son is in partial hospitalization (PH)

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by rebelson, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    Today is day 10. He entered on his OWN, first time ever voluntary. Typical stay in PH is 2wks but can be longer, before transferring to an affiliated sober house.

    He has called me 4 times, is allowed once/day phone privilege. He sounds great. Says he is feeling more clear everyday. Says he would like to stay in PH as long as possible as he is not ready for his 'phone, car, and being free' to walk out the door.

    Just got off the phone with him. I froze at the beginning of the convo when he asked me 'hey, do you think maybe, after 3 or 6 months of being sober, I could move up there with you guys (we are one state north)?' He mentioned that where he is, is so chaotic. He is right. South FL, where he is, IS chaotic, that's why we left FL. Also his friends are all there. He mentioned how where we live, 'it's more chill....out in the country but not far from a very large city'....

    Ok. I am freaking OUT at the thought of this idea. Nor would my husband allow it. He has said in past that son would have to be sober for a good year and living/working successfully, if he ever were to come up here, stay with us for any amount of time. Son has said some VERY horrible things to us, about us....some very hurtful things. Has also threatened my husband, once he got in his face, tried to fight him. Though he was not sober when these things were said & done. Still.

    Where we live, is VERY different from where son is. I do NOT think son would be happy up here. And, there would inevitably be tension in the house even if he were sober. He has a very strong personality and is quite outspoken. Remember when I posted about how he rages at us when drunk on hard liquor? Scary to me.

    I got out of having to really give him an answer, thank goodness! I think someone said something to him right when he finished telling me the idea or something happened to get me off the hook. :eek:

    Basically, I do not think this would be able to happen, him coming here. And, I feel HORRIBLE for even saying this, as his mom. And, right now, I feel so proud of him for this decision he's made. Which is even moreso making me feel guilty for thinking/saying this- that he could not come here. My husband is sleeping, but I already know what his reaction would emphatic and immediate NO.

    If he is to use his 4yr Florida Prepaid College plan that we bought him, he will have to stay in FL. Plus, his time to use it is running out. He has to use it within 10yrs of graduation, I think. But, what if he says he would forego college because he wants to come up here and/to stay sober?

    Friends, I need some words of wisdom. I have a knot in my stomach from not only his suggestion, but now from the way I'm already saying 'no' to the idea.....thank you.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I did not really believe my daughter would stay clean until she had been for two years, had a job, and was getting her own loan for college. She never wanted to live with us again...she had a job and didnt have to.

    As for your son, sadly relapse is common. A few months in my opinion is not enough to know if he will make it. Why do you feel that he should be allowed to live with you again? That is you and your husbands decision. And hopefully son will get a job and change his mind...want to be independent.

    I do hope your son gets clean and decides to stay on his own and be an adult. You have done a lot for him. You no longer need to have him live with you. Very often once grown kids go back to living with their parents,they become more childlike and dependent again.

    Make your decision about if and when son can return together (you and his father) and be mindful of younger kids you may have at home too. No reason to stress over it now. Make no promises. Give NO answer now or anytime soon. "We will see" works. Think. Time is your friend :). But in the end in my opinion if your husbans says no, its no. Your son is 23. Your marriage should not be threatened by a grown child, again in my opinion.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  3. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    I know how it feels to be cornered and caught off guard with a request you aren't comfortable with. I would say that most of us on here have had that happen more than once.

    One thing I have learned is not to be startled into a knee jerk reaction or feel I have to give an immediate answer. Often, because of the instability in her life, other things happen before the request would come to fruition.

    If this were me, I would respond, "I am so proud of the steps you are taking. You need to focus on right now, one day at a time. Now isn't the time to worry about six months from now. Focus on today." That gives you time to step back and reflect on what you and your husband is comfortable with without saying anything that makes him feel you don't believe in him or give him a reason to get angry with you. Keep putting the ball back in his court.

    That one thing, learning I don't have to respond one way or the other right this second, has helped me numerous times and prevented many fights. And by the time he gets closer to that six month mark, you can judge his sincerity and commitment as well as know what you are willing to do. My bet is something else will come along and it will never be an issue, but he won't be able to throw in your face that you wouldn't help him or let him in your home.
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  4. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    SWOT, I do not think, nor desire for son to come here to live. That is reason for this post. I am feeling guilt for saying/thinking this. I know in my head, he needs to do this on his own. And doesn't need to bounce back home. But my heart feels something else. You know how that goes.

    Yes, you are so right in your post. All of it.

    My hub said one YEAR sober before any talk of an extended 'visit', just like you wrote. His answer would be NO.

