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Old 04-27-2009, 10:23 PM   #1
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Gave 19 year old son ultimatum... Now what??

Hello to all. I've been lurking awhile, crying a lot, and now I desperately need advice. My son JUST turned 19 (but is very immature), lives at home and has a drug addiction. I knew that he had been experimenting with drugs for the last few few years (and I thought he had stopped). I now know that for most of the past year, he has been high on various drugs daily. I'm not sure if he's addicted to one certain drug, but he will try ANYTHING. He has done Xanax, Cocaine, Meth, Crack, Marijuana, and more. Pretty much whatever he can get, he'll do. He's even used needles. In the last year he has been suspended from school, arrested, wrecked and totaled our car, and lost friends all because of drugs. Not to mention the family turmoil caused by his rage, anger, selfishness, non-feeling, cruel words, LYING, etc. I don't even have room to post everything else he has put us through! He has been grounded permanantly (but he was still getting drugs from kids at school). Nothing stops his drug use. He is a master at lying, hiding it from us, and even altered drug tests, so for a while, we didn't realize....anything. No one else in our family has had any addictions. Now we are educating ourselves as much as we can.

Well moving on now, he was just caught at school with drugs AGAIN. This time he didn't go to jail, but is kicked out of high school (with less than a month til graduation), and also lost his job because of this incident. So we gave him the ultimatum... Go to Rehab or Get out! Of course he accepted rehab because he literally, really has no place to go if he moves out. No one wants him. So he is about to go into a 28 day program. I can't tell whether he REALLY wants help or not, he says he needs help and he'll give rehab his best. He also says he LOVES being high more than anything and can't imagine never being able to be high again. After all we have been through, I am still supportive, but I am secretly VERY doubtful rehab will change anything. I can just sense that he doesn't want to change. He has been told if he checks himself out early he can't come home. And if he completes the program but goes back to using, he is OUT.

IF the rehab doesn't help him, I don't know what else we can do, because love alone hasn't helped at all. But he has no job skills and lost (permanantly) the small job he had. He has no friends, no relatives that would take him in. He does have a vehicle (already paid for - no payment), I guess he could sleep in it if he had to. I really want your opinions on whether it is ok to turn a 19 year old out of the home under these circumstances, IF he doesn't stay clean or checks out of rehab early. Is that what I'm supposed to do to for him to have a wake up call, and hit rock bottom? I never thought I'd have to think about using tough love, but kicking him out is the only thing left we haven't tried. I would feel awful doing it, but I have to try and save the rest of my family, we have other kids and they have been deeply affected. He has affected the whole family in unbelievable ways. But is he too young to turn out at 19? I can't help but worry... what if he mixes the wrong drugs, or overdoses, what if he hurts himself, or someone else?

As you can see, I'm REALLY struggling between the logic of doing what seems to be the right thing and the guilt of turning an immature 19 year old out with no place to go. I keep thinking it would be more black and white if he was older. I've never been here before and I REALLY don't know what to do.

I hope and pray every day that he will finish rehab (he starts in a couple days) and stay clean so that I never have to face the decision to throw him out, but for my own sanity, I need to have a plan in place if he does keep messing up. We can't continue living like this.

Sorry for the long post. If you did read all this, thank you so much for taking the time. And please help me if you can.

 
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:10 PM   #2
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hi it sounds like your doing all you can do for now , an only time will tell like you said , for me i did not know how i was going to deal with life without something , until i got sick an tired of being sick an tired . drugs are so powerful over our thoughts , you could try a longer program or na an aa meetings, drug councleing , after he gets out as manditory , an some day the court may send him . you will want to know as much as possible , an i know its heart wrenching . but you are doing the right thing , you are no longer a door matte. you can also call these programs for additional help . in your local phone book , see if he is willing to chat with us other addicts, some times i dont know what to say , but hang in there an know your doing all you can . an i can feel your pain , i am a recovering addict , got more questions , just ask us god bless i will pray for your familt scott

 
Old 04-28-2009, 09:11 AM   #3
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Re: Gave 19 year old son ultimatum... Now what??

Polly-
Sweetie, as hard as it may seem, YES it is absolutely 100% ok to make your 19 year old leave your home. In the law's eyes he's an adult so you won't be breaking any rules. If the car is paid for then let him take it, BUT make sure if you carry the insurance to cancel it before he leaves in it. Let him know he will have to get his own insurance coverage.

I'm so sorry you are hurting so badly. Addiction affects those of us who love the addicted so deeply. It sounds like you have done everything in your power at this point. Right now, your son has YOU backed into a corner and unfortunately you are going to have to stick to your guns and employ tough love.

