More ugh....

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by toughlovin, May 6, 2016.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I really appreciate the support and having a place to vent about this stuff. Can you all just know that right now I am swearing up a blue streak even though I can't write it down here!

    So I just heard from the IOP and my son did not show up today either which means he didn't go at all this week (he is supposed to go MWF). I know him and he is trying to make a point which is I can't control him. He has not communicated at all with me since his last comment and I have not contacted him either.

    I know I just need to let it be... And when he is in trouble we will hear from him. I have no idea if he is drinking again but there is certainly a very good chance that he is. In which case he may very well get kicked out of the sober living... Of course even if he is not kicked out now he might be out at the end of the month when we don't pay the rent!!

    So I am imagining him homeless again. And darn it but I am doing this thing tonight with a coming of age program with our church where we are going into the city to a program about the homeless.... It sounds like a great program in theory to teach young people about homelessness......but I have to get through it without thinking about my son in that situation.

    I don't know what is going to happen.... But I know at this point I just need to keep letting go. I am having a pretty hard time feeling hopeful at this point.

    I just have to remember he is on his own journey and he has to find his way. I can be on that ladder next to him helping him if he asks for it but I can't be climbing the ladder with him....otherwise when he falls I will be crushed.

  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    TL, first off I'm sorry. Do you think alcohol is his drug of choice right now? I may be way off base but if alcohol is his major problem he may physically need to drink at this point. His body may need the alcohol to get back into it's norm. I watched my dad for as many years as I was alive NEED alcohol. He would go for periods of time without drinking but always went back. We knew when he was about to drink, he got very anxious, fidgety, ready to pick a fight. Whenever he went into the hospital for anything he was pleasant the first two/three days. The longer he was in the meaner he got. By about a week they were ready to kick him out because he was belligerent. Maybe it's the same way with you son.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    TL, I am sorry for this disappointment. And I know how concerned you must be. You have been such a stalwart, with your husband, there for your son at every step of the way. No adult child could have asked for a better friend, than you have been. That is how it has seemed to me, these many months.

    Two things come to mind. First, your son may still want to drink more than he wants to quit. I know that is simplistic but there is no way to help another person with this. While an addiction, I believe it is also a personal choice. You know that your son has got to want this to his depths. He will decide when it is time and follow through on his own. No matter how much we do want to do i with them, it does not seem to help. I know. I have been there.
    That is so true but as much or more he needs to do this himself, so that he will own it, not you.

    An amazing exchange happened with my son tonight.

    He said: Mom. Why do you think that I never fell into hard drugs when so many others do, that are my age? (I will note here that my son is adopted. He was drug-exposed and both parents were addicts who died of Aids.)

    Well, I said, not all that many use drugs. There are as many young people or more that are constructive and productive and go to college and work. (When oh when will I ever learn.)

    Yeah, he persevered, but why do you think I stayed away?

    It must have to do with self-esteem, I said. Because you chose to stay away from hard drugs. You decided. (That lately is my favorite word: Decide, and choice.)

    No. He answered, I have low self-esteem.

    No you don't, I said. In the core of you, you have self-respect and self-esteem.

    No, he said. I think it is hope. I have hope. Hope is a wonderful thing, Mom.

    TL, you could have bowled me over with a feather to hear that word, hope, out of my son's mouth.

    Now 27 my son in these past 4 plus years has been homeless in 4 counties, hospitalized for danger to self multiple times, etc.

    And all of a sudden, he tells me he has hope, and that is what defines him?

    I could not believe it.

    Your son will find this in himself. I know it, because a little bit I know you. We love our sons, TL. I believe in love and I believe in hope. Go figure.

    I know there are mothers and fathers who love their children who they fear may never, ever turn the corner. My heart hurts for them. I was one of them. And now I am not. At least for tonight. But I know that they can decide to change. I just know it.

    TL, I hope you are sound asleep now and tomorrow you awake with hope, and the optimism and strength that define you. Your son will do it. On his terms, in his time. I believe that.

    People quit alcohol. M, my SO, was a near lifelong alcoholic. He stopped for 19 years in the middle of his life and when I met him had resumed. A year into our relationship he stopped. He has had 6 more years without a problem.

    I am learning, even, to have faith. What a kick is that.
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  4. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Copa - great conversation with your son. Thank you for your kind words!

    Nancy - IInteresting thought about his need for alcohol. He had been in residential to for 30 days so the alcohol was out of his system.

    And I really don't know for sure if he is drinking. It seems like there are two possibilities for what he is doing. One is the obvious, he is relapsing and drinking and that is a very real possibility and probably true.

    But it is also possible that he is not drinking and is just trying to make a point that I can't control him and that he won't do what we ask. This is very in line with his personality and the way he is and our relationship. Problem is this is total sabatoge if this is what he is doing. I hope against hope this is what is going on and he will come to his senses with my quietness and go back to IOP on Monday and pull it together. I am hoping for this but definitely not holding my breath as I doubt this will happen.

