And what about those grandchildren?
This is when the need for support comes in. It’s hard to stand up to the drunk or the druggie when they have no restraints on what they will say or do. Endless promises, threats, and blame will follow any interruption in the cash flow. You want to believe the promises, you succumb to the threats, or you cave in to the guilt that the blaming dredges up, no matter how real or ridiculous. But you need to stand firm.
So how do you go about doing what you know is right when everything seems stacked against you?
First, it’s necessary to keep in mind what you already know: your child will bleed you dry and out onto the street before they will stop exploiting you. You also know that continuing will never benefit your grandchildren. That’s a fact. Hold onto it. Cut them off and they may in fact decide to die rather than clean up. Instead, begin to plan ways to taper off the support in return for demonstrated progress in cleaning up – and be prepared to either take on the grandchildren yourself or allow someone else to. Make arrangements or contact Child Protection or both. Explore the options.
Second, they can clean up if they are sufficiently motivated and the treatment mode is carefully chosen. That’s a bit of a problem, of course. Virtually all forms of treatment in the U.S. have success rates of less than 10% over two years. AA itself reports a 95% dropout rate in the first year, and most treatment is based on AA.
Third, it really is okay to save yourself and the rest of your family. An almost universally overlooked aspect of the relationship of older parents to adult addicted children is that the financial support actually rewards the child for their self-destructive choices and behaviors while penalizing the parents, other children, and grandchildren. What kind of nonsense is that?