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Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?



teqa
peq
Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
I have had a very rocky road with my oldest son. He (T) was due in court today at 9:30 and I get up this morning and he never came home. His cell is shut off. I have been working really hard at staying out of his crap however I feel that I may be enabling him. This week he did not pay room and board as he said he knew he would have court fees and he would pay double next pay day and of course I let it go. He was out of control at the age of 16 and we put him in a private lock down boarding school. He was violent in the home punched holes in walls, kicked doors in, was physical with his father. We knew he was smoking pot and then he wrote a confession letter and we found out he was doing a lot of drugs. He was at the school for 16 months and graduated the program. He lasted 5 weeks at home and took his exit from our home, didn't want to live within the family values or follow simple family rules. About 6 months later he moved back home. The agreement was he was to be working full time and pay 50 a week room and board. When in our home he was to live by our values, Trust, Respect, honesty, integrity, education, and fun. We worked together as a family on these values and they are defined - they are also posted on the fridge. We don't have a curfew for him we pretty much treat him like and adult. He has to work so if he gets in late and is late for work he can answer to his boss. Since his return home I know he still smokes pot, everyday, and drinks on the weekends. I did ask that if he was planning on staying out all night to just let us know. Up until last night he has always done this. I couple of times when he was getting in at 4 a.m., which is when I get up, I have talked to him. I have noticed signs of speed use, or it could be coke. The jaw moving, the eyes darting around. I feel that he violated an agreement with me last night by not calling. I also don't feel that he is living with integrity. He knew he had a court date and choose to go out and party and blow off court. He worked on MLK day and got a floating holiday to use for today. Do you all think it's time to exit him from our home again? When he is in the home he is pleasant and a lot of fun to be around, for me; him and hubby still don't get along to well. Both boys avoid hubby as he tends to be a rage aholic. He does what I ask him and shows up at every family event.
Am I enabling him by letting him live at home? He is applying for colleges next year and I'd love to support him on this however if he goes and just parties then it's just a waste. He seems to have goals however I wonder if it's just telling me what I want to hear. Any and all feedback is welcome
     Replies...
Tender
hearts
KS
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
Quote:
The agreement was he was to be working full time and pay 50 a week room and board. When in our home he was to live by our values, Trust, Respect, honesty, integrity, education, and fun. We worked together as a family on these values and they are defined - they are also posted on the fridge. We don't have a curfew for him we pretty much treat him like and adult.

Please explain to me where trust, respect, honesty, and integrity come in to play while he is still using.

I see you as sending mixed messages. You says it's 'okay' if he doesn't come home as long as he lets you know. So in other words, it's okay to continue in his addictions outside of the home, as long as he informs you he won't be home that night?

I'm just trying to understand here.
My oldest daughter will be 29 this month, still actively using.
I gave her a chance 3 years ago when she got out after serving 9 months on meth-related charges.
The rules were: no drugs/drinking, actively look for a job, work a program of recovery. She also had a curfew. Adult or not, she was living in MY house, and if she didn't like the rules, she was free to leave.
She violated all the rules, was promptly shown the door, and that was the end of that.

Tough love IS tough, but it's the best thing we can do for the addict.

My parents darned near loved me to death because they were uninformed about addiction.

Just my two cents 

luve
piphany
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
Yes, I think he violated the agreement. What was the punishment or result of a violation? Gotta stick to your guns-he would be getting that outside of your home.

You know that addiction is progressive...blowing off court isn't the worst thing in the world (I'm sure many irresponsible people do that without drugs and alcohol, though I don't know any) but he needs to deal with those consequences himself or he will never learn. Sounds like his addiction is progressing downwards again. It sounds like it's bothering you and taking up your time...that's not a good thing, is it?

I know this is a huge decision and you need to work through it thoughtfully-good luck! This is the place to get a well rounded consensus.
imlost
inky
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
Patty:

Quote:


The agreement was he was to be working full time and pay 50 a week room and board.

has he lived up to that agreement?

Quote:


When in our home he was to live by our values, Trust, Respect, honesty, integrity, education, and fun.

You say you posted this and they are all defined- were you specific on the fun? Did you forbid alcohol and drug use?
If not, then that would be meeting his idea of fun.

Quote:


I have noticed signs of speed use, or it could be coke. The jaw moving, the eyes darting around.
have you questioned him about this?
Quote:
He knew he had a court date and choose to go out and party and blow off court.
Then when it is time for him to get the consequences from that, leave him to handle it himself.

Quote:


Both boys avoid hubby as he tends to be a rage alcoholic

Oooo, that isn't good. Could very well explain why son doesn't get along with Dad.
How are you doing with that one? Are you okay?