    My husband has a business trip out there in a couple of weeks and so may see him... If my son doesn't blow him off. I am very glad that I did not agree to go on this trip as I don't think my going to see him would be a good idea at all right now.

    I am feeling pretty clear at the moment (that of course can change easily) that I need to keep quiet and see what if anything he does. If he does nothing, does not go to IOP then we will give him no funds and if the end of the month comes we will not pay his rent and then he will be homeless... Unless of course he has gotten it together to prove us wrong and can pay his own rent. (Which would be wonderful). And of course if he is relapsed he may be kicked out sooner rather than later.

    So that is where we are at..... I am going to post separately about my experience working with the homeless last night and today.

  5. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Well he just sent me an apology!!! So that is a good sign. Of course the next step will probably be to ask for money. I did send back a reply and told him he needs to go get support at IOP.
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    OK it is almost comical how predictable he is.... Sad though. so yes he then asked me for money for food.... Hasn't eaten for a day and a half etc. I told him Monday if he goes to IOP..... So then he got really nasty again and called me names. I responded that I guess his apology didn't mean much. He said some more stuff and told me basically I was misguided with tough love etc. Then he asked if I would be home Monday and maybe the IOP could give me some rationality.

    I am ok. This is so predictable. I am sorry he is hungry but he won't starve before Monday. And really I think he is vulnerable right now and it is extremely possible that if I gave him money now it would go for booze. So it's not happening.

  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Out here there are food pantries. There have to be some there. I doubt his friends wouldn't give either. Doesn't sound right..could he be wanting money for.drugs? I thought he was supposed to get a job.

    I think you responded exactly right. You were just there and he didn't mention a food problem.

    They use whatever will make our hearts bleed to get drug money. Been there. Good for you for sticking to your guns. Sorry that he is playing games again.
  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    So true.....I am pretty sure he would use it to buy least if he goes to IOP tomorrow they can get a handle on where he is at.
  9. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    Maybe I am in the minority, but when my son is discharged from residential in a week or 2, and goes to sober living/IOP, I will not be paying his rent. He is 23, and very capable of holding a 1/2 or 3/4 time job. We will help him with the 1st month only. Does your son have a job? If he does, in my opinion, he should be contributing to rent. If he has a job, and is not contributing, I'd be concerned with what he's spending his income on.

    They need to made to get off their 'rear ends', for many reasons. Main one is to keep their minds busy, another big one, is that it helps to give them responsibility and pumps up their self-esteem (which most users have little of). I would help him with food, but that is it. Even that is tricky (you will read down below why). His phone is already being paid for by his paternal grandma. Why cannot he handle the rent?

    A few months back when he was renting a room & had a job, he was adamant that I put a certain amount of 'food allowance' in his account weekly. I did, and you know what that was being used for? ALCOHOL and WEED. I found out when I realized I had his bank account password written down, and did some snooping! It was a total pattern. I'd transfer $ over---->next transaction? A stop at a local 'liquor store', an 'Ale House', a CVS drug store! :mad: Also, he was making pretty good cash by delivering chinese food. Then, he'd be telling me he was short on rent and the man was letting him make it in pmts..I wondered, 'why on earth, is he not able to pay that small amt in rent with what he's telling me he makes each night?' A-ha! He was spending his income and tips on ALCOHOL and WEED.

    I am not criticizing, but I feel strongly about this. Everybody does what 'they' need to do, on their detachment route. ;)

    I like this, Copa. Chose, choose, choice, decide, decided, decision - good terms to keep in my arsenal for next week's 3 day Family Session, and the future. It puts it on them.

    TL - my son does this all.the.time. Calls, is nicey nicey. We get off the phone, and I wait. Wait for the next call, which will inevitably be, asky, asky. Then, when I say 'NO' ----->it's nasty, nasty.

