HI All - It's been a while. You know how it is.....not sure when it's OK to update anyone.....the PTSD gives you that feeling of always waiting for the next problem. So, GFG came home after school and yes, caught him with pot within the first 10 days. We used that as an opportunity to get him back into IOP. My husband's message was "here's the deal, you want problems and misery here, keeping smoking; you want to live home and be happy, no pot...period.....we're not backing off." When we caught him, we weren't even that mad cause we knew support had to continue and he was refusing it. Well, since then, he has done progressively better and better. This summer has been very therapeutic. He has been attending IOP regularly and spending lots of time with us and his cousins at a family beach house...playing frisbee, swimming to the raft, walking to ice cream, etc.....the old GFG who was a PC. Still smoking cigarettes occasionally, which we hate - pick your battles. Two years ago, he was so defiant and pot seeking we couldn't even take him there. His behavior and communication at home has gotten better and better. He still has his GFG moments, but they are fewer and farther between. For the most part, he can talk anything through without screaming. He has now been discharged from IOP and will be attending weekly relapse prevention meetings once per week. I write this update knowing that things can change and if they do, I know where to turn. There has been so much bad news on the board this summer, I wanted to post something positive to let everyone know that things can get better. It took a long time (2 years) and we had many very painful things happen (arrests, explulsions, hospital stays). When he was at his worst, there was no reaching him, we could only put him in a safe environment (Wilderness) to protect him from himself. After that, it's been a full year of IOP. He moved in and out of it a few times as he made progress and then slipped, but with each slip, he went back for more support. I think the groups in IOP work much better than individual counseling. The kids learn from each other and listen to each other in a way that they will not listen to adults. I share my experience with a few families around town in an effort to help them. I wish there were more parent support groups around for the families in the worst of it. Since there are not, I try to reach out. As I read some of the stories for new posters, I want to share what worked for us. In the times of total defiance and use, you have to find a way to "stop the madness" until they clear their head and realize there's a problem and agree to work with you. For us, that was Wilderness. Once they calm down and agree, find a place where they can do intensive support (IOP) long term because it's not a quick fix and there will be ups and downs. While they work on them, you work on you - READ, READ, READ - "Changing for Good" - "Teens Unders the Influence" "An Addict in the Family" and there are many more good reads. Reading helped me get out of my head and think more clinically. Find support for you - for some it's support groups and/or Alanon - for me we worked with a parenting coach who we met through IOP - he has lots of experience with struggling teens. The final ingredient in our formula was the hardest - let them struggle while you watch from afar - when they fall - insist on ramping up support and hold the line firm "no drugs in this house" - you want to drive, a lap top, a cell phone - NO DRUGS. If they fall - repeat your message unemotionally and then just report it to their program and let them process it there - no yelling, no tears, etc. - a firm message deliverred with strength but no emotion. More a "you know the rule, so how are you going to deal with this?" approach.
So - school starts in a few weeks. He will be back in the local public high school - first time in 2 years. He will be a junior. We will continue with our program - watch from afar and respond if he falls. We will not back off. It's all HIS problem - we will live a happy life regardless. You know what, I think he's going to do just fine.
I hope my story helps someone here. I know reading on the board has helped me all the way through. I know I can and will continue to read and post again when we need an outside perspective. I say to any of you who are in the worst of it, don't try to take them on alone. Either get them to a safe environment like Wilderness or work with the local authorities to force them into help. One family locally who was struggling with their 18 year old who was already on probation, went to the probation officer, told them they are still using, had him test him and then had the probation officer talk to him man-to-man - "you better go to Rehab before I have to put you in jail" - it worked. Don't be afraid of arrests, explusions, etc - sometimes it's the only way to break through.