I just can't put him on the street...

by CKC
(Oregon, USA)

My son was pretty well behaved during high school. Graduated. Had a job. Moved in with his girlfriend and seemed to be doing well. Yeah we knew he smoked pot and didn't like it, but I'd "been there, done that" and survived. They went to Job Corps together, broke up, dropped out, got back together, broke up again. He hasn't been the same since.

His biological fathers family (which he has never met but speaks to on the phone) consists of drug addicts and alcoholics. Some in recovery and some on the road to premature death.

He's always known growing up that addiction can be biological. He was always told the dangers. He hated his bio father for picking drugs & alcohol over raising him.

He's 21 now. Been living back at home over a year. No job. Doesn't do housework, is messy and has a ton of other 20-somethings over every night drinking at our fire pit in the back yard. Somehow he became a world class know-it-all over the last year. He's anti-establishment, anti-medication (other than legal MJ) and anti-suggestions.

He has celiacs disease. Any wheat products make him feel horrible with lots of side effects (I won't go into it, it's gross). But he drinks beer anyway. Says at least the alcohol in it "numbs him." We don't have enough money to constantly buy specialty foods. We also live in a small town where those food substitutes aren't readily available. He's very, very depressed.

We don't have any family in our state. He won't seriously look for a job. He's determined to spin fire for a living (he's actually really good, but it never pays any money!) and nothing else. He constantly begs money for "food." He asks for money to play pool. I give it to him out of guilt and just wanting him to have some "fun" in his life. I think maybe 1/2 goes for food. I also give it to him so he'll go out and take his friends with him. Just a little peace for a little while.

Everyone tells me I need to kick him out. How can I do that? He has NOWHERE to go! We live in a small town. He'll literally be on the street. That would cause worse depression! I am the only person in his life that has unconditionally loved him. My husband who has been his dad since he was 2, is treating him like an unwanted home invader. My daughter says she hates him now.

He's a great musician and can draw amazing art. He won't even try to use them for employment. He say's he can't. He can only draw when he's angry/sad (by now he should have an amazing portfolio goin') and doesn't want to be in that mode all the time. I've told him he has to help out. To have friends over less, to stop getting drunk everyday. To go job hunting every day even if he ends up with 3 or 4 apps at every business in town (our town has approx 14% unemployment).

He gets so angry when I tell him he's heading down the same path as his bio dad and his family. He cries and tells me he isn't like him. He has a purpose, he just doesn't know what it is yet. He cries and tells me he is soooo unhappy. Then he starts yelling and we fight and he's always right and I'm always wrong. I don't know anything because I'm not in my 20's now.
All the experience I had with drugs/alcohol/domestic violence/homelessness/depression/anxiety and loneliness has nothing to do with him. I just "don't understand and never will."

I was homeless for a time while I was pregnant with him and again after he was born. My father had a 4 bedroom house and only him and his wife living there. I had a job. I wasn't doing any drugs or drinking. My parents never knew I did anyway until I told them many, many years later. I could pay my own way with food/electric, etc and was willing to pay rent to him. I just couldn't afford an apartment on my own. My father wouldn't let me move in because his bitch of a wife told him she'd leave him if I did. He let me be homeless. He left me. He abandoned me when I needed him most. How can I do the same to my own son?

What if I kick him out and he commits suicide because he feels abandoned again? What if he ends up worse? What if he never speaks to me again? What if he just disappears? What if he truly can't get employment and kicking him out dooms him to live on the streets in the nearest city (Portland, OR). What if he starts doing worse drugs? Meth, heroine, coke...right now he sticks to booze, pot and mushrooms. He says he doesn't want to quit any of these things.

He wants medical MJ. He won't even take an ibuprofen for a headache. He won't take medication of any kind. He chastises me for taking prescription medication. He doesn't have health insurance. I neglected his dental health while he was growing up. That is where a lot of my guilt lies. He says he's in pain because of his teeth, a lot. And I believe it. I was a bad mom when it came to spending money on dental care.

