Anyone in my shoes?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by 2confused, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. 2confused

    2confused New Member

    My son is 16, recently diagnosed mild ADD-inattentive, ODD. Never a perfect child, always a bit impulsive at times and had less coping skills than peers (easily irritated), and seemed to be immature regarding problem solving techniques, but manageable without intervention. Nevertheless, grades were excellent through Elementary school, good in Middle School, and "pretty good" in High School. Talented athlete- loved sports more than anything (had “college scholarship” potential without a doubt).

    In the past year, he has become overly defiant, leaves home for days without permission (turns off cell phone and "disappears"), has huge entitlement issues, and has destroyed home property in anger when restrictions are placed on him for behavior. Was truant from school almost to the point of being kicked out at the beginning of the year, but has since recovered from that and grades are decent. He is currently attending school without incident, but has quit all sports and changes peer groups constantly. He has been found with pot, paraphernalia, and alcohol at home on various occasions.

    We have tried counseling, restricting his privileges, etc to no avail. While his grades are good right now (beginning of new semester), he is verbally abusive when he doesn’t get his way, which often leads to physical damage in our home. He lies constantly and is extremely manipulative. Each time he has caused physical damage, we have filed a police report to document. He has no respect for us, and is quick to tell us this. He says we are just not “wanting him to grow up”, and that he should be allowed to do whatever he wants. He is only 16 and we are legally responsible for him and his welfare.
    Finally, we reached a point of filing an ungovernable charge through our local Department of Juvenile Justice a couple of months ago, and the case will come up within the next two weeks (yes, it took that long). He will likely be put in an intervention program for extensive counseling, drug testing, and weekly meetings before a Family Court judge, as well as being given a strict curfew schedule.
    While he knows this proceeding is going forward, he refuses to acknowledge the possible consequences involved and the road he is about to travel, and honestly I’m extremely nervous about his reaction and what’s to come. We felt we needed to have a strong intervention if we are to ever get back to the point of having a trust-worthy, responsible son, but scared we are pushing him farther away at the same time. We’ve tried the talking to him, telling him we love him, etc, but he throws back the “no parent does this to their kid”, etc. Has anyone gone down this path?

  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome aboard. I'm really sorry you had to seek us out but glad you found us. Many of us have had similar "fall off the cliff" behaviors as the result of substance abuse. My personal experience has been a bit different from yours so I just wanted you to know your post has been read and I'm confident you'll hear soon from other parents with info and support. DDD
  3. Mama Raygun

    Mama Raygun New Member

    Hi, welcome!
    While I haven't been thru this with- my kids, they are still too young, I have been thru it myself. I was a lot like your son at 15 I would stay gone for days, was using drugs, disrespectful, you name it. My parents intervened with courts as well and at the time I felt the same way as your son, but looking back now that's exactly what they had to do, I left them no other choice. If he is acting that out of control with you then he needs someone to intervene. I'm sure it feels awful but your doing the right thing!! If it makes you feel any better when I think back to what I put my parents thru I feel soo bad. Just keep posting, asking for advice ect.... Good luck!
  4. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Yes. My son is 15 years old. His behaviors are exactly what you have described as far as what your son is doing. Mine got out of juvie about 1 week ago. He goes before the judge again in a month. I would love to say that the time he spent in juvie straightened him up. It did not. Do I think putting him there was a good decesion. You bet. He may never chose to follow the right road, but at least will know that there are consequences for engaging in the behaviors that HE choses to engage in. He has been diagnosed as bipolar and adhd among other things. It may be the reason why he so easily goes down this road, but it does not excuse his behavior.

    I am doing what I have to do to protect myself from legal actions caused by his behaviors.

