18 y/o daughter using pot and missing opportunities

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by amelia d, Jul 15, 2014.

  1. amelia d

    amelia d Hope outweighs experience

    My 18 y/o daughter recently announced that she needed a "break " from college and wasn't certain what she wants to do. She attended 1 year of community college..sort of. By that I mean she stopped attending classes first semester, even though she was passing. She actually got up and left the house and pretended to go every day. I got her a counselor (therapist), and she took 2 classes second semester. She says she knows she wants to teach. Now, she doesn't want to go to school in September, and thinks she wants to travel the country..or live alone. Last night she came home reeking of pot. First she denied it, then admitted she does it alot. I am at a loss. She is smart, kind and beautiful. She seems to be sucked into this "pot philosophy" that it just relaxes her and makes life easier. She works as a waitress and makes good money, so I am not financing her use. If she was doing well in school, the occasional use of pot wouldn't bother me..the fact that she's not doing well, staying out late and sleeping in til late day concerns me. Her counselor won't discuss their sessions since she is 18. Any ideas on handling this?
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Well...by the way, welcome to the forum...first off, at least she isn't sponging your money and I assume if she moves out or travels it will be somehow on her own dime. That's a good thing. Lots of kids smoke lots of pot. I don't think it's good for anyone to do pot or booze or anything too much, but my opinion and yours don't really matter here. You can't stop her from doing it and you can't make her go back to school. Some adult kids do go back when they are older.

    You may think your daughter isn't doing well, but maybe she is enjoying sleeping in late, not going to school and goofing off is a good life. Often our adult kids have different ideas than we do about what is good for them. At eighteen, she is not "only" eigheen. She is a legal adult and she can do whatever she wants to do. It wouldn't shock me if she told you she was seeing a counselor and didn't go. However, even if she does, unless she signs a paper allowing you to know about her sessions, you no longer can get any information about your legal adult daughter.

    The only person you have any control over right now is yourself. You have to decide if you're ok with your daughter living in your house while she chooses a lifestyle that you don't approve of. Some moms here would say "yes, at least she's working" and some would say "Absolutely not." I don't know what I'd do. Frankly, if she were polite to me, paid some rent, and worked, I don't know that I'd make her leave, although, unless you are in CA or CO, she is breaking the law. Pot will be legal soon everywhere. I certainly would ban any sort of smoking, including cigarettes, in my own house. Not listening to THAT rule would be grounds for having to leave the house as nobody smokes in my house.

    Anyway, this is just me and it's a hard question. Your daughter's two offenses here are smoking pot, which you don't like, and quitting school. If she is happy and productive and follow the house rules, sounds like she is going to strike out for her independence pretty soon anyway.

    Others will hopefully come along...ones who are less "iffy" about your daughter.
  3. amelia d

    amelia d Hope outweighs experience

    Thanks..you make some great points. My concern is that she is not happy and using the pot allows her to avoid dealing with the reason she's so unhappy. I went through many times of uncertainty when I was 18 (and 19, 20, 21 etc..) so that is not a surprise to me. The thing is, she does have a goal and understands what she needs to do to reach it. I don't want to force her to continue at school if she's not engaged in it, but I don't want to send a message that anything goes. I worry that the pot is going to lead to legal issues and blur the lines between "want" and "need".

    Thanks for the input.
  4. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Warning...small rant coming: Why is it becoming okay for people to use substances on a routine basis to "relax" or "make life easier" or whatever the reason is?

    I understand a cocktail or two on the weekend. I'm not a prude, I drink a little socially. I get it.

    But when people are using alcohol, pot, pills or whatever to relax and make themselves forget about real life and feel better about their emotions, or whatever the "reason of the day" is, I think that is bad.

    And now, we are legalizing pot all over this country? It's stupid. And I don't get why if it's against federal law, the states can do it anyway.

    Okay I'm done.


    Amelia, your daughter is 18 and I get that, too. She's a kid. But she's also an adult, in the eyes of the law. That means, if she gets arrested for possession or selling she will have a misdemeanor or a felony. That's serious business. I'm sure she knows this already, but of course, she thinks it won't happen to her.