    Soooo predictable.
  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Rebelson.... You have a good point. What will you do if your son does not get a job in that time frame.... Will you still not pay rent and let him be homeless?
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    When my daughter used we stopped giving her a dime, although she started at 12. Anything she needed for school, we bought. She packed sack lunches for school . At sixteen she got a part time job evenings and weekends and although I'm positive she used the money on drugs, at least it was her money, not mine. She also did learn a lot about working and did buy herself some clothes and cosmetics. By age sixteen, when she worked, we had started buying her only bare necessities. She still used drugs, but we didn't help her. So I'm on the no money bandwagon. Even while on meth, she at least worked and got through Cometology School (her friends told the Dean she was using drugs and he called us...but it was her own loan and we sort of believed her when she Saud the girls lied to the Dean).
    After she was told to leave, she got her brother in another state to let her stay in his basement. She had no money so she got another job, walking back and forth in Chicaos winter. Brother insisted she work.
    Shortly after she moved in with brother, she quit. No rehab. She even quit cigarettes. She says that she got tired of the drug life. It was too hard. She has been twelve years sober.
    I cried buckets the night I made her leave. I thought she'd be homeless. I didn't know her straight arrow brother had agreed to come get her, and let her stay with him under Herculean rules that were even stricter than ours. She yelled as she left that she'd hate me forever. She wouldn't talk to me for a few weeks. Killed me.
    But she quit.
    She is now twelve years sober and refuses to let anyone smoke a cigarette in her house.
    She quit at about age nineteen or twenty.
    "It was too hard."
    Nobody helped her use. We were not sure we were doing the right thing. She insists we did exactly the right thing.
    Paying rent is a personal decision. I don't think it works. On this board for fifteen years, I can't remember any adult child taking advantage of free rent to turn his/her life around. The more they are given, in my opinion the less they grow up. The more favors we do, the more they depend on us while other adults their ages are working, marrying, raising kids, buying homes, not on the phone asking for food money.
    I don't judge anything that anyone does. I just share what worked for me. I hold hands with all the brave mothers on this board. I send prayers.
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  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I forgot to add that in spite of that rough patch, Princess and me now VERY close. Getting tough when they are on drugs does not push them away forever. She just called and we wished one another Happy Mothers Day. The kids understand, once sober, that we did the tough love out of love..
    Unless they have other mental health issues perhaps.

    Ok. Off the soap box. Make today about YOU.
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I feel certain that my son going homeless was a serious factor in his motivation to change. That was when he realized his choices determined his welfare. He skiddadled out of a City where it was dangerous to be homeless to a series of counties less densely populated. Until he realized that he hated it. Hated the streets.

    And guess what? He decided to treat us better. Decided to conform to an extent. And then more and more.

    I believe going homeless was ice water in my son's face.

    The next ice water blast was when I would hardly talk to him, if he wanted to impose his beliefs on me.

    The more there are consequences, the more they are able to grow. My son is on SSI for mental illness. That means that some people think he is seriously mentally ill--to the extent that he cannot work. Even still, he had to experience consequences to recognize he could make choices to change his environment and if he acted in certain ways he would motivate other people to cooperate with him.

    Nearly every single time we respond with a reasonable and logical consequence, or impose a boundary, he responds constructively. Not one hundred percent but more or less.

    It took 4 plus years in the wilderness alone for him to decide to work with us. I suffered along with him, but not as much as he did. It takes that kind of reversal--for them to get that they are the ones to suffer--not us, for them to recognize the locus of control is in them. Not us.

    I am seeing it with an analogy of awakening nerve tissue that has been traumatized. Sometimes the nerves have to be stimulated in order to remember that they work.

    Or remember Helen Keller in the movie? When Anne Bancroft was teaching her to associate her senses with word meanings? That is what we are doing here too. Allowing our children to see that they can operate themselves and their world without their mothers and fathers doing it for them.
  14. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I am getting there. I have been tough before and I can be so again. My son spent almost 4 months on the streets in Denver in the middle of winter. It was very hard on me.... Now at least he is in a warmer climate. I have been clear with what our requirements are now and we will see how it goes. I guess this process is one step at a time for us as well as for them.
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Wow. Is this the truth TL.

    I have been thinking a lot about how I got so hopeful all of a sudden. And then I remember that it was not all of a sudden.

    When my son wanted to come home. I said no. He came to my door at night. I threw him out after 2 days. Honestly, I have amnesia about how it was that there was any kind of coming together. But I am certain that I was icy. Until, all of sudden, I melted.
  16. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    OK an update. My son surprised me a bit yesterday and did send me a message saying "Happy Mothers Day for what it's worth". He then sent me a long message today saying he went to IOP had a long conversation with the two therapists about how he is feeling, issues with us etc. So they came.up with a plan that he will go one day less a week.... But will have two individual sessions one with each therapist a week. So in essence more individual work and less groups which given the amount of treatment he has had makes sense. And he will work on getting a job and will be going over what he is doing in that regard with them. And he did acknowledge that all that has happened to him is his own doing... And although eh still feels some resentment that all the things we have done have totally been with his best interest in mind. I did call and confirm all this with the IOP. So this is good and we will go from here.

    I have done some reading about how "tough love" doesn't work. There is some controversy about this approach. It certainly works in some cases but not in all. So I have really been trying over the past many years to find the balance of supporting and loving my son but not totally enabling him either. It is often a very hard balance to find. I feel like the last few days I have been doing that balancing act fairly well. SEtting boundaries but still being there. So we shall see what happens from here.

