Son in jail nightmare continues

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by sickandtired1, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. sickandtired1

    sickandtired1 Doing the right thing

    My 24yo son was arrested 6 days ago for armed robbery. This is so unbelievable for our family. We do not understand what made him do this. He is in jail detoxing from methodone (shot heroin) and xanax and most likely going through hell. We go to visit him tomorrow for the first time. We have dealt with the addiction and all the resulting arrests, rehabs (he always leaves AMA) etc for the past 8 years. It has been pure hell. The only thing we never did was kick him out. My husband believes his path would have lead him to this anyway, maybe sooner. I have to believe that there are other problems besides addiction that caused him to continue in his downward spiral. He was diagnosis ADD at age 7. On medications through 8th grade. Drug use and trouble started then and has continued. He is verbally abusive to me, sometimes confrontational with his father, unmotivated, but there are times when he seems to want to turn it around. He was even at the police station trying to expunge his records the day he got arrested. Does this make any sense??? He has been arrested 7 times (possesion, underage drinking, probation violation, 3 DUI, hassassment charges and now this) What the heck is going on??? Could he be bipolar, CD, or ODD? I could never get the doctor to diagnosis anything. Many have said he needs to be off drugs for 6 months before any other diagnosis can be made. I just believe something else is going on or maybe it is the effect of continued drug use. Does anyone have any thoughts????
  2. judi

    judi Active Member

    It sounds like you've let natural consequences take over. I'm sorry you are in this place.
  3. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    Sickandtired -

    The other parents here will have much more experience-driven wisdom than I can provide, so I'll be brief and begin with the caveat that my input pales in comparison to theirs in terms of useful and wise counsel. But have you read up on personality disorders? My sense is that when this sort of thing starts early and descends into the sort of situation you're describing in late teens or early adulthood, it certainly isn't the product of upbringing and, while drugs are heavily involved, of course, they are more a symptom than a cause. This kind of thorough and consistent (even dogged) descent into terrible trouble seems to me to partake of a personality disorder--ODD if in childhood or teens, and then Conduct Disorder when it begins to include criminality and violating the rights of others. I hesitate to cite ASPD as well, as it's so toxic and despairing a diagnosis (and it takes a trained clinician to arrive at any of these conclusions), but certainly what you describe suggests a pathology of personality rather than just "a drug problem." In any event, my heart goes out to you, and I turn over the thread to the warrior moms here who will have far more and better counsel than I can provide. The gist of my post: it's not your fault; it's not upbringing or some vague parenting error(s) made along the way. As you note, there's something more systematic and pervasive and probably structural at work here. Godspeed to you.
  4. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Dear sickandtired1

    HI and welcome to the board!

    First I want to offer you some hugs and a place to just set your very, very weary head, heart, and emotions. Your brain after 24 years is still looking for "THE WHY" to a question that has absolutely no singular answer. To try to pin what just happened (the armed robbery) on drug addiction, or work your way backwards even to was it because he was on dope, alcoholic, ADD, out of control, dysfucntional, disruptive at home, disobedient, did he have conduct disorder? Did we not get him enough medications? Oh that one medication we gave him I knew it was the wrong medication, we never should have tried it. We didn't try that other medication - we should have. Too many medications, Not enough discipline, too much discipline, TOO much discipline at the wrong time, Not enough of the right kind of discipline? Should we have sent him to military school, how about to one of those Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s, A group home - yes that's it we SHOULD have sent him to a group home! That surely would have been the thing to fix him, and was my pregnancy, the microwave - I stood too close to the microwave, I drank lemonade with aspartamine in it - OMG I had that one glass of wine. DID I live near power lines when I was pregnant? What kinds of medications was I taking before I got pregnant? Is there a history of mental illness on MY side of the family? How about on my husbands side? Back how many generations maybe?

