and here come the texts...

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Karenvm, May 2, 2016.

  1. Karenvm

    Karenvm Member

    This is SO hard. My Difficult Child, who will be 21 in a month, is just completing his second year of college where he lives on campus. His "difficult" history goes back to high school, where he first began smoking pot and drinking. Long story short, he has had 2 inpatient psychiatric stays, one long term (one month) inpatient stay for mental health/substance abuse, barely graduated HS, but is now doing fairly well in college (extremely smart, but lacks the accountability factor). I have found pot and alcohol hidden in his bedroom, as well as the bedroom of my youngest son (beginning when youngest was around 8 or 9. I guess Difficult Child thought we would never find it hidden there! Well one day the youngest was bringing a book to school, and by chance I opened it and found a bag of pot in the pages. Thank God I found it before the book went to school). Has been arrested for smoking pot (charge was cleared after a year apparently) about two years ago.

    When he was home for Christmas break, things were not great- he worked some, but was back to his old ways, staying up all night on the computer, going out, drinking, etc. In January he was arrested for underage drinking/possession of alcohol and spent a night in the ED. He completely ignored the summons he got, along with the fine. He finally found out he owed 500$, and did't have it. About three weeks ago, the police came to his dorm to arrest him for not paying the fine, and he called me to pay it for him (which we told him numerous times we would not do). We refused, telling him he would have to figure it out or go to jail. Then the police officer got on the phone and told me that if he took him to jail, it would be a minimum of a week or two before he was released, at which point we broke down and paid the fine so that Difficult Child wouldn't fail his classes (that we paid for). UGH. I was so angry with myself for paying it, but it was a call out of the blue, I had no real time to think it through, and I thought they would bring him to jail for a day, or a night at most! Not a week or two.

    Spring break was a disaster- up all night, LOUD, and then one night I woke up to voices in his room (right next to mine), and found a girl in bed with him! (they were clothed, but STILL!!!). That led to me asking the girl to leave, and my son blowing up (again) at my husband and I, lots of screaming at us, LOTS of cursing, and swearing he had not been drinking (though I knew he had been). The next day, I told him he could stay for the rest of the week, but in the summer, he would need to find somewhere else to stay. He apologized, said he was drunk, etc. I told him that he was NOT going to be living home this summer, despite his apology. I was done.

    A few weeks ago, I texted him and "reminded him" that he needed to figure out a plan for the summer, as he was not able to live here. Last week, my husband also texted the same message, no replies. Until today.

    Now he is blowing up my phone with texts, begging, pleading to allow him to come home, he will do ANYTHING, because he has no where to go. And his car has a "boot" on it (again) because he parked illegally (again!), and has no money to pay that fine. I calmly told him that he has had plenty of time to figure out what he was going to do this summer, but as usual, he takes no accountability, and has done nothing. Now, he has to be out of the dorm in a few days, and is in full panic mode, which translates to texts stating that he feels "unloved", wants to know how I can "turn my back" on him, etc. I keep saying that he needs to find a job, and a place to live. I told him that I can no longer "help" him, because it really isn't helping him at all! He needs to stand up on his own two feet and take some responsibility. He is almost 21! I have told him so many times that I can't/won't have him in our home, where my two other sons (12 and 17) have to hear the screaming, cursing, etc that happens (less frequently than a few years ago, but still happens) when he drinks. The episode during spring break a couple of months ago was the straw that broke the camels back.

    I feel absolutely terrible. Guilty because I know he doesn't WANT to be this way, but he chooses not to make any necessary changes in his life (like stop drinking since it seems that when he does, everything gets out of control). I am sad for him, and I am also so angry, because I knew this was coming! I knew he would have NO plan, and would expect to just be able to come home. But I can't have it any more. I love him so much, he's really a very good person, but I think we are "hurting" him, rather than helping, when we continue to bail him out, and help solve his problems, rather than forcing HIM to step up. I just can't do it anymore. The stress he causes in the household when he is here is ridiculous. I feel like I have nothing left in me, no means to cope with this. I am physically and mentally exhausted. But I think I need to stand firm here. He's not a child anymore, and he needs to get things done for himself. But he also seems to lack common sense (despite his high IQ), and I don't know if he really CAN do it! UGH.

