single mom at a loss with my 17 year old son

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by hopeless in sd, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. hopeless in sd

    hopeless in sd New Member

    I just found this forum and am so thankful. I have been on the phone/internet searching for resources to help with my son. S*!t hit the fan this morning, although things had been escalating for some time now. I came home yesterday to him and his buddy hanging out in the living room with a bong sitting there. I confiscated it and called his friends mom to come get him and I explained why. My son left even though he had a scheduled tutoring session for his SAT's, which I am paying alot of $ for and considering I'm a single mom, I really can't afford, but he desperately wants to go to college and play football. He is an amazing athlete and is very bright, he was a GATE student in elementary /middle school, but has lost all motivation begining his Freshman year when my Ex-Fiance and I broke up. He has never known his father, I kept him away due to his drug addcition and in/out of jail. I began a relationship when my son was 10, and this man took on the father role in his life. I stayed in the relationship 5 years even though I was unhappy, but their relationship was special I couldn't stand to tear it apart. I finally ended it and the few issues I had with my difficult child soon became major physical outbursts, assaults, and destroying of property in the house. Like I said, things have been escalating and now I am at a breaking point. He is a Senior and I've let it go too far. After the break up, my EX did stay in his life consistently that first year, but then he began a new relationship and soon my son was no longer a priority and he made plans only to fail to show up, call, or even apologize. That has gone on for 2 years now. My son is devastated by this and sometimes refuses to take his calls anymore. Ironically, this is exactly what I was trying to protect him from by keeping his real father away.
    Back to today, difficult child did not want to wake up to go to school on time today, he was out late last night smoking pot as he does every night before he goes to sleep. I was angry and yelling and got in his face as he was still curled up in bed. He lunged out of bed threw me into the closet then put me into a choke hold and pinned me on the bed by my throat. He let me go and I left, called the police and when they arrived we entered my home and found it completely destroyed. I had the option of having him arrested for battery, but I decided against it. They would've held him for 3 days. He's never been in trouble with the law. They escorted him to school. Shouls I have had him arrested? The only thing he cares about is football and I know that wouldve been stripped from him and I'm afraid that if that's gone he'll completely give up.
    Some say I've done too much for him. I was a teen mom and vowed I'd never put him through what my mother put me through and I have given in to doing everything for him. Sorry this is so lengthy, but I feel there are so many sides to our situation. thank you all for listening.
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    Welcome to the board!

    Sounds like there is a lot going on. My question is has he been in therapy? Loosing the only dad he's ever known (sounds like he was a good one too, for as long as it lasted) in the late teens has got to be devastating. It's not too late to get him in and start working on the issues. Unfortunately it will be an uphill battle, but worth the fight.

    Welcome again. Others with more experience and insight will be by, but know that :notalone:
  3. hopeless in sd

    hopeless in sd New Member

    thank you keista, I def needed to hear that. We have been in family counseling, it only lasted a few months, but he was receptive to it. I reached out to a few today and know that is what we/he needs. I have been in and out of therapy since I was 14 for all the trauma I endured and have been on anti-deppressants for a few years now. I can't help but feel guilty for bringing my son into the dysfunctional life I was living at the age of 16. I know its no use crying over spilt milk, but I know my guilt fuels all of the enabling I do. Thank you again, and I do know he is worth the fight, I refuse to give up.
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I just found this forum today too. My issues are very different (though I have been choked by my son). I do dig in and get help for him. If your son is not yet 18 then you have the power to put him in treatment. You will lose that very soon and this seems way over anyone's head, especially single parents like us in my humble opinion. It is very scary. Is he going to get to play football if he tests dirty anyway?. Better he be alive and have options than to focus on football and lose everything, maybe even his life as he knows it if he hurts you seriously. I know the worry that he will give up is terrifying, but he is giving up as it is, right? Just doing it the hard way. I dont know him or you so this is just an impression and of course I could be way off base. I hope you find some relief for yourself. Have you thought of going to a 12 step program for alanon or a similar program to help you wade through this with local people? What does his doctor say? He sounds so depressed and angry through what you are saying. Treatment will connect him with people he can talk to and maybe he wont need to self medicate. I will be thinking of you tonight. Hope you are both okay. I know what it is to love someone so fiercly yet be so at a loss.
  5. hopeless in sd