    Good Luck and kudos for taking a stand.
  5. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Dear 2Confused,
    Welcome. You probably feel you're the only one in the world who is going thru this. Sadly, none of our experiences are unique. This is a good place to come to get advice, read what others are going through, etc.
    Our son put us through hell since he was 16. My husband also traveled frequently for work, and I'd go to bed exhausted at 10PM. My son would leave our house as soon as I'd fall asleep and would come home some time near morning. If the police hadn't caught him, and brought him home, I wouldn't have even known it. I felt duped, shocked, conned, you name it. We found paraphernalia, and he really went off the deep end. Disrespected us, blamed us, kissed off curfew, lied, wow. Talking rationally and calmly didn't help. Going to a counselor didn't help, either. Mandated school counseling didn't help. What helped a little was the fact that once he reached the age of majority, 18, we turned all his problems back over to him. We will do anything to help, but only if he wants to help himself. He gets no money from us (we had to lock up our pocketbook and wallet, and get a house alarm, believe it or not). I actually sent away for a CD set called "The Total Transformation" program, and it really helped in how I spoke to my son. Kids are very clever at getting the conversation turned around to blame parents, etc., and if nothing else, listening to those CDs taught me to be calm and stick to the behavior. It may help for you to seek counseling if you've not already done so. Sometimes, it's teen depression manifesting itself in this way, but that coupled with substance abuse is a nightmare. Keep checking here, you'll get good advice.
  6. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    YES - I have been there. I believe the biggest reason my son's behavior got so out of control was his excessive pot use. I swear it made him crazy. He was a little bit younger at the time and never got to the taking off and truant phase, but defiant, angry, holes in our walls, cops at our house, expelled form school for pot - you name it. What a nightmare. One of the best things that happenned was when he was arrested for pot at school and expelled. It made him see that it's HIS BEHAVIOR - not his overly strict parents. We have travelled along road and things aren't perfect, but 1.5 years later they are SO much better. I have not had the cops here since last April. One of the best interventions we did was Wilderness for 3 months. It got the drugs out of his system and it was intensive therapy both group and individual. Although it has not been perfect since, the anger is MUCH reduced and he tries to function on a much more normal scale. I have looked into the more local programs like the ones the court will order and they seem good too and very similar to Wilderness. IF he were to slip back, I think I would go that route and I would start at the court because he would probably refuse to go. Hang in there - these intensive programs can help. My guess is that you will need a lot of support for a while and then things may start to get better. The drug testing will definatly help. There are some books that have kept me sane - "The Unchanged Mind" and "To Change a Mind" by John McKinnon will help as will "Changing for Good" - good luck - keep posting and reading. (((((())))))) - you are not alone! by the way - I too have heard the - "who does this to their kid" thing....familiar battle cry!
  7. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hello and welcome to the CD board!

    I have an older difficult child (26) but her drug problems started in high school. However, she hid them well and we were not aware of the extent of the problem until she was almost 18. Also, while causing chaos in our house, she still went to school and was a very good student. When we did turn to the legal system, they told us there wasn't anything they really could do since she was almost 18.

    I think you are doing the right thing getting them involved while something still can be done. At least this way the consequences will come from someone other than you so he can't accuse you of "not letting him grow up."

    That was a line that my daughter used. Now, 10 years later, we are still trying to get her to grow up.

  8. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Welcome 2confused. I have been there. My daughter is now 17. Had great potential, gifted in school, good at volleyball, won all the science fairs from 4th grade up etc. Flip switched the end of 7th grade. So we started earlier. She is a pot user. Luckly we have not had alcohol or other drug issues. There is an arrogance about pot users though. They think they are a cut above the other "druggies".

    All the things he is saying to you are manipulation. He doesn't believe for a second what he is saying. Do not let guilt into your life. It kept us in emotional turmoil as we tried to figure out what we had done wrong-useless emotion in the case of dealing with addicts. He wants to use. You are in the way. I also had guilt about coming down heavy and placing her in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and then reporting to police ( I still wonder about these decisions as she is not fully compliant or sober today-though she is functioning).

    You are lucky your state allows an ungovernable charge. OUrs does not. We had to get to the point after her first Residential Treatment Center (RTC) of 18 months, of her pushing us and leaving marks to even get before a judge. She had been truent from school over 20 days. I can't say that much helped once they placed her in temp. jjc custody and into a state run Residential Treatment Center (RTC). She did get the message that we were not going to just let her do what she was doing-running for days, smoking pot, sexually acting out, lieing and even stealing money to get train tickets and I think buy pot. She never got more than a few bucks at a time because we keep things locked up. She did once forge a check and that prompted the beginning of the lock down.

    Stay the course. It is better that you let him suffer the consequences now rather than when he is older. There is a chance he will learn from this. This is tough when you realize you have no control. They will do what ever they want to get the drugs they want. I have recently found peace at Families Anon. which is a twelve step program designed for families of addicts or loved ones with emotional problems. It has helped me to see that we did all we could, to do better at not enabling, and to know I am not alone. I also find support at this board. Keep coming back and updating us.
  9. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    YEP, YEP, YEP but mine started much younger and as my sister says, 'he put me through hell'!!
    My son was gifted in math and science and at 16 I had to drive him to take the GED and sit in the car to make sure he did not leave.
    I tried every program I could find, even a week long canoe therapy and 6 weeks in house therapy. He stole from me, and told me he hated me. He stole my keys and let his friends steal and wreck my car. Then after the police left he was very concerned about them coming back and stayed up late to make sure they didn't. It was all a lie, when the police caught they kids they told on him.

