Sent son to residential treatment center

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by RayL, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. RayL

    RayL New Member

    My 14-year-old son has been smoking pot, drinking a little, cutting school, failing some of his classes and being disruptive in school ever since the middle of last school year (he's now in eighth grade). He also told us he was running away "for a few days" once but we were able to get him to come home after a few hours. He was also arrested for pot possession. He opted for a diversion program rather than go to court, but he kept smoking, a violation of the program. We sent him to a therapist, even before he started smoking (for depression), who worked with him for a few months, then recommended a drug program for his pot use. The therapist in the drug program, after four months, suggested a residential treatment center. Neither were able to really reach him. We did our best to get him to open up, let us know how we could help, tell us what he was feeling, thinking, why he was so angry (so said the therapists), to no avail. He just doesn't know know or doesn't want to talk about his problems. Meanwhile, we gave him plenty of consequences for his behavior and drug tested him, but he simply kept smoking and said he wasn't going to stop. So, now he is in a small residential treatment center, where he will be for a few weeks.
    I am writing because I am now doubting myself about placing him there. I am not naive.. I know things were (are) pretty bad with him, but he wasn't what I think of as COMPLETLEY out of control. He behaved at home, for the most part, he did say he WANTED to do well in school (very smart boy, just wouldn't do a lot of his work) and some of what he is doing is normal teenage stuff. I guess I'm just looking for support that we've done the right thing and, if not, I'd like to know that too. Sending him off to live elsewhere seems so drastic...
     
  2. RayL

    RayL New Member

    My 14-year-old son has been smoking pot, drinking a little, cutting school, failing some of his classes and being disruptive in school ever since the middle of last school year (he's now in eighth grade). He also told us he was running away "for a few days" once but we were able to get him to come home after a few hours. He was also arrested for pot possession. He opted for a diversion program rather than go to court, but he kept smoking, a violation of the program. We sent him to a therapist, even before he started smoking (for depression), who worked with him for a few months, then recommended a drug program for his pot use. The therapist in the drug program, after four months, suggested a residential treatment center. Neither were able to really reach him. We did our best to get him to open up, let us know how we could help, tell us what he was feeling, thinking, why he was so angry (so said the therapists), to no avail. He just doesn't know know or doesn't want to talk about his problems. Meanwhile, we gave him plenty of consequences for his behavior and drug tested him, but he simply kept smoking and said he wasn't going to stop. So, now he is in a small residential treatment center, where he will be for a few weeks.
    I am writing because I am now doubting myself about placing him there. I am not naive.. I know things were (are) pretty bad with him, but he wasn't what I think of as COMPLETELY out of control. He behaved at home, for the most part, he did say he WANTED to do well in school (very smart boy, just wouldn't do a lot of his work) and some of what he is doing is normal teenage stuff. I guess I'm just looking for support that we've done the right thing and, if not, I'd like to know that too. Sending him off to live elsewhere seems so drastic...
     
  3. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest

    I sent my beloved son (18) to inpatient treatment ten days ago. Mainly alcohol. He agreed cause it was that or be homeless. He snuck xanax in...always defiant. So, he spent last weekend locked in the psychiatric ward.

    However, in the last seven days, he has detoxed and stopped fighting the process. I saw him this afternoon. Unbelievable transformation. It was like a different human being sitting before me. Sure, he has a long way to go and he will tell you that now. But he is clear headed now.

    So, in my case...drastic is good. You tried other things. The therapist recommended it. This could give your child an opportunity for a drug free life. Besides, if he is like most of them...sadly, it is worse than you have been told.

    Just my two cents...keep reading and posting. A lot of great people here.
     
  4. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think you did the right thing. I kept explaining away my difficult child's behavior as normal teenage rebellion and "depression." She is now 26 and has been drinking and abusing prescription pills for the last 10 years. It doesn't get better on its own.

    by the way, my difficult child was never in trouble in school and completed dual enrollment her senior year and graduated from high school with a year of college credits. Unfortunately, she never finished college because she got more and more heavily into substance abuse after she graduated from high school.