    hopeless in sd New Member

    thank you buddy, your last sentences "I will be thinking of you tonight. Hope you are both okay" keep ringing in my ear. I haven't realized how much I've needed support and to hear that there are people willing to help and listen gives me hope. My family is very negative and find it hard to reach out to them, I get blamed and although I know I am at fault to some degree, I need their support more than anything to no avail. I would love to put him in tx but I do not have the resources to do so. Unfortunately, we were only seeing an intern when we were in counseling bc it was on a sliding scale fee and felt we weren't getting anywhere. We do have an intake appointment at a mental health facility that accepts medicaid, but its not for 3 weeks. thanks again and any words of wisdom and support are much appreciated.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi. Wanted to add my welcome, too...

    Sometimes, complex situations may have a more simple cause. That doesn't make them easy to fix... but maybe easier to find help, at least sometimes.

    Reading your posts, and the responses, raised a flag in my mind: This could be signs of depression. It really does present differently in males than in females - in males, there is often anger and aggression and other things that we don't typically think of in terms of depression. But... yes, it can be depression. And given the background experiences? A fair probability.

    I've seen kids drop into depression over the loss of a pet. Loss of a father-figure? At a critical point? Not necessarily "the" cause, but definitely could be the proverbial straw.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have a 27 year old daughter who used drugs from 12-19. Yes, 12. I will tell you some of what she has told me because she has since quit, but she is wise in the ways of drug use and I think, since she quit on her own with no rehab or even counseling, she is also wise about what parents can do about it, especially when they get in their upper teens.

    First of all, never assume your child is only smoking pot. My daughter suddenly couldn't wake up either and wanted to sleep all day (she stayed up all night, even if only in her room). She was doing drugs (more than pot, although we thought it was only pot) while we were sleeping, the safest time not to get caught. Pot does not cause kids to be violent, but other drugs do. Your son assaulted you, probably due to some drugs in or going out of his system. I personally would have called the cops. I don't think it's good to enable your child when he hurts people...if he does that to somebody else he WILL end up in jail. In all of my daughter's years of taking drugs, she did not assault us, just did stuff like put her arm through a window...that wasn't fun either.

    Once we knew what she was doing, we cut off her money supply and only gave her bare essentials. She got a job and kept it, even as she used drugs, but having that job and not having us give her money was helpful to her. It made it much harder to pay for drugs and she hated to part with money SHE earned. Yes, she also graduated from high school and went onto a two year school to become a cosmetologist. Later, she went back to school again.

    If your son is using drugs, I would not help him go to college or play football. I know that sounds harsh, but if he's caught high, they'll only kick him off the team anyway. They have very strict standards for their athletes. And he probably won't be able to keep his grades up. On top of that, if he goes AWAY to college, there are more drugs and alcohol there ALL the time. My daughter had no choice about going away to school. It just wasn't going to happen because we felt it would only make things worse. He isn't going to suddenly get a clue in a college dorm where there is no supervision at all..and he's going on your dime. If he wants college, in my opinion make him pay for it himself. The harder he has to work, the less time he has to party and take drugs.

    My daughter was kicked out at eighteen because we came home one day and found her having a drug party in our living room. We had been out of town and came home a day early. She had promised she was now clean and would stay home to take care of the pets. (Haha). She WAS able to talk her big brother into taking her in. He is a straight arrow and only agreed to do it if she followed all of his rules, which were very strict, indeed stricter than ours. He made her do chores, walk to work (she had to pay rent and did not have a car), and she wasn't even allowed to smoke a cigarette in his house. Because she knew it was her last chance, she listened to him and got clean really fast, got a job, met a really nice young man who is drug free, and now has a new career and her own house with her boyfriend of eight years. Her advice to parents of drug users is to use tough love. She feels that it gave her the motivation to quit. She tells me that if we had made it easy on her, she may not have seen how badly she was self-destructing. Her brother forced her to be productive and (this was a lucky break) since he lived in another state, she left her old "friends" behind too. In fact it took her a while to make new friends. She was lonely a lot at first because everyone she had known was a druggie and she wasn't sure how to have friends and be clean with them. But that all worked out.

