Par­ents test drug-tak­ing son

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Your Daily Break - Amy Dick­in­son Con­tact Amy Dick­in­son via email at askamy@

DEAR AMY » My hus­band and I re­cently found out that our 28-yearold son has been us­ing Oxy­Con­tin.

He is a col­lege grad, lives on his own and has a home and a good job. We sus­pected some­thing when, in Jan­uary, he was in a lot of debt, but al­though he told us he was do­ing “some­thing recre­ation­ally,” he con­vinced us that he was stop­ping. We bailed him out, and he paid most of it back.

By Easter, though, it was clear that he had a prob­lem. We con­fronted him and he ad­mit­ted to us­ing Oxy­Con­tin.

We in­sisted that he get help and stop us­ing. We started test­ing him, and he started half-heart­edly go­ing to AA with a friend.

The first two times we tested him, he did not test clean. My hus­band was ready to cut him off com­pletely, and since we don’t sup­port him fi­nan­cially or in any other way, that means that we would cut him off emo­tion­ally.

I’ve strug­gled with this tremen­dously.

My hus­band has come around, as our son seems to be work­ing hard to make changes. He tested clean on the last test and so far he is be­ing hon­est with us. To­day he will be 13 days clean.

He’s man­aged to detox. I guess what I want to know is, is it pos­si­ble for him to do this him­self, and to stay sober through go­ing to meet­ings?

He is again be­hind in his bills.

Would it be wrong for us to help him?

The first time, we just gave him the money. I was think­ing that this time maybe we should pay the bill hold­ers di­rectly and then have him pay us back, but would that be en­abling him?

Will we ever stop wor­ry­ing?

— A Lot to Han­dle DEAR A LOT » It is some­what sur­pris­ing that your adult son would sub­mit to drug test­ing from you. I ap­pre­ci­ate your ef­fort to try to sus­tain and sup­port his so­bri­ety, but you are in de­nial about some im­por­tant de­tails. Your de­nial is the crack he will fall through.

For in­stance, you state that you “don’t sup­port him fi­nan­cially or in any other way,” and then in the next sen­tence you state that you DO sup­port him fi­nan­cially and in ev­ery other way.

Do not give him money. Do not pay his bills (this only frees up money to fund his habit). Use what­ever money you might have spent sup­port­ing him for pro­fes­sional drug coun­sel­ing for him.

Do not give up on your son. Be ex­tremely skep­ti­cal about any­thing he tells you re­gard­ing his drug use. Tell him that you love him and that you will sup­port his so­bri­ety, but not his habit.

You and your hus­band should at­tend “friends and fam­ily” sup­port meet­ings and also re­ceive coun­sel­ing.

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