son going downhill

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by lostmyson, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. lostmyson

    lostmyson Member

    Just discovered this site today. Looking for those with similar problems. I feel better already knowing I am not alone. My son turned 20 in July. He has been a problem for the past few years, but this summer he is worse. He is presently in jail in a neighboring county for shoplifting a pair of sunglasses. This would not be a huge deal if it was the only problem. He has been there 5 days and another 5 days til court date. We have decided not to bail him out in order to get the drugs out of his system. He admitted over a month ago to using heroin. He has not been doing that by staying away from a former co-worker but is now substituting prescription drugs such as zanex and benzo's? Went to detox for 5 days a few weeks ago. Went to family doctor and was prescribed generic zanex. Was abusing these and mixing with alcohol before being locked up. Luckily has not lost his license but just a matter of time. Breaks my heart him calling from jail but trying to be strong. He is immature and irresponsible and hasn't held a job. He is causing much stress between his stepdad and I. The worst part is I have to keep up a front so his 3-year-old sister can have a somewhat normal life. I also have to hide from family and friends, I am so ashamed and feel like a failure. Love him dearly but can't stand him in my life. Know what I mean?
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
  2. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member


    Has he been living with you and your family while using these drugs? If so, I would suggest you strongly recommend he get help and stay clean as a condition to living with you, particularly for the 3 y/o's best interest. If he is open to getting help, OK, but if not, he's 20, an adult, and has to figure out what kind of life he wants without the benefit of your support.
  3. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    It's hard! Read all of the posts and you will gain valuable info. All of our hearts are breaking.

    I wish I had learned detaching much sooner than I did. This is a free book written by a therapist - very sad and also very informative about things in a loved ones life that affects ours so much. The sad truth is you can't do it for him - he has to do this for himself.

    (((huggs and blessings for us all)))
  4. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Welcome to the board. Sorry you had to find us - but please know that you are not alone and that we care.

    Jail is the best place for him. He is safe, he has a roof over his head, and no access to drugs. A few days or weeks of sober thinking may go a long way. You should speak to his attorney and ask/plead that he be mandated into a treatment program. It's crazy, but so many of us HOPE that our kids end up with a court order for treatment because that's our best and only hope of getting them clean. What a crazy thing for a mother to wish - right? It's hard to believe until you've been faced with a child who is spiraling and you can't force them to get help.

    Please keep posting and know we care.
  5. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hi - First you are not a failure!!! He is 20 years old, and immature or not these are his decisions he is making. As they say in alanon, you didnt cause it, you cant control it, you cant cure it. It is up to him. It is heartbreaking and hurts our mommy hearts big time.

    I think you are doing the right thing by not bailing him out and letting him sit in jail. Maybe a couple of weeks in jail will wake him up and make him realize he needs help.

    I suggest if you haven't already that you find a parents support group, such as an alanon parents group. That has been a huge help to me.

    I have also found people surprisingly supportive when I have told people. Many many people have someone in their lives with alcohol or drug addiction but noone talks about it... when you open up it is surprising how others will open up as well. At least that has been my experience. And yes there are some who judge, and those people are worth staying away from.

    Keep coming here and posting... and read others stories and you will know you are not alone... there are lots of other good caring parents who have kids with similar problems... and thankfully some of us have found some community on this board.

  6. pinevalley

    pinevalley Member

    Welcome to this board. Keep reading the posts and checking in here because you can learn a lot from the warrior parents on this board.

    I know how scared you are for your son, because my son is also in jail now. He is an addict and he has been locked up for more than 6 months. I was scared for his safety when he was first in the jail, and I was imagining all sorts of horrible things happening to my son. However he needed to be locked up in order to stop him from using drugs. He was able to get in a treatment program in the jail, and he received valuable counseling in this program. He is safe, and he is not with any violent prisoners. The worst thing that is happening to him is that he is bored out of his mind. My son was totally out of control before he was arrested, and he did not think any rules or laws applied to him. Now he has no control of his life at all, and this is a hard lesson for him to learn. My son is also immature, but he has had a lot of time to think day after day, and he is ready to take responsibility for his mistakes. I hope that the same thing will happen to your son. I will hope and pray that your son learn from this experience. And please remember that this in NOT your fault, and you are not to blame for your son. I repeat: This is NOT your fault! It is scary and upsetting and very sad, but it is not your fault. HUGS to you....
  7. lostmyson

