Dealing with a family member who is struggling with addiction is difficult.
As a parent, there are questions of when to rescue your child and when to allow them to handle a situation on their own.
A father facing those questions turned to the "Am I The A**hole" (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
Redditor Either-Junket-7454 asked:
"AITA for telling my son 'too bad' about having to do a 30-day jail sentence?"
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
"I have four sons, two with my ex. I've been divorced from her since my oldest, Cody, was 10."
"We co-parented well until he turned 14 and was starting high school. He and his mother wanted him to go to a local school (Venice High) whereas I wanted him to go to private school. The odd thing is that my ex and I live in a very nice area, but the families often send their kids to private schools for high schools because they can afford it."
"Therefore, the local high school has a lot of empty seats and brings in kids who couldn't behave in their own schools. The local school is basically ghetto."
"There wasn't much I could do since my son was 14 and my ex was assuring me he wouldn't fall into the wrong crowd and I was simply 'stereotyping'. My son thought Venice would be 'easier' and he could walk home from school."
"Lo and behold, by the time Cody turned 18, he dropped out of high school and became a pothead. His days were filled with hanging out with other potheads he met at school and skating and trying to be cool."
"His mom said he was finding himself, had plans to learn a trade, get a GED, etc. This led to him and I becoming estranged. Things at his moms started to get crazy so my other son decided to live at my place full-time."
"My son told me that Cody and his mom were f'king with meth. It made sense in a lot of ways. There's not much you can do with a tweaker who doesn't want to get help."
"Earlier this year, Cody got busted for felony meth. I paid a lot of money for a lawyer and rehab so he could have the felony brought down to a misdemeanor upon completion of rehab and probation and would have his record erased."
"He did get a one month suspended sentence on the condition he didn't get anymore felonies. He was about to finish his program and probation but he got caught with felony meth AGAIN. This was after he visited his mother."
"So far he's never spent a single night in jail (he was always cited), but he will have to do the 30 days since he has a new felony charge....technically. I could hire a lawyer to bring the new charge down to a misdemeanor so it won't 'count' against him."
"A public defender could do the same but not before his court date in two weeks where he has to surrender for his 30-day term. I just decided to let him go to jail and I would be perfectly fine with it."
"My ex and Cody are begging me to help and I am."
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- NAH - No A**holes Here
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
The OP was declared not the a**hole for the question he asked, but he didn't receive much praise from his fellow Redditors.
"NTA. I went through a similar experience with one of my own children. 10 days in jail and 90 days in a state-mandated rehab program.:
"That experience was what turned them around and it's now been three years of sobriety and a whole new life. They have to sit at the bottom of the well for a while before they're ready to start climbing out."
"And even then they have to do the work. Don't send your kid to a spa-rehab center."
"Send them somewhere that will make them do the hard, hard work. Best of luck to you and to your son." ~ Mirianda666
"NTA for not bailing your kid out again, BUT I wonder why he doesn't take personal responsibility?"
"You blame where he lives, your ex-wife, the 'ghetto' school he attended, his classmates..."
"Why would he take personal responsibility when you provide all these other people and factors to blame for your son's choices?"
"Your son's an addict because of your son. He's not going to recognize his situation is the result of his choices until you do." ~ LakotaGrl
"You're NTA but I'm side-eyeing you for calling the local public school 'ghetto'." ~ momstheuniverse
"He's also blaming that school for his kid getting into drugs. Couldn't have had anything to do with his *mother* taking meth, of course. Must be the school!" ~ minuteye
"Or dad basically checking out of his life, even though dad knows that mom is a bad influence. Like, 14-18 is a long time for dad to watch his son down spiral and not intervene." ~ monkwren
"Yeah the 'lo and behold' made it seem like he kinda wanted this to happen just so he can be right, as well as the comment that son had plans and wanted to learn a trade but because he was a 'pothead' they became estranged."
"It really sounds like OP checked out of this relationship pretty early because he didn't get what he wanted (private school) and just didn't give a damn anymore despite knowing his mom would be a bad influence." ~ Zortak
"Yeah, OP is NTA for the question he puts in the title, but as to the larger problem here he clearly wants to wipe his hands of any responsibility." ~ hockeyfan33333
"So glad I wasn't the only person who thought this when reading. OP is really quick to absolve himself of any responsibility for why his son struggled as a teen." ~ lumpyspace_stay
"THIS! The whole post is blaming other people for how your son turned out but it doesn't sound like you cared much to raise him." ~ ohlookitsbrianna
"100% this. It sounds like he wanted his son to do things his way, and when he didn't, he said 'fine but I'm not going to play anymore', and just left the parenting to his ex wife?"
"Life is hard and complex, you can't predict how people will respond to every situation, and you can't blame a school choice for your son's drug addiction when there are clearly other factors influencing his life."
"Like the divorce of his parents, and the self-confessed breakdown in their parenting after his father didn't get his own way."
"Projecting your doubts about your children's abilities and prospects on to them is a self-fulfilling prophecy." ~ ElephantJuiceYoyo
"YTA for thinking there's more drugs in public school. You're a huge snob and you probably wouldn't let Cody sit in jail if he'd went to the private school of your choice."
"You're only letting him sit in jail for 30 days (during a pandemic where people in prison & jails are dying at an insane rate) because you think he'd magically not use drugs if he went to your status symbol school.
"Nope! Cody would still be hooked on drugs. I mean, seriously? You think a bunch of spoiled entitled private school kids don't use drugs and laze around?" ~ BeholdAWoMan
"ESH. You make a point to state that the school was 'ghetto'. Judging by how people use that word, you likely mean that it has black and brown students. Says a lot about you."
"You tell the story of your son's downward spiral like some outside observer and not, you know, his father."
"Mom was clearly a bad influence, but so were you considering that you were essentially an absentee parent to your eldest son."
"It's clear you don't really care that much about Cody, because you would have tried to intervene sooner if you did. It seems like you wanted to be Mr. I-told-you-so rather than being a good father." ~ KittyCombine
Dealing with addiction is difficult for the addict and the people that love them. What works for one person may not work for another.
All anyone can do is the best they can.