18 year old difficult child, homeless for 5 days and then arrested, it's a nightmare

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by pinevalley, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. pinevalley

    pinevalley Member

    My difficult child is 18 years old, and he is totally destroying his life (and ours) with drugs. He in a senior in HS, and he was recently suspended from school for coming to school high. He smokes weed, and it has been getting much worse recently after his girlfriend broke up with him. I'm sure that he smokes daily, and he has started to take over the counter pills (triple C) to get high. My husband and I have tried to convince him to go to rehab, but he absolutely refuses, and he says that if we take him to rehab he will just walk out. We can not force him to stay at rehab since he is 18 now. Last week my husband and I decided to get tough with difficult child, and we told him that we wanted to admit him to rehab for help, but if he refused our help he could no longer live in our house. He walked out of our house last Monday, and did not go to school the rest of the week. He has another girlfriend who is really homeless, and they both spent their days in fast food restaurants last week, and then slept in the foyer of an apartment complex. On Friday difficult child was hungry and desperate for money, so he snatched a woman's purse as she was coming out of a bank. He then got scared and dropped the purse and ran, and the woman got her purse back right away. The cops found difficult child and arrested him for robbery, which is a felony charge. difficult child did not call us from the police station, and he spent the night in jail. His homeless girlfriend texted me and told me about the arrest, and husband and I posted his bond on Saturday. difficult child is now back at home with us, and he is in school today. He now says that he will go to rehab, but he also says that he knows how to "play the game" so that he can get out of there quickly. He wants to cut down on his smoking weed, but he doesn't realize that he absolutely needs to stop using drugs completely. I have talked to an attorney about the arrest, and he told me that difficult child could be sentenced to 3 years in jail or even to probation. I just can't believe that this is really happening to our family, and this is a nightmare for my husband and I. difficult child has been seeing a therapist weekly, but I don't know if he will really change if he doesn't want to get help for his problems. I was just trying to get difficult child to graduate from hs in a few months, and even that is in doubt now - all because of drugs.
    I don't really have a question here, but I would appreciate any advice from others who have had difficult child's in rehab. I am going to meet with an attorney today, about the arrest. I just don't know what more that my husband and i can do for our son. We just feel totally helpless right now, and it is so sad that difficult child was on his own for only 5 days, and now he is facing a jail sentence. Thanks for any advice that you have to offer.
  2. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest


    Hugs... this is hard. I have so been where you are at... my story is similar although we are much further down the road.

    First your son probably faces charges that can carry a jail sentance but my experience with the courts is it is very unlikely he will actually do jail time for this first offense. It took about 5 offenses before he actually got his bail revoked and spent two weeks in jail. That was actually a good thing because it took away all his tough guy bravado and he learned he really doesn't want to spend time in jail. That was the first time he went to rehab....that helped some.... but he did relapse and has recently spent another time in rehab in another state.... went to a sober house, got kicked out of there, ended up on the street at night and was desperate and went back to detox. He is now at another sober house and seems to be trying harder this time but time will tell.

    I know my story is not exactly hopeful because my son certainly didn't get it the first time and I am not sure he has got it now.... however I have gotten to a different place.

    So here are my thoughts.... it is fine to help out with a lawyer to a point but think about your lmits too. Same with paying for rehab. Think about how to get him help this time, he is still young... but he has an attitude. He is probably going to need some serious attitude adjustment to make progress... and that attitude adjustment may come from the hard realities of the legal system and from being homeless. My son has experienced both of these for short times and I believe it scares him. Ths time around he is in rehab because of his own volitioin... no deals from us, no coaxing from us..... this is becuase he doesn't know what else to do.

    So I suggest you keep setting the limits about not letting him live in your home until he gets help.... but then it is up to him. He is 18 and legally an adult... you cant control him or really direct his life anymore. It is so hard to let go.... but that is gong to be part of your process.... get help with that. A therapist can be helpful. Alanon can be very helpful, we found a wonderful parents alanon group that has helped me a lot. I think the sooner yuo let him discover that he doesnt really know how to play the game, that the game really isn't so much fun, the sooner he will want help.

    It is a tough tough place to be as a parent.

  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We've been there done that too, last winter we kicked our then 19 year old difficult child out of the house in a snowstorm because she was drinking and smoking pot 24/7. She had to borrow money for a hotel that night and then spent three months with a druggie friend until she finally agreed to rehab.

