*This post originally appeared on our Member Site blog, where experts respond to members’ questions and concerns. To sign up for our special offer and benefit from the Allies in Recovery eLearning program, click here.
I don’t know what my next move should be so I’m asking for advice. It’s been 5 weeks since I changed the 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 brother’s 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 work. I seriously said it numerous times that life could not be any better than having both my sons and grandkids together at my house for a short while.
Well today is Monday and everyone is back to their life. I recv’d this text from my son. 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 and 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 and have no friends. I just exist. This is how I feel today. And it’s all so true. It’s nobody’s fault but my own.
Of course we have heard this before, his feelings of regret
What do I say or do I say nothing?”
It’s time to sieze the opportunity: his regret/dip, a change in motivation
Your son loves his family. He misses you. You spent some quality time together over Thanksgiving. 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” (Read the following post on wishes and dips) — 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.
This is where the family can help
He doesn’t know which way to turn. 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 loved 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 (available to our members).
Hang in there. This will stop.
Illustration © Eleanor Davis