How do I keep emotionally supporting my son while dreading a conversation with him?



My 25 year old son has been across the country for the past 3 years in many rehab facilities…over and over. I have good health insurance and he is definitely working the system. One of the hardest things I have done during his addiction is removing him from my insurance. He will not be covered at the 31st this month.
He is beginning to panic because he doesn’t know how he will live. He calls begging me to keep him on my insurance. Says that he can’t make it without the rehabs and IOP’s. I think that I’ve been enabling him. He has not had to work, live on his own, pay bills…he hasn’t had to be a productive, independent citizen.
Like I believe most addicts are, he is extremely intelligent and knows how to work the system. My personal opinion is the places that he has been going are not dedicated to his recovery, but are dedicated to my insurance checks coming their way…again, my opinion.
He overdosed 2 times in the past month. Every time my phone rings, my heart stops. When it’s him, I’m so happy that he’s alive, but I so dread the conversation having to say no to money. He’s says I don’t love him because I’m not helping anymore. I’m truly terrified what will happen after he doesn’t have insurance in a couple of weeks.
He is 25, but has the mentality of what I believe to be about 13 or 14…when he started the drugs. I’m sure he truly is scared because he doesn’t have any idea how to take care of himself.
I’m rambling…so much to worry about.


Hey there @Susanl_thompson, so glad you’re here and it sounds like you’re going through a lot. I can relate - my brother lived in another country and it’s so hard to be supportive when you’re far away. My family paid for him to go to so many rehabs as well, but eventually found that individual therapy and a good addiction psychiatrist worked best for him. In order to avoid him using the money for drugs they paid the providers directly, this way they were supporting him without condoning his negative using behaviors. And over time, he found a job and a community that helped him stay committed to his recovery.

Since you’ve been going through this and are still here trying to help it’s clear that you have resilience which is SO HELPFUL in managing what you’re going through on a day to day basis. This quality helps you bend without breaking, maintain mental calmness, health, strength, and gives the ability to bounce back after a set-back or disappointment. This is gained through self-care and recognizing what you can and cannot control.

I wonder, is there any way you can be supportive without condoning the negative behaviors? For example create conditions for helping him get the treatment he needs, such as getting a job, doing productive things daily, live on his own and pay his bills? And if he agreed and began showing he was doing these things, would you be willing to keep him on your insurance? I’m in no way saying you must, but having good insurance could help support his recovery. On the other hand, you setting the boundary of not having him on your insurance could act as a motivator for him to make positive changes. In addition I think you can ask him to consider carrying Narcan due to the recent overdoses, maybe reach out to his friends where he lives and ask them to have it on hand too. There is a previous thread on Narcan here that may be helpful for you.

There are options for him that are state funded that he can look into, and you could help him if you feel comfortable - it’s not enabling if you’re supporting him making positive changes. This website resource from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides information for every state so those without insurance can find support. He can also look into free local support groups that are all over the country in the next few weeks to get acclimated to them before he doesn’t have insurance.

I wish I had an easy straightforward answer for you, but I’m sure as you know it’s a journey with both ups and downs, and we unfortunately can’t predict the future. How would you feel about considering any of the above? Continue to let him know you love him and want him to have a fulfilling happy life, even if he says you don’t love him because you won’t support him financially. Find ways to express this love and support that work for you, whether it be daily texts, phone calls, or letters. Being empathetic and non judgmental, as well as avoiding arguing will be helpful as well! At the least I’d advise looking into state funded support where he lives as well as local support groups he can integrate into. Thinking of you and please keep us posted. :yellow_heart:


Thank you so much for you encouraging words and helpful information. We are actually familiar with the state funded places. Last year he overdosed and ended up in a detox/ psychiatric hospital for 2 weeks. When I found out where he was, my brother that lives 2 hours from him drove up to get him upon his discharge. He was in horrible shape…112 pounds, no shirt, no shoes, pajama pants and 1 contact. Anyway, when they got back to San Diego, no one would take him since he had not used drugs in the past 3 days. CRAZY!! Such a racket. That’s when we discovered the state funded places.
I consider each day adding him back on my insurance. It’s a big struggle for me. When I face the reality, it’s been 3 years. Again, he’s so smart and I believe his thinking is- why get a job and support myself when I can live free. Every time it’s time for his to be finished with IOP, he relapses. I tend to think it’s because he’s scared because he doesn’t know how to take care of himself.
It’s such a struggle, but I can’t have him come back to VA and live with me. Not until he is clean and sober.
I will suggest the Narcam to him.


