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My Step Son is Ruining His Life and Ours Through His Drug and Alcohol Addiction!

by Deborah

Hi, I am a step mum to two boys one who is 16 in Feb and one who is 22 in Nov. The 15 year old lives with me and his dad and goes to his mums every 2 weeks for the weekend and spends half his school holidays there.

Our problem is the 21 year old. He has been living at his mums since he was 15, he now has a one year old son and is an on/off relationship with the mother. He has an anger problem and we also think he has an alcohol and drugs addiction.

He has taken pills after he has been out drinking and has been taken to hospital 3 times after each incident. The hospital has pumped his stomach and just let him go. He has had 2 or 3 jobs and has been sacked from them all. He has told so many lies to us and been caught out that we never know if he is telling the truth or not.

He is abusive and disrespectful to his mother and step dad who lives with. He also seems to get depressed but this is generally to do with the situation he is in with not having a job etc etc. He doesn't think he has a problem and will not go to the doctors or see anyone.

His mum threatens to throw him out time after time if he doesn't change his ways but always gives in to him and takes him back because she doesn't want him living on the streets and worries what will happen to him. If he has no money she feels sorry for him and gives him some.

I could go on and on but won't as it would take too long, we are all at our wits end with him - we love him and want to help him but he doesn't seem to want to help himself. It is affecting all our lives and also putting my 15 year old step son off going to his mums because he has to share a bedroom with him and he is coming in at all hours of the morning drunk and disturbing him.

At 25 to one this morning we had a call off his step mum, she had been out with her partner, got back at 10pm and for no particular reason that we know of (hadn't been drinking or smoking anything as far as they could tell)my step son started trashing his bedroom and going mental. His step dad went upstairs to try and sort him out and calm him down but my step son turned on him and started hitting him, his mum called the police and he was taken and spent a night in the cells.

We have since spoken to his step mum and the police let him go and he turned up at her house, and is now in bed sleeping. No apologies or anything, this has happened before when he ended up in hospital he just waltzed back in as if nothing had happened leaving everyone around him shattered, upset, angry etc etc.

How can we help him? Everyone has talked and talked to him to try and help him, he says all the right things at the time but then soon goes back to his old ways. My husband (his dad) blames himself, thinking that he could have done more for him over the years and feels bad that the marriage break up effected my step son badly. I hate to see my husband like this as he is a good man and has done everything he can to help my step son.

We are now thinking of looking into having him sectioned to get him the help he needs but we don't know where to start. Please please can anyone help us or give us any advice as we are at our wits end and cannot keep living like this wandering when the next incident is going to happen with him. Answer

Hi Deborah

You only really have 3 choices. Do nothing and let the insanity of your step son's addiction and associated behaviour continue; force help on him by having him sectioned or put into an drug/alcohol addiction treatment program; kick him out and let him start living with the consequences of his behaviour so that hopefully if things get bad enough for him he'll become more receptive to getting help and changing.

What is the right way to go is something you as a family ultimately have to decide, but it is important you understand some basic principles relating to someone you care about suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction.

Generally pleading or repeatedly talking to them about their problem and how they need to change doesn't work. So it's fairly normal that your step son hasn't been interested in anyone's well-meaning advice - because his denial about his problem is what keeps him stuck in his addictive and dysfunctional ways.

Feeling guilty or somehow responsible doesn't help either. Remembering these three points will hopefully help: No one caused your step son's addictions, no one can control them, and no one can cure them. Ultimately if he's ever going to win his battle against alcohol and drugs, he's going to have to take responsibility for his problem and get the necessary help etc. to turn his life around.

And he has to want to do that if it's ever going to happen. Look, maybe there are underlying psychological problems that contribute to your step-sons out of control and abusive behaviour, but more than often than not it's the cocktail of continued alcohol and drug abuse that leads to that.

But there is never any excuse for being abusive and continually disrespectful - and by not taking a stand against your step-sons behaviour you actually further end up enabling it. So as a family you need to sit down and put some boundaries in place for him - and make it clear to him that if he ever crosses those boundaries again, there will be consequences, e.g. kick him out.

