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He’s Nasty and Slothful—I’m done!


AiR member jezabelle asks "What kind of idiot am I?"

"Hi I've been on here before telling you of my 23 yr old son. He is or was addicted to heroin or fentanol then went on suboxone which he sells some and takes some He has no job, becomes abusive with his mouth. Physical too. he hasn't been high in 2 weeks 'cause he has no job and no money but… I give him money for haircut and cigs and feel like …WHAT KIND OF IDIOT AM I…? I ACTUALLY GET SICK LOOKING AT HIM I HATE HIM. I DONT WANT HIM HERE ANYMORE I AM TIRED OF TAKING CARE OF A 23 YR OLD MAN. HE IS DISRESPECTFUL AT ALL TURNS. HES A FREELOADER AND I DONT WANT IT ANYMORE. I WORK 10 HRS A DAY AND HATE COMING HOME AND LOOKING AT HIM HE HAS A TENDENCY TO BREAK MY CHOPE AT EVERY TURN, BEING LOUD AND SINGING OR DOING SOMETHING TO ANNOY ME. I want to come home and relax and not see him anymore. As much as I love him, I HATE HIM. I am gonna end up with him the rest of my days and I cry every single nite, I hide in my bedroom. It's ruined my relationship with the one man that loves me unconditionally. I want him out. He will never Get It. He has the mentality of a 10 yr old. I'm done I'm sick and getting sicker by the day. Where can he go? Please help me to break away from him. I depleted my money and I just don't want him around anymore, I dispise him now. I WORK all day while he is home doing nothing and living here for free. Any advice…"

It’s hard to describe to someone not living with addiction, the all-consuming angst that comes from watching someone you love behave in ways that destroy their today and their tomorrow—and yours as well.

What your son is doing is beyond his control.

He is addicted to very strong drugs. How you are seeing the situation is up to you. That may sound harsh but the immediate answer is in your court.

I can hear the exhaustion in your words, the disgust even for your son. From past comments, I know you have tried hard to get him help, including having him civilly committed. You feel as though you should let him stay at home, since you are new to the area. Your son, at 23, acts like a child of 10. That massive immaturity can be the result of long-term addiction or it could be another problem which underlies the behaviors, or both.

In response to your earlier comments, we have written about the difficult decision to let your son live at home or not, his need for more treatment, including methadone, which has more clinic structure, less opportunity for diversion, and can perhaps better address the craving. We described the publicly funded inpatient system in Massachusetts, whereby your son could string together a reasonable amount of inpatient treatment followed by a bed in a residential setting.

Please do not give up on treatment. Multiple treatment episodes are the norm with addiction.

The comment you are posting today is more about you than him. You are fed up with your son’s behavior, some of which definitely has to do with addiction. His nastiness, his slothfulness.

I’m here to suggest though that you try hard to put all this aside, that you ignore these things, assign them to the category of “not important.” Letting those behaviors drive your responses to him won’t help either of you. You are worn down and sound terribly irritated by him. He has ruined your relationship with your partner. Together this has pushed you down a deep hole. You have to get help to pull out. It is hard to claw out of such a deep hole on your own.

How you feel about all this is ultimately up to you. Staying this amped up towards him will make both your lives a living nightmare.

Finding ways to calm yourself (we listed a number of them in the last post; also, see the Self-Care topic in My Sanctuary) will help you see his nastiness and his slothfulness more as noise in the system. It will help you to not focus on it. By not focusing on it, you stand a better chance of being strategic about next steps for your son, you stand a better chance of talking to him about your limits and his need for treatment in a way that doesn’t lead to crazy conflict.

So, for today go ahead and hate him. Go ahead and lock yourself in your room. But please tomorrow, find some help for yourself, find the time to attend a support meeting, view Learning Module 7, reach out to another member on this site (by clicking on the username of someone with who you relate), find a therapist. Ignore as best you can what your son is doing, find ways to calm yourself (read Annie’s book, see this link, look at the bottom of the page), and, when you feel you can again, help get your son into more treatment.

Your son has not used in 2 weeks. Perhaps it is because of money, but perhaps it is because he is trying not to use. It is in moments such as these that a request to get help, which includes detailed steps on how to get the help, are more likely to work. Your son is not living the life he wants to live. Withdrawals from opiates are treacherous, this can include the suboxone. Your son may be too sick to move. Bouncing back and forth between scraping together the money for a drug to get high and then falling dope sick because the money is gone, is a terrible terrible place to be.

So you first. And then your son: detailed instructions for detox followed by CSS? Another civil commitment? A list of treatments and the address and intake times to the shelter?

You are in my thoughts.



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)

  1. Jezabelle:
    As the Program Director of a Social Model program, a unique model within the DPH Residential Treatment system, I would offer something to think about that has been at the foundation of our approach to working with men over the years. It might seem overtly un-realistic and naive at first glance, but let me assure you that it has been “crafted” (sic!) by years of experience working with men who arrive here with the appearance of hopelessness and helplessness, and with attitudes that at first glance seem rooted in profound anti-social behavioral disorders. At first glance….
    Over the years, we have noticed a distinction with a significant difference between two approaches one often finds in the treatment world. Let me outline them for you…
    An “Addiction based” program is apt to meet someone at the door when you knock and say: “You say you want to enter, you want to cross our threshold and seek refuge from the storm of your addiction. In order to do so, you must sever all ties with your old way of life. All of those ties are based on pathology, impaired value systems, and maladaptive behaviors. You must lose all external symbols of your connections with your sickness. You must cut your hair, shave your beard, lose your jewelry. Stop being all that you have been so that you can begin to establish a foothold in recovery.”
    A “Recovery Program” (or Social Model Program) is apt to meet you at the door when you knock and say: “Hooray! You made it! You have a fatal illness for which there is no cure, and despite of that fact in your life, you have survived long enough to get here. You must have great talent, creativity and resourcefulness to have done so. Welcome, please come in AS YOU ARE! We will help you take all of that talent, creativity and resourcefulness and help you channel it into ways that are consistent with the restoration of your health and sanity, and with a recovering way of life.”
    Here’s the rub…. None of this message can be delivered until/unless the knock happens. We are responsible for delivering a message … whether it is heard, and how it is interpreted, is completely beyond our control. Our initial approach determines whether we continue to stay healthy enough to be of ongoing use to potential clients.
    Hope this was of help!