    Well my son, who is 25, has multiple misdemeanors and two felonies now for selling drugs. He has dug himself a deep hole that gets harder and harder and harder to climb out of. And he can give you such a story about how it all happened, and how he was just a victim of circumstances. Right.

    It sounds like your daughter is slowly sliding down the hill into....a new way of living that is not good.

    If you allow it, and she allows herself to continue the slide, it will only get worse.

    I would set down some very simple, few, clear and firm ground rules for what will happen in your home. She will work full time if not going to school, and that means 40 hours a week. She will be up and out of the house every day by ___ a.m. She will have specific chores to do every day around the house. She will pay some rent, even if it's $25 a week or whatever you determine. If she is in school, she will work part-time and still have the chores.

    Our young people need to be busy. They need to be tired at the end of the day. They need to run on the schedule that the rest of the world runs on, which is morning until end of the day. They need responsibility, not too much, but growing responsibilities for themselves, like paying for their own cell phones, their own gas, their own clothes and over time, their own car insurance, etc.

    Otherwise, what are we teaching them? Now, we did all of this, and our son did it, until we finally kicked him out due to him NOT doing it and completely and totally ignoring the rules we set down.

    I see your daughter as on the cusp of two directions. She can choose one, and thrive. She can choose the other, and continue the downhill slide.

    I am sorry you are having this situation, Amelia. I hope she starts moving in the right direction. We get it here. We care. Please keep posting and you'll find a lot of support here. We have been there done that. Sadly, way too much.
  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    'Amelia, it sounds like she is going to leave anyway. Maybe her goal was really YOUR goal or maybe she doesn't have one yet. Trust me, I am not defending her. I am very anti-drugs and I've never been drunk in my life. I'm a BIG prude when it comes to using stuff to make life easier. I have a horrible mood disorder and I felt so ashamed for taking antidepressants,although they saved my life, that I spent over a year pushing everyone away so that nobody would get close to me and I'd have no chance of ever spilling my dirty secret to anybody. And I hated my husband because he knew.

    But the antidepressant was lifesaving for me. Without them, I'd be dead. But the antidepressant makes me feel normal, not high or low or mellow. That is rarely the case with pot. In fact, pot made me more depressed when I did try it. It is not safe for everyone, nor do I feel that moderate use is unsafe for everyone. LOTS OF POT is a red flag, but what can you do when it's heading towards legalization? I's like telling her she can never drink. She probably will, but you don't have to allow it in your house. Or your car, if she drives it. In fact, if it were my kid, she wouldn't be allowed to drive my car since she admitted to often being intoxicated and no kid or adult is ever going to drive my car while high on anything.

    COM gave good advice, better than mine. I guess I'm just so tired of the "pot is harmless" crowd that I give up. And so does the rest of the country because I give it ten years before it is legal in every single state and then we will have all the same problems with pot users who can't really handle it just like we have with alcohol.

    Hugs and keep posting. We are listening.
  6. amelia d

    amelia d Hope outweighs experience

    I agree with you (rant included!) It makes me so angry that the legalization of pot has become a move towards "enlightenment" because it's too big to control. We already have a generation of lazy kids who now feel justified to be even lazier by using pot.
    I am scared that she will go down a path of self destructive behavior. I can't believe most of what she tells me. How do you keep her from hitting bottom? I thought having her see a therapist would help..but I'm not seeing it.
    Thanks for sharing..I hope your son has a "come to Jesus moment" that turns him around.
  7. amelia d

