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My 20 Year Old Son is Using Drugs, Lying and Stealing. How Do I Handle it?

by Nan

My son move out when he was 18, he is now almost 21. I have paid for 3 semesters of college and he has failed out 3 times. He lies about everything and anything - he has no remorse when he does things wrong.

He steals from us, 3 weeks ago he stole 2 checks out of my check book and tried to cash at my bank. He recently lost his job and now needs to move home. Last night he got pulled over and was arrested for possession of pot they found in his ash tray.

He has a lot of issues with his father who is/was a heroin addict and now is on and abuses methadone. His father, a few weeks ago gave him methadone to sell so they would have $$$. I am obviously divorced from his father and his drug use was what ended our marriage. I am now remarried.

I am so afraid for him to come back here. I have a 13 yr old son, here. I don't know how to handle this or what I can do to help him get on the right track. He just won't live by the rules. He thinks he can get away with anything and everything.

Once he got mixed up with a gang and po'ed them, they tromped his head and broke his jaw in 2 places. They proceeded to put a gun to his head. I had to go to the police myself, because we feared for our lives. He paid them off with money he stole from my husband and I which was 700.00. I need help. Answer

Hi Nan

If your son isn't serious about doing something about his drug addiction and getting the help he needs, then letting him come and live at home again is not a good idea.

Because all the craziness that accompanies his addiction, like the lying and stealing, will simply be brought into your home and cause huge amounts of pain and havoc.

You can't force your son to get on the right track. He has to want to and he is the only one who can turn his life around. And if he's not ready for it, there isn't much you can do that will get through to him.

So now it's time you stop enabling your son and force him to start living with the consequences of his drug addiction - no more easy way out when things get tough because Mom will take care of things.

He's an adult and has to start taking responsibility for his life - and if he's not prepared to do that - he has to live with all the undesirable consequences his life of addiction create. Hopefully then if things get tough or bad enough for him, he'll reach the point where he's ready to change and turn his life around.

But there is no magic pill or quick fix - your son has to come to that realization himself. And you have to let him get there and make peace with the fact that you can't force the issue.

Practising 'tough' love forces your son to become accountable for his actions because no one is prepared to rescue him or bail him out of trouble any longer. It's not easy, but you need to be strong because it is in your son's and the rest of your families best interests.

Good Luck

Comments for My 20 Year Old Son is Using Drugs, Lying and Stealing. How Do I Handle it?

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Mar 15, 2017
Need help NEW
by: A loving mother

I am a mother of 5. My husband and I both raised our 5 kids the same. Our 4 girls are successful, all in college and the oldest one is teaching college. My son is the middle kid and has been stealing and lying since he was 6. Mow that he is 20, he is stealing from us and other family members. I desperately want to quit his lying and stealing habits but not sure how. He was not diagnosed with ADD or ADHD as an elementary student through high school but was on an IEP plan. Please hel!!!

Oct 02, 2015
20year old addicted son still at home NEW
by: arlindA

First mistake,he is the only child. I worked quite often and spent money opposed to investing time. He discoverd at an early age that "musical family" worked at getting his way. My mother in law despises me;therefore,when I told him no,he ran to her for his wants& of course she gave in. If that didn't work,he played us all against one another until he got his way.
Recently,I was hospitalized for a blood transfusion,not once did he visit or phone,it broke my heart.Like others I have read about,he ruined his financial aide,destroyed 12 cell phones,totaled four vehicles and working o. Five. His granny is now selling off her furniture to move into a HOME where he can no longer harass her. Yesterday,he was pulled over leaving a home that is u Dee servailance for H; his "friend" in the back was observed jumping around by officers& he wS actually cutting a hole into my sons new car seat to shove three needles I. It& to top it off..........the friend? Some friend of 16 years) didn't claim it. God must have been watching over my son because they only gave him a card to come I. And NARC which I know he won't do.
The vehicle his father bouvht( so my son can search for work) has been used the past week to haul "carnie" whores around wherAs the ladies also robbed my jewelry,make up ,clothing,and my great great great grandmothers ring rarely removed but I left it out I. Bathroom because the new rule is NO ONE comes over;sadly,there were a pack of hoodlums building a fire in my backyard at7:30am and to top it off, all of them were bug eyed !
Until I read other stories on this sight, I felt alone and nearly ready to give up. I will take the eviction notice advice. I already had to phone police because he broke all of our new televisions from Best Buy and broke his fathers rib with a baseball bat along with his fathers foot.never apologized;my son is Angry Because wears poor and mostly from his choices we had to clean up.for once, I discovered a feeling of empathy for my mother in law which by the way threw him out the week after she quit getting the500per month supplement added to her social security& he. Ever lived with was all a tax scam for her so. And herself at the expense of my child.when he was there,all she did was verbally abuse him& physically abuse him with slapping and starving him.when it came down to removing his wisdom teeth or saving her14 yr old dog;she helped the dog.and this woman had the nerve to tell my own. Hold I suck Rick for a living! Pray for her,she is the epitome of the entire families son of hers is a meth head, the other won't take responsibility for any actions,he steals what he wants from whomever he wants,he constantly reminds us that he"stuffed our guts",fed us. I'm ready to run away myself.

