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Should I disown my son?

Old 01-02-2011, 12:29 PM
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Should I disown my son?

Hi all,

I am new here, found the forum when searching for information on disowning my son.
He is 26, been in residential rehab 5 times, jail 3 times, and when he got out of jail 2 months ago he went right back to dealing drugs, and lying and stealing from people.
I have spent $150,000 on the rehabs, and was ready to put him in another one last week. But I backed out. He was here for 2 days with me before going to the rehab. We were in a store and he stole something and he went ballistic. He terrorized me and his brother for over an hour before he hit the road.
It was the scariest day of my life.
My other son and I sat on two chairs while he lost touch with reality and screamed at us. We were not allowed to say a word or use the phone. Scary, scary.

He is an opiate addict, alcoholic.
He does not live near me since I moved to a different state.

Now my question- what happens when someone chooses to disown their child? In addition to the heartache and sadness, are there legal ways to actually disown someone?

He is so intelligent, charismatic, and interesting. But he lies pathologically, destroys lives, and steals from everyone.

Has anyone here disowned a child?

Thank you for any help you can offer.

FlyAway
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:47 PM
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Hi Flyaway and welcome.

I went no contact with both my children
when they started getting arrested,
dropped out of school
and living that life.

I just couldn't watch it.

BUT -

I was also 1800 miles away in Montana.
Nobody was terrorizing me in my own house.

Nobody here can tell you what is best for you in your situation.

That's not what we're about.
We will stand by you while you decide to do whatever you think
is best for your family...
And help you find appropriate authorities newr you
to help.

But you have to make the call.
Both the 'call' as a decision
and the call ... on the phone.

Have you spoken with anyone
regarding your safety in your own house?

That part worries me.

others will be along soon
to welcome you to the forum.

You're not alone now.
That's important to know.
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:52 PM
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Welcome flyaway. Do you know any lawyer to talk about this possibility? I know laws vary by country/state. No need to make any harsh decision but having your options more palpable may give you more peace.

I am so very sorry for what you have gone through. I believe it is brave to keep an addict from the possibility to waste all the hard earned money in his addiction.

May you have clarity and light on your path. Please take a look at the "Classic reading" sections in the Sticky section at the top of the forum. There are many safety tips. Take care of yourself and know you are among friends here.
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:55 PM
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I am here because I feel so alone. Everyone in my family is tired of hearing about my trouble with my son for the last 8 years.

Thank you for letting me know I am not alone.

He lives in California so there is no danger for me. I moved to a different state and feel so much better. BUT, since he was here for 2 days on his way to an Iowa treatment center, he had a chance to lose it all... again.

An addict sure leaves a path of destruction. I feel like I have lost so much and I need for this to end, now. He is still my son. I loved him, cared deeply for him, worked with him intensely through his school, drug, jail, rehab issues. But I just think his brain is so damaged that he can't make a good choice.

I also think he is a sociopath, since his problems started around 5 years old.

Ugh.
Hug.

Flyaway
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:02 PM
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It's hard because as the parents we always hold that 'fault' thought.

It took fifteen years to mend things with myown sons.

They are both clean and sober today
and we text like a house afire.
And I still wind up arguing with my oldest.

Is he on the way to the rehab now?
Or do you know?

My first concern is always for the physical safety.

It's so very hard to let them learn their own lessons.

And you're not alone any moreLOL
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:03 PM
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I think you could probably get a restraining order of some type so he can't contact or come around.

If there is property or inheritence then a lawyer would need to be consulted.

Sad that it has come to this but he sounds unreachable at this point.
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:17 PM
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Welcome!
Why do you want to disown him? To keep him from legal inheritance?
You could make a will that specificies you don't want to share money with him, if so.
Your son is 26. You have no responsibility to care for him, pay for him, or even see him.
If he gets violent or threatening, I would suggest, as BabyBlue mentioned, to get a restraining order. You don't need to disown him to set boundaries for yourself.
You can tell your son you love him and you are concerned for him, but even more importantly you are going to take care of yourself.
I am giving you permission to stop putting him in rehab or paying for him.
You can be done.
He will heal if and when he is ready to.
Its time to let him do what he will. Flounder, steal, go to jail - those are all his choices and it is not your job to clean up after him.

You can even set a boundary and say (to yourself and also to him, if you choose) what it would take for you to have contact with him again. 1 yr out of jail? A solid job and sobriety? Whatever you want for you.

We understand your pain.
Stick around.

Peace
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:36 PM
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Thank you Finding Peace. Here are some of my thoughts to your questions.

I guess I am just trying to figure out what it means to disown someone. Perhaps it is just an emotional, mental or spiritual decision. Legally, I guess it is just making sure he is not in the will.

He flew back to California after the big scare.

I've tried so hard to give him the help he needs. I feel that nothing will help. I have lost hope and this is the first time I have ever felt that there really is no hope for him.

Now, his Dad is taking him to a sober living house this afternoon. But that will only work if he decides to not steal from the other residents.

