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  1. #1
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    Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Hi, I'm sorry if this is to long, but I'd appreciate any advice/comments.
    I'm 17 years old and have a younger sister and brother. We started living with my mom after my dad died of kidney failure/sugar diabetes in November 2007. My mom has had a major drinking problem for the last 15 years. Two months after my dad died my mom managed to get us stuck in foster care for 6 months because she was beating me and was on what seemed to be a never ending drinking spree. She took my dogs to a shelter, dogs that have been in my family since i was 9 years old. She moved out of our house because she stopped receiving Survivors Benefits income when we were taken. She threw/gave away over two-thirds of everything we owned and took whatever she felt she could use to her new husbands house. When we got out of foster care(which was miserable,we had an awful foster caretaker) she made us move into her new husbands home. He hit me a few times and would come in our rooms at midnight-early morning to do weird room checks that lasted well over 4 minutes per room.We weren't allowed to go downstairs(his territory) unless we had a good reason.We werent allowed to touch his food(which was basically all the food there ever was). He would wake me up at 2 in the morning and make me sit on the stairs while he lectured me and even locked us in the upstairs portion of the house. I couldn't deal with him anymore and my mom seemed like she wanted to do something in our best interest, so we moved.

    Now we live in a four bedroom house with 8 people!My mom let her friend and her daughter move in. Her two other daughters randomly show up at our house and stay for weeks to months. My 21 year old brother is living with us as well. My mom has been binge drinking more than ever now. She shoves them into walls and doors. Everyday that she drinks(which is most of the week) she tells us that she's going to call CPS and have them ''take us away'',she calls her friends and asks them to help her find a place where she can leave us because she feels like she can't ''parent us''. The most hurtful things she says are in her hour long rants about how we ''killed our father'' and that she's not going to let us kill her like we did him. It's gotten so bad the past 3 months that I feel like I should be calling the cops or CPS myself. She hasn't been hitting or hurting anyone though.

    I'm scared because I'm going to be 18 in five months and she already promised me that she's kicking me out. I had life insurance my dad left to me(and specifically told me to not let my mom get to it), but my oldest brother took half of it.My mom put the remaining portion in a savings account for me and promised me she wouldn't touch it. Well it turns out the only reason she put it in their was so she could have access to it(because i'm a minor) and it was in a negative $177 within a month. I'm afraid of being homeless. I'm afraid of what's going to happen to my brother and sister. We are not in contact with any of our relatives.

    The good thing is that when my mom isn't drinking, she's actually a decent person. I don't know what i can do to help her with this problem.

    I'm so sorry for the lonnnggg post, but I felt like I needed to give some detail to whats going on. And it was good to vent a little.

    Thanks again for any advice or comments at all.

  2. #2
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Wow natalie that is simply a horrific story, I'm so sorry for what your family is going through.

    I may have missed it from above but do you have any close relatives or perhaps friends that could possibly take you all in?
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  3. #3
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Natalie, I am SO sorry to hear what you are going through!! I think it would be a good idea to contact a relative that you were even somewhat close to, and not to feel that you are betraying your Mom. Your Mom will just have to seek help with the drinking, there is nothing you can do about that. Trust me, I tried in my family! Finding Al-Anon or Alateen meetings for you would be a good step. You will find others going through a similar life and it will be very helpful to you. Please keep posting, we are here for you!
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.


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    Love always creates, it never destroys. In this lie's man's only promise

    ~All quotes by Leo Buscaglia


  4. #4
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    thanks for replying!!Well we do have an uncle(moms brother) who offered to let us live with him out of state. But he had ''conditions'' that we all had to agree on first. These were that we werent allowed to go back to CA, and if we did he wouldnt help us anymore. We werent allowed to have contact with our mom, and we would have to be active in his religion. My mom called him a few days ago to see if the offer was still on the table, but i guess it's not. She wants us to go to the alanon or alateen meetings, i'd be willing to go.

  5. #5
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Is this Uncle the only family member that you guys have or are there others?

    I know if I were in the Uncle's shoes I'd pr0lly not want you to have contact with your mother either until such time as she is no longer a danger to you guys, that I can understand. I'm not to keen on the whole "you must practice my religion" point of view however because this should be a choice, not a prerequisite.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    That's wonderful that your Mom wants you to go to Alateen or Al-anon meetings! Most people addicted to alcohol don't want to address the situation. Is it possible to get her to join AA? Has she talked about it? She's probably powerless to stop drinking on her own.

    I think you are a very loving and caring daughter! It might be a good idea to get her to talk about her life with you. Maybe she just wants and needs someone to listen. She most likely hates herself for what she is putting her children through, and another drink just wipes out the pain. She may be thinking she's just too weak to do anything about it. I think people just do not give themselves enough credit to overcome addictions, or not realize they have enough inner strength. Sad! Once a person does start fighting for their very life, whether it be addiction or anything else, they realize they have uncovered strength they never knew they had!

    It's sad to hear the Uncle has all these conditions; I wonder why he wouldn't want you to be in contact with your Mom? She may be addicted to alcohol, but she is still your Mom.

    Just keep on keeping on, Natalie, you show a lot of strength in your posts already. You are trying to find solutions, good for you!!!
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.


    True love is wanting to give to another person without any thought about
    who’s getting the better of the deal.

    Love always creates, it never destroys. In this lie's man's only promise

    ~All quotes by Leo Buscaglia


  7. #7
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Yea my uncle is the only one who offered to let us live with him and he's the only one who has even contacted us at all(and this was over a year ago to). She has been going to AA meetings for years now, I've even gone with her. She just finished her DUI classes and alcohol testing as well. She's really good at hiding the fact that she's drunk and getting away with it with most people, but we always know when she is drinking.
    I told her I'd go to the alanon meetings today and she said that she'll find one near us.

  8. #8
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    I have been reading this thread Natalie711 and I am very sorry for what you are going through. I am sorry I didn't post sooner but I really don't know what to say. You are almost 18 which makes you an adult in the eyes of the law. You can make a life for yourself away from your mom then. Maybe if you are able to support yourself your siblings can eventually spend more time with you then at home. I hope you find the help you need and also that your mom realizes what she is doing to you and her other children. Keep posting here and we will continue to be an ear for you, someone you can lean on when you need it. By the way, welcome to Lifesupporters. We are glad you are here.
    The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get to the office. (Robert Frost)

  9. #9
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Natalie I'm so glad you are seeking advice and help. You have been treated so badly and yet you are such a caring and responsible person. You are worried for your Mom and looking out for yourself. That shows how strong you are. Remember that when you feel scared, because many other people would not have reacted as you are doing. You are a survivor.

    It's gotten so bad the past 3 months that I feel like I should be calling the cops or CPS myself. She hasn't been hitting or hurting anyone though.

    I'm scared because I'm going to be 18 in five months and she already promised me that she's kicking me out.
    It always helps to break big worries into smaller, more manageable ones. You are worried for your Mom and yourself. I would try and treat these worries separately as they are about different things.

    By all means, do what you can to help your Mom. You are not responsible for her problems, however and you have many of your own. You need to look out for yourself first for you but also so you can help to your Mom in the future if you want to, as it sounds like your Mom has had these problems for a while and so may well continue to have them, even with your help.

    Preparing yourself for independence is a big task to be done in a short time. You can do much of it yourself, but you also need help and although I don't live in your country, I did a google search and it looks like there may be people who could point you in the right direction.

    Firstly, the help you can get yourself. Here is a link to a website where you can do an assessment about the life skills you need to learn for independence. There's a different assessment for each age group. You don't need the codes it asks for, those can be left blank. The assessment results can be used to draw up a plan and access training material which is on the same website: Casey Life Skills

    The organisation which provides these resources also provides services to vulnerable young people who need to move out. Living alone is not the only option. They have an office in California (I'm presuming that's what CA stands for?) : Bay Area Field Office - Casey Family Programs
    Even if they can't help you themselves, they may well be able to put you in touch with people who can. I'd contact them as now as they don't just help with practical stuff like life skills training and help with housing, they are there to give support in whatever way they can. I don't know this organisation and how good it is, but there will be someone who can help and this is as good a place to start looking as anywhere.

    It sounds like your spell in foster care was some time ago, but if you have spent any time in foster care on or after your 16th birthday, then there are state services who employ people whose job it is to help you make the transition to independent living, if that's what is needed. Here is a webpage with contact details: State Page for CA

    No-one should have to live the way you do Natalie. The verbal abuse is bad enough, but also you need to be somewhere safe where random people do not come in. I hope your Mom is able to change, but I wouldn't bet on it and now is the time to begin to take your destiny in your own hands and plan for a happier life. Keep posting when things if things get bad and good luck

  10. #10
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Hi Natalie I re-read your post and realised you will most likely have been 16 when in foster care. I think this means if your Mom does kick you out you eligible for state help until you are 21:

    State's Chafee Mission Statement

    The mission of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is to ensure that needy and vulnerable children and adults are served, aided, and protected in ways that strengthen and preserve families, encourage personal responsibility, and foster independence.
    Who is Eligible for Chafee Services?

    Youth who are eligible for ILP are between 16 years of age up to the day before their 21st birthday, and either are currently in foster care or were in foster care on or after their 16th birthday
    .

    From the link above.

  11. #11
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Quote Originally Posted by Meanon View Post
    Hi Natalie I re-read your post and realised you will most likely have been 16 when in foster care. I think this means if your Mom does kick you out you eligible for state help until you are 21:

    State's Chafee Mission Statement

    The mission of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is to ensure that needy and vulnerable children and adults are served, aided, and protected in ways that strengthen and preserve families, encourage personal responsibility, and foster independence.
    Who is Eligible for Chafee Services?

    Youth who are eligible for ILP are between 16 years of age up to the day before their 21st birthday, and either are currently in foster care or were in foster care on or after their 16th birthday
    .

    From the link above.

    Thankyou so much for all the information, i know it must have taken you a while to type all that up for me.

    While I was in foster care I was told about ILP(independant living program). I IMMEDIATELY asked my social worker about it and if she could help get involved with it. She told me she would, yet week after week (and i was in foster care for FIVE MONTHS) she didn't contact them once for me or even help me. I reminded her everytime she came to visit us and she kept doing the same thing-telling me she would get to it.

    Once i got out of foster care one of the first things i did was contact ILP myself. They sent me a social worker who was going to help me with housing when i turn 18, but I haven't seen her in over 6 months. I called about this and they told me that I don't have a social worker anymore because i am no longer in foster care. I have an ILP coach though, who seemed really helpful at first. She promised to send me a check so i could pay for my driving test and all kinds of other things, but that was over 4 months ago and i still have nothing. I have been calling her every single day for the past month and she has never picked up the phone. I've left countless messages and she hasn't even called back. I feel like i can't trust them at all because they let me down. She made so many promises to me and she seemed like she actually wanted to help. I'm going to try getting a different number for ILP tomorrow and see how it goes from there. My sister just told me that they might not be helping me because of budget cuts, but i know nothing about that. I wasn't allowed to leave my foster parent's house, i wasn't allowed to go on a walk or even sit in the driveway without asking for permission. I wasn't allowed to use the phone unless it was to call my social worker, i wasn't allowed to visit my friends at all,and i only got to see my mom, brother, and sister once a week for an hour. When i found out about ILP i felt like the 5 months i spent with that foster lady might have been worth it, but now they're really letting me down.

    I'm going to try my best to get in contact with them tomorrow though, and again thanks for all the support and advice, i really appreciate it.

  12. #12
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Sometimes the state and it's services are severely back-logged as well. Their help can come a day late and a dollar short. Be prepared to do it all on your own.

    If things become desperate and you are approaching D-day, go out and put an application for employment in EVERY where. It doesn't really matter where you are working, just as long as you have employment. Walk to these places if you have to; in fact it is better if they are as close as walking distance. Try and get a couple paychecks BEFORE you are forced to move out. Put them in the bank and do NOT touch them. This provides you with some money if you are forced to move out. Then if you really had to, you can move into a temporary shelter, such as a Low rate motel; many places offer weekly rates. They are often affordable because you aren't paying utilities and the weekly rate is something that is easy to budget out of your paychecks.