If he isn't ready to kick this problem then rehab is going to do him no good, but don't give up hope yet because you never know, something may just click while he is there. He may make a complete 180 you know? I hope and pray this is the case. If he does complete rehab successfully then when he gets out, you will need to extremely aware of his habits and make him stay away from the influences that trigger him to use.

I know this is a horrible thing for a parent to endure, but sweetie you have to stay tough and follow through regardless of how hard it is. It may be the only thing that will save his life. You can not continue to suffer because of his addictions.

Best wishes.

 
Old 04-28-2009, 09:14 AM   #4
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Re: Gave 19 year old son ultimatum... Now what??

Take the car too. Knowing he will also abuse his driving privilages and possibly endanger someone else's life, driving under the influence, take the car. Yes, it is sooooo hard to do what is right sometimes. You spend most of your adult life taking care and making sure they have what they need and more and now you feel you are throwing him to the wolves.
Right now, once again, you have to do for him what he needs.
Hold fast.
No room to wiggle.
He will figure out where his bottom is. you can't do that for him.
And, of course addicts find it hard to believe they could live in a world without getting high . Good luck and blessings.

 
Old 04-28-2009, 09:20 AM   #5
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Re: Gave 19 year old son ultimatum... Now what??

Hi Polly44
I have just sorta been cruisin' these message boards lately, mainly only reading or posting where i have had the same experiences myself. I have only responded to a few as i'm kind of a private person but when i really feel strongly that i can help another human being than i do try. So here it goes.
First let me say that i feel for your situation. Please know that you are not alone. Alot of parents have had to make the same tough decisions that you are faced with right now. As a parent it is heart wrenching that you have to consider throwing your child out to face the music on his own if he does not complete his rehab or starts using again afterwards. But please know that you are doing the right thing! You show great strength in being able to do this. I highly commend you & praise you for your courage & willpower! This is what you need to be doing at this time in order to give your son a serious wake up call. So please, stick to your guns! Do not falter in your decision because the decision that you have chose is the one that your son needs right now. You must show him this tough love, for him, yourself, as well as the rest of your family as this affects all involved. It sounds like you are not willing to enable him in any way & that is a very good thing! Never enable him. The only thing that worries me is that you have stated that he loves getting high. It doesn't sound at all like he is ready or that he wants the help or sobriety for himself & thats a really big problem because he has to hit rock bottom & really want this for himself. If he doesn't, it never works. He will continue to use, lie, cheat, steal, & whatever it takes to get his drugs. I know this from past experience. My b/f was a crackhead for 16 yrs & he told me that he loved getting high & that he didn't want to quit. I cried endless tears & tried getting him into rehab, the whole 9 yards but nothing worked. I finally had enough after he stole from me, cheated on me, lied to me, etc. and i threw him out. Didn't hear a word from him until a few yrs later while watching the local news that he had been found dead of a drug over dose behind a store just a few houses away from where we had lived together & the saddest part of all was the fact that he still had his crack pipe clutched between his fingers when they found his body. I could tell you horror stories of what this man put me through but i know you are going through some of the exact same things with your sons addiction. I just want you to know that you are not alone & that you are doing the right thing. Tough love hurts us, but its the best & right thing to do. I really do praise you for being so strong because its so easy to be an enabler. You have great courage! Stay strong & do not falter & i wish you & your family all the best. I will pray for you & your family.

 
Old 04-28-2009, 09:23 AM   #6
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Re: Gave 19 year old son ultimatum... Now what??

Quote:
Originally Posted by 56789 View Post
hi it sounds like your doing all you can do for now , an only time will tell like you said , for me i did not know how i was going to deal with life without something , until i got sick an tired of being sick an tired . drugs are so powerful over our thoughts , you could try a longer program or na an aa meetings, drug councleing , after he gets out as manditory , an some day the court may send him . you will want to know as much as possible , an i know its heart wrenching . but you are doing the right thing , you are no longer a door matte. you can also call these programs for additional help . in your local phone book , see if he is willing to chat with us other addicts, some times i dont know what to say , but hang in there an know your doing all you can . an i can feel your pain , i am a recovering addict , got more questions , just ask us god bless i will pray for your familt scott

Very well suggested......From pure experience, (not myself), but very close friends that I have seen go through so much, that a person that has not been down that road can not have an idea of what he is thinking, feeling, etc....But, having someone to relate to that understands is a great start. For some reason ultimatums don't work, but a lot of patience and leading the person you care about towards the right direction is the best way. Having a sponser in their life is a life saver from what I have witnessed. it's easy for a person that is not in thier shoes to suggest to another, just quit the drugs or drinking, can't be that hard....but it is hard and a sponser understands and will do what they can to help from their own experience and knowledge....


