PLONK! - difficult child came home drunk....

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Mikey, May 29, 2007.

  1. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    difficult child came home drunk last night. He and his girlfriend tried the "run from the door to the bedroom" trick (like we all didn't try that ourselves). When I got upstairs, he was passed out in bed, and she was trying to hold a garbage can under him while he horked. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/sick.gif

    Turns out he had at least half a fifth of Vodka on an empty stomach. Luckily (tounge firmly in cheek), she was driving that night - perfect little thing that she is, she wasn't drinking.

    So we cleaned up the mess, moved him into our bedroom to keep an eye on him, and she started to leave. I finally "talked" with her about the fact that this will kill him eventually, if he doesn't get some help. At which point she laid into me and said "Why talk to me? You think I'm just an enabler!"

    Duh. I said "You're right". She responds "I don't enable him. I don't buy his drugs or booze. I don't help him get it. I can't tell him to stop. How does that make me an enabler?"

    My reply: "Because you allow it to happen. And no, you can't "stop" him from doing anything, but you don't have to let him know you approve of it. By simply saying "I can't stop it, so I won't risk my relationship with him to disagree with him", you are enabling him - because you are tacitly approving his behaviour."

    I'm getting the silent evil-eye, so I continue...

    "If you love him, and you know he's doing something harmful, you have a responsibility to at least tell him of your concern and disapproval. And it doesn't have to be a 'change or I'm breaking up with you' threat. It can be an 'I love you, don't want you to die or ruin your life, so please get help' discussion".

    She finally replies "Do you think he'll listen to me if I say that? He doesn't listen to you when you say that."

    I reply "Even if you think he won't listen, is that any reason to stop telling him? At the point you stop telling him you disapprove, when you stop voicing your concern, when you turn a blind eye to what he's doing to himself, he will see that as your approval. Can't you see that?"

    She replies "It hasn't worked for you".

    I reply "How do you know? We have detached enough to accept that we can't stop him from doing these things, nor can we force him to change. And we can't kick him out. But at every turn, we let him know that while we love him, we do NOT condone or accept what he's doing as 'right'."

    "We don't tolerate certain behaviours in our house or around our family, and he as some basic responsibilites that he must meet to get basic family benefits in return. But we NEVER give him what he truly wants from us - acceptance of certain life choices he's made. And we don't give up because you never know when he might, just one time, be receptive and actually ask for help. If you give up trying, why should he try?"

    At that point she had nothing to say. And at that point, I realized that I had become a different person as well. Last year, I would have been a complete wreck. Now, I can simply accept what is, affect or protect what I can, and move on.

    I don't know what will happen today. girlfriend is already back at the house tending poor, hungover difficult child. Guess she didn't get the message, but then again, it took a while for me, too.

    Should be an interesting day. But on the bright side, this is the first time we've had a major episode and I didn't melt down, nor did I get angry (which works, but never lasts). This is different.

    Maybe I am learning a little?

    :smile:

    Mikey
     
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    The fear of DUI and the obvious potential for injury and death
    almost outweighs the fear of pot repercussions. I'm sorry you have now moved on to the dual prong arena. It's an -itch! DDD
     
  3. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: DDD</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The fear of DUI and the obvious potential for injury and death almost outweighs the fear of pot repercussions. I'm sorry you have now moved on to the dual prong arena. It's an -itch! DDD </div></div>

    Not moved on. Always been there - booze was always part of the scene but it's his "I'm bored with pot" diversion. It doesn't happen often, but when he does drink he's a binge drinker (the most dangerous kind). They're the ones who start drinking, then before they know it they're waking up the next day wondering what happened...

    ...assuming they wake up at all.

    Last night was nothing new, other than my response to it - and my response to his girlfriend. It's funny, but I hear her saying the same things to me that I was saying here on the board months ago. Sounds a bit different when you're hearing it instead of speaking it.

    One other good note is that, for now, difficult child is still planning to start the 16 week clincal study for ADD/SA treatment in a few weeks. Still claims he's only doing it for the money, but "any way you can" is better than nothing at all. More than anything else, though, I think it's a way he can "save face" with his stoner buddies for going to treatment, i.e. he doesn't have to admit he's getting anything out of it other than 100/bucks a month in cash.