    lostmyson Member

    Thanks for your support. I have no one to talk to here with similar problems. My son too thinks rules and laws don't apply to him. Thought Mom would bail him out 6 days ago. Hard to be strong. I am pretty isolated. Am not working presently, live in the country, husband works all day and have to keep a happy face for my daughter (3 years.) My son was an only child for 16 and a half years and I feel I spoiled him. I have too much time to think and wonder what I could have done differently. This past week I am finally letting go a little. I think of myself as pretty intelligent but when it comes to him I just can't see and believe his lies. I know I could use some counseling myself just talking on this site has helped. Son should get out Monday and I am not looking forward to the turmoil again. Thanks again for listening. My husbands family (son's stepdad) is very straight-laced and would be appalled. My mother-in-law lives next door and wonders why she hasn't seen me lately. It's because I am hiding in my own home somewhat a prisoner myself. Son has been in this family since age 4 and they have accepted him as their own but he's always been a rebel.
  8. lostmyson

    lostmyson Member

    In answer to is he living with us. Off and on in between living with friends which he has worn out his welcome in most cases. These people have lower standards and he thinks we should lower ours. Very confusing as he was not raised this way. I am going to try to find a local support group today. Thanks everyone for caring.
  9. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know others will say to detach but I also know how hard it is to do. I am not doing such at great job at that myself. However, you do have a small child in your home that deserves your protection so hopefully that will give you the strength to do what needs to be done.

    I will address the part about hiding from your friends and family. I did that for the longest time before I finally started being open and honest with others about our problems with difficult child. I was amazed at the responses. Every single person said that they had a parent, sibling, child, etc that had similar issues and it seemed like a great relief for them to talk about them with me.

    I even had to tell the parent of a student that I am tutoring that our difficult child was drinking again and could possibly cause a scene when her daughter was at my house for tutoring. The mom's response was to tell me about her oldest daughter and her issues that tore their family apart before the daughter finally got sober. She was so understanding about everything.

    Stop trying to hold everything in as a secret. It will eat you up inside and no one will think less of you because you have a child that has a mental illness and/or a substance abuse issue and if they do then you don't need those people in your life anyway.

  10. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member

    Hi and welcome. I agree with the others - do not blame yourself. He is an adult and you are not responsible for his drugging, stealing, etc. Those have been his choices.

    I also worry about this going on in the house with a 3 year old. However, as Kathy said, detaching is tough, and not everyone can do it.

    Many of us that have been through this, and those currently going through this, totally get it when you say you are hiding out. I used to coccoon. It was like I couldn't force myself out other than work, and that was tough as there always seemed to be turmoil while my son was in the midst of the drugging or drinking. I was ashamed and now that I'm lived through it, realize that there are so many others out there who are going through the same thing. Some handle it differently and hide it better, but it's not that uncommon unfortunately.

    I agree that talking with others in a support group type setting might be helpful. This board was my lifeline back in the dark days, and is very supportive. It's so great to come here knowing you won't be judged and that others understand and are here for you.

    Good for you for not bailing your son out. You never know. It might be a wake up call for him.
  11. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I just HAD to respond to you as our "board names" are somewhat similar. I'm an LMS too!

    Wanted you to know I can relate with the shameful feelings.
    When my difficult child's first started their drug/alcohol use, husband and I, were in a very close knit church group. I was so disrought and we were the ONLY ones that this was happening too. It was a "home" church group if you will.
    And it wasn't just the church group...easy child had "popular friends" from school and our neighborhood that were no longer allowed to associate with my easy child daughter due to her brothers' situation.
    On top of it...It wasn't just one child falling apart, but two. And I had tried so desperately hard to give them a perfect childhood so as to avoid them ever feeling that they belonged to the "drug scene". I couldn't imagine after all of my efforts how this could happen to us! I was very angry too and took it personally. As if they "did this thing" to hurts us. I know better now...but it took years and lots of support from this board, Al Anon, Family's Anon, AA, and counceling from the boys rehab to get to this point.
    I know now that husband and I were not to blame...we did give our best. As I am sure you have too.

    I do think the other's are right that drinking/drugging cannot continue around your daughter. Anything can happen and often does when dealing with all that goes along with living with an addict. The situation can get quickly out of control and police or ambulances having to intervene, etc. Not a situation your daughter needs in her life.

