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Today He’s Full of Regret and Hopelessness

boy crying alone in dark

1delapisa​ ​changed the locks 5 weeks ago, and her son has just exhibited a "dip" — What should her next moves be?

​"Hello Everyone,​ ​​I dont know what my next move should be so Im asking for advice. Its been 5 weeks since I changed locks and my son left.I heard from him after his 3rd week gone, very short phone call. Not sure where he is living. Last week he did come join us at Thanksgiving day/dinner. After driving me home, w/o any serious talk he went to his brothers house and had a great evening playing with his niece and nephew! Next day they surprised me and all came to do a bit of yard word. I seriously said it numerous times that life could not be any better than both my sons and grandkids being at my house for a short while.

Well today is Monday, everyone is back to their life. I recv'd this text from my unstable son – not sure what to address him as anymore. I love him so much.

I'm just a nobody. Feel worthless like a loser. Have had no life to speak of in years now. have wasted the last 6 months. Got nothing to my name. Just ignoring all bills. No credit. No money. No girlfriend. I have nothing to offer anyone. Have no idea what job to get. Resume is horrible. No computer. No home of my own. 30 years old. I do nothing. I have no friends. I just exist. This is how I feel today. And it's all so true. It's no body's fault but my own.    Of course we have heard this before —

What do I say or do I say nothing? Dear God why cant this stop? Think he might be losing his car soon. Im not even sure what/if drug is involved except suboxone. Where does one start to unravel all the mess??? Think he has more money issues than anything – where would one go to start?"​

Your son loves his family. He misses you. You spent some quality time together over ​T​hanksgiving. This is such a different attitude from him​, compared to just a short time ago, when he was angry and resentful ​of​ you. 

You asked him to leave your house and are understandably concerned about where and how he is living. His text to you about being a loser is a classic “dip” (​Learning Module 8) —​ ​a moment of awareness and motivation about needing to change his life. 

A dip is a window when you could suggest treatment. Your son needs a way out of his life. He sounds much less resistant to you and just a little more willing in that text.

He doesn’t know which way to turn. This is where the family can help. What are the steps he could take? A treatment list with detailed options is needed. It will not be easy for ​you ​to come up with this, but treatment is the answer here.​ Here is a suggested response:​

Son, I am here to help. I am not going anywhere. I love​d​ spending time with you over the holiday. What a gift that was. I am very concerned about you. Would you be willing to sit down with me and look at a list of options I have come up with? 

You took a huge step forward by asking your son to leave. He is out of your house but not out of your life. He is turning to you for help. Yes, he may think it is about money, but it’s not. It is about proper treatment. That is what you can offer. It may include paying for something, but it is not about financial support. 

You will have other moments like this. Your son is less comfortable now that he is out of your house. I hope you are more comfortable now that he is out of your house. 

You are on the right track. It takes time for this to end. You are both on the move. Good. Reach out to local support groups for help with treatment resources. Look at our site​ for some guidance on searching for treatment​. 

Hang in there. This will stop. 



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. Hi, this is a question about practicing CRAFT via texts and such. My LO doesn’t live so far away but right now with the coronavirus we can’t really see each other.

    I left my husband (the father of my two children) because communications were getting worse and worse, and his dependency on alcohol and pot were ever-increasing. That was 7 years ago and only in the last year have we begun to get along well enough for me to get the idea of trying to help him. I know the CRAFT principles pretty well but I need to refresh my approach.

    I know he still loves me and I never really thought about wanting to be with him again until recently. Also he just 2 days ago left a toxic relationship which was based around using together. I know that the idea of being together again can be a pull / motivator for him but that’s all waaay up in the air/far down the road so I don’t want to make false promises. But I am currently very motivated to practice CRAFT with him, and I’ve already had some success.

    Today he sent me a text out of the blue saying “Hard times. Guilt, sense of regret. I guess you know what I mean.” (I guess? I suppose it’s the breakup that’s toying with his feelings)

    I might have gone a little overboard, I was so excited to receive an unsolicited “dip”… I sent a few responses about “maybe you should write down what you’re feeling…” then I actually sent a link for an online CBT course as well as a link for a recovery coach that was recommended to me.

    Is there an ideal way to be CRAFTy through technology? I feel it’s easy to say/do too much, which I may already have done…

    Thank you for being here Allies in Recovery.

    1. It’s a new day with the coronavirus pandemic. We are instantly more limited in our ability to communicate and may be depending more than ever on virtual aids, like text and phone and internet video.

      Your Loved One provided you with a dip (Learning Module 8), in a text, describing his regret with his life and mentioning the tough times he is having. You’ve done the work of putting together a list of potential treatment and self-help, so you picked from the list and suggested one to him.

      Read Dominique Simon-Levine’s full response to harris_po here: