Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.
What to do now(55 Posts)
Just posting here for advice and information. My son (39) split up from his partner nearly 2 weeks ago. They have 2 young children. He was drinking heavily and went into hospital for detox, coming out 4 days ago.
I have been staying in a hotel room with him since he left his family home. I am hundreds of miles away from my own home, but I don't want to leave him on his own, his mental and physical state is fragile.
He has been going out and walking around on his own in the afternoon/evening/night. He says he meets up with people. I don't believe he is drinking (yet). He has been coming back to the room around 3 am, though the first night was 6 am.
My concern is for him as a vulnerable adult. He stills looks and is, in a bad way mentally and physically.
I understand he is an adult and I can't control his choices.
At 5 a.m. today I phoned the police for advice and they will look for him, as a missing person, and/or vulnerable adult I think. They mentioned adult social services, but I don't know what to say if I contact them.
I have been trying to persuade him to travel back to my place with me and stay for a couple of weeks, but he doesn't want to be so far away from his children (who he has seen twice since it happened).
Sorry this is so long and thanks to anyone reading this, feeling increasingly worried about him, and also myself (I have some mh issues).
Situation has changed, I am now back at home, at least for a while.
Oh gosh, how worrying for you. I hope that things are settled enough for you both tonight
Thanks, I decided to come home yesterday, he is drinking again. Felt close to suicide yesterday, had a plan and wrote letters. Was going to do it when I got home but luckily the journey is quite long and the further away I got the more normal I felt. Also arranged for my dog to come back today (been at petsitters).
Also told my sister I couldn't be in contact with her at the moment (she was initially helpful but ultimately draining me).
Have had some texts to and from my son's partner. Understandably she is angry but feel I can't just condemn his behaviour, because I feel responsible for it (at times - hence feeling so low yesterday).
Sorry this is so long, it is helping to write it down.
I know you've written the thread about your DS, but you sound as though you need to find some support for yourself it's very concerning that you wrote the letters/got a plan together, and that you feel responsible for his behaviour (you don't have to answer, but why is that?).
Would you agree that you can't directly stop him from drinking etc, even if you were stood right next to him?
You've said it yourself, he's an adult and makes his own choices.
Given that you've done everything in your power to help him resolve what's going on in his head, the adult social services sounds a good thing to try, even if it's just for advice/where else you could try.
Just tell them what you've written in the OP.
Sorry your sister isn't up to much supporting you, is there anyone else you can talk to about this? I know you've said you felt better the further away you got, but it's how you're going to cope with the next contact you have with him.
Thanks, I'm so moved that you read my post and cared, it really means a lot. And the flowers too
I don't really know what to do next. I don't know if contacting him is making him feel worse.
Today I feel quite low, but not suicidal. I've got my dog here now and that really helps.
I think I'll try and do some ringing around tomorrow when places are open.
I feel to blame, because I couldn't parent him properly..he goes in and out of forgiving me, needing me one minute then blaming me, and he's changeable because of the drink. He's in a very dark place, it's pretty unbearable. I don't think I can help him if he blames me.
I think I haven't really accepted that I can't control or stop his drinking. On the day I came back, he phoned me wondering where I was..he didn't remember the conversation about blame, or me saying goodbye, any of it.
His partner is not letting his daughter see him now, although she (the daughter) wants to but I think that is a good thing, she needs to be protected.
What a tough time you're going through. Do you think it would help to see your GP and get some help in place for yourself?
This is a really difficult situation and I hope you can find ways to look after yourself (? walk the dog, see friends, distract yourself from the situation for a while). Samaritans can be really helpful as can Al-anon (support for family and friends of drinkers).
There is help out there for your son but he will need to want to make contact with them. You could contact his local Adult Social Care service and report him as a vulnerable adult but from experience it is likely that he will be advised to seek help from alcohol services, I doubt they will actually 'do' anything. I'm only saying that so you don't have high expectations if you call them, sorry, don't want to sound defeatist but ultimately his drinking and the consequences are his choice and his path.
I've seen relatives, friends, carers become so ill from wanting to fix this situation so please please talk to someone. You can advise, support and be there for him 100% when he is sober but do not take on responsibility for his choices. I know it's easy for me to sit in my living room and write this but I really don't want you to get ill or god forbid kill yourself. Look up Al Anon or contact your local alcohol service who will probably have a friends and family support group or even individual support.