    This type of lifestyle (if it is forced upon you) requires that you be VERY careful with every dime that you get. If you are careful with your spending and constantly look for more gainful employment then you can work yourself out of the hole and start moving forward in life. It is barely more than surviving but at least you aren't on the streets. While doing this keep on top of the state for help as well. They usually offer quite a bit for job placement and assistance, though sometimes they are indeed completely useless. Try your best to get your drivers license and a car before you are forced to leave I know this isn't easy to do in a short period of time, but it's not impossible.

    I hate to sound cold hearted but if your Mom is actually going to kick you out when you hit 18, you really need to be looking out for only yourself at this time.I know you love your family but the clock is ticking and I do not want to see you living on the streets, it's no fun at all.....

    Look to your friends (real friends) check the papers for room-mate wanted situations and above all else find employment of some sort.

  13. #13
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Quote Originally Posted by natalie711 View Post
    I feel like i can't trust them at all because they let me down..... I'm going to try my best to get in contact with them tomorrow though
    It's really bad to raise your expectations like that and then let you down. It's most likely to be due to budget funding rater than anything personal but even if the money is short, they have a duty of care and I'm glad you will keep trying. Voluntary or non statutory organisations like Casey are sometimes able to fill in the gaps in the state service or they can help access state services, so do try them too. Of course doing what you can for yourself is important too. Let us know how you get on

  14. #14
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Here's a little update of whats been going on:
    My mom confirmed my worry(of being kicked out when i'm 18). She told me once she loses the survivors benefits for me, which is $1200 a month, she's kicking me out. I did get in contact with someone from ILP though, which was good. The lady told me she would email my ILP coach for me and talk to her in person in a week so i should be hearing from her soon. Again, thanks for the input. I've been applying for jobs like mad but haven't heard back from anyone. I've heard that I may be able to receive the survivor's benefit money until I'm 21 as long as i'm in school, so I'll be checking int that.

  15. #15
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    If by survivor benefits you mean Social Security benefits then yes you can continue to receive them as long as you are in college. That is what I did when I went off to school. When I turned 18 the social security benefits were given to me. Just make sure you are enrolled full time at an accredited college.
    The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get to the office. (Robert Frost)

  16. #16
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    I'm not going to be done with my senior year until 2010, I'm behind in alot of of credits because of family stuff going on. I switched to independant study, which is working for me because i only have to be at school once a week to turn in all my work and get more. Does high school count or does it have to be college in order to receive ssi?

  17. #17
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Natalie, It's important to check it out fpr sure but from the info online it looks like the extension of survivors benefit for people still in college was phased out in the mid 1980s. You can get it extended until you are 19 if you are at school full time:

    Your widow or widower can receive benefits at any age if she or he takes care of your child who is entitled to a child’s benefit and is younger than age 16 or disabled.
    Your unmarried children who are under age 18 (or up to age 19 if they are attending elementary or secondary school full time) also can receive benefits. Your children can get benefits at any age if they were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled. Under certain circumstances, benefits also can be paid to your stepchildren, grandchildren or adopted children.
    Social Security Online: Widows, Widowers & Other Survivors: Qualify and Apply

    I did get in contact with someone from ILP though, which was good. The lady told me she would email my ILP coach for me and talk to her in person in a week so i should be hearing from her soon
    That's great! I hope they give you a better service this time. If not then keep trying by calling back the lady who said she would pass on the message. Often it's she who shouts the loudest that gets listened to when people have too much to do. It would be good if you could get your living situation at home of elsewhere settled enough to go back to school full time to complete your education while you have support. Do you think your Mom may be receptive to a trade off whereby if she sees you are prepared to move out and she will lose out financially, she would make it possible to for you to stay and go to school if she continues to get money? Or do you think you think you would be safer elsewhere?