Jan 30, 2015
How to get help NEW
by: PRB

How many of these horror stories do we mothers have to read. I feel for all of you. My son is 33 very smart has a 12 year old son of his own, and a Registered Nurse. He has over-dosed twice and has had two seizures. Last week I caught him shooting up in my bathroom ten feet from my thirteen year old and his twelve year old son. I called the police. Crying and hysterical but hoping I did the right thing. Living with an addict is like living with a bomb not knowing what is going to happen next, but you know its never good. My son is divorced and now will not be able to see his son. Drugs remove their sole. He also has a narcotics charge against him and all he worries about is not being able to cross the border. Prayers and Peace to all Mothers with drug addicted children.

Jul 08, 2014
My son got help NEW
by: Anonymous

After our son came to us for help we sent him to Narconon. They saved his life. You can contact them at 800-468-6933. We owe our everything to them.

Jun 26, 2014
My son Won't leave NEW
by: Sue

I understand what Nan is saying very well and I agree with the tough love part. My son is 22 on probation for DWI and I just discovered a lunchbox of drugs he's been carrying around with him, including in my home! I told him he Has to live clean, straight and pay rent to stay here and he doesn't. He won't. I've told him he Has to leave. He Won't! I check with the PD, they say I have to put a notice of eviction on his bedroom door and he has 30 days to respond. If he does not then I have to call the Sheriff to have him removed? And in the meantime, if for some reason his probation ofcr decides to do a home check and finds his drugs, do I get held responsible? How do I Make him go when he won't go?

Feb 12, 2014
Lost NEW
by: Anonymous

Im just reaching out for the first time. So many of these posts read like i could have written them myself. Im so worn down by it all. My 21 year old son is still living in our home but steals things from us and pawns them, failed out of college at 3 schools, has accumulated huge debt, lies, goes through periods of remorse that make me feel sorry for him. But hes very intelligent and soft hearted. I believe he has addictions to spending and drugs. I do not know what to do.

May 16, 2013
Living with 20 yr old stepson's abuse
by: Anonymous

20 yr old stepson living w/us again. He goes back & forth between our house & his mother's.Gave his younger brother pot to smoke when he was only 7/8 and SS was 13 at the time. we have found pot in our home several times and he has smoked it in our home too. He Flunked out of college twice, arrested several times, took my car (he drives a nice 4dr jeep wrangler) money, & his little half-sister's, my daughter)jewelry. Claims he was too drunk to know what happened. I found him passed out. My husband's punishment was not to allow him to have friends or girlfriend over but allowed him to go to girlfriends house. I am worried sick because our little girl is a liver transplant recipient & I don't want her living in this toxic environment. Husband and I have good relationship except when it comes to his 2 boys. I'm contemplating divorce to remove my little girl and myself from toxic environment. Husband said SS just fell off the wagon. Any suggestions?