    I mean YOU can literally make yourself NUTS: completely and UTTERLY NUTS. First of all I tell a LOT of parents a good word to eliminate right now is the word SHOULD. Stop doubting what YOU did first off. You did what you thought was the best thing to do for your son at the time you did it - you did what you felt was the best thing to do. So should was what you felt was right not wrong. When you think back to that time in his life and you made decisions based on what you knew - you did not sit there deciding on what to do in his best interest and think - I should do this because it will harm him. You said "I think we should do this because it will help him. Ergo - you made the best decisions you knew how. If they were MISTAKES? You learned from them - did not repeat them - and moved on from that point. Everyone makes mistakes; it's part of life. But to continue now when your son is 24 and blame yourself or try to figure out what you as parents could have done different? Well. For one? That ship has sailed. Two - it's a waste of your time and serves no purpose no healthy purpose. Three? There are no answers that anyone can give you. Unfortunately he is what he is, and while he doesn't have to REMAIN what he is.....that is ENTIRELY up to him.

    How did he GET here? That's a series of poor choices, poor decision making, poor impulse control, and that could be one of a number of undiagnosed mental disorders OR behaviors. OR a combination of both. Could he be Bipolar? Sure. Could he have Conduct Disorder that has progressed into anti-social personality disorder. He could be a sociopath, he could have tendencies of narcissisism, or borderline personality personality disorder - or he could just be a lazy putz that thinks the world owes him a kiss on the hiney with a alcohol problem and drug habit. Then on the other hand he could be a guy that will thrive on structure, and schedules that a jail provides. Up at 5, breakfast at 5:30 - exercise at this time, shower at this time, allowed to get a GED at this time....and counseling if he accepts it. You just never know.

    I do know one thing. LACK of respect? Lack of manners? If tomorrow when you do go to the jail? No matter HOW badly your Mommy heart hurts - JAIL is tough. So if he shows you LACK OF RESPECT ONE TIME? And you really WANT to save him? If he disrespects you one time? EVEN SLIGHTLY? GET UP AND LEAVE.

    It was one of the hardest things I ever did. I swear. I drove 2 hours - just to say "Hey can we see him and talk for a minute?" and We walked in, sat down to say "Wow we really had a hard time getting here and boy I'm not very happy wtih you and instead we sat down and he was a jerk TO US and I got up and left.....and that was it. I walked out of the jail, into the parking lot and into the car. I was done. My fiance was still in the lobby trying to figure out if I was coming back or what. I came back in and it was like - NOPE - I'm done - forget him - 2 hour drive and I get language and attitude - Let him figure it out. his mess his life - HIS problem. And I left. Day two? Different person, Different attitude, and different meeting.....and I mean from that point on? Lets see WHO needs WHOM. Because I sure wasn't the one in jail. Lots happened after than - but it was the beginning of ME saying to him - THIS IS ME NOT NEEDING YOU....and YOUR PROBLEMS. It sent a very clear message.

    My therapist said I did the absolute WAY right thing - and I should have gotten a golden star. (never a report card around when you do something right is there?) lol -

    And that would be my other suggestion for you. GET yourself a good therapist. THIS is going to be really tough on you. AND contrary to popular belief - you really do NOT want to be dragging all of this around, nor do you want to be discussing it with your husband, or family, friends co-workers - they'll listen for a while - but eventually ? You're going to stop getting invites to everything - beacause no one is going to want to hear - and YOU HAVE to talk to someone about this or you WILL Explode. And those questions you have about the WHY and HOW DID HE GET LIKE THIS? THOSE? Yeah that would be the perfect person to do the history exam of your sons life with because you can take it back layer by layer with a professional a little at a time and work through it with him or her and see for yourself that YOU really are NOT responsible and can dump off that ENORMOUS amount of guilt that you are trying to pretend you do not have. (yeah that big wad of junk you try and hid between the lines of questioning that only another Mother who had the same wad o guilt would recognize) that one. lol.

    Soooooo anyway - My suggestions would be - get a therapist for yourself or if you can get your hubby to go great - if not go by yourself - it's wonderful promise. DO NOT take any of sons ka ka tomorrow. STOP for now trying to diagnose him it's not going to help the situation at hand - what's done is done and a diagnoses is not going to help him with a all. Trust me - it won't. he could be out of his tree and it's not going to help. Armed robbery is what it is. YOU COULD possibly ask for therapy for him in jail - but your SON has to want it. So again - it's on him. AGAIN - and with his history of AMA -ing himself - I don't see him getting serious about it unless it gets him out of his cell - Know what I mean?? So maybe he'll do it for THAT reason - but it's a start.