I don't feel you are at all unreasonable in your boundaries. It is your home, you have the right to determine what you will allow and what you will not.
I do think you need to be very specific.
and honestly, I think having hubby be a raging alcoholic is undermining your goals.
His behavior undermines your credibility. I know - I had the same problem when raising my boys.

You can't fix or control your husband or your son- all you can do is determine what you will allow and what you will not.
If you feel it is time for your son to leave, then it is time for your son to leave.
It is just really hard to expect our children to follow guidelines that we ourselves do not live by.
Children live what they see- not what they hear.
I learned that one the hard way. I expect you will too.

teqa
peq
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
My husband and I sat down and wrote the values first, my husband is a drinker and did not want sobriety as a family value.

I have learned to step back from my husbands rage. I don't take it personnel, the kids have learned this as well. Before T went away he would rage just like his father. The school really taught him how to control his anger. Dad's rage is not as frequent as it use to be. It went from daily to once or twice a month now. He is getting better, yet the boys still don't open up to him and pretty much avoid him. He is also gone a lot as he travels with work.

I guess fun for the kid would be drinking, Seems we need to have a family meeting and work on redefining our values. Although fun was that as a family at least once a month we do something together as a family, me and the boys do this, dad generally does not participate. He's either away or has an excuse.

I have questioned T about his drug use, he tells me he doesn't use hard drugs anymore that he only smokes pot and drinks. However been there done that, the drinking and the pot always brought me back to the speed.

The hubby is a rage aholic not an alcoholic. In the 22 years we have been together I have only seem him drunk on 5 occasions. He drinks beer and is social drinker. In fact he only drinks Budweiser and if we go somewhere and they don't have bud he gets a soda or water.

I know that once again I am letting fear and the "what ifs" run me. I work hard to let go and to not get to this place yet this morning it was like auto pilot.

I will continue reading all feedback and give it 24 hours before I even try to think about talking to T. I need to get neutral and not let my emotions be running me when I sit down to talk to him.
So much
guilt
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
I truly feel you have enabled your son. And you have sent mixed messages. You are allowing him to violate your rules.
When you set rules and they get violated, the consequences have to be put in force. When you give in to your children, who becomes in control? Them...... You have to be consistent and that comes with following thru on consequences for not following the rules.
Your son was also to live by your values. Are your values drinking and smoking pot? Because that statement didn't seem to be a big concern of yours.
I will be praying for you and your family to make it thru these times.
God Bless
teqa
peq
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
I have let go of T's choices. He's going to do what he's going to do. I don't approve of the drinking or the pot smoking and he knows that. He doesn't do it in the home. I really try to stay out of what he does outside of the home. I have no control over it. I have control over what happens in my home. He was exited before and knows we will do it again. The thing is I don't see the anger or the mood swings we saw in the past. I had asked him to call me if he wasn't coming home as a courtesy and had not added that to the list of reasons he would be given an exit. It will be added.

I am loving all the responses as I can clearly see that I am once again falling into that enabling pattern. Thank you for your honesty. I kinda thought I was but ya know I still have that addict brain that can justify and make excuses for any of my behavior. I will continue to read any responses and get clear with myself. I have gotten to that neutral place and will discuss the issue with hubby tonight. I will then talk to T tomorrow after work. I need to clean up the boundaries.
Tender
hearts
KS
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
Quote:
I have let go of T's choices. He's going to do what he's going to do. I don't approve of the drinking or the pot smoking and he knows that. He doesn't do it in the home. I really try to stay out of what he does outside of the home. I have no control over it. I have control over what happens in my home. He was exited before and knows we will do it again. The thing is I don't see the anger or the mood swings we saw in the past.

Why in the world would he be willing to work any kind of recovery, or discontinue his drinking/using when he has no reason to? He knows he has a safe place to go, a roof over his head, food to eat. Think about it. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Okay, so you don't see the anger or mood swings you saw in the past...yet. Sometimes we addicts can manage to 'pull it together' well enough to pacify our enablers. However, we know the addiction only continues to get worse over time.

My youngest was taken out of the home and put into state custody when she was 15 after she ran off with a 24 year old in the middle of the night. She knew I couldn't stay up 24/7 and would sneak out in the middle of the night. She was failing school. She was depressed, would go into rages, and had zero respect for me.

Although her time in lockup/foster care was very difficult for both of us, it was just what she needed. She realized that home wasn't so bad after all, there was a better way to live, and today we have a good relationship here at home.

She also knows the rules and follows them. She has far too much to lose if she screws up again.

I just see absolutely zero incentive for your son to act any differently than he is now.

teqa
peq
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
Tenderhearts

You are right. Why change when he gets his cake and eats it too. I have really got to look at what is running me with this kid. I have really setup a non-working situation for this kid. I have to get tough. Thanks so much for your honesty I truly need to hear all of this.
Tender
hearts
KS
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
Teq, I think we as parents only want to help our own children as much as possible! It is so very hard to 'detach' when it comes to our own kids.

