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Bailing out a loved one

Discussion in 'Share Your Story Here' started by pineywood, May 11, 2015.

  1. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    This is not my first post, nor am I an addict. Yet, I struggle with the affects of loved ones ( I have several) being an addict in my life. Quite frankly, I feel my emotions jumping on a daily basis. Sometimes I am okay; other-times, I am short and probably too blunt with my responses.

    Although, I have eluded to some of my loved ones challenges with addiction, today, I am ready to share some my story about my autistic daughter, a young adult in college. It was just an ordinary day, until I received that phone call from the county jail.

    The charges possession of marijuana and mushrooms. For those of you that do not know, the charges for a controlled substance is of a significant consequence. The bond was huge (in my world), it was bye bye to the car (impounded due to the War on Drugs), fortunate to get back (another big fee), add in the cost of an attorney, throw in additional therapy sessions, and it rocked the finances.

    Now, I mention the money, not because I resent the cost. My husband and I would do anything for our children. We would never go the route of Tough Love and let our child sit in jail or worse yet go to prison. I write about the money because just maybe it will help someone think about the risks involved and help them to either get help for their addiction or remain clean. I think this is enough for this post.

    I guess, my question is would you or have you bailed out a loved one from jail?
    MrsJones and imperivm1 like this.
  2. imperivm1

    imperivm1 Community Champion

    This is really a delicate matter. I could speak hypothetically and still be uncertain about what I would do if something similar were to befall me. Of course, if I was of independent means, I wouldn't think twice about bailing them. But what if they become backsliders? They could not honestly expect I would always be there to fix the mess they put themselves in. In sum, I'd do it but probably as a one time thing. It depends largely on the circumstances.
  3. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    I have never had to do this thankfully, but we are in a much better position here in the UK where such cases would usually qualify for Legal Aid. If it came to the crunch, I would be there to pick up the pieces though, what else can you really do other than turn your back?
  4. DancingLady

    DancingLady Community Champion

    For me it would depend on the circumstances. If the loved one in question had recently fallen into addiction and this was the first incident they had had, I would probably bail them out and have a serious talk with them about the issue and what their options are at this point. I would make it very clear that they MUST go to an appropriate treatment for the addiction they have and make a commitment to get and stay clean immediately. The reason I would be so strict is that the longer someone has an addiction, the harder it will be to get clean, so they are most likely to succeed if they go to treatment right away.

    If they refused to get help and make the effort to get clean, I do not think I would bail them out a second time, but I would make sure they understood after the first time that this is how it is going to be and they have to take responsibility for their actions starting now.
    gracer likes this.
  5. gracer

    gracer Community Champion

    I agree with @DancingLady. I have never been in a situation where I have to bail a loved one out of jail but if I were in that case I would have a clear talk with my loved one on undergoing treatment upon getting out of jail. I would bail him/her out but will definitely have a close watch on his/her treatment. It's true that it would be harder to extinguish addiction if not treated early so the earlier the better.
    Last edited: May 12, 2015
  6. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Thanks for the replies, I know this is a touchy subject @imperivm1 and others, it is difficult to deal with a hypothetical situation, unless faced with it. As mentioned, it is also extremely risky, if you bail someone out and they do not show up (or their representation in some cases) to court appearances or get into trouble, etc. You loose out on your invested bail money. We did this because it was our own child, I know my husband and I would have done it for each other, too (thank goodness never had to do it). Now in the case of friends, we have been asked to do this numerous time, and have had to decline, when it comes to the risks of future court dates. If it is a straight bail, no future appearances in court, we have done it (when we had the money). Just a heads up, rarely seen repayment.

    I just wanted to say, here in the USA, we do have this option, too. In our situation, it was a personal choice to hire our own legal representation.
  7. EditorsRHumansToo!

    EditorsRHumansToo! Community Champion

    Love and prayers with you and your family, @pineywood. Sigh... Your daughter was an addict and not a criminal. We, parents, bear their shame and constantly love them and bring them back -- helping them realize that they are free to reconnect, respond to our love and security we provide for them.

    You will win this most difficult battle. You will win this debilitating war on drugs. Your loved one will find healing, dear friend. I will be thinking of you.
    Last edited: May 12, 2015
  8. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    It depends on the weight of the crime. If it's something which my conscience deems forgivable, I'd do what I can to bail out a loved one from jail. Even if I do, though, I won't leave it at that. I have to make sure that loved one is immediately rehabilitated so that he doesn't land in jail the second or third time around.
  9. serenity

    serenity Community Champion

    If money is out of the question, then for sure I would bail a loved one out of jail. I would only have to be concerned about what he does after he gets out. I would make it a point to observe him and make him promise that he will be behaved and that he will try to quit his bad habits. Otherwise, I won't help him anymore.
  10. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion


    You know, in the eyes of the law, you are treated like a criminal. This is why, I like this forum. We talk about addiction/addicts, not criminals.

    I would say life is all about living in the present, with all its challenges. Nevertheless, I can say we are all wiser (and usually stronger) from our experiences. Maybe knowing more then we ever cared to know, or gone through what we never wanted to go through. Hope for the future is what keeps me (and I know others) keep on keeping on.
    EditorsRHumansToo! likes this.
  11. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    My son is a former addict but he was never in the legal system. I am grateful for that. I used to wonder how I would react if he did get arrested, and I'm not sure I ever figured it out. If it happened today, I think I might bail him out because it would be the first time. But after that, I think I'd let him deal with things on his own. There's a part of me that believes people who have substance abuse issues need to suffer the natural consequences of their actions. Once you step in to help, you are--I believe--becoming an enabler. Example: Your child who lives at home drinks heavily and is frequently hung over and unable to get up for work. Do you wake them up so they can get to work and keep their job? Or do you let them oversleep and possibly lose their job? I think the second choice is the best one because it's a natural consequence of their behavior. Waking them up would just make it easier for them to continue with their drinking. If there aren't consequences from negative behavior, there's no incentive for someone to change.
  12. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    While I appreciate your honesty and agree with consequences, I am not prone to the ideology of tough love and the blame of being an enabler because you help someone out. And believe me, I have struggled many nights over this concept. Sometimes when the whole world seems to be teaching you consequences, it is important to have a support system that loves you unconditionally and has your back.

