Dear Abby: Parents consider letting addict move back in after rehab

In the past their son has relapsed, stolen from them and broken promises about helping out in the house, but he swears this time he’s taking his recovery seriously.

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DEAR ABBY: My 24-year-old son is in rehab for the second time. We paid for the first, but we are not financing this one. He has moved in and out of our home since he was 18. We have tried written agreements, but he doesn’t follow them. We let him move back in after his first stay in rehab, despite the fact that he had stolen from us and had failed to get a job, etc. He not only didn’t get a job, he also didn’t help around the house or do any of the other things he had promised. One month later, he began using again.

He claims to be taking rehab seriously this time, and wants to move back in with us when he gets out. He says he now realizes he can’t stay clean without following the 12 steps, including acknowledging a higher power, and without the support of his family. Over the past year, we spent several thousand dollars helping him solve his problems. Our question is, will we be enabling him by letting him return home, or would it be best to help him transition to a halfway house? — SUPPORTIVE PARENTS

DEAR SUPPORTIVE PARENTS: You are caring parents, and I know this has been painful for you. Do NOT allow your son to move back in without first discussing it with the people at his rehabilitation center whose business it is to work with addicts. From my perspective, it would be better for your son — and for you — to have him pursue his sobriety at a halfway house.

DEAR ABBY: My son is getting married in a few months. I always believed that if my child loved his partner, I would like him or her and be happy for them. Race, religion, sexual orientation, etc., would never have mattered to me.

I found out this week that my future daughter-in-law totally rejects modern medicine. My son is a cystic fibrosis carrier. She refuses to be tested because “no one in her family has ever had CF.” Our family can say the same thing, but both of my sons and I are CF carriers.

She plans home-births with her mother as her midwife and believes vaccinations are harmful. My son supports none of this, but plans to marry her anyway. They want to get pregnant right away and eventually have five children. She’s only 21, and intelligent, but she has been home-schooled, and her father does not allow internet in their home. I feel her position on medicine is due to not being informed. Her religion does not forbid it. I am heartbroken. Is there anything I can do? — HEARTBROKEN IN MICHIGAN

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: Not a lot, I’m sorry to say. You could point out to your son that he should insist he and his fiancee have genetic testing done before starting a family, which could avert a tragic and preventable problem. You could print out material from respected sources — the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation would be among them — but you cannot force the fiancee to accept it. Other than that, all you can do is cross your fingers and pray the young couple will catch a lucky break in a game of genetic roulette.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds, to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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