    I am glad you all are not bailing out your son and letting him "dry out" meanwhile. Hopefully he will stop long enough to consider what the "next right thing" should be in his life.

    by the way, my young difficult child, who is 23 yrs old now and a husband and father of 3, is in prison. He should be paroled out in December and will be coming home to live with husband and I. He also has abused benzo's, xanax, but mostly pain medications and alcohol. He cannot use in our home again...or he will be asked to leave and it makes my heart so very sad to think of that happening but we must say no more. We can't tolerate it.
    I am sure I will be asking for alot of help from the board come December.

    Mostly I just wanted to reach out to you and let you know that you are definitely not alone. Many of us have walked this hard road and are here for each other.
    We're here now for you and your son too.

    Oh and it is also VERY important that you and your husband stick with a plan together whatever it is. That you guys are on the same page. Your difficult child may try/has tried to manipulate you or win you over with those "motherly feelings" and it is so very difficult to draw the hard line in the sand when our "mommy hearts" are tugged at...If your husband is like mine he takes no responsibility for your difficult child's seemingly lacktherein. I know my husband doesn't. In fact, my husband has told me that if "it weren't for his mamma, difficult child would NOT be coming home to live with us again". So I'm already on "shaky ground" so to speak, smile. Oh it's tough and so very hard on us...But we do need those strong husband's in our lives...they are not "afraid" of "what will happen", Know what I mean?? They do not take total responsibility for the outcome like we tend to, sigh.

    Anyway, hugs and care for you.
    I'm glad you found us.
  12. lostmyson

    lostmyson Member

    Thanks for all of your responses. The past few days I checked this site first thing and it gave me strength to get through the day. Today I brought one of my daughter's friends home from pre-k as her mother had an appointment. When the mother came to pick the girl up and visit was when my son decided to call from jail collect. I did not accept and told her it was a salesman. I am afraid she would not want me to babysit if she knew about my son. I have only known her a few months. Broke my heart to hang up on him but I have told him not to call too often as each call cost $10.

    So sad to hear LMS has 2 sons with problems. I can relate to you about your husband only allowing son to live in your home because you want that. Know you really don't want it but fear the consequences in the real world where there is no Mommy to care. Mine is a step-dad as opposed to bio dad, but he loves my son and has raised him since kindergarten. I left his dad when he was my daughter's age to get him away from bio dad's alcoholism. How ironic that I now need his sister away from him. Unfortuneately I can't divorce my son and start a new life. I too wanted my son to have the perfect childhood and did all of the "right" things, or so I thought.

    My son was taken by an ambulance back in Jan. for taking too many Xanex. He didn't even remember until I asked him the next morning why he had a bandaid on his hand. He even drove himself home afterwards. Found out after I got the doctor and ambulance bills. I thought it was an isolated incident and he learned his lesson. Now I look back and wonder how long this has been going on. What a fool I have been. You are right, my son does manipulate me knowing I have a softspot as all mothers do. I also find myself dreading what my daughter will turn out like to the point it is hard to enjoy her innocence and I don't have the optimism about life in general that I used to. If I didn't have my daughter I would not have much happiness in my life at all. She was not planned by us but maybe a higher power gave her to us to keep me afloat. Thanks again everyone for your support. I have been alone in this for too long. Kim
  13. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Kim. I have a 21 year old daughter who I had to ask to leave our home because of her drinking and drug use. She was in a sixty day residential drug treatment program two years ago and we learned so many things, including that heroin is very hard to get off and switching to prescription drugs is very common. You son needs drug treatment and you may have to draw the line in the sand at some point and tell him if he wants to continue living with you he needs to go into treatment. I also look back and wonder how I didn't know earlier how bad it was but I didn't have any outside support or anyone to talk to until I found a parent support group. I have been a member of this board for many years because we have had various problems with our daughter over the years, but just recently we started the Substance Abuse Forum and it has been a life saver for me.

    Now that my difficult child is out of the house I can never again go back to the days when she made our lives miserable with her substance abuse. It was by far the hardest thing I ever had to do but we could no longer help her. I hope you find a support group to talk to. Your son needs help but you did not cause it, you can't control it and you can't cure it. We live one day at a time and if it were not for my support groups I don;t know what I would do.

  14. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Good Morning Kim...

    Was just thinking about you and hoping that today is a better one.

    Boy, do I hear ya about the ironies in life.
    My bio-dad was an alcoholic. My mother raised me alone with no brothers or sisters...I was pretty much a "lost soul" by the time I hit 13 yrs of age. Was drinking alone in my room and running away from home. My mother's answer was to send me to boarding school...she just couldn't deal with my behaviors.