    You can hopefully get the court to order rehab if you tell the attorney that is what you want to happen. What TL said is true though, they usually don't get it the first time. But it's a start. Our difficult child relapsed shortly after leaving a 60 day residential program. She only went to rehab because we would not let her come home. And then she relapsed several other times while living in a sober house. She is sober 90 days today. We take one day at a time.

    Learn all you can about addiction and treatment. Continue to set limits and draw the line in the sand about him not living there if he is using. He needs treatment, he will not be able to stop using on his own. You will need to be strong and it will be a rough ride, but there is hope.

    There are several of us who are actively dealing with our young adults addiction over in the Parent Emeritus forum. You are welcome to join us there for more discussion. Or I will try to keep coming back here to check on you.

  4. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Hello Pinevalley,
    I know how aweful you feel right now. Our daughter has had 2 residential treatment stays for a total of just over 2 years. She is 17-just passed her GED (she refused school). She still goes to friends without permission and sometimes stays over night in God knows where, smokes pot off and on-has had no job since out of last treatment center so has to get it other ways (which is a worry for us). She just got a job today but they are doing a background check-don't think they can see her juvenile record. We pray they dont drug test-pot stays in the system 28 days! We'll see how that goes.

    Unless they want it-nothing helps because it is hard even when they want it! Playing the game doesn't work very well in longer term treatment places-they just kick 'em out or call them on their ****. Trouble is, once they get out, if the desire hasn't settled in-they relapse. It's a process and you have to try. Relapse is most often a part of the deal. We don't regret any of our decisions to help her. We hope that one day when the brain is fully working, what she learned will start to kick in. We hope that she will not use harder drugs-she really seems to have steered away from that, but who knows.

    One day at a time-do what will make you feel good and yes I agree with the others. Ask that rehab is court ordered even if he goes in tomorrow before court. Don't let him home while he's using. The five days was great (good for you doing that), but he may not have hit rock bottom. School is important, but just how far he will make it right now is questionable. Find the right rehab and hang in there. Hugs!
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Another one whose daughter was heavily into drugs.

    1/I do not believe your difficult child is only smoking pot daily. I think he is into far more serious drugs. According to my daughter, who is now clean, kids will cop to pot but often that's usually just the tip of the ice berg. She also told me that if you use, you sell. That was hard for us to hear and I don't know if it's true, but that is what she told us. We had to kick her out too. That's when she started to get better after a few false starts.

    2/Your son will not get anything out of rehab if he doesn't want to quit doing drugs. It is a waste of your money. You can't force him to try. But I wouldn't let him live at home unless he does want to quit. It will just be more of the same.

    3/This is the hardest, but it is my honest guess: He almost stole the ladies purse, not because he was hungry in my opinion (it sounds good and pulls at Mom's heart strings), but my guess is that he wanted/needed money for drugs and maybe he was lifting money from you for a while too. When he wasn't at home, he had to mug a lady to get money. This is very serious. One does not behave this way just because of pot, although, trust me, I'm not a pot fan either. Still...it doesn't cause kids to rob people.

    I would not allow him to drive you vehicles since you know he uses drugs. My daughter cracked up three cars, one being a car that was not her own. In that accident, the lady she hit sued her for $15,000 and she had to keep paying it long after she had quit using drugs. She could have been killed or killed somebody else.

    If you want good, real life and in person help, go to narc-anon or al-anon to talk to others in your area who have been in your shoes. You can not control your son at his age. (((Hugs))) I have been there and been scared. I thought my kid was going to end up in prison or die. She didn't. She quit. It can happen, but in my opinion it's best not to be too sympathetic or helpful. Then they have no incentive to give up the habit...good luck!
  6. pinevalley