I can only share my personal experiences here at home, what has worked, what hasn't worked.

You say he already blew off a court date. That is a sign of much worse things to come. You know it, and I know it.

After I showed my oldest the door the first time, I SWORE I would never let her back in. A month later she got kicked out of where she was staying, and asked to stay for a few days. That ended being almost another month, and that second time, I caught her smoking dope in my house (I came home early from running chores) with some unknown man I had never seen before. Out the door she went again, and that time I changed the locks. She is no longer welcome to stay in my home.

The BEST thing that ever happened to me is when I ran out of enablers, had to face the consequences of my own actions, and finally hit a bottom.

By allowing the addicts in our life to continue 'using' us, we only prolong the active addiction.

I have come too far in my own recovery to allow someone else to use me, rob me of peace of mind, and disrespect me. 
imlost
inky
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
Patty, me too.

Quote:


It really sucks to watch your kid playing with the same fire that burned you.

Yes it does.
So far I had been lucky my kids did good. I see my tall son reaching for the bottle more and more these days- in the interest of the party.
It is scary.
I feel for you Mom. Still in the same boat as I had been- it's better now. The drunks don't happen often.
But yeah those drunks did a number on us all in them early years. Been a hard bridge to cross.

DeVon is right- why change? And yes I agree with you, got to get specific on what defines the fun.
If you see him headed on the same road, all you can do is tell him what you lived - and put up road blocks.
He will do as he will do. I'd like to think my kids learn from my mistakes- but they don't.
It isn't my lessons they remember- it is theirs.

I have a lot of respect for you Patty. I did before this day, I have more so now.

teqa
peq
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
Quote:
Please explain to me where trust, respect, honesty, and integrity come in to play while he is still using.

LOL It doesn't. I can justify his behavior as much as i can my own.

You see I look at as in the house. I see huge improvement in this kids since his 6 months out on his own. However I am starting to see him slipping. This kid was so violent that we had to have him escorted out of our home, it was the worst entire day of my life. He is always pleasant and fun at home. I love spending time with him and my other son. He seems to be enjoying life. He works full time, and pays his room and board, he is applying to college for the fall. He generally goes out 1 night on the weekend and I don't wait up for him. Even during the week I don't wait up for him, I go to bed and I sleep fine. He is at best a weekend warrior. One of his friends parents are out of town and I'm guessing that they were partying last night. He did go to court today. He called and I asked why he didn't let me know he was staying at R's. He said he fell asleep watching a movie and woke up at 2:30 and didn't want to wake me. I asked why didn't you call this morning he said that he woke up late and just ran out and forgot his cell phone. So I also jumped to conclusions. However I see that I really need to reel this kid back in. The boundaries are getting to loose. He knows all about my drugs and alcohol problems. Yet he is in denial about my disease. He actually tried to tell me that I was not an addict. He was only 2 when I got sober, he doesn't have a clue. He knows my problems started in Jr. High, best friend who died in June grandmother had emphysema and had prescription dexies. He also has known my best friend and her daughter his entire life. He knows What E (the daughter has gone thru) I have told him stories how we started out as weekend users as well. Yet he says but you made it thru college and had a house and a good job so it's not like you were an addict. I try to explain to him how I had lost myself and if I had stayed on the road I was on it was just a matter of time before I started losing everything else. I explained to him how unhappy I was and I was angry all the time, yelling and blaming everybody for my misery. I was a flipping raging lunatic. He has no memory of this, thank god, and refuses to even accept it. However when he was in the school he did remember being really scared once when I didn't come home for a couple days. I'm rambling.
Is the kid an addict? I think he has addiction tendencies and he is playing with fire. I think if he wasn't living in our home he would be drinking and partying more and could cross that line. I'm am praying that he gets accepted to a school soon and goes to college come the fall. He is a smart kid and even if he is an addict in the making it won't hurt to have a good education to fall back on. My fear is that he won't go to school if I exit him from the house. I know I have to let go of his results and if he wants an education that he will get it. Yet I know if my mother hadn't enabled me I would not have gotten my education. So I'm confused and really need some more feedback.

So much
guilt
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
Please don't take me wrong, but I think you are in need of some counseling yourself.

Your post's worry me, and this is why:
Quote:
this week he did not pay room and board as he said

This is what you wrote in the 1st post, then.

Quote:
and pays his room & board
You wrote this in later post.

Quote:


couple of times he was getting in @ 4am which is when I get up

You wrote this earlier, and then:

Quote:
he generally goes out 1 night on the weekend

Ok., so do you get up at 4 am on the weekends and it must have been over the duration of more than 1 weekend that he was getting in at 4?

Then you continued on and wrote:

Quote:
He is a smart kid and even if he is an addict in the making it won't hurt to have a good education to fall back on.