    amelia d Hope outweighs experience

    Thanks Midwest..sounds like you've been through some struggles of your own. What's the saying..raise the child you have, not the child you want.. I adore my daughter and that's what makes it so tough. They are her goals..no doubt..she's a hard head and won't even consider other options . She thinks she has all the answers, but will not wait to hear what the questions are. Thanks for the hugs..right back at you.
  8. I have a son who is a pot-head, smokes it regularly to reduce his anxiety disorder. He has been on antidepressants to help him get over a life-crisis but still has anxiety and anger issues. He has done counselling and what helps him to control his out-of-control emotions is to smoke pot. He rarely drinks, isn't involved in criminal activies, has a decent job and pays his own bills. How can we say he is wrong when so many of us are using other socially acceptable methods to get through the day, the week, the crisis of the month? I believe I am basically a good person and yet I've been on antidepressants for most of my life and major pain killers for the last 10 years. It's prescription drugs that are running my life and I'm messed up so if he smokes a natural herb and can successfully manage his life, I can't agree that pot is the worst thing we have to worry about today. JMO - I don't advocate it's use but I won't condemn people who use it in moderation or for medical reasons.
    As for your daughter, it sounds to me like her long-term goal of teaching has simply taken a backseat for now, she wants to experience life before settling into her career. Let her choose the now or the future but in the meantime - your house, your rules. Treat her like an adult and maybe - just maybe - you will get the respect you deserve!
  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Pot is not nothing. Neither is daily alcohol use.

    When I was divorced I dated a guy who told me he had been addicted to pot and I said, "You can't be addicted." He said he had been and decided he had to quit when his then wife had a baby. Until he quit, his entire life was just a big joke to him, per his own words. He made a living doing the rides at various carnivals and traveling around the country getting high. He never made more than $6,000 a year and didn't care.

    Once he stopped he had such a strong urge to smoke pot he needed a drug addiction therapist to help him quit and he said it was very difficult. Once he did quit, his salary tripled and more in two years and he finally got serious about being a good provider and father. He did get divorced, but he still had a very close relationship with his daughter and was clean and sober. Basically, he told me that pot made him not give a ****** about anything. So to call it nothing is not correct. It changes your brain chemistry and zaps your ambition if you take it a lot. And, at least with this young man, it was very hard for him to quit using it. Addiction was in his family tree. His brother had been a heroin addict who was taking a drug to make him not crave heroin. His father was an alcoholic. Pot affects everyone differently, much like alcohol. Some people can drink in moderation. Some take that first drink and their life is ruined.

    Maybe some of us smoked pot and were not affected that much and could go about normal life being high. I know I couldn't have. I tried it and it had a huge affect on me, slowed down my body, slowed down my mind, put me into a dream-like state, made me paranoid and I shudder to think of me being behind the wheel of a car. I hated it and quit after trying it about six times. I also have severe anxiety disorder and the pot made it worse, not better.

    Pot is not going to turn out to be harmless, just like alchohol isn't harmless. And there is no way to know for sure if a person's lack of ambition, especially if suspciously at the same time pot starts, is due to the pot. It can also bring out latent mental illness, like schizophenia and depersonalization/derealization, in people who are prone to it. This has already been documented. It is dangerous to get complacent and think, "Oh, pot is nothing." Depends on who is taking it and how often.
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I have a severe mood disorder and need medication. If I don't take it, I'm suicidal and can't function. I take it as prescribed and never drink or use any drugs I don't need because I want to be well and live a long, happy life, especially now that I have grandkids! :)
    My family is filled with mental illness and personality disorders so I just got a nice big piece of the pie! But I work very hard to stay in a good place, which is why I get frustrated with people who have problems and won't do anything to fix them. I had no family support. I did everything I did on my own or with psychiatrists and therapists and self-help groups. Nobody held my hand. I honestly think it was better for me that I had to do it alone. I think it made me stronger. If my parents had been willing to feel sorry for me and hold my hand and not make me get up to work and do life (which is healthy for a depressed person), I would have probably let t hem coddle me because I didn't feel like doing anything. But I wouldn't have gotten to where I am now. It was better that they practically threw me out of the house although I really did not break their rules, even though they were doing it just because they're mean. In the end, it was a very good thing that they WERE mean...lol. I"m serious too.
  11. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Amelia, if she is an addict, she will have to hit her own bottom before she will stop. That's the whole deal. You have to be sick and tired enough of your own current life as it is to be motivated enough to change it. Same for us here. We keep trying the logical things with our adult kids to "help" them and nothing works, and our heads and hearts are sore from hitting them so hard against the brick wall of no change that finally....we are sick and tired enough of what we are doing to be ready to change and learn something new. We human beings are notoriously slow learners.

    There is little/no clear evidence that your daughter is an addict, and you know what, you don't have to figure that out today. She will do what she will do until she doesnt or does.

