Addicted, Adopted and Felon
February 20, 2015 2:04 PM   Subscribe

I have a 48 year old son who has been in and out of jail since 1988. He was just released in California with the passing of Prop 47, which not only let him out of jail early, it reduced his felony convictions to misdemeanors and removed his probation. Many may think that this is really great, however, now there are no services available to him for recovery.

I need to back this up a bit – I became pregnant in 1966 in New England; my mother (a Christian) said I could not shame the family and sent me to California, where I was placed in a home for unwed mothers. It was pretty much like what I would think jail was like. I was not allowed to leave the property, I was not allowed to make phone calls and not allowed visitors, though, I didn't know anyone there. The six months I was there I had to meet every day with a counselor, where I was told over and over again, that I would not be a fit mother, that if I loved my baby, I would give it up for adoption. I held fast throughout my term, determined that I would not give up my baby. I went through labor alone and after giving birth, I received a call from home saying that I could not return home unless I gave my son up for adoption, which I did and that's when I wrote -

The day they took you from me, I held you in my arms,
so close to my heart, I touched your face I told you all the dreams I had for you, how much I loved you
I looked into your eyes, but you couldn’t see me
I held you, but you couldn’t hold me back
I sang to you, but you never heard a note
I spoke softly to you, but you couldn’t hear me
And then you were gone, they took you away.
For so long I couldn’t feel
For so long I didn’t care
For so long nothing really mattered
For so long I hated myself
For so long I only saw the ugliness inside myself

I left a release and contact information with agency, in case he ever wanted to find me, and after 46 years, I pretty much gave up hope of ever hearing from him. Until one Sunday, my daughter (age 34) came by to chat. I had told her about my son about three years before, never thinking she would one day be the one to make the connection - but she did.

She and Bob (I called him Robbie) began a FB dialogue for a couple of weeks. I wanted to respect his space so I waited for a sign that he wanted to begin a dialogue with me - he sent me a friend request via FB, which I immediately accepted. This was back in March. We have chatted many times and communicated via FB and text. I found out that my son was adopted in 1966 by a woman who was older than my mother; she had three children older than I was at the time, widowed and remarried. The story was not what I had hoped to hear. He was abused by his adopted father and pretty much ignored by his adopted siblings.

Before I spoke with him, I wanted to know all about him, so I did a search using his adopted name and found his arrest record, I read the many arrest dockets and didn’t find any history of violence, just continued use of drug use, driving while under the influence, etc., most were misdemeanors, but there were a couple of felonies, due to the amount and kind of drug (meth).

He was living in a garage, sleeping on a floor. He did not have a permanent job, and nothing to call his own. In the many conversations we had, he never offered any information about his past, even when asked. My daughter and I sent him gift cards, clothing, etc., I sent him a computer, a phone and camera over the course of 9 months. In July, 2013, I sent him a letter, with the hope of opening the door to learn more about him, letting him know that I had read about his past. Unfortunately, Bob felt that it was none of my business, felt disrespected and ruined a lot of things (his words).

In January, 2014, I learned that Bob had been arrested again in November and again in December for felony drug possession. This is the first time I became aware that the drug was Meth. I tracked him down and opened up an e-mail account so that I could communicate with him (he could not use emails), and put money on his inmate account. He had a friend post bail in March, he was out for 2 weeks, before he had his sentencing. I made the decision that, if I wanted to meet my son for the first time, I needed to fly out. My daughter and I arranged to fly out a week before he was to report back for sentencing, we were in a hotel in Boston the night before our flight and my daughter received a message from a friend of Bob’s that he had been picked up again for possession and was back in jail – three days before we were to arrive.

In October, Bob signed a release for me to speak with his post-parole officer and she suggested that, based on his history, he have an evaluation, which would give them the option to move him to rehab. He was released a week before the scheduled evaluation, which brings me to his current status and my quest for advice.

When Bob called me after his release, I explained that I hoped that he would go into rehab for 90 days and then 9 months of sober living. This conversation resulted in his telling me that he didn’t need rehab, nor did he need sober living; he knew what he had to do and wasn’t going to let others preach to him. I sent another phone and some gift cards. That was November 19th. Over the course of three months, I heard very little from him, but my daughter received intermittent FB messages.

Before knowing about his early release I had made plans to fly out in February to see Bob with my daughter. After the only conversation I had with him in November, I went back and forth as to whether to go out or not. Ultimately, I made the decision to fly out and just returned this week.