    Soooo...I get married and want 6 kids! LOL
    I got 3 and have been married for 26 yrs now to husband. We gave them stability (which I didn't haven't growing up as my mother moved me like 10 times by the time I was in 9th grade). We gave them a community, each other, a mom and a dad. Sports activities, church, etc, etc...and alot of attention...LOVE.
    And...All of that came crashing down when they got involved with drugs/alcohol at around the same age I had started. It was as if we could have just raised them willy-nilly without any deep thought behind our decisions and they would have turned out the same. Addiction, in our family, has a very STRONG genetic component.

    We also have mental illness in our family as I have Bipolar disorder and my young difficult child (the one in prison now) has also been dxd with Bipolar disorder...but refuses to accept that he has a "problem beyond his control" sigh...
    Is there any mental illness in either yours or bio-dad's family tree? Many of us have found that until the mental illness is "corrected" with medication that long-term sobriety can be difficult. I know this first hand.

    Did want to mention that though both of my difficult child's are oldest difficult child has been sober now around 2 yrs and has a wife, 2 daughters, works extremely hard, is taking college classes and in process of buying a house. So he is both sober and functional now. We are hopeful that my young difficult child will find sobriety and success as well when he gets out of prison in December.

    Anyway, you were on my mind and I wanted to let you know I was thinking about you this morning.
    I hope you will be able to let some of the unknowns "go" just for today and do something nice for yourself, or you husband and your daughter. You deserve a break from all the pain.

  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. So sorry that you are going through this. You really have to understand, though, that this is NOT your fault. None of us raised our kids to abuse drugs, but all of us in this forum have had kids who abused drugs or still do. So many things come into is genetics and the makeup of our child. Impulsive kids who are risktakers and born rebels tend to get into trouble with substance abuse at a higher rate (I have looked this stuff up!). Beyond genetic issues, there is peer pressure. Some kids find it hard to resist negative peer pressure than other kids. I've had both kinds and, trust me, my daughter who did use drugs was the rebel, the creative one, the one who wanted desperately to be liked and yet didn't feel liked. She also lived through a divorce and a move from one state to another...didn't help things at all. It took a long time for me to stop blaming myself for her drug use. I have talked to her about it and she has told me, "Mom, it wasn't you, it was me." She has quit (there is hope, but they have to quit on their own...they have to WANT to quit.)

    Keep posting. We are here for you. You may also want to go to Al-Anon or Narc-Anon for real life support. For now, I wouldn't worry about what your in-laws may think. They are the least of your problems. Take good care of YOURSELF and don't worry about their reaction to something they don't understand. ((((Hugs))))
  16. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Hello and welcome. I am late to this post but wanted to let you know you are not alone. We have a 17 year old daughter who will be 18 in a few weeks.
    She has been difficult since age 13. She suffers with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and PTSD from past abuse not inflicted by us. We were good parents. She has had counseling,two Residential Treatment Center (RTC)
    Placements and many other interventions. I have found comfort here and at Families Anon. I tried several groups before I felt comfortable. My hysband and I also
    see a counselor for periodic support. Raising thses kids is tough. Sending them off when they are a mess is tough too. Guilt and blame are very typical reactions
    we have to our difficult children. They dont help! I have to work very hard to keep them at bay.
    Our daughter is on probation at present. She is and will be under the juvenile system. Her crimes are always against us...her family. I dont know about the adult
    system. What I do know is that I will not pay for her restitution or enable her to get out of any consequences. This is her last chance to pull it together.
    The JJS judge is firm and means business. She will go to secure care if she doesnt meet the conditions of her probation. Stick to you guns and dont bail your son out.
    This is a good decision though hard. Itwould be good if he told the judge about his drug problem. There might be help in the form of rehab if he did.
    hang in there and keep posting.
  17. lostmyson