He asks how my husband can be so upset with him when he himself drinks everyday. 2-4 beers. Never drunk, just everyday. A whole other issue...

I feel like I'm loosing my whole family. I feel like I'm loosing my mind. I love my son so much. I'm so scared. I don't know what to do. I don't know what I can make myself do. Please help me.

CKC in Oregon

Comments for I just can't put him on the street...

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Mar 15, 2015
by: Anonymous

I met a girl who told me her life story over breakfast and a c~, of coffee. She claimed she was on methadone due to a past addiction to painkillers. Anyway, to make a long story short, we began a relationship that quickly took off. I'm sure because of both my co~ dependent issues and her need to be taken care of. Ahe quickly showed her true colors as far as drug use went but I thought I could save her, as most do.

Jan 04, 2015
Alcoholic son at 29
by: Anonymous

I'm in the middle. My son is 29 lives with me his mum and is stepdad. Who at the moment works for him. He as had so many chances that it had come down to my husband doesn't want him to work for him and wants him out of the house. But he has no where to go. He has tried 4 flats and been kicked out of them all. He is stealing from us and he can't be left on is own so we are all on edge. Everyone wants references and big deposits. If he gets a place he won't last a month what do I do its minus 5 outside January england

Sep 13, 2011
by: Hurting

I can absolutely understand what you are feeling. I had to put my 23 year old son on the street yesterday. I am feeling so guilty. It doesn't help to know winter is coming and we live in Montana and the winters can be extremely cold here.

Jul 31, 2010
You will kill him
by: Anonymous

My mother enabled my sister to death. She was never allowed to hit bottom, never had to face the consequences of her behavior. I tried for YEARS to get my mother to stop bailing my sister out, letting her live in her house (at 40 years old?!!), giving her financial support, etc. My sister had a PhD and was a senior manager at Pfizer. She was bright, capable and charming. She drank. She drank more. My mother said "I just can't abandon her." If my mother had made her stand on her own two fee, she would be have forced to deal with the problem, but she never did because she never had to. She died on the floor of her living room of a liver hemorrhage. KICK YOUR SON OUT.

Jul 22, 2010
Stop Killing Your Son
by: Anonymous

You must give your son a choice to quit drugs and get a job or move out. The drugs must stop NOW and give him a deadline to get a job, and stick to it! Drug test him daily and be prepared to kick him out immediately if it is positive (do at least a 10-panel test). On the agreed date, if he does not have a job, be prepared to have his stuff packed up and on the front lawn, and take his key or change the lock. And remember this is his choice....you are not making it for him and likewise the consequences are his. If you do not do this, he will end up in one of three places:

1. Sobered up
2. Locked up, or
3. Covered up

So if you love your son and don't want to kill him, do what I have said. If you have the resources, offer him rehab. If not, he can go to AA meetings on his own (or some other type of 12 step meeting). Many have gotten sober this way. If he is only doing pot, you don't have to worry about a dangerous detox, but alcohol withdrawal may be dangerous and he may need a short hospitalization for that. Good luck.

P.S. - I was exactly where you are, except my son was an IV meth user, has epilepsy and learning disorders, and was told by a neuropsychologist that he did not have the mental capacity to live independently. I finally got wise with family counseling at the rehab facility and Al -Anon, and realized if he could come up with the resources to finance a $300 a day drug habit, he could learn how to support himself off drugs. He got sober in rehab, went to a sober living house (I only paid for the first month and he has never gotten another cent from me.) He did great for a while, but relapsed, got kicked out, wanted me to help him. He did live on the streets or in shelters, but guess what, he didn't like it and he got sober. I even let him spend some time in jail because he got traffic tickets and I would not pay them. Today he has a good full time job and supports himself. I still think he uses sometimes, and you just have to accept this is a chronic disease and many relapse many times, some fully recover anyway, and some do not. But if you help him stay in his addiction, you are just pushing him towards jail or death. Don't rob him of the OPPORTUNITY to save himself. And MOST IMPORTANTLY.....go to an Al-Anon meeting and save YOURSELF! Because you can't help him, only other alcoholics or addicts in reovery can help him. But you CAN help yourself!

