Holding the line, can use support!

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by enzo, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. enzo

    enzo Member

    Like many stories up here, our difficult child discovered pot as a self medicating way to feel good, and it quickly got out of control. We forced him into a 28 day dbt program (it was that or "wilderness"..) and he just started a "character intensive" boarding school (his other choice was, you guessed it, "wilderness").

    He learned some good skills in DBT, how to deal with frustration, accepting reality, and we've seen him using the skills. He's homesick at boarding school, its physically not a very nice facility (dark and dank dorms) even though the program gets excellent reviews. Its tough for him, he misses his family, his dog, and being home...but we just know he'd be back to smoking right away and all of our hard work in the last few months would be shot...

    His "test" will be this coming summer at home. We are going to require him to take drug tests, attend regular counseling, and AA of some sort. WE know from this board that ODD+Pot = disaster. And that trying to "fix" it at age 16 is a lot easier than at 18..

    Any advice from those who've taken a similar journey (or anecdotally) and had it work?

    thanks and best to all,

  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Sure hope it goes smoothly. I am SURE these lovelies (and some dads) will chime in and be able to give you specifics, but in general, really want to say you sound like you did great. Glad he learned some skills, too bad he is not all in in wanting to be there, but he is doing better it seems. That summer "test" well, nothing is perfect, I suppose there will be slips, slides etc.... but really sounds like a hopeful start. What will you do if he does run into problems. Is there a safety plan in place to prepare for that before he comes home?
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Not coming from the same background, but do have a teenaged male difficult child, and... for us, the key to any of us surviving summer holidays is... projects. difficult child-interest projects (ours is a hands-on guy)... summer job to pay for projects, travel to go get more stuff for projects... a garage and back yard crammed full of projects... But it means he is never bored. If he gets roadblocked on project A, there's something to work on for project B. If the weather won't let him do those two because they are outside, he's got project C that can be done in the garage, or project D that can be done in the house... It takes us about 6 months of planning and aquiring (we're in that phase now), to be ready for two months of summer. But it's worth it.

    Boredom is the biggest enemy of a difficult child.
    Stupid fun is almost as bad as boredom.
    Happily productive = out of trouble (usually).

    (IF you can get them to the point of happily productive, that is...)
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  4. pinevalley

    pinevalley Member

    Enzo: Welcome to this community. You will find a lot of wise parents here who can offer you advice and support.

    It sounds like you have been very proactive in getting help for your difficult child. I know that it can be a nightmare to deal with a teen-ager who is out of control on drugs, and I am impressed with everything you have done so far to help your son. It was a very smart decision to keep your difficult child away from home, where it is so easy to get together with druggie friends and use weed again. Your son may really want to stop using drugs, but it is extremely hard for any teen to stop using unless they cut all ties with their druggie friends.

    Has your difficult child agreed to see a counselor when he is home for the summer? When my difficult child was seeing a psychiatrist at home the doctor made our difficult child take the drug tests right before his appointment every week. This was great for me, because I did not have to force my son to take a drug test at home. The counselor was the bad guy giving the test, and that was much easier for me.

    Have you made any plans to keep your difficult child busy during the summer? Will he take any classes, get a summer job, play sports, etc? I would try to keep him as busy as possible, so that he will not have much time to hang out with the wrong friends and smoke weed. If your difficult child is not interested in taking a class or getting a job, you can always require him to do volunteer work every weed in the summer. I know that it is really hard for 15 year old teens to find a summer job. When my difficult child was 15 years old he did not have a summer job, but my h and I offered to pay him every week for chores around our house. He also volunteered to work in a local thrift shop, and he really enjoyed working there all summer. He was proud that his volunteer work was really needed, and he was also able to use this experience as a good reference for a paying job. The only reason that our difficult child volunteered at the thrift shop was because my h and I insisted that our son had to keep busy every week. We did not allow him to stay home and watch tv all day long, or just hang out with his friends doing nothing at all. If teens do not have anything to keep them busy it is just too easy for them to get in trouble.