    And come HERE - that's my other advice.....this is great support. WE're Frank (Although I'm Star) not Frank....I could be Frank if I had a moustache and a Kimora body shaper 2 sizes 2 small....and a baseball cap...and a beard. and some man jeans. But other than that? We're a good bunch and we try to keep up spirits (and obviously not appearances)

    Hugs - Let me know how tomorrow goes - I'll be waiting to hear. Keeping you in my prayers.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I had a drug addicted daughter who quit. She would be very unsympathetic to your son. Mental illness/Add or not, he did not have to become a drug addict. He made his choices and armed robbery is VERY serious. Not everyone who has issues comes to this and at his age I believe he has to own it and he is suffering natural consequences.

    My daughter quit because she saw a friend with track marks up and down her arm and suddenly thought, "OMG! That will be me." She was sent to Illinois, out of state, to start fresh and not be around her (cough, cough) friends. She never used again. She often says that the best thing we did was to make her leave. For a long time she had no car and had to start friends either. She got a job at Subway and walked to work and back and finally became a manager. Eventually she got an old car and met a nice boy and has been clean for eight years.

    Feeling sorry for your son in my opinion will not help him. And if he isn't committed to quitting drugs even a diagnosis won't help him because he will have to take drugs for that on top of probably still using recreational drugs. At his age, it has got to come from him. All the help in the world won't do any good unless he is ready to fight hard and alone for his sobriety. It is a journey you must take alone.

    But, as my daughter did it, it CAN be done. It is done all the time. Keep the faith and be there for him, but don't destroy your own lives and those of the rest of your family. And don't feel sorry for him because he may have ADD. How many people have ADD and don't end up in jail? This jail time may scare him straight.

    Hugs and be sure to take care of yourself. You can not spend your entire life obsessed with a grown child. It won't help him and it will hurt you and those who love you as well.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board

    Most psychiatrists won't even attempt to diagnosis without at least 6 months sobriety. Why? Because the symptoms of addiction / withdrawal mimic many of the same symptoms of various mental disorders and they have a high risk of misdiagnosis which could just make things worse instead of better.

    I don't have experience with this as a parent. But I do as a best friend of an alcoholic/addict. She ODed on heroine just a little over a year ago. Her family enabled her to death. I know that doesn't sound very nice to say, but while their intentions were good, they truly did enable her literally to death. They just could not/ would not draw that line in the sand and force her to face the consequences of her addictions and behavior caused by those addictions.

    My advice? Make your son face the consequences of his choices and behaviors. Seek a counselor who specializes in addiction. Go to al anon meetings and educate yourself on addiction and having an addict in the family, learn how to support but not enable.

    Your son is 24 yrs old. He's an adult. You can't control his choices or his behavior. But you can control your choices and your reactions to his behavior so that hopefully he seeks help faster.

    It's so heart breaking to watch someone you love live this life and know there is nothing you can do to stop it. I'm so sorry you're having to go through this with your son.

  7. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    I haven't got any experience of a son on drugs (I think!).

    I just wanted to say Welcome to an accepting and non-judgemental place. Come here lots. It will help to keep you sane.

    So I'm sending you a welcoming hug.