    The healthy thing is for you to focus on you and decide what you will or will not tolerate. Boundaries.

    I have taken antidepressants as well, and I drink one or two drinks a week. I believe that mental illness requires treatment. I had situational depression that was real twice in my life and I took medications and got therapy and I moved out of that state and on from it.

    Smoking pot---which is not regulated and therefore who knows what's in it-----is not the same thing as taking antidepressants in in my humble opinion. Drinking regularly to "relax" and "deal with anxiety" is not a prescribed method.

    This is a very slippery slope. I believe pot is a gateway drug. I believe that for the potentially addicted brain (like my son's DNA and his dad's DNA), it is never okay.

    My son is on antidepressants for his anxiety and depression but he refuses therapy. He is not following the medical directive for his "disorder". That's on him.

    He can't drink and smoke pot and take pills and whatever else he does and justify it due to his "anxiety" and to "relax." I don't buy that.

    Do what the doctor tells you to do, if you have a mental illness, and do it long enough to see results.

    That is very different from self-medicating without supervision.

    Sorry. As I said, I'm no prude by any measure, but having seen and learned what I have over the past four years, this is how I believe and feel now. I believe we will rue the day we legalize pot.
  12. amelia d

    amelia d Hope outweighs experience

    Thanks for everyone's thoughts..I am a "fixer", so it makes it really hard for me to walk away. I am trying to talk her into a service project that will take her out of the area and expose her to struggles she has never had to witness. My thought is that it would be good for her to leave her comfort zone and the friends she hangs with, help others who can benefit from her kindness and make her realize that she can make a powerful impact on someone else. Any thoughts?
  13. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Amelia, most of us here are fixers too. I was a great fixer! (or so I thought!) for years, for my kids, my friends and it's a great quality in business. Give me a problem, and I'll fix it!

    But it really doesn't work with people. We can't fix them and they can't fix us.

    I think it's great to suggest a geographic change. If she goes, it could make an impact and change the course of what comes next.

    A few years back, difficult child and I went to Europe with a tour group. I thought just seeing the big world and all of its greatness would surely expand his mind. He didn't want to go on the trip (who would not want to go to Europe, all expenses paid, I ask you???) but I coerced him and manipulated him into going and so we went, and we had some good moments.

    It didn't "do the trick" but I am still glad we had the time together.
  14. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I would stop making any suggestions. She is "of age" and most of our adult children don't listen to us once they are legal, if they did before that. That's like asking her to volunteer for a survival camp to get the experience of other people and while it may sound good to you, it's something I doubt your daughter will even consider. Yes, most of us tried to fix everyone and we actually were successful exactly 0% of the time because we learned the hard way we can't fix anyone but ourselves and our reactions to others and life.

    Your daughter is going to do what she's going to do. All your overtalking to her does is irritate her and make her even more sure that she's right and needs to get away. If she finds a path that shows her that she can help people and if that's what she wants to do, it will happen, but on her terms and only if it happens. Why would she agree to leave her friends? They are important to her.

    Everyone's life is their own personal journey. Sometimes even we can't control what happens to us. How can we think we can control somebody else?

    I highly suggest you read the great book "Codependent No More" by Melody Beatty (I t hink that's how you spell it). At any rate, it's a real eye opener for fixers and those who think they can change other people. It was the beginning of my own journey toward serenity and peace.
  15. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Ok first I agree with the rant about pot legalization... drives me nuts as so many of us have kids who have really spiralled into drug addiction starting with pot!

    That being said I have two kids.... my son who is a drug addict and has many issues around his addiction and has been in treatment and is again in treatment.

    And a daughter who is doing great in her life, finished her freshman year at college with flying colors, is working this summer and is all around a great kid.

    Both have smoked pot and drank. One has a serious drug problem and one doesnt.... and I dont think she will . My kids are both adopted and so are not genetically related.

