Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

SZA drug abusing son, just tearing my heart apart, need advice

Hi. It’s been awhile- but I just need to connect to get some support. My son was homeless this summer because of an increase again in drug use. He agreed to go to rehab but bailed after 2 weeks to live with a “sober” friend who was going to help him…needless to say it didn’t work. He was fortunate enough to be in line for a supportive housing program aimed to help persistently ill MH patients, with an on site case manager as well as his MSC . we agreed to let him stay with us until the apt was ready. He moved and has missed his rent twice due to drug use. He is scheduled to get a repayee so that this doesn’t happen again. But he calls me crying saying he’s not happy and wants to come home. He can not live with use as his drug use kicks up his psychosis and his dad is the target of his fixed delusions. We tried to have him to dinner yesterday and while putting up Christmas lights he went after his dad pushing him through stair railing because he heard my voice tell him to. He got very remorseful and cried… He said he used crack and it makes his voices worse and unmanageable. I’m at a loss…it kills me to hear him say he wants to come home and I have to say no…mental illness and substance abuse are the most horrific thing …just feeling really down this evening that I cannot help my child.
We are put him in rehab twice - a full 30 day program, a 2 week program and 3 rounds of out pt. He is going to SW weekly as his treatment team said if he didn’t they would go to court for AOT, which we are 100% supporting. It still breaks my heart…just seeking if anyone has any suggestions on if we missed something else to try?

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You are doing everything you can.

One thing I might be able to promise my family member is that I will reassess the decision that they cannot live in the house after two years of complete sobriety. Two years is kind of like the end of the beginning of recovery.

As hard as it is, I think you are doing the right thing.


Hang in there Tinymama, you are doing really hard job the best you can. You have to keep his dad safe.


Tinymama, it is clear that you love your son. I think you are doing a lot of things right. The biggest problem that we have is the faulty decision making of our kids AND the drive to feel different. I am so sorry that you are going through this and I know it is heartbreaking.
I was talking to my son about Avatar therapy and he shared that one of the voices was me yelling. It hurt but I was glad he told me.

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Tinymama you’re not alone. You’ve tried your best and followed through with a tough but necessary decision to disallow drug use in your home. I’m assuming your son knows the reason he cannot move back home at this time. In my area there’s an Alanon group for parents and it was very helpful. When my son’s outpatient rehab counselor recommended I go to Alanon I naively thought no way that means I’m giving up. Not so. The support, whether from Alanon, NAMI meetings, or other avenues, is important.

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is there not a government program where the government service pays the rent for him out of whatever monies he is getting i expect likely from welfare or disability? I had a friend once that was on a program like that where i used to live.

Hi there.
My ex-girlfriend (SZA + alcohol abuse) had the fortune of having a life-time of religious faith behind her and a love of nature.
Even though I am not myself religious in the church-sense I joined her to church everytime she felt “normal” enough to want to go and then we took long walks in nature, which really helped her in many ways.
Eventually she gained enough courage to join AA with me going with her to every meeting (yes, I needed that as well, other story).
But the fact that I participated in all she needed instead of letting her do it on her own seemed to contribute to her regaining her courage and trust in her doctors again and not working against them.
Today she only has the occasional one-week relapse into alcohol when bad things happen (like her mother dying) but are keeping up taking her meds.

Of course she has a long way to go, but as I said - being there for her all the time in the beginning (which of course is really intense and destroys yourself a lot) at least made a huge change in her going in the right direction to a better life and feeling a lot better with herself.

Love to you!

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Good for you @ChrisBergren , helping her off the alcohol!

I’ve been in your shoes. I suggest a lockdown rehab for at least 6 months up to a year with consistent psych meds- clozapine! Then, transition to a residential psychiatric program for at least 2 years. After 2 years in a program reevaluate and either stay in program (my son voluntarily stayed) or look at alternatives. I never advocate to live with someone whose schizophrenic, especially your own adult child. It’s too stressful.
The expense of rehab and residential care is worth their sobriety and safety and your sanity.
There are programs all over the U.S.
We tried EVERYTHING and residential care is the best option for all involved in my opinion. My son is happy, we’re happy after many years of heartache and turmoil.