How to cope with an addicted child



My son wears me down over and over. How to cope?

My son is an addict. He was clean for a year and a half. Then he started back on drugs four months ago. He has gone to detox only to leave after a few days. I have tried to get him to go to a program but there are always lies and excuses. Today he called in tears because he was sick from the drugs. I tried to get him to call a crisis line. He won’t. He is threatening to buy Street drugs because I won’t send him money for suboxon, which he plans to buy on the street. I told him I was through sending money because it has only enabled him to continue using and he just lies to me. His threat now is that hopefully he won’t overdose as he hasn’t used drugs in a while. I know that’s a possibility and it’s killing me inside but I can’t keep sending money. If I knew where he was I would call the crisis line myself. When is it ok to say no? How do I cope with the consequences? A mom feeling lost.

Is it wrong to throw an adult child out knowing he'll be homeless?

Oh, my, how well I understand, and feel your pain deep within my soul. My son was/ is addicted to pain killers for years and lived with his dad and me. I also was taking one prescribed Vicodin a day. ( I didn’t ever take the max, so I built up an extra supply. I held on to his pills to help him stay within his limit. Every single day, he would plead for one or even two more. Usually I gave in, convincing myself that he would have to suffer the consequences of running out before his next prescription was due. I guarded my purse every minute of every day, because if I hid our pills in the house, he found them and stole a handful or more.
At the end of each month, he was out.
I would warn him ahead of time, then on the day he was out began the real manipulation.
He had a good job. He would complain that he couldn’t go without. He would insist that he wouldn’t be able to work without pills. I feared that he would lose his job. He would say that he would have to take his chances and buy them on the street. Of course, he knew that I would immediately think of the fentanyl crisis, and the young people dying.
So each month, I would give him pills, one day at a time, to get him through. I would “teach” him a lesson by limiting it to three. But they were my pills that I was giving to him. I felt guilty and remorseful, but a mother has to keep even her adult child safe, right?
It all imploded in on us when one morning, he got a DUI. He was also drinking, and I didn’t realize how much. He lost his job.
To shorten this long response, he went to rehab, only because his girlfriend, father and I insisted. We had kicked him out of the house. He had nowhere else to go.
I learned a lot when he was in rehab. Of course, I knew that I had been enabling him. ( Don’t you hate that accusation, when all you’re doing is the best you can to keep your child alive, and you really don’t know what else to do?) It is a horrible, vicious cycle.
While he was in rehab, I learned that the only way he could and would end this cycle was for me to refuse to ever give him another pill, or allow him to drink alcohol while living with us. ( He has no where else to go, so he would be homeless. ) When he was first out of rehab, he kept asking for just one pill. It wasn’t hard for me this time to say no. And simply say “ You would become addicted again. I can’t be a part of that ever again.”
But I had my supply and was terrified that he would get to them. I finally just quit taking them, turned all of my pills over to the police department drop off, and told my son they were gone. After a few days, he believed me. He complains of pain, but doesn’t ask anymore.
It has only been about five or six weeks. I know that he is struggling. He has no job. No money. We provide him with a room and food, but can’t give him money.
I’m curious. Could you go with him to get Suboxon in a prescription form? Or does he struggle with being addicted to that as well? My son is not taking it.
Do you have any leverage to get him back in to rehab to detox? It is extremely courageous of you to have said no. It may be the one step that plants a seedling to have him decide to get well. Let’s pray for one another, and for all of us who face this impossible decision when loving someone struggling with addiction.


Thank you for your heartfelt reply. It is heartbreaking watching our children live lives we never imagined for them. My son is currently living about two hours away from me. To be honest, I don’t know where he is exactly. He left a two year program, after completing a year and a half, and went back to the streets. He is 27 now and started down this road at 13. That was the longest he was clean without being in jail. I finally did talk him into going to detox, but the question is, will he stay this time? He has gone for a few day but then leaves. To answer your question, he has told me that he uses both Suboxone and drugs to prevent getting sick. The ache a mother feels never goes away for her child but I am trying to work on me staying strong. I’ve realized I can’t control his choices but I can control my response to him. It’s just so hard.


Hi - It’s good to hear that your son has had that clean time. Recovery is possible. I’m sorry that he’s struggling now and that you’re in this situation, not knowing what the outcome will be. The unknown is incredibly scary.

When the scary thoughts and “what-if’s” start taking over, is there something you can do ground in the present moment? Worrying about what could happen can often take us away into a narrative that holds no truth, and only makes us crazy and lonely and confused and lost. What is something true you can hold onto, instead?


This is so true - Good for you for trying to develop your communication and responses to your son. It is no picnic. The pain we feel as parents is so sorrowful sometimes it’s hard to say goodby to our “dreams” for how it could have been. Your son stayed clean for a long time and you just don’t know- tomorrow he may have an epiphany and want a different life for himself.

My efforts to help my son were well-intended, but my son became sober when what he wanted for himself, i.e., a girlfriend, an education, a car- outweighed his desire to continue hiding from himself. It has been a long road and there is a long road ahead

#6 I am in the same boat! My daughter was clean and sober for about the same amount of time and has been actively using again for some time now. Thankfully with her, when she’s using I don’t hear from her. I say thankfully, because as her mom it rips my heart out to see her in this condition so it’s easier for me to not see her. I hate to admit that and it really stinks to have to feel that way. My son is also an addict, and he is the one who uses the emotional manipulation to tug at my heart strings, and it’s worked and I’ve given in more times than I can count. I applaud you for sticking to your “no” on giving financial support. When we send money, we know where that goes. It’s hard to say no, and it’s hard to NOT beat ourselves up when we do.