    I feel like maybe he's scared? Like he can't do this alone out there? Not sure.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hon, he will either do it or he wont...his choice. When my daughter lived at home, she didnt stay home often and every time she stepped out the door, she sought out her druggie friends and even got assaulted in a park due to her dangerous lifestyle. When/she finally quit, she left the state and her drug friends and did not make new drug friends once she was safe from her old drug infested cronies.

    She was tired of drug life and dealers who threatened her (all while she lived at home...she did not tell us until after she quit.) The dealers never did get paid...haha. Nobody knew where she was.

    In short, if your son wants to stop, he will. If he is near you isnt he closer to those who he did drugs with?

    Stand strong. He needs that from you. A few months clean doesnt mean much. You will know his mindset has changed when he drops all his drug friends, gets a gainful full time job and joins society. His behavior will change a lot on all fronts once he is truly clean, not just in his body but also in his mind. Until then, he is at risk to relapse no matter where he lives.

    How about long term sober living? See if he can do it?

    You are a brave,weathered mom warrior. All my good wishes to you and your family. Hugs!
  6. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Is there an Oxford House in your vicinity? i think that is what they are called. Kind of a halfway house where the inhabitants police each other. Rules, community, support. It does cost, but probably less than a private apartment.

    Maybe he could be closer to you, away from friends that could influence him, and have supportive house mates. KSM
  7. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    I agree with Walrus. You don't have to give a straight answer. Just put him off and even if that real answer is "no" you don't have to come right out and say that either.

    My son was in detox for 5 days and rehab for 21. He has been in sober living IOP since March 16 in Florida and I am SO glad he is 1,000 miles away.

    Of course I love him and miss him.

    Last night I wanted to strangle him by text. I want to tell him that he can never live with me (or near me) again because that is how I feel but I bit my tongue. He was saying it's a waste of time for him to be there because he needs to be in college blah blah blah. I reminded him when he left Illinois he was addicted to prescription medications, stealing and lying and he needs to be there as much as any of those other men! That he won't get help unless he is receptive to it. I honestly don't think I ever want him in my home again period. I don't think it will ever be good for him or us. It does make me sad that I feel that way too.

    I think it's wonderful that your son is getting help on his own and really seems to want it but I really think it's a slippery slope to have him back in your home or even thinking about it anytime soon or ever again so give yourself a break! It's okay that you feel that way. I know that I do too.

  8. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    You're correct, the situation could change. It's way too early to be thinking 6 months ahead. I feel like he needs to stay in FL. Maybe move a county or 2 north, to get out of the current one he's in, away from old friends.
    I feel like he needs to remain in the sober living home, once he's in there, for as long as they let him. I just found out that sober housing affiliated with the PH that he's in, is short term. Usually 3months and they are released to wherever or to a halfway house.

    He would not be ready to be 'out there', unmonitored, on his own after a mere 3months of being sober, considering how long he's been using. He will need to leave sober living and enter a halfway house for as long as necessary. He needs some type of accountability, surveillance (random testing). I could never handle him here, not even locally near us. Where we live, there are not a ton of AA mtgs, no halfway houses that I know of...just not the support that he has down there in south FL, Delray Beach. Where we live, it is very hilly, with narrow 2 lane roads, cliffs on each side. He would be at risk, if he even drove while 'high' or after drinking, of going over a cliff or into a ditch. I couldn't handle the stress.

    He is quite confrontational with us, very reactive to me. He has issues with us and how we live our lives, even how we raise his siblings. He has no problem telling us off, arguing, berating. He butts heads with me, and it doesn't take much. He could come up here and begin using again just because being around us, is not, has not been something that's gone smoothly. NO matter how we walk on eggshells around him, something always sets him OFF. The kids cannot be subjected to that. He has been up here for 3 visits, each visit, he is good for a few days, then he becomes argumentative, nasty, etc. And starts talking about wanting to go back down to FL, even wanting to cut his trip short. We cannot live with that risk, it's a very high risk. Believe me, I'd love to have him here with us! Sadly, it's just not that simple or easy.

    Also, the drug problem up here, is much scarier, drug of choice up here? METH & HEROINE. He has never done those, it could be very bad for him to be here.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  9. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    I would say that since he is already talking about moving back in with you that he's not terribly serious about getting clean just yet. Like SWOT said, when they have truly changed then they want to be independent. Hopefully in three to six months HE will realize this but only time will tell.
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  10. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Rebelson: Same with my son. He has never tried meth or heroin but I'm so afraid that will be next on his list if he ever comes home.

