How and why do parents enable?

In an effort to help a child overcome addiction, parents may begin enabling behavior. But how do parents enable? And why does enabling persist? We explore here.

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As parents, it is our responsibility to prepare our children for life. We naturally want the best for them, and from the time they come into this world we hope they will grow into happy, successful, and fulfilled adults. But sometimes our best parental instinct can hurt our kids.  So how can family help and addict?  When does helping become enabling? And how can you stop enabling behavior once it has begun? We explore here, and invite your questions about enabling at the end.

Why do parents enable?

When a child grows up and becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, the parent often feels a sense of failure. In an effort to somehow help a child overcome the addiction, parents may begin enabling behavior. While enabling comes from a loving desire, these actions can actually push the addicted child further into their addiction. And although it can be difficult to stop enabling alcoholic or drug addict child, it is possible.

What is enabling?

Enabling is when you are doing something for the addict that they should be doing for themselves. When parents enable, they are usually attempting to protect their child from being hurt or destroying their future. However, they don’t realize that by protecting their child from the consequences of their actions, they are allowing the problem to grow larger.

How do parents enable?

Here are some of the common ways and examples of enabling behaviors that parents use to enable an addicted child:

  1. Allowing an addicted child to live at home after the age of eighteen even though they are not making any contributions to the household. In today’s economy, many adult children live at home. But when a parent holds no expectations and allows an addicted child to live at home free and clear, this simply makes it easier to spend any money they have on drugs or alcohol.
  2. Paying their addicted child’s rent or mortgage so that they don’t end up homeless. It is understandable why a parent would do this, but when this financial responsibility is handled for the addict, it just makes it easier to spend that money on their addiction.
  3. Paying bills for the addict so they don’t lose their car, cell phone, cable, or electricity. Can you see the trend here? If the parent were to stop paying these bills, then the addicted child may start to feel the consequences of their actions, possibly leading to a desire for positive change.
  4. Bailing their child out of jail or vouching for them in court. No parent wants to see their child locked up behind bars. Unfortunately, this is what it might take for them to realize their need for help. While jail and/or prison is the last thing a parent wants for their child, it can sometimes save an addict’s life.

How can I stop enabling?

For parents, trying to understand addiction is difficult and confusing. It just doesn’t make any sense that their child will continue to use drugs and/or alcohol in spite of devastating consequences. It is hurtful that your own child will lie and steal from the family. And, because of the stigma that surrounds addiction, it can be embarrassing and shameful to have an addict in the family. Many times, it is this shame that causes parents to continue enabling – in order to prevent further embarrassment to the family.

This is why it is so important for parents to understand addiction. The first step to helping your child is gaining knowledge. If you were told that your child had diabetes you would learn everything you could about the disease. You would arm yourself with knowledge in order to face that battle. Like diabetes, addiction is a disease. By learning as much about addiction as possible, families can help their loved ones to recovery.

In the process of learning about addiction, it is equally important for parents to focus on their own recovery (from enabling behavior). By attending family recovery meetings, such as Al-Anon, parents can learn to make healthy changes in their family dynamic. They can gain strength and knowledge, as well as the extra support needed to get through the rough times.

Questions about parenting a drug addict

Do you still have questions or concerns about a child in your life? Maybe you just need to vent and share your experience. We invite you to leave your comments, opinions and questions about parenting or enabling below. We try our best to respond to each question with a personal and prompt reply. You are not alone!

About the author
Lisa Espich is the author of the multi award-winning book, Soaring Above Co-Addiction: Helping your loved one get clean, while creating the life of your dreams. For additional articles, resources, and a free preview chapter of Soaring Above Co-Addiction visit her website. Her book is available at bookstores everywhere and at Twin Feather Publishing.


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  1. My son just received his 2sd DUI and his truck was ruined he needs alignment and bodywork, he wants us to give the mechanic 2000 dollars, so he can get work. We are done giving him money and he has asked his brothers to pay for his truck. Are we all wrong saying no to him? He is also homeless now.

    1. Hello Sonia. It is really tough to stay strong in your position, especially as a parent. But, you should keep trying. I suggest you call the helpline number displayed on our site to get in touch with our trusted treatment providers who can help you access adequate treatment program for your son.

  2. Same same same thing here!!! My husband and I have been married for 8 years, and his son has lived with us for the last 7 years. The alcoholic son is 31 and has not had a job in months, in fact, the last job that he did have was working at our convenience store and gas station. My husband would hire him and fire him over and over and over again because he’d show up to work drunk. He was constantly stealing money from the store and whenever he would pick up what the store needed from Wal-mart or Sams Club he would buy extra things for himself. One year, I caught him buying his kids Christmas presents and spent $400 at Wal-mart. When my husband talked to him about it, he said that it was my fault and that the dad wouldn’t normally care, it was just because I caught him. Almost every time that the son is drunk he is so mean and says the most hateful terrible things to my husband. A few years ago they were having one of their blow-up arguments and the son stole my car. My husband called the police and they shortly arrested him and charged him possession of a stolen vehicle. Because it was a felony charge my husband bailed him out of jail less than 24 hours later, he said that he did not deserve a felony. When I got served to for court my husband told me that if I went to court that I should consider myself divorced, so I didn’t go. Again stepson said that this was my fault because I left my car running (I left my car running because it was 110 degrees outside in the middle of August and I had stopped at home to get my daughter and then head back to work the store). So many times I pulled doubles at work because he couldn’t come in because he was drunk again. I don’t want to say that I hate my stepson more than I love my husband, but it is getting so close that I’m afraid that I can’t stay here married much longer. Neither I or my husband are happy, we’re both stressed to the max always. And my husband is such an amazing and forgiving person there is no one else on earth that I’d rather be with! I don’t know what to do or where to go. I don’t know how to fix anything. All I really want is some relief but I seriously doubt my husband will ever stand up to him and make him do the things that he should be doing for himself. I’m the biggest idiot of us all!! Here I’ve kept my daughter here raising her in this mess. She was 10 when he moved in, now she just turned 17 and it’s too late for to make the necessary corrections for her!! I allowed the son to stay here in my house, I’ve set the worst example for her I’m afraid! AARRGGGGHHHH!!! Please some advice before I blow my head off!

  3. My son is homeless and basically living in the door well of our how. He just finished detox but sicehehasa history of steaming from me I won’t let him in our house. He has o money for food or housing. Is it enabling him to provide food and sheer for the weather?

  4. I found this article insightful from the authors view. I also agree that it is a delicate line. Parents & guardians want the best for their child & teen. It’s never an easy road dealing with addiction. When I read this it reminded me of another blog I saw awhile back. I think they both compliment each other petty well!

  5. My daughter has been using off and on for years. She is now fourty and just spent a month in a half in jail. Although I did not bail her out this time friends did. She has no where to live so she stayed with me for a few days. She shooed up at my house about midnight right after her release from jail.!!i helped her rent a motel room but did not give her money. I physically went up to the office and paid for it. I have bailed her out of jail several times in the past. But realized I was enabling her. i have heard from my other daughter and son and they said I am still enabling her. What can I do she has several court dates and needs a ride should I continue to help her?

  6. My 28 year old daughter was just released from prison after messing up her parole. She lived with her bf but she started using heroin again so he booted her out. Now she wants to come to my home because she is homeless. I get non-stop texts from her and frankly it gives me chest pains with all this stress. She has been using for 3 years and in and out of prison and everytime she gets out she goes back to using. We let her live with a us a few years ago with her daughter and I am now suffering from ptsd from her trying to have us arrested so many times for false accusations. My home was a peaceful and happy before she moved in and there is no way in hell she is moving back into my house. It hurts me but I cannot take the chance that me or my hubby get arrested and we lose our jobs. There is nothing I can do to help her. We tried the whole compassion and sweet talk and detoxes and whatnot and nothing ever worked. I want this nightmare to end as it eats me up every waking moment of my day and night. Not sure how it will end but it needs to soon.

    1. Hi Kay. Call a toll-free Heroin Helpline on 1-888-988-7934 to get in touch with trusted and confidential helpline professionals available 24/7. You will speak to a sympathetic, well-trained individual who can help you find a reliable recovery program that will meet your daughter’s treatment needs.

  7. My son has been an addiction Meth of choice since 18. I kicked him out. Long story short 8 rehabs he’s 23 now. I would pay his car insurance and phone. I do the think he lasted a month after any rehab. He moved out of state to Uncles homes but burned bridges with every one. He thinks we should pay his phone and insurance. I stopped the insurance. Just can’t make myself stop the phone. When he doesn’t get his way he gets so pissed. I flew to Dallas to take him to court in Oklahoma. He was so disrespectful the whole time. He knew for sure he was getting off the charge of Meth because he had run to another rehab just to make it look good in court. Well he came out of the courtroom in handcuffs. He told me to bail him out with $500. I looked at him and said he played this game too long you need to learn something from it. And the way you treated me was horrible. Thinking he’d be in there for a couple months they let him out in two days. I guess sooner or later he’ll get picked up with no insurance on his car. I’ve overheard him say Well I can keep going to rehabs to him 26 because my parents have insurance. Don’t get me wrong I will not pay his bills for the rehabs which your way over $200,000. I just wish I could be strong enough to not pay his phone bill. Any advice. He gets out of rehab and doesn’t go to sober living because I don’t think he’s ready for that or he’ll get kicked out of sober living for drugging again. I know I need to cut my ties and just cut the phone off he hasn’t had a job for close to a year now and lives on the streets so he says. But as I know an addict lies steals cons about everything so I don’t know what is true anymore.