Mar 24, 2013
by: GH

I don't know when my son (26) started to do drugs.It is insidious.The lies, stealing, then catching him shooting up in the garage.I had him arrested. Tough Love initiated. Now he is in jail for violation of probation on grand theft charges..The web..lying..stealing..drugs. HE was beat to a pulp last Aug. 4 plates and 28 screws in his face..He was ready for rehab.30 days of rehab then in a sober living environment..He was doing well..Then slipped up last Dec..and he is back to lying and stealing and drugs..and presently in jail..Where do I go from here.? He is a good person.He has a huge problem..And he knows it..I think he has a underlying psych disorder..How do i get him help? Tough love did not work..I am not giving up..

Oct 07, 2012
by: Anonymous

My son started using drugs when he was 13. No agency would help me. Then at 18 he was diagnosed as mentally ill & spent years in & out of different psych wards & almost a year in a mental State Hospital. He was "clean" for over 6 years. Had his own apartment, his own car, keys to our home, etc...he was my wonderful son again! Then about 4 years ago....he decided to go off his psych meds & is back to the streets getting kicked out of every board & care he has been in. This one makes #6 in one year. He has stolen checks & small items out of my home. It KILLS me not letting him back in my home & heart - but I can't deal with it anymore. It has happened too many times. I now see him as a druggie who needs serious help but is refusing it & unfortunately I don't see him as "my son". He has been under the care of our county's mental health system for 10 years & there's nothing they can do to make him take his proper meds. My life is just as ruined as his it seems...never any proper help or guidance...I still believe it's out there somewhere - but where?

Feb 11, 2012
Drugs are killing my son!
by: Anonymous

We love our son too! With that said, he has to love himself. You can take your child out of that environment but that environment will find your child, it did mine. Until the he's ready to change, there's nothing you can do but pray. My son is now on the street for the second night, which was his choice. I've totally let go for my own sanity. I have to take care of my underaged child who is growing. My heart goes out to your family. Drugs are killing my son!

Feb 08, 2012
We love our son
by: Anonymous

So I love my son and will at no point want to let him be on his own! thats not how we are raised as a family. We want to be there for each other in tough times for sure. But my son keeps on shunning us away, wants to be left alone and not asked. He has lost his self esteem in front of us. We are hoping to take him away from this enviorment for few months. Do you think that will make a difference? I want to try every possible way.
How do you make them realize that the drugs are hurtin him, hurting his family, hurting his future and finally eing religious, hurting his soul.

Nov 07, 2011
20 yr old on drugs, brother following
by: JE

Our son is 20 years old. We are going through terrible times. We also have a 14 yr old and now he is trying drugs. We have talked to counselors, pastors. People who do not have the problem say tough love. But our son is very soft hearted and we just can't turn him out. We have a mobile on our property and he lives in that. So he is not right in the house, but we still help take care of him. The 14 yr old sees it and it is not good. The fourteen year old is getting some help from our youth Pastor(who he really likes) maybe that will turn him around. We are going to try again to get the 20 yr old to treatment. My husband and I can not put him on the street.. Just can't do it.. We need Help..

Jun 23, 2011
....and then
by: Anonymous

In our family's case, our good son died at age 20 from an overdose of the same. He was always a great kid and young man. We tried tough love. There really is no such thing. Never turn your back on them because they might never come home again. Instead offer and offer and offer again help with rehab and the like. When someone becomes addicted as a teen and they hide it so well as my son did - B+ student, college scholarship, high school sports player, many friends etc..., and then it catches up to them, you realize that they were just a kid and made a mistake when they started and then couldn't quit. A 20 year old making this kind of decision by themselves is nearly impossible given the immediate and ongoing pain of quitting. Consider, too, that they are immature due in large part to the addiction effects and are more like regressed 15 year olds, who certainly can't make and stick with difficult choices. Forget tough love. How about simple love. I miss my son terribly. And I didn't do enough to help save him.

May 12, 2011
by: Anonymous

but dont you as a mother or father feel like this tough love is just crazi. i feel like ive given up on my daughter. Ilove her with all my heart. but cant help her bc she thinks shes doesnt have a problem. she moved out to bc i have a 7yr old at home. now shes stealing from her aunt. this is really hard on me. ive always ben in controll of everthing not anymore

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