    So here is my advice and what I have done with my daughter. Keep your relationshp strong, that is the best thing you can do is to keep building a good and adult relationship with your daughter. And as part of every day life talk to her about pot and drinking without a lot of judgement (hard to do I know). So my daughter is open with me and there have been a few times where alcohol has created situations that are not great.... and so I will point that out... that was made worse by the drinking. Again keeping the conversation low key. I am not approving or okaying it but it is something she is doing and I am just trying to keep the dialog going. Now in her case she knows her brother is really messed up and she knows she doesnt want to be like him so that helps.

    A lot of kids thier age smoke pot and drink..... and many many of them are fine. Some are not.

    So I would keep encouraging her in other things, certainly help her deal with the issues in her life that make her unhappy. I do think it is a big red flag when substances are used to deal with feelings or unhappiness and that is something to explore with her if you can.


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  16. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Hi Amelia.

    You've gotten good advice and I agree with Child of Mine's words of wisdom.

    I'm answering because I share your concerns about your daughter and I think you have a valid reason to be concerned.

    I'm concerned that she was pretending to be in school- actually leaving the home during class time - in order to perpetuate the lie. That's worrisome behavior. (And - in full disclosure - my own difficult child did the very same thing just this last year.)

    I'm glad she went back and completed 2 classes, but I do believe you are right to be concerned about her pot use.

    I don't want to get into the whole pot vs social drinking vs antidepressant debate. Can people use pot recreationally without ill effects? Sure. That said - from the details you have given us - I don't think your daughter is using pot to relax. It sounds like your daughter is using pot to "check out".

    Marijuana abuse causes lack of motivation. When I was a teen/young adult; there were many kids in various "cliques" who got high once in a while. But there was also that wholly separate group commonly referred to as "the burnouts." Burnouts spent a lot of time getting stoned and disengaged from just about everything &'everyone else & were unmotivated students or workers.

    My difficult child is a burnout. I suspect he started to abuse marijuana at 18 as a way to self medicate. He has no problem working or keeping a job but he also has no motivation. He gives lip service to goal setting- much like you daughter wanting to teach or travel etc - but (my difficult child) lacks the will to direct himself towards any of his goals. He is very much checked out and I firmly believe it's due to his marijuana abuse.

    My son is 22 & living on his own now. I have zero influence on him now.

    You mentioned your daughter attended therapy for a bit. If I had a chance to do it all over w my difficult child at 18- I would have done my best to keep him living at home and in therapy for as long as I could. I would have kept our family the primary influence in his life. When he moved out at 19, it served to exacerbate his use of marijuana and his lack of direction. At 22, despite our best efforts to get him back on track , that lack of direction is even more cemented.

    These are my own experiences. I can't say if your daughter is similar to my difficult child. That said. I sense your concern and I wished I had heeded my concerns about my son when he was 18. I tried to brush it off as typical college behavior and I know plenty of marijuana users who are successful adults- but still I had a gnawing feeling that he was not ok and his pot use was not ok. Listen to your intuition -

    I hope this helps. Sorry so long
  17. amelia d

    amelia d Hope outweighs experience

    Signorina..thank you for sharing. Yeah..I think you get it. I have gotten alot of input and feedback and it helps (mostly). The frustration, like everyone on here has experienced, is seeing a child CHOOSE to throw their life away. She does still go to therapy, but I don't trust that she is very forthcoming about her situation. I spoke to her therapist to let her know I was seeing some concerning behavior, and was basically told to keep it to myself. The attitude is that my daughter needs to tell her this stuff--not me. If she doesn't hear about it from her, it must not be a concern. It's interesting you mentioned the moving out decision. The original plan (reasonable I thought) was for her and a friend to get an apartment to be closer to the University she was transferring to. That changed to an immediate need to get a place on her own. She can't discuss it without crying and just says she wants to live alone. My concern was her isolating herself from everyone. The isolation would be replaced by drugs, and the people that provide them. To me, it's the perfect storm. Take away the support she has, and everything comes crashing down on her..increasing her feelings of worthlessness. I agree with the whole pot thing. There are some people who can smoke it, but still move forward. My daughter is using it for "escape" ( her words), and as avoidance. I can't figure out what she's trying to avoid.
    I hope your son finds a better future..you sound like a very strong woman, and that should help. Good luck.
  18. MomOfFive

