almost 18, talented, troubled

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by AndSoItGoes, Jul 29, 2015.

  1. AndSoItGoes

    AndSoItGoes New Member

    My almost 18 year-old son is about 6 weeks into his juvenile treatment court (JTC) program. Two weeks in he had weed in his urine and got 30 days of in home detention (IHD), which allows him to leave the house only for school and work. Right when IHD started, he started a program at community college that will let him finish high school and earn college credit. He's also working as a lifeguard and is well-liked. He is talented in other ways, including art. He was nearing the end of his IHD, was ready to move from stage 1 to stage 2 in JTC, doing well in school and work, all while in IHD. His scheduled court date was today, Wednesday.

    This past weekend I found K2/spice and rum in his room, which are of course not allowed in my house or for people in JTC. On past occasions when I've found weed or alcohol I've disposed of them and imposed punishments but not told law enforcement. That approach hasn't worked. This time I let the district attorney (DA) for the JTC program know, and told my son that I let the DA know. My son didn't take this well. He thinks I should have taken it up with him rather than going to the DA. He would probably get a weekend detention and remain in stage 1 because I snitched. Monday night he focused in on my snitching rather than his own behavior, asked me if I wanted to fight him, and tried to provoke and intimidate me. All of this was new behavior for him. Around 10 pm Monday night I got a call from a friend asking me to please leave the house because of a snapchat video that my son had posted showing him ranting angrily about my snitching, threatening, brandishing a knife, and talking about honor killing. I watched the video, which I found disturbing. I thought that the risk of my son actually trying to hurt me in my sleep (I wasn't worried while awake) was low but maybe not zero, especially if he was smoking K2. Because my wife and daughter were away, I just left the house and slept at a friend's. I told the DA and provided her with the video. Tuesday night I arranged to stay at a friend's house. My son called me very upset and wanted me to come home. I agreed under the condition that we would talk about his behavior rather than mine. He agreed to and abided by this condition. My son was distraught that his world was coming apart, that he would be put into placement until he was 18 because of a perceived threat to the household. I told him that I would tell the judge that I don't think he is a threat to anyone in the home, which I believe to be true.

    At court today the judge ordered my son held in juvenile detention pending a psychiatric evaluation. The public defender had tried to call me this morning to let me know this was going to happen but I missed the call. The ruling happened quite abruptly. I was asked if I had anything to tell the court, and just said "no". I would think that holding him pending a psychiatric evaluation was an unqualified good outcome if it didn't take so long to get a psychiatric evaluation in the juvenile justice system. It seems that the earliest this could happen would be by his next court date in 2 weeks; it could take a month, when he would be 18. My son will probably have to drop out of the community college program and lose his job. I believe or at least hope that what I did is in my son's long-term interest, but clearly feel it is having some untoward and unnecessary short-term effects. My son blames me almost completely. He admits he should not have bought the K2 or posted the video, although he thinks the video was him venting understandable anger. He does not buy into JTC program, but sees it rather as a game to get around. Of course he's going to drink; people drink. If I had done anything else about the K2 and alcohol, he would have kept playing the game, perhaps successfully in the short term, but I think would have tripped eventually. He has a prior arrest for terroristic threats using social media, and clearly needs help dealing with anger.

    I visited my son today, his first day in a juvenile detention center waiting what will be too long for a psychiatric evaluation. It was no fun not being able to help him, and being seen by him as the main cause of his world crumbling down. I realize intellectually that I can't control the narrative that my son constructs to tell his life story. That doesn't make me feel better though. I know what I did was right, but the downside of what I did has tangible consequences now. The upside is much more abstract and in the future. Hard to accurately weigh such things.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome.

    Perhaps hard to compare like apples and oranges. But... as he is about to turn 18, this is probably your LAST chance at influence. Getting a psychiatric evaluation is important. You - and he - need to know what he is dealing with. Just hope he will cooperate.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I feel very strongly that you did the right thing. Personally, I would not have had the confidence to invite him back into the house. He in effect had threatened your life. I have known men go to prison for several years for less than that. Whatever talents and attributes your child may have, he has serious issues. I believe you may minimize them.

    Still, he is not taking responsibility, and putting it on you. That frightens me. Where is your security that he will not target you vengefully, or the house or the family?
    I do not understand how you take these statements by your son seriously. His behavior at the least is potentially felonious. In what universe must a potential victim discuss with his perpetrator, his actions to protect himself and to hold the perpetrator responsible?
    This is classic. He is trying in this instance and above to make you out as the offender.
    I find this frightening. I hope you do, too.
    I find this chilling. I think you may well be at risk. I fear your family may be at risk. I think you are minimizing your son's behaviors, and I fear you may not be aware of the pathology that underlies them.
    So what? Your son may be a danger to you and to your family. He seems to lack an understanding of the seriousness of his behaviors and his problems. He is not showing any motivation to take responsibility. He seems to not accept your rules or those of others.
    Terrorist threats and brandishing a knife and talking about honor killing is not venting. It is either psychopathology that could warrant emergency hospitalization as a danger to others, or potentially criminal behavior, or both.
    I think this may be more than an anger management problem. The exact right thing is happening. He is confined awaiting psychiatric evaluation.