  8. Our son is 49, homeless in Honolulu and is most likely an alcoholic or a drug user. He has been in Hawaii for about 30 years, and we rarely see him. It has been 4 years since we last saw him. At that time, he had a rented room, but now he is back on the streets for about a year. He does call us to complain about his injuries or his homelessness. He is constantly hinting for money, but we refuse. We have told him to check in to a Rehab program…and THEN we will help him. But it will be on our terms, not his. It hurts us bad to see him like this, but we realize that we cannot enable him to continue in his addiction.
    It is also difficult to deal with my brother and my sister who each have sons that they subsidize with money each month! They may not be as bad off as our son, but neither of these two men work either, and their parents support them. Naturally, our son knows about his 2 male cousins’ situations and he is very jealous! He tells us that we should help him, like they help their sons!
    We feel helpless and we’ve never known how to deal with him. He has been a prodigal for about 33 years, and has never wanted to be under authority. And so we pray for him.
    Is there anything else we can do?
    Thank you,
    Heartbroken Parents

  9. How to help a father who does not understand enabling. How do I help my father understand that giving my brother a cell phone, brand new car, and no consequences is only enabling bad behaviors. He is claims he doesn’t want to make it worse by making my brother angry and upset by taking things away. Please help!

  10. I know parents who are enabling their child’s drug habit by taking her to where she can get drugs. This has gone on since the daughter was 14 – she is now 19. The mother characterizes the daughter as “having problems” and that she is the long suffering mother. A therapist told the mother her daughter was too immature emotionally to be dating boys. The mother proclaimed the therapist insane, that her daughter “needed a boyfriend”. After the daughter was arrested – age 16 – the day the daughter was released from jail the mother had me take her to a “friends” – his brother was later arrested for heroin. Is this normal behavior for a mother?

  11. Hello,

    My boyfriend is 33 years old, and a method addict who recently got locked up. We both live with his parents, however, I work, and have been giving his parents money monthly. His mother admits she’s an enabler, and he is a spoiled brat because of it. I love his parents very much. How can I get her the help she needs to stop enabling him? Even in jail, his entitlement issues and spoiledness are ridiculous. She keeps spending all her money to buy him packages, pay for phone calls, and pay for visits. Shit, if she could bail him out this time (which she can’t, the court won’t allow him to be), she would. She ends up taking all her frustrations with him out on me, her husband, and her sister; yet when we tell her to stop, she just gets even more angry with us. She needs help, because I truly believe if she doesn’t get help, he will never get better. What can I do?

  12. My son of 36 drinks heavy & gambles .. recently I asked him to move out but I’ve had to bail him out by paying his rent n bills ..I’ve asked him to pay me so much a week to pay his rent n bills but says he can do it himself .. I know he’s unhappy a loner though he’s loads of friends .. I’ve enabled him to carry on for fear of repercussions from his flat mate a much younger girl who very strict .. they have never properly communicated .. I’m extremely concerned for him that he might do something stupid .. everyone has told me not to help him I finding it very hard being I’m his only parent .. I find it hard to talk to him without being a nag in the process

  13. I am enabling my 30 year old daughter and paying her way in life, ii have two other children whoiwhoi are 10 and 13 who I don’t provide for.
    I think of my 30 year old as my kid,a child .
    Can some one please tell me how wrong I am ,I refuse to listen to anyone.
    I gave her a home to live in,a car to drive,got her a phone on my contract,pay her bills, buy Her clothes,
    Take her to work wityh me on round trips around USA and pay for her hotels and meals.
    Please I can’t see sense,I won’t be told how wrong I am being

  14. My 28 year old daughter is on heroin. She was taking pills from a pain management group. She says she just started heroin but i dont believe it. We finally got her to agree to a detox then rehab. Last weekend we drove the city of Philadelphia place to place finally got her placed. She spent 5 days in detox then moved to rehab unit. She sounded good all week. We were allowed to visit on sat as we did. Something wentcwrong and on sunday we never heard from her and on mon am she claimed she was asked to leave when in fact she signed herself out. We heard again from her on tues nite and wed am saying she needed her ID to get treatment elsewhere. We live 2 hrs away so we drove the IDs to her at a treatment center but now she wants her phone bc she claims they wont help her bc she has detox medication in her system of course they wont talk to me bc she is 28 so i cannot get the truth. I cannot drive back down there again with her phone. I was so mad i felt lik giving it to her but i no its to contact her drug connections again. Her boyfriend put her out bc she is stealing things and selling them he also does not do drugs and cant live lik that. We are beside ourselves. I know i was an enabler in the past but i am trying my hardest to do tough love. Its a horrible feeling to live like this. And the stress is so much to bare. I cry constantly. I am just at the end of my rope with trying to help this girl. Thank you for listening and any advice you could offer would be much appreciated. Thank you. Karen

  15. I have a oxycodone addicted son that’s destroying my family life I didn’t know that he was addicted to pills but my wife did cause he tell her things and it seems like they work against me when I can’t enable his habit seems like they take it out on me I’m the blame for everything his addiction make me wish I was dead so I could get away from him its not fair to go through this mess I am very bitter and angry at how he make my wife feel guilty and she get angry at me cause I tell her that I am tired of his actions he has made life a living hell

  16. My 23 year old daughter is a alcoholic and moved back home with her 2 children. Told us shed stop drinking, we found out she hasnt. She works and we make her pay rent. Because she took what little money she had left and bought alcohol, we have now taken her bank card and handle all her expenses, with her money. She is upset, but we think its best, obviously isnt ready to have money. We are looking for professional help. Are we doing the right thing? What else do you advice?

  17. My son is 42 yrs.old did all the stuff listed.I did all the stuff to enable him,l know now after reading this.i just love him so much. He is in jail again . He went to jail for 6 mo. He used a stolen card to by gas.his attorney said his girlfriend stoked,I don’t know.was on proroll and tested dirty. Back to he says he was drugs at 12 I didn’t no.he asked why did not help then.he really has gout bad and tells me why did you not help me than. Can you help me now .i don’t know ifi

  18. My sister buys Marijuana for her son and has done since he was 15yrs old! I begged her once not to buy it from my not using addict daughter,I was ignored!
    I am belittled by my family for many things one being my sisters frequent insults abouty child! Why is she doing this he has no friends looks dreadful cannot interact with other people!
    My child’s behaviours are reported to my 90 yr old father and my mother who recently died! I seem to be a scapegoat for everything in my “family” and find myself under attack always and yet my nephew is ignored the other child who is an ice addict is ignored( in terms of criticism) and visiting my 90 yr old Father yesterday IWAS suddenly being given tales of the saintly things he’d done for my mother with no mention that this inlaw threw me out of my dying mothers Unit on a daily basis!
    I was also removed from decisions regarding her care food and fluid removal and a refusal to see her Will and be involved in the decision of her Real personal
    Assets and not the 2small boxes of costume JEWELLRY , tapes and a few items my sisters had no interest in! Help me with
    Information regarding probate as I realise only now that I could and should have stopped this ”
    Murder” of my mother and the continued
    Hate of myself!

  19. My friend’s son who is 28 admits he is an alcoholic and “occasionally” uses cocaine. He says he doesn’t want help. He wants to drink.
    My friend, Dick, is the alcoholics father. He claims strongly that he himself is not an alcoholic. However he drinks vodka three or four nights a week . He drinks until he falls asleep. He never just drinks a glass of wine or has a beer. Once he has that first drink he keeps drinking until he falls asleep. I can’t say whether he is an alcoholic or not. Here is my concern . Dick likes to party with his son. They play golf together and drink on the golf course. After golf they go out to have a few beers. They both get drunk. I have expressed my concerns to Dick about his son’s health, safety and life. I told him the dangers of mixing alcoholic and cocaine. His response is that he doesn’t think he uses cocaine all that much. I have my own thoughts about the reason that Dick continues to drink and get drunk with his son, but I am too close to the situation. I would very much appreciate your advice suggestions whatever you have to help. I know that I cannot change either father or son and that I cannot fix them. I’m asking for a clearer understanding of the situation so that I can help myself. . Thanks in advance for encouraging and supporting words. I live with my friend as a couple.

  20. My wife recently loaned her son several thousand dollars to help buy a trailer to live in. The decision was made after her son was denied financing. He recently lost a web site on a marketplace, his primary business, for selling drug paraphernalia despite warnings from the marketplace to stop. Under financial pressure he broke his rental lease and came up with the idea of living in a trailer. My wife cannot understand why her behavior is enabling and why I am upset. She feels I being too hard on her son and not giving him a chance. She insists he had worked his plan out and will repay the loan. I don’t how to address this.

  21. My stepson is back in jail he has been doing drugs an alcohol for atleast 20 yrs
    .My wife wants to go put money on his books at jail. I’m saying I’m tired of enabeling him in this and everyway so I’m saying no what do you say.

  22. My 39 year old son is an alcoholic. It has me so stressed out because I am continually thinking of ways to save him. Is sending him online AA meetings enabling him?

  23. I have a friend whose daughter has been jailed for beating up a man while intoxicated and also kicking and scratching the police. She is going to court on Monday and my friend wants me to write a character letter for the judge. Her daughter is 19 and has bipolar disorder, also has been sexually abused. I know her and find her very loving and friendly but am I being wrong to write a character letter to save her from jail? Her Mother is very CO dependent and always tries to rescue her. Would my letter prevent her daughter from getting the help that she needs?