    MomOfFive New Member

    I have an idea of how hard this is for you. My son, also 18 years old, seems to be "missing opportunities" as well. He graduated at the end of May with a 3.5 GPA, high SAT score, etc., and he turned down a full scholarship -- so he didn't even pretend to attend college. I believe he was smoking and drinking, probably doing drugs (smoking weed etc); I put him out of our home about 7 weeks ago. (He also made some inappropriate threats when I tried to talk to him -- I didn't think he'd act on them, but did not want to take a chance -- that was the actual catalyst for me asking him to leave.) It broke my heart. My husband was not on-board with me making our son leave. Our son is not speaking to either of us, but is speaking to older sister (whom will probably be tougher on him than us). I now hope and pray that our son will choose a positive path; we will know in time.

    Reading through the posts on this forum have really helped me to be strong, to focus on what I need to do. I'm focusing on myself for the first time in years! Losing weight etc. The tension in the house is subsiding to some extent. I have also attended a number of Al-Anon meetings, which have helped me as well... It helps me to know that I am not alone in this -- so just in case it helps you to know, please know that you are not alone either.
  19. Scott_G

    Scott_G Member

    While your daughter may legally be an adult, the way I see it is whoever pays the bills makes the rules. If you don't want your daughter smoking pot in your house or even out of the house while living at home, make it a condition of her continuing to live with you. If she brings it into the house or comes home high, she's out. Were you paying for her school? Again, unless she stops smoking and gets her act together, no help with tuition. Adult life is about choices, and you are giving her choices-if you want to live at home and have school paid for, sober up, otherwise you are on your own to do whatever you want. That's how it happened to me. I moved out over a silly curfew. At 19 when I came home from my freshman year of college my parents gave me a midnight curfew. Of course I tried telling them that I was an adult and I could do whatever I wanted. Their reply was that they didn't care if I was 30, if I was living under their roof, I had to live by their rules. I didn't want to live by their stupid rules so I moved out and never looked back. When I graduated from college, they also refused to let me move back home. Looking back, I can see how I could have easily turned into a difficult child if my parents were the type to just let me lounge around on their couch and do nothing. At the time I was angry at my parents for their treatment of me, but with age and having to deal with a child of my own, I have come to see that they were right. I strongly feel (although it didn't work that way for my own kid) that at 18 it's time to grow up and join the real world-preferrably away at school or in their own apartment. If they do live at home, life should not be easy. They should be working full time and paying their fair share, just like they would if they lived on their own. There should also be a plan in place for them to move out eventually.

    Another thing I will add is don't be judgemental. Your daughter is an adult and she is free to pursue her own dreams and not your dreams for her. If you have concerns over her behavior, try and discuss them in a way that is not condescending, preachy, or judgemental. This will create resentment. In my early 20's I went no contact for a year with my parents because of them being judgemental of my life (and I was living on my own at this time). Years later my mother would tell me that one of the hardest things for a parent to do is to keep your big mouth shut and let your adult kids live their own lives.
  20. amelia d

    amelia d Hope outweighs experience

    Thanks for the input...the support really has helped. Scott, of course I'm being judgemental...I don't agree with my daughter smoking pot, blowing off school and basically ignoring the right choices because they are too "hard". Life is hard, and disappointing and complicated. It can also be happy, fulfilling and beautiful. I read some of these posts and it is heart-breaking to hear about life long struggles with mental illness and addiction and abuse. That is not my daughter's situation. We all have challenges in life and we all make choices on how we face those challenges. You chose to leave when your parents set a curfew. Some might see that as a battle you were looking for. 18 y/o girls are notoriously hardheaded and constantly pushing the limits. She is working and her plan is to move out. It has helped me to get the feedback on this site and realize that she can make her own choices (and mistakes) at this point in her life. My stand is that she can go if she can afford it, but it does not have to be a "forever" decision. I am open to supporting her returning to school if, and when, she is ready to take it seriously. My concern is the route she decides may cause her more harm than good, and recovering from it may prove impossible. It sounds like you rose to the challenges, but not everyone does. Some of our kids just choose to drift lower. We have put rules in place that she must follow while she is living here...but there is no doubt about my feelings when it comes to destructive behavior..I think it's important she knows that I don't approve.