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WELCOME TO THE ADDICTION: LIVING WITH AN ADDICT COMMUNITY. This patient support community is for family members and loved ones of people who are substance abuse addicts. Discussions cover how to help your loved one, enabling, coping with the emotional impact of addiction, intervention, and when to seek medical help. If you are not a family member of a substance abuse addict and instead need help with your addiction, please visit our Addiction: Substance Abuse Community to get the support you need.

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Enabler here

How do I (and my husband) stop enabling our 20 year old to do drugs?  We provide him a place to live, food, etc.  He wants money all the time to buy pot.  He is on Suboxone now (wonder if he is abusing it?)   We are the ultimate enablers...and we know it.  But, what do we do?  Do we throw him out on the street?
11 Comments Post a Comment
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4204073_tn?1361835076
As a parent, you want to protect your child from the world.  But as you know, you have to let them leave the nest and discover what the world really is like.  When my daughter turned 19, she wasn't using drugs, but she started ignoring all the rules of the home.  Quit her job, quit going to college, was dating a horrible young man, lying about where she was, etc.  I finally put my foot down and told her she had to stay somewhere else.  It was the hardest thing I had ever done and it broke my heart.  She found her own way and is doing very well now.  But if drugs had been involved, I would have been very worried like you.  Could you possibly set up some rules about him not using while staying with you?  You could randomly drug test him and if he fails, let him know that he will have to find somewhere else to stay and when he wants help getting clean, you will be there for him.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Its possible that he could be abusing it?  If you suspect it, then he probably is.  In my opinion, the sooner you and your husband stop enabling, the better, even if it means tough love.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello and welcome to this site
Therenare a lot of people on here with a lot of experience who might me of help. Just keep checking your post they come in and out.

I has in something semilar to what your going thru but it was my daughter who is 27.
I would pay her bills including rent and give her money all the time and when I found out about the drug abuse I was done.
Before that therenwas a situitation when she lived with me along with her boyfriend. I started noticxng my pills being short and I knew he did drugs so I kickednhim out and my daughter said she would go if he had to so I told her pack your stuff and get out!!!! And she did. Now she is living homeless basiclly you know from Ffiend to friend.
She was clean for 8-9 months and we were very very close BUT. She went back to drugs and the streets. She refused.any help such as AA/NA letting etc...

I know it's hard I have been there a couple of times with her but I just can't enable her to do it.
I cried my eyes out for day and still do I have no idea where she is haven't hears from her in almost 2 months and it breaks my heart.
But IMO what else can I do?i feel for you and my heart breaks for you son.

It's your decision I just wantsed to tell you my story and maybe something in it you can use.
IMO only.

Prayers to you and your family
Please keep checking back I am sure more will post with helpful infor.
These peope are Wonderful in my eyes

Peace
Lesa
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4522800_tn?1397789196
I am going to bump this one back up front...Very good my trucker mama..That made me get a tear..OHHHH lol
vickie
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3149845_tn?1386354841
Hi and welcome and sorry your going through this. I would start by finding him a job. It is in his best interest to get out there  and participate in society. If you continue to enable him then he will be 50 years old and still in your house doing nothing. Focus on him getting his own money. I would start off by not giving him any cash at all and just provide his housing and food. You might mention that if he wants to continue to leave in your home he will need to chip in for the utilites soon and advise to look for work. Youve got to set some bounderies. Also tell him if he wants cash he will have to help out with the household chores like cleaning, dusting and washing clothes. Maybe tell him that once a week he will have to plan and cook dinner. Who knows, he could turn out to be a great chef!
There nothing wrong with loving your child but it must be tempered with disiplen.
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186166_tn?1385262982
put the ball in his court and take it out of yours.

as young children, we teach our children rules and set boundaries.  when they break those rules...they suffer the consequences that we have set.  the same goes for when they are "older children".  you set the rules and if he does not abide by those rules...then HE is making that choice and HE will suffer the consequences of that behavior.  that consequence may just be that he has to find somewhere else to live.

what you want to do is make your son accept responsibility for his actions.  

get to al-anon ASAP ! ! !

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1235186_tn?1339127464
hello and welcome. I had to kick out two of my children at different times when they continued to use drugs, had stolen from us, didn't keep jobs or go to school, caused upheaval in the home and didn't listen to the rules. when I did kick them out then they had reason to change what they were doing. they needed to stand on their own two feet and make the necessary changes in their lives to take responsibility for their own actions. my son who is 27 has now been clean for almost 4 years. my daughter has been in a Christian rehab for 7 months.
when they are made too comfortable by our enabling they have no reason to do anything differently then they have been doing. we make it too easy for them. when we get out of the way they become more accountable to themselves.
please attend alanon meetings. you will find a wonderful support system there and others who are in the same situation as you are.
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480448_tn?1397235344
For one, it's great that you recognize that you guys are enabling your son.  A lot of people struggle with understanding that.  You've got a head start knowing that you do.  Now, what to do about it?