    Love, Esther
  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Dear Sickandtired.... Welcome and I am sorry you are going through this. I totally empathize and am in a somewhat similar situation. My son is 19, had major problems with the law, has been to rehab, etc. So I totally get where you are. I too have wondered what else is going on, what could I have done etc. etc. Star is right though, going down that path in your head really doesn't help. Your son is now an adult and really it is up to him. Really and truly. You can't fix this and you can't fix him.... he has to want to get help and to turn things around. Until he gets to that point nothing you do will make any difference. is there another diagnosis that would make sense, maybe and maybe not. Drugs are truly a powerful master and make people do crazy horrible things to get more drugs. No psychiatric diagnosis will help until he faces and deals with his drug problem.The thing for you to remember is this is NOT your fault.... no matter the history he is now an adult and is making his own choices.Jail may be the best thing for him as hard as that is. It is an awful experience to have your beloved son in jail. Probably one of the worst times in my life was the 2 weeks my son spent in jail... but it may have been the best thing for him!!!One of the things my son learned when he was in jail for 2 weeks is that he really really hates jail. He does not want to go back and that is a motivating factor for him. He has a suspended sentance and is on probation and is being drug tested. We did send him out of state to rehab which I think helped but he came back and is now not in a great situation. I don't think he is completely sober but he is as far as I know staying away from the really hard stuff....he could easily screw up and end up back in jail but he is trying hard not to and is doing some things to help himself. Avoiding jail is definitely a strong motivator for him right now.So think long and hard about how what you are doing is helping or not helping your son. If you can find an alanon parents meeting, this has been a huge help to me. Get clear if you can so that you can stop enabling your sons drug use and really bad behavior, but still letting him know you love him and will help him if he helps himself. With my son he knows he cannot live at home... we have a 16 year old daughter we need to protect from his chaos. We will nto give him cash. We will not help him buy a car because we can't be sure he won't drink and drive. We are however going to help him out with rent if he finds a place to live.... and we do feed him when we see him. We did get him a lawyer when he was in jail and to be honest i am glad we did that because it helped get him into rehab.Keep coming to the boards... there are plenty of us who have been where you are.
  9. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The addiction must be dealt with first. Leave it to the courts to order it. If not, I would NOT let him live with me. That will not help him get to the place he needs to be to get the help he needs.

  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sending caring and understanding support your way. I'm sorry there is nothing you can do but there is nothing that you can do for him until he makes the decision to change his life. I know it is scarey. There are success stories that can help you retain some hope but for now he is facing the consequences of his actions (not yours). It's necessary, in my humble opinion, that he deal with those consequences if he is ever going to be able to change his lifestyle. It may be a long hard road for you all.

    I understand that you would like a diagnosis. to explain his behaviors. Based on my experience with "the system" it really wouldn't matter. The Court's, if you are fortunate, may recognize his addictions and provide him with help trying to overcome that disease. Even if you had multiple diagnosis's the only result would be that he probably would get medication when incarcerated. Even before the downturn in the economy it was completely up to the MD assigned to the jails and prisons to decide which medications (if any) were administered.

    Although we were spared violent criminal behaviors we have had experience with "the system". The biggest help I found for my anquish was repeating the Serenity Prayer over and over in my head every time the stress and anxiety mounted. Perhaps that will help you, too. We have been on this rollercoaster for ten years. We are taking baby steps toward normalcy. Our easy child/difficult child no longer uses drugs (to the best of my knowledge) and no longer hangs out with those involved in criminal activity.
    on the other hand, at 24 he still is an alcoholic and not prepared to join AA. There is hope over time. Hugs DDD
  11. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    (HUGS) I had to save myself, my sanity, and the other kid's came first at some point. I did kick my son out. It was very painful, very hard, especially knowing he was violent, had outbursts, and was so immature for his age. How could he survive? I knew he couldn't do it in my house, things weren't working.
    We've come full circle, he had to get to where he is in life on his own, without us enabling him. Maybe jail is the best thing for your son right now, he's not doing drugs in there, this may save his life. It may be a huge wake-up call. He won't ever want to go back. Some kids have to learn the hard way, by having these types of horrific consequences play out for them. I am so sorry.
  12. sickandtired1

    sickandtired1 Doing the right thing

    I can't thank you enough for all your thoughts. It is amazing the support that has been shown to me on this site. You could have saved me $100 today, had I read your comments instead of visiting the therapist!!!! Your information is so helpful, I am going to print it out and reread every time I feel weak!
    Thank you! I am leaving details of my visit today below...
  13. sickandtired1