    I wish now that we had taken action at your son's age. I often wonder if we could have avoided the horror of the last 10 years.

    Welcome to the CD board. You will find a lot of help and support here. I know I wouldn't have made it through the bad times without this wonderful group of people

    Keep posting and letting us know how your son is doing.

    ~Kathy
     
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome RayL Glad you found us but sorry you needed to seek us out. Unfortunately I have been in those same shoes around ten years ago. Our teen had been a "gifted" student, award winning athelete, socially a magnet to others and his lifetime only raised his voice in anger one time at home. We started with outpatient counseling and he ended up attending three s.a. residential programs. The programs did not work...because...he did not work the programs.

    To address your specific question, there just isn't anyway to "know" what the outcome may be. I assume that the residential program is one you have checked out thoroughly. The first program I chose "had" had a great reputation
    and I was confident taking him there. Turns out that in the year before his admission the facility leadership had changed and almost all of the teens were courtordered there. It was not what I expected but, again, my teen was not open to help because "it's no big deal".

    So you have done everything at home to alter his choices. He admits to smoking pot and probably drinking. If he actively participates in a s.a. program you can bet the family farm you're going to be shocked to find out that he is into other drugs.......we all were. If you let him stay home and continue to make his own choices he will hang out with his using friends (likely kids you don't know exist). The chances are very high that he will end up arrested. Yep, we ended up facing that too.

    Even with our unsuccessful programs I believe we gave our son a chance to learn about himself. He had every chance we could provide to change paths. He did learn more about hard drugs than he knew and evidently will never try some of those. It was valuable that he had no contact with his "friends" during his inpatient time. on the other hand, he was not mature enough to "get the message" and then make changes in his lifestyle. I would choose to admit him again if those years had to be a do-over. Sending supportive thoughts you way. We know how hard this is, hugs DDD
     
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Oh hugs to you. I don't know what the right answer for you is... but we sent my son to a wilderness program and therapeutic boarding school after that when he was 15 and in 9th grade. It was very hard and I also questioned myself. And I still do at times because he is now 20 and still has major drug issues.... so that did not solve the problem.

    However it did keep him safe and sober for the 16 months he was there and a few months after that. So that did give his brain some drug free development time which he certainly needed. It also taught him some survival skills and gave him some time to learn to be on his own so that now if he is on the street it may be a little better. And truly I am not sure he would have survived this far if he had stayed at home. I don't think anything else would have helped him either.

    It also gave my daughter some space to grow and blossom without him here. She defintiely needed that and I think it may have saved her really.... because the chaos we were living in was ridiculous. I don't know if you have other kids but him being there may help them.

    And it certainly helped us... it gave us some peace and a reminder of what living in a healthy peaceful home is like...I think that helped us later when he came home and things got really bad.

    So I don't know what the answer is. I think you need to know that it may not be the cure all.... but it will give him some time to develop without the drug use which is really important at this young age.

    TL
     
  7. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Hi RayL. I'm moving your post to our Substance Abuse forum so that more parents that have been in your shoes will see this.
     
  8. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ray, you have done everythng else possibe to help him. It is far better now to get him serious help than a few years fom now when he will really be out of control and perhaps in far worse drugs. He was resistant to all the other chances he's had to change.

    There are many of us here, me included, who will tell you it doesn't get better on its own. Read some of our stories and ongoing problems with our difficult child's and know that it starts out small and mushrooms into an out of control situation as they get older. You are right to take whatever action you can not to stop it now. I hope your son is a success case, we desperatly need that here.

    It is never to early to get help for drug use.

    Nancy
     
  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I wrote a heartfelt reply to Ray, probably right as you were moving the thread..... did it get lost. :( I don't see it on either forum.... TL
     
  10. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ummm, that was my fault. I was merging the two threads in SA and managed to delete both of them temporarily. I think I have it fixed now.