    lostmyson Member

    Good morning all. Read posts yesterday but couldn't reply as hubby was home and doesn't understand I can't keep everything bottled up inside. Thanks everyone for caring. LMS you spoke about genetics, well my son has the cards stacked against him on both sides of the family. I have a sister who is bipolar and an alcoholic. She is 41 and still calls my 81 year old dad in the middle of the night to referee her drunken fights with her live-in boyfriend. This has been going on for years. She has been arrested several times and is known as the town crazy lady.My Dad is a great guy and I don't want this scenario to be my son and I 20 years from now. My mother and I have never gotten along and she doesn't get along with most of the family. She has never been diagnosed but definitely has mental issues. One of the meanest people I have ever known. Once while researching trying to figure out my sister's problems, I came across a site about people with narcissistic personalities. This was my mother to a T. My sons bad behavior has taken the focus off of these problems which I don't see ever being resolved. I mentioned in an earlier post about my ex's alcoholism so there are problems on both sides. I myself have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), not bad and I have been able to function fairly well in society but never quite felt like I fit in anywhere. My present husband's family are like the Cleavers (remember Leave it to Beaver). I have been in this family 15 years and their kids just don't do bad things. Tomorrow is my sons court date and I would think they would let him out of jail after 10 days. I have mixed feelings. I miss him in a way but don't think he has had any big awakening about his actions. My thoughts are with all of you and your difficult children (not used to this lingo). Thanks again for being there, Kim
  18. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I don't know what your resources are but am thinking that your son could really use an evaluation for Bipolar disorder and/or depression with a psychiatrist.

    I take Abilify and it has been a wonder drug for me. For many years I exhibited deep depression, anxiety, and even some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) thrown into the mix. I finally went full-blown manic and began having panic attacks as well. I had a psychotic breakdown over 5 yrs ago and had to be hospitalised. I no longer have severe anxiety, panic attacks, deep depression or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) type issues. I am fairly balanced now.

    Am wondering if your son has exhibited signs of Bipolar...either manic or depressed. The theft charge against him right now shows impulsive, risk-taking behavior, in my opinion and given what you have shared about the "family tree".
    Has your son ever exhibited suicidal ideation or behavior?

    And, At what age do you thinking the drinking and drugging began? Am also wondering how he behaved in school throughout his teen years?

    Sorry so many questions but I think we will be able to guide you in a direction for help with more answers.

    Has your son suggested or thought that AA might be a place he can get help?

    Thinking of you as your son has court tomorrow.
    Keep reaching out...and please take time to nourish yourself.

  19. lostmyson

    lostmyson Member

    LMS,seems you are putting the pieces together for me. I believe my son does suffer from depression as I have off and on since my teenage years.He has threatened suicide during a fit of anger when we have crossed him but not in a way that I believed he would follow through. I myself suffered panic attacks about ten years ago. Thought I was going crazy like the rest of my family. Odd thing was that nothing stressful was going on in my life at the time. Just the ongoing shunning by my mother and therefore father for fear of her wrath if she is ever crossed. That's a whole other story though. I have dealt with mental illness my entire life because of my mother. As a teenager I rebelled and drank and drugged into my mid 20's. Never got in trouble with the law, held a job, kept an apartment etc. I don't seem to have an addictive personality though. I was very lucky though not to have gotten into trouble. I have been around the block yet can't seem to see when it's my own son. After having my son I gave up the party life. He was my reason to live then. I believe he was drinking at 15 or 16 but not heavily. He did graduate...barely. Always late and skipping class. Poor grades. After graduation and the real world to face he started drinking a lot. I think the majority of drugs were in the past year. He doesn't really see to care about much, including himself. No plan for the future. I can remember dark days around that age myself. He can't seem to do what it takes to get by in the adult world. I believe he would rater be a kid again.
  20. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I hear you...Does sound like the very sad upbringing you had by a mentally unstable mother didn't help your situation at all growing up. It's amazing the things we can survive isn't it. And yes, our children can "turn us around" to a better life. Happend for my husband and I as well. Sadly, not all parents will step up for their children...but you did.

    But I hope you will not burden your heart too much when shaking out that family tree.
    What I also hope is that your son will be able to meet with a psychiatrist at some point soon be evaluated for possible Bipolar Disorder and or flat out depression since you do know that your sister has BiPolar (BP) disorder.

    I know that you are isolated and living "next door to the Cleavers" smile. But as others here have suggested, you might REALLY benefit from Al Anon. Al Anon is for the family members of alcoholic/addicts. There is alot of support to be found there from fellow mom's and dad's going through the exact same thing as us. They get it. I took vigorous notes and really listened when I attended...they taught me alot about myself and how to better deal with my son's addictions/behavior problems and life in general.

    Please please hold this true to your heart...You are not to blame. You chose a higher road and even married with higher standards. The example you have given is of a being a survivor in life...not a victim. You have shown your son that there is a better way to live. You GAVE that to him...when you didn't have to.

    I am thinking of you this evening and hope you will look into Al Anon for yourself and maybe bring up going to a psychiatrist for your son and also AA for son.

    Meanwhile, no matter what...we are here for you.
    Will be especially looking for your post tomorrow to hear of court outcome.

    You be good to you,