I often get calls from people who tell me that he ripped them off, conned them, stole their car or wallet or money... and I feel terrible for them. His friends know how to find me. And they try to find me to find him.


I want to stop him from hurting others.
When he has been in jail I feel relieved that at least he is not stealing and hurting others.

So, disowning him is something that came up today. Hard to imagine that emotional and spiritually this could even be a possibility. But I have to stop this insanity. My life is ruled by the [insert every emotion here] I feel every day.

Me
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:46 PM
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Disowning is not going to phase a sociopath.

People who need restraining orders
are the very people who do not abide by them.

Just ... fyi.



It's a lot to think about and sort out.
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:52 PM
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The most important thing is taking good care of yourself. You seem to understand that there's nothing you can do for him, very important. God bless!
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Old 01-02-2011, 02:08 PM
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Flyaway,

I hope you will stay, and become part of our community here on SR. There are wonderful people here who know what it's like to have an addict in the family, and who can support you as you heal and learn to live a better, less painful way. You can get your life back!



CLMI
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:25 PM
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(((Flyaway))) - I'm so sorry about the situation you're in. I'm not sure, and you could probably get a free consultation with a lawyer, but I've heard of people leaving someone $1 in their will...that way they can't say "they forgot me" or whatever.

I'm glad he's far away from you now. I would agree with the restraining order, especially with his recent actions, but I also know that what ((Barb)) says is true...some people don't obey the orders.

We often talk about detachment here....detaching with love. FWIW, I'm an RA (recovering addict) as well as a recovering codie with loved ones who are/were A's. I've been on both sides. My family detached from me...I was living 2 hours away, with a really bad crack addiction, and though I never got to the point where I stole or was violent, my family basically said "we love you, but we're not going to be a part of this life". My dad did offer to pay for rehab, once, but I told him I wasn't at the point where I wanted to be clean.."don't waste your money". It took me a few more times in jail until I was ready.

I don't honestly know if your son has the capacity to get into recovery, but I always have hope for anyone who's still out there. I also don't want them anywhere around me, unless they're working at recovery.

I do hope you keep posting/reading here. This place is like family, to me, and the great people here have gotten me through some really tough times. It really does help, knowing there are people who understand and care...and we do care.

Hugs and prayers,

Amy
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:44 PM
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I don't think person you described would honor a restraining order. The best advice I can offer is to seek help from a qualified domestic violence counselor or a domestic violence hot line. Here is a thread I posted a few years ago that contains excerpts from Gavin DeBecker's "The Gift of Fear" that you may find helpful. The focus on this thread was on spousal abuse, but it also applies to any type of domestic violence.

Pre-incident Indicators Associated with Spousal (or Domestic) Abuse


Following is a list of pre-incident indicators associated with spousal (or domestic) abuse:

1. The woman has intuitive feelings that she is at risk.
2. At the inception of the relationship, the man accelerated the pace, prematurely placing on the agenda such things as commitment, living together, and marriage.
3. He resolves conflict with intimidation, bullying, and violence.
4. He is verbally abusive.
5. He uses threats and intimidation as instruments of control or abuse.
6. He breaks or strikes things in anger.
7. He has battered in prior relationships.
8. He uses alcohol or drugs with adverse affects.
9. He cites alcohol or drugs as an excuse or explanation for hostile or violent conduct.
10. His history includes police encounters for behavioral offenses.
11. There has been more than one incident of violent behavior.
12. He uses money to control the activities, purchases, and behavior of his wife/partner.
13. He becomes jealous of anyone or anything that takes her time away from the relationship.
14. He refuses to accept rejection.
15. He expects the relationship to go on forever, perhaps using phrases like "together for life," "always," "no matter what."
16. He projects extreme emotions onto others (hate, love, jealousy, commitment) even when there is no evidence that would lead a reasonable person to perceive them.
17. He minimizes incidents of abuse.
18. He spends a disproportionate amount of time talking about his wife/partner and derives much of his identity from being her husband, lover, etc.
19. He tries to enlist his wife's friends or relatives in a campaign to keep or recover the relationship.
20. He has inappropriately surveilled or followed his wife/partner.
21. He believes others are out to get him.
22. He resists change and is described as inflexible, unwilling to compromise.
23. He identifies with or compares himself to violent people in films, news stories, fiction, or history.
24. He suffers mood swings or is sullen, angry, or depressed.
25. He consistently blames others for problems of his own making.
26. He refers to weapons as instruments of power, control, or revenge.
27. Weapons are a substantial part of his persona; he has a gun or he talks about, jokes about, reads about, or collects weapons.
28. He uses "male privilege" as a justification for his conduct (treats her like a servant, makes all the big decisions, acts like the "master of the house").
29. He experienced or witnessed violence as a child.
30. His wife/partner fears he will injure or kill her. She has discussed this with others or has plans to be carried out in the event of her death (e.g., designating someone to care for her children).

