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Try to save her life or just walk away...

A little disclaimer: This is an AE, of course, as you can see from the SN. I don't want this following me around...its not MUD, but it is horribly sensitive. Please spare the snark, even if you feel like I deserve it. This is already so, so hard for me. Adding insult to injury just wouldn't be good. TIA.


My mother has finally reached the verge of destruction and the decision as to how I should handle it (or not handle it) has been eating me alive for some time now.

      And now, for the mess that has become our lives.

My mother is young....very young, actually....and she is already killing herself. She got hooked on heroin when I was about 13 years old. She disappeared for a long while until my grandfather and I found her living with a man who would later become her husband. My grandfather paid for her to go to rehab but she checked herself out two days later and it took a good week for the family to realize that she was MIA again.

She eventually came back into my life when I was 15. For some reason, my grandparents had me go live with her, despite the court order that said I was not allowed to unless she was clean and had attended a number of NA meetings. She hadn't fulfilled any of those requirements...but off I went, into the depths of hell.

8 months later, addiction returned with a vengeance. 

She had been fired from her job as a regional manager (retail) because she had processed fake returns and pocketed the money which left her with 6 felony theft charges and 3 petty theft charges. The drug problem escalated and an alcohol problem was added to the mix. She stole from everyone, myself included and she started "dancing" for money. Finally, her father kicked her out of our house (he owned it) and I was left there alone, 16 years old, in the ghetto...just perfect.....


My house was raided three times because she had skipped her court date. She never returned.

So, she ends up in NY. She was dating a man that lived there (far less unsavory than the rest, thankfully) and had gone to live with him. Things seemed ok for a bit..but then, again, she went back into self-destruction mode with opiates and alcohol. She crashed her car twice because she nodded off behind the wheel. She still has the scars on her face. I drove there to see her and make sure she was ok, but still....I could tell that everything was not okay...but what could I do? I was only 17.


Over the next 2 years, I saw her a few times. She came home for Christmas and a few other holidays but it never turned out well. She got trashed before Christmas dinner so I had to drag her out of the house because I didn't want her to upset my grandmother with her belligerent words. A few days later, she was back in NY.


Since then, things have gotten worse. The guy she had dated had been letting her rent from him even though they broke up, but recently, he's decided to move (or he is just using that as an excuse to get her out...either way, I don't blame him).  It came to my attention that she had gone into a world far worse than the one she had found at the strip club...if you know what I mean. I even found her "ads" on the internet. 

Now that the guy has moved, she has nowhere to live. One of her friends told me that she had seen her sleeping in the park a few nights with her boyfriend (who apparently has issues w/ addiction as well). Its gotten to the point that I am afraid to answer my phone because I don't want to hear that she has been found dead. She's sleeping on a bench in the middle of the slums of NY. She's selling herself. She's doing drugs. Its almost inevitable that something terrible will happen to her.



I have debated calling the police and telling them where she is so that they can arrest her for skipping out on court and make her serve her sentence for stealing from her job...but I don't know if that's the right thing to do. She committed the crimes a few miles over the NY state line, so they would have to extradite and I don't know if they will.  I also fear that they will let her go on bail, giving her the chance to disappear again...and this time, she'd probably never, ever come back to our home state. I'd never know what happened to her.


Is it time to turn her in? Or do I walk away? I don't know what else to do. I'm only 22, so I don't have the funds to get her back into rehab or to house her if she is released.  


I am so lost. Any advice would be so greatly appreciated. 

Re: Try to save her life or just walk away...

  • Have you considered therapy, or at least attending Al-anon (for families dealing with substance abuse issues)?   You might feel less lost being among a community that faces similar challenges with their loved ones. 

    You need to remember that NOTHING you do - whether you tell or don't tell - makes you responsible for what happens to your mom.  She has made her own choices along the way, and if something terrible happens to her as a result, it has NOTHING to do with you.  You are not responsible for her well-being!

