Newbie / 24 yr y/o son in jail again

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by volusia799, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. volusia799

    volusia799 New Member

    My 24 y/o son is in jail for drug paraphenilia (sp?) posession. He was arrested a yr ago for stealing mail from peoples mailboxes but we (wife and I) bailed him out and pd the attorney $500 (which we got back- PD), spend at least $400 in phone calls to the jail in the 10 days he was in jail.

    His wife was put in jail a few hrs earlier for going "crazy" as her mother puts it. She is, at a minimum, bipolar, and our son , who knows?, he has beed diagnosed in high school as ADD, and again in his early 20's as depressive d/o, and of course the doctor(by a large college) gave him a script for benzo's. He is not compliant with and of the medications prescribed to him, other than OD if he thinks they will get him high, 1 bottle of 60-90 benzo's gone in less than a week.

    He and his wife lived at our house for 6 mth, 4-5 p/t jobs, but he couldnt hold a job, wake up late, late to work, run out of gas, then sit at home for days/weeks not looking for work, promising he would. We found the kids stealing medications of me and my wifes. Anything they thought would get them high). When they left to live with her parents, we found some needles (which I use for testosterone shots) in the bottom of one of the vases in their room.

    There is a lot more to this story.....of course. His mom and I both work full-time respectable jobs, she stayed home to care for him in his early years (0-12 yrs old), and we thought we did right in bringing him up.

    As the cops were taking him out of the in-laws house, the last thing he said to his mother in law, "be sure to call my parents tomorrow so they can bail me out!"

    We don't want to bail him out. We can probably afford it, although we live paycheck to paycheck. There are so many "what-if's" being in jail.

    I'm writing this not so much for advise, although any is appreciated, but writing this as a way of grieving and venting. We have spent at least $6000 on these kids in the last year, given him a car/paid 1st mth insurance, got him out of jail, let them live rent free (although we asked for $, gas money, trips to go back and see her folks. More than the money "invested" we have spent much of our emotions on him. Up/down/up/down. It's draining.

    We (or I) am a pushover. He's our only child, and I am scared of losing him to a drug o/d, left on the streets, violence by his wife (domestic abuse), abuse in prison. I have a lot of guilt, what did I do wrong? Of course I know that as a caring father, I cannot always point the finger at myself. He is a man now. But when does one draw the line and say, "it's up to you now kid. No more $$ and bailouts from mom and dad."

    Thank you for this forum. What a cloud that hangs over my head. Wondering when I'll get that phone call, "are you XYZ, and is your sons name ABC, we have some bad news....."
  2. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest


    I sympathize so much with where you are, as I am sure a lot of us do in this forum. I think it is really hard to have a child in jail, there is something just awful about it. At least that is what I felt... I hated it when my son was in jail for 2 weeks although now I think it is the best thing that could have happened. If you can find an alanon group for parents, that can really help. Sounds like your son (and his wife) both have serious drug problems. I think the reality is it is hard to be successful at life when you are dependent on drugs and always looking for the next high. I know what you mean about worrying about that possible phone call. So hopefully your son will hate jail. I think it is a strong statement when you refuse to bail him out. He is 24 and it is time for him to be responsible for himself. You can't change him or cure him, he needs to be the one to do that work. My suggestion (know you didn't want advice so ignore me if you want) is to take a stand and stick to it. I would suggest you think about what you are willing and not willing to do for him, and what you think would really help him or not. Getting him out of jail and letting him gon on his merry way probably won't help him much, except that he got by the system one more time. Maybe leaving him in jail until he is willing to seriously look at rehab or drug treatment will help him. Maybe not. however he has to get to the point where he wants help. I know with my son he really really hated jail, and once there he was willing to do anything to get out.... and that finally got him into rehab for his drug problem. Good luck. Keep reading and posting.
  3. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I feel your pain and your confusion. It probably would be helpful for you just to browse thru threads on the Board that have to do with drugs, kids, adults, jail etc. Our experiences are varied and the actions we have taken or are taking vary also. There is no magic solution. (Teen & Substance Abuse and P.E.)

    Going to meetings and reviewing the posts of others may lead to some clarity for you. Whatever decision you make it is really important to be on the same page as your wife. Having a united front prevents the isolation of fears and concerns.

    I've been there done that. Those of us who have traveled that road understand. I'm sending supportive thoughts your way. DDD
  4. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    Sorry you are going through this. This is a good place for telling your story - people here really know just what you are feeling, the fear, pain, frustration, grief, anger, diappointment, helplessness, desire to "do something" for this person you love but knowing that anything you do seems to make it worse. Definitely with you on not bailing him out.

    I too dread "the call". I know the fear of what could happen on the street is so strong. But it seems that the only way they can hit bottom and hopefully make a change, is by experiencing the consequences. Most times when they have to they muddle through somehow.

    I wish you and your "wife" (dear wife) some peace and relief - there are resources on this site for learning to "detach" from the situation. All the best.
  5. volusia799

    volusia799 New Member

    Thanks for the replies. It is very helpful to know we are not the only ones going through this living hell. We want nothing more than a nice quiet peaceful life for him (and his wife). Also a nice quiet peaceful life for my wife and myself would be nice! This distress has been going on since he was 17 yrs old, and it has gotten really bad in the last yr 1/2.

    I am grateful to have stumbled upon this forum. I am checking out alanon mtgs in our area.

    As for advice.....I certainly am open to it, as everything I have or have not done obviously has not helped my son to move forward. Thanks again.

    We didnt hear from him today (from his 1st day in jail) as we only have cell phones. We had a home phone line hooked up last time he was in jail, and spent $$$$$$ to the co. that runs it...what a racket! After he got out of jail last time, we d/c'd the home line, as all we ever get is solicitations. We are reluctant to have the line re-instated.