    Good luck with your difficult child. Keep posting and let us know how he is doing.
  5. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Is there also outpatient DBT that your son could go to during the summer? That may help, as well as AA or NA. I agree with Insane that projects are the way to go.
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    No advice just wanted to show my support. Good luck.
  7. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Your plan for summer sounds good. I also suggest that you continue with some form of counselling and make sure your difficult child is busy, busy, busy. Idle hand and all that Know what I mean??
  8. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    Hi Enzo - Welcome. I am compelled to write you - we are about a year and a half into our journey which is almost exactly the same story as yours. My son got involved with pot the summer before freshman year. By the time he got the high school, he was totally non-functioning at school, acting out with anger at home and had lost interest in everything. We didn't know what to do and tried everything, punishments, rewards, counseling, etc. Nothing worked. We had to wait for him to experience his own "natural consequences". By March, he got caught with pot at school, arrested, expelled and our real journey toward recovery began. We sent him to a "character" boarding school, but it didn't work. He was not able to finsh the year as the problem with pot just continued there. The school had a relationship with a Wilderness program where we then sent him for 90 days. That was a great intervention to immedaitely stop the bahavior, clear the pot and try to get his to see what he was doing to himself. Although it did not "fix" the problem there, he began to see that there was a problem and became more open to therapy. We left him there all summer (expensive) as we did not feel he was well enough to be home. He then went back to his boarding school in September. While in the boarding school this year, he has continued with "groups" and individual therapy. He had a couple of relapses, but sought more support both times. The second relapse he asked to come home for a while to step up support and attend an IOP program. I would say that since the IOP program, he has progressively gotten better and better. The good news is also that his home friends are all doing well now too. It's been a long journey and I highly doubt that we are "done", but I wanted to share my story with you for two reasons. First, there is hope. I know what you're feeling right now, I have been there. There is hope, but it takes time and he will most likely not have a "perfect" journey. Be patient, read all you can about substance abuse and teens, find your boundaries and let it be HIS journey. You cannot stop him if he chooses the wrong way, but you can be there for him when he is ready for help. The second and harder thing to tell you is that he will probably continue to struggle for a while before HE decides that the cost of that lifestyle is too great. I think for my son, he was just tired of being a failure. He finally realized that it had gotten to the point where people expected him to screw up and he became determinned to prove them wrong with the same vigor that he used to be determined to do whatever he wanted. It's not easy to watch as a parent, but it sounds like you're taking great steps to separate him from very toxic environments and put him in places where he can grow, if he chooses to. For the summer, I would reccomend finding an outpatient IOP program where you live. After my son relapsed, he went to one and that was the single most impactful thing he did. He met many kids with much worse abuse issues than his and it affected him deeply. The good thing was that he was attending the IOP 3 times per week while living at home, exposed to his friends. This allowed him to grow within his own life rather than just removing him and putting him somewhere where there was no access to trouble. I do believe that that program allowed him to change more from within, in his own life and that is why he has been able to sustain a healthy life now. My son is now doing well and planning to return home in June and go to the local high school next year. Again, there may be set backs, but he and we know what to do now and where to go for support if that happens. When he comes home, we will require him to get a job in order to have access to a car. Again just pushing him toward increased responsiblity and maturity. If he struggles again, I will not protect him, but allow him to create his own problems so that he experiences the pain and comes to us for help again. Here are a few books that have helped me: "Teens Under the Influence" "Changing for Good" "The Unchangfed Mind" followed by "To Change a Mind" and "Itenvention: Anything but My Own Skin". If you need me - feel free to private message.
  9. enzo

    enzo Member

    Zardo, thank you. I pm'd you.
  10. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    You've gotten very good advice her. I only have two things to add:

    Just make it clear what you will and will not tolerate - especially important with younger kids in the wings. My difficult child was 19 when our issues began, our therapist was clear in that we needed to develop a "concrete" set of standards of living in our home-the behaviors we expected from him. I don't know how much it helped our situation - but it DID help H and me - as it gave us the ability to reestablish OUR control in our household.

    Also - I hate to say this - but have a back up plan. In the event that he tests positive for drug use, you are going to need to spring into action. Decide what the action will be LONG before you start testing him.

    You sound like a wonderful parent and I wish you the best. Welcome to the CD board, sorry you had to find us.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am wondering why he does not continue with DBT? I don't think too many people know what that is, because it is kind of new, but I do! It is the best form of therapy I have ever had and seriously changed my outlook on many things. in my opinion DBT would be more important than Wilderness Camp or anything you can send him to. Can he keep going to it? If you don't keep it up you can forget to do your "wise mind" thing and get off track and I find the entire DBT amazing.
  12. enzo

    enzo Member

    yes! agreed on DBT, it has been a big help to our difficult child and to our family. He continues with a DBT trained shrink at his boarding school, and there's a dbt center nearby for the summer.