    I would think long and hard about inviting your son back into the house. Based upon what you have written he is not showing the insight, responsibility, judgment or control that would give me the confidence to do so.

    I just googled K2/Spice and found these behaviors related to use:

    • Threatening behavior and aggression
    A person can become so violently paranoid that he attacks other people around him.

    • Threatening behavior and aggression
    • Terrible headaches
    • Inability to speak.
    A person can become so violently paranoid that he attacks other people around him.
    Think about what the tangible consequences would be if your son violently attacked you or a member of your family with a knife, perhaps killing somebody. These things happen. They are not abstract outcomes. They are real. Other people seem to be alarmed about your son's behavior, including the Juvenile Court which took seriously prior threats. The judge is taking seriously the current incident. Why not you?
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2015
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm my eyes you did the only thing that may help him. I called the cops on my daughter for pot at fifteen. I'm not sorry. At nineteen she quit all drugs and became slowly mature and a good citizen and one of my heroes. She was using meth but we thought it was just pot and booze. She said she quit because she hated the drug life and wanted out. It wasn't easy. She had to move from her bad influences so she started out with no friends.
    I would lay ground rules for your visits. The topic of this being your fault would be off limits if this were me. I'd tell him then remove myself or stop the phone calls if he did it. He is trying to make you feel guilty for his own behavior.

    Maybe you need some time not seeing or talking to him. Visiting should in my opinion be contingent on his behavior to ward you.

    I feel for you. It's hard. Stand strong. We are with you.
  5. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome,

    If your son uses/used spice regularly, it's like playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun. Your son's friend did a kind and brave thing giving you a heads up about the snapchat video - he must think more highly of you than he currently does of your son.
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    You absolutely did the right thing! The short term consequences are hard but reality is with his behavior and using spice which he knows if found out will get him in trouble are clear signs he won't make it through college without help. At this point what you did helped protect him from himself and what could have been far more serious consequences.

    He is angry now and may be for a while....but that is not forever. At this point his best chance for help is the justice system....and although it may not help him want to stay sober at least it will hopefully cause some clean time and may make him see his actions have consequences.
  7. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    This is classic Difficult Child behavior. It is also classic convicted felon behavior. You absolutely did the right thing because you and the rest of the family are at risk. Google K2 and see what kind of side effects it can have. I've worked in Corrections for 23 years and some of the things that offenders do while on K2 can be disturbing.
  8. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I also feel strongly you did the right thing. I wish Jabber and I had taken stronger action when our son was still under 18. Maybe if we had, we would not still be dealing with his antics at 20. He also started out with K-2. There is NO doubt in my mind that it's FAR worse than pot. The effects are stronger and last longer and I'm sure some of our son's anger-control issues in his past stemmed from it. That video would scare the hell out of me. He needs that evaluation in my opinion. You should never have to leave your own home out of fear of your son.
  9. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member


    Minimizing, justifying, self-blaming, looking the other way.

    We've all been there, done that.

    We can relate.

    Oh, the embarrassment I have when I think back on our reactions to some of the things our Difficult Child did.

    Our Difficult Child was on the K-2 (spice) for a long while before I even knew what it was. I thought all those packets were incense!

    Hubby knew but didn't inform me for quite a while.

    Point is, your son has to assume the consequences of his behavior and not try putting it off onto you. If that means the loss of his job, and his freedom, so be it. It is entirely his own fault.

    Do not fall prey to your guilty feelings. They are not rational, but they are destructive, and could keep you from being strong enough to do the right thing.

    Keep posting. We are here for you.

  10. AndSoItGoes

    AndSoItGoes New Member

    Hi all,
    Thanks for the insights and support. I am certain that I lack objectivity, which is a big part of why I posted here. My son seems to have a reality-bending field surrounding him that despite my best efforts I can get sucked into. Yes, failure to take responsibility for his actions is a big theme. He is still angry and blaming me.
  11. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    We all get or have gotten sucked in....which is why support and understanding from other parents who have been through it is so important! So definitely keep posting and bouncing ideas here. I also suggest you find some kind of real live support group for parents. I got to an alanon parents group which has really been helpful.
  12. AndSoItGoes