Jul 12, 2010
About a place for Artists in Oregon
by: Kathleen D. Cone

I don't know how close you are to Portland or any other mecca's where artist congragate... but as a fine artist here in the downtown Phoenix AZ area I can say that often there are collectives of atrists that live in a sort of communal living environment.. often in places where they can Live/work/and show their art and understand each other because we are all so right brained....

my point being.. I can ask around because Oregon is a sort of sister city to the arts in Phoenix and I might be able to narrow down some resources where your son could rent a room in a boarding house like environment with other artists...

Usually and in fact I can be sure that what ever collective I'm able to gain references for discourage things like 'hard' drugs and then he'd have a place where he fit in with like 'Minded" people who might well influence him for the better..

I'll let you know what I find out ..+ the cost of renting a room in a group situtation might well be more than reasonable...

And then that way he is out on his own, but not alone and among artists that more often than not know exadtly how your son feels and how to deal with him...

Something to consider?


Jul 10, 2010
Competing Desires
by: Evan

I understand how difficult this is.

I don't know if you can ask him what set him off on this path or if you already have (a remark by his girlfriend, a hope disappointed?).

You can kick him out - but you don't want to. You want to keep him and care for him but also want to do what's best for him. You also, I hope, want to look after you. I don't think there is an easy answer.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to focus on building the relationship with him. If he is on the streets (depending on the winter climate where you live) it may not matter as much if you have a good relationship.

Food for celiacs can be relatively cheap - veges and pulses and so on. But the person has to be happy to eat these. Otherwise it takes years of effort to deal with it.

It sounds like your relationship with him is in danger of becoming antagonistic - this probably won't be good for either of you.

I hope you have some good support while dealing with all this - it can be awfully difficult I know.

Jul 09, 2010
to CKC
by: Angie

I appreciate you taking the time to write. I can relate to parts of your story. I have a son (now 30) and I basically raised him by myself. His father is alcoholic/addict. I am also alcoholic and got into recovery when he was 14. He was never going to grow up using or drinking.

He is a very smart young man and was heavily into sports. But one day he tried marijuana. That was the beginning of the end. It took over his life. About the time I was getting sober he was starting to head down the same path, not with alcohol but with pot. He changed over night and could not see that it had ANYTHING to do with what he was doing, it all had to do with his circumstances.

I started going to a parent support group and getting help. I was told that if my boundary was NO drinking or drugging in my house then I had to stick to that boundary. They explained that if I 'enabled' him to continue that behavior under my roof that I was actually abandoning him by doing that. So I gave my son a CHOICE...either you quit doing drugs and drinking (by now alcohol started to enter the picture) or go to treatment or move out. It was up to him.

They (the group) explained to me that I wasn't kicking him out, I was giving him a CHOICE. He chose to leave (I had to threatened to call the police) but he finally left. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. We don't cause ANYONE to do drugs, to drink, to commit suicide. Those are all decisions made by the person doing those actions. Granted, after a fashion, I LOST the power to chose NOT to drink, that's why I am alcoholic but I WAS given the choice to get some help - just as I gave my son a choice.

The next several years were very tough on my son, but he wouldn't quit. He wanted that lifestyle and he got it. I stayed plugged into groups so I wouldn't lose my mind. I cried many nights.

But, today is things are good. He has completed his master's and is getting his PhD. He has custody of his kids (his ex is addict)
He will say (now days) that he is glad I didn't enable him. We all have to live with the outcome of the decisions we make, whether we decided to enable or not. But I know one thing...NOT enabling someone is not the same as abandoning someone. I told my son I would give the shirt off my back for him, BUT NOT while he is using. I cannot nor will not be a part of that destructive lifestyle, not only regarding my son, but anyone else for that matter.

Keep us posted on how it is going. Feel free to ask any questions you may have.

Angie Carter

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Enabling Behavior Discussion Forum.

Book Appointment with Don or Angie Carter

Visit Us on Facebook...

Like this Page? Pass it On...