  24. Hi, I’m a single mum with a 16 year old boy who takes drugs. I am just learning how deep he is into the whole seen. He is in denial and everything is all fine by his accounts. Started with pot at parties, pinga, has experimented with uppers n downers, LSD, and now his choice of use is nbome 25i. Gone from a kid who was funny, gentle, liked by many to continuously getting suspended, very forgetful, owing money here n there, not finishing his hospitality traineeship, they won’t roster him on any more, just not reliable. His friends atm the most important thing in his life. Sneaking out of home, paraniod, sometimes seems to walk around without sense of time, space, blank and in a loop. He has issues with his father never been around and his father his an alcoholic and gambler n tried to commit subside several times and just come out of jail again. I think he is a very sensitive boy and always covered up his feelings with been the funny one. I think he has anxiety issues, don’t know if this because of the drugs or why he may even turned to them in the first place. He seems to be drawn to people who dabble in drugs for weekend use or more. At first with the pot, I found a joint, at 14 and lost it. Gave him the riot act etc, then over time another one and another, then he start to smoke at home sneakingly, but obvious from the smell and the midnight munchies. Then he didn’t bother to hide it, continuously find home made bongs. Always ended the same, arguments, taken his computer away for a while, no pocket money for the week etc. trying to get him to see a counsellor/ support as to why he is goi g down this road. His thing was, I need it to relax n help me sleep, professionals even said if it helps him. I was starting to think am I over reacting, after all they r all doing it, they seem like a nice bunch of friends, at least he is home and safe and not out in the streets doing gods no what. Then the calls from the school, he is acting very irrational, very agitated and just won’t listen to eventually 6 months down the track. Calls from school his behaviour is quite psychotic we r concerned for the teacher n his own safety etc. he always plays these incidents down n just said they r all over reacting. I half believed him or just wanted to believe him cause it was easier then admitting my son is a drug addict. Maybe not a every day user or even weekly, who knows. Till someone said to me…ok so he smokes pot sometimes on a daily basis sometimes with breaks in between, he taken pinga, mdma, nbome, and who knows what else,….so his body n brain has not been drug free for quite sometime. Why did I think this is all ok, maybe just a phrase, part of growing up. He’s a good kid, he will make the right choice, meanwhile he is just falling deeper n deeper that drug work hole. He is selling as well, I guess to make money to buy his so called happy times. More serious then I thought, shipment from Germany coming to our house- nbome. Any yet I lay here in my bed typing this, have tried to get him into detox or rehab, but it has to be voluntary, and as far he is concerned he doesn’t have a problem and to look at him, most days no one would know. I am very confused, tired, ashamed, embarrassed, worried, resentful towards him, scared for him, I have proof of some other of his school mate, as I got into his private messenger n taken copies of conversations re waiting for shipment for mdma or 25i, do I go to police and fop his mates in as well as my son, or how will that help him recover, will it just make him more angry n more trust no one, and push him to use more……….

  25. I don’t know how to begin this…I just woke up to the realization that my 22 year old son has a real problem. I guess with him being the only child I kept my head in the sand. well no more here is my story. About a year ago my son’s friend came to my house at 3 in the morning b/c my son who has over 50 allergies was smoking weed out of a bong all of a sudden can’t breath (I assumed mold) They took him to the hospital and he he was doing horrible his oxygen was so low but after the drug test it was Marijuana only. He came through but I noticed that he was drinking more than a normal, whatever that is. Well he flipped his car and was taken to jail charged with a dui, I refused to get him out but his friends did 24 hours later aND his brand new car was totaled but he was not hurt. He needed a lawyer so I got him one (now I know I shouldn’t of) and he got off b/c first time offender and good lawyer but he did get probation that he doesn’t have to do anything with. Well last night he calls me b/c he was smoking weed again and he is having another allergic reaction!!!! His friend dropped him off at 3 in the morning he lives with me I kicked him out in the paSt 6 months 3x I think but I feel as though I’m wrapped around his finger b/c well he is my son and he does the whole I’m sorry I won’t do it again bit and again he’s back so I feel as though I don’t have alot of worth when I say anything abut kicing hI’m out. ..I’m beating myself up b/c of his problems …..I feel I failed him and myself I know he is the one who has the problem but what about what I feel ??? I can’t change it or maybe I can….he doesn’t seem to care about my feelings at all I know that is one of the problems when I talk to him he shuts down becomes extremely angry … what is my next step please any advice will be helpful….he could seriously die because an allergy reaction to weed or because of drinking. I feel as though I’ve done a lot of damage by enabling him to continue this but now I’m spiraling and he sure is spiraling

  26. My 22 year old daughter has a serious opiate addiction that we have been aware of since the end of August 2015. My oldest daughter has been taking care of her niece since labourday weekend and the biological father of my younger grandson has been living full time with his father since then. I have sporadic contact with my addicted daughter, every time providing her with the contact information for detox and rehab. I have never given her money out of my pocket, I have given her cheques that were mailed to my house for her from the government.

    My oldest daughter thinks that when I gave her the gst cheque that was mailed to my house I am guilty of enabling her.

    I thought I was legally obligated to give her mail that came in her name. I have told her she cannot live with me, she cannot come to my house or bringing/send any of her friends to my house. I will give her a ride to a detox and be there for her while she signs in, I will visit her at rehab but I will not support her addictions.

    Can someone tell me was I enabling her when I gave her a check that was sent to her from the government? She knew the cheque was being sent to my house.

    I am trying to define tough love vs. no love.

  27. What about the paarent who caused the addiction when they where kids cause she was a peace loving hippy. She caused her children’s psychosis. Then one crazy son killed her husband and she allways tries to paint them as good kids. The other one is in and out of prison too. Meth heads both of them. She told me she did meth with them as kids. She is paying for her kid in mental hospital only not the man she was married to. Thats a hopeless case. Now the other son is getting out of prison and already planning on enabling him. Gonna give him her car even though he can never get a license again. And he will be on parole. I told her she giving him a direct ticket to a parole violation but she said he needs to drive. Women stop the madness. Its pathetic and dangerously irresponsible

  28. I have a 25 year old daughter that is addicted to alcohol and drugs. We was in an abusive relationship for 6-7 years. She started drinks nag and using during this time. She has come home several times and eventually went back. She comes home with very little clothes. Each time she has less and less. We moved out of the state she was living in. This time when she called for help for come home I believe we were her last resort. She left the boyfriends house and moved to a friends, where she claimed this person forced her to do cocaine. I don’t believe anyone forces you to do anything. She was kicked out of that place because the girl said my daughter stole money from her. Anyway we paid for a bus ticket thinking she needed and wanted help. She was here for 3 months. Initially it was ok, then she would find alcohol, stole sleeping pills, had her abusive ex-boyfriend send her drugs through the mail. She became disrespectful with her father and I. We began to lock our room, hide phones, turn off the internet hoping she wouldn’t contact him anymore or steal money from us. We gave her the option of rehab or going back to the state she was living in. She didn’t want to leave, but refused rehab. We feel horrible about making her leave. We are worried about what might happen to her. My husband keeps saying we might have done the wrong thing.

  29. My step son is 29 and lived on the couch and played video games for sixteen months. His dad buys him a pack of ciggetetts every day and pays his probation fines monthly. Michael has a felony charge for meth and my husband lied to me about the felony charge. I got Michael a job at a conscience store and after a month, Michael agreed to paying two hundred a month towards rent, fifty toward his phone and fifty towards his cell. My husband threw a fit and said he chose Michael over me sand I had no right to ask him to pay towards our bills. I told him that Michael needs to move out and they both did. I’m hurt that he chose a 29 year old free loader over me,

  30. There are many alanon resources in our area but very few naanon -most much to far to drive without impacting our livelihood. What other resources are available for us to learn to cope with and survive our child’s addiction without condemning him and without enabling him?

    I mean… we understand addiction is a life long medical condition, but we don’t want it ruling our lives the way it does our child’s.

  31. I am a parent with two sons who is on an off on drugs. The have been several times in Rehab and come clean for 6mths nine months. Now with this last relapse. My son 22 would be 1 year clean in February. He relapsed in December. The other son 25 was 7mths clean. It’s devasting to me.
    The reason for my disappointment is, in June last year they approach me to open a family bussiness . I the mother in charge of accounts an handle the money. We manage to open in October. They worked hard an upto December the bussiness have prospered. They have been doing from the calls getting customers on board. Phoning supplier for pricing worked out quotes did orders invoicing an despatch.
    Company closed the 15 December, I left to Durban for a week when I got back they had a relapse.
    They both are married. They don’t live with me.
    They didn’t steal anything from company but the one age 25 sold items fron his own home.
    They are one week clean now
    They stater out patient treatment. Cause I said sorry I don’t have money for rehab. You guyz git urself into this go fix urselves. They haven’t been dusrepectful. No attitude. They have apologize.over an over again.
    They have family’s
    What do I do
    Do I let them do matings an come into work for few hours
    Or do I work by myself (I don’t think so)
    I feel they should put in some work (to see to their own responsibilities. Is this right
    As long as they attend there stepwork meetings
    Plz advise me the legal way. If possible

    My life is in turmoil at the moment. I am their mum 48years old. I remarried almost 2 years in march. I married a recovering Alcoholic. He is 3 years recovered.
    When we started dating my husband now have promised to give me support with my son’s. But it now seems like I am traped. All he does is dictate to me. Tell them they not allowed at work they not allowed in our home.
    They were not rude to me they didn’t steal from me
    They had a relapse.
    I am not suppose to show them love. In his eyes
    My consequence to there relapse was now you go for meetings stepwork everyday and not work but come assist in office when their is a urgent order. Than go
    home. Only allowed to come visit me on Sundays

    Husband argument with me. Cause they still at the office in this situationI than get told by him I am not honest. I am sneaky behind his back. I am disgusting. I am blamed. But it’s my son’s. I am not enabling. I let them work instead of me doing it for them.
    Is this right or am I going the wrong way about it

    I also decide to sell up my home. Someone interested come home to view. My son 22 ask me mum’s plz tell me what happening are you selling. My reply yes
    That also husband turn into argument
    He tell me I should reply not your bussiness
    Is that right. Should I vocate rude behaviour
    Plz advise me

  32. I have a 46 year old son that has his own home. He has a bank account that I am on. I can use this account to keep his bills updated. His mortgage is in default. Am I enabling him if I use his account to pay his bills and help him keep his house?

