18 yo son out of control


New Member
My son just turned 18 and we have seen a rapid shift in his behaviors in the last 2 months. He dropped out at 18, 6 months prior to graduating and refuses to return. He doesn't have anything to do all day and plays computer games and meets his friends after school. He recently started abusing Xanax, smoking weed and taking other unknown pills. He has shared he is extremely anxious and is taking Xanax to help him in social settings with his friends, but has also discussed being suicidal last year which we knew nothing about (he seemed relatively happy).
We are trying to set limits but are finding ourselves one step behind him and he has started getting aggressive when we give him a curfew or set limits. He refuses to get treatment or therapy. My Husband wants to kick him out, but I am concerned about his mental health and substance abuse because he is very immature and naïve and really has no where to go.
Tonight he broke our door in half with a hammer to get to his video games which we locked up while we were at work. My husband wants to call the police. Will the police help? Will they just arrest him or will they help him get services? Any Help appreciated!


Well-Known Member
Xanax is one of the most dangerous drugs you can abuse. You get addicted FAST (less than a week can do it) and the person needs medical attention to detox because just stopping it and you can die. This is serious and not to be coddled or pitied or he COULD die. If he drinks on Xanax, again It can be fatal. Who knows what else he takes? Not something to let slide. AT ALL.

I would put my foot down hard...rehab or you are out. Coddling a drug addict just makes them use more and get worse. They take advantage of our compassion.

The police will get him one day, with or without you, if he starts driving erratically (as they do in Xanax) he will be busted. I would remove the car. All cars. He should not be on the road in his condition. Don't pay for gas or insurance. Hide the keys.

The best advice I can give you is to threaten him to go to a long term rehab to detox and take it from there.
Social anxiety he can work on after he is clean.
His changed behavior is due to his apparently severe plunge into dangerous drugs. How does he get Xanax? They are expensive on the street.
Cut off ALL money or he will buy drugs with each dime you hand out.
Push only rehab, rehab, rehab. That Xanax needs to get out of his system.
This is the time you must be strong and take a difficult but life affirming stand. You may well have to kick him out if he refuses help...he needs to get so desperate that he WILL get drug treatment. Staying at home will not cause that motivation in him. Breaking your door is violence. I would have called the cops. He has to be held accountable. I dealt with a meth/cocaine kid and we were tough on her...she quit! Your son is young, like my daughter was. Nip it in the bud. Get tough early, before he is 25 and this is his long term way of life. Early is best. I understand how hard it is. My girl looked half dead and was only 19 when she finally went over the edge and we make her go. It about killed us.

She quit and thrived! She didn't like no car, no money, living in her critical, straight arrow brothers cold basement, knowing he would toss her in the street with one infraction. She was afraid to be homeless so she.listened to his strict rules. He was hard, not a comfort to her at all. But...she even stopped cigarettes.

Do they always quit and thrive? No! Some need time. Some are addicts until death. But they NEVER thrive when we show pity or weakness for them, and they live at home while self-destructing in comfort. That is the worst. It makes them do their worst, knowing they have a warm home and a rescue Mom right there.

Do go to Al Anon or private therapy or both. Go with hub. This is way too hard to navigate alone.

Love and hugs!
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New Member
Your sons behavior was my son 20 years ago. He was defiant, destroyed doors, windows, came after his younger brother with objects. He wanted what he wanted and nothing was going to stop him. The last straw was when he was running after my other son and i stood in his way to protect him. He tossed me aside, and i broke my ankle when i fell. I pressed charges and he was arrested for simple assault. This was the culmination of over 8 years of abuse and threats of harm in my home. We did counseling, medications which he was non compliant. So much more happened over the years leading to my enabling him for the next 20 years.. Now, i am reaping what i have sown. Your son needs to suffer the consequences of his behavior. He cannot destroy your home or disrespect you. If he is not finishing school there needs to be plan in place in order to stay in your home. He needs to be working and start contributing to the household. He needs to learn it costs money to survive. Dont make the mistakes i did. Dont make life so easy for him that he doesnt learn how to survive on his own. Dont allow him to have a sense of entitlement.....this is what i am dealing with now. Ive lost thousands and thousands of dollars of my hard earned money...smoothing out life for him, getting him out of his legal issues...encouraging him to be lazy. He needs to follow your rules or he needs to go. My husband said the same thing 20 years ago. He was right....he made life so miserable for me it was easier for me to just set him up in an apartment....and that snowballed into practically supporting him and his lazy ways for the last 20 years. Amagine working 16 hours a day so your son can sit on his behind and NOT work!!! As for the drugs....did u know if drugs are found in your home, even though they belong to him you are liable? I learned that lesson too! I wish you well, and encourage you to stand with your husband. Together you are strength. I know it sounds terrible bit its the best thing for him and for you. Good luck♡