A very close friend of mine once said "he had to hit rock bottom before he opened his eyes"..he almost died, but he lost everything and it brought him back...

Last edited by dolejaly; 04-28-2009 at 09:26 AM.

 
Old 04-29-2009, 11:58 PM   #7
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Re: Gave 19 year old son ultimatum... Now what??

Polly44,
Was just thinking about you & your situation that you're going through right now & just thought i would come back to see if you had posted since your original post. I see you have not. If you find the time please come back & give us all an update & let us know how you're doing & whether your son has made any progress, or even if he hasn't. We are here for you & we all care. Like i've said before i rarely post but whenever i do i like to stick around for updates & progress, etc. I'm only 43 but have lived some real nightmares! And i only post as to where i have first hand experience because its so easy for people to say "do this or do that" but unless they've walked in your shoes then they really can't imagine the true horrors or depths of a situation, though they try & that is very much appreciated. You will find alot of compassionate, kind, caring, understanding, & knowledgable people on these boards & it really helps just to sometimes read the posts & replys. I found this out months ago when i came across these boards by accident while surfing the web for info. about a few surgeries that i had to have done on April 14th. I have been so sick, sore, etc since my surgeries but i think i'm doing better but thats another thread & this one is about you. Just know that you're not alone & i'll keep you & your family in my prayers, as well as all other posters connected to this thread. Take care.
Angelique

 
Old 04-30-2009, 01:21 PM   #8
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Re: Gave 19 year old son ultimatum... Now what??

Hi, I'm also new to this board and have been lurking and reading for awhile, but your post really touched me. As an addict and alcoholic in recovery who put my family through a lot, I can only give you my experience, strength, and hope. What I suggest you do, at least while your son is in treatment, is focus on SELF CARE. Know that he is safe there and take that time to learn all you can about the disease of addiction, because it IS a family disease. Attend some meetings (Nar-anon, Al-anon, or other recovery meetings) to learn how to accept the addict in your life without letting him take over your life. While your son is in treatment, people with no personal connection to him will be helping him, which means they will not be affected by his attempts to cajole, manipulate, or control them. At the same time, they can look at his addictions objectively and help him to do so as well. This is a good thing. Try not to worry about what will happen when he leaves there. If you equip yourself with some coping skills, you will be better able to handle whatever comes along in the future. He is very young, so only time will tell.

I commend you on taking a strong approach with your son early on. You are so brave and I know it must be tearing your heart out, as a mother myself, I know that it's always so hard to see my kids suffer and they are still little. It must be unbearable for you. I know it doesn't do any good to tell you not to worry, but if you arm yourself with some knowledge and understanding of his disease you might feel just a tiny bit more prepared. Peace to you, Mama. I will keep your family in my prayers.

 
Old 04-30-2009, 01:41 PM   #9
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Re: Gave 19 year old son ultimatum... Now what??

Hi Polly

I heartily second ALEXAINIE'S words to you. Wise words. Get to some Al-Anon an/or Nar-Anon meetings pronto. At these meetings you are going to learn the skills needed to deal with this heart-wrenching situation. Just as Son has much to learn about addictive behavior, so do you.... not only to help him, but to help yourself survive. Love him and care about him, but it is just as vital that you do the same for you.

With hope
reach

 
Old 05-07-2009, 03:48 AM   #10
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Re: Gave 19 year old son ultimatum... Now what??

I cannot express how much I appreciate all of your replies, I am truly touched by all the caring and wisdom. And Angelique, thank you for posting, you said you are usually very private, so I really appreciate it. Sorry it has taken so long for me to post an update, thanks for bearing with me.

19 year old son completed 5 day detox and was supposed to go straight into 28 day residential program (same facility) but there wasn't a bed immediately available, so he has been here at home for a few days waiting. We're told it shouldn't be much longer. He's not using, but it may be just because he's not been allowed to leave the house or contact anyone. He does want to go back for rehab, he loved it there, said everyone was so kind and accepting. Of course he was only there for 5 day detox, so the "hard part" hasn't started yet. Unfortunately, I still get a STRONG feeling that he doesn't really want this help. I can see it in his attitude and things he says. He doesn't seem serious at all about changing things, and if that is the case, I doubt anything will make a difference, not until he's ready. His addiction hasn't really costed him anything yet. He still loves drugs above all. But I haven't given up hope, I love my son so much, and I pray that these 28 days will help him find his way.

