20 yr old son from divorced home with substance abuse and anxiety

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by johnz, Feb 21, 2015.

  1. johnz

    johnz New Member

    Hi, I'm so very new to this and need some serious help and/or advice.
    The short version..... my wife and I divorced when my son was 3-4 yrs old and my daughter was 1. She moved out of state and took the kids with her, not by my choice. I would visit them atleast two times a year for 5 years until the ex decided to keep them from me for unknown reasons. Everytime I planned a visit she would agree with it then last minute change her mind and would tell me they were not going to be in town. This went on and on for years and many court battles which I could not afford any longer. She comes from money and I do not. Despite me not seeing them I always called every week and talked to them and obviously sent them gifts and such for birthdays and holidays.
    I have not seen my two kids in over 10 years and they stopped talking with me in the last 2 yrs. He is 20 and she is 18. I still call several times a week and send them the usual gifts every year. I have never once said anything bad about their mother and have always had encouraging phone conversations about school, college etc etc. My ex also would only contact me via text. She would never answer the phone or always tell me that she tells the kids to call me. The other bad thing is I am unable to travel due to some medical conditions.
    Here's the latest.... in the last few months the ex has called and said my son was arrested on some traffic warrants and poss of marijuana. He spent the night in jail and I found out more info that he was living out of his car and staying at random friends houses until he would get kicked out. And sometimes the homeless shelter. I was immediately upset about the situation and had no idea this was happening. The ex said she was at her wits end with him coming home at all hours of the night, disrupting her and our daughter. She would also pay for his impound and other jail fees. In less than a week he was pulled over for a traffic violation and was arrested for having some pills on him. Back to jail he went. I tried contacting the prosecutor and public defender for possible mandatory mental health evaluations since he was also having some anxiety and depression issues. He spent a week in jail and was released as time served.
    He showed up at the ex's house after release and I finally got to talk to him. He was upset and crying and was hard to understand what he was saying. I offered him a new start in a diff state with me, with a job and use of a vehicle. I don't know what to do or say to him to get him to come live with me and get out of his current situation. I understand that he will have the same problems as there but I'm hoping it will make some sort of difference living with me. I assured him that he will have to work, contribute to the household and I would help him get help with his anxiety.
    I would appreciate any advice or input......this is killing me!
    Thank you!
  2. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Johnz and welcome to the SA forum. You have come to the right place. Many of us have traveled this journey and can share our experiences with you.

    My opinion is that you are doing the right thing. Getting him away from his troubled friends is good. I read a book once that said the single most important thing to do is get a substance abusing loved one away from that environment.

    However, I am glad that you are going into this with your eyes open. Your son will not become a model citizen overnight.You will also likely face anger because he may feel like you abandoned him all those years ago whether his anger is justified or not.

    You will have to set strict boundaries and stick to them. Have a back up plan ready. Something like making it clear that if your son does drugs or brings them in your house, he will have to leave your home and go to rehab and then a sober house.

    I would also suggest going to meetings like Alanon, Naranon or Families Anonymous. You will need support as you go through this. Private therapy has been very helpful to me.

    Others will have other advice and will come along soon. Remember to use whatever advice makes sense to you in your situation and leave the rest.

    Keep posting. You will find great support and understanding here.

  3. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    I agree. If you can help him, and he is willing a fresh start may be a good thing. Just remember that you have some medical issues so you will need to be there for YOU first and foremost. Because you have not lived with your son, there is no telling what issues he will bring to you, in your home. Be prepared to deal with those issues. I agree Al-Anon (which is for the friends and families of people who have drug/alcohol addictions) is a good place to add to this board for ongoing support. Does the ex carry health insurance on him to get him mental health when he moves in with you?
  4. johnz

    johnz New Member

    Thank you Kathy!
    Just got off the phone with his Mom. He is still asleep and she is upset and just wants him out. Supposedly she was going to have him call in the next hour or two when she returns home.
    I have no problem setting boundaries and sticking to them and I think he knows that. That"s why he is so indecisive about coming here. He knows I won't tolerate that. I have no problem with taking him to meetings and just sitting at home listening to what he has to say about why he feels the way he does.
    I just have to get him here.
  5. johnz

    johnz New Member

    I believe she does have some insurance for him but not 100% on that. My medical stuff is strictly for traveling long distances by car or plane but everyday stuff is no problem.
    I am def worried about what issues he may bring to the table. I don't want to tell him that his mother, for no reason up and left and wanted a divorce. I don't know how to tell him that I tried for years and years to see them and be at his graduation, but his mother kept everything from me, even as far as what schools he was attending. I'm even shocked she talked to me on the phone a few times in the last couple of days. She never has before, so i know shes frustrated and at her wits end.
    I know this is a delicate situation and I just don't want to say or do the wrong thing that turns my son away for more years.
    Not leaving my daughter out of this. She is a straight A student and is going to college this fall. She has not contacted me either in a year and a half or so. Not sure what happened there but we were talking and discussing future colleges and what she wanted to do as a career. We had reg contact via phone and facebook, then suddenly all communication and contact was cut off. I believe her mother was behind this but mom says she had nothing to do with it. And according to mom, she wants nothing Occupational Therapist (OT) do with her brother either.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    While you are in the pre-processing, find your self a good therapist - therapist of some sort. Ideally someone who understands substance abuse in the context of family troubles. Someone that can help walk you through the process of having him around, maybe even do some "family therapy" between the two of you if necessary.
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome john. When first reading this I was upset that your ex only called you when your osn was in trouble and she wants him out of the house. How convenient that you are now in the picture to help her. Sorry that just got to me.

    I agree with everything that was already said. Many of us have lived through very difficult times with our young adult children and drug/legal issues. It becomes a rocky road for sure and has brought me to my knees more than once. But I applaud your unconditional support of your son. I hope he does take you up on the offer but don't be surprised if he doesn't. It sounds like the last thing he wants right now is more restrictions. It may be too early for him to accept the hand you have outstretched for him and he may have to go through some more difficult times before he is ready to do that.

    The best thing to do is continue to reach out to him and let everyone know you are there to help. The courts may order him into some kind of treatment eventually.
  8. johnz

    johnz New Member

    Hi Nancy, Yes that did bother me too! Why wasn't I ever kept in the loop and in their lives is beyond me.
    I did speak with him last night, he actually called me and said he was ready to make a change and come live with me. He's getting a few things in order and driving here. He asked about employment and other opportunities that were here. So it sounded positive and his mother confirmed today that he wanted to live with me. I'm praying he follows thru with his plan and he's with me by the end of the week. This will give me a little time to figure out how to handle this properly and not scare him away. He said he was excited to meet my side of the family. I did assure him that they do not know about his jail time and his addictions. I think that would make it worse right now especially if they try to lecture him and unintentionally make him feel like a bad person.
    I was excited and terrified at the same time when he talked to me. For 10 yrs I always wondered how I would handle this day and it seemed easy at the time and now as it approaches I'm at a slight loss on what to say and do.
  9. johnz

    johnz New Member

    That's my plan this week! Thx for the input
  10. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well you know where we are now. You will not be alone.