Friday, January 6, 2012

It's time to cut the cord

Tough morning around here.

The manager of the sober living house our son is living at talked to my wife this morning. They want our son to move out, and relocate to another house in Ypsilanti, Michigan, which is very close to Ann Arbor. It seems our son isn't doing anything that's being asked of him. He's not getting up on time, not keeping his room clean, etc. The house manager has tried repeatedly to get our son's behavior to change, but to no avail.

Our son, of course, texted my wife and told her he wasn't going to the new house. He said he's sick of sober living houses and the bullshit, and that she should come and pick him up. My wife told him she wasn't going to pick him up and that he needed to move to the new house and start doing what is asked of him. And if he doesn't, then we're done supporting him.

I just tried calling my son to lay it all out for him, but--surprise!--he didn't didn't answer his phone. So we will keep trying to get in touch with him today to tell him his options: A.) Move to the Ypsilanti house and start getting with the program. Or B.) Be totally cut off from us. And by "totally cut off," my wife and I mean totally cut off. No money. No food. No rides. No cigarettes. No visits to home. No contact with the family. It would be like the ultimatum given to the addicts on the TV show "Intervention": If you don't do what you're being asked to do, we will no longer be a part of your life.

It pains me to think about Option B, but it's time. It's actually way beyond time. My wife and I, along with other family members, have spent years trying to help our son. We've made huge sacrifices. We've spent thousands and thousands of dollars. And after all that, we're pretty much right back to square one. The madness has got to stop. If our son wants to get his life moving in the right direction, he has to take the steps necessary to do that. And if he doesn't? Well, then that's his choice, and we'll wish him luck.

Maybe he'll change his mind and move to the new house. Maybe he'll start doing what he needs to do to better his life. I hope and pray that that happens, but at this point I'm not real confident. And if he chooses to go his own way, it's time to cut the cord.


  1. A brave decision, but a necessary one and, in many ways, a compassionate one. If he knows you two will enable him in the end, he has no motivation to make a substantive change. As always, we're praying for you.

  2. You are doing the right thing.
    My heart goes out to your family.

    Allison XO

  3. You've done everything you could think of and then some. You've all got my prayers for healing and acceptance and hope.


  4. Jim:
    I read this and thought it might help you feel more comfortable with your decision if you listen to the episode of my radio show "Addicted to Addicts: Survival 101" where I interview my son, a heroin addict in recovery. I ask him some poignant questions about our "disconnect" with him and what was going on when we were "enabling" him etc. You might find his answers interesting. He isn't different than many young men who have become addicts.
    Here is the link to the show if interested.

  5. That's a tough call but you're making the right decision. You're son and family are in my prayers.

  6. I can only sympathize with what you and your family have been going through. I'm guessing that Dawn Farm (in Ypsilanti) might be the suggested destination for him. I know someone who works there and is now a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor after decades where she lost friends, family and meaning before working her way back. I can only hope that your son steps up and takes some of those hard steps.

  7. You know this already, but I think you need to hear it over and over...enabling doesn't fix the problem, and tough love *is* love. You're doing the right thing. Stay strong.


  8. I just found your blog. My mom is a recovery addict and my sister is in the midst of her addiction. I am praying my family can reach the point that you are at.