I knew going in, based on past conversations, that Bob is an angry man. However, I was not prepared for the rage I saw in his eyes every time someone disagreed with him, bumped into him, or even looked at him the wrong way. Unfortunately, I have a history of being abused and beaten. With one hand, I could be caressed and not see the fist coming at me with the other hand. I spent a lot of time working through all that, but seeing that in Bob’s eyes, brought me right back to it. I cannot and will not live my life in fear again. Bob says he has control of his anger, but it is so close to the surface, I don’t feel safe with him.

Bob is still using “pot” and swore to my daughter that he is not using meth. He also told her that when he was arrested in November 2013, it was not his and that he does not lie. Well, I’m sorry, but addicts do lie, and Bob is still an addict, even if he is only using pot.

I have learned that many of his friends have been in a similar situation, however, when they were released they moved back with family to help them. Bob does not have family and is now living in his truck in a friend’s driveway, which is a situation that is short term. He will be homeless once again very shortely.

All this has left me feeling angry and frustrated, yes, but the hardest thing is a sense of hopelessness. I am now questioning if I actually like this man, let alone love him. I know I can’t say that to Bob or my daughter, but I say it to myself and I wonder if what I have been looking for in this grown man, is the baby I held so long ago in my arms and had to let go.

I don’t know how to help him, or even if I should.

So, long winded I know, but can anyone relate to this and if so, can you share with me how you have done so.

I don’t know his world, and I’m not even sure I want to. Do I try to help, or just keep the channels of communication open?

I need guidance with this and hope that someone out there has experienced something similar. I know many people have had to deal with family members with addiction, but in this case, I just met him.

Thank you
posted by Judy9245 to Human Relations (33 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
You won't be able to have a relationship of any kind with this man until he gets sober.

In the meantime, he sounds fairly dangerous and unstable. Don't let your internal voice of guilt drown out your internal voice of fear.
posted by oceanjesse at 2:13 PM on February 20, 2015 [33 favorites]

I've inferred from what you've posted that he does not want you in his life. I know it's painful, but I think it would be best if you backed off.
posted by brujita at 2:27 PM on February 20, 2015 [8 favorites]

now there are no services available to him for recovery

I think this is probably not really true. I work in A&D in Oregon. There are resources for those who truly want to get clean and sober but the addict has to do the work to obtain them. I doubt that California is so radically different.

More importantly, he does not sound like he has any interest in getting clean and sober. I see family members every day that are frustrated and feel hopeless and I wish I could help them but letting go is the best thing they can do - both for their own well-being and for the well-being of the addict. Help him in whatever way you feel comfortable - a friendly ear, money, housing but be very honest with yourself that it will NOT change his behavior. Only he can change himself.

And brujita makes my other point - what has he asked you for? I'd say let him make any further overtures to you for contact and decide at that point how much you feel comfortable with.

And finally maybe think about some counseling for yourself, both for dealing with his addition and for your own emotions. You still appear to be carrying around a lot of anger and unhappiness and guilt over something that happened a long time ago. Maybe it's time to lay down that burden.

Good luck.
posted by Beti at 2:34 PM on February 20, 2015 [9 favorites]

I'm with brujita on this. He felt you violated his boundaries in the first place, and is rejecting what you have decided he must do.

I don't have kids, but I think I get where you're coming from: it seems like you feel as though it's time to be Mum for him, the mum he never had--literally and figuratively. At the same time, for reasons beyond your control you weren't able to be there for him, so it can feel very weird and intrusive to suddenly have someone trying to do those things.

Best to back off and leave the ball in his court, I think. It's possible that he's connected with his sister because that's coming together as more-or-less peers.

Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying; I'm not judging you at all. Wanting to look after people is a good thing and it just seems like he doesn't want it. You've done everything you reasonably can, and it's time to respect his agency, whatever the consequences for him may be.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:39 PM on February 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'm with the other posters. You don't say where in California, but there are services available for people wanting recovery and a hand back on to their feet local to me, in the San Francisco North Bay Area. Yeah, they're not as well funded or as widespread as some of us would like, but they are there. And I've got a friend who spent much of his 20s and 30s in prison and/or on meth, and is sober and pulling himself up. And he credits some of those services (volunteering for one of those organizations is how I met him, though he wasn't a client of them at the time).