    Mikey
     
  4. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    Mikey, Sure she's enabling him. She "can't tell him to stop?" Why not? He may not stop, but she can tell him. Other things she does to enable: drives car, tries to cover for him from you, bestows affection, makes excuses.

    How come he still gets to drive his car, or gets access to let her drive it for him? Doesn't he owe you for making payments when he was sick and not working? Or did she drive him in her car? (More enabling.)

    I believe you do have the right, since he is still a minor, to forbid him to use the car. I believe I recall you saying that the law in your state (Missouri? or Kansas?) requires you to take him back until he's 18, but you do not have to let him have a car or a private room (i.e., take the bedroom door off its hinges). And you could tell them you're going to report the underage drinking next time (and do it).
     
  5. KFld

    KFld New Member

    She is enabling him, but she's also very young and doesn't know the difference yet. I don't know if it's possible to get someone that age who thinks they are protecting the love of there life to not enable them. Just keep saying what your saying and maybe she'll catch on.
     
  6. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    your son will drink whether anyone likes it or not. she wont listen to you either. love is deaf dumb and blind.
     
  7. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: HereWeGoAgain</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> How come he still gets to drive his car, or gets access to let her drive it for him? Doesn't he owe you for making payments when he was sick and not working? Or did she drive him in her car? (More enabling.)</div></div>
    She drove last night, in her car. Things were going pretty well for most of the day, and this is the first time (that I know of) that something like this happened while he was actually with her. Also, he's given me 90% of his first two paychecks, keeping just enough for one tank of gas.

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I believe you do have the right, since he is still a minor, to forbid him to use the car. I believe I recall you saying that the law in your state (Missouri? or Kansas?) requires you to take him back until he's 18, but you do not have to let him have a car or a private room (i.e., take the bedroom door off its hinges). And you could tell them you're going to report the underage drinking next time (and do it). </div></div>

    Lately, he hasn't been driving his car very much except to and from work. He's been with girlfriend the rest of the time - we won't loan him money for gas or fast food any more, since he usually wastes his money on pot and playing taxi to the Pothead Posse. So right now, taking his car away wouldn't accomplish much.

    Reporting underage drinking in this county would be suicide for our family. The police force here is over-vigilant about some things (like teen alcohol abuse), and too lax with others (like pot smoking). Several parents/families have been crucified here by the police, the media, and their neighbors for teen drinking in their home - despite the fact that it usually happened without their knowledge or consent. Even if I were the one doing the reporting, we would end up as the targets of the police, and nothing would be better for my son. So that's not much of an option.

    Re: emancipation: law here is 18 and "out of school" (dropouts count). We're taking a different route, though, than the hardcore tough-love stuff (didn't work before). Instead, sometime this week he will be informed that he should start preparing for full "financial independance" by the end of this year. What does that mean?

    He'll be 18 in Sept. Even though he won't have actually graduated, he has progressed enough to graduate mid-term if he chooses to (and passes his classes). He fully intends to hang around for another semester, though, and go back to his original school for the final semester and take "stupid classes". Why waste his time like that? So he can graduate with his "friends" (i.e. the Pothead Posse).

    If he decides to hang around for an extra semester after he's eligible to graduate, then it's not required and I won't be bound by it. So, by December, he will have fulfilled both requirements for "parental emancipation".

    The degree of that emancipation is up to him. But he will be warned that by December 31st, at a minimum he should prepare to (a) have his car paid off or secure other financing for the balance owed; (b) secure his own, separate auto insurance (not on our policy); (c) get a cell phone in his own name, on his own credit (not on our plan); (d) either get his own medical insurance, or pay for his portion of my health ins. policy (as long as he stays eligible, which means full-time student).

    And that's just the minimum, assuming he plays by the rules: (a) No drugging, drinking, or other illegal activities while in my house, around my family, or with any of my property, and (b) respect for our family integrity, even if he doesn't consider himself to be a part of that family (reasonable curfews, keep your living area clean, etc...)

    Beyond that, we could tack on paying rent, paying renters insurance, paying a portion of the utilities, or even asking him to move out completely. It all depends on what he does between now and then.