    By the way, this is just my opinion. And, I am happy to hear that your son is now healthy! Oh yeah, and my daughter is no longer in the legal system. This is why, I am able to speak a little freer about the situation. Thanks for your reply and insight into this matter.

    Hmm, but I am kinda wondering, when you write about your son being a former addict and the idea of substance abusers suffering the natural consequences, do you think your son was a criminal?
  13. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @pineywood... Even though my son was doing something that was deemed to be illegal, I do not think he was a criminal. I think of addiction as a health problem, not a legal one. I really don't know how I would react for sure if he was ever arrested. Like I said, I used to wonder how I would react if it happened, but I don't know if I ever figured it out. I still don't know. I think the only way I would know for sure is if it did happen...and I'm hoping I never have to deal with that.

    My wife and I struggled with our son's addiction for about seven years. When he was a minor, our support included some things that would definitely be classified as textbook enabling. And others that were borderline enabling. But once he became an adult, we had to start letting go a bit. We were becoming addicted to his addiction and it was taking its toll on everyone in our family. We needed to start practicing self-care and live our lives. We realized that we couldn't fix or control our son. Thankfully, he finally did find the road to recovery.

    I should point out that through all of this, we never stopped loving our son. And we never stopped supporting him. Our support just evolved over the years based on what we were experiencing.

    Does that make sense?

    P.S. I'm happy your daughter is out of the legal system and hope she's doing well.
    Joseph likes this.
  14. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Oh yes, it makes sense. I understand totally about the toll it takes and how it can seem to take over the whole families livelihood. I want to say, I hope you do not think I was implying you never stopped loving your son. This is why, I said tough love, as this would be my husbands course of action and it took its toll, thankfully we have a strong relationship. I do like and appreciate how you talk about self-care. You make a very relevant point. Truthfully, I do not know how I or we would react to any type of relapse. I am pretty tired, right now. I hope my daughter continues to make wise choices. So yeah, thanks for your good wishes and reply.
    deanokat likes this.
  15. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    I didn't think you were implying that I stopped loving my son, @pineywood. I just wanted to share a little more of the backstory. I'm rooting for your daughter. Big time. :)
  16. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Okay, good deal on no misunderstandings. Believe me, I appreciate your sharing more of your backstory. Also, thanks for the encouraging words for my daughters well-being. So far, so good. Right now, I have her removed from the situation, as she can now leave the area. So yeah, right now, good to go. It will be a challenge, when she goes back to school and back to the scene. Kinda dreading it, but what can I do.
    deanokat likes this.
  17. destey

    destey Member

    Many times. I picked my husband up from jail, got cars out of impound, paid fines, covered bounced checks, lied to bosses, children, family and friends for the alcoholic drug addicts in my life!
    I am married to number 3 alcoholic husband and he was doing the same thing until he started alanon with me. He is sober 24 years. All 4 of his children are addicted. Since he started Alanon and stopped bailing them out, 3 of the 4 have been sober, straight!! Seems like that is the main thing that changed is his going to Alanon. My mother and i were talking to my brothers treatment counselor and she said, if you let him move back in with you, you might as well start planning his funeral!! That's tough love! He's still living some 20 years later. He was sober many years. I always am so grateful my mother didn't have to bury any of her 6 children before she died. She attended emotions anonymous for a few years but not Alanon but she learned tough love and practiced it.
  18. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @destey Thanks for your comment. So, after your husband stopped bailing his kids out, three of the four got sober? That's pretty revealing to me. Sometimes distancing ourselves a bit and letting the addict deal with their problem without interference can create the change we want to see. It's not easy to do. And it's not necessarily the right approach for everyone, because every situation is different. But when it works, it's a beautiful thing. Thanks again for sharing.
  19. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Thanks for sharing your personal experience and insight into tough love. As this is a first occurrence, I really can not say how I would deal with a second episode. What I feel and think now may or may not be what I feel in the future. I am happy to hear about your 3rd husbands 24 years of sobriety, along with 3 of of 4 children and your brother! I hope, in the near future, I hear that his 4th child is sober, too! I, too, am glad your mother did not have to bury any of her children!

    Yes, indeed, this is a beautiful story. It is, also, true, every situation is different, what works for one does not mean it will work for another. At the same time, I can only relate to my situation, as it stands right now. I mean truthfully, it is all pretty new and raw and I hope we never have to deal with this issue again.
  20. MrsJones

    MrsJones Community Listener Community Listener

    My step daughter had to stay put (in jail) because she got arrested on the weekend. No court, no judge, no bail. I was reminded by my husband that this was the second time for DUI. Not good. He was trying so hard to believe that nothing had happened until I asked. He didn't want to have anything to do with it because he had told her over and over again about her drinking.

    Those talks must have stayed with her because she never called for his help or it was that other thing called shame.

    Their relationship has been very strained since.

    If she had called for help we wouldn't have been financially able to put even 10% down because the bond was so high. She did get help from her maternal grandmother and has been under house arrest.

    This is another example how substance abuse puts families between a rock and a hard place.
    pineywood likes this.