Finally! People Who Understand!

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by rose2lilly, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. rose2lilly

    rose2lilly New Member

    I am a new member and have been so encouraged by all the notes. Just knowing that it's not me, that I'm not the only one who has a difficult child is such an encouragement!

    My 15 yo son has been running away, skipping school (if I can get him up for school), doing drugs and alcohol and is emotionally detached from the rest of the family. But, in my effort to try to see the positive in things, I guess I can be thankful that he is not involved in any criminal activity at this time. It's just a case of him wanting to be with his friends 24/7 and not giving much thought to his future. He intends to drop school when he's 16 (at the end of the year), but he says he'll get his GED. But, it will probably be too "hard" for him and he'll give up as always.

    I can't remember who just posted "Hanging up the Armor", but I can certainly identify with everything you said. The crazy thing is my husband and I have to keep putting up with our difficult child's behavior because it will be "neglect" if we didn't allow him to come back home. I truly believe that he needs to hit rock bottom to see how good he has it.

    For the first time in my 20 years of marriage and kids, I'm not looking forward to the holidays.

    Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories!
  2. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Hi there rose2lily,

    Welcome to the board!

    No, you are certainly not alone. There are plenty of us who have gone through the same, are currently going through the same, or will some day go through the same. You found a nice, soft place to land. Sorry you had to find us, but glad you did.

    Again, welcome!
  3. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    "skipping school" "doing drugs and alcohol"
    According to my interpretation of the law this is criminal activity. Your son is only 15. You still have a lot of control over him. Are there truancy laws in your state? My suggestion is you have him drug tested and involuntarily committed for treatment. Believe me---a little drug use can become a lot---and real crimes---stealing, forgery---soon follows. been there done that!
  4. ck1

    ck1 New Member

    Everywoman...I was just thinking the same thing. Drugs and alcohol are certainly against the law and can only lead to no-good! I found out my son was smoking pot three weeks after he started and I am sure that if I didn't take action immediately, it would have lead to much worse. I was not going to watch him throw his life away, at least not without a fight from me!
  5. tracy551

    tracy551 New Member

    Drugs and truancy seem to go hand in hand. At least in my house they did. What did I do? I got truancy fines and got them put into difficult child's name. I went to school when I was suppose to, why should I pay the fine. He became responsible for them. Then as far as the drugs and the wonderful attitude and behavior that goes with them, I ended up going to court and and having difficult child put into a Residential Treatment Center (RTC). He doing much better now of course. He has received counseling, something he would not attend at home, he goes to weekly NA meetings, and he has learned to deal with and process his anger. The real test will be Nov 9 when he comes home.
    You can not go on the way things are, You must start looking for help outside the home. My difficult child was 14 the first time he went to a bootcamp (did no good) and he was 16 this time. The placement he is at now is much better suited for his needs and I beleive he has grown alot since going there.
    As far as him hitting rock bottom. I too thought that but I was surprised as to how much difficult child could handle. Rock bottom for me came when he was home high on drugs and told me he wanted to die but hoped I went first.
    REAL BIG EYE OPENER. it was then I called CYS and asked for help.
    Over the past 7 months difficult child and I have talked more than we ever have and I am honest with him on how things must be when he gets home or the very day he turns 18 he must leave my home. (6 months)
    Good luck and don't back down he will test you at every angle.
  6. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    Welcome Rose!

    You have recieved some great advise already. The only thing I would suggest in addition is get yourself in a support group such as Alanon or Families Anonymous. You're going to need support and perspective if your son doesn't turn his life around quickly.

    And again Welcome aboard.
  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome aboard and rest assured you are definitely not alone.
    Many of us have traveled the same, or similar, roads and know the
    mix up of emotions that are involved.

    It is significant what you and your husband decide to do NOW. Some
    of us have floated and hoped for divine intervention or good luck
    to turn it around. Some of us have gone to battle in hopes that
    the choices can be derailed before 18.

    in my humble opinion that is the most important issue for your family now. I
    strongly suggest that you and your husband have a lengthly heart to
    heart about your son. Try to be truthful about how you feel and
    what you feel up to doing. Then closely listen to your husband and
    try to have him be truthful about how he feels and what he is
    prepared to actually do.

