Update on my missing child

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Zone Defense, Apr 10, 2016.

  1. Zone Defense

    Zone Defense New Member

    He was found late Thursday night, thank God! He was caught shoplifting alcohol. Unfortunately the juvenile detention center wouldn't take him. The police department wanted to release my chronic runaway, drug and alcohol dependant child to my custody. I asked that he be taken to the emergency room. After nearly 24 hours there with him, he was finally transported to a behavioral health center late Friday night.

    I went to see him today. He says this is all my fault, that I chose to put him there. He refuses to acknowledge that his actions brought him there. He stated he doesn't care that we were worried, that our feelings were our responsibility, not his problem. I was supposed to visit for an hour, but after 25 minutes of listening to his ranting and blame shifting I chose to leave. I told him that since my feelings were, according to him, my responsibility alone to bear, that this didn't feel good to me and I needed to go.

    Hopefully he will be going straight from behavioral health to drug rehab.

    Thank you for all your thoughts, support and prayers.
  2. savior no more

    savior no more Active Member

    Zone Defense -
    I am sorry for your pain and your son's situation. I have a son that sounds just about like yours. Society has no supports for families and parents with children like this. We are scorned and blamed and underneath the weight of it all it's amazing we survive. I have found here, like you, ways to take care of my feelings. My prayer will be that we as a society we can collectively move to a way and system to support - or keep them safe- until they are in a place to choose differently. Until then, I hope my understanding can somehow give at least a little comfort.
  3. Zone Defense

    Zone Defense New Member

    Let's see if I did the quote tying right :)

    When I go to court I plan on asking the judge, "are you familiar with the saying it takes a village? Where is my village?"

    I have sought help from the juvenile office. He was put on informal probation TWICE!!! Not once did they hold him accountable for his community service, essays he was supposed to write, or meetings he was to attend. Nor was he legally punished for no show or failed drug tests.

    I've sought help from the police numerous times when he becomes violent. They won't remove him. But to top it all, I've been charged with domestic assault because I protected myself against him in his violent outburst!!!

    Boys homes won't take him because he's not a ward of the state. The state won't take him because he's "not done anything bad enough yet."

    School just suspend him so he has more time to be high.

    Mental health won't keep him long term because they say it's a substance abuse issue. Drug rehab is a mere 58 days, and voluntary. They lock his shoes up, so he'd have to leave barefoot but they can't make him stay. In the past he's just done his 58 days, played the game, and went right back to it when he got out.

    I'm considering a military school if I can find a scholarship/grant for him. I can't afford to send him myself.

    Again I ask, where is my village???
  4. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    Write it all down. Every incident that you can remember. Try to make a timeline of events and behaviors and system failures.

    Start with the behavioral health folks. Tell them you can't handle him at home, that you and he are not safe, that he is a chronic runaway.

    If he goes to rehab tell them the same thing. Tell them that he cannot live with you.

    I had a friend in the same situation, her daughter was a substance abuser and a chronic runaway. She, at one point, threatened to burn the house down. My friend had younger children in the home. She refused to take her home from the mental health unit, they threatened to call child services on her. She let them. When she went before the judge she detailed everything that happened. Every incident, every failure of the system and they placed her daughter in some type of therapeutic residence. Her daughter is 21 now, sober, employed and going to college and has a baby boy.
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  5. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    My son is now 19 years old. We have been the juvenile dept. of justice route and dual diagnosis route. He blamed/blames me for his life choices. Nothing I did made a difference. I was judged and looked down on by everyone including some of his therapists. I get it. Placing blame is so much easier than providing support.
  6. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    I would suggest that you NOT do this! Don't piss in the cheerio's of someone who is in a position to make your life hell. More importantly, don't piss in the cheerio's of someone who has the authority to actually help.

    I understand your frustration but this wont help and will more than likely hurt your cause. Be polite and as has been mentioned before...DOCUMENT! The more you can tell them the more they can do.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If possible, also get documentation from other sources. Do you have previous reports from school or therapists or psychological evaluations? Anything on paper from others really helps.
  8. RN0441

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


    Praying for you. I know it seems hopeless but we are here for you. You are not alone.
  9. Zone Defense

    Zone Defense New Member

    @Jabberwockey -ahhh ok good point. Reason wins over emotion. I guess I won't say that. I'm just so irritated. Thank you for stopping that train!!!

