am being held hostage by his addiction. Does anyone have any words of wisdom for me? Thanks for listening.
I can completely hear your desperation and it is just the worst kind of pain. The fact that you have reached out to others on this forum shows a positive desire for you to make things right and care for yourself. My son is also an addict having been to two wilderness programs and two rehab programs as well as a hospital stay and now, the final straw my husband and I feel, is an arrest for possession. We realize now, after investing in all these programs, is that he was not 100% ready to be clean fro the long term---so do not eat yourself up for not being unable to afford a rehab. It will probably not be effective unless HE wants sobriety. Does he want it? If not, the best thing to do is nothing---detach---that doesnt mean not to love him. His mental health issues may land him in the hospital anyway. Our son is 19, we have two other children in our house-16 and 10 and having him home and supporting him was becoming a living hell-on our marriage and relationships. Now its peaceful again. We told our son we would support his him if he wanted sobriety and we love him very much, but he could no longer live in our home if he was going to continue. He packed his bags quietly three weeks ago and left. Yes, it was hellish doing this but living with an addict is like walking in your own personal hell. Hope this helps.
I may. If you are lucky, he will get into some legal trouble. Not bad enough for prison, but on a county level. I call the police on my son who was acting out in my home on New Year's eve. He was arrested for disorderly conduct. Then he was arrested again in a different incident, much more serious. I had established a history with law enforcement and let them know I felt he was both an addict and mentally ill. If they know he has a family member desperate, they will consider the situation more seriously. My son was facing prison or rehabilitation. Much of this is being done at the county's expense although the inpatient was at my expense. He also is being drug tested constantly and is living in a transitional living space, not with me. If you are in a state with a better corrections program, use them if he gets in legal trouble. The probation officers (at least in Wisconsin) can force their clients to do just about anything. Sometimes the legal system is the best answer if you can get your loved one into county jail and then probation. We have not (yet) dealt with actual prison. Call the police and have him arrested if he is committing a small crime. It seems harsh, but it's better they deal with it than me/you.
Good luck......I have felt every pain you have. It is so hard. But things can change and sometimes do.
I am sorry you have to go thru this. Our son lives with us, but we do not have any other children at home which i think makes a big difference. He has been clean for a year now (confirmed with weekly random drug tests)I absolutley hate addiction and what it does to families and society, but it is a desease and it needs to be treated. We have done just about everything to help our son. I finally had to keep it simple or i was going to snap. All i offer is treatment. I do not try to figure out what could possibly be going thru his head, what he needs to do to stay clean. I know this sounds very cold, but he now knows the rules for living at home. He has to be clean, continue to go to school and help out a bit. Do not get me wrong i love my son very much but addicts need boundries and consequences. It took me a very long time to figure that out. Always wondering when the next relasp was going to happen and what were we suppose to do was wearing me down. It is now simple - you go to treatment or leave the house.
I am in the same situation with my daughter. She has a dual diagnosis and has been to rehab 4 times. She is 22 and lives with us. I feel like a caretaker. I have started therapy for myself and am reading a book about codependency. I have learned to start taking care of myself and try not to stress about if she will relapse. She will if she chooses to and there is nothing I can do to stop it. They find a way. Huffing air duster has damaged her brain. What the future holds for her is questionable but I can support her in sobriety.