Feeling let down

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by ILMS, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. ILMS

    ILMS Guest

    I am new here and only have a few minutes to type before I have to start work. I have 3 children, a 25-year old daughter who is in an abusive relationship, she left and came to stay near me in an abusive women's shelter, but now she has gone back to him, and they are in Florida (I live in Oklahoma), and she does have a past history of substance abuse. She has a baby, and she seems to be more responsible just from the time I spent with her. I have a daughter who is 22 with Down Syndrome.

    Then there is Alex, my 19-year-old, who is my main reason for getting on this forum. Alex has been a challenge from the time he was small. He was a difficult baby, cried a lot, difficult toddler, very strong-willed. In kindergarten he got in trouble constantly for talking, and in 1st and 2nd grade he got in trouble a lot of not staying in his chair, talking, etc., and he barely passed.

    At about 8 years old he was diagnosed with ADHD, and we put him on Ritalin, then changed it to Adderall later. He had to repeat 3rd grade, then he barely passed each grade after that. H

    e started getting in trouble around age 13, smoking pot, sneaking out, etc. We grounded him, did not let him have a cell phone, etc., but nothing seemed to work. At age 16 we moved to Ohio, and I was actually hoping he would get in with a better crowd, but he got right in with the bad crowd again. He was doing 9th grade work at school but barely even able to pass.

    Then at 17 we moved again to Oklahoma, he went to high school and was in 10th grade, he turned 18 while in 10th grade. In the meantime, he kept getting in trouble, same thing, sneaking out, smoking pot, hanging out with the wrong crowd, stealing from us. It all came to a head when we were eating out, I had taken his cell phone a way from him (which I had gotten to keep track of him), and he had gotten my cell phone without me knowing, I noticed he had it, tried to take it from him, and he wouldn't let me have it, then his dad stepped in and tried to take it and he got very aggressive with his dad and hit him to keep him from taking the cell phone. Dad got it from him, and there was a text message from a friend offering to sell him some pot, so that is why he didn't want us to have the phone (yes it was my phone!). So, by then the cops were there because the manager had called, and they took him to juvenille. I was relieved that something was going to be done, but it was really no help at all. He was in juvenille detention for about a month, then got put on probation (He was 17, turned 18 while still on probation). He broke every rule, failed every drug test, so I asked the probation officer to ask the judge that he be ordered into rehab. So, that is what happened, he got ordered into a 6-month rehab. He went to a work-based rehab, there was no cost to us, they worked 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. It was a very difficult program, only 1 out of 10 actually make it through the whole program, but he made it, much to our surprise. He seemed to really be changed, I remember when he gave his speech, swearing he would never go back to that old life. He had asked if he could come back and live with us while he got on his feet, getting a job, getting his GED, etc. He does not have a driver's license, I never let him get one due to him being so rebellious - so I took him to GED classes, though he never got a job . Well he really messed up within 2-3 weeks of being home (failed a drug test)- but we gave him another chance, thinking he really was serious about staying clean and getting a job. Gradually, though, he started sneaking out again, and then last week he stole my husband's debit card (which had happened before) and spent $60 on it. I actually believed him when he said he didn't do it, but then I started realizing he was the only one that could have done it. Cops came to my house and he admitted to him, when they looked his name up, they saw he had a warrant for his arrest because he didn't pay some fines, so they took him to jail, where he is now. We haven't pressed charges because of the stolen debit card yet because we were going to tell him if he goes to rehab again, we will not press charges. I see him as having more of a problem with lying and stealing then drugs, though I know it all goes hand in hand. I did not let him get back on ADHD medicine because he was selling it before, even though I feel like it would help him. I am just really disappointed that he has chosen to go down this path again, but in retrospect, I feel like we should have insisted he go to three-quarter house. He will get out of jail on Monday, and we told him he cannot come back here . He will have to stay in Salvation Army or somewhere like that until he decides if he is going to rehab or figures out something else that will help him. I feel like we have done all we can do for him, and he has proven to us that he is still not trustworthy by stealing from us. He has about the maturity level of a 13-year-old, I think. He is still very much a mama's boy. I went to see him one time since he has been in jail. He seems very sorry, but he always seems that way. (By the way, we did set up rules when he came to our house, and one of the rules was that if he failed a drug test, he was out - but we gave him one more chance - we hated to kick him out knowing he would end up staying with someone he shouldn't be with).

    I am open to suggestions, telling me what I have done wrong, etc. I really do feel like he wants to do the right thing.

    He was very involved with church and really liked going. I think the big problem was him being around his old friends again. People that know him at church think he is the sweetest most polite young man, I always get comments about him. We had some missionaries that our Sunday School was hosting, and we had a dinner after church, my son came with us. He talked to them, asked them questions, and they commented to me that we must be really proud of our son (this was right after we had caught him sneaking out the night before and saw a message on his phone asking someone if they had pot to sell) - If they only knew. So he is really good at putting on a front, "snowing people".

    Well, I do need to get to work - Thanks for letting me vent!!
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome ILMS. You didn't do anything wrong. Many of our difficult children were difficult from very early on in their life, mine included. We knew when she was two years old that something was wrong because her tantrums were far more serious than other two year old tantrums. It wasn't long before we realized as she got older the problems would get more serious. So you are left trying to figure out which came first, the behavior that led to drug use or drug use, and in our situation and yours the answer is obvious.