  33. My 25 year old son is an alcoholic. I have been enabling him by giving him money. I realize that now and need to stop. He has dropped out of college three times and says he won’t go back. He had a girlfriend – but is now on his own. He found a place to rent and I paid the first months rent. I know that with a minimum wage job he’ll have trouble paying his rent. Am I still enabling by paying a portion, and him paying the rest? Thank you.

  34. Our daughter was incarcerated 3days ago on possession of meth. We will see and speak with her today for the first time. This is her first offence and we are struggling with when or if to bond her out of jail. I’m afraid if we do she will never hold herself accountable for her actions. This pattern of drug abuse has been going on for 5 years starting with marijuana and alcohol occasionally to now shooting meth as often as she can get it. We sent her to a rehab paid by us and she left after 6 days and we let her come back to our home.A week later she was incarcerated. She’s 23 and has type 1 diabetes. I know that we are enabling her but we have been so afraid to put her out because of her diabetes although she is noncompliant at home and is in the hospital month after month. We as all parents love our daughter very much but I feel as if I am being held hostage in my own home never able to leave when she is here because of who she may bring into our home or what she may steal. My husband and I don’t agree on what to do. Please help.

  35. my daughter is almost 41. She has had 3 DWI’s, a theft charge, lost home, job, everything. I am not helping her financially and she can’t live here with me. I didn’t raise her to be this way and after the murder of her sister 3+ years ago, I have become so over protective and paranoid that she will mess up again. I don’t know what to do. She lies to me and her boyfriend that was the only person who would take her in. She has lost all friends except other alcoholics and I am so distraught. Do let her go and lose everything again including probably her living arrangements, or what she calls me everything but white. Her last DWI she blew a .50 and had alcohol poisoning and ended up in jail for 30 days for theft from work. I bailed her out then but no more. Please advise.

  36. Hi, I’m looking for advise. I recently moved back from Dallas to my hometown of Houston. I have a house here but waiting for a tenant I leased it to to move out. I moved in with my sister and her family for a few months. And it’s working out for both of us. I have a place to stay until my house is ready and I’m giving her $100 a week for the room. I work long hours and stay pretty busy so I’m not here much. But my room is across the hall from her 21 year old daughter. She was pretty strict with her growing up so I was surprised that she now let’s her smoke pot (nonstop) drink and lets her boyfriend live in her room with her. She has a part-time job that pays for her pot and I think she helps pay for her cell phone. Other than that my sister does everything for her. Cooks her food does her laundry, fold it and lays it at her door. Cleans up after her in the bedroom and bathroom, buys all her shampoos and soaps etc etc. her daughter, other than to work 3 days a week doesn’t come out of the room. I hear her smoking pot at all hours. She could be sleeping and wakes up and smokes pot. She recently turned 21 so now she’s drinking a lot too. She’s like a hermit in there staying stoned 24/7. I don’t understand what my sister is thinking! When I asked her if she knew that her daughter was smoking at all hours of the night she just laughed. I don’t want to get involved but I’m concerned. They act like its no big deal. She dropped out,of college and has been in her room ever since. I don’t want to start any family squabble but I’m concerned. my sister is enabling her and I don’t know why. Thank you.

  37. I have an addictive grand daughter and I don’t know what to do about Christmas gift for her. She has broken into my house and stolen jewelry and gift cards from me. I love her but don’t know what to do about Christmas.

  38. Is it wrong for me to ask my boss to give my son more hours at a job that we both work at. This could and should help him to be able to move out. He is in his 30’s. It would be peace for me and a feeling of freedom and responsibility for him. A push in the right direction of seeing life on your on. Help me on this. He is a good worker.

    1. Hello Diane. I believe that first you should talk with your son, and see what we wants, and what are his needs. Then, talk with your boss, but only with your son’s approval.

  39. My son is in a music conservatory in NY. Despite his addiction he managed to finish his freshman year. He was placed on probation for missing some orchestra obligations. He still has a 50 percent scholarship. I believe his drugs are marijuana all the time and cocaine as he can get it. He was stealing so much from us last summer I told him I would call the police unless he went to treatment. He completed a 30 day program but then very soon relapsed. He did not want to stop and did not seem to try hard. He then returned to college. We have no idea how he is doing, but suspect not well. If he is not able to stay at college and we don’t want him at home, we don’t know how to respond to him.

    Please give any advice you have. We hate to put him out on the street in December.

    1. Hello Wanda. It is really tough to stay strong in your position, especially as a parent. But, you should keep trying. I suggest you call the helpline number displayed on our site to get in touch with our trusted treatment providers who can help you access adequate treatment program for your son.

  40. ITHIS IS A CONTINUOS FROM MY LAST POST! I acidentally pressed send when I wasn’t finished! My stepson and his dope head friends with no jobs either go 30 minutes down the road to Beaumont Texas and buys the synthetic weed and brings it back home. I’ve been with my husband since his son was 19 and now he is 26. He stole approximately $15,000.00 of jewelry that was willed to me from my great Aunt. He has stole everything of value that I’ve ever had! When we approached him, he said that it was his friend, he allowed him to go into our bedroom and take my stuff. He has stolen expensive tools, speakers, stereos, Everything he could get his hands on from my husband! My husband knows that he did this but he keeps saying that if we don’t have solid proof then we can’t do anything! We have kicked him out many times but once his friends get tired of him bumming, he calls his dad saying that he guesses that he will have to sleep under a bridge and my husband feels bad because he will never forgive himself if he dies. He has bought his son 4 or 5 trucks, gave him everything, and this man has already had 2 DWI’S and sold everything for his drug money. Last few years we have allowed him to live in our camper in our back yard but when he wakes up, he come in the house, takes a 30 minute to hour shower, eats everything in this house, then either plops on the couch or leaves with his buddies and comes home after we go to bed so we don’t see him messed up going to the camper. Last time I found T least 4 bags of the synthetic weed hidden in the oven in the camper. Me and his son wrestled, him trying to take it from me. He chased me but I made it in my house, locked the door, took a picture of it and sent it to his dad at work! So his dad alley him and told him to be gone by the time he got home. Someone told me for every ounce of that stuff, it’s like 4 years. I assure u I had about 8 oz that I could get my hands on! There were prob around 3 or 4 more bags that I couldn’t grab! Hubby told me to flush it so I did. But if we would have gotten caught, they would have seized everything we have. My husband likes to give me advice about my grown sons and everyone elses, but he won’t take his own advice! So yesterday I get a call from hubby to tell me that he is going to pick his son up T his grandmothers, where he has been staying for the past 6 months! Now I will have to start locking up everything again! And I don’t want him to be here when his father or I’m not here, but I’m scared to talk to my husband because he is going to tell me that I’m always negative. Well, I can count at least 15 times that his son has ran around my yard and house with a machete saying that people were in trees, he would get in our attic and dig because at that time he was doing meth! He has even went to my old, sick parents house and stole my father’s medicine.. My husband has always told me that he loves me and is very grateful for me, but not to ever make him choose between his son and me and I don’t want to do that. But I’m now so depressed and unhappy, I don’t know what to do! I chose a job that I go into work at 3 pm and get off at 7 or 8 and my husband works from 7am to 3:30 pm but sometimes has to work late. I don’t trust his son! Any advice please?

