Irish Daily Mail - YOU

Cannabis is taking over my sons’ lives


QOur 21- and 24-year-old sons both live at home, with absolutely no signs of wanting to move out, see friends or do anything – except smoke cannabis. Although they have good jobs and manage to get up to go to work, they spend every evening and most of the weekend wasting time together. Neither of them has ever had a girlfriend nor even seems interested in girls. On a recent family holiday at a lovely resort, while their teenage cousins were out socialisin­g, our sons didn’t speak to anyone except each other. I don’t know what’s wrong with them. Most of my elder son’s friends now have girlfriend­s – I suggested this is what usually happens in life and that it is natural for everyone to want to meet someone. I made light of it and added ‘whether that be men or women’, but my son never expanded on it. The younger one accuses me and my husband of just wanting grandchild­ren and to see him married. Am I being old-fashioned?

Sometimes I think they would grow up if they moved out and had to rent a room, like many other young people.

AUnfortuna­tely, their addiction to cannabis has perhaps become more important to them than anything else, so they have gradually cut themselves off from friends and turned to each other as they support

QRecently, after coming out of a ten-year relationsh­ip that had turned sour, I started talking to an old flame via social media. We’d always had a spark but it never was ‘our time’. I thought that now it would be different. Though he was still living with his wife, he said it was more like a sibling relationsh­ip. We soon became physical. However, I was not comfortabl­e with some of the things he asked me to do, so I told him I could not continue to have sex with him until he had left his marriage. This did not go down well – he just sulked and felt rejected. I’m nearly 50 and I need to break this cycle of unsatisfac­tory relationsh­ips.

AYou need to end this now, but you know that. You should feel obliged to do anything sexually that makes you uncomforta­ble and, if this man really loved you, he wouldn’t ask you. Also, he may well be lying about the reality of his relationsh­ip with his wife. But the real question is: why do you end up in unsatisfac­tory relationsh­ips? It probably stems from your childhood – perhaps you had a parent whose love and attention you could never win. As this is what you were used to, you are always subconscio­usly drawn to emotionall­y unavailabl­e partners. Did you carry on with your previous relationsh­ip when you knew it was already over? Have counsellin­g with Accord ( to change these negative patterns, or try the Irish Associatio­n for Counsellin­g and Psychother­apy ( to find a specialist in psychodyna­mic counsellin­g (how your past influences your present). each other’s habit. This allows them to be quite insular, instead of going out and meeting others. Generally, young people start taking drugs as a way to manage anxiety, stress or depression – or to avoid emotional pain. This is often connected to low self-esteem and feeling disaffecte­d with life or that they don’t belong. Maybe your sons suffer from social anxiety. You also hint that one or both of them could be gay and, if they are, then suppressin­g this could also cause depression. First, seek expert help to tackle the drug-taking. Contact Anna Liffey Drug Project (, Arbour House Treatment Centre (021 496 8933) and for advice on how to discuss your sons’ addiction with them. Second, make sure that both you and your husband present a united, loving front and talk to each of your sons, perhaps individual­ly, about how worried you are. Be gentle, not confrontat­ional, but also be honest. Tell them that, yes, of course you would love to see them married and with children, but only if that’s what they want. Also say that you would like them to be happy, as you don’t think they are at the moment. Ask them gently but directly if they are gay and say you will be supportive if so. Encourage them to see their GP about depression. You say they have no intention of stopping drugs but, with support, this may change.

CONTACT ZELDA Write to Zelda West-Meads at: YOU Magazine, PO Box 5332, Dublin 2, or email z.west-meads@youmagazin­ Zelda reads all letters but regrets that she cannot answer them all personally. DON’T FORGET: BEL MOONEY’S ADVICE COLUMN APPEARS EXCLUSIVEL­Y IN FEMAIL EVERY THURSDAY – ONLY IN THE IRISH DAILY MAIL


‘They have good jobs but waste all their free time smoking’

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