    But legally, 12/31 is when his life changes. 'Till then, my options are somewhat limited. After that, how much (or how little) "emancipating" is done is completely up to him.

    I can, however, say that if he were to choose to try and clean up his act, get into recovery, stay in school, and stop acting like wife and I are the second coming of Hitler, then maybe he'll get the same bennies as his older brother (which is pay for your own stuff, we'll help out wherever we can, and we'll help with college or trade school).

    But I'm done arguing. He has 6 months to make up his mind, and I won't fight any more useless battles between now and then. By the end of the year, he will either start making good decisions, on his own, for himself - or he won't. And during that time, wife and I will put restrictions in place that both protect the remainder of the family while holding out the offer for him to return to the family, should he choose to.

    But it won't be an angry argument. It will be a simple presentation of facts. He can accept or reject them. I will NOT give him the opportunity to say we heartlessly booted him to the curb, nor will I give him any reason to blame anyone but himself for the state of his life. I also don't want to overtly provoke an ODD meltdown and have him quit the treatment program he's voluntarily going to, just to spite us.

    If he chooses to continue down this path, then it will be his choice to turn his back on us and walk away (it has always been his choice, hasn't it?). I hope it doesn't come to that, but I'm fully prepared for it, should it happen.

    Mikey

    (PS: sorry for all the angst - I'll try for something lighter and a little humor tomorrow).
    :salute:
     
  8. judi

    judi Active Member

    I feel for you Mikey - sorry that you and your wife have had to join us.
     
  9. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    Hunh. Well, I got a call late this afternoon from wife. She went in and talked with difficult child a bit. She said "isn't this getting a little old? Don't you think this is a good sign you need to change some things in your life?"

    He grunts back "No SH__".

    Prim, proper little girlfriend who was there tending her widdle boy got irate and sad "be nice! don't talk to her that way".

    To which he replied "No, I'm totally agreeing with her".

    Well, that's a shocker, but then again when you have a hangover it's easy to say you'll never have another drink.
    :ill:

    I know from personal experience how short-lived such epiphanies can be; they last until you get one or two good nights of sleep; and when the pain is gone, so is your resolve to change. And it's back to the bottle again (or the baggie, if you will).
    :smile:

    But, not to be a wet blanket on the fire, I came home and tried to talk to difficult child, hoping to catch him in a moment where he may be receptive. Can you guess how it went? Well, all I got back was the typical neanderthal grunts and chest-thumping I've become accustomed to. So in an attempt to use language he could understand, I grunted back, threw handfuls of sticks and leaves in the air, thumped my chest, then mooned him on the way out just to let him know how I felt.

    Well, not really, but you get the point. He's back to his old self, so I guess he's already feeling better. Or maybe it's just me that he hates, and his Mom can try talking to him.

    I dunno. I'll let her try tomorrow while I'm at work and see what happens.

    But regardless, I will start laying the groundwork for how his life is going to change in December. I'll give wife a little time to see if he's willing to work with her on anything positive. If not, I have time to refine his options for him.

    It just makes me a bit sad that as I write this, I'm surrounded by pictures of him as a younger child; smiling, happy, inquisitive, and completely unafraid. I know that child is physically gone, but his shade still lives in my head. I have to get past that and deal with reality, and this is a dose of reality I intend to serve up nice and hot to my beloved neuvo-son.

    I'll keep you all up to date.

    Mikey
     
  10. branbran

    branbran New Member

    So sorry for you and your family. Great job handling it, sounds like you have come a long way. That has to be tough, watching your child self destruct in such a way. I admire your strength and ability to detach enough to recognize what you can change and what you can't. I hope to be in that place soon.

    You left me a very nice reply to my very first post, just wanted to say thanks. :smile:

    Keep up the good work!!!
     
  11. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Mikey</div><div class="ubbcode-body">So in an attempt to use language he could understand, I grunted back, threw handfuls of sticks and leaves in the air, thumped my chest, then mooned him on the way out just to let him know how I felt.</div></div>:rofl:
    Dragging knuckles on ground, no doubt?

    Hey, it does sound like you are making progress. Sorry for the chiding tone. Ignore me.

