DEAR AMY: My husband and I recently found out that our 28-year-old son has been using OxyContin. He is a college grad, lives on his own and has a home and a good job. We suspected something when, in January, he was in a lot of debt, but although he told us he was doing “something recreationally,” he convinced us that he was stopping. We bailed him out, and he paid most of it back. By Easter, though, it was clear that he had a problem. We confronted him and he admitted to using OxyContin. We insisted that he get help and stop using. We started testing him, and he started half-heartedly going to AA with a friend. The first two times we tested him, he did not test clean. My husband was ready to cut him off completely, and since we don’t support him financially or in any other way, that means that we would cut him off emotionally. I’ve struggled with this tremendously. My husband has come around, as our son seems to be working hard to make changes. He tested clean on the last test and so far he is being honest with us. Today he will be 13 days clean. He’s managed to detox. I guess what I want to know is, is it possible for him to do this himself, and to stay sober through going to meetings? He is again behind in his bills. Would it be wrong for us to help him? The first time, we just gave him the money. I was thinking that this time maybe we should pay the bill holders directly and then have him pay us back, but would that be enabling him? Will we ever stop worrying?
A Lot to Handle
DEAR A LOT: It is somewhat surprising that your adult son would submit to drug testing from you. I appreciate your effort to try to sustain and support his sobriety, but you are in denial about some important details. Your denial is the crack he will fall through.
For instance, you state that you “don’t support him financially or in any other way,” and then in the next sentence you state that you do support him financially and in every other way.
Do not give him money. Do not pay his bills (this only frees up money to fund his habit). Use whatever money you might have spent supporting him for professional drug counseling for him.
Do not give up on your son. Be extremely skeptical about anything he tells you regarding his drug use. Tell him that you love him and that you will support his sobriety, but not his habit.
You and your husband should attend “friends and family” support meetings and also receive counseling.
DEAR AMY: A couple of days ago, I met a friend for a late breakfast at a nearby café. We were there for 50 minutes total, from the time we sat down, ordered, were served, ate and were getting a last cup of coffee. A manager approached us and asked us to leave, saying that there was a large party needing two tables. I was shocked — insulted even. This has never happened to me before. In all fairness, I had my back to the door and could not see the waiting crowd, and I try to be considerate. My friend says she was asked to leave another restaurant in our area. I went to school in Mexico City and people there have a table for as long as they wish — doing homework or whatever. I am wondering what you think of this, and maybe what your readers think, or even restaurateurs think. Was I wrong to be upset?
Kathy in Colorado
DEAR KATHY: I agree that this is unusual, and rude. Wait staff have many ways of trying to urge a party along (presenting the check, etc.) before actually asking diners to leave. I assume you won’t be returning to this establishment.
I’ll run responses in future columns.
DEAR AMY: “Heartbroken Mom” was upset about her 13-year-old daughter’s relationship with a same-age boy. I’m the mother of a 13-year-old boy. I liked your response, but I would add that she should butt out! Her daughter needs to learn how to define what she wants from a relationship, and stand up for herself. Please consider that the biggest threat to the daughter’s well-being might be her helicoptering.
A Loving Mom
DEAR MOM: Your take is certainly valid. Thank you.