Since I last posted I have found Nar-anon meetings in my area and plan to start attending. I have also educated myself more about addiction and the families and I have had a change of heart about what should happen after rehab. Now I am questioning whether to let him come back to live at home after rehab at all. From what I've learned, bringing a young adult addict back to the family home right after rehab is often a recipe for disaster for the addict, and can make it easier for them to relapse. I've learned that they need to be responsible for themselves and their own recovery at this point. Not to mention the risks to the rest of the family. I hate to say it, but our home was peaceful and relaxed during those 5 days my son was gone. First time in a long time we weren't walking on eggshells, and I hadn't even realized how bad things had actually gotten. There has been so much pain and anger over the last couple years and his presence is now splintering the family home. His father will not even speak to him, he's trying to avoid the argument that always ensues. He has heart problems and more than once, these arguments have led to life-threatening health emergencies. They have never gotten along (mistakes on both their parts), but this is the worst it's ever been. So they just ignore each other completely. And one of my daughters, who has been deeply hurt by her brother over and over, has temporarily moved in with friends, won't come back until he is gone again, refusing to even see or speak to him. Her pain has given way to anger. My other daughter is still here, but her feelings for her brother have changed too, she is just sick and tired of him. I didn't realize the extent of damage to our family and how my son's addiction has slowly taken us over - until he was gone for 5 days and came back.

So now I am gently encouraging my son to at least consider a half-way (sober living) house after rehab. We were told about it by the rehab facility so I think it is up to them to determine need and to set him up with the half-way house, but there is a lengthy waiting list. Of course since he is 19, he will have to request it himself, and he does NOT want it. So we are trying to come up with other ideas. One is... if he completes the 28 days (and if the half-way house doesn't happen), we set him up in an apartment or small rent house by paying expenses for one month, after which he will be responsible. He would have to get a job during that first month and take care of his own bills thereafter. We don't want to do the "no contact" thing but we think it would be beneficial for him to take care of himself and have actual responsibilities for once. What do you think?

We would much rather he be in a sober living half-way house with structure aimed at recovery, but I don't know if he is willing, and the waiting list can be 1-6 months long. But, as I'm learning, I really don't think we should risk bringing him back home, for his own recovery's sake. And also considering the shape our family is in, we can't risk having a front row seat to a relapse, should it happen.

I'm learning as I go, and sometimes I feel like I'm just stumbling around in the dark, so I welcome any bits of enlightenment from those more experienced than me. I just desperately want to do what will be best for ALL involved, but that seems to be a very tall order. Again, thanks for the help and compassion you've all given. You have all given me great comfort.

 
Old 05-07-2009, 04:42 AM   #11
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Re: Gave 19 year old son ultimatum... Now what??

Hello Polly,

I am so glad to hear your son is doing well. Detox is a pretty hard step, as the body is getting rid of all drugs. Your son went through quite a bit during detox, however you were right - the hard part is coming - abstinence from all drugs. 15% of recovery is getting off the drugs...85% is lifestyle change.

You are a wonderful mother, don't ever forget that. It is great that you have attended nar-anon meetings. Take as much out of those meetings as you can.

When your son is in Rehab (and you are visiting him), allow him to talk. Let him get it all out. I'm sure you'll find he is a different person as each day goes by.

Also, you may feel a little "emptiness" while he's gone - that is perfectly normal. Don't be so hard on yourself, especially if you start feeling like you "sent" him off somewhere. What you've done for your son might possibly be the best thing a parent could do for their child

I wish him much luck during his program. Please tell him I'll be thinking of him, and to strive for the very best while there. It's going to be intense, but he has to remember this is HIS recovery...he gets to choose how well it goes

Sincerely,
emsmom

 
Old 05-07-2009, 05:06 AM   #12
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Re: Gave 19 year old son ultimatum... Now what??

I agree w/ some here about getting to meetings, Not " I plan to", but to get to the meetings....A very very close friend of mine almost died during his time into drug and alcohol use, he wouldn't even leave his room during his habits at that time, he would have a pail to use as a toilet, so being alone might not be the best way......Why do people turn to drugs/alcohol in the first place?, they feel alone?...If he feels isolated after going through all of this, as you said you don't think he really wants to, so obviously he is doing it for the family, so isolating him into a place of his own so close to his release on rehab might be disastrous as well. It sounds to me that your son has issues w/ siblings and his father even before the addiction problem. Has any other health issues been ruled out? Maybe a suggestion is while he is waiting for a bed that you as a family go to every meeting possible, or just you and him...Keep the ball a rolling that has been started. Call the rehab center and ask them for some advice during this waiting period. Maybe they feel he has to do this alone, I don't know....I guess every case is different in some manner....But, if you can't make it to talk w/ someone, at least make a call and see what to do during this time.....