    pinevalley Member

    Thank you for your replies. I took difficult child for an assessment at a private drug treatment center today. They talked to him for one hour, and then told me they would call me later today when they check out our insurance. This center has a separate program for guys who are 18-20 years old, and difficult child said he was willing to go to this center. We talked to a lawyer yesterday, and they lawyer stressed that it is very important to show the court that difficult child is getting help for his drug problem. I think that our son is starting to understand this, but he really does not want to change his habits. We just came home a few minutes ago and difficult child begged me to let him have the car for a few minutes. He is very good at begging, badgering, and generally wearing me down with his constant demands. I said that he could have the car for 1/2 hour, but after he left I realized that he stole $40 from my purse. And yes, he steals from us any chance that he gets. Now I am afraid that he will stay out with the car all day, since he has money. We turned his cell phone off last month, so there is no way that i can contact him. I am just so sick of dealing with all his problems. I really don't even like this kid anymore. I have to lock up my purse and my credit cards all the time, or he will steal from me every day. difficult child actually told me once that he wouldn't have to steal from me if I would just give him everything that he asks for! I want to get him in rehab just so that we won't have to deal with him every day, and we can have some peace in this house.
  7. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    I know how they badger, believe me, but I don't agree with you letting him use the car when you know that he is a drug abuser. I wouldn't even help my child get a license because I knew she was a drug user and no way did I want it on my conscience if she killed someone or herself.

    To give you my honest opinion? I think you need to get a LOT tougher and let him hit bottom. You tried and buckled at the first sign of trouble. Yes, he got arrested. A decision that he made that he has to deal with the consequences for. You are rescuing him and he is thanking you by stealing from you. I'm sorry - I know the desperation of wanting to get them help. But experience has shown me that if they are not invested in it, it will do nothing but waste your money. I sure hope he hits bottom soon and really wants change. I am still waiting for my difficult child to get there....
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, they all steal when they have a drug problem. He could even be addicted to something. I would guess he is taking some things that are very dangerous. I would NEVER give that kid my car. If anything happens to him while he drives it, and you gave the car to him, you will not forgive yourself. The first thing we did with Daughter was cut that out. This kid is doing a lot more than smoking pot. Please, please get help for YOURSELF and go to a Narc-Anon meeting. Your boy is doing a real number on you and it's bad for you ANd for him. Please don't wait. Bet he went out to get high. Don't make it easy for him, no matter how much he begs. It's a con.

    Huggggggz! Please...Narc-Anon or Al-Anon (they are pretty much the same)
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    pinevalley, I agree you should not have let him use the car, but what is done is done. Learn from it and understand that you know when an addict is lying when their lips are moving. When our difficult child was still living at home we had to hide all our money and valuables. I slept with my purse under the bed and never let difficult child be in the house alone toward the end. We found out later when she was in rehab that she confessed to stealing far more than we even knew from us.

    I hope you can get him in rehab asap, if only to give you a break for a while.

    by the way we adopted our difficult child at birth also, we were under the mistaken impression that nurture could fix anything.

  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Add my family to the list who have been there done that...and still are there in regard to alcoholism. I totally understand your shock and pain. It takes awhile to absorb the alien culture that absorbs former easy child's. Many of our difficult child's were loved and nurtured in nice supportive homes. Once drugs arrived on the scene they turn to such sorry friends (many who honestly never had a chance to start with) and adapt to the subculture. I still don't "get it" completely and I've been on this road for ten years.

    From experience I can assure you that the chances are very remote that he will be strongly punished by the system for a first offense. If he does not change his lifestyle there will be other arrests. Then it depends on where you live how involved law enforcement will be in your son's life. Sad to say...it is "his life" and "his choice". No matter how deeply you love him don't believe what he says. Triple C's, by the way, were a starter drug in our community. Then came pot. Then came other drugs, usually in conjunction with alcohol use. Oh yeah...I almost forgot random sex. Ugly road.

    I'm sending support your way with the suggestion that you and husband cement your bond and stick together on every choice. These difficult child's are "players" and using one parent against another is a common way to get what they want. Welcome. Many hugs. DDD
  11. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Pinevalley, don't beat yourself up for letting him use the car. We made that mistake for a while too...Remember as much as recovery (with relapse) is a process for them.... learning not to enable and to live your life is a process for you. It is so darned painful to see your child steal from you, con you, take advantage of you when you have just loved them. I hope he does go to rehab just to give you the month of breathing room to heal a bit and to remember what it is like to live in a house without all the lying and stealing. Once you have that peace again it is easier to start thinking that you won't put up with the chaos again.

    I do think if you can find a good parents alanon group that it would be a huge help. During the meetings themselves they are not so focused on the difficult child but on you and your own recovery. However you may meet other real live people who truly understand what you are going through and can give you good support to not enable him.

    And keep coming here too.... We are a unique group of parents who have been there done that and we truly understand. And many of us are still in the process of figuring out how to support our kids in recovery without enabling them. As Nancy said drug addicts lie.... I think that is one of the really hard things to realize that you can't trust a word they say. It is the actions that count.