    I was a single working parent and I felt very guilty about it but I was trying very hard to get us out of poverty. The dad walked out and zero child support. I also felt guilt for choosing the wrong man to have children with. They are extremely manipulative liars and they know your weaknesses.

    He is 33 now and from 32 to 33 he was clean and sober and in college on the dean's list. I actually enjoyed his frequent calls and he apologized for his bad behavior. Then he relapsed and OMG it's surreal, back to the same things as before.

    He recently had this elaborate tale that he was homeless and just staying at places to shower and sometimes eat. The professors admired him so much, they knew of his situation and he was on the dean's list. All of this was an out right lie to get money! I found out when I had to call the police to get his girl friend to stop harrassing me.

    I was in counseling a lot, but I wish I had been taught to detach sooner. He was so out of control and in jail ( I left him there for 2 months and it was a small bond hoping it would 'cure' him) several times. Court ordered rehab for 9 months and he walked out with only a few weeks left. He had to go back with 3 additional months.

    I came home from work one day and a policeman was waiting for me, both of my children were in jail at the same time! I felt like trash, to this day I am not comfortable around the police. My daughters brush with the law (she was in jail for 6 months and I did not have money for bail) scared her and she road a bus almost 3 hours round trip for court ordered out patient counseling.

    She now has an MA and teaches and has homeschooled 2 gifted grands, both are dually enrolled high school and college. She did this because of her knowledge of the drug use at the schools. I tribute much of her success to attending meeting regularly for years.

    I am so sad that my son relapsed and the nightmare starts again, only this time he can not steal from me (5 hours away) and I no longer feel the guilt for trying to give him a better life. I had always hoped he would out grow the drugs and alcohol. He is now homeless, jobless, no money, no friends (jealous girlfriend has alienanted them) and he Baker Acted himself into a hospital. He called after he was released and said he had no money for food, this time I replied he would have money if they did not party so much. He told me the shelter are full and he has no place to go, I don't know if that is the truth or he just wants money. The girls mother told me they fight a lot, party a lot, and he threatens to kill himself and cuts himself. That alone scares me silly!

    My advice to you is to get over the guilt, and put him in every program you can. Exercise, find a hobby, support groups and counseling, and pray! I pray your son wakes up and lives up to his gifted potential. This is a wonderful online support group, very welcoming and honest! We are all looking for answers! This is my son and tough love always made him more defiant in the past, but I refuse to support a 33yo with a 37 yo b**** for a girlfriend.

    Blessing to you and yours.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree you are doing the right thing by getting him help as young as you can get it. These kids need to get the message that authority is nothing to be messed with. Once they believe that they can thwart all authority with ease and nothing will happen to them, you are done for and they become so cocky and get completely out of control.

    I really hope that by your son being on this strict probation helps him but be prepared that it most likely wont. Especially if he gets a lazy probation officer. You may have to keep on top of his PO. You want them to be tough on your son because this is your chance to make his life pretty darned miserable. Better miserable now than as an adult when it will really count.
  11. 2confused

    2confused New Member

    Thank you to all who replied. If accepted into this program, there would be no PO. The program he will likely enter will be court-ordered counseling, weekly random drug testing, enforced curfew and weekly appearances before a family court judge (all while living at home). The counseling and curfew start off "strict" and are gradually relaxed over time with compliance. The weekly random drug testing and court appearances stay "set" as weekly, for the endurance of the program, which generally runs 5-9 months, depending on how well and quickly he complies. He has to be "accepted" into the program following an interview, which he will most definitely meet with defiance. If so, he could still be accepted into the program, or could be entered into a different "inpatient" type of program for up to 3 months. The final decision is up to the court.

    I do have concerns for his mental health once this gets decided. He is just such a different person than the kid I knew a year ago, so it's really hard to predict how he will react to this type of intervention when he insists the problems are "ours" and not his. He is in denial about his behavior and his drug use - even when I find evidence, he swears he's not smoking, drinking etc. In the past he's used threats of suicide as manipulation, but in such denial, I fear for his safety in that he will be impulsive. It will be something I will continue to worry and pray about. He was always such a stong minded kid in the "right" way - now it's just really hard that he's so strong minded in the "wrong" way. His greatest asset (determination) has become his downfall lately. I hope he can turn it around again.
  12. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    For your sake, I think it might be better if he gets put into the inpatient program. I don't think he sounds like he is going to be willing to comply with the rules of the rules of the program and it will make things very hard on you. Also, the inpatient program would give him a chance to get the drugs out of his system.