    Jabberwockey: Good point (for me too!)
  11. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Rebelson, you sound strong and determined to stay the course. Good for you.
    They always seem to be able to catch us with a good one that throws us off kilter. Put us in the corner. (Mind racing and stammering, what do I say.....your right mind screaming "H e double l NOOOOOOOO!"
    What the heck, do these d cs not even know what they have put us through? Not in the fog of using, or recent "sobriety" they don't.....the focus, me,me,me,me,me......
    That's an awesome answer, Walrus, worth writing down and putting on the fridge, for them and for us.
    Eggshells. Nope. Not right. I have been there. Well, this is your home, your rules, your sanctuary.
    Sounds like my two, instead of respect, humility and gratefulness for the opportunity......swagger, mood swings and entitlement. UGH. Leaving us shell shocked and traumatized. Nobody deserves to live like that. Nobody.
    Stay strong Rebel.
    Enjoy the peace you have in your home and take the time to focus on you.....
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  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Fine. It is chaotic. He is there for a reason, to gain sobriety. After that, his Florida College Plan is there. While I do not know Florida I would assume that there are some colleges in quieter areas. Or not. To get ahead people have to do things that are hard.

    Most people in Florida will never have the opportunity to leave and will deal with the chaos their whole lives. If he does not like chaos let him study hard or work hard and on his own dime, choose the life he wants in the conditions he wants.

    Mom and Dad have their own lives. Son is now an adult having made a series of adult choices from which there is no walking back, only forward.

    If he is welcome to visit for a weekend, a week, tell him that. If he is not welcome, tell him that, and remind him why. In a public place. And when he reacts point to his behavior.
    He has every right to forgo college, and forego this opportunity to study. He has no right to decide to stay in your home, unless you want this.
    Why in the world would you feel guilty? He is an adult. He has chosen his path thus far with adult actions, for which he is responsible. Nobody can or should walk those back. Because he needs to be held responsible so that he can learn to hold himself responsible.

    He is no longer a child.
    Well, there you are. No from Mom. No from Dad.

    Are you traveling to visit the area? If it were me I would think about whether you want to tell him on the phone, and risk a blow out that interferes with any visit, or whether you want to wait and tell him in person, in a restaurant or other public place.

    He is an adult who happens to be your son. He does not get to determine how you live your life, including his role in it. You determine this, with your husband.

    You have set him on his path *by that I mean you raised him. His exact spot has been determined by him.. He needs to walk it. You have any opportunity in the future that you choose to avail yourself of to help him in whatever yet specified way you choose. That is your decision and not his. You have decided that now is not the time.

    He will have the opportunity to begin defining himself and his relationship with you, by his response.

    That is the beauty about detaching. One of them. Your son will be allowed by you the dignity and the confidence to decide who he is and who he wants to be, by his choices. Let us see what he does.

    Whatever he does you need to remember it is his choice and his responsibility, not your own. The days where you are one hundred percent responsible, or 80 percent, are no longer here. Now he owns the preponderance of both power and control and responsibility. Not the inverse.
  13. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    Has your husband communicated the "1 year rule" to him? If so, I would reiterate that and stick to it.

    I have a 1 year rule with my sister. She needs to have a year of active sobriety before we will even discuss her seeing the kids. We have made it clear that sobriety means not only not using, but actively working a program. Just so that she doesn't confuse not using because she is in prison with being sober LOL. Each time she starts discussing seeing the kids I just reiterate the "1 year rule."

    If your son has heard this rule or plan before I would just reiterate it to him. "You know we discussed 1 year of sobriety and employment. When you meet that goal we will discuss it."

    If he hasn't and this is just something you and your husband discussed I would just keep putting him off. "Let's not put that pressure on you right now, let's take this one day at a time, like we are supposed to. We can cross that bridge when we come to it." Hopefully, by that time he is sober and prefers to be independent.
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  14. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    You definitely do not have to respond immediately to a highly impactful question like that! Its OK to say you need time to process it and you'll get back to him. If you KNOW you won't let him live with you (which I think is totally fine and appropriate, by the way), it is also OK to say, at a time when you are prepared to say it...we love you, we are proud of your efforts, but you can't live with us anymore. It just doesn't work for us.

    Just the other day the rehab director for the program my son is going to (from jail) said, regarding discharge planning, "I assume there is no possibility he can live with you" and I felt the old guilt and shame rising up as I prepared to say no. I did say no, and he said thats fine, I totally understand, I'm just checking.

    We are very programmed as mothers to be ever forgiving, ever bending, ever giving. It isn't real.