    I'm new at this moderator stuff.

    ~Kathy
     
  11. wantpeace

    wantpeace New Member

    Don't doubt yourself. You are providing your son with the help and information about drug use now before it gets worse. You are also giving your son's brain a chance to develop properly. It's a crucial age for the frontal lobe to develop, and drug use shuts that part of the brain down. When my difficult child went to IOP last year for failing a drug test for THC, I had absolutely no idea he had tried a magnitude of other drugs. It was shocking to see his drug chart. It was especially disheartening to find out he did most of his drug use alone in the basement at home! He was a gifted student and a joy to raise prior to involvement with drugs. I had to force him to go to treatment, but he ended up actually looking forward to it and was sad on the last day. He has since relapsed and is in a lot of legal trouble. He is currently in the inpatient program at the same facility he attended for IOP. Despite the fact that treatment hasn't cured him, I would do it again and again and again. I am providing every opportunity for him to get better and to be educated about the effects of drug use. The most important outcome has been the education I've received as a parent.

    I give you a lot of credit for providing your son with the help he needs. You will never look back and say you didn't do everything in your power to help him.

    Hugs,
    wantpeace
     
  12. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Thanks Kathy.... Glad you found it so I didn't have to rewrite it!!!

    Ray hope you are reading and finding some support here.

    TL
     
  13. pinevalley

    pinevalley Member

    Hi Ray: Welcome to this board. There is a wealth of info from the parents here, and also from reading many of the posts in the archives. Just start exploring this site, and check back often to let us know how your son is doing.

    I just want to emphasize what the others have said, that IT is NEVER to early to get help for drug abuse. You are doing the right thing now, even if your son will not agree. I know that you are terribly worried about your son, and dealing with a drug addicted child is one of the hardest things that any parent can do. Stay strong, and I hope that your son will be open to the help he is getting at the treatment center. HUGS...
     
  14. enzo

    enzo Member

    We sent our difficult child to a 28 day dbt program two weeks ago, he didnt go easily, and is still protesting that he doesnt need to be there, but he is learning skills for dealing with anger, and also AA for his self medication with pot. We doubt ourselves every day, but know that we're keeping him safe and doing our best to help him help himself through medication regulation, dbt, and our next step which will be a character intensive boarding school (or wilderness depending on the next two weeks!) He's fighting us on that step too, but we're hanging tough.

    its very sad, but we think its better to take an elephant gun to it early, and hope that it sticks. Because after 18, its legally harder, and once they get on the wrong train at this age, it goes downhill at 80 mph.

    Its easy to get sucked into wanting things to be the way they were and bring them home early or avoid action entirely, but its a foolish gamble in my opinion.
     
  15. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Welcome-I had to make the same decision for our daughter who had a much of the same behavior only not acting out at school-just not doing well. It was at residential where we found out the root cause of her issues. We had tried everything else and nothing worked-she kept smoking pot and refused to stop.

    We had mixed results with both residential placements she eventually went to. She was gone a total of over 2 years. Her behaviors of running away actually got worse and she became disrespectful at home. However we did get to the bottom of the issues and she did learn some skills.

    Your feelings are very normal. we regretted and fretted. I promise this gets easier. It is a hard decision but you made the best one you could with the advise of professionals. In the end it is up to him to get better and to function. He may be very angry at you for awhile, but this will ease and you will feel better as his face brightens and he shows progress. Many kids do well after these placements.