    sickandtired1 Doing the right thing

    First I want to thank everyone here for your time and thought. I am so amazed and appreciate your comments. Today, we saw our son during the 1 hour visit. He looked much better than we thought since he was withdrawing. His actually seemed pretty good. Of course, his first question was when are we "bailing me out". We told him we were not and didn't have the money. Good!! I don't feel he was humble or sorrowful enough. He didn't ask about anyone at home until I reminded him he should. Said he doesn't know why he did it, can't really remember what happened, but he was not on drugs or alcohol at the time. He basically kept asking about bail and how he wants to come home before "his trial". We are staying firm on the no bail, but have not told him yet that he will never be living at our house again. The only thing we are doing is getting a lawyer. So we told him it is between him and his lawyer. I do regret now that we put $20 in his comissary. I don't think we will do that again. I really expected more regret than I saw today. After that I visited the therapist, who reiterated much of what you all have said in these posts. He did say that by NOT helping him at all will help to build his self esteem (since he is finally doing something on his own). We always thought we were doing "tough love" but maybe not tough enough. The therapist also said that my son sounds sociopathic. This is a bit upsetting, but it is helpful having this insight. We DO understand that we have to step back, and we are realizing that we are not to blame. I am going to start ALANON meeting on a more regular basis and reading posts in this forum. Thanks for your help!
  14. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    The "commisary" was a recurring issues for us. Where we live it was not just for snacks...although, truthfully, we did not like the idea that dinner was served at 4:30 and breakfast at 6:00. Having raised eight kids we couldn't imagine going that many hours with-o anything to eat. Our easy child/difficult child knows that IF he ever goes to jail again we will not put money in the commisary nor will be accept collect calls. Lordy, I pray that never happens. on the other hand, lol, we just could not leave him there with no access to snacks, toothpaste etc. Yeah...even after all these years there is alot to be learned in our parenting. It's hard. DDD
  15. Did-I

    Did-I Worn out warrior

    Hi Sickandtired1.

    I've been a 'member' here for many, many years, but don't visit as often as I guess I should. I came in to post an update on my now 27 yo difficult child and the first post I see is yours and your son in jail.

    Now keep in mind I've not read any of your posts, I don't know your son's history (other than what you posted above) and what other problems you've had to deal with. PLEASE don't be offended by what I say -- anyone here that remembers me will tell you I'm not one that's out to bash anyone or hurt them -- but I'm straight forward and God knows I've been through it all with 2 difficult child's - the worst of it with my son (my other difficult child is a daughter).

    It's clear to me that you've done a great deal for your son to get him the help he needs and he has clearly defied it. The same has been true with my son. He was in "the system" (mental health) from 3rd grade until he turned 18 - of course, at which time, he chose to walk away from treatment and any medications. He's gotten himself into trouble over the years - usually blaming it on a "drug addiction" -- I've never seen him high once. That's not to say he didn't get high, but I'm not convinced he was an addict that he tried to get everyone else to believe - especially the court system when it came down to him needing something to try to save his neck.

    Guess where I'm going with this, and it's SO very hard to do, I know -- you have to let go and let him deal with this. He's a 24 year old adult. If he doesn't have the money for a lawyer, then he should apply for a public defender. This is something HE did and you and your husband are in no way to blame for ANY of your sons actions. They say you have to hit rock bottom. Robbery with a weapon is a Federal offense for which he is looking at A LOT of time in prison for. If that's not something that will wake him up and go clean, nothing will. But again, it's something HE has to want and something HE has to do. Unfortunately, though, if he's in lock up - #1, he will detox and that's going to be awful on him. #2 - he MAY get drug and alcohol counseling. As far as any mental health services and evaluations, it would be up to his lawyer to dig in to his past history (he'll seek out assistance from you and your husband on this) and he may petition the court to have him thoroughly evaluated. This may or may not help on the charges they have against him.

    I feel your pain and offer big-time hugs to you for what you're going through and where you've been. Wishing you the best of luck, as well as your difficult child.

    First and foremost, take care of YOU! :)
  16. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Dear Sickandtired1,

    Another here wanting to reach out and give you a (((hug))). I have also visited my son in Jail/prison and know the experience all too well. I want you to know there is hope.