    Even if he thinks he hates you, I don't believe it. I know it hurts when he acts that way though.
     
  12. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Mikey</div><div class="ubbcode-body">It just makes me a bit sad that as I write this, I'm surrounded by pictures of him as a younger child; smiling, happy, inquisitive, and completely unafraid. I know that child is physically gone, but his shade still lives in my head. I have to get past that and deal with reality, ...
    Mikey </div></div>

    Mikey, I had to put those pictures away for a while. It helped me focus on the here and now and less on what couldof/shouldof been. Have you suggested Alateen for girlfriend? If she would go there it would help her realizr how she is indeed enabling him and teach her better methods to handle his issues with compassion and strength. I would just go and pick up some of their pamphlets and hand them to her saying "Please read these and consider this". Nothing more than that. No pleading no lecture no trying to convince her. Just plant the seed. -RM
     
  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You know, there are times when one parent is more effective than
    the other. The male competitiveness concept can disrupt a relationship for a year or two or more. on the other hand, Moms can get played more easily in most cases.

    Perhaps it is a good idea to hand the ball to wife and let her be
    the Coach for awhile. It "might" be worthwhile. One thing is for sure, wife would likely soon end up completely on the same page
    with you. You know "that page"...the blankin' page that none of
    ever wanted to hear about or read???? Yuk! DDD
     
  14. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    DDD, re: <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">You know, there are times when one parent is more effective than the other. The male competitiveness concept can disrupt a relationship for a year or two or more. on the other hand, Moms can get played more easily in most cases.</div></div>

    I think you may be right. wife tried the "soft touch" by taking difficult child to breakfast this morning. Don't know how that went, but I'm a bit worried because she wanted to talk to him about her impending "vacation".

    Yep, that's right. She decided last night that she and my daughter are going to the west coast for three weeks over the 4th of July holiday, leaving me at home with difficult child and my other son!

    :slap: :slap: :slap: :slap:

    I can't blame her, since her father is up in years, and she shouldn't miss any chance she has to visit him now (which isn't very often). And she needs the break - we both do. But dammit, this has got to be the worst possible time to do this!!

    Three weeks, and I have to work every day except the 4th. I'm already doubling up on my Xanax just thinking about it. But that's why wife took difficult child to breakfast, to tell him to "behave" while she's gone. And by the way, for at least one week she'll be in the mountains, and unavailable by any form of contact, even if I just need to talk through the day for moral support.

    :nonono:

    Okay, I'm really in a pickle now. I'm the one he fights with, and not only will he have the run of the house all day for three weeks, I won't have wife to help me (or give me a breather) if difficult child decides to lose his freaking mind while she's gone.
    :hammer: :faint: :hammer: :faint:

    And it sure puts a crimp on my plan to talk to him about his impending "future changes". Hitting him with those things before his mom leaves will virtually guarantee one (or more) ODD explosions while she's gone, since he'll have even less incentive to work with me after I "come down on him". Bleh!

    Maybe I'm borrowing trouble, but it's always when difficult child has too much free (and unsupervised) time that he really gets into trouble. Well, for that three weeks he WILL be unsupevised and free to roam.

    And to make it worse, I know he'll want to go to one of many parties on the 4th that his pothead friends will be having.

    :nonono: :nonono:

    I think I'm about to find out just how hard it is for all the members of CD who are single parents with difficult child's. I can't take vacation, at least not three weeks of it. And if I did, what would it accomplish (other than to waste my vacation time on something that is definitely NOT a vacation)?

    Panicking here. Currently trying to dream up threats, bribes, or some other mechanism short of imprisonment to coerce him into not being any worse than usual (which I think I could handle). No relatives I can send him to, no friends to send him to that I trust to supervise him any better than I can, and no camps or other "diversions" available during that time, either.

    Plain and simple, I'm stuck.

    Anybody want to rent a kid for three weeks? Cheap? He's strong, can shovel/rake/whatever, and only needs to be beaten a couple of times over the head to get his attention. Any takers?

    Not really. But boy, I sure ain't looking forward to the near future.