    These are things you need to discuss with someone before you decide what to do. Once you are on your route to independence you will be able to have people in your life who care for you, Natalie. Until then you need to be Mom and Dad - never give up on yourself or blame yourself, fight for the decent start in life that you deserve.

  18. #18
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Well my ILP coach came and visited me today. She didn't come in to sit down and talk, all she did was hand me the check for the DMV so I can take my written test. She told me that my Survivors Benefits will be cut off when i turn 18, and that they might be able to help with housing but there is a waiting list and i would have to apply and be accepted.
    I do have a famous cousin who is well-off, she announced publicly that she is willing to pay for all of her cousins to go to college, but I really don't want to ask for money from her considering that I can't even remember if I've met her. That would be a last resort for me if things get bad enough.

  19. #19
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Plan for the best but prepare for the worst.

    In other words, do whatever it takes to give yourself options.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    I'm sorry you are getting so little help with this from your ILP coach. I agree with Duke, pursue all your options, don't wait til things get bad. Apply for help with housing, contact your cousin, call the voluntary agencies to see if they can help, apply for jobs. Please let us know how you get on Natalie. Are things at home any better with your Mom and lodgers?

  21. #21
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Well my mom's been on a drinking spree for the past week. She's up between 4-5 A.M going to the store in her roommates car and starts drinking around 6 A.M. She took the car yesterday afternoon and she was completely drunk, so i tried to stop her and told her that someone else could drive her, but that didn't turn out well. She almost ran me over and i was ready to call the cops but her roommate told me not to because she didn't want her car impounded. I don't expect things to get any better so I am preparing for the worst in these upcoming months. I don't want my little brother and sister to go back to foster care so if mom doesn't show any improvement me and my older brother are planning living arrangements out. My mom has been calling her ex-husband frequently and has been talking about finding a place to ''dump'' us off at, like a foster home, and going back to him. I want my older brother to get our benefits money and let him take care of us if mom does go back to her ex, but I'm not sure if that'll work out. My ILP coach said she would drop off some paperwork for me to fill out for the housing program. I'm going to try and get signed up and approved for that as soon as possible. I've been applying for jobs still but haven't had any luck with that yet.

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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Natalie I'm so sorry to hear things are so bad again . Follow your instincts - they are sound. Your Mom's friend should be more concerned about her killing herself or someone else in the car than whether or not it gets impounded. I'm glad to see you are making plans. Why are you not sure if living with your brother will work out? I wondered why he was living at home with you now. Is he in work?

    Well done for persisting with your ILP coach. Do you think it would be worth asking her to refer you to someone who can help you with jobsearch skills and applications or will act as a referee?

    Stay strong, Natalie - you'll find a way through this.

  23. #23
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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    you have to be very strong and also try to talk with someone close to you and tell him/her what's goin on....this we'll help you relax because i think you accumulate a lot of negativ thoughts.i hope it works the best for you...

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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    Well things are actually looking better now. My mom is on Wellbutrin(sorry for the spelling if it's wrong) and it's been helping her mood. She's more active now, doing alot of gardening and compulsive cleaning. She's easier to get along with and hasn't been ''freaking out'' several times a day anymore. I found out that I will be getting my money until I'm 19 as long as I stay in school, which is going to be a big help for me, and worked something out with a friend for when I turn 18. We planned on moving in together only if I can't stay at home(which would save me some money for college). I'm working on getting my license and am saving up for a car because I think once I can drive and get out of the house I'll be more calm and be able to cool down from the family

    I don't like the idea of moving in with a friend because I'm afraid of things not working out and them not being able to pay their half, so I'd prefer to stay at home and continue going to school and maybe sign up for some college courses so I can get ready to live on my own.
    Thanks for all the advice, I'm trieing my best to stay positive and not let a strange family life corrupt my goals and my life in general.

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    Re: Need advice/help regarding my Mom's addiction

    It certainly does sound as if things are looking up natalie, that's terrific. I do agree with you that state of mind is a big help even when things may not be exactly ideal and simply staying positive can make all the difference in the world.

    I can tell you one thing for sure though natalie, regardless of how things are going in your life we'll always be here for you!
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