Hmm... this is a difficult one.
Without knowing any details, my quick thoughts are providing your sons with a balance of unconditional love / forgiveness as well as tough love. You're the best judge on the balance, and when one is needed more than the other.
Let them know that you love them. Do this by supporting them in whatever they do. Try not to be a super controlling parent. They'll hate that. Let them do whatever they want, and support them, and eventually they'll learn to appreciate you.
You know what? The absolute best thing about my relationship with my parents in my adult years is the fact they are my FRIENDS. I know them now as people and not just parents. We have similar (or maybe completely opposite interests) and that makes relating to them on a "people" level, rather than an authority level, so gratifying. Yes, they will always be my Mom and Dad and when I need my parents that aspect is there too. But they've recognized that mostly I don't need parents anymore - that my life is a result of my decisions and that its the season of life to let go of their authority and just love me. Perhaps this could help heal a broken parent-child relationship... focus on another aspect of your relationship that hasn't suffered the hard knocks. I can't presume to understand the details of your situation but maybe the best way to bond with adult children is to treat the relationship differently than when things went sideways. Best of luck to you and your family - I bet they want to re-connect with you just as much as you do with them!
As some one that has worked very hard to have an adult relationship with at least one of my parents after a very long and tumultuous and very angry one, on my part, I can tell you that the one hurdle I can't seem to get past with my mother is her need to re-write history to erase her own culpability in our past. I don't mention it to her but it makes it hard for me to trust her. I don't know what happened with your kids, but I can say an objective third party councillor sure helped us and more honesty would help a whole lot more. My mom is still my mom but after seeing a councillor together I can nicely tell her to respect my boundaries and see will listen, even though she doesn't really understand why she has to. We talk at least once a month now, some-times more. Occasionally, she even calls me!
Wow, Angelique T, been there and done that. I had to basically abort the mission but my sisters fared better as they were willing to go along with the bending of the truth.
If I were Laurel I would apologize for each and every real and imagined slight and grudge your boys hold against you and really let them know that you are willing to acknowledge and own your part in the poor relationship. Then just kill them with kindness, zip your lip, and "visibly" love them until you can all relax and love each other. I think it has to come from the top down. You need to sit them down and really, really talk to them about how you feel regarding the relationship and how you feel about the addictions--if it's that kind of relationship at this point-- but it will be very tough to make progress if they are still into substance abuse. If you can accept the bees with the honey then you may be able to at least have friendly contact with them until they are clean and ready. It's a slippery slop you walk!
Katie, Angelique and Penni-you are so nice. I would tend to take the tougher love stance, get my own life, ignore them, change the locks on my doors and let them fare on their own!! Leave them alone and they'll come home dragging their tails behind them. Sometimes people really have to wallow before they wise up. This is my stance at the moment but unless I walk in your shoes it's ????????????????
thanks yes i have done all this already, Its hard when they are addicted to either crack or Herion, with having younger kids i have to think of their saftey, but there is more to the story, but just saying I wish i had a better relationship with them.