So, it's bank holiday Monday, loads of the day left to do something to make yourself feel good. Let us know what your doing! And here...have more flowers
Thanks so much, you're so kind. And thanks for the flowers! I'm going to walk my dog in a bit, and going to meet my friend at 5.
I spoke to his partner today and we had a fairly long chat which was good, I think we're on the same page - protect the kids. I'm going to put some money in her bank a/c tomorrow, I offered because she has no money left for basics (I trust her, she's not a taking kind of person).
I'll ring my son about 4 pm, but I'm going to be neutral, and not keep trying to get hold of him if he doesn't answer. I spoke to him twice yesterday, in a pretty neutral way, and arranged to phone at 10 pm (he wanted this). He didn't answer (of course was out drinking at that time).
It really helps to post here, thanks again.
It's really good that you're still in contact with his DP, for you, her, your DGD and for your DS. You're someone who both of them can trust and that might be helpful when he's feeling a bit less stressed and is in a place where he can have contact with his DD again.
You said you weren't able to parent him properly, can I ask if that was because of the MH issues you mentioned earlier?
If it was, then you are definitely not to blame, you were ill and didn't have a choice as to how it affected you.
I would say that the bottom line for me as a parent is to be there when they need you, and you are there for him. Being neutral with him is a good idea IMO, it doesn't pressure him any more than he is already but he knows he can come to you.
Hope you've managed to talk to him today, it must be torture knowing he's out there and struggling so much.
Well done on the dog walk. Sounds like you're getting a grip on the situation. Keep looking after yourself.
Thank you. Yesterday I phoned DS at 4 pm, no reply. Got in touch with the Al-Anon helpline and am going to a meeting tonight in the next town ( none in my town). Should be able to get a lift over.
Went out with my dog, then saw my friend. DS phoned me at 6, we had a brief chat, and arranged to speak again at 9 pm. No reply to that call.
Feel a bit switched off today, am on loads of meds though and get that a lot. Also think self -preservation at work.
The past and his childhood - yes, was because of m/h (though undiagnosed at the time), and general toxic family set-up. Thank you for your kind words about that, Agent Zig Zag. Thanks for caring ajandjjmum and Tired 10years.
oh violets how hard it must be for you. You are doing the right thing by just being there, and keeping calling him, there is nothing else you can do. He's an adult and able to make his own choices. My mum had mh probs and was alcoholic...so not the best childhood...but recently when I've been going through a bad patch she's kept trying although I tried to push her away. That actually, has meant a lot. Keep trying to contact him. Even if he doesn't pick up he will see that you've tried...sometimes just knowing that someone is actually bothered makes a difference xxx
Thanks fluffybunnies, your words are so kind, and I feel moved. Have felt low and tired all day. Put some money into his ex-partner's bank account today, and walked dog, not done anything else. Could have gone to Al-Anon meeting but didn't. No response to phone calls (two).
Last night doubled up on meds so feel a bit cushioned from it today. Ringing around various agencies trying to get support for mself this morning. No reply from son to any calls or texts.
I think my sister is going to pay for a flat for him.
I guess he will be able to drink in comfort then.
Feel pretty bitter today. Never been able to parent him properly but instead of helping me she took over and that damaged things further between me and him. She hasn't got any children of her own or partner. She wasn't there though with him when he nearly died two weeks ago. This is killing me and it's killing him.
Sorry this is so negative. It's terrible being alone with and it is helping me to write it down. I can ask for it to be deleted if it's not appropriate.
Ugh, feel bad now..sister is trying to help him stay off the streets and that's what I want too.
There really is nothing even remotely inappropriate about your thread/posts.
It's totally understandable that you feeling bitter about your sister, especially when you remember that your MN issues are not your fault.
You didn't choose to have them, or decide how they were going to affect your relationship with your son. Having to look on while your sister did what you wanted to do must have been/be awful.
At least when he's in a flat you'll know whereabouts he's drinking, that has to be better than wondering what environment he's in on the street.
It's probably shite advice, but try and leave the past where it is for now, think more about it when you've got to the other side of this bit of your life. It is a good thing that there's someone else supporting you and your DS, I know it might feel as though it's driving a wedge further between you, but that's not necessarily how things will work out long term?
