Parents in your position are often stuck between wanting to help their child and wanting to cut them off. Were you ever worried you were enabling the drug abuse by trying to support your child financially or by providing meals or housing?
Yes, it has taken all these years to realize that what we have been doing has been helping to make the mess even worse than it is. It’s not a good feeling. It’s easier telling a 28-year-old “no” than it was telling an 18-year-old “no” because at 18, they’re still counting on you and relying on you. But at 28, he should be doing all this on his own. I think that my husband and I both finally realized that we’ve been doing it the wrong way.
Yes. My spouse and I have both enabled our children as well as tried to support them in their recoveries. It’s very difficult.
Maybe I enabled a little bit because I kept giving Brady another chance. But realistically, what else is there? It finally got to the point where we gave Brady an ultimatum because it was affecting our household so badly. Our marriage was starting to get a little rocky. It was affecting our youngest son. And finally I said, “Brady if you can’t stop man, you’ve got to go live with your mom because it’s ruining our household.” And he left. He packed his bags and moved in with his mom, but she sent him back at some point. Shortly thereafter Brady turned 18 and started to spend a lot of time with one individual friend who was also a senior. I’m not trying to throw anybody under the bus, but I wasn’t aware that Brady was staying somewhere other than his mom’s house.
Yes. We were paying all of her bills because we did not want her to get behind credit-wise. We were doing it with the hope that she was going to get healthy. We didn’t want this to hit her in the backside. By providing a roof over her head, you do wonder how much we were enabling her.
Yeah. I’ve done it. I’ve provided too much … and … I don’t think I’ve provided too little. And there’s always love. I have been diligent to try to figure out ways to help them where they can’t hustle whatever I’m giving them into drug money and, you know, that’s a challenge. It’s still a challenge.
Travis: We did. We did all of that. But here’s the good news. And I had to say this to Tyler. Everything I did to you, Tyler, when I was tough on you, when I was this jerk you sometimes hated, everything I did was out of love. I didn’t do it to make you want to hate me. I did it because I loved you. Every time I did enable him or did the wrong thing, I did it out of love.
Shelly: And you do what you know at the time.
Travis: You have to educate yourself. The first thing you had better learn is that your son or daughter is a king manipulator. They can sell a snow cone to an Eskimo. And you want to believe them. It is your natural instinct and you want to believe them. And the other thing I would tell a parent is, if you think your son or daughter is using, you’re probably right. Moms figure it out much faster than dads. At least that’s my experience. Moms know. They just know. If you think they’re using, start investigating.
Christy – They would tell us when we went to counseling early on that we need to tell him this is the line and if he crosses that line, he’s out. Tough love. I remember one counselor told me “Pack a bag by the front door. And when he does something and he doesn’t abide by your rules, give him the bag and tell him he’s out.” And I told the counselor I would never do that. I would never put my child on the street. Because the last thing I would ever want to do is find out he passed away in the streets.
Wayne – There is fear because what if your son or daughter leaves and what if something bad happens? The last thing you said or … and one of our friends … that was their last move. They followed those instructions. They packed his bag and he left and that was the last time he stayed at their house. That’s tough to live with.