You are a good & loving mom @Susanl_thompson.

I agree with @erica that not being on your insurance could act as a good motivator for him to make a change. Of course, it must feel so hard for you to say no to your son, and I think that getting kicked out the nest (so to speak) could be a positive driver here.

Is he living with you right now? If not, what’s a good way for you to stay connected to him while you go through this insurance transition?


He doesn’t live with me anymore. He lives across the country.

Sadly, and shame in me, I had quit calling for a bit fearing what he would say/ask for.

We spoke 2 weeks ago and I told him how much I love him and that he was going to get sick of me because I was going to call him everyday. 2 days later he relapsed. He got out of detox and contacted me. 2 days later, he contacted me with another phone number (I cannot even tell you how may phones/phone numbers that he’s had). That was on Sunday. I’ve called him everyday since and it goes straight to voicemail.

I contacted his girlfriend and she said that he switched to a new IOP and can’t have his phone for a week. Who knows if that is true. She is very sweet and she is putty in his hands. She believes everything he says. I get that. I did the same thing with his father for many years.

I will continue each day trying to reach him and assure him that he’s loved and encourage him that he can make it.

I won’t stop reaching out to him again. That was such a selfish thing for me to do. I was thinking of me and not him.


Hey again @Susanl_thompson. Something that stood out to me was you saying:

IOP stands for Intensive Outpatient - I have extensive experience working in IOP settings and because its “outpatient” we never took phones away or anything like that. Is there any way to get the name of the IOP?


Also, want to highlight this great suggestion:


Brave of you for posting and sharing your story. I let my son go or pushed him out of the house literally and he became homeless for a short period of time. He was able to get services being indigent. Yes, it is so, SO very hard to not enable as our basis instinct is to assist and help for our family members. Hang in and I wish you peace!


Thank you, @Marie_Marie! I appreciate you sharing your difficult experience. I hope your son is doing well.


There is a place in McPherson kansas called The omega project “live free ministries” it’s a program that lives the one another life style and the material teaches things that will help him cope with the issues that he has. Most of the time when we suffer in life with addiction it’s because of the things from our child hood. These things we dont realize. But this program will help him if he is willing to help himself. The pastor is Daivid Case and he will help anyone that is willing to help themselves… direct message me for details.


Thank you so much. You said the key words…if he is willing to help himself. I will definitely keep this information.


Your so welcome @Susanl_thompson. I attend the program and I played the victim mentality/roll and the pastor help me and many others understand there driver towards drugs and alcohol.


I so empathize with your situation. We all have to make impossibly hard decisions when it comes to our children, especially when they are not mature adults even though their age says they should be (my 28 year old son is really about 17 mentally/emotionally).

There are a lot of shady rehabs out there, the key is to find a good one. Would you consider giving your son one last chance if he were to go to a very reputable and successful rehab? I happen to know of one that is excellent, but I don’t have insurance so my son has never had that option. If you want to know more about it you can message me. I’m not affiliated with it in any way but I attend a weekly meeting that is very unique - half the people there are parents of addicts (living or passed away) and the other half are the young men from this particular rehab. If you want to know about it, let me know.

The only reason I suggest this is because last night I was at that meeting and saw the progress in these guys and for years have heard “there is no other place like this”). I would give anything for my son to get in there but its not possible (I’m unemployed, on Medi-Cal). State/County funded programs are a place to live, but they just don’t have the resources to do a really good job (in my opinion - my son has been to several and several private pays when I had a job and the difference is like night and day).

Whatever you decide, feel good about your decision. We all want what’s best - we all struggle with knowing what to do. You know your son better than anyone. Best of luck to you.


This program is free and it also allows us as people to evaluate things…


Love this @AnthonysMom. I’m honestly moved by the support we share in this Community. It sounds like you & @Susanl_thompson have a shared experience here - thank you for contributing what you know!


I would love the information @AnthonysMom! It sounds like a place that I wanted him to go to, but he refused because instead of being 30 days, theirs is at least 120 days. However, that was a year ago. Thank you!


@Susanl_thompson, its called “A Better Life” and is in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
Their number is (844) 522-7887.

Of course the most important thing is that they are willing to go and to do the work on themselves once they get there. I am hoping the very best for your son. Keep us posted.


I hope everything goes well and that you get a hold of him soon. I’ve worked at rehabs and visited MANY, and ABL has a special feeling about it - a brotherhood sort of. Keep us posted!


Thank you so much @AnthonysMom! I’ve been looking at their website. As soon as I can get in contact with my son, I am going to talk to him about it.