  12. pinevalley

    pinevalley Member

    I know that you are all saying the right things, and I am kicking myself for letting him use our car today. difficult child did return home after about 1 hour, and of course he spent all the money that he took. I have to remember the line from Nancy that you know when a difficult child is lying when their lips are moving. That is so true. He has been accepted into an inpatient rehab program, and will go there at the end of the week. I know what you mean that he has to hit rock bottom to be serious about stopping the drug use. I know that he was using the legal weed (K2 or spice) almost every day, and I really think that he has become addicted. It is scary how upset he has become when he did not have anymore K2 and he really needed it to calm him down. Our lawyer told us that there is almost no chance that difficult child will serve any jail time, since this is his first offense. (We didn't tell this to difficult child) I felt that we had to rescue him from jail and pay his bond money because he would have been totally destroyed if he had to spend time in a Cook County jail in Chicago. It is so hard not to rescue our difficult child, when we know that if we don't rescue him the other prisoners in jail will hurt him very badly. I know that he has to hit rock bottom to realize what the drugs have done to him, but it is really hard for me to accept what rock bottom is for our difficult child. I am looking forward to the peace and quiet when our son is in rehab in a few days. Thanks again for all the advice.
  13. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Spice or k2 is not legal here and to my knowledge it's not legal in Illinois either. I know what you mean about not rescuing him and the consequences of that. It was so important to us that difficult child graduate from high school. We knew she she didn't she would stand no chance at getting a job. You are walking a fine line and it's so hard to know when to let them fall, especially at his age.

    This is all a process. He has not hit bottom yet but it has to start somewhere. He may not stop all drug use with this treatment center but the rehab is vital to his recovery. The hard part is taking each step as it comes. I have to keep telling myself that too.

  14. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    K2 or Spice is a very dangerous substance. Our son turned to that as a way to get around drug testing last year and I assure you, it's highly addictive and much worse than pot. In retrospect, he now regrets that he used it and does feel it made his whole life a mess. We are about 6 months into our son trying to change his life. We started with a Wilderness Substance Abuse program and at the time, our son was willing to go and did realize that he was in trouble with substances. Through that program, I think he felt, "I'll stop for a while and maybe just go back to pot eventually, but just keep it there." Well, that type of 1/2 way commitment doesn't work for someone with a problem. In the 6 months, he is MUCH better than he was, but he has sufferred a couple of relapses. Each time, he did get back on the band wagon to try again. He is currently home from his boarding school to attend another program after the last relapse, this time outpatient. I will say it's been a journey, but he is much better and I am hoping that the end is in sight. Cautiously optomistic. I always recommend to people in your situation books that have helped me through. The best one for me to reccomend to you right now is "Changing for Good". Another helpful one is "Teens Under the Influence" and "Intervention: Anything but My Own Skin". These books will help you understand what is going on with him and what to do about it. There is hope. Good luck.
  15. pinevalley

    pinevalley Member

    Zardo: My son also started using the legal weed so that he would not get arrested if he got stopped by the cops with it. His whole personality changed when he started using the legal weed, and I know that it is highly addictive. My difficult child realizes that he has a problem, but he is not yet ready to quit all the way. He tells me that he will learn to cut down using the drugs (like only using on the week-ends, and not during the week), and see how that will work. He has agreed to enter an inpatient rehab program this Saturday, but I know that this won't work for him if he really doesn't want to quit. I want him to be in a safe place where he can get all the drugs out of his system, and he can start to feel what it if like to be drug free. He is getting high every day now, and I think that it is such a habit for him that he doesn't know what it feels like to be free of drugs. It will also be good for him to be away from all his loser, druggie friends for a while. I am going to talk to the staff at the rehab place and make sure that he doesn't manipulate them with his empty promises to quit. He is a master manipulator, and I want to make sure that the staff doesn't believe everything that he says.
    Anyway, thanks for the book recommendations. I don't know anyone in this area who is going through this daily battle with a teen and drugs, and I'm sure these books will help me to understand what we are facing with our son.
  16. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    I hope for you that the power of the group at rehab and the ability for him to live drug free, even for a month, starts to clear his head and change his mind. It does happen. If not, expect him to have to fall further before he is truley ready to quit. The arrest, etc are good things...he needs to see and feel what a life involving drugs looks like. there is hope....continue to let him fall, one day he will be tired of it. BEST WISHES FOR YOU and read those books....it will help.