Well-Known Member
I've perused some responses and I think you've gotten some good advice. First of all, if he is violent with you or steals, yes, call the police.
I would set up boundaries.
And rules.
Perhaps require he have a part time job (for now) and also go to therapy or rehab.
Require a full time job when therapy is reduced.
Things can not stay status quo.
Find out your legal responsibility re kicking him out. You might have to give him thirty days notice.
Check out al anon or Parent's Anonymous for support and possible local info.
If he has any "together" friends , try to work with them to help you get your son to therapy or rehab....whatever is most appropriate.
PS If your name is very close to your actual name , contact Runaway Bunny to change it.


Active Member
I agree with everyone about the need to set clear boundaries

Also with the comment above about Xanax. Xanax can also cause paradoxical raging. I hope the escalation of his behavior is relatively new.

If so, i would first try to approach it as a medical issue. Xanax needs to be eliminated with a slow taper. A supervised detox would be ideal (there are even doctors and nurses who supervise in a home setting).

And I would also acknowledge his anxiety. There are non-addictive medications for anxiety (gabapentin comes to mind— unless he is also doing opiates; I have read that handfuls of gaba can enhance opiate highs).

You can place demands on his productivity when he’s stable, and you can condition financial support and housing right now, on him seeking help.

In my opinion, there is little to lose from an understanding opening salvo, prompted by his recent episode. I would keep it short, accepting and matter of fact. No pleading. In fact, I would do it in writing. Drugs make for some skilled mind F{€\ers. We’ve all had those insane conversations filled with denial, blame, minimizing etc.

But his actions suggest he’s in the grips of substance abuse. It is a serious issue which ultimately you hope he conquers. So I think you can give him a crack at nipping it early. No pun intended.
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Lost in sadness

Active Member
I am sorry you have these issues that led you to find your way here but this is a great site for support and wisdom. Some of these lovely ladies (and men) have been here offering support for many years and I know I am so grateful. I am not very good at doing what I threaten so I won't pretend I am, but, I am learning and I truly believe that if we don't want to be here still trying to decide in 10 years time, we need to act now! Hugs xx

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member

I'm so sorry for what you are going through but please know that you are not alone.

Your safety and the safety of your home needs to be your top priority. I too was a victim of violence from my own son. I came home one day to find he had taken a hammer to our bedroom door to get inside, there was a hole a foot wide. He stole our safe that had money in it. I did call the police, they found him with our safe. I also called the police when he took a butcher knife to my kitchen counters and destroyed them, he was upset that he couldn't find any money in our house to steal.

I know you may be hesitant to call the police but there needs to be a record of what he's done. I can also tell you cannot deal with this on your own. While we can't force our kids to take their medications or go to counseling, we can set limits and boundaries. When we set limits and boundaries we need to be very clear and stick with them.
You could tell him that a condition of staying in your home is that he has to go to counseling and that the abuse of drugs will not be tolerated. If the decision is made to liberate him from your home you can supply him with the names of shelters and food pantries. You can also purchase him a sleeping bag and tent.

Where is he getting the Xanax, pot and other drugs? Are you giving him money?

My Husband wants to kick him out, but I am concerned about his mental health and substance abuse because he is very immature and naïve and really has no where to go.
I do not like the term "kick them out" I prefer to say they are being liberated to live their life on their terms.
My son was also immature but he managed. I would venture a guess that your son is not as naive as you think.