    Keep posting. We are here to listen.

  13. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Your son sounds very much like my daughter although she started at about age 14. We filed numerous police reports and eventually had her charges with unruliness. She went to court many times and each time they magistrate sent her back home to us with probation. Once he put her in detention for the weekend to teach her a lesson and that did help for several months but she was back to being defiant, staying out all the time, smoking pot and drinking, being violent at home, almost flunking out of school, etc.

    In our case the courts said several times they thought we could do a better job of managing her than anything they could do. Wrong!!!! Because she was not arrested for drug use at that point they would not order any kind of placement for her.

    It sounds like this outpatient services they are offering is about as good as you can get right now. If he is defiant and violates the order or doesn't follow through on the requirements they may take further steps. But from what I have seen there are so many kids liek ours and so few services available and they are usually reserved for the ones who commit crimes.

    I want you to know that our difficult child was very angry at us for filing charges on her or for even calling the police on her when she was violent. She would tell everyone, "what kind of parents call the cops on their own kid?" She carried that anger around with her for years until she finally went to rehab and lived in a sober house and got clean and finally told us she now knows why we did that and if we hadn't she would never have stopped.

    Your job is to do whatever it takes to help your child and often that means doing something they don't like. Remember what Carroll O'Connor use to say, "get between your kids and drugs anyway you can." Another one of difficult child's friends just died last week of a heroin overdose. It happens so often. At least once a week there is a young person's death notice in the papaer and upon checking it's someone difficult child was in rehab with or met at AA meetings or knew from the past and never got help.

    I am so sorry you are going through this with your son. He is young and you still have some control over him. Don't wait until he is 18 and you have no say.

  14. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    WHat I can tell you from my experience is that as much as it seems like he will never "accept" this program, I think you may be pleasantly surprised. The hardest part is just getting to that first session. Once they are there, they meet other kids who have been struggling too and it's almost a relief to them. In the groups, they can talk to these kids in ways that they cannot talk to the general peer population. It's also ironic how all the difficult children can see where each other are going wrong and they do come to support each other in heathly ways, even when they cannot see their own issues. My son did 3 months in Wilderness and a 6 week IOP program all with kids that were similarly difficult child. During his time in these programs, he was the healthiest he has ever been. Kathy may be right that the in-patient to start may be best to clear the drugs so that WHEN he does the IOP, it's more productive.
  15. 2confused

    2confused New Member

    Update to my initial post….. My son was arrested for marijuana possession just days before his court appearance in the Family Court, which just really justified the intervention program we had planned (mandatory drug testing, mandatory curfew, weekly court appearances and mandatory counseling). The court agreed to enter him into the mandatory intervention program to cover all charges. The program is quite extensive and lengthy (6-9 months). My son was FURIOUS, but finally realized the game was over for him. He broke down and asked for more help. We entered him in a local adolescent facility for extensive inpatient counseling, and he stayed for a week. It helped clear his mind, and put him on a much firmer ground to begin the program. Without the interference from cell phone, computer, peers, television, etc., he’s made some heavy decisions to change his behavior, and is now embracing the intervention program, saying that he understands that we are trying to help him. He’s been really trying to make positive changes, and his attitude has turned around completely. Our lines of communication have been re-established in a way I would not have thought possible a month ago.
    We don’t wear rose-colored glasses, so we know that this is not the end of his problems, but the beginning of a new chance to succeed. We are praying he can stay strong and keep the new promises he’s made to himself, and not get pulled back into an inappropriate peer group. For now, he knows that we love him and are supporting him, and that in itself, is a blessing for us. For the moment, we are hopeful.
  16. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am very happy to hear your update and hope this program helps him make the kind of changes in his life that will be necessary. Keep us posted. We could use some good news.

  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Yo got great advice, although my daughter refused to go into treatment and the best we could afford was therapy, in which she conned her therapists into telling us we should trust her WTH? She stole, ran away, lied, etc. etc. etc. Unfortunately, the person has to WANT to stop before it will happen. Also, in her case we had to find a long term solution to getting her away from her (cough, cough) friends. They would lput so much pressure on her when she would try to quit that she never could around them. They even threatened her with bodily harm. If you have a relative in another state, that may not be a bad option o nce he is out of treatment.

    My daughter was on parole twice and it did not phase her. Only her own will to quit finally did it...and a move to Illinois from Wisconsin...where her "friends" could not contact her.

    I send hugs and all the good luck in the world...I hope your son really takes advantage of this opportunity he is getting. I know how hard it is emotionally for us parents...take good care of yourself.