I guess every situation is different, so the advice from the rehab would be the best one. My hats off to you for your strength to push on to help your son and your family. It sounds to me that you are the glue that holds it all together.....But, from one mom to another, remember "we can't fix the world"...

Last edited by mod-anon; 05-07-2009 at 05:56 AM. Reason: Please use the Quick Reply button instead of Quote Reply.

 
Old 05-07-2009, 10:33 AM   #13
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Re: Gave 19 year old son ultimatum... Now what??

Polly44,
I'm so happy to hear back from you. Thanks for giving us all an update. It's weird because none of us know each other, only vicariously through our computers but i found myself worrying about you & your family & wondering if your son had actually been able to go through with the 5 day detox or if he would run away before hand in order to avoid going, which many drug addicts do. He made it to & through the detox & this is great news! And i don't want to take away from that very important accomplishment but i also have to say that now the hard part is coming. I have to be honest & say that i really feel like your son is just not ready & that this is something that he does not want to do. I feel that he is just going through with it as a means to "shut you up" so to speak because you're said that he doesn't take this thing seriously & that his drugs are still most important in his life above all else & that you can see this in his atitude & in the things that he says. This is not a good sign of him sincerely wanting to be free & clean of drugs. I know from past experience that if a person really doesn't want this for themself that it will not work. He will get out & go right back to using/old habits. He has to want this for himself. So i really think that he is just going through all the motions as a means to just "shut you up". And for this i am very sorry because i know that this just rips your heart out because your his mother & you want more than anything to be able to help him & to see him free of the drugs because you love him so very much. I also want to let you know that i think that you are a wonderful, kind, caring, & loving mother & it shows with everything that you have & continue to do for him. Its so sad that he under-appreciates you.
Now, heres my opinion...And its really hard for me to give it because i can kinda see both sides of the coin as an outsider looking in. On one side of the coin i have a problem with the "no contact" issue because i strongly believe that your son may need you the most in his attempt to be & stay drug free. I'm concerned that if he feels alone & isolated that it will push him to want to do drugs. But on the other side of the coin i agree with your change of heart reasonings that it would be better for him if he could move into a half way house afterwards. Because the half way house will keep him motivated in staying clean & they will give him counseling & daily or weekly urine tests to make sure that he is on the straight & narrow. I really do think this would be best for him. It will not be what he wants of course but i think it would be the best solution.
I do not agree with you setting him up in his own apt & paying his first months rent. I would strongly advise against this because this in a way is still enabling him. You might be making things "too easy" for him by doing this. He has to at some point become an adult & take responsibility for himself & his own actions/life/choices. And like you're stated, he really hasn't lost anything with his addiction & this is one of the reasons why he still thinks that "drugs rock". He has to lose something, as sad as that may sound. And i know that hurts because he is your son & you love him & therefore you want the best for him but its true. I wouldn't set him up in his own apt. This is my opinion. I would push towards the half way house. I really feel this would be better as i agree with your change of heart about not allowing him to come back into the home. Of course let him know that after his stint in the half way house that he will be more than welcome to come home for a visit. You have to think about the rest of the family here, husband/siblings, as i see that it is a concern of yours. They are all hurting too & your family has been torn apart by your sons drug use. The rest of the family should not be made to suffer because of your sons selfish actions. They have suffered enough. And may i also suggest that after your sons stay in the half way house, assuming he stays there, it would be a very good idea if all of you as a whole/family participate in some family counseling? This can help get out all of the left over bad feelings & help bring your family back together as a unit.
I also think its great that you're going to be attending the nar-anon meetings! This will help so much. You truely are a great mother & he should feel so lucky to have you.
I really do wish your son/family all the best & i will be praying that all goes well so that your family can have some happiness/peace/normalcy back in your lives. Let your son know that i will be pulling for him & that he can do this! He just has to want it for himself. And from one mother to another, bless your heart! You are doing the right thing. And i'm so sorry for your hurt but it will get better! Just take one day at a time & keep your chin up! And remember...This is not your fault!
I will keep you in my thoughts & prayers. Please keep us posted with any & all updates.
Take care & good luck on your journey ahead.
Angelique

 
Old 05-07-2009, 04:51 PM   #14
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Re: Gave 19 year old son ultimatum... Now what??

Angelique - that was a lovely reply

Polly - hope you are doing well today

emsmom

 
Old 05-07-2009, 05:02 PM   #15
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Re: Gave 19 year old son ultimatum... Now what??

emsmom,
Thank you so much. Take care.
Angelique

 
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