    My oldest difficult child stole over 10K worth of computer equipment from a (former) client of my husband's. He stole it to sell and buy Meth...that was his horrible drug of choice.
    I convinced him to turn himself in to the police and he did, just barely.

    Visits with him started off with him threatening to kill himself in jail. It was such a nightmare...but I was very involved in Al Anon and they helped me set limits and boundaries to protect myself and strengthen my son. When he began to act up, the visit was OVER, I walked out many many times because of his behavior.
    During the first yr my son was locked up my husband did not visit him at all, only me. husband thought it best to give him additional "punishment" by not visiting him since difficult child had stolen from his client.
    It hurt me terribly at the time...but today. Today Oldest difficult child is working for husband again. And...working very very hard. He has a much older girlfriend that he lives with and they have a 1 yr old baby girl who he adores. He has been sober now for around 7 months and goes to church twice weekly. LOL in fact he has become a very conservative far right winged Christian. I got to the casino alot and I smoke cigarettes so I'm bad news now in his book, lol.

    So things can change...I am so happy you are already seeing a therapist and that you will go to Al Anon more often. The supports helps emensely. Glad you found us too during this time.

    Hugs, care and Prayer,
  17. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    *hugs* for your hurting mommy heart, hon.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Sickntired...I can understand being sick and tired! I have another one who has played the revolving jail door though right now he seems to be trying to stick on the right side of the law. He is on probation but soon it should be over if he can manage to pay off the fines.

    Mine stole from me. I turned him in. Wasnt easy but was the right thing to do and because of it he carries 3 felonies on him plus a few misdemeanors. Not quite the resume I dreamed of when he was a little baby.

    I am one who never hired a lawyer for mine. Number one, I couldnt afford it and number two, I didnt commit the crimes, he did. He needed to take responsibility for the deeds. I would suggest you do the same.

    As far as visiting and the commissary account...well, I agree with the leaving the visits if he isnt respectful but I also agree with putting some money on the account because they do need some for various things. I never put a ton on there but I put enough for him to get toothpaste, deodorant, paper, stamps, maybe a few snacks now and again. I also depending on the jail, took him books. One jail allowed them and one didnt. He really loved it at the one that allowed them and he read tons of books when he was in that one. I didnt mind doing that.
  19. sickandtired1

    sickandtired1 Doing the right thing

    Thank you all. I just sent a letter to my son and included a stamped envelope and paper, hopefully he will get it. I guess I am expecting him to write back and apologize for all the problems he has caused. I know I am probably setting myself up for disapointment. I totally get the "don't bail out", "don't solve his problems", but it is hard because all you think about 24/7 is them in jail. It is upsetting that inmates can't get services for their emotional, mental, drug etc. problems. I really feel they (my son) needs to talk and be talked to by a professional. Maybe he is finally ready to listen. It is reassuring to hear the success stories from many families. I guess there is hope!!! Anyway, co-dependencey is going to drive me nuts! I have to keep working on MY issues! Thanks for allowing the vent!
  20. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    You're much nicer than me.

    My kids grew up knowing the phrase "you do the crime expect to do the time" cuz Mommy and Daddy aren't bailing you out of jail, aren't paying for a lawyer, nothing. Nada. No matter the reason.

    This is how I do myself, so why should I expect less of them?

    I think this is why I was lucky enough that although I had difficult children I never had to deal with jail. They knew without ever having to ask they'd sit there and rot. lol Then of course they'd have to face ME when they got out. Much worse than jail in their opinion.

    So, while I am NOT judging you about the lawyer, a question you might want to ask yourself is why are you willing to foot the bill when your son is obvious not even the slightest bit remorseful for what he's done? Lawyers are expensive, a trail is rarely short. It could cost easily thousands of dollars.....for a child who's not even sorry, so chances are high that the act will be repeated with him again expecting you to foot the bill for a lawyer. If it were me, I'd let the court appoint one and just be there for him for moral support, which would depend on his attitude. Like I said though, not judging, we each have to do what we feel we can live with in our situations.