    AndSoItGoes New Member

    I spoke yesterday with the psychiatrist who is doing my son's court-ordered psychiatric evaluation. To paraphrase, he scored high in verbal aggressiveness but low in physical aggressiveness, is impulsive and does not think about the consequences of his actions, disregards authority, makes stupid (her word) choices beyond those of a normal adolescent, yet takes "some" responsibility for his actions. He is smart, manipulative, and very good at getting around the system and pushing boundaries. He is a very challenging person to parent. The psychiatrist said that if she still did counseling (she doesn't) she would love to have him as a client. She thinks that DHS placement (juvie) would be a mistake and is recommending that he come come and receive both family therapy and individual therapy with an experienced therapist, which my son is willing to do (in fact he asked me to find him a counselor, which I have done). Because his juvenile treatment court (JTC) program requires a stable home environment, if we do not accept him back into the house he would be placed in juvie. My wife and I have had many heart-to-hearts on this, and have agreed to take him back as long as he adheres to a set of explicit and implicit conditions, including no drugs or alcohol, we can search his room, web history, phone etc, no social media, and so on. JCT will continue to do urine testing with real consequences for positives. He now knows that we will provide evidence of any illegal behavior to law enforcement. While in detention, expresses a sincere desire to turn his life around and make us proud of him (his words; I've told him it's more important for him to be proud of himself). Both the psychiatrist and I believe that this is sincere, but both know that it's difficult to do a 180 degree turn on a dime. That's why family counseling and personal counseling for him will be important to him in the honeymoon phase. I'll also be getting counseling. I didn't mention it before, but my wife has cancer, which certainly doesn't help the stress level in the house. I'm expecting that tomorrow the judge will allow him to come home (2 weeks since being detained), possibly with in-home detention and/or a GPS anklet. One of the biggest challenges will be that he's not yet expressed willingness to end relationships with his friends who use drugs, including his girlfriend, who he says he wants to marry. She's moving out of state in August for college, so that may take care of itself. His other friends are a different issue. Of course most of his non-using friends have distanced themselves from him over the past few years, but at least one of the "good kids" reached out to him in the weeks just before the last :censored2: storm. He says that everyone his age smokes weed. We hope that the restrictions we place on him and his counseling will lead him to accept that he can't keep hanging out with the bad crowd and avoid bad choices. I hope that he ends his relationships with those making bad choices and builds new relationships with those who make good ones. We shall see.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    In reading this, I just thought of how important it is for your wife to survive and be well.

    If you truly, truly, in your heart, believe your son is ready to change, then do it and feel good about it. This would make your wife happy to see him thriving.

    If you are ambivalent or feel that he really isn't going to listen to you, perhaps you should take a week to think it over. Is there any reason to make a decision this minutue? Thaink of his past behavior. It is a key to his future behavior unless he has totally been complaint, clean and on board during his rehab. Saying everyone smokes pot is not a good sign and is not true. They all say that when they smoke pot. Not everyone drinks either.

    When my daughter quit using drugs, she dumped everyone she knew who took drugs. We didn't tell her to do so. She just did. Not using drugs is not compatible with druggie friends...druggies hang with druggies and vice versa. If he is around it, he will do it. And he will be under pressure to do it. My daughter had to leave the state in order to get away from extreme peer pressure and THAT is when she quit, but she truly wanted to quit.

    I hope whatever you decide works out well for you and sending good vibes to your wife, hoping she heals fast. Although hard to do with kids, think with your logical mind and NOT with your heart. You have a good idea of what will happen if comes home and only you know how sick your wife is right now and what she can handle. Your son sounds very careful. Can you really stand to hold his feet to the fire? Can you keep the stress down by not arguing with him? Think think think.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
  14. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I think that is great that he called and wants some therapy that is definitely a step in the right direction.

    And really it is time to let go of the guilt. There are no perfect parents out there, we aall make mistakes but my guess is none of your mistakes caused what they are doing now. As adults they are making choices and having conseuences of those choices. This is not on you!!
  15. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Darn it that last reply was to a different thread and now I cant seem to delete it from this one. Sorry.
  16. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Best case scenario: you're right, and your son is sincere about wanting to change and seeking help. He will participate in therapy, quit using illegal substances, use prescribed substances responsibly (as prescribed), and follow all house rules involving school attendance and work. He will respect you, your wife, and his siblings, and he will no longer speak or act in a threatening way toward anybody.

    More likely scenario: Son has good intentions and wants to change but lacks the self-control and discipline to pull this off. There will be more ugly incidents and episodes. There will be further police involvement. He may end up in juvie despite everyone's best efforts.

    Worst case scenario: Son is manipulating you to get what he wants (out of juvie, back into a home situation where he can call many of the shots and can slide back into his comfortable, enabled world). Another horrible incident will occur. Son will threaten or actually commit violence against you or another member of the family. Someone will be seriously hurt or killed. Son will be locked up for years.

    It doesn't sound to me like your family home is the right place for your son. You are susceptible to his manipulations and while it's great that you know this, as of yet, you're still falling into his trap. Perhaps another type of living situation, such as a relative who might be willing to take him on, or even a group home/hospitalization as opposed to juvie, would be better while you learn how to detach from him and set boundaries.

    I would not take the risk of allowing this young man to live with you at this time.
  17. Teriobe

    Teriobe Active Member

    K2 doesnt come out on drug tests, fyi
  18. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Actually, sometimes it can but the tests are ridiculously expensive so they usually don't get used.