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  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    TL. So glad to read your post. Sounds, so so good.
    I did not know about the research on Tough Love not being the right approach for some. In our case nothing, I mean nothing has worked better than all out support, with firm boundaries, feedback, lots of it, and more love. I mean who would have guessed?

    I think we become so afraid and defended we can be afraid to love them.
    Sounds great.
    That is exactly what we are trying to do, TL. It felt really a risk at first, like flying blind. But my son really rose to the occasion. There have been lots of backslides but every single time we have dug deep in ourselves and tried again. He keeps showing us that we are doing the right thing.

    It takes courage to love. And it takes courage and love to heal. How could it be otherwise?

    We raised them in relationship. Then we turned into snipers. There were reasons, but we have moved back into the line of fire. And guess what? Nobody is shooting.
  18. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member


    No, I will not pay his rent. There are many jobs to be gotten, especially in south FL. In the past, he has had a hard time keeping a job due to being stoned or buzzed while working. Hopefully, it'll work out better for him being sober.

    He lived with paternal grandma for almost 2 yrs & barely worked. He was too busy drinking & drugging. She let it go on. Man, he had it good there! He cld be halfway thru college by now.

    But in August he found his stuff on the front porch.

    From August to March 25 (the day he entered residential treatment), he's been a mixture of (a little) homeless, (a little) couch surfing @ friends, several nights in hotel rooms (on me, of course), & several months in a rented room, which I also DID help him with, but he still got behind in the rent. Hmm. You know why that happened? He was using ALL of his PT job earnings on alcohol, pot & likely Xanax here & there. The more $ help I give, the more he seems to "take". Not healthy for him.

    All I have to say is, can you imagine the ramped up intensity of etoh/drugs that would've been likely, if his rent was being taken care of by mommy?

    No way. I will not. He has choices to make. As Copa says, he needs to become a man. For that transition to complete itself (it's been stagnant), mommy needs to get out of his way.

    He is still in residential. After he leaves there, he transitions to the affiliated Sober Living facility & where he will attend IOP for several months, he will be there at least 3 months.

    After that, "he will hopefully make the choice" to remain in a sober living/halfway house & continue with AA & a sponsor.

    As long as he remains in sober living/halfway house, I will HELP him here &, clothes, 'maybe' rent, only if in a real bind etc.

    But pay his rent for him? No. He's almost 24. At 24, I was a single RN working full-time, with no child support, paying for child care, all bills, car pmt, food, a nice apt, with a 2yo, ---> him:).

    TL, I don't know if you remember, but a few months back, I had been transferring quite a bit of $ into his bank acct, often for 'supposed food'. Ha! Food my butt. Within an hour (usually less) of each transfer I'd make, at his innocent sounding request for 'food $', he wld make stops at ale houses, liquor stores, CVS drug stores, etc.

    So, again no I won't be paying his rent:).
  19. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Hi Rebelson. I totally get where you are coming from. Our sons are the same age. My son was homeless in Denver for 3 months in the middle of winter. It was pretty miserable. It did not make him get a job or get clean..... It did eventually get him back into treatment.

    My son did work for awhile at a job he really loved.... And even though he was working he was very isolated and got into very serious drinking. That is when he finally decided for himself that he needed help.

    We have taken the stand that we will help him if he is helping himself, and we will not help if he is not. Slowly he seems to be making progress. It is slower than I would like but although there are many steps forward and steps back he seems to be going in the right direction. I don't think for my son, cutting off all help immediately would be the right thing to do. I think he would end up back on the streets, drinking and drugging and panhandling and he would be worse off.

    However we are letting him know we will be cutting down financial support as we expect him to get a job and are hoping that with the support of the IOP and knowing we are there that he will do that.

    Time will tell.
  20. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    Sometimes being on the streets is the final straw for them. And, until that occurs, they will continue. I mean, who really wants to be homeless?! My son is too 'clean' of a person, takes 2 showers/day, and is too physically vain and self-absorbed to allow himself to be homeless for long. Ha!

    If we keep 'padding' their landing, they will not feel the hard floor
    . Know what I mean??

    I know my son, and he is a hard one. Not paying his way to relapse or continue with his lifestyle, is something that we have concluded, in our particular situation. Helping him, has not 'helped'. Does that make sense?

    What are your requirements for helping him with rent? Are you requiring him to live in halfway house for rent coverage? Where you will know that he is not using the $ he makes on drugs/alcohol, since he's not needing to be responsible for rent (as you're covering it)?

    Please don't answer if you don't wish to. Those are just immediate questions that popped in to my head. We have to be so vigilant, one step ahead, with these d_c's, don't we?

    A few months before he entered treatment, I began to mail him food place gift cards after I saw that he was using transferred funds on alcohol. Then, women here on CD, told me NO! He will sell those cards. Ugh. :eek:

    P.S. your tag line still says son is 19, not sure if you realized that, or care =).