One thing for sure, this will not be resolved overnight. Also, please do not allow your son to drive a wedge between you and your husband. You both need to be aligned together. I wish I had found this site years ago and I could have saved myself years of heartache, fights with my husband and thousands of dollars.

Nothing will change until you change it.

((HUGS)) to you............................

*****note you may want to change your name for privacy******


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

You have gotten great advice here but I will add my two cents.

Anxiety is NO reason for abusing benzos. Have been there/done that with my son.

Listen to and "hear" what the others have said. We all are on the same road but on different stops. We're 7 years into our journey with "pills" etc. Read my signature. Not fun. Not easy.

I went through several years of this before I came here and found people like me! Oh happy day! I didn't know anyone else dealing with this at the time. It is living a different reality. Parents and family members that have not dealt with this will not get it and will not give you helpful advice.

I suggest finding a therapist that specializes in addiction that can help you form firm boundaries with your son. This is for you and it is even more important for him.

It doesn't mean you don't love him; it means you do love him and enabling him is not what he needs right now.

This could be a very long journey for you so you need to take care of yourself and your marriage. You and your husband need to form a united bond. Don't let this ruin your marriage; and it can. Men handle this differently than we do. I see that now.



Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
If you read some if my posts you will see my sons behaviour is similar to yours.

We have had him arrested 3 times and he has finally agreed to go to a long term rehab program.

You have been given some very wise advice.

Xanax is terrible. Especially street Xanax. They always give the same excuse for using. It’s all lies. Addicts steal and lie.

Setting good boudaries is critical.

Know you are not alone.

I do not like the term "kick them out" I prefer to say they are being liberated to live their life on their terms.

Well said Tanya.


Well-Known Member
I once heard from a former addict the following:
Q: How do you know when an addict is lying?
A: Their mouth is moving.

Be careful. Take extra good care of yourself.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
My daughters drug of choice was Xanax. She also had "social anxiety disorder." Actually, it was an excuse to abuse benzos and alcohol. She convinced multiple doctors that she needed Xanax so I wouldn't be surprised if he finds a doctor that agrees with him.

This all started when my daughter was 18. I hate to scare you but she went down the long road of addiction and got to the point where she was shooting heroin. Surprisingly to me, she told me after she got sober that she would choose Xanax over heroin but would use heroin when she couldn't get her beloved benzos.

Unfortunately, we went through hell for ten years thinking we could fix her. It wasn't until two years of therapy that my husband and I were able to set firm boundaries which included cutting off all funds and refusing to let her live with us. It was at that point that she decided she didn't want to live the druggie lifestyle any more and went into her 5th treatment program and got sober. It was followed by a year in a sober living program. She became active in a 12-step group after years of making fun of 12-step groups. She is now a sponsor for others and has been sober for almost two years.

So there can be happy endings but don't wait as long as I did. Give your son a clear choice . . . detox, inpatient treatment, then sober living or find himself somewhere else to live. You are not kicking him out. You are giving him options and it is up to him to decide which way he wants to go.

After all, if your son doesn't have a problem, he should be able to find a job and live an adult life. If he can't do that, he needs to be in a program that will help him develop those skills. This won't be easy, though. He will up the ante and you will have to stay strong.

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Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
. You are not kicking him out. You are giving him options and it is up to him to decide which way he wants to go.

My mantra every day, every DAY I say it to myself and to my son.

After all, if your son doesn't have a problem, he should be able to find a job and live an adult life. If he can't do that, he needs to be in a program that will help him develop those skills. This won't be easy, though. He will up the ante and you will have to stay strong.

I told my son the the other day that if he felt he didn’t have a problem then he was just simply the worlds bigest :censored2:.

This post especially yours Kathy resonates so much with my own story.

Can I tell you how blessed I am to have found you all? No therapy or group gives me as much strength as you all!

Good boudaries and stick to them. Not easy but it has made me detach and learn how to survive regardless of the outcome for my son.

K this is an open site you may want to create a pseudonym as we all have. You are not alone. We are all here to help and support each other.