What in the hell is this????

I see this as you enabling your son and allowing him to drink, smoke pot, and do anything else as long as you don't know about it in your home and he doesn't show his anger.

I'm sorry, but I think you need some counseling or something.

SOS
1988
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
i don't know what to say, my dad's idea of preventing me from using was punching me in the face, and kicking me out on the street with no notice.....so i moved in with a junkie and got ridiculously drugged out and starved myself for a fix.......just use logic i guess....my only advice is don't be blinded by anger or love, don't put yourself out on a horrible messed up limb, and if you are going to give him the boot, give the boy a little notice
Tender
hearts
KS
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
Quote:
I think if he wasn't living in our home he would be drinking and partying more and could cross that line.
Aha! There's that 'hook' that keeps you in the cycle. I used to have the illusion that I could indeed 'control' my oldest daughter's life, that somehow I could save her from potential addiction, that somehow I could spare her from what I went through.

In the long run, I had no more control or power over her life than I do over what the President does! 

Somewhere along the line, I finally realized that God DOES have plans for my oldest, as well as the rest of us. I also realized I had to get out of the driver's seat, out of that damnable need to control and protect and rationalize, and let God take over.

I have absolutely zero rights to prevent my oldest daughter from hitting her bottom because that is exactly what it took for me to find recovery.

Today I stay out of God's way and let him do his work 
teqa
peq
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
When you break it out like that I do look like a nut job. I guess I was unclear on a lot of points.

This is the first week he has not paid room and board and he asked if it were ok to double up next check as he knew he was going to have court fees. My bad here I should have just told him that it was not my problem.

I get up between 4 and 5 am everyday including weekends. The time frame was not one weekend but since he came back home in August. He has gotten in at that hour about 4 times since August. He doesn't have a set schedule. He goes out some nights during the week and I'm generally in bed by 9. Some nights he's in before I go to bed some nights he's not some night he doesn't go out. The weekends are the same sometimes he's in the entire weekend sometimes he's out both nights. This weekend he went out Friday. I picked my other son up at work at 9:30 and went to bed. I was up at 4:30 and Tom was home. He stayed in Saturday and Sunday and things were fine. Monday he went out and didn't come home. This is the first time since his return in August that he did not come home on week night.

Quote:


He is a smart kid and even if he is an addict in the making it won't hurt to have a good education to fall back on.

I was an addict and an alcoholic and because my mom enabled me I was able to get a college education. My problem wasn't that I was stupid I was an addict. If my Mom had thrown me out I know I would never have completed school. Education is important to me and I want my son to have a college education. My fear is that if I throw him out that this will not happen.
I also fear that if I throw him out that he will party all the time and if he's not yet an addict he will cross that line.

SOS1988 - I'm sorry that your parents didn't have tools to deal with it in a more productive manner. I would not throw him out on the street without any warning or discussion. Looking back what do you think would have been in your best interest? Do you think that it would have made a difference in you life if your parents had handled it differently and how?

I know my mom did the best she could and she encouraged me and supported me in my education. She knew when I was approachable and always let me know about the disease and how it ran in the family. I treated her like crap and she allowed it. That is the only difference I see between me and her at this point.

teqa
peq
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
Tenderheart

I just finished posting and saw your reply. The control thing again. This is an issue that continues to show up in my life. And I am blinded by it. Thank you for pointing it out. I am a recovering control freak as well. I like things my way. LOL. I have really worked on this thru the years and yet here it again in a less direct form. Wow the learning never stops
NoMore
4Me
Re: Am I enabling my son by letting him live at home?
If he's not going by the rules and you're allowing his behavior to continue, you're enabling. IMO.

If there's no consequence for the behavior, how or when does he know he's gone too far??

Like my girl, she's 14.
I'm sick so I can't always be RIGHT on top of homework with her. She's a year ahead of her peers, so yea, she has to keep up more than the avg. 14 year old.

Well she's learned she HAS to be responsible for her homework. I'm just NOT always available to keep a foot up her azz.

The consequence for her.
When I find out, because I will, she looses a PS2 or the PC or TV privileges. All electrical devices if she's gone too far. I will cut cords if she sneaks stuff back. Then I'd make her pay to have it fixed if she still wanted it.

My son, he stole a shirt. He paid 25.00 for that shirt. I paid it because he was getting ready to graduate and go to college in California. When he got a settlement, which I knew he was getting (that's why I paid), I made him reimburse me every penny. OUCH, that had to hurt, I made payments on his stuff.

My son had a rough time when he was 17-20. I felt bad, but wouldn't really help. He had burned bridges here.

He ended up joining the army and has really grown as a man.
When he first joined I felt guilty, but even with the war going on, he's really made me proud of his decision.

See also:

Enabling Methamphetamine Users - Question about my son

What is Enabling?


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