Well, like the ladies above have shared, from stories of their OWN lives dealing with children who had addiction problems, you HAVE to start setting boundaries and sticking to them.  The last part is the hardest part.  Remember, an addict will be very manipulative, they will use guilt, and your feelings of love and loyalty towards them to get their way.  They will say, "I'm your son!  How could you kick me out?!".  Or they will pick VERY hurtful words like "Don't you love me?  You couldn't love me if you're willing to toss me out on the street where I could get killed!"  Those kinds of things cut to the core, but you HAVE to remember that if it comes to having to kick him out HE did that to himself, by not abiding by your rules, YOU didn't do that.  Plus, you have to know that they choose their words carefully, knowing they will hurt.  That's part of the manipulation.

So, you sit him down, and you make VERY clear rules that he has to follow.  It's YOUR home, regardless of his age, you can make the rules.  You could tell him he must have a job, he must contribute so much to the household financially.  There could be VERY strict rules about drug abuse...a "one time and you're done" kind of rule, where if you FIND drugs, or suspect he is abusing drugs, there will be testing at home, and any confirmation will end up with him immediately being kicked out, no questions asked.  He should have to do chores around the home (not for money, he's not a young child where an allowance is appropriate....chores are something he should be expected to do because he lives under your roof).  If he wants money, he should have a job.  

You can set curfews, because it's your home, and he doesn't have the right to come barrelling in at 4am, waking you up.  Bottom line, the rules are yours...you guys have to come up with them, and then clearly explain them to him.  Put them in wiriting if you want (never a bad idea), and make him sign them, like a contract.

Explain that if he follows the rules, he is welcome there, if he doesn't, he's out, no excuses, no questions asked.  Explain that HE is the one responsible for his actions.  Now, of course, this stuff isn't easy to do, but it necessary, especially if there are addiction issues.  If he isn't made to be responsible for his own actions (or inactions), then he will never do anything to move in a positive direction.  He is an adult, and while he is still young, he needs to learn about life.  If you're always there to clean up his messes, and give him a place to stay, he'll have no motivation to make changes to get his life together.  Tell him you will support him 100% in any effort he makes to better his life (school/job, etc)...but you will NOT support irresponsible behavior and you will not support him in his addiction, only his recovery.  You can tell him you love him but you will not "love him to death".

It seems like you already know he is abusing drugs...at least pot, and maybe his sub.  That has to stop.  You should have a ZERO tolerance policy about that.  You may have been more laxed about something like drinking and pot in the past, but it's time to get tough...because it IS sending the message that it's okay.  If you're "okay" with MJ and getting drunk, then it's kind of hard to draw the line at other drugs.  It all has to NOT be okay with you guys.

PLEASE get yourselves to alanon or naranon.  You will learn so much about addiction, enabling, and codependent behavior.  I've had many very dear friends who were addicts, and depsite my thinking I understood enabling and codependency, boy I sure didn't.  I fell right into the trap and did things for my friends I would have never been okay with, because I thought I was "helping" them, and because I was maninpulated and guilted into it....I really learned a lot about enabling from my personal therapist, and from a few books.  I was a classic enabler, and you know what?  It was HARD to change those ways...I felt like I was turning my back on my friends when I stopped, and they were TERRIBLE to me, said horrible, hurtful things...not because they meant them, but because they were no longer getting their way.  You know what...when *I* stopped the enabling, they eventually DID get the help they needed.  Their families had long stopped enabling, I was their last ditch effort.  Today, we are as close as ever, and my friends have told me directly they would probably still be using if I hadn't finally got help for myself...and stopped the nonsense.  We are closer now than ever, and NOW I realize that everything I was doing was actually helping them STAY in addiction.  I might as well have just bought the drugs for them and prepared the syringe.  

I know how hard it was to go through that with a very close friend, so I can only imagine how IMPOSSIBLE it would be when the addict is a child.  My heart goes out to you, but TRULY you have to make some drastic changes, or your son has no REASON to even think about sobriety.  You cannot force him to get clean either...he has to want that for himself and DO it himself.

Best to you...I hope you find the strength to do what will hekp him.  We're here for you...please update us when you can!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi guys!  It's me, ddhear again!  Well, our son is in REHAB now!! YAHOO!!   Easter Sunday we made the decision to give him two options.  Either move out on her own, with absolutely NO help from us, or go to rehab.  It took him a day to decide....but he went to rehab!   He is presently in GA at a wonderful facility there.   Now, I'm not going to lie to you that it hasn't been a tough adjustment for him.  He left the facility twice.  Each time, my husband and I told him he could NOT come home.  We told him to go back and that was the only way he would be welcome back to our family.   VERY HARD!!!   He went back both times...thank God!   He has been there one week as of yesterday and is doing much better now.  He will be getting out of detox today and go to the next phase, which is the real rehab part.  Thanks for all the GREAT posts!  I will keep you posted!
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3060903_tn?1390303996
Congrats on the rehab. If I were you I would plan on your son going on to a post secondary education right when he get's out of rehab. There's nothing like a menial labor job to send a person right back into wanting to escape from their reality. Maybe the first stop is to talk to some career coaches for guidance? Best of luck to you all.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for that response Nighthawk.   I agree with you, about the post secondary education.....he flunked out of a 4 year college near our home.  I wish getting into college didn't require so much advance in time!  Here we are in April, and it would probably be August when he would start I guess.   Probably not enough time.   OR....maybe summer classes?   We will see.  His counselor at the rehab place has actually talked about him possibly going to a sober living environment after he gets out of rehab.....but we will see how that plays out.
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