    You've gotten good advice and reflection here. I hope that it helps you do what is best for you and your family.
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  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    They are required to ask.
    It pays to know that going in. Some of them actually expect you to say no - but they will have the system down their neck real fast if they don't ask.
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  16. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Rebelson you are getting good thinking here. I know...they say something like this, we react strongly (good for you that you got off the phone and didn't react to HIM---that is huge so pat yourself on the back!) and then..we are reeling from it...and from our own minds which go crazy with this stuff.

    so looking at your signature, he is 23 years old. Great news that he is in PH and I hope and pray he stays and does the hard work of change.

    As you get some time under your belt, just work to take it one day at a time. A bunch of stuff can happen between right now and 6 months from now.

    A 23-year-old doesn't need to come back home to live with Mom and Dad, under any circumstances. My husband and I have talked about our four kids (two are his and two are mine) and the fact that they could "stay with us" temporarily (maybe) if we both agreed and they were solid, but there would be a definite time limit and a plan for what happens at that time----ahead of time. We don't need, and they don't need, to be living together anymore...ever.

    yes, and especially someone who is newly sober and trying to rebuild his life and clean up his messes. He needs to be on his own.

    Because believe me, Difficult Child has been on an upward path and consistently doing better for nearly two years---will be two years at the end of June 2016---but he still has behaviors that don't correlate with what I want under my roof, like being messy, sleeping a lot on the weekends, etc. etc. I just don't want all of that in my face; I get stressed and anxious about him when I know too much.

    I don't think you have to decide anything right now about any of it, but if you want to, you can decide that his days of living with you are basically over. He is a grown man and can live in whatever state he chooses to live in, but it's in his own place.

    I think it's great that he has a reason to stay in Florida (college) and as he becomes sober, that may become very important to him. Just wait and see. If he is truly on a pathway of change, he will do a lot of changing in the next days, weeks, months. Let it unfold and do your best to just be loving and supportive.

    That's all you have to do. Hang in there!
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  17. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    Welp. He just called me. He sounded quite tired. First phone conversation while in PH, where he was antagonistic towards me. Ready with his random, unexpected hateful, hurtful zingers.

    Somehow, his FB friends came up & I asked him if he was going to eventually delete many of them (he has over 500), many of them drug buddies or dealers he's used.

    Apparently, he didn't like that question. And felt the immediate need to enter attack mode.

    His response was something like, "my FB friends have no influence on me. My issues are from my ROOTS....congratulations."

    I calmly said...(me being naive!) "wait, are you being sarcastic?"

    He then quietly hung up on me.

    See, ladies? I seem to set him OFF. He is so reactive to ME.

    His selfish, never there, loser, floating around in life, alcoholic bio father gets NONE of what I get.

    How could he live with us with this hostility towards me?

  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think you set yourself up for this. I think you (and he) and your husband need to make some choices. If you are going to detach, that means that he gets to choose who his friends and contacts are, I think. But then, economic help needs to be re-thought, because if you are paying his way, I think you have some right to have conditions.

    But then, look at it this way: He is an adult. Do you really have a right to dictate his friendships. A decision must be made I think, I clear one. Is he an adult or is he a child:

    There are parents that support their adult children going to college. I do not know that those parents feel they can either influence or control the friends their children select.

    The thing is: your son gets to determine the kind of life he wants, what he thinks of you, and to a point how he treats you. The only decision you have with respect to him that you control, I think, is how much you allow him in your life.

    Even if you support him I do not think you have much control, unless he buys in. It does not sound like he is buying. I can understand why. He wants autonomy which is age-appropriate.
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    So... how do we deal with them when they want the autonomy but not the responsibility?
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    We can either cut them loose or not. If we do not, and do not demand conditions, we are taking responsibility for subsidizing their autonomy, whether or not we condone their choices.

    I think learning personal responsibility may come from consequences. But not always.

    I think if the consequences are aversive, and they have to take them, nobody can really say much. There are all kinds of adults who do not take responsibility, make poor choices, get aversive consequences, for which they must take responsibility. Society and life force this. These people have autonomy. They are not learning. What can anybody say?

    Autonomy is every adult's right, to the point that it is allowed in any given society.

    Parents decide ultimately how far they go taking responsibility for their adult children. As far as my thinking goes, if I take responsibility for my son even partially, I will ask for some control. If he will not give me some influence, I will withdrew the help I am giving him. If he does not want to submit somewhat to my wishes, he can leave. It is a negotiation.

    But I will never again allow him control over my space or me, or do whatever he wants, while he is in my space or accepting my help.

    This negotiation is very stressful.
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