    Today, she doesn't even smoke cigarettes. She is a pastry chef and is into natural foods and herbs and it's hard to even get her to take an aspirin.

    Bottom line: Your son is almost eighteen. There is nothing you can do to make him stop using drugs if he doesn't want to. But you don't have to make life cozy for him while he self-destructs. I think you may get some good advice by going to a Narc-Anon or Al-Anon meeting (they are the same concept). Does your son drink a lot too?

    At any rate, that's my bit of advice, or rather my daughter's. We all want the best for our kids, but they have to do their fair share too. It turned out my daughter was using meth. We had no idea. We thought it was just pot. If she hadn't quit, she could have died or ended up in jail. You really don't know how deeply your son is into drugs. They will usually admit to pot, but not anything else, yet they often combine it with other stuff. And if they use, they sell. Another word of wisdom from Daughter. If you use drugs, you sell them too. Has he stolen any money from you?

    (((Hugs))) and good luck.
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome. Thanks for sharing your story.

    That seems like good advice (straight from the horse's mouth) from MWM. Even if your son is only smoking pot, that is really not risk-free or harmless. I have a friend whose son has been in and out of psychiatric care, having developed psychosis as a result of cannabis... there have been many similar cases. I think you cannot afford to be complacent about this, however hard it is of course to deal with - especially on your own. Do please surround yourself with active sources of support and advice.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
  9. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Welcome!!! (((HUGS)))

    You are doing the best you can and yes, our guilt definitely fuels our enabling. He is almost an adult, though. It will be up to him to change.

    I wanted to correct someone - even though your son is not yet 18, that doesn't mean much in the mental health field. You need to check your state laws for the age of medical consent in your state. Sometimes it is as young as 12 - 14!!! I called all sorts of rehabs when I learned of my daughter's drug problem and I was told they would not accept her without her consent. I had to give her the ultimatum of rehab or not living at home. She chose not living at home. She has not lived here in about a year now....

    Keep coming back here - this place was the only thing that saved my sanity sooo many times....
  10. hopeless in sd

    hopeless in sd New Member

    Thank you all for your encouraging words. Insane Cdn: I definitely think there is depression going on with him, he has emptiness because of not knowing his real father, losing his father figure at the age of 15/16, and we also lost our only family pet that year as well, that he had since he was 8 years old.
    MWM: I did call the police after he assaulted me yesterday, but I decided not to have him arrested. He spent last night cleaning up the mess he made. I don't believe he is using anything other than pot, he's home every night (we are in a 1 bedroom apartment) I sleep on the couch and he has the bedroom and is sound asleep before I am at around 11pm. He is 100% commited to football, and has never faltered from that and has fairly decent grades. Having my own experience with drugs as a teenager I'm very aware of the habits and signs. His MJ use has increased dramatically though and I do notice his temeperament change when he hasn't smoked. He is trying to get a football schholarship and a school in Maine has approached us, I do not have the resources to put him through school. But, I hear ya about him going away and having more accessability to drugs and alcohol. But, I also wonder if cutting the umbilical cord and letting him go figure it out on his own. He has me to blame right now and if he's out there alone, he will only have himself to blame-or so I hope.

    Thank you all again. This has helped so much
  11. keista

    keista New Member

    Does he realize that pot smoker and football scholarship do NOT go together? He may blow his chances before he even gets one!.