    But now you are faced with trying to figure out where to go from here. He is an adult in the eyes of the law and making choices that will follow him forever. Of course he has the maturity of a 13 year old, that is when he began using drugs. Maturity stops at the age where drug use is begun and doesn't begin to catch up until that drug use is stopped.

    I agree with you not allowing him back in your home and telling him he needs to go to rehab. Allowing him back in your home will only start the cycle back over again. We went through it all, sending our daughter to rehab, letting her come back home, kicking our daughter out after she relapsed, having her stay with her drug friends for months, her begging to come back home, refusing to allow that and eventually she went to live in a sober house and is now living on her own. We just could no longer live with our money and credit cards under our pillow and one eye open all night. I don't know wether she is still smoking pot but she has a job and is paying her bills and we get along much better now. Yes she still drinks and that is a worry because it has gotten her in trouble before and I fear will again. She is a magnet to all the bad kids and lives life on the edge. But she is now 21 and I do see some maturity coming in small steps.

    I would tell your son that you will support him in getting help but that he cannot come back there to live and be ready to follow through on that.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  3. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Welcome ILMS.... I am sorry you had to find us but you are in good company here... many of us know exactly what you are going through. My story is similar in many ways to yours... my son is 21. We have been through the wringer and the key is to find the balance between loving them, not enabling them to use drugs, and taking care of yourselves in the process. First please take in this is not your fault. It really isn't. There is no perfect parent and we all make mistakes but some kids are difficult from day 1... and some kids are more prone to substance abuse than others.

    My first piece of advice is to find a good alanon group for parents... or some kind of support group for parents with kids who have substance abuse problems. I think ou are absolutely right that you cannot have him come back and live at home... so stay strong on that. Let him know you love him and you will support him in getting himself help, and if he doesnt want or think he needs help then he can figure things out on his own but you will love him no matter what.

    As I said my son is 21... has been through rehab several times, got kicked out of several sober houses and a couple of rehabs. He walked out of a really great program last August with a girl he met there. At that point we told him he needed to figure things out. He was across the country and we literally let him be homeless for 5 months, and he spent that time living on the streets. It was excrutiating... he did manage to post now and then on FB and so we were sort of in touch and I could see his phone records and knew he was still alive. Although at one point his phone died and we didnt even have that until we could find a way to send him another phone.

    Finally in January he did ask us for help and with the help of a family friend (a recovering addict) we got him into yet another rehab (cheap this time) and he is now living at the sober house the friend runs. He has been there a month and seems to be doing pretty well. I saw him a couple of weeks ago (hadnt seen him since June) and he looked great. Clearly it is not all resolved, I think this stuff goes on forever, but things are much better and our relationship is much better. I have hope again.

    My motto is I will help him as long as he is taking the next right step, and I wont help if it seems his next step is towards self destruction.

    Hope this helps... we do understand and keep posting here.

  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi, glad you found this great group of helpful people. Sorry for your journey.

    Has he ever tried other forms of adhd medications? Non addictive types?

    Hugs, buddy
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Rehabs are only as good as the person working the program. I had a daughter who used drugs heavily and quit without rehab because an incident in her life scared and motivated her to do so. If she can quit anyone can. She was using pot, speed (ADHD medications crushed in a pillcrusher/snorted through nose), cocaine, meth alcohol and even tried heroin a few times. When she told me that, I freaked out because I had always felt once you tried heroin you were hooked automatically. At any rate, we though she was going to end up in jail or die, but she did quit. I'm one who is not sure that rehabs are the magic answer unless the person is desperate to quit and that includes turning his/her back on his/her druggie friends once he comes out. My daughter was very lucky because she had a brother in Illinois who is strict and straight and allowed her to live with him when she called him begging (after we threw her out). So she left Wisconsin and her crowd and had no car to drive around and meet new druggies with. In all, it worked. I wouldn't spend your entire life savings on rehabs if he is reluctant to change. And I would do anything for him if you see a difference in him that seems permanant (like trying to dump his drug friends which is what my daughter tried to do before she got out of Wisconsin--these druggies can be very persistent though). But in my opinion the first step to knowing your child is serious is when the child tries to elude the druggies he used to hang out with. If you can, getting him to a new environment isn't a bad idea IF he is serious about quitting. If he's not, he'll just find new drug buddies in his new town. Hope I didn't get too off topic. I wish you the best of luck. It's not easy.
  6. ILMS

    ILMS Guest

    We actually tried him on Straterra, but he even sold that!! Maybe telling kids it was something else.
  7. ILMS

    ILMS Guest

    Thanks for the support, it is comforting to know that there are people that know exactly what I am going through. Sometimes I feel very alone. I talked to my son yesterday after I posted this. He said he is still working off his fine. They had him get up at 1:30 in the morning and clean out vomit out of a police car a girl threw up in - took him 20 minutes but they gave him 3 hours credit for it! He said he is thinking seriously of going to a drug rehab I had told him about where he could learn welding and get his GED, 9 month program for young men 18-25. He has been going to GED classes, and I hope he continues with his education. I reminded him he can't come here, and he said he knows that. Of course, like everyone, you always worry they will end up homeless or almost worse, staying with their druggie friends. He told me he tested negative on drugs when they took him to jail, but I find that hard to believe seeing the texts he has got on his phone (police man gave it to me after getting it out of his pocket) and finding marijuana pipes in his room and baggies that smelled like marijuana!!