    To all who have asked/mentioned... I have tons of documentation. From police reports, school discipline reports, psychiatric evaluations, children's division, his weekly therapist, cprc worker, and a very detailed weekly report from an intensive family counseling service that spent 10 hours/week with us for 9 weeks.

    I spoke with a juvenile officer today. He will be facing some pretty significant consequences this time. Hopefully this week be his wake up call.

    I am thankful to have found you all.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Child #2 (son): 16, Extremely difficult child since age 13. Genius level IQ, honors classes, athelete, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Substance abuse, rehab, lying, stealing, sneaking out, running away, sexually active.

    Deceased husband: committed suicide age 26 on 4th attempt in 10 years. Married 9 years, father to #2, #3, #4. Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenic, Substance abuse.

    You realize that genetics plays a large role in this? And that there is a fairly good chance that Child #2 is or may become either bi-polar, schizophrenic, or both? So many "youth" workers do not want to see these kids "labeled", which can really complicate things. But genetics is a bit stacked against. It isn't unusual for things like bi-polar to show up with puberty.
  11. Nature

    Nature Active Member

    I think your son blaming you (his parent) resonates with many of us here - how often they blame us and we become the target of their anger. I feel for you and pray the outcome of the next court appearance is what you need. How I wish that there were facilities that can provide intensive therapy and life skills for our children. Just wanted you to know that you're not alone. Hugs from me.
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  12. savior no more

    savior no more Active Member

    Let's pray it will be his wake up call. If it isn't, we are here. I am slowly learning from this group to minimize the trauma no matter their actions and to begin to find joy in my life amidst it.
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  13. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly Active Member

    Check out Teen Challenge Programs- they are very disciplined, faith based, rehab programs located all over the United States. I am so sorry you are going through this.
  14. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I don't know if you'll find a military school that will take him with his record and history of MH problems.

    The substance abuse is going to be a big issue. He is going to have to go through detox and withdrawal if addicted (NOTE: alcohol and benzo withdrawal can be fatal and should only be attempted under close, inpatient supervision).

    It might be better for him to go through rehab and get some clean time under his belt before sending him off to military school.

    An Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or emotional growth boarding school might be a much better route.

    Due to his issues, he is likely not suited for a military career track anyways.
  15. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Zone, just wanted to give my support, been reading along but very busy with some issues.
    My two have blamed me for their troubles for quite some time now. At first, I soul searched and had regrets over mistakes I made along the way as a parent. Of course I made mistakes, I am human. I realized that blaming me was a way my two avoided taking responsibility for their choices.
    I am sorry for your troubles finding help within the system. It is not right or fair. I hope this time your son will get the program he needs.
    Keep posting and let us know how you are doing. There is so much support here on CD. You are not alone.
  16. Childofmine

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

    Hi Zone, we are glad you are here. And I'm so sorry for all you are having to deal with.

    This is such a good recommendation. Writing it all down does so many things---it helps you, it will help him as you provide this to the "system" and it gives you something to do in an impossible situation.

    My son started his very slow slide in 7th grade with a lot of acting out and not doing homework and not trying in school but sports---soccer---kept him focused and active and he wanted to be on the team. Thank goodness.

    It wasn't until he graduated from h.s. and at the end of that first semester in college that the problems really started to pile up. He was 19 by then, and an adult by society's rules (far from being mature). He then went off the cliff and things were very very bad very quickly. Alcohol, drugs, stealing, lying, very bad behavior. We tried everything and nothing worked.

    He blamed his dad and myself for everything. We had gotten divorced when he was a junior in h.s. so the guilt was ready made and he manipulated it and of course it is true that divorce is very hard on our kids so I fell right into it.

    He said we made him go to the wrong middle school and by the time he got to high school, the one he wanted to go to, his friends there had made other friends. I think there was some truth in that, so again, I had the guilt. I was constantly trying to figure out what was truth and what wasn't and that kept me anxious and guilty and reactive. And he used all of that extremely skillfully. The point of this is that it delays the inevitable.

    You sound like you are already setting the strong boundaries and get it way more than I did. That will be good for you and for him.

    I also realize your son is still a minor. I don't know what you can do in this situation that you aren't already doing. Like others have said, the system isn't set up for this. And everywhere we turn, there is nobody who will "make something happen" for our very sick kids. His dad and I even checked into "having him committed" and found that wasn't likely to happen.

    Last night I heard a story on NPR about a new book called The Teenage Brain. It was sobering because all kids won't mature until well after their mid-20s, some into their early 30s. When alcohol and drugs and mental illness are involved early on, the damage is greater (although repairable). So it does matter if our kids use drugs and alcohol when they are in the teens because their developing brains are very vulnerable. How can we make them stop? That wasn't addressed of course.