However, the clients have to want help. Even in prison, we haven't yet found a way to impose sobriety. This isn't a reflection on you, you were pushed into circumstances that weren't optimal for anyone, and you're trying your damnedest to make the world better. That's awesome. But not everybody wants to be saved, and not everybody can be saved. I'm sorry.
posted by straw at 2:52 PM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

[One comment deleted - folks, maybe leave off the detective work here and just answer OP's question as its own thing? Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:56 PM on February 20, 2015

I... don't think this can be seen outside of the context of adoption, because for example adult adoptees have a higher rate of addiction and incarceration for about 20 zillion different reasons. If it is at all possible, I think you would benefit enormously from post-adoption counselling from a specialist therapist to work though this and get the support you need and deserve because there are really a LOT of hugely complex issues at play here.

And honestly, I don't think the standard DTMFA (dump the mother fucking asshole) advice for which Ask is famed (and of which I am a fan!) is something that can be advised here by people who are not conversant in post-adoption reunification. It is its own thing, with issues people who have never stood inside that triangle have often never been introduced to or considered.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:03 PM on February 20, 2015 [14 favorites]

You have to stop trying to mother this man through guilt. Right now, he's an addict. You didn't make him an addict and you are as much a victim in your story as he is. If you would have known better, you would have done better.

That said, leave it alone for now. He's unhappy and when he uses, you're not talking to him, you're talking to whatever drug he's using.

The appropriate thing to say is, "You are my biological son, I want you to be happy and to lead a productive and wonderful life. I will leave the door open to you, should you want to connect. I am imposing the restriction that you be sober when you call me. I gave you up for adoption so that you could have a better life than I was able to provide, I'm sorry if that was the wrong decision."

This is a lot to sort out, are you in therapy? Because you can't love him out of being an addict, or out of his current situation.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:04 PM on February 20, 2015 [16 favorites]

I have no expertise or experience in the area, but I wanted to post letting you know I am pulling for you and whatever you decide will be the right answer for you. Do not rush into a decision either way.
posted by 724A at 3:29 PM on February 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

brujita, actually he does want me in his life, but on his terms, and in his world. I live in Maine he lives in California and perhaps I have way too much Yankee in me, but when I met him for the second time (the first time was behind bars), his appearance was off putting, as were his mannerisms, and speech. At 48, is there any real hope in rehabilitation, in regards to drugs and learning a new life style?

I honestly don't think he wants to change. If he isn't happy, why doesn't he want to change? I have offered to cover the cost of a phone through the end of the year so that he can pursue employment and my daughter and I have a way to communicate with him.

I have thought of perhaps purchasing an old RV or something similar, to get him off the streets. I just don't know what to do.

Thank you all
posted by Judy9245 at 3:31 PM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Here's Maine's Al-Anon website. Find a meeting near you. Please go.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:35 PM on February 20, 2015 [6 favorites]

BlahLala, although Al-Anon is a wonderful program, the issues are not just addiction. The bigger issue here is adoption, which I am seeing a counselor for advice on.

I am posting here in the hope that there is someone else out there that has had similar experiences in their life, and
I am pleasantly surprised by the helpful response from others, who may not have experienced the same thing, but have had experience with one or the other.

Thank you all... I am a work in progress, even though I am quickly approaching 70.
posted by Judy9245 at 3:42 PM on February 20, 2015

actually he does want me in his life, but on his terms

That is a completely reasonable thing for an adult to want. I realize you are his birth parent, but other than genetics, that doesn't imply anything about what your relationship can, should, or will be. He's a grown adult who gets to set the terms of his relationships with other adults--just as you are setting the terms of him needing to be sober.

Yes, attaining sobriety can be effective at any age. But only if one wants it to happen--nobody can make you want it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:58 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Do on his terms include (mostly)enabling him? I don't think that's healthy.

Nthing Ruthless Bunny on being mandatory that he only contact you when sober.
posted by brujita at 4:06 PM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

First of all, I nth those who point out that Bob is the only one who can help Bob at this point. There is help for ex-cons who want to turn their life around. Here is a link to one list. Here is a link to the Jails to Jobs program. Here is a link to information on sober housing and transitional housing. If Bob does not know about any of this you can send him the information, and that would be helpful, but you cannot make him get sober and turn his life around.