  41. I have been with my husband going on 8 yrs on March 21st. Our 1st date was March 21, 2008 and after dating for 5 years, we decided to get married on the same date that we went out on our 1st date. So on March 21st in 2016, we will have our 3 year marriage anniversary but our 8 year anniversary of being together. We ate not the perfect couple but I’ve never been with a man that I get along with soich and we hardly EVER fight. But when we do, it’s about his 26 yr old son that does not work, WILL not try to find a job, all he does is steal everything he can get his hands on at our home and also goes through neighborhoods, stealing, then goes to pawn shops and gets money from what he stole so he can buy his drugs
    Right now his drug of choice is that synthetic weed, which is banned in Louisiana where we live and his name is on a list hers in town at the pawn shops, to not buy from him. So my stepson and his dope head friends with no jobs either go 30 minutes down the road to Beaumont Texas and buys the synthetic weed and brings it back home. I’ve been with my husband since his son was 19 and now he is 26. He stole approximately $15,000.00 of jewelry that was willed to me from my great Aunt. He has stole everything of value that I’ve ever had! When we approached him, he said that it was his friend, he allowed him to go into our bedroom and take my stuff. He has stolen expensive tools, speakers, stereos, Everything he could get his hands on from my husband! My husband knows that he did this but he keeps saying that if we don’t have solid proof then we can’t do anything! We have kicked him out many times but once his friends get tired of him bumming, he calls his dad saying that he guesses that he will have to sleep under a bridge and my husband feels bad because he will never forgive himself if he dies. He has bought his son 4 or 5 trucks, gave him everything, and this man has already had 2 DWI’S and sold everything for his drug money. Last few years we have allowed him to live in our camper in our back yard but when he wakes up, he come in the house, takes a 30 minute to hour shower, eats everything in this house, then either plops on the couch or leaves with his buddies and comes home after we go to bed so we don’t see him messed up going to the camper. Last time I found T least 4 bags of the synthetic weed hidden in the oven in the camper. Me and his son wrestled, him trying to take it from me. He chased me but I made it in my house, locked the door, took a picture of it and sent it to his dad at work! So his dad alley him and told him to be gone by the time he got home. Someone told me for every ounce of that stuff, it’s like 4 years. I assure u I had about 8 oz that I could get my hands on! There were prob around 3 or 4 more bags that I couldn’t grab! Hubby told me to flush it so I did. But if we would have gotten caught, they would have seized everything we have. My husband likes to give me advice about my grown sons and everyone elses, but he won’t take his own advice! So yesterday I get a call from hubby to tell me that he is going to pick his son up T his grandmothers, where he has been staying for the past 6 months! Now I will have to start locking up everything again! And I don’t want him to be here when his father or I’m not here, but I’m scared to talk to my husband because he is going to tell me that I’m always negative. Well, I can count at least 15 times that his son has ran around my yard and house with a machete saying that people were in trees, he would get in our attic and dig because at that time he was doing meth! He has even went to my old, sick parents house and stole my father’s medicine.. My husband has always told me that he loves me and is very grateful for me, but not to ever make him choose between his son and me and I don’t want to do that. But I’m now so depressed and unhappy, I don’t know what to do! I chose a job that I go into work at 3 pm and get off at 7 or 8 and my husband works from 7am to 3:30 pm but sometimes has to work late. I don’t trust his son! Any advice please?

  42. I want to tell all of you that there is hope for individuals with addiction to opiates (heroin, oxy, pain pills). My son went through 3 private 30 day inpatient treatment programs, a 90 day program in jail, and a 6 month intensive program in state prison. He’s been through multiple “abstinence only” outpatient programs, AA, NA, and Smart Recovery. He’s been given Suboxone, and Naltrexone (Vivitrol), and none of this worked.

    He’s now been on Methadone for about 5 months and wishes everyone who’s addicted to heroin knew how well it has worked for him. His cravings are gone, and he knows if he uses heroin he won’t get high, so that has disincentivised his use of it. He’s taking 2 classes in community college, and trying he replenish his body and brain with nutrients he’d depleted with his long history of addiction. He takes amino acid supplements, high doses of vitamin B, magnesium, and lethicin. With a longer history of depression, anxiety and ADD (attention deficit disorder) we know he has to heal his brain. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Methadone aids the brain in healing. It’s not just another opioid substitution.

    I’ve been accused more times than I can count of being an enabler because I WILL NOT GIVE UP trying to find the best approach to healing my son. And frankly I don’t give a DAMN how many times I’m chastised by others. My son is alive, he’s found hope, and he wouldn’t have done so without my unwavering support for his recovery. I sent him to prison for stealing my credit card, and that didn’t help him ONE BIT. But it kept him alive until he found Methadone. I would also like to mention that every relapse he’s ever had, and every step he’s taken up the drug chain (from marijuana to meth, to heroin) has occurred while he was living in so called “clean and sober” houses.

    Don’t give up, and don’t settle for “treatment” that doesn’t include medications like Methadone as an option. There are worse things than being physically dependent on a legally prescribed medication. Ask any diabetic if they regret taking insulin!

  43. I am the grandmother of a 21 year old granddaughter who is addicted to prescription drugs. One ex boyfriend introduced her to prescription drugs and the other ex low life bought them for her. Her mother made her leave her home and she went to her paternal grandparents home. She would call me often crying and telling me how unhappy she was there. So 3 days ago she asked if she could come here and I told her yes. The first night, she spends the night w with an old girlfriend from high school and we read on twitter how she got drunk and was never drinking again. Yesterday, day 2, I find out she is talking to the second ex on the phone through text. She is spending the night with her mother tonight so her mom can take her to work in the morning. Mom suspects she may have taken something because her eyes look heavy and she seems to be in slow motion. She has been to rehab. Please help us. What do we do?

    1. Hi Ellen. She still does need structured and professional help. I suggest you call the helpline number displayed on our site to get in touch with our trusted treatment providers. It’s a free call and you can get informed about what treatment options are best suitable and available for your niece that will fit her needs. Plus, they have a really cost-effective policy that if she ever relapses after initial treatment, they will take her in again for free. I hope this helps! I do believe she can get better if the root causes that compel her to use substances are identified and addressed.

  44. My partner’s 31 yr old son now lives with us for about 4 years. We took my truck and trailer down to CA to load up his stuff and bring him back to WA. He was drunk when we got there and nothing had been packed. We spent the day packing and loading everything of his. Since that day he has never tried to find a place of his own, he has continued to work for his father. He has gotten DUI’s, been banned from several bars and has continued to drive drunk. We have taken his keys, he made new ones, his father blocked his car he found a way to get it out. Now his father has hidden the car from him. Each time he has become cross with me, talked down to me and I stand up for myself, but his father has asked me to not say anything, he thinks that no reaction is better. He has asked me to make sure I thank him for when he does the dishes, which is not very often and when he is done, I doubt they are really clean and he leaves water all over the counter. To me it is a way for him to get back at me for even telling him to clean up the dishes that he dirtied just after I cleaned the kitchen. He comes back and said so then I have the right to tell you to clean up the kitchen after I clean it and you dirty it. Sometimes you leave the kitchen dirty for days. Which is not true, I will leave his mess as I feel that I am not his maid. Now I go out of my way to buy him his “hot food” I ask him if there is something he is wanting for dinner etc. I feel like I’m the only one that is expecting him to do anything. I really don’t like that he is living with us and wish that he would go to the in house counciling/treatment that he said they are waiting for an opening for him. I know that the next time he gets his hands on alcohol that he will become verbally aggressive to me again. Am I fearful of him when he is drunk, yes, he is 6 foot tall and I’m 4’11”. I did tell his father that if I am ever fearful of him again that I will call the cops. I have suggested that his father go get his own counciling, I said you will find that you are enabling him and hurting him more than helping him. I have twice in my life dealt with addition in my family, I tried to explain that I know its hard and that tough love is not fun. Nothing changes.

  45. My son is an addict cocaine and marijuana (all the time). He is 19 and in college. He has a 50 percent scholarship to expensive school. We pay the rest. We no longer give him money, but he lives in the dorm and has a meal plan at school. He is gay and prostituting himself for drug money. He managed to keep his scholarship freshman year and is currently a sophomore. He is on probation for attendance. He went to inpatient treatment this summer but only because we threatened to call police over theft from us if he did not go. It does not seem to have made any difference. We are not allowing him to come home for Christmas (paying for dorm access). Now we are wondering if by paying for college under these circumstances, are we enabling him. Should he be on the street or do we continue paying? Thank you.

  46. My daughter is addicted to pain pills i enable ir i give her money and or pills i dont like to see her in pain i know its wrong she always tells me jzst one last time then she will leave me alone but doesnt

  47. We have a drug addicted 19 year old in college. This has been going on for 5 years. He has stolen from us and problem has escalated. Last summer he stole a lot and we told him we would call police unless he went to treatment. He went to a 30 day program. When he got out it was time to start his second year of college. He continued to use and has started prostituting himself for drug money. He seems to be doing ok in college but continues to steal and use We don’t want him home but not sure if it is enabling him by sending to college. Please advise. Thanks

    1. Hi Joy. It really depends on the person, so I suggest you speak with an addiction counselor whether sending him off to college will influence him in a bad or a good way. Have you tried rehab by now? You can call the free helpline number to reach our trusted treatment providers and see what options are there to help your son.

  48. Is there help for a middle aged alcoholic/drug addicted son who lives with his aged parents and will not move out? He is killing them and they are enabling him to ruin their lives, disturb their peace and make their otherwise lovely home a hell hole. What help entities are there for people like this??

    1. Hi Dion. Of course there is help! There is help for everyone. I am certain that even his parents are aware he needs help and that they need help as a family unit. In what relation are you to them? If you are in condition to speak with addiction treatment professionals you can call our trusted treatment providers to talk about the best treatment options open for him that fit his needs and the needs of his parents. You can find the number displayed on our page.

  49. My son is in the beginning stages of recovery but I still am enabling him in many areas of his life.I do not know if his rehab center knows that he constantly asks me for money. He is allowed to leave the center for a few hours each day and rides around in his car and keeps it hidden on the street there.I can not even tell the center because he refuses to tell me where it is. I do not know how much more I can take.

    1. Hi Vicky. I’d advise you to call the helpline number displayed on our site to get in touch with our trusted treatment providers to help you find the best and most suitable treatment approach for your son.

  50. ALL I can say, and I keep saying is Al-Anon. Please parents get help and support. Here is the contact information. Stop enabling. Stop suffering. The longer you enable the longer the suffering for all.

    Local Al-Anon/Alateen contact information and meeting schedules: Al-Anon Family Groups meet in most U.S. and Canadian communities. Community-based Al-Anon Information Services and Web sites can connect you to local Al-Anon groups in the U.S. and Canada. Or call 888-4AL-ANON (888-425-2666).

