This week, I had an opportunity to do the right thing with my nephew who has been living with us for the past 21 months.
When we invited him to come, it was with the proviso our home is a drug-free home. We were very clear about it with him. He comes from a family where drug and alcohol have ruined any semblance of family life. Three of his four grandparents were drug addicts or alcoholics and both of his parents have had their struggles. His father spent the better part of his childhood in a prison for contracting someone to kill another over a drug dispute. (I went to high school with his dad & he was a sweet, guy then but drugs ruined him.)
My nephew has had very little accountability in his life, my sister let guilt and her own issues with alcohol take control of her life leaving her children to do what they liked. Even after she pulled herself together her two teens ran amok using alcohol and drugs.
Despite all this, my husband and I hoped with some guidance and structure my nephew could make something of his life. We helped him enroll in community college and another requirement was he got a job and work at least 20 hours per week. He struggled to make the right decisions and essentially failed his first semester with us. This caused him to lose his financial aid. We were not willing to put out another $2000 for a semester of coursework so he worked and we allowed him to stay as long as he worked. He had to save to pay his tuition.
I sat him down and told him what he needed to do to stay in our home: work, go to school, and stay off drugs. I let him know at any time I could and would drug test him. Last semester he passed all his classes, for him - a first. But we suspected there was pot smoking going on. There had been some changes in behavior. So I tested him and I let him know if he had another incidence he would be gone along with all the perks that came with living with us (a bike we loaned him, an old cell phone, and a room).
This week, my eldest daughter (23) said she knew he had to be smoking weed again. I tested him and when the result came back positive I had to let him go. Dr Laura it was one of the toughest things I've had to do. As the daughter of two alcoholics and drug addicts nearly every fiber of my being wanted to give him another chance. But, I couldn't do that - I had to hold him accountable to give him any chance to break the cycle. He asked for more time, but I had told him what the consequence was: he had to pack up and leave that night or the next morning at the latest. I told him I loved him and wanted him to live his best life but if he continued this way he wouldn't.
He is struggling to find a permanent living situation. I'm staying in touch with him and helping him search but he is on his own. I have the respect of my kids (20-23) today because I did the right thing.
Thanks Dr. Laura, you helped me do what was right. I am hopeful that he will grow and choose a better life.