Dear ASK ExMom,
An adult son has moved back home. He now has no job and is not helping around the house at all. Plus he is an alcoholic who refuses to go to AA. I love him & cannot kick him out. What to do?
Tempted to Toss
Moms, before I respond, you should know that Tempted and I had a few email exchanges and there is more to her dilemma.
Her son is not just alcoholic, he’s severely addicted, has tried many times to quit and, in fact, has an extremely dangerous reaction to alcohol withdrawal.
Now, due to my !@#$% post-concussion syndrome, weeks had passed by the time we finished our conversation. The son had gone to treatment again and was back home, sober in AA, still not employed or helping out. Or even picking up after himself.
At the end of our correspondence, Tempted got to the following question. Ring any bells? Anyone? Bueller?
By having to ask everyone else to do things around the house, aren’t I saying they are ALL my jobs, even though I work, just b/c I am female, and I have to ask people to help me out EVERY TIME I WANT SOME HELP AROUND THE HOUSE? How do I get family members to help when they are too old to give time outs to??
So, I have to consider the mom issues along with the realities of having an adult child in trouble. Make yourself comfortable, it’s gonna be a double-wide post, down and dirty.
Oh, and I forgot to mention – Tempted lost one of her parents in the middle of all this. She is in a perfect storm of suck.
You have my complete sympathy. An alcoholic child is one of the most challenging and terrifying problems a parent can face, similar to a child with leukemia or another life-threatening illness.
That said, I sense a bit of denial here. You have bigger fish to fry than decades-long household issues. Avoidance is a pretty normal response to your truly frightening situation.
Still, we both know if the worst happened, the last thing you’d care about is the household crap.
That means I can’t really make the same suggestions I’d give to someone who wrote in about a couple of bratty teenagers.
And, you can’t make serious rules and consequences about household upkeep at this time. Your son is in the fight of his life right now and needs all his focus on survival.
Fortunately, that’s not the end of the story.
We can still improve your situation. Bear with me while I walk you through my brain and we take a look at ideas to get you some relief.