The people who can help Bob - besides Bob himself - are professionals. Someone who has spent most of his adult life on drugs and revolving through the criminal justice system needs support from trained professionals - someone with his depth of issues needs more than loving amateurs (friends and family) can offer.

Finally - I think that you should get therapy and support. You went through a terrible trauma and abuse. A therapist who specializes in working with birth mothers, and/or a birth mother support group, can help you work through this and heal. You might not be able to do anything for Bob, but you can do a lot for you. Take care. My heart goes out to you.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:29 PM on February 20, 2015 [8 favorites]

I think you're having a lot of good realizations here. When you ask whether you even like him, and think that the rage is too much for you to be around, I would trust that. And this:

I wonder if what I have been looking for in this grown man, is the baby I held so long ago in my arms and had to let go.

I think you're exactly right. It seems like maybe this has brought back feelings from before, which might include your hopes and dreams for him, your desire to care for him and maybe guilt that you cannot, anger at your mom for making you choose between him and her, and maybe eventually the sadness of that original moment of adoption.

The adoption was obviously an incredibly powerful fork in your life, so only you can decide how to proceed. But as an outsider, it seems like, on the one hand, you have a lot of love to give and a lot of desire to help, and on the other hand, there's a man who isn't ready to receive help right now (and who might be harmful to your mental health).

It seems like you have maybe two options here. One would be to confront things as they are and go through a lot of sadness and hard feelings. The other (not mutually exclusive) option would be to think about the many kids who could use help, and see if you could redirect your energy towards foster kids who are ready for help. Even giving money and phones as you've been doing could mean a lot for some kid and change the course of their life at least a bit.
posted by salvia at 4:41 PM on February 20, 2015 [12 favorites]

I am a work in progress, even though I am quickly approaching 70.

:) Well, so is he, at 48. Agree with other posters about putting on your own oxygen mask first. What you went through, and the subsequent guilt, you deserve personal individualized support for -- not just support in adjacency to his problems. Support just for you, and you alone.

Agree also, you will need to step back and learn tools to step back, from Al Anon and from therapy specific to adoption trauma.

You actually sound like you're doing the right things. Basically: you need and deserve help and support from knowledgeable people. Secondarily, you want to help your child, but your child is 48 and you might not be able to help him--so you're in this confusing state of putting up adult 'boundaries' with a 'child'.

You can determine how much you can help him based on your finances and emotional bank account. Do exactly that much--do no more, and do no less.

This is not your fault. You didn't do a wrong thing. Life takes turns and it's hard to see what's around the corners, and you're not any more able to see around those corners at seventy than at seventeen.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:01 PM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

I can only comment tangentially. But I wanted to comment because of this line:

I was not prepared for the rage I saw in his eyes every time someone disagreed with him, bumped into him, or even looked at him the wrong way.

My brother is ten years my senior. When I was in high school, he went to jail for the first time for possession (meth). He entered the cycle of arrest, trial, booking, discharge a few times over the years. At some point, after his discharge, he went missing. No one in our family could find him, and we wouldn't hear from him for another year. A friend of his happened to see him panhandling, and phoned us to tell us where he'd seen him and what state he was in. We found him, and he was an incoherent, babbling, skeletal mess, fully in the throes of his addiction. He was living out of his car, which was full of junk and garbage.

My parents didn't live in the area, but they were desperate to get him off the streets. My brother wouldn't agree to move in with anyone unless his condition was met--he was allowed to continue using without being hassled about it. We all agreed, for no other reason than to get him fed and washed, and that's when he started living with me. I was 19, he was 30, and I was very unprepared. I was unprepared for the rage that meth cultivates in the minds of people who've been using it more than just casually. It was a very, very bad year or so--lots of theft, fighting, fire scares, random girls living in my apartment for weeks on end, and on and on. It culminated in him setting my apartment on fire, along with his chest and arms, during a haphazard attempt at following some random person's instructions for making your own. At that point, he went to prison, for a few years.

He improved himself while in prison, and got out several years early because of his progress, but he definitely had to work hard and on his own to get there. His sobriety amazes me to this day, because prison is not a common place that people find it. But he had hit his rock bottom, and going to prison with skin grafts on 15% of his body was so harrowing a transition that it somehow got through that meth skeleton exterior and found the part of his mind that needed trauma to kick him into a dedicated push to rehabilitate.