    If you read this far, thank you. If you have any thoughts or suggestions for me, I am open to hearing them all. thank you.
  2. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    He sounds a LOT like my 23yo son. No foresight, expect to be rescued, know exactly how to lay guilt and manipulate.

    His behavior during school breaks at your house, also super familiar! Girls in room, loud music, up into wee hours, etc. Walking on eggshells and waiting for a drunken rant, temper tantrum.

    Please. Hold firm! He will never learn if you keep rescuing him. And the message he will get is that 'it's OK to wait until the last minute and have no plan.. My parents will rescue me.'

    It is so hard! I know. My son is in residential treatment right now, & the peaceful break from worrying and stress is so appreciated.
    And needed. Put yourself first, your other boys do not need the chaos.

    But, primarily, your son will not learn anything if allowed back. I have a lot to learn, but this I know.

    Hugs! [emoji4]
  3. LoveSushi

    LoveSushi Member

    I'm curious about the cop getting the phone and basically shaming you into paying the fine. There are scams going around similar to this. How did you pay it?
  4. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Hi Karen. 3 words for you-Hold your guns. I sure get the bail thing because it was tuition vs bail-you lose/you lose. Now it's a good time to stop. (isn't it absurd that we are the only parents that look for the "good time" to throw our kids out"? If you let him home and the same situation begins, you'll have to call police to get him out. Save yourselves all that drama, you owe that to your younger ones.
    He sounds like many of our kids. He's had the independance of college, now let him see real world choices/consequences.

    You are right-this IS so hard. Sometimes I would realize that I had not thought about our son's mess for 5 minutes and i was surprised I had gone so long. It simply can envelope you every moment. Stand strong as much as it hurts. Prayers.
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes you need to stand firm, even in the face of a broken heart. Tell you you love him and will support him in getting help but that is all. If he is serious he will take you up on your offer.

    I have been where you are, it is a very sad and hopeless feeling but there is hope if he is willing to reach out for it. Holding you close in my thoughts.
  6. Karenvm

    Karenvm Member

    Thank you all. I intent to hold my ground here, though I am dying inside.
    As for the police officer coming to his dorm, it was legitimate. I got his badge number, the docket number, and called the number he gave me which was to the court to pay the fine. I was shocked that they would actually seek him out to arrest him for this, but I guess that is what they do now. And because he is in another state for school, the jail time would have been longer for him, making it 1 to 2 weeks.
    thank you all for your words and encouragement. It's the only thing honestly, that keeps me going.
  7. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I just posted my short story version (five years of on and off drug abuse) on another thread. Stay firm. You are on his rollercoaster. You don't need the drama.

    He is a grown man, like my son who will be 21 in August, who is now in sober living 1500 miles away. Breaks my heart sometimes but other times I know it's the ONLY THING LEFT that we have not done.

    Keep posting. You'll gets sound advice and no judgement here. We get it.
  8. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It seems to me like he should be spending time finding a job rather than texting you to fix his problem. He had plenty of warning. Surely he knows someone at school who will let him sleep on a couch while he is looking for a job.

    Our difficult children are remarkably resourceful when they have to be.

    Stay strong.

    Last edited: May 7, 2016
  9. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Hi karen. Hang in there, you are stronger than you think.
    This is so hard-the texts! I could actually feel my heart ramp up when son's area code would show up on my phone. Me-the one with the calm in the midst of chaos, now on the drama coaster. Turn your ticket in, get off. If he wants to live like this... he may. You gave him so much notice of the living situation, much more than just throwing him out during spring break. Just like the summons, he has ignored you.

    So familiar it hurts....When we realized through Al-anon and this site that we didn't have to keep trying and that it was actually detrimental to us all, we opened our eyes wide. Our home was not even our safe place due to our son's behavior and we did not have younger children to think about. We didn't want our other children, grandchildren or friends to be exposed to our mess. We hid plenty of it from them. Should anyone have that kind of power over you?
    On the final "you can't live here anymore day", one of our sons, also a nurse like me, showed up during confrontation. He and I stood together (you know-the 2 nurses side by side in face of angry doctor thing ) He realized at that time how bad it had been for us these yrs. He shared with the other kids-not to diss his brother (they love