Give yourself a break tonight <hug>
Thanks so much for your kind words Agent Zigzag, they really help.Today I had some text contact with my sister. She can help financially but not really emotionally, she needs so much reassurance and I can't give it any more. I don't think she gets how bad it is, she doesn't really get the darkness of it, she didn't see him, and thinks he can just go about arranging things. But I'm going to try and work with her and I think you're right about not dwelling on the past for now.
I paid for a few more nights in the hotel for him, God knows if that is the right thing to do but my anxiety is going through the roof.
He has got til next Weds now in the hotel. I don't know what to do about the flat which is just an idea at the moment.
He's not answering the phone to any of us now. I think my fear is that he will just disappear off the radar when he leaves the hotel.
I might go back up there before next week. I am also supposed to be collecting his and ex's dog which is in kennels.
I would say, and I'm only guessing, that it's a good thing for him to have the option of going back to a hotel, it at least gives him somewhere he can focus on? Which I've always thought must be a terrible thing if you're homeless, you lose the base which is always in the back of your mind wherever you are/whatever you're doing.
I don't want this to come across as cold hearted, but just take what you/you think your DS needs from your sister and leave any other shit until you can deal with it/her. If she can give him financial support that has to be a good thing, it doesn't matter if she doesn't fully understand how much he's struggling at the minute, you do, and you're the one trying to get him through this.
Is there no option at all for him to go back to his DP?
Fingers crossed you've had some contact from him.
Yes I feel that as long as he's got the hotel things will be ok. But he is out and about, meeting people and I remembered today, that before he met his DP (12 years ago), he always led a life of drinking and living in chaotic house-shares etc, so he is going back to what he knows.
I think he will find people to hook up with/drink with.
He is not answering calls or texts from family at all - don't even know if he has still got his phone.
He can't go back to his DP, she has to protect the children.
The hotel staff have 'seen him' (I phoned them even).
I am going to get the dog on Sunday and bring it back. I am thinking long-term, I will probably lose touch with him, and I feel too low now to contact his partner.
I think having the dogs will keep me going, because I sure as hell haven't got anything else to live for.
Gone into hateful self-pity mode.
Thanks for your kind words though, they are going in. Mostly at the moment I feel numb and weak.
I suppose I thought he would grow out of that lifestyle but now I think no, it's too ingrained. He grew up around abuse and drinking as did I. His cousin is worse and I guess we always thought at least DS is not as bad as him. Maybe DS was the golden child. Then he seemed to settle down with mortgage/children but always seemed scared of his partner.
It is helping to offload this, I feel so alone with it, think I have minimised and been in denial for years - what a fucking mess.
I'm sorry I'm being so bleak
I used to deal with things in an alarming way when I was younger, and it is easy to slip back in to the techniques you've used before when things start to go downhill.
But it's the helplessness you must feel looking on at your DS. That you can offer to do things that you think might help, but when it comes down to brass tacks, you can't make him get the help he needs.
I know I keep
banging on saying it, but it's not your fault. Whatever you think of yourself, you're a caring mum from where I'm standing. Why else would you be posting? If you were such a crap parent you wouldn't give this a second thought, or be trying to help out your DS or his DP.
Honestly, people who couldn't give a bollocks don't do those things.
Could you email his DP instead of calling her? I always prefer the control you can have over what you say then, and that it's less intense than talking to someone directly.
Does she live very far away? Are you able to see your grandchildren at all?
Thanks, I am taking on board what you're saying.
I guess my dark mood says, I am a narc mum and only want to be in contact with him because I need proof I'm not a bad person, that I have always put myself first over him and still am.
It's how I was brought up and how my family operates.
It's hard to trust myself and I have 'personality disorder traits' and pretty sure I've got PTSD from abuse.
At the same time, I do actually feel love for him, in that I would die for him, want him to be ok, feel pain when he does, etc. I just couldn't protect him when he was a kid, or myself.
It is helping to write this down.
I don't know if I am coming across as weirdly cold but I am pretty medded up now - as in medicated and especially feel that in the mornings. But feel I need the cushion from the shock feelings.
Today my (voluntary work) boss phoned and was kind. Also son's ex phoned and I am going to pop in and see her and the kids when I get the dog. It is a long way away, about 5 hours on the train. I like the idea of email for contact with her.
I meant weirdly cold today, I am feeling a bit detached from it after having doubled up on meds for 3 days now.
I really appreciate the replies.
Join the discussion
Please login first.