After he got out, he lived with me again--for a year, as terms of his parole. The crazy anger was gone with the meth, but every time I encounter someone going through this experience I feel compelled to say: you do not need to put yourself in harm's way out of familial guilt. It's near-impossible to trust someone going through meth addiction, and your help may well prolong that addiction despite your best intentions. You can make it known that you're available to help under your own set of conditions--e.g. sobriety that is confirmed with drug testing, for example--rather than allowing the addict be the one making the rules. You can make it known that you'll be there when he seeks care from professionals. You can make it known that you'll be at a distance, but in contact, until those things happen. And so on.

I'm terribly sorry to hear about your situation. Your heart is in the right place, but our hearts can't always save the people who are closest to us.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 6:10 PM on February 20, 2015 [26 favorites]

You are/were upset that your agency was taken from you on whether or not you got to raise your son.

Likewise, he has the agency to decide if he wants help or to continue using.
posted by Monday at 8:32 PM on February 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm not very familiar with adoptee issues, but I am quite familiar with grappling with the issue of whether or not--and if so, how--to maintain a connection with someone who is abusive and/or addicted.

Maybe it's anecdata, but every single time, for me, the right answer has been to cut all ties. When I haven't done so initially, I've eventually been driven to it, much the worse for wear than I would have been if I'd just resigned myself to no relationship being possible in the first place.

In one and only one case, I reconnected with someone who had been abusive but who had genuinely changed. I couldn't help him change, he needed to do it himself and one of the several things that motivated him to do that was my breaking up with him.

As others have said, put on your own oxygen mask first. You don't have to sacrifice your own well-being to try to help someone who is violent, angry, addicted, and scary. He's an adult and it's long past the time you can or should mother him.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 10:31 PM on February 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

It is possible for people to get clean at any age, ofcourse, but if the using is problematic and lifelong 'generally' speaking the 30's tend to be make or break time ime (I used to work in addiction).

I think you might find reading up on motivational interviewing and the cycle of change interesting to learn a bit more about how addiction works (Miller has youtube vid). I'm not suggesting you try and 'therapise' your son but it's handy info. In short if someone else attempts to 'push' an addict into recovery the only place for them to go (given it's an 'I want what I want when I want it mindset') is closer to the drug of choice (to hold on to some control). It's complex.

You have a history of a abuse which is a risk factor to experiencing more, he is troubled so this is a dangerous combo. List all your limits/boundaries decide what they are in relation to your emotional/financial life etc. Stick to them. If possible have a united front with your daughter - consistency is important.

I've worked with women who had your awful experience who've spent their lives in psychiatric care. You did so well to survive this pain.
posted by tanktop at 12:52 AM on February 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Your story reminds me of Philomena, a film I saw on TV recently, with Judy Dench as a woman who gives up her son for adoption, and her subsequent quest to find him many many years later.

I think the most sensible advice of this thread is for you to make it clear that the channels of communication are open and your son can reach out to you as soon as he becomes sober.

Did he ever read the poem you wrote for him after his birth? I think it was beautiful.
posted by Kwadeng at 3:26 AM on February 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

For your own healing, you might find The Girls Who Went Away helpful.
posted by Elsie at 4:07 AM on February 21, 2015

I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes:
“When a child is young, you can catch him if he falls. Then he gets a little older and falls from a higher place. Maybe you can still catch him. But finally he’s a full-grown adult and falls off the top of a building—then you have to decide: either get out of the way or be crushed.” – The father of Scott Bailey, an alcoholic / drug addict, in the book, The Splendid Things We Planned, by Blake Bailey.
posted by alex1965 at 4:56 AM on February 21, 2015 [9 favorites]

Have you watched this video? It's an excellent insight into adoption and addiction issues. I have so much to say on this, just typed a long response but my laptop crashed. I will log on later and retype some thoughts I have as an adult adoptee who found. But please watch the video, it's just under an hour.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 7:46 AM on February 21, 2015

I actually saw Philomena in a theatre with my daughter and a good friend, which prompted me to fly out to California in March of 2014. I didn't want my story to end before it even began. Bob was out on probation and I had a week to make the decision to fly out.

His "need" for meth was stronger than his "need" to meet me, without the bars between us. I honestly believe that his "want" to meet me was stronger than his "want" for the drug. But an addict will almost always choose the drug of choice.

I am glad that we went in 2014 and again this past week. There is a difference in the man I saw in 2014, he was humble, he was apologetic, he was sorry. The man I saw last week was none of these things and I'm not sure which man is the real Bob, or have I seen the real Bob.

