Did addiction turn your kid difficult child or was your kid a difficult child who became addict?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by SuZir, Jun 19, 2012.


Did addiction turn your kid difficult child or was your kid a difficult child who became an addict?

  1. Mine was easy child or PCish before they begun using and addicted and after recovery have became PCs again

  2. Mine were easy child(ish), but have not yrt overcome addiction or addiction changed them permanently

  3. Mine started as a difficult child and became an addict later

  4. Other

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Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    After reading both this forum, magazines with stories about parents of addicts and even participating some support groups and visiting also local support websites I have started to wonder, how often it is so, that addiction makes a kid difficult child and how often difficult child just becomes addicted in addition of all the other problems. Especially in magazines the common story tends to be, that drugs/alcohol/gambling stole my perfect child/husband/etc. and they turned to someone loved ones can't recognize. Same idea comes through in many support sites, literature and groups. It's addiction talking, addicts are this or that, addicts always this and that, addiction overrides everything. I'm sure there is a lot of truth in that, but in some ways it does not correlate very much with my personal experiences. Not much with other addicts, not with my son.

    My difficult child, while still not diagnosed with anything but pathological gambling, has been difficult child all his life. He has been difficult child from the very first days of his life and he is difficult young adult now in his late teens even with being in good recover from his addiction. While addiction escalated things and made him really break some boundaries he likely would never had broken otherwise, I can't really say, that he would have changed to other person. And I don't hold much hope that he will ever turn into untroubled individual. He may turn high functioning individual in many aspects, but I think he will have many struggles through rest of his life. That is why I have struggled with the support often available for loved ones of an addict. It seems so addiction focused and everything is seen through addiction, even if the issue pre- and post-dates active addiction.

    How do you feel about this? And do you believe it even matters?
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    In my case our difficult child was a difficult child long before she ever took her first drink or used her first drug. We knew there were problems when she was very young and throwing tantrums that were sustained for long periods of time and violent. It just escalated from there. As she got older the problems got bigger. It was no real suprise that she turned to substance abuse. I feel in her case it was in her genes and the substance abuse was just the natural progression of whatever dysfunction she was born with (it changed per doctor/psychiatrist).

    I believe there are those individuals who were fine until they began abusing a substance and then it took over them. in my humble opinion it is those individulas who have the best chance at being successful with treatment. I don't believe and kind of treatment will fix my difficult child. She will just turn one adiction into another.

  3. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    My son was a was a good kid, good student and very close to us until he went away to school & started using pot & alcohol.

    He was assaulted his first week away at school and received blow to his head causing a concussion & a serious eye injury. He turned to bad influences - friends who used - shortly thereafter. While I feel the assault/injury was the catalyst for the change in him-I don't know if it was the physical injury or the emotional injury or the resulting "friendships" that precipitated the drug use. I will always wonder ...
  4. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    With my difficult child an odd thing is that his other problems don't really seem addiction based. While there is a lot in his personality that should make him very vulnerable to other addictions, that doesn't seem to be a case really. At least not now. He does drink, but is sensitive to alcohol (feels very easily sick) and mostly drinks very moderately, just a beer or three during the night in nightclub etc. He did use snus (very addictive oral tobacco, which is extremely popular among his friends and team mates) regularly, but stopped that when he started to be short on money. And didn't struggle with quitting at all. He does drink lots of coffee (really a lot, like half a gallon a day) but if his routine breaks and coffee is not readily available can happily go two or three days without even thinking about it. I had much harder time to break from my coffee habit and I drink half of what he does.

    His biggest problems are social, addiction seems to be just an icing of the cake.
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    I'm not at this stage of parenting, but I've known many addicts in my life. Every single one had some sort of psychological/emotional issue BEFORE they became an addict.

    At a Hospice information group, I met a recovering alcoholic who claimed that this was not true for himself. After speaking to him, I learned that he only started drinking after his girlfriend died. Although grief can be intense, it would still stretch my theory a bit. After further conversation, I found out it was not plain grief that dove him, but guilt as well. Due to coincidental circumstances he felt responsible for her death. So the combination of grief and guilt (extreme emotional stress) drove him to alcoholism. Although this was extremely traumatic, he was an otherwise psychologically/emotionally healthy man, so, in my opinion, he was more "easily" able to beat his addiction.

    SuZIr, the problem with all the articles and stories you read is that the perspective is from an outsider. A person can act very easy child, and still have internal struggles that no one knows about. Even if there are signs, those outsiders could be ignoring them and pretending everything is perfectly OK. It's only when addiction becomes severe and destroys everything they used to know that they see there is a problem.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sig, I think in your son's case it was a combo of his assault and getting involved with dubious friends who introduced him to the party lifestyle. That lifestyle is very common in college because it is the first time kids are out of the home.

    I dont know if you should watch this show or not but there is a show on MTV called Savage U and it may give you a real eye opener into what goes on when young adults go away to college. I ran across the show one night while flipping the channels. I think its hilarious.
  7. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    My son was definitely a difficult child first... the drugs and alcohol at a young age just made things much worse. I think it is possible (but maybe not) that if he hadnt gotten invovled with drugs he would have somehow matured and learned to deal with his inate personality issues. He certainly has some strengths that can help him in the long run. However the drugs and alcohol interrupted the natural course of maturity so now he is a very immature 20 year old with lots of psychiatric issues etc.

    I agree with you about the focus on addiction, somehow if you just stop using then everything will be ok. What I came to realize is that my son would never be able to stay clean without getting help for his other underlying issues. He also came to this conclusion before me and was pretty fed up with the whole recovery thing, because it wasn't helping him with the issues that make him want to use in the first place.

    So now he is in treatment for the underlying stuff and I think we are finally getting somewhere... I hope anyways. I think he is still somewhat in denial about his drug addiction but he is working on the other stuff (and is currently sober because he has to be in the program he is in). I think his best chance of staying sober is getting at the other stuff.

  8. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My difficult child was a easy child, then difficult child, then substance abuser. I think the mood disorder hit at puberty and then the substance abuse started as a way to self-medicate.

  9. Ehlena

    Ehlena New Member

    I have to pretty much echo Nancy. Ours was a difficult child before the drug/alcohol abuse. He had sustained, violent temper tantrums when he was young, and the problems got bigger until he made a series of false abuse allegations against us and was finally removed from our home. He started abusing substances about six months after that. The substance abuse seems to have exacerbated his mental health issues.
  10. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    I think the majority of addicts/alcoholics are people who don't feel as socially comfortable as other people seem (to them) to be naturally, so they drink/drug in order to medicate shyness/social anxiety/fear that they are uninteresting or social misfits. Scratch any addict long enough (if he's sober) and he'll eventually admit something like this: they they drink/drug in order to feel socially palatable or sufficiently interesting to merit the attention of others. Many, many addicts/alcoholics complain of feeling "empty" or "hollow" when newly sober. Some of this is due to immaturity and lost time, of course--someone who's been drugging for a decade will feel waaaaaay behind the curve once he's sober again--but some of this clearly a kind of default position in those inclined toward addictions.
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Mrsammler, in other words as we were taught in the parent session of rehab, addicts never felt comfortable in their own skin until they began using.