    Mikey
     
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Take a sslloooooooww, deeeeeeep, breath and then exhale, Mikey!

    It's time for a chill pill and taking a new perspective. This is
    an opportunity to see how far off the track he is....for real. It likely will not be a relaxing time but your wife obviously believes he does not need a babysitter so take her lead. You
    get up and go to work and come home like millions of parents do
    every day. When you get home, you fix dinner for two if he is there and dinner for one if he isn't. You have a set curfew for
    weeknights and for weekends. You tell difficult child "since you and I will
    be alone for the next few weeks I need you to be home by 11 PM on
    work nights and 1 AM on Friday and Saturday...I'll have to lock
    the door and hit the hay at those times so please don't be late."

    Might be a good idea to ask "Son, is there anything that the two
    of us could do for fun while we are alone?" (Maybe bowling or
    eating out at you favorite restaurant or..or..??) That way he
    will know that you hope to enjoy his company.

    Then start practicing the Serenity Prayer. He MAY decide to make
    it three weeks of hades. He MAY decide to try to be good. He
    may end up in the juvie center. YOU can't make the choice for him but you can make it clear that you hope the weeks will be
    a positive experience. DDD
     
  16. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    PS: Congratulate your wife for detaching from the stress and the
    drama. It ain't easy! DDD
     
  17. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: DDD</div><div class="ubbcode-body">PS: Congratulate your wife for detaching from the stress and the drama. It ain't easy!</div></div>

    Yep, it's pretty easy to detach when you have a SO at home to hold down the fort when you escape.

    :grrr:

    Ah well, at least one of us will get a breather. I agree that I should try and set the stage for a postive time. But having been snakebit several times in the past, I can't help but worry that demon inhabiting my son will run amok once he realizes there's nobody there to keep him honest for most of the day.

    When discussing the impending tribulation and whether or not Christians will be taken to heaven pre or post-Tribulation, an old pastor of mine used to say "Pray for 'pre', but prepare for 'post'"

    That's where I'm headed for now - hope for the best, but prepare for (and probably expect) the worst.

    Sorry for not being more positive, but thanks for the good advice - I'll do my best to keep it in mind.

    Mikey
     
  18. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    One consolation is that besides wife getting a break, so does easy child daughter -- she needs some mom time away from the front lines (to continue the war analogy), right?
     
  19. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: HereWeGoAgain</div><div class="ubbcode-body">One consolation is that besides wife getting a break, so does easy child daughter -- she needs some mom time away from the front lines (to continue the war analogy), right? </div></div>

    True, and that was the original plan - for my daughter to spend a few weeks out west with her grandpa. But then that changed, and now wife is going too.

    I guess that's why I'm flipping between anger (at feeling abandoned) , anxiety (at having to deal with difficult child on my own for three weeks), and relief (for my daughter finally getting a break).

    I'll get through it, regardless of how well or poorly that time passes. I just hope that difficult child doesn't take advantage of the situation to really act out, and then precipitate a confrontation that the family cannot recover from.

    I was prepared to start easing my son toward the possibility of independance at the end of this year - hopefully in a somewhat constructive way. If things blow up over the summer, it may happen a lot sooner, and on very bad terms. I don't want that, yet I can't completely cave in for three weeks just to keep the peace.

    But I'll figure it out.

    :nonono:

    Mikey
     
  20. SunnyFlorida

    SunnyFlorida Active Member

    I'm not seeing you take that chill pill yet Mikey :doctor: Now...take that deep breath and r e l a x...think of that nice place in your head.....

    You can't stop self destruction. You can't change what doesn't want to change. You can only change your reaction to it.

    Like D3 said, offer some suggestions and carry on as usual. Who knows, difficult child may try and stay out every night, difficult child might not. difficult child might push the limits to the very end...or difficult child may not. The key to this is to not overreact but to have your plan in place.

    I can say this now...I could not say it a few years ago. I do understand what you're feeling. I also know difficult child's say horrible things sometimes...they don't really mean it most of the time. It's there way of using "unconditional love" and venting. They don't have many people to vent to so those of us who have allowed that type of behavior over the years...get the full brunt.

    Keep yourself busy and your options open.

    We'll be here too!
     
Loading...