    It does sound very much like the pot is self medicating for depression.
  12. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    MWM 's advice is right. When a similar scenario happenned with our son, I later found out that he would stay up at night doing drugs in his room or sneaking out after we fell asleep so that no one would find out. It sounds like he may be pretty deep into the substance abuse. It causes aggressive anger and defiance. I would not be afraid to call the police on the agressive behavior that you described nor to press charges. You have a very limited time left to show him the consequences of his behavior. He will not see any need to change until he FEELS THE PAIN of his drug use and abusive behavior. I also highly reccomend you attend Alanon meetings, you will gain personal strength and a support system which you are going to need right now. GOOD LUCK!!!
  13. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Hello and welcome to our forum. I am very sorry for your situation and I know the pain you are in and the difficulty of the decisions. We have been through our own private purgatory with our now 17 year old daughter. I agree about depression. He is self medicating, most drug users are. I'm glad you have an intake soon. I recommend asking to get to someone who can give antidepressants. Many regular doctors have experience and will do this if they know you will be seeing mental health professionals. You might want to go that route in the three weeks you are waiting. It takes time to even get the right medications and doses. The problem is that once they start using physical intimidation-you have lost much control unless the law is involved. He now knows that he has this power. I don't know if he was scared by the police or not-hopefully he was and it will stop this. Our daughter is not scared by them-she knows all the laws and how to fly under the radar. I would pull the plug on everything but the basics. I personally would let the coach know whats going on-I get how important ball is to him and the fact that it could get him through school, but maybe the coach can help? I think it is more than generous that you give him the one bedroom. If I wasn't worried about what he may do to you in anger, I would tell you to put him on the couch.
    You have done the best you can. Guilt is an emotion I know well, and it gets one nowhere. Hindsight is 20/20, and in the end you cannot control anybody but yourself, so your best thought out plans....they can be trashed by a kid who just isn't in his right mind. He is lucky to have a caring parent at all. Adversity can make us stronger, and with some of our kids, they just don't seem to have the resilience to learn and pull through. Depression can really stop the pulling through.
    Know that you have support and keep us posted. Hang in there. Hugs!
  14. beachbeanb

    beachbeanb New Member

    I have had a bit of experience with aggressiveness and it always happens when my husband is out of town. My son is bigger than I am and I believe he knows he has that advantage. That hurts alot. I did ask a friend of mine who is an attorney about calling the police....she said not to do it if u can help it....she said call a friend or arrange support ahead of time but that is difficult. I hate bringing someone else into our hell. But I get what she means. Hang in there and hopefully others will have some suggestions for the both of us!
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome aboard. Just another who has been there done that and who truly feels your pain. We, too, had a star athlete and gifted academic student who "went south" when his bioDad literally left town with no notice. I am still angry that his paternal Christian family didn't take five minutes for a warning phone call. That happened ten years ago and we have been on a terrible rollercoaster with drugs, alcohol and then issues with the law. We found and sent him to three rehab centers. Early on we find an outstanding therapist whom he trusted and liked. We have an awesome Psychiatrist whom he has met with over the years and who, at one time, prescribed antidepresants.

    Fortunately for us he has never shown aggression toward us and is 99% respectful and loving in his interactions with us. Over the years I found that pot was not the only issue when he was younger, he was also popping pills and drinking. I won't go on and on but he did sustain Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) damage over five years ago when he was visiting friends at a University a couple of hours away.

    So...I guess the bottom line of advice and support I'm offering is that he has to want to change his behaviors. by the way, has he changed friends? Usually that happens and is a big sign of personal redefinition. If he is not motivated to change his lifestyle there is not much you can do but provide the offer of outside help. Regarding the violence...I suggest that you make it 100% clear that there will never be another instance with-o full charges. He must know that you will not tolerate it. Yes, those who have been in your position usually cried for days after the police took their child away but zero tolerance has to be your mantra for your safety and for him. Many hugs. DDD
  16. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    OMG, I just had an after thought. Perhaps he is using steroids to enhance his football performance. I have no experience with those but from what I've seen and read they often lead to violence. DDD