    Keep us updated and hand in there. Remember that guilt is just worthless-it helps noone. ((Hugs))
     
  16. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    Welcome RayL - one year ago, I sent my 15 year old to a Wilderness Substance abuse program for 90 days. My scenario was similar, except that my sons issues also included a lot of anger and defiance at home, but that was mostly centerred around our efforts to try to intervene in his pot usage. My son struggled in 8th grade. Same thing, smart kid, didn't do any work, began failing classes and getting in trouble for entertaining the other students with his "jackass" style antics. There was no pot use in 8th grade. By the time 9th grade started, he had quickly found pot and the issues became much worse. He slipped into a deep depression, wouldn't talk to anyone, stopped doing any school work and was completely unreachable. He eventually got caught with pot at school and was expelled which started our journey of programs and support to try to help him through this. One of the most important things I can tell you is don't protect him. As scary as it was, his getting expelled was the most important "game changing" moment in our journey. He was not reachable before that, and has slowly been able to be reached form that day on. It has not always been easy as he has had some starts and stops, but each time, he goes for more support. He did the 90 day residential program, attended outpatient aftercare afterwards, fell again, then went to a mor eintensive IOP. He is doing well right now back at his traditional boarding school. He is sober, getting good grades, and respectful at home for the vast majority of times. It has taken all of the past 2 years to get him through and I suspect we are not fully done, but he is MUCH better. I would highly reccomend you try to get him to attend an IOP program after school. He will fight you on this, but if you can get him to the in-take interview, you may be pleasantly surprised. The guy at the center mine went to have been able to convince a couple other kids I know to also attend his program. For my son, the IOP program was the most meaningful to him. He met many kids there that had lost a lot and sufferred greatly do to drug use. Meeting those kids seemed to greatly impact him and, believe it or not, those kids were good influences....they had all been through so much, they encouraged him to see his behavior differently. HE changed after that program. If he is unwilling to go, you can try to "make" him. Gather up everything that is meaningful to him, his cell, his xbox, etc - he is no longer allowed access to these things, unless he goes to IOP. If all of that doesn't work, there are Wilderness treatment programs that will taking unwilling kids. They are "escorted" in the middle of the night. It's a drastic measure for sure, but if you think he is really at-risk right now, it could be an immediate intervention to just try to get him to the point where you can work with him at home. The goal could just be that, intervention and trying to build an awareness on his side that there is a problem and get him more comfortable in a counseling setting. Then, when he comes home, you move him to an IOP. you can find these through "Infoline" services in most communities.
     
  17. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    So - somewhwere in my post I got confused, your son is already in the Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Yes, you did the right thing. What choice did you have? Again, your story is very similar to mine. At that age, there is a culture today of "pot believers", it's in the music, the clothes, everything and everyone. Some can handle it, mine and yours cannot. Residential Treatment Center (RTC) will give him that chance to be reached. I still stick with the IOP reccomendation for afterwards. They may reccomend a Therapeutic Boarding School, many do. I think a local IOP is better becauase they get the chance to incorporate sobriety into their real-life instead of just being locked away from all the "bad" things. IOP gives them a chance to grow within their own lives. You may wwant to start looking around now so you have options. Be careful to have good support set up, like an IOP when he comes home. Counseling once per week will initially not be enough.
     
  18. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    I know you probably feel this is a drastic measure, but I do believe you are doing the right thing.
    As others have stated, if he is having trouble keeping it together now, it all goes downhill from here.

    Stay strong, you will need to be. Raising an at risk teen is no walk in the park, nor is it for the weak of heart.

    Love,
    Lia
     
  19. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi Ray,
    Be confident that you did the right thing...don't forget the therapist in the drug program recommended a Residential Treatment Center (RTC). You made the best decision, in your son's best interest, with the spectre of further drug use, depression and acting out if you didn't take that step. Now your son has to do his part, of course with your support and encouragement. Don't second-guess yourself, you're a wonderful dad in a horrible situation.
     
  20. enzo

    enzo Member

    We are going thru the same thing with our son. He was exactly as you describe your son, and when we realized we didnt have control and things were going downhill fast, we made the same decision you did. I'm certain it is the right path for you, as it is for us.

    Trying to help them now, while they're younger, is easier than after 18, and while its not guaranteed that it'll work now, its doing what you can.
     
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