    Personally, I would call, with the hope that she would be arrested and could at least get clean in jail.  But your mom can have all the rehab in the world, and until she wants to be clean/sober, she will continue to be a substance abuser.

    T&P with you! 

  • Ditto SueBear, and yes, I would call. 
    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • Exactly what SueBear said. 

    Call and let whatever happen happen.  

  • i'm not sure if there's anything an nypd cop could do. if she doesn't have warrants in NY and she's not doing anything illegal to warrant an arrest when the find her i dont believe she can be arrested. im no expert but my dh is nypd and just from what he's told me i dont believe they can arrest on say so. i also dont believe they have access to other states warrant systems. im just guessing here though. but it woulnd't hurt to call them and ask either...

    perhaps you could also call the police where she has the warrants and tell them where she is. if they have the ability they can call the nypd and go from there.

    where is she living? i mean what part of town? also i wonder what you plan on doing after the arrest-if it happens. she will undoubtedly need to go to rehab for a while as well as counseling-are you prepared to pay for that? do you want her to be with you? i dont beleive they will put her in jail initially. if it's heroin i believe that people need hospitalization to detox first-not right to jail.

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  • I think it could help to call the police in the home state and talk to them. They may have good advice for you if you explain the situation to them. They've seen all of this before.

    Mainly, though, I wanted to say how sorry I am. That was no way to grow up. I'm so sorry this happened to you. 


  • I am so sorry.

    I think the first step for you should be getting as much support and resources for yourself as you can find.  The reason I say that is, after hearing you describe what you've done to help your mother and about your grandparents sending you back to live with her- I don't think you've had a fair opportunity to internalize that you are not responsible for your mother's choices, or that you don't deserve to be in the position of making sure she gets another second chance or doesn't upset someone. Your mother has had lots of chances to take control of her own life.  You haven't yet had the opportunity to focus on starting yours.  

    I would start making calls.  Support groups, free and sliding-scale counseling- google resources in your community and challenge yourself to make one call for yourself per day.  Not every resource you find will be what you need, or necessarily be helpful- but keep going until you feel good about the resources you have to support you.  

    Whether to call or not call the police re: your mother- I would, but I think the thing to focus on right now is you, and making sure that you have the resources you need to deal with the effects of your mother's choices on you.  All the best to you.

  • why guess as to whether the police can do anything, call and see if they the very least you'll know that option is off the table. If they can't go arrest her, chances are she'll be arrested soon enough anyways, and then hopefully she'll get some rehab in jail.

  • AlAnon, stat -- and a visit for you to speak to a sponsor at NarcAnon is warranted.

    What you need to do:

    Say to her, "Mom, I love you but not your drug habit. Therefore, I will no longer be in your life until you get help and get clean and sober -- and when you are clean and sober for awhile --- with the help of rehab,NarcAnon and a sponsor and/or a drug and alcohol counselor."

    And then do it.

    Cut her out of your life and stick to your guns.

    Don't be an enabler, don't be a codependent and don't be in denial.

    And if she asks you for money or a place to stay, do not do it.

    Wishing you luck with this. Let us know what happens.
  • image SueBear:

    Have you considered therapy, or at least attending Al-anon (for families dealing with substance abuse issues)?   You might feel less lost being among a community that faces similar challenges with their loved ones. 

    You need to remember that NOTHING you do - whether you tell or don't tell - makes you responsible for what happens to your mom.  She has made her own choices along the way, and if something terrible happens to her as a result, it has NOTHING to do with you.  You are not responsible for her well-being!

    Personally, I would call, with the hope that she would be arrested and could at least get clean in jail.  But your mom can have all the rehab in the world, and until she wants to be clean/sober, she will continue to be a substance abuser.

    T&P with you! 

    Ditto, SueBear. 

    I'm so sorry. Please take care of yourself. 