  51. Once again smashed up house. Walls and windows kicked in. In hospital small leg laceration. Will loose house and be on the street. I am a broken woman.

  52. Hi. My name is Mireille. I have a 24 year old son who has been using Meth since he was 18. He was in rehab for 3 months and I started seeing a change. But as soon as he got out of rehab, he went back to his habit of using. He stop all meds that he was suppose to continue after rehab, never went to meetings or mental health. He is married and has a child. His wife keeps on kicking him out of the house because she cannot deal with his addiction. So he comes to me. I tried to help him so many times, but now I cannot deal with this anymore. There is to much pain and frustration. If I kick him out, he will be on the streets. My only concern with this is that i will find him dead one day. And can you deal with something like this? Any advice? I am desperate

  53. my daughter inlaw is destroying my marrage…..The wife is inabling her ……we have kicked her out over an over ……drama , lieing an stealing an today because I told her she had to leave again because I caught her using drugs on my porch……Now I’m in the dog house …….I’m told I’m her mother by the wife an its not my place……I’m at wits end

  54. I realize that my enabling actions, such as gassing up his car, giving him $$ on a debit card for food, making appointments for him, covering for him, etc. were a bad move which enabled him to continue his active addiction. But what about when they are clean? My son is in his 3rd rehab now and when he comes out I vow to not enable him. Before, I helped him “get on his feet” toward new found sobriety. Because yes I’m happy he’s clean but even helping (?) at that point is doing something they should be doing for themselves. He won’t see it that way though but oh well.

  55. Parents, tell your spoiled kids how good they have compared to the rest of the world where kids have nothing, not even clean water. Maybe then your spoiled brats will realize that they are fortunate even if they unhappy w/you for whatever reason.

    1. Hi Irina. That is an inconsiderate comment. What parent doesn’t want to give it’s children the best? Addiction doesn’t choose upbringing, social status or economical power and it’s not a problem that comes from “spoiling” anyone. It doesn’t always have to be substance addiction. People get addicted to many things (including alcohol, drugs and prescription medications) and there is always an underlying root cause that needs to be treated. That underlying cause is never a positive one, and is a problem that an addict person, especially a teenager, cannot cope with.

  56. I’m trying to not enable my son. He was recently picked up w possession of meth. I was advised to not bail him out or don’t do so until I could request rehab to be a condition of his bond. He has this 41 year old wanna be mother who ran to his rescue and continues to do so. Is there any advice anyone could give me. My son is 21.

  57. There are do many multifaceted issues surrounding addiction. Especially the newest trend with opiates which turn into many using heroin and overdosing. Heroin is an old drug that has come back to haunt a new generation. As a worker in the field of crisis intervention for many years I never expected that my own son would be dealing with this problem. This demon came to our door unexpectedly and the past couple of years has been one heck of a roller coaster ride from hell. All the knowledge and work experience along with educating your children about the dangers of drugs did little to prevent this from happening to my son. Unfortunately, there are other factors that go along many times with addiction involving co-occurring disorders such as bipolar disease, clinical depression, anxiety and other. Parents need to continue educating themselves and asking questions even if they feel like they are not getting the right answers. Its hard to explain the pain that families go through as they too are victims to this disease. Through trying to get help for my son I have also started an educational support group called Endure which can be found on my FB page. I have also started a petition in NYS to pass Casey’s Law in NYS. To date we have over 2,500 signatures. Everyday I thank God my son is still alive and there is hope.

  58. i too was the enabling mother of an addicted son. I’m also a nurse and that’s two strikes against me. Being a Mom was bad enough but being a caregiver by profession was a great thing for my son. I was the best enabler he could have ever wished for. Unfortunately I lost my son on January 3rd to an overdose. I have been writing our story of addiction and the chaos it brings to a mother’s life to educate others.

  59. Mary…. my son is getting out of prison in 23 days. he served 3 yrs for selling heroin to support his habit. he is 22 now. it was the best thing that could have happened for him. he has been clean for 3 years and will not be moving back to hometown cause all his friends still addicted and in and out of jail. he will be going and starting new life with a uncle in different state and he is soo excited for this. i know tuff love is soooo hard, but your saving his life. yes prison isnt the best, but he will have some clean time and maybe with time he can get out from under the drugs and make clearer better choices. but remember…. HE chose to do this, Not your fault and shouldnt have to watch it! i know, i watched it too. good luck and prayers!!

  60. My son is 33, got addicted in the army. He has now graduated to heroin, meth, crack, oxycodone and Adderall. He lives in my home because I bailed him out of Fed Prison with an ankle bracelet and he can’t leave the house. This has been going on since January. Before that, he was in jail for 4 months. I couldn’t stand the crying everyday so I put my house up and bailed out. He is now using in my home. I went to his court appointed therapist today and told him about his continued use. Did I do the right thing? This may land him back in jail..

  61. I have a 21 year old son who has been doing drugs since he was 15. He has been in and out of juvenile detention and jail numerous times. He has stolen from his dad and I and damaged our home on numerous occasions. We have tried to help him and he even went to a rehab when he was 17 which didn’t do any good. He knows I hate seeing him this way and knows my heart breaks for him. We keep bringing him back home only to get angry and kick him out again for not respecting us and the rules we have insisted on. We have tried so many things to help him and have spent money we shouldn’t have and he hasn’t tried to honestly help himself. He told me recently that he didn’t have coping skills to deal with things in life and said he wanted to get help. I waited and encouraged him to follow up until I couldn’t take being an emotional mess anymore. He had an excuse for any ideas of rehab I came up with and was attending AA meetings but still getting high. The last time this happened was this past week when he called me, tired, hungry, angry, cold and all kinds of other issues. He had his sponsor take him to a rehab that didn’t have a room and left him downtown on his own. He kept calling me complaining and getting upset on the phone. After one of his calls I was reading a local newspaper with an article asking “Are you losing a loved one to addiction?”. This is a very small paper, and I thought I had contacted every place I knew of, but this article seemed to be meant for me so I called the number. This facility was three hours away, and our insurance covered him and did NOT have a limited number of days to stay as a lot of the other places I contacted did. When I called and talked to them I was treated with respect and concern and they immediately jumped in to help. They set up an intervention for the very next day, which was Saturday. Two of their staff drove the 3 1/2 hours to be there and to help us know what to do. I took my son to an AA meeting only to see him high as a kite when he came back. We were pretty sure it was a heroin high and a bad one. Unfortunately the intervention didn’t work and our son became very angry when we told him if he didn’t take this opportunity then he would need to leave and we would no longer be there to help him if that was his choice. He attempted to call me and I asked him had he changed his mind and he told me off with some very mean words as I was hanging up after telling him again not to call me unless he chose to accept help. He left me a couple of hateful texts that night but all was quiet after a few hours. The next morning, Sunday, he sent me a text at 10:00 saying; “okay lets go!”. I didn’t know weather or not to believe him and told him to call me. He said he was in church and would call when it was over. I was floored to say the least! He had told me the day before that Christ was a joke and he didn’t believe in God. He had gone to my oldest daughters house and she and my son in law talked to him once he came down from his high and had a chance to explain what a great opportunity he was being offered and even though he would be a distance from home, it was actually better for him to get him away from his environment. Three hours later they drove him to his destination and he is now in detox and will be transported to a facility that helps other young people his age once he feels better. I am feeling ecstatic!!! Prayers have been answered!!!! I know my boy has a long road ahead of him and I feel this place will offer him a lot more than sobriety with one on one counseling and they will teach him the coping skills he so desperately needs to succeed and so much more. I didn’t know about this sight until just a little while ago and the stories are heart wrenching but we need to know we aren’t alone. I need to learn how to step back and let my son grow and do this on his own and not enable him any longer. I can’t “fix” things for him and I have had horrible guilt that has had me an emotional mess, I have to learn how to get me better too and to know I have done what I can and the rest is up to him! I pray God will bless each of you and give you peace and strength to make the right decisions for you and your loved ones.

  62. Hello Judy. First of all I would like to say thank you for supporting your son and being strong for him. You did the motherly thing, but now it’s time to turn your attention to yourself. It’s best for your son to keep going to group therapy and addiction counseling, this will help him stay sober. I read he has his job again. Good! He can start paying you back some money. He needs to accept his responsibilities now, while continuing to work on his sobriety. I feel your pain in your words as I read through your comment! My thoughts are with you!

  63. I am a 62 year old widow with 3 children. My oldest is a 28 year old son. When he was 18 he met a 75 year old man who gave him $200,000 worth of money, cars, ski trips, etc over the course of 5 years. I do not know why, except that the man is lonely. This has hurt my son in many ways. He has finally stopped taking money from this man. He got very lucky to find a great job, with great benefits. Recently he was caught taking cocaine, andf has been in addiction counseling 3 times a week for 4 months, out of work, and I am paying his bills on a substitute teachers salary, and my husbands life insurance. His job has rehired him, and he promises to pay me back. I am left with anger, poverty, and mistrust that he will do this all again, and lose his job permanently. It is his job which has literally saved him, and I am afraid he will relapse and lose it all. I am at the point where I don’t want to talk to him because he will need something else from me and I can’t give any more. He is right on the edge and I am afraid he is not learning from his addicition classes.. How can I be healthy for many years to come ? How can I stop this from hanging over my head ? I have helped him all I can, and I want to know how not to resent him because he still needs me so much. O f course I love him and this comment is because I am torn between feelings .