Bob has a sister (his adopted mom's daughter from her previous marriage), who is still living in the town Bob grew up in. He is FB friends with her and I have thought of reaching out to her, to get another perspective of what Bob's life was like. I don't doubt that what Bob is saying is his truth, and perception is reality. I would just like to hear another opinion.

As an example of how perception can vary - Bob told us about how he heard about his mom's death. It was several months after she died, a FB friend of his mentioned it to him. This, of course, when he told me, made me extremely angry and sympathetic for him. But upon reflection, I asked him when the last time he reached out to his mom was, he told me it was 3 months prior to her death, which means that he had not reached out to her in over 6 months. This was a woman who was in her 90's. Bob's perception is a betrayal to him by his family, which it very well may have, but shouldn't Bob have kept in touch with his 90 year old mother, at least monthly?

He has done the same thing to me. When he doesn't like how I sound or what I say, he goes silent. I reach out to friends to make sure he is OK.

Is this who he really is, or is it the long time use of drugs and the almost three decades in and out of jail?

Thank you all - reading everyone's comments and suggestions has been a great help
posted by Judy9245 at 8:10 AM on February 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Jusy, have you read The Primal Wound? Any library should have it and I think you would find it helpful.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:40 AM on February 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Bob's perception is a betrayal to him by his family, which it very well may have, but shouldn't Bob have kept in touch with his 90 year old mother, at least monthly?

Would you keep in touch with someone you felt had betrayed you?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:48 AM on February 21, 2015

feckless fecal fear mongering - the point was that he did not communicate with his mother prior to her death. Bob did not feel betrayed by his mother. the feeling of betrayal by his family came after her death
posted by Judy9245 at 9:17 AM on February 21, 2015

DarlingBri, yes I did read that book, along with others. I have been attending counseling with someone who specializes in adoption. I am also going to take the suggestion and read "The Girl Who Went Away".
posted by Judy9245 at 9:22 AM on February 21, 2015

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it seems like you're projecting your own sense of how people should behave onto him. That's normal; everyone does that. It might be more effective for you in both the short- and long-term to accept him for who and what he is. That doesn't mean you don't get to set healthy boundaries about what you will accept in someone who wants to be in your life.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:38 AM on February 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

BlahLala, although Al-Anon is a wonderful program, the issues are not just addiction. The bigger issue here is adoption, which I am seeing a counselor for advice on.

As an adoptive mother, I want to first tell you how horrifying it is for me to hear your story as a birth mother. I happen to be visiting my kid who lives far away from me. She is talking to her as-yet-unborn son, and I cannot begin to imagine the pain you suffered during your pregnancy and, especially, when you were forced to give up your son.

I have spent most of my life attempting to get a do-over for my childhood and early adulthood. Thanks to Al-Anon and my sponsor, I have finally understood that I don't get a do-over. Nobody gets a do-over. We are where we are where we are right this second.

The forced adoption was a huge, huge trauma that is bigger than addiction, you say. I believe you. That does not make addiction small. That does not make wanting to rescue your son in some way (by buying him an RV, say) a small issue. Those two things, as you probably know, are exactly the kind of issues that require skills and tools that Al-Anon and related fellowships are designed to provide.

My heart goes out to you. What a painful situation. You cannot take care of your son. You cannot even help your son unless he asks for help first and asks for the kind of help that you are willing and able to offer him. You can take care of yourself. Congratulations for doing exactly that. I wish you and your son all the best. Message me if you ever want to simply share without any additional advice.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:58 AM on February 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

I don't mean to be harsh but in line with what Feckless says, has he asked you for help? It just does not seem like his relationship with you is on a level where "sober up" - according to a fairly particular set of conditions - "or I don't want to talk to you" means much to him. My parents helped me out when I had addiction problems and had finally gone broke, but we were close and it was my plan for exactly how to go about getting my shit together. Incidentally I didn't quit smoking pot (occasionally) and I've done fine in terms of staying away from my real DOC - I've got lots of opinions about popular notions of sobriety versus what can actually work for different people - but I think your implication is that he's lying about not using meth and he certainly could be. I hope your son does get his shit together but as much as I'm sure you'd give to make it happen you can't make it happen singlehandedly so be careful what you give.
posted by atoxyl at 3:16 AM on February 23, 2015

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