  • You know what...if I were you and I put myself in your shoes, I would turn her in. Would you regret not doing it if you get a phone call tomorrow saying she is dead? I would for sure! I am so sorry you were dealt these cards. You are a strong woman.

    My FI's mom has a meth addiction problem and has been in and out of his life. He recently cut all ties with her and wants nothing to do with her or to have DD in her life. He seems better but I know the past still haunts him.

    Good luck and I wish nothing but the best for you both.

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  • Thank you all so much for your input. Rather than attempting to quote all of the comments, I'll try to cover it all in one.


    Her and I don't really speak much. I stopped chasing her around once I moved out and got married, but have still tried to keep some sort of tabs on how she is and what she is doing. I am one of the only people who still do talk to her. The rest of the family has pretty much cut her off, but I haven't found it within me to do the same. I know that its harmful, but I can't imagine being in her shoes and having every single person that I loved turn my back on me. I feel as if that would steal any hope or ambition that I could ever muster to better myself...what would be the point?

    She''s sort of like my child, as strange as it sounds. And yes, it was horrible to be burdened with that so young. One of the reasons that I've cut contact with my grandfather is because I could finally see that he had robbed me of my youth by literally demanding that I watch over her and make sure she didn't get herself killed while we were living together. It was such a heavy weight on my shoulders and I am not sure that it was ever completely lifted. 


    My plan was to wait until she came home again (which is also the state from which she has the warrants) and call the cops then. That would eliminate having to worry about extradition, but like one of you has said, I can't care for her if they don't put her in I could just be screwing her situation  up even more.



    Ugh. This is a mess. 


  • I'm sorry you're going through this. I actually just posted on another thread regarding drug abuse. There is nothing you can do for your mother if she doesn't want the help herself. If her situation right now is as bad as you described, she might be in a very vulnerable state and has hit rock bottom, if so, this can be a good opportunity for you to try an convince her to seek help. I understand what it's like to not be able to afford rehab, luckily for us, we found Teen Challenge. this is a completely free Christian based organization. It convinces it's interns that Christ is their only savior which I strongly agree with. Please visit the link below. Good Luck. God Bless you. 

  • sorry, i gave you the wrong link. This is the link to the non-profit organization. This is donation based and you will not be turned down for not having funds. 

  • I don't think there is anything you can do to save your mother's life. And I think that's really painful to face. But you must face it because she has to save her own life, you can't do it for her. Jail is just scenery, she'll still get drugs and do self destructive behavior.
    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • I really want to agree with the Al-Anon suggestion for you.  Another possibility is Adult Children of Alcoholics.  I think you will find a lot of inner peace if you attend some meetings.  Both programs talk about how to "detach with love" and that seems like something that could really benefit you.  The meetings are free and everyone there will be in the same boat as you.  

    You can't save her life.  I am sorry to say that, but it is true.  She is the only one who can wake up and realize that she is making horrible choices and needs to change.  There are no magic words you can utter that will make her choose to be sober.   If there were, families of alcoholics and drug addicts would be chanting them day and night.  I know you hope that something/anything  **you** do will change the reality of your mother's life, but all you can do is change your life and your reactions to her addiction.

    I know that you have gone through your entire life wishing that your mother loved you more than the drugs.  I know you wish that your mother had been a different person.  I know you wish your mother was not an addict.  But your wishes (as good and as pure as they are) can't change the reality of your mother's life and crappy decisions and how that impacted your life.  

    You deserved a loving and caring mother, but you didn't get one.  I am sorry about that.  It is unfair that you didn't get what every child should have.  

  • I am so sorry you've had all this happen in your life, it does not sound like it was an easy childhood/early adulthood for you.

     I would call the police in the jurisdiction where her warrants are.  At least if she were in prison, sounds like it would be a safer situation then she's in now.

    No matter what happens, don't let her too much in your life.  She clearly has major issues, and you are not responsible for her.

    BabyFetus Ticker
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