I am sad that you’re going through this. I’m sad that our loved ones can’t see how much more difficult they make things - on themselves.

I attend recovery groups weekly and it’s helpful for me as it helps me to keep my own peace front of mind. One thing I hear from the others there is that us saving them from the natural consequences of their choices might “feel ok” to us in the moment (bc of that dang mom guilt in watching them fall), but really isn’t doing them any favors. It’s hard, bc we know the consequences can be big or small and as moms we don’t want to see that. But for me, when I give in and say YES when my gut says NO, it transfers the problem from them to me and that doesn’t feel good either.

When I coulda/woulda/shoulda myself to death - which I do ALOT - I reach out to trusted friends, I attend a recovery group, I read posts on this site, I do anything that distracts my mind from the worst case to something that inserts hope into the situation. Hang in there. And keep letting it out, whether it’s here or outside of here. You’re not alone! I’m sending cyber hugs from one lost mom to another.


@, how are you doing today? I feel your pain and am sending you strength, you are not alone. Your son took a huge step and made substantial progress and hopefully he will find his way back there again. My son hasn’t.
I think we Moms have to do what feels right in that moment for us, even if we know there is a better choice. This struggle is hard for all concerned and we will all keep trying to do our best. Take care of yourself.


@PeerGroup3 & @PeerGroup4 @PeerGroup5-

I have good news! It’s not your fault!
You might be connected to the problem, but it’s not all on you.

This PSA sent by @Thinkstet. Happy Spring, all and all .


Thank you @Thinkstet, for making the statement that it is not my fault. I think that guilt is the underlying theme of most of the family members. My husband asked me, not long ago, “ Did I cause this?” I first thought, “ Of course not. I’m the mother, I caused it. “
It’s true that we are each connected to the problem. But this is no more my fault then it was when my child got his first ear infection. I’ll never forget being a new mom, going to my first sick baby pediatrician visit. The wise Pediatrician recognized my anguish and guilty feelings. He so very kindly said, “Great catch, Mom! “ Those simple words took away my anxiety and guilt. So maybe my husband and I didn’t “catch” the addiction as it was beginning. Once we realized, we responded, making some mistakes along the way, but by carefully listening, searching for answers, and practicing the methods we were learning, we have begun taking steps toward recovery.
And I’m going to keep assuring myself that it isn’t my fault that this happened in our family.


Thank you for all the replies. This a hard road to go down. Unfortunately I’m not as strong as I hoped and I’ve given in again. The worst part was my son threatened to overdose on sleeping pills if I didn’t help him because he couldn’t handle getting sick. Talk about the fear taking over! I have begged and pleaded for him to go to detox. He is on probation and has a violation because he left the long term program. He can either turn himself in and be looking at 90 days, or he will face 2 years if he is actively searched for.

The tug so hard at those heart strings. They make empty promises. Do they mean on breaking them?

Thank you @Thinkstet for saying it’s not our fault. Sometimes it’s just nice to hear that, because as a mother, we do carry the guilt.

I’m just taking it a day at a time and trying to cut myself some slack if I do break down and try to help. Sadly I think the only way is to block his number. I can’t seem to find the strength to stay strong no matter how hard I try.


“I didn’t “catch” the addiction”?
I know the “Mom” guilt! Through recovery meetings, for myself, I have learned to let go of blaming myself. It was very hard.
Also, the thought of ‘catching’ the addiction feels kind of like the same thing. Was it possible to stop it if I knew he was going down that road? :thinking: For me, accepting my son has an alcohol addiction has enabled me to seek help for me, which has greatly helped everything else. I hope this makes sense and helps others. Thank you for sharing.


That’s good. As frightening as time in jail sounds it may just be the catalyst your son needs to make decisions about how to move forward in his life. I hope it happens like that- that he goes in, he gets a magical anointing of complete determination and turns his life around.


I am also lost…you’re not alone. We are all here because we are just trying to navigate the waters of addiction of our loved ones without getting lost at sea ourselves. I’m thankful for the flares that this support group has provided to me. When I get overwhelmed, I shoot one into cyberspace and someone sends me usually exactly what I need to read to recenter myself.


Back in the day, they used to say, "Parenting is the hardest job you will ever have and there is no instruction manual. * Well, parenting a child with a substance abuse disorder is 100 times more difficult than anything else and still no manual.*
So yes, we need to cut ourselves some slack.
I beat myself up for a long time, “if only I had” …and that the last 15 years of my life were all negative! Finally I looked at that overwhelmingly negative viewpoint and kind of just decided that it was so ridiculous to think that way, especially since it wasn’t true… It helps that I am a positive person, but even so it took me a long time to get to a better place.
I still feel a lot of pain, only occasionally now though, for my son.
I think it is our obligation to educate ourselves about this issue and to take care of ourselves first and foremost.
Oh, and as a mom who has had both children in jail before, it’s not so bad and could give time to re-evaluate which road to take when he is released


@seapa you always bring value to this forum. Thank you for the encouragement and positive outlook. And your directness and diligence. You are modeling ways of being that I hope to practice with my loved ones .


I think there are so many people in this Village Community who ask themselves the same exact question. You are not alone, and connection makes us stronger.

How are you all doing today @seapa @Alair @JoMama @Deanna1?


Thank you @Thinkstet for the kind words. I don’t think that I am that good of a model because I have so much more to learn to get where I would like to be, but I am positive and tenacious and that keeps me going