I want to commend you on not being co-dependant to your boyfriend which is not easy to do. Your boyfriend is obviously co-dependant and feeling guilty which his son is clearly taking advantage of. The first easy answer is if the son uses, all bets should be off. The longer co-dependents make it easy for the addict to use, the closer to death the addict gets. If the son was to return home, the father should have a list of things that must be followed through with as in get and keep a job, chores, who they hang out with(especially if on probation), etc. But the minute the son breaks one of these rules, he should be out of there. I know you don't want the son there at home, but if he completed treatment and is sober and went to 2 half-way houses it sounds like he is working his program so he is doing his part and it doesn't hurt to help him out.
Ideally he should be going into his own place after the half-way house and I am surprised they didn't require him to get a job in order to stay there. If you don't want to be around the son that is your perogative. Has your boyfriend been to any co-dependency meetings or counseling. This would be important especially if the son is coming home because if the father is going to exhibit the same co-dependent behaviors then it can make it very difficult for the addict to stay clean.
Thank you for your response. The son has been in the halfway house (his first halfway house experience) since his discharge from in-patient rehab (his second rehab) in February. He still doesn't have a job, although he says he has a good chance of one soon. In my mind, it is way too soon to declare that he has made a lasting change...should he apply himself to his job and exhibit signs of being mature and responsible (save money, plan and provide for his own shelter, transportation and food) and remain sober for maybe a year, I would be more likely to believe that he is serious and not just returning to his manipulative ways. Does this sound reasonable? Should his dad allow him to return home, I can see the motivation to accomplish those things disappearing, and then how could he get him out of the house? I don't think his dad could call the police to have him removed. So what happens then?
I struggle with the fact that what he does is really up to the son, as well as what his dad does, but all of this also impacts my life and relationship with his dad. I am interested in preserving our relationship and feel it being threatened by this serious problem. It will be a long time before I will be able to trust the son...he will have to earn that from me. I feel in my heart that he did his best to keep me out of the picture and away from his dad, probably because I was "on to him" (the son) and tried to get his dad to see what I suspected had been going on with his drug use, etc.
The fine line here in my mind is what constitutes helping the son in his recovery and what constitutes enabling him? Only by taking a hard line regarding him returning home did the son submit to rehab and finally make an effort to find employment. I would like to see the son become self-sufficient and successful and happy in his life, and agree that when he leaves the halfway house it would be a perfect time for him to spread his wings and secure his own independent living arrangement. I did some research on craigs list and found a house that other recovering addicts are sharing. I doubt he even considered that as an option for himself.
So how much help from his dad would be beneficial without being enabling? I think that is the single most important issue right now.
I'm just trying to educate myself so that everybody here has the best chance for success. I have suggested that his dad go to some counseling, in fact have offered to also go with him and with his son too if he would. So far, haven't done that but I will keep trying. I think talking about all of this in the open would be helpful. That's how I approach problems - head on - but my BF's family doesn't have a history of dealing with things that way. That may be part of the problem right there. Denial.