  64. Valerie, I see that you haven’t had a response to your post in November. I just stumbled across this blog and thought I’d respond. I wish I could tell you how to get what you are calling a POA (Power of Attorney?) but each state has it’s own laws and processes, and I only know the ins and outs of this in my state. We don’t have such a document. Nothing even similar. Once the kids turn 18 they are considered adults and parents have ZERO say about what they do or don’t do. In some states (Massachusetts comes to mind) they have a process called “Civil Commitment”, which means that a person with a substance addiction can be committed to treatment, (like people were committed to mental hospitals back in the day) for 90 days rather than go to jail. As I understand it, a doctor, or other professional can, on the recommendation of a family member, etc. recommend to the state that an individual be committed to treatment. There is a hearings process involving a judge, and there are appeals, but at LEAST a loved one can reach out to the authorities in HOPE of seeing their loved one get help. In my state, we have nothing like that.

    Anyone reading this who is thinking about using the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Industrial Complexes as your tool for Intervention and Rehabilitation, do some checking first. Check out what kind of treatment options your state gives the incarcerated (less than 10% of inmates in my state with SERIOUS addictions get ANY treatment, inside or upon release). Check out the number of individuals who become “repeat offenders” after their first go round of incarceration. Check out the limitations it will put on your loved one in the areas of employment, education, housing, movement (i.e. travel and or moving to a new address), eligibility to vote, eligibility to obtain social services, (some states deny food stamps, etc. to individuals who have felony convictions).

    Intervention through Incarceration should be the LAST resort. Unfortunately for many, it is the only option they can think of, or literally IS their ONLY option. My state chose to expand Medicaid coverage to everyone who makes less than $15,500 a year. For the first time EVER, men without dependent children, who make less than this can get healthcare, without being on an insurance policy. I recommend talking to an Addiction Medicine Physician.

    Not all treatment is “equally effective”. In my state you need more education to give a manicure than to be a State Licensed Addiction Counselor.

    I wish all of you dear family members and individuals suffering from this disease much strength, serenity and courage. You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it, and you can’t control their disease. But you can LOVE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY, and identify best practices and methods of treatment, find resources for them to get this treatment, and encourage them, (with professional help) to get into treatment.

    As hard as it may be to accept, treatment that individuals are forced or REQUIRED to participate in, is just as effective as treatment they volunteered to take. And treatment needs to be given on the model of a “continuum of care”. Not “28 days at the lake”, followed by support groups. The “drug fog” in an addicts brain takes MONTHS, if not years to clear, and until it does so, how can anyone successfully participate in 8 or more hours a day of treatment? 7 days of detox, followed by 21 days of intensive treatment, and a “graduation certificate” is NOT the answer.

    The best book I’ve ever read on the subject is: “When the Servant Becomes the Master” by Dr. Jason Powers, M.D. Everyone in America should have this book and read it, whether they have someone in their circle of friends and family with this disease, or not. Addiction is the number 1 public health problem in America, but we spend less than 1% of the TOTAL HEALTH CARE DOLLARS SPENT, on treating it.

    My hopes and prayers are with all of you, Peace be Upon You all.

  65. My daughteri think has shown signs this last week of heroin use…she has had trouble with alcohol but now I haven’t seen the little bottles anymore but notice her drowsy and anxious. She seems confused and her communication is droopy. She got back with her x that was released on bail, by his enabling parents. Now, a huge relapse has occurred with the drinking, but I see something different. He is a heroin addict. I stay because I have a 4 year old granddaughter I can’t leave in my daughters care because my daughter neglects her care and sometimes falls asleep. I think I have been enabling her thinking I was caring for them both. My daughter has a really good job and I would hate to see her loose it. What should I do…where to start???

  66. Hi Valerie. For now, it’s good that you are looking for ways to get him away from the drug use. You might want to try with an intrevention, you can read more about it here: As for the rehab, here are some ideas on how to lower costs:

  67. My son is 19 and my husband and I have been dealing with his drug issues since he turned 16. He started with pot and he has done heroine,pills and now he is doing cocaine. He lies and has stolen in the past. He does work but all his money is spent on drugs and his girlfriend. She however does not do drugs. He moved out in September because he didn’t want to listen or obey our rules. We are trying to get POA , so we can put him in a rehab facility. Any help on how to do this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  68. hi I need a lot of help with this. My son has a 7 year old boy my grandsons whom I adore I feel he is being held over my head to pay the rent likes all bills please help me

  69. My son lives 3 hrs away. Is probably using. States he’s underemployed and needs gas money, that he is living 40 miles from work. He lies often. This is a new job. Stated he may not start it and keep collecting unemployment. He may not have had money. Mind games. The $25 I would give him could be used for drugs or he could lose his job

  70. My husband and I need to not enable our 20 year old son anymore. He has 2 daughters by 2 different women. We bought him his own home still pay all utilities, buy another or fix his vehicles if something happens to them, bonded him out of jail several times, pay all court fines. He moves in with us when his home gets to messy or a girl breaks up with him and he cries for weeks and says he’s going to kill himself. We can’t help him anymore -2 days ago we decided to stop but we have said that many times. I have bruises where he pushed me to the floor. I have holes in my walls again, expensive doors broken again. I just want to know how to not let him back in our home – how does me and his dad stick to staying out of his life until he can respect us and our home??????????? It is very hard to turn your child away even when he says he is going to kill you.

  71. My 40 year old daughter has been involved with drugs since she was 16 years old. She can’t find a job, she lives with me. She suddenly has lost 30-ish pounds. (she is 5’5 and weighs approx. 85 pounds). She looks terrible, her hair is thinning, her teeth are falling out. She blames everyone for her lifestyle. When I confronted her today and said she must go back to NA she became very abusive – chased me and verbally assaulted me!!

    Any thoughts………..

  72. Ruth, yes it is very different and harder to keep our heads straight when grandchildren are involved! As I wrote earlier, my daughter (37) is an addict and currently in rehab. Her then 15 year old started taking drugs while living with her drug addict father. My daughter lost her daughters and the courts banned her from seeing them. They continued to live in a drug infested household and I as a grandmother had no rights to my grandchildren. My ex son-in-law was and is a monster. The minute my granddaughter stated using drugs he through her out. I knew I couldn’t help my daughter, she refused to admit she needed help, so I flew 1500 miles to save my granddaughter. So if all fails, save the grandchildren. My granddaughter went through rehab, attends AA meetings (the best thing that happened to her. AA members embraced her and made her feel like she had a family she could relate to), goes to therapy, and will finish high school this year.

    Ruth, if your son is using, the children need to be supervised when he’s with them. I do believe they need to see him otherwise the children will rebell like my granddaughter did. My granddaughter stated that not having her mother or me in her life for four years is what lead her to drugs. So children need to see their parents. They also need theraphy so a professional can help the family and children deal with all the trauma that addiction brings to the family. Ruth, if you can, see if your son will attend AA meetings. Make it a condition if he needs money, housing or food. AA is free. Your son needs a group of people who can understand what he has gone through. Tell him if he stays clean he has a better chance of fighting for his kids. The courts have family law and it’s free. They will help to make sure your ex-daughter-in-law follows the court orders. But, only help if he stays clean. Protect the children. You’re a good mom. This is not your fault. The minute you believe that, the sooner you’ll be stronger and able to see things more clearly.

  73. To Joan P – I made the phone accessible to someone in prison for 4+ years. I think it was a huge factor i what he called “taking me out of this place”, staying connected with family, and rebuilding bridges in a gradual and non-confrontational way. I do not regret that there was always money or that he could call anytime. The only time I see this as being detrimental is when the person in jail calls friends who are going to threaten getting on and staying on the right path once he is released.

    Help him get all the structured support he can from minute one on the outside.

  74. I’m reading some of the post and I want to respond. First, moms, dads, and grandparents you are not alone out there! Please seek out Al-Anon. You cannot go through this alone! And although writing to this site can be very helpful it’s not enough! I can relate to all of you. I have a 37 year old daughter who has been a drug addict for 15 years and is finally in a rehab program. She choose to go to a program. She choose to sell her car, (which she had been living in), to have some money, (which she asked her dad to save for her), to pay for any incidentals that she would need while in rehab. Why did she finally go to rehab? Why did she sell her car? Because her father and I had finally given up! Period! We stopped talking to her, we stopped taking her calls, we stopped giving her money. We stopped! I felt guilty. I heard from her how horrible we were. We were called every “ugly” word you can think of. My husband and I needed to save the rest of our family. We needed to save our marriage! We loved our daughter, but we didn’t like what she was doing to us. When your love one hits rock bottom and the family tells them that they can’t help until they decide to get help for their addictions and you mean it, something eventually happens to the addict. It may not happen over night, or even for a few months or years. You can only “let go and let God”. I am not religious, so please don’t misinterpret what I just said. That saying is the mantra for Al-Anon and it WORKS! Moms have a harder time letting go of sons. Fathers have a harder time letting go of their daughters. Look around. You have other children, other healthy family members. Don’t let the addict destroy all of you.