    If you are not on the same page completely it is going to be an
    impossible task. Parents who are passive together have the comfort of having a partner. Parents who are ready to don the
    Warrior Parent outfits and fight like the dickens need to map
    out a plan after gathering and exploring alternatives and then
    DO IT!!!!!!

    Some parents float and via some miracle have a kid who comes out
    of the stage ready to be healthy. Some parents, like us, fight
    with all our might to make sure that every possible resource is
    explored and rules enforced in hopes our kid will be a healthy
    adult. There are losers and winners on both sides of the aisle.

    We will support you no matter what your choice. Just remember
    that it is like childrearing rules. Don't "SAY" or "DEMAND"
    unless you are 100% prepared to follow through. You have to be
    ready to not waiver...and if your spouse doesn't follow the same
    script, it won't work. Good luck. DDD
  8. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    DDD gave you excellent advice!Whatever you do or don't do it is so important to be on the same page with your spouse so you can support each other and stand united.

    I too have 3 kids and the middle one was the difficult child. She was a challenging child and all h broke lose when she became a teen. In 9th grade she pretty much just quit going to her classes--she would get on the bus in the morning, go to school, then cut school. She was seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist at the time and had various diagnoses--depression, possibly bi-polar, borderline personality disorder traits, adhd. Anyway, what eventually happened was we sent her away just before her 16th birthday to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in Utah. She did very well there but relapsed upon returning home. She was worse than ever and ended up in short-term rehab for alcohol and after that she ended up in longterm rehab where she got her GED. Those years from 13-18 were horrible but she is doing much better now. She is 19 and lives with her boyfriend and works and seems pretty "normal." Actually, in some ways, she seems more mature than other girls her age because she did all the rebelling at such a young age and it doesn't hold the allure for her that it used to.

    What we did during those years when she was a minor was to report her missing to the police each time she failed to come home. We also had her on a PINS (person in need of supervision) through the family court in our state. In this way we protected ourselves from charges of neglect and also allowed the "authorities" to impose consequences since the ones we imposed had no effect whatsoever. I felt very frustrated when she was 17 and running wild and yet we were supposed to somehow know where she was at all times. I just wanted to give up--let her go live on the streets--and I would have but our laws wouldn't allow us to let her go so we obeyed the laws. I felt the only way she would have a chance to get better was to be allowed to go fall on her face but our state wouldn't allow it.

    Good luck, glad you found us--we certainly do understand!
  9. Chele

    Chele New Member


    Welcome to the group. I am new to the post also. Our son's behavior began to change at 14. New (bad) friends, lower grades, skipping classes, refusing to get up to go to school. Then alcohol, weed and the big Coke began. We went to the Child and family Services for assistance for a case manager to help us to help him. That was when we got the first drug test. I never thought my son would get hooked on such bad stuff, I could hardly believe it. You have gotten some GREAT advice, I support all that has been suggested. We have really learned that we can not control our son, or make him listen or learn. So, we try to focus on what WE are willing to put up with, or allow in our home. We were lucky, he got arrested last year with weed and we got him on probation. This has not stopped him but it really has slowed him down on the drugs since he has returned from rehab and his boarding school. Unfortunately, now he is drinking and stealing. Just got incarcerated again last night.
    We have a 13 yr daughter who has really felt the effects of her brother, so we have really tried to change the home environment to help with this. We stopped nagging, yelling and screaming. We just state the we will not allow something to take place and if he decides to do it, we will call the probation counselor. AND WE DO... One of his probation terms is to follow his home rules, curfew, being respectful, etc. And, since we call and meet with the counselor, she handles it, along with the judge and our son gets the consequences. So, it may seem stupid to you, but our house was out of control, completely. Go back and read everyones suggestions again and make a list to discuss with your husband and really start working on your home, other relationships and insuring that you don't let this over come your happiness. Make time to have fun, relax and start learning how to let go of your difficult child. That doesn't mean you don't care or love him, but you have to learn that you have to focus on the rest of the family and let the consequences of his actions fall on him.. Get lots of books, stay on the internet, and go to meetings or counseling, whatever works for you.

    Good luck, stay in touch and share new challeges, We all can work together and learn from each other.

  10. Chele

    Chele New Member


    I want to clarify something I said earlier. My son is almost 18 and we have been dealing with behavior issues his whole life. I said that we can't control our kids. I did not intent to imply not to try to help them or give up. I feel we parents should do everything possible to help our kids, however, not let them ruin our whole life and family. We were allowing this to happen and our happiness depended on his behavior. Well, I am working on not doing that anymore. So, I meant to say never give up but try not to let it ruin your whole life.

