No Boundaries

by Maggie

I know I am the main enabler and codependent of my 24 year old son. He is a heroin addict. He has spent 8 months using, 3-4 months in recovery every year since he was 17. My husband and I pay out of pocket for most of this unless, on the off chance he has insurance. Even in recovery, he uses - so I guess he really isn't ever sober for long.

With the advent of cell phones, he can get hold of me anyhow and anywhere. He is extremely manipulative. Starts every conversation with "I don't need money". But, by the end of each call I am wiring him cash or putting gas in his car. If he does work, the money goes to cigarettes and drugs. Quite frankly it is a pathetic situation. Is he sick - yes. Am I sick - yes.

I went 1 entire day not answering the phone. I turned my phones off. It was very refreshing. If I pick up a call 1 time; I will get 10 - 15 calls until he gets what he wants. I know this behavior started when he was a teen. I still felt I had parenting to do, support to give. I do feel so very bad that this is the path his life is stuck on. But, 7 years is just too much and too much emotion, time and money has been lost along the way.

I get up every day and say this is the day I won't do it. I am not doing well in that regard.

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Jun 07, 2010
I encourage you ladies
by: Anonymous

Maggie, Angie and anyone else. I encourage you all to be strong and not enable your sons. I know first hand what the end results is if you continue enabling. I buried my 33 year old step son one month ago. He died of a drug overdose. His mother and step father kept helping him with finances, gave him a place to live, a car to drive etc. He also was manipulative. It takes a really really strong person to not help the people they love. But I don't want you to go through what my husband and I have went through. Please please please stop right now.

May 29, 2010
To: Maggie and Angie
by: Anonymous

I am in a situation like Maggie,I have a 31 year-old son who is addicted to Heroin. I have been raising his three children for the past 9 years. He has been addicted to many different kinds of drugs leading up to the Heroin. I don't know what to do.

He is now living out of state with a friend and called yesterday to say the friend kicked him out and he has nowhere to go. I wasn't home at the time,but my daughter was there and spoke with him. He wanted money to come home but I have no money. It takes what we make to raise the three kids and if he comes home there is a warrant for his arrest for drugs. He doesn't understand this and thinks I can get and send money as he needs it.

I have not spoke with him since then and do not want to because he will make me feel bad for him. He makes me feel sick to my stomach because he tells me there is no one to help him and he doesn't know what to do. I always end up helping him because he makes me feel guilty and afraid for him.

I liked what you said to Maggie, Angie. I am proud of you for the things you have done to help your son. I know how hard it was because that is why I haven't done it yet. He just makes me feel so bad! I am going to try to find some groups in my area because I definitely need help to do this. Thank you both for your stories and words of wisdom.

Apr 16, 2010
To Maggie
by: Angie Carter

Thank you Maggie for sharing your situation and where you are at with it. I can relate as I have a son who is also an addict (right now he is just trying to manage controlled drinking.)

I had to realize I was as powerless over my codependent behavior as he was with his using.I was already in a 12-step program for my own alcoholism so I was familiar with the process. I started going a parent support group and they helped me realize something VERY important.

Codependency was about me and my feelings. The enabling and inability to set boundaries was about me not wanting to feel bad, or guilty or have my son "mad" at me.

They explained that what I was doing was actually hurting my son, and hurting him in a big way. Well I certainly didn't want to be doing that! They taught me that if I really loved my son I would do everything I could to stop the enabling behaviors. I was only helping his disease of addiction by enabling him. I needed lots of help if I was going to change my behaviors.

So I went to work at setting my feelings aside and doing the next right thing. No money while he was engaged in any type of using (which meant not even helping him with college- although I did do that a couple of times) no bail outs, no letting him live at home, and eventually not taking care of his kids so he could go out.

In the beginning it was extremely painful because he pulled out all the stops and tried to get me to go back into old behaviors. I felt very guilty many times. But I just continued to work through my own feelings. I did not severe the relationship either. I just continued to repeat to him over and over- I love you, but I will not enable you in your addiction. I will support you in getting clean and would be willing to help you in a clean and sober lifestyle.

The most important thing I can share with you is that I couldn't do it alone. I went to parent support groups, I talked to a counselor, I started going to Al-Anon and I eventually started a Families Anonymous group (along with another friend) here in the city I live in. I have been going there for several years now and it has helped me with all my relationships, not just with my son.

I encourage you to seek out as many resources as you can and take advantage of them. There is much more help out there today than years ago. You do not have to continue to live like this unless you choose to.

Best of willingness to you and I hope you start your own journey of recovery. Your son may be very angry with you at first, but you might be surprised at what happens.

Take care and let us know how you are!
Angie C.

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