    Thanks again...
  6. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    I'm sorry you are going through this. We all have similar horror stories- jail or not- we have all been put through the ringer with our difficult children. My situation has gone on since my daughter was about 14 and she is now 20. I have been fairly successful at detaching and I can tell you it has brought me peace of mind and body and spirit that I have not had in years. That's not to say I don't still worry or have bad days, but I have been much better over the last year at shifting my focus to me and letting her live her own life. It's hard and scary, but really I wasn't controlling anything in her life anyway, and once I let go and realized I could only control me it felt like a 500 pound weight had been lifted from me. I will say that initially I had to detach in anger, which wasn't the best. But it was the best I could do. I have had periods of no contact with her, which is sometimes healthy and necessary for me. Now I have limited contact with her and on my terms, so that is amazing progress in my life. I think the key for me was learning to truly shift my focus to ME and my life and what makes me happy. That is a skill that takes practice but once you get there it changes everything. Good luck to you. Hang in there!
  7. volusia799

    volusia799 New Member

    Update: son left a message on my voicemail (I'm at work). "Uumm Dad (monotone voice) sorry I didnt call you earlier, but I got out of jail this morning. Sorry for all the stress from yesterday. I'll call you tomorrow."

    Yippee...can't wait for that call (sarcasm).

    The detachment thing is a subject thatI talked to my wife about. It seems so difficult to compartmentalize that aspect of my life. As a guy, I find it very easy to compartmentalize almost everything. Something may bother me one minute and 10 minutes later, it's gone, or in that little box somewhere in my head. But to try and dismiss my son, to block out all of the harm that he is self-inducing, to think of him taking drugs that may lead to something very bad, I don't know how to detach from that.

    I keep thinking that this is just a phase. I went through a similiar phase, but it was out of my system by the time I was 20 yrs old.

    Well, heres waiting for his phone call.... "uuuhhh hi dad, can you send me more $$?!"
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board.

    I'm so sorry you're having to go through this, and yes it does help to know you're not the only one.

  9. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    Detaching isn't making your son disappear. It's about letting him do the things every adult needs to do FOR HIMSELF. It's letting him experience the consequences of his actions, rather than you jumping in to fix things for him. It's really about focusing on yourself and making sure you are living the healthiest, happiest, most productive life you can. When you are detached you can feel badly about the things that happen to your son, but it doesn't destroy your life. You are able to live a relatively happy life even if he is in jail, on drugs, stealing, whatever. It's a long process, and I still struggle with it sometimes. But overall I have detached pretty well and I am able to have contact with my daughter in a healthy way. When she veers off the road and tries to infringe on my boundaries I hang up the phone, walk away, whatever I have to do to maintain my sanity. Look at it this way- drugs are your son's addiction. Your son (and his chaos) is your addiction. You have to get sober and it doesn't happen overnight. Good luck to you on this journey!
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome. I am sorry your son is causing such pain for you. Lots of others have advice.

    I would refuse to bail him out, to give him ANY financial support except rides to rehab/treatment. If you show up to give him a ride and he is high, don't let him in. If you realize it after he is in the car, pull over and tell him to get out and walk. If he won't, call 911. If he EVER get violent or threatens you, call 911.

    Any financial support, even groceries, frees up his money so he can buy drugs/alcohol. It is so hard to do, esp as much as you clearly love him, but if you aren't part of the solution then you are part of the problem. on the other hand, you must live with yourself and have to face yourself in the mirror. No one makes the tough choices "right" every time - mostly because there isn't a "right" answer any of the time. So you must do what you can live with. We all understand this here because we have all had to make the tough choices and live with the aftermath - good and bad.

    If you do choose to give him some kind of support, give gift cards or actually take the groceries to him. If you pay a bill, pay it straight to the company.

    As you make decisions, think about where you and wife and your friends were at24. Did you live with your parents with them paying for everything while you did nothing? What would have happened if you had tried? By age 24 your son is a man. Not your baby or a child or even a teen. He is old enough to be responsible for his actions. You should explore why you have been willing to allow him to spend so long in your home, esp as he has met so very few of the minimal conditions you set down for him to live with you.

    Here is the SUPER IMPORTANT thing. Get yourself and your wife into therapy - indiv and marriage - and go to alanon/narcanon meetings as often as possible. Addiction is a FAMILY DISEASE. This means that it infects every aspect of every family member's life even if they don't realize it. So everyone needs treatment.

    Not every meeting will be a good fit, so the usual advice is to go to seven different meetings in seven days. Different times and locations - call the local AA or Alanon number in your phone book or look online to find meetings. Also check the papers for listed meetings. You and wife should go to some meetings together and some separately. It is crucial because it lets you work out things about each other.

    many hugs.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi, so sorry you had to find our board but I want to welcome you as well.

    I also have a 24 year old son. He also has a girlfriend that might as well be a wife who is pretty much a burden too. I made the huge mistake of getting the two of them out of my house for almost a year and then I let them move back home. Boy was that the wrong thing to do! Now I am having a dickens of a time getting them out again. Dont make the same mistake I did. Since you have them out...dont let them back in!

    I know it sounds so mean. I love my son too. They just have to do it for themselves. I have told my two that at their ages I was having my kids and no one was helping me and their dad. He and his girlfriend are just going to have to figure it out like we did. If it means crappy apartments and living on ramen noodles and beans and weenies for a while, so be it.

    None of this is what we wanted when we had them. We hoped for so much more. Sometimes if we push them out, they can find their wings and while it may take a while, they will learn to fly.