    At some point, it has to be about you. I did learn that crying, begging, reasoning, grounding, writing contracts, shaming, guilting, restricting, talking, talking, talking, didn't work. He was heck-bent on doing what he was going to do and wild horses couldn't have stopped him. He was a one-person wrecking ball.

    After many years, I finally got out of the way and let it be. It got a whole lot worse for a long time (several years) with more drugs, arrests, jail time and homelessness. yes, we still tried during that time, we never gave up, sending him to rehab multiple times, when he threatened suicide we called the police every time, we were never estranged from him and we always told him we loved him. But we "let" him be homeless and we didn't bail him out of jail and we quit hiring lawyers and paying his fines and on and on. I was literally and figuratively down on my knees for years, completely broken by this, and I had to start rebuilding my own life to even function.

    Al-Anon was my savior (after the first time I went for about 18 months and paid lip service to it), the second time I went back I stayed and I worked the program, followed it faithfully whether it made any sense to me or not at the time because I knew something had to change and he wasn't going to so it had to be me. Then he used Al-Anon against me. (lol).

    Letting go was the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. But that is where I started to find peace and joy even though nothing with him had changed.

    And today, I know that letting go of all people, places and things is the pathway to a better life, and I am so grateful I had to learn this. I am such a "better" person today in so many ways.

    Please know we understand the heartbreak, pain, frustration, grief and anger you feel...and the exhaustion. We are here for you, and we will offer ideas, support and encouragement. Take what you like and leave the rest...only you know what you can live with. Warm hugs.
  17. Zone Defense

    Zone Defense New Member

    That was actually the first place I called about 2 years ago. Unfortunately their program for teens is horrifically expensive. $2,000/month!!!! The do not offer any type of assistance.
    I agree, but Medicaid won't cover Residential Treatment Center (RTC). They won't take him anyway because they say they he has a substance abuse issue not a mental health/behavioral issue. Ummm.... He has both! And the department of MH actually classifies substance abuse AS a mental health issue!!!! It's like talking in circles with these people sometimes.
    We actually experienced that with my life long alcoholic father just before thanksgiving. He was sober for less than 12 hours because he finally got a job, had a seizure and almost died. Spent 5 weeks in the hospital. Sober almost 5 months, for the first time in 40 years!!!
    Exactly!!! I am a good mom. Regardless of what he says or how he acts. (Can you tell that I have to reaffirm myself often these days?)
    I have an entire file folder. It's so sad, I used to collect his report cards, essays, poetry and awards. Now I collect his police records, discipline records, MH evaluations. How did my son get so lost???
    This is where it gets tricky for me. Having to be strong with alcoholic father and husband, this is nothing new in my world. Except they were grown men. If my husband was drunk or high be couldn't be at home. Sometimes that meant sleeping in his truck, being hungry and dirty. But he could not be around us like that. I had to kick him out of our home for extended amounts of time. He didn't want treatment and I didn't want to be a victim. Since my son is still a minor I am somewhat forced into it. Regardless of his state of sobriety or intoxication I have to allow him in my home. Angry, violent, disrespectful, stealing, lying... all of, to an extent, I have to put up with. His bad choices seem to effect everyone else in our home far more than they do him. The law says I have to provide 3 hots and a cot. That is about all I have to offer him when he returns home from behavioral health's acute care next week. When he is an adult, I will step out of his way. At this point I must somehow continue to parent him. If not for his own benefit, then for his younger siblings who are seeing their brother disregard rules and consequences. I can't go down this path with the next 3 also!

    Thank you all for your information, but most importantly your encouragement.
  18. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    My son is also 16, almost 17 and we also have felt we have nowhere to turn. We have filled the past year and half with 3 months in wilderness therapy, 2 outpatient programs at local mental health hospital and a diversion program through the courts. I try to think of all of these programs as chipping away slowly at the problem. Perhaps some little part is sticking and will affect change. You sound like a wonderful mother who is doing everything she can to help. I really don't have advice but wanted to offer my support. You are not alone and will get great advice here.
  19. RN0441

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

    I think you need to call different Teen Challenges. I called a few in Florida and they said they do not turn anyone away. One started at $1500 per month and I had them down to $500 per month for our son. Also was told that the ones in California are entirely free. My son did not end up going there but call around.

    They may have to be 18 to attend though. I can't remember. Good luck.