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    Old 09-10-2018, 08:50 PM   #1
    marfar's Avatar
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    Question Mom with adult children of an alcoholic

    I thought that 20 years ago, when I divorced my addict, that my dealings with addiction would come to an end. How naive. Now, with sons ages 23 and 20, the family illness shows its true colors and refuses to be left behind. My younger son basically blames me for divorcing my ex. He disagrees with the logic of the times from 20 years ago, logic that said, "detach with love". He follows more of the current philosophies in regards to alcoholism and believes that I should not have abandoned his father. The trauma of dealing with an active addict while raising two young boys was more than I could handle, especially given the fact that domestic violence caused me to lose my spleen. I'm challenged now in finding ways to communicate about these things with my son. When I look back, I see the dangers that I escaped and saved my children from, but when he looks back, he sees a father left behind to suffer alone. I'm wondering if there are any parents or adult children on this forum who might be able to help me build bridges with my son. I don't want him to struggle alone with these feelings, nor do I want to feel responsible, again, for the actions and choices of my former husband. Hoping someone can help. Ty.

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    Old 09-11-2018, 01:10 PM   #2
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    Re: Mom with adult children of an alcoholic

    Dear marfar,

    Your adult 'boys' are just being normal...and normal addicts.
    Hon, you made your choices and that's that. End of story. The past is over with.
    My first husband also was an addict. I gave up on him, too, for other reasons. He died many years later, still an addict. Our son didn't understand any of it ever, but let it go on his own finally, when he was ready.

    First things first, you are not and never was responsible for the actions and choices of your former husband, and likewise are not responsible for the choices of your adult children. The only message you can convey now is that you cannot save anyone from themselves, and their father made the choice to use and abuse. Your boys choose to use.
    If you want to help them, stop taking responsibility for their choices and emotions. It doesn't mean that you don't care (tho you will be accused of that). You need to get your message very clear. Love does not mean holding the hand of a person that is choosing to destroy himself. This truth includes your children.

    My story is both similar and different than yours and I would recite the similarities, but it doesn't matter. The only way that I found that works is to love my children as they are, and refuse to assume responsibility for where they are at.
    Had you and their father been different, your sons still might have chosen to become addicts. We all make our own choices in life. That is the lesson that they need to learn.

    Learn about co-dependency. There is a lot written about it, loads of info on the internet, books, support groups, etc. Your boys use alcohol/drugs because they choose to, and they blame others because taking responsibility means that they have to do the work of changing themselves. And hon, this is true of each one of us.

    Don't buy in to where the boys (men really) are at.
    You did a good job getting away from the ex. Now leave that behind. It isn't your burden to carry. Your boys need to learn this too, but usually we cannot teach it to our kids. Only say it was not safe for you or the boys to remain with their father because of his own choices and don't try to 'help' them understand. Understanding doesn't change how it felt or feels now to them. Tell them you didn't enjoy what you had to do and ask them to forgive you. After you have done that and maybe you already have, then tell them you aren't going to live in the past and don't keep on discussing the subject with them. They are feeling sorry for themselves and are trying to shame you into being codependent with them.

    Just encourage them to get into addiction recovery. Tell them 'that's where you will start seeing the reality of all of this'. and let it go. they will find their way regarding these things. That you are refusing to accept responsibility for their own weaknesses & addiction & blaming is a good start.

    ~ YaYa ~

    Last edited by yayagirl; 09-12-2018 at 06:49 AM.

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