Apart from that there isn't much more you can do, other than have him forcibly entered into some kind of treatment program. To find out what your options are, your best best is to contact the NHS, and see what they have available or can suggest. It's also worth contacting a few addiction treatment centres/rehabs directly and see if they can recommend a course of action.

But ultimately the critical point to understand is that your step-son is now an adult and needs to start being held accountable for his actions. And if he doesn't want to change or do anything about his problem, nothing you say or do will likely make much difference.

Even if he was sectioned or committed to some kind of program, if he doesn't really want to change, he'll simply be back to his old ways once he gets out. That's not to say you shouldn't try get him in somewhere, just understand that there are no guarantees.

If you get nowhere, eventually you as a family will have to make a decision about whether his living at home can continue, especially because it's effecting his younger brother so much. Obviously it's not a decision you can make lightly or alone, but it's important both side of the family sit down together and plan a way forward.

There is no right or wrong way, so all you can do is try your best and hopefully things work themselves out in the end. Good Luck and Take Care.

Comments for My Step Son is Ruining His Life and Ours Through His Drug and Alcohol Addiction!

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Aug 13, 2011
step son
by: Anonymous

I too am in the same boat and fear my relatiton ship with the boys mother is coming to an end,The lad is 20 lazy,rude,selfish and smokedrugs, she has kicked him out but is now arranging for him to come back, I have been saying for months there is a problem but she never believes me and always takes her chidrens side then when I am proved right there is no apology just a statement saying she needs to see it for herself which is what I fear will happen again. he will promise the earth as usual, I will then catch him doing something he shouldnt and tell her, she will require proof herself which could take awhile and in the meantime we will argue, how can I get her to take my word for it, if she had believed me in the first place things would not have got so bad,

Jan 12, 2011
Tough Love is the Way
by: C-P

Hi Deborah - the previous comment is spot on. Using tough love as a way to help your step son to really live with the consequences of his addiction etc., is the only way he'll ever learn. If things get bad enough for him, he'll be forced to reconsider his life and make some changes if he ever hopes for things to change. Right now things are too comfortable for him - and he can simply take advantage of that by doing as he pleases. All the best.

Jan 11, 2011
Tough Love
by: Anonymous

Hi Deborah- I had a situation a number of years ago with my youngest son where he just slept in each day till he felt like it, then get up and go to his mates place and smoke drugs then arrived home when he was hungry. In the end the only way to break his drug taking and lazy lifestyle was to take a tough love approach and kick him out to experience the consequences of his behaviour. He evetually got into a relationship with a woman and had a child and he had a poor paying job but brought a vehicle which he continuously couldnt make the payments. We propped him up for a while as we felt sorry for the child. In the end we stopped allowing him any money and the car got repossessed and he realised that his slack ways was not getting him anywhere. After many years of living like that he finally grew up and met and married a lovely woman who was instrumental in him changing his ways.He had to suffer hardship in order to realise that he was the author of his life and that he couldnt go round expecting others to prop him up and finally he grew up.

I suggest taking a protection order out against him could stop him coming back to you if you are concerned about his anger issues (in this country they are forced to do an anger management programme witha Protection Order) and he would possibly end up at rock bottom with no money, job etc and it may very well be the catalyst for him being so sick of his life that he decides to get help for himself. All the best.

Jan 11, 2011
by: Deborah

Thankyou for your advice it's pretty much the conclusions we have reached ourselves over the years......

Unfortunately we don't know how to get the help, he has been discharged from hospital after 2 overdose attempts without any follow up or support, the GP seems to be no help and we don't know where to turn.......

Please if anyone is reading this and is in or has been through a similar situation could you point us in the right direction of where to get the help we need for him and ourselves........

Thanks in advance for any other advice anyone can offer and can I also say thankyou to Carl-Peter for setting up this website which lets us know that there are other people out there who are going through smiliar situations.

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