  75. Our 25 year old son is in jail for the second time. We have been putting money on an account with the jail so that he can call us collect. That keeps us informed with what is going on but also allows him to say whatever is on his mind, good or bad. We are beginning to wonder if this is enabling behavior. Right now there is always money on account so he can call anytime. I am thinking a first step would be to limit when there will be money on a card for instance once every two weeks. I would like to hear what others say about this. Thank you. Joan

  76. I am a mother of a young adult daughter, who was addicted to opiates, put on suboxin, all while attending college, developed type 1 diabetes, and adrenal fatigue, she was put on vivance to wake up. Started working in het career, but I noticed a change in her, strange behaviors, she was abusing her meds. Now my husband and son are angry at her, and me calling me the enabler. She just flat out quit her job, Won’t go to counselling, my husband was yelling at her, and I came to her rescue. We tried going to the police, my husband gave her 1 a day of her meds. But she found them and d took more. Should I move out with her, she is nottaking care of herself with the diabetes, and tell her we cannot live here at home because of her addition, and she has to go for help. Thank you for your direction and response looking forward to it. Also going to a meeting tonight alnon. Marie

  77. I have been on this roller coaster ride for 3 years. I truly am an enabler. I try I can be stuff but I can not see my kicking my child out of the house and putting him on the streets. The torment this addiction brings is unbearable. Things seem better then ram back bad again. I believe I could be stronger in my choices with him even though it would break my heard, but the fact he has to children that it would destroy them. The oldest child is ten and adores his daddy. This whole addiciton process started when his wife left him for best friend. The divorce has been ugly and she has been very cruel with visitation even though court order says certain things she want let him have kids. He has gone from worst to worst then rehab gotten better then fall back. But I have these two precious babies in the picture and I have to do whatever I possibly can to protect them from the heartache all this. It is truly different when children are involved.

  78. It is difficult having a heroin addict son, he is not a baby anymore, he is a young adult. I gave him a choice either to go away to get better or leave the home. He was sleeping in our family vehicle because my husband wanted to shelter him from cold! Well, he is not going for help and still using, he cannot be home anymore until, after treatment for a year. now he is out there somewhere! I know from ALANON meetings that you cannot remove the consequences. All I can do is pray!

  79. My 21 year old daughter came from another city to detox and she is in intense outpatient treatment while staying with me. Believe me, I am grateful that she has made a decision to get and stay clean. My issue is that I guess I dont know what she might be going through mentally and thought she would be more a part of the family, like eating with us at dinner (she agreed to do), being home by midnight (she agreed to do). She is just so self absorbed and, in my opinion, rude and disrespectful to me. So how can I help myself and tolerate this short term arrangement?

  80. Over the past 5 years our daughter has done the below:
    tried to kill herself on many occasions, been caught with pot numerous times, stolen thousands of dollars worth of items from parents, brought a young man into our home in the middle of the night and we found out the next morning, (not someone that she had been dating),falsely accused mother by calling the police of hurting her, grabbed her fathers hand and tried to use his hand to hit her, wrecked her car and had it towed to friends house while not telling us anything about it, and those are just a few. We have taken her to the hospital, to see many doctors and counselors, attempted to take her to see the doctors only to have her jump out of moving vehicles. I have repeatedly told her to leave but never until last night did my husband back me up. We told her to pack her bags she would not and then said “call the police on me they can’t do anything”. Then we told her to get in the car and she said she had no where to go and took her to a shelter where she again jumped out of a moving vehicle and then came back close enough to the car to say they won’t take me. My husband tried to get her back in and she just kept going all the time flipping him off. Then when he comes home he blames me for it and when I tried to ask what happened this is what he says “oh no, you can’t have it both ways. You wanted her out she is out and if she is killed tonight then deal with that and it’s over.” I love my husband with everything I am but I had to leave and now I don’t know what to do.Every part of me and the professionals that I have spoken too have said she has to be responsible. My heart is breaking and again I don’t know what I could of done better or what other options we had. I would appreciate any suggestions.

  81. We have an adult drug addict daughter who has her daughter living with her. Our granddaughter is 16 and will not leave her mother. We know our granddaughter is using as well. They are both on the streets living in hotels. They call us weekly begging for money so they can have a roof over their heads. We don’t know what to so! We live 3000 miles away from them but we Western Union $ often. Please give us your suggestions.

    Thank you,
    10 years of dealing with an addict

  82. Do I help my jailed 31 year old meth and pill addicted daughter again when she is freed? She has lost her entire family and most of me too. I am newly married and don’t want to ruin my new life either. She will be homeless when she gets out. I love her but do not know what to do. This is not the first time she has been in jail.

  83. I am a mom who tried for the last two years to get my then 18 year old son out of heroin use! He started selling to support his habit! I knew this,I tried rehabs,but only worked for few days until he was around his friends.when you live in a small town,its almost impossible! I finally kicked him out last march! It was sooo hard! Waited for that call, or officer to show up and tell me my son was dead! I did get a officer that showed up at my door at midnight on may 5th with my sons shoes and backpack,scared me to death ! I am soooo lucky to have my son in prison for 3 years! My son is safe,he is clean, and I sleep again at night!! And we have our wonderful relationship back! He will get out and be a better person for it! He will not go back and live where he came from,he will be living in. Another state when he gets out so he can start a new life! So I just want to make sure other parents know, it’s not bad if they go to jail or prison! It saves their lives!

  84. My husband is enabling his 20 yr old son “son”. We were married in 2006 and within a month of our marriage problems with son started surfacing. First there was a $400 porn bill from our satelite co. Then there was the time he go so drunk at a friends house and threw up in their basement, next him sneaking onto anyone’s computer he could get his hands on to watch porn, the several times I caught him masturbating when he knew I was home, caught buying pot in our driveway, caught sneaking out in the middle of the night to do drugs, climbing out of his window to smoke pot on our roof, pressuring our other son and my nephew to do drugs, giving our younger son drugs for his 18 birthday. At college (2011/12 he got really messed up on an assortment of drugs and was caught dealing and was kicked out. Since then we think he has stopped dealing but is still on the same behavior track, hanging out with the same people doing the same things. He left our house last summer because my husband got tough . He moved in with his mother and step dad. He was kicked out of an out treatment program twice in 2012 and we admitted him into an in patient facility in Sept. 2012 for 3 weeks. In Nov. he was kicked out of his mothers house because of drugs and inappropriate sexual behavior towards his mom. He then moved into a friends house renting a room. By Feb. he lost his 2 p/t jobs for not showing up and was kicked out of the friends house because he couldn’t pay rent. Thats when he asked to come back to our house “just for a few days” that was a month ago. Since then my husband has done everything you can think of that qualifies as enabling. Since Oct. we go to a weekly group meeting headed by a drug and alcohol counselor of about 5 families who are struggling with an addict kid or spouse. Since moving back to our house he hasn’t looked for a job because his mother gave him a p/t temp job (another enabler). He never has money and although my husband is keeping track he continues to “lend” him money. Thankfully our youngest son “19 yrs” is away at school and is thinking of staying there and my step daughter “his daughter” is away at college. Last night at dinner she and her boyfriend asked why he was still in the house and my husband had no answer. Then she said at the very least we should demand that he pay rent and be responsible for his own food and personal products. Again no response. In counseling last week my husband finally spoke up about what is going on and I exploded from my stress about the problems. Everyone including the counselor said he is enabling and that son shouldn’t be living in the house. But he is still here. I’m at my wits end, I’m having panic attacks so severe that my husband thought I was having a heart attack, my doctor put me on anti anxiety medication because of the situation. I’m so unhappy, stressed and angry.

  85. Hello…. I looked at the blog you referred Carol to, my daughter is much older. Our problems are so complex I’m just don’t know what to do or where to go. I’m so caught up in the enabling that I don’t have the time or the ability to get myself help. I don’t have any insurance so going to see a psychiatrist is out of the question, I tried a counselor at my church, but her time is limited and I need way more help than an hour once a week. Here’s a little bit of what is going on, my daughter is a grown woman with 6 kids ranging in age from 3 to 14. Her husband was arrested almost 6 months ago for abusing one of their daughters. She was already abusing prescription drugs when he went to jail and after he was gone she spiraled downward rapidly. Child protective services stepped in and demanded she place her children with family or they would be taken from her. Which is one of the reasons i am in this situation. After a few home visits cps closed the case because the children were safe in my care. However we agreed to not allow her to be alone with the kids or transport them anywhere. We are supposed to keep the kids until the power of attorney ends in May. I am supposed to be the one to make that determination (so unqualified!) meanwhile things have been getting worse and worse and I find that I am enabling because I have to somehow help her get back to being a parent again. I can NOT keep these kids forever! My husband is very ill and we have 3 other small kids we are raising besides her 6! So, we are trying to live on my husbands SSI which is less than 1500 a month and trying to support 9 kids with that!! I asked cps if she could move in with us to “help” and so I could be sure she went to out patient rehab. I hoped i could keep her on track and somehow “teach” her to be a good mom. They said yes as long as she was always supervised with the kids. However she is NOT helping, she is working a part time job and not contributing anything, she is no longer going to rehab and we recently found out she has been stealing from us. Both money (cash and gift cards we got for Christmas) and she also fraudulently has used our debit card numerous times. We caught her this month because our rent check almost bounced. Then today we found that she has been stealing my husbands pain meds too. We suspected but for the first time we counted, hid and locked them up and she still got them!!!! What can I do???? If I kick her out the kids will go nuts….. They are already having major issues. Then also how can I get her back into rehab?? I’m so lost, so terribly lost.

  86. There is a difference between enabling and trying to help your child. There is a delicate balance a parent has to strike between detaching from your child’s problems and engaging them to teach them that they are loved and valuable — too valuable for drugs and alcohol.

    I help parents develop healthy strong messages to send their child about their addiction and learn to detach appropriately.

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