Son relapsed - Feeling defeated!


It’s been a while since I’ve posted… and I am here to vent and to get encouragement. I have two adult children who struggle with SUD and it’s been a long road for us as parents. I’m plugged into a recovery group that I attend weekly and have supportive friends, but sometimes I grow tired of being THAT friend that always has a problem. Hopefully someone can relate, so I’m here to post my feelings and unload.

My daughter is currently in a long-term treatment program, and we have temporary custody of her youngest in the meantime. She’s doing great and sticking with her program and I’m working on being supportive and using my tools to not allow my resentments to impact her progress. I’m very grateful for where she is today.

My son has been clean-ish (aka not using his drug of choice) for a good period of time, but has now slipped back into old patterns. He’s one who takes a deep dive and goes all in. While he doesn’t live in our home he finds ways to get in and helps himself to things and then I’m forced to hunt through the house to see what’s missing and deal with the impact. We forbid him from coming here, we put boundaries in place, and he ignores it all and does as he pleases. It causes problems with my husband and I, causes me anxiety, it’s hard to focus at work, I could go on and on. It stinks having to put locks on things in your own home and have to secure keys, etc. every night before going to bed just in case he breaks in somehow.

This road to my recovery has been tough. Our kids have done some very damaging things and each time they clean up, we push our resentments to the side, help get things straightened out, started to rebuild trust… and then relapse and wham. Back at square one. I have the responsibility of a minor child (my daughter’s) for the first time in many years, a full-time job, a life… yet I feel like all I do is pick up the pieces while trying to sew my broken heart back together. And being the rock for the kiddos and others around me.

I know the things I need to do to take care of me, I know I’m in control of diffusing things with my husband, I can change the locks… I know all of this. Yet, I want to just scream and throw my hands in the air and buy a one-way ticket to somewhere, anywhere, that I can bury my head in the sand! I am tired, literally, of the up and downs and back and forth and limiting vs. giving and trusting vs. protecting, and and and… today is a day I’m just completely frustrated and filled with hurt and resentment and TIRED of forgiving!

Can anyone relate?!?!?


Yes absolutely, my husband is on a two day binge of drinking & couch surfing & blaming me for all of it. He just returned from 30-day treatment at a luxury center & lasted about 3 weeks & is a dry drunk since returning but didn’t expect this relapse. It’s been years of drama now & trying to keep the secrets from his prominent job & community which makes it all the more difficult. I just want to sell the house & run far away but fear of being a failure in my 3rd marriage is keeping me from ending this, and I love him & also depend on him financially. Just started my own business but won’t pay the bills alone. There isn’t a lot of help for what to do when they return home & what to expect, so Al-Anon helps but hard not to get hurt, feel used, and neglected through all of this blame game drinking drama. Prayers someone has some helpful advice for you, and me both. Healing wishes!


I hear you and understand completely, especially the feeling tired.
A couple years ago I said I would be supportive of my son and work on my boundaries and our communication and kind of give it as much attention as possible until I turned 70, yes my son is 39, and I will turn 70 in 2 months…the clock is ticking and not that much can happen in 2 months but maybe this deadline will light a fire under me. I am seeing a therapist now…

Sounds like you need to recharge! Can you arrange a day of respite from minor care and get a little pampering?
Tell him one last time…if he steals from you you will change the locks …and then do it right away.

I have taken baby steps with setting boundaries, jcause I wasn’t good at it. by taking small measures it helped me build my confidence to continue setting boundaries and gave my son time to adjust. Maybe that’s not the best way to do it though.

It helps me to know that there are other mom’s out there with similar problems. So wishing you and your son and family all the best.



Deanna! I am so happy to see your name on these boards! Great to hear from you :beetle:

  • I’m so dashed to hear your news of your son’s drug use flame up. It’s so tiring and such a punch in the gut, I am really sorry that you have this to contend with the fallout of this over and again- You are already on some lists for most patient and most willing to forgive and forget…

Great news about your daughter and wow having your granddaughter living with you- It is such a precious gift you are giving both of them, your husband and yourself. It;'s no picnic-for sure. Full disclosure-I am envious that you have a grandchild. My adult married daughter does not want to have children at this point (she’s 34) and my son does but he has to find a special someone first.

Who helps you? I’m sorry your son is stealing. That really stinks. I am more detached from my son now- he lives many states away from me and we talk once a week. He is getting his shit together and super super lonely because he hasn’t been able to be social in recovery and it affects his outlook and he suffers.

"I have to let him push his own rock up the hill because if I try to help him,
mine will roll down to the bottom, too. " - Mom of Sisyphys

Hugs to you, @Deanna1. I hope you get some space and you get a break from all this.


Thank you all! It’s helpful to have a place to vent. While I do seek recovery for my role in this as a co-dependent, parent/family member impacted, I sometimes find it hard to figure out what’s mine in all of this when my reactive actions are caused by the actions of others. It’s the hardest to love those we love when their choices impact us in such a negative way. Sometimes I’m just amazed at the amount of feelings our hearts can tolerate without actually and physically shattering and falling into a million pieces outside of our bodies.

I saw another quote today that hit home with me: Today I will love myself enough to give up a struggle over something that is out of my hands.


Hi @Deanna1 - I’m sorry to hear about your son’s slip! Sending you love. How are you doing today?

I can definitely relate to the exhaustion and the anxiety… we work so hard and then it does feel like we’re starting over sometimes. But I want to remind you that you’re not back at square one. A slip or a relapse doesn’t erase all of the hard work that you, your son, your family has put into recovering together. You’re not back to the beginning because like you said, you now have a support system, a community, and the tools to get through this. It still hurts and it’s still so, so hard. But you can get through it. You can move forward.

A setback is often an indication that something is working right. Can you think of anything that might have triggered the slip?


Thank you @momentsandlight for the encouragement. It’s hard to see through the fog sometimes, as the relapses sometimes do create a feeling of hopelessness on my end. The further we get from it, the more my emotions seem to stabilize, which is good. What I have a hard time with is the feeling of great loss I have… mourning in a way of the loss of a healthy relationship and the peace that comes with my loved ones actively seeking recovery.