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Our Adult Son (age 40) is on Drugs and Depressed--What Can We Do to Help??

We are older parents with a 40 y/o son who has been on various drugs over the years and we have been enablers. We have previously helped him each time thinking this would be the time he turned his life around.

We hadn't helped him for a couple years and he has found various women to live with and support him. Last fall he called saying he was being evicted and had no where to turn so once again we caved and got him an efficiency motel room and move him near us with the stipulation he find a job and kick-in.

We hauled him around and he applied (we helped him fill out his applications). We got him a bicycle but he wouldn't use it unless it was motorized (his back hurt pedaling,etc.) He burnt up the motor on the motorized bike in several weeks. He got two different jobs as a grill chef (his old occupation) which he only held for a few days and never had a reason for being let go except that they didn't have enough business( these restaurants are very busy.)

He is in bed all day long and even had to be woke at 4:00 pm for us to cart him to work. If we confront him he gets angry and hangs up on us.
I know what we need to do -- please advise us because that will help reinforce what we as parents need to do. I am so saddened by what I feel is his inevitable outcome.

We are so afraid that one day we will get a call that he has od'd or ended his life or homeless. He has a small dog and always uses her as an excuse why he can't go to homeless shelters. He has served two stints (2-3 yrs.) in prison and numerous times in jail for theft and drugs.

He has no drivers license and he says he has no friends yet we know he goes out with others,etc. He always asks for money and he smokes heavily. I feel this is all so hopeless! Answer

You said it ... you are simply enabling your son's drug addiction. Your fear that he may overdose will happen irrespective of what you do - so if it does happen it has nothing to do with you.

As sad as it is - this is a life your son has chosen for himself. And every time things get difficult for him and he comes running to you for help because he refuses to take responsibility for his life - you are in fact inadvertently further supporting his addiction.

With someone like your son - at his age, and the numerous chances he's already had - your terms should be simple: 'Get professional help and clean up your act or our support stops.' You can't save your son. Only he can save himself. And that starts by him getting treatment for his drug addiction and then committing to a life of sobriety through following some form of recovery program.

Addicts always have excuses - and those excuses simply keep them stuck in their life of addiction. And so by buying into your son's excuses, you just further enable him. Let go of the guilt and make peace with the fact that you've done the best job you can as parents - and if your son still wants to live a life of addiction, he is going to do so, and there is nothing you can do about it.

It's not easy, but it's something you have to do for the sake of your own sanity and well-being. Because otherwise your son not only destroys his life, but yours too, if you don't learn to detach from what's going on. There is simply no other way. Good Luck.

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