  11. rose2lilly

    rose2lilly New Member

    Thanks for the welcome and sharing.

    I didn't mention that we sent our difficult child to a wilderness program last April and then on to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in Utah for a year. He came home at the end of May. He did okay for about a month, got bored and turned to his old user friends. He started running away when he didn't like our rules and curfews. We said "No"; he ran away. One time he was gone for 6 days! We call the police everytime, but it is so frustrating when all they do is bring him back home. It's a never ending circle. However, when they brought him back home after his time away for six days, difficult child threatened to stab his dad and me if the police made him go in the house. The police did an emergency petition to have him evaulated and he ended up spending 6 days in a mental health hospital. But, that only made him angrier.

    When I referred to his "criminal" activity, I meant robberies and thefts mostly. I know his drug use and truancy is criminal as well. In Maryland, we have a CHINS program (Child in Need of Supervision) which describes our difficult child to a tee. The only problem is, he needs to be arrested on some criminal activity before he can be admitted into the program. Running away is not a crime and, I guess unless he gets caught, the drug use can't be used against him. I've called Social Services. They have a placement program, but he needs to come voluntarily. Yeah, right!

    Of course, the wilderness program and Residential Treatment Center (RTC) drained our financial resources so we are limited in what we can do now. But, I keep looking! I decided I didn't want to throw him out yet because I don't want to risk him leaving and never hearing from him again.

    Oh, and husband and I are on the same page. We are very supportive of each other and I'm amazed our marriage hasn't been affected by all of this.
  12. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member


    First of all, welcome! Yes, you've stumbled on a great site. There are many of us who have been where you are now and come out the other side - some better than others, but we've survived. We're here to help in any way we can. You'll find a lot of support - both informational and emotional.

    Since you've already tried a few things - wilderness and Residential Treatment Center (RTC) - it's clear that you and your husband are doing everything you can to change things. As others said above, we cannot change what our children do and we cannot make them get better. It's hard knowing when to push and when to sit back and let natural consequnces take over.

    In my son's case, we pushed for treatment, and even signed him in against his will at one point. For us, it was saving our son's life, as we knew he wouldn't survive the drug world he was in the middle of.

    As DDD stated above, you and your husband being on the same page is so important. You have to agree what your line in the sand is, and what consequences will be followed through on. It's very important not to make a threat you don't intend to follow through on, or it gives our difficult child's a mixed signal. They will push us as far as they can, so if there are no boundaries, they will keep pushing.

    Again, welcome. Glad you found us.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I had a daughter who abused drugs from age 12 until around 19. She came out the other end and is doing well. Your son can too. I think you're doing all you can, and the folks here are terrific!
  14. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    [edited] Sorry, I had a post to you, but didn't read the whole thread and saw that you'd already done more than I'd suggested.

    You are certainly in a tough spot. All I can offer is hope and prayers for you and yours.

  15. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    it really does sound like you have done everything possible, especially with the wilderness and Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I think it is perfectly reasonable for you to try to detach emotionally (I know you can't make him leave your home, he is too young). That is what my husband and I had to do with our difficult child. When we felt we had exhausted all the resources we had we just did what we were required to do by law (report her missing) and went on with our lives. She was picked up by the police eventually and court ordered to rehab. By the time she returned home she was nearly 18 and left our home to live with her boyfriend. I felt like we just had to muddle through til she was old enough that we could say she couldn't live in our home without abiding by our rules.

    As I said in my earlier post, she is now 19 and doing much better so don't give up hope, just try to detach so you can still enjoy your lives and get through the next few years!
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If you don't already have solid doors and locks on them on ALL the inner doors of your home, it is an idea.

    Maybe take the door OFF his room so that he can't hide stuff at home, or lock you out of his room.

    These won't make everything better, but they might protect the rest of the family and their possessions.

    I am glad that you found us, we are a truly amazing group of people if I do say so myself!

    At this point do what you need to in order to protect the rest of the family. If he hurts you or anyone else report it as domestic violence. That CAN be a way to get into some treatment options.

    It is wonderful that your marriage is solid. difficult children are notoriously hard on relationships.