So what can we tell a woman who thinks she (or her children--emphasis mine) might be injured? Seek and apply strategies that make you unavailable to your pursuer. If you really believe you are at risk, battered women's shelters provide the best way to be safe. Shelter locations are secret, and the professionals there understand what the legal system doesn't; that the issue is safety--not justice....It is unfair that (the abuser) gets away unpunished, but it is more important that you come away unhurt....Shelters are where the safety is, where guidance is, and where wisdom is. Admittedly, going to a shelter is a major and inconvenient undertaking, and it's easy to see why so many victims are lured by the good news that a restraining order will solve the whole problem. But imagine that your doctor said you needed immediate surgery to save your life. Would you ask, "Isn't there a piece of paper I can carry instead?"

Excerpts from "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:01 PM
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I agree with Impurrfect..you need some loving detachment.do you go to alanon or naranon..my daughter is a recovering heroin addict and it REALLY has helped me set boundaries, worry about myself, let her live her own life and deal with all the consequences.I thave also paid alot for rehabs (not that much!) and absolutely think it's fine for you to be done paying for his treatments..he has the tools, it's up to him to use them.I really suggest alanon..they don't get tired of hearing about your problems like other do and can help you move on in a way that's loving and healthy.
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Old 01-02-2011, 05:17 PM
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Thanks again for all your wonderful help.
Keeinon- I went to a couple of alanon meetings and all they did was take turns reading a paragraph out loud from the book. It didn't seem like there was any help, guidance, direction. Just reading.
Maybe others are different.

I, and I am sure all parents of addicts, keep thinking there must have been something I could have done. After spending so much time on rehab (and $$) I have found that the success rates for rehab are horrible. Especially for opiates/heroin because it takes so long for the brain to recover.

So sad for all the upcoming young people who are going to go through this torture with their addictions. Oxy is the drug of choice in high school.
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Old 01-02-2011, 05:27 PM
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(((Flyaway))) - sweetie, please don't beat yourself up in thinking you did something wrong. I was raised by 2 loving parents, NO addiction (unless you count cigarettes), was told I could be anything I set my mind to. I went to college in my Sr. year of high school, had great jobs, etc.

I still became an addict and a codie. I can't tell you why. For whatever reason, I always felt "not enough" despite being told, and shown quite the opposite from my parents. It was something in me...not anything that was done/not done to me or for me.

I know I can't make you stop questioning yourself, but I do pray you find peace with this.

Hugs and prayers,

Amy
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Old 01-02-2011, 05:54 PM
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flyaway,

welcome to the sober recovery community. i think you are gaining the sense that we are here to support, encourage, and guide. al-anon seeps in very slowly. they are not at your disposal to suggest to you what you should do, but to listen and encourage you to find your own answers.....which, ultimately we all have to do anyway.

this forum is much more direct, and it has been a tremendous source for me. i can honestly say that s/r is the tool that enabled to leave an unfulfilling relationship and truly look out for myself. it changed my life, literally.

as for the disowning. i'd venture a guess that you feel the need to make this very serious statement -- for your own peace of mind. i say do whatever you feel is at your disposal to enact that and make it a reality. print a certificate, put it in your will, have a ceremony, get the restraining order, tell all your nearest and dearest, or all of the above.

it's time you started living.
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Old 01-02-2011, 06:32 PM
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Dear FlyAway, I am so sorry for what you have gone through and are going through. I also have family who are alcoholics, drug addicts, and one has severe mental illness. One thing I would like to share with you, the three C's, tells us that: We did not Cause it, we cannot Cure it, and we cannot Control it. I agree with the above posters that you are not responsible for your son's addictions or behavior and are not obligated to continue to be abused or to pay for any additional treatment. Treatment will not work anyway, unless and until HE is ready for it to work. And even then there are no guarantees. I mean, look at me: I am desperate to stop smoking after decades and have actively sought treatment but continuously fail and relapse. And I strongly WANT to stop.

To "disown" someone I believe is a legal term. Here it is sufficient to start by simply working on Detachment from another person. There are forces at work inside of you that are causing you trouble, and Al-Anon can help you discover these things for and about yourself. It sounds like you may have gone to a "Step" meeting and that may be why that meeting was not right for you at that time. Al-Anon recommends trying 5 or 6 different meeti gs before making up your mind. I also think this is a good idea. Al-Anon saved my life. I hope you give it another try. (((hugs))) You are not alone.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:30 PM
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Did you attend any of the family programs during your sons numerous rehabs? I think giving alanon another try would be a good idea..helped me let go of that old way of thinking...I wondered for six months what I did wrong..I can't imagine holding onto that for 8 years..you need some healing.If your son went to 1 AA meeting and told you it wasn't helpful..what would you tell him?
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:04 PM
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For our own peace of mind, it is often best to detach from our own child for awhile.
You have provided him the opportunity and the skills. I hope one day your son overcomes addiction and you get to have a relationship with him in recovery
My 26 yr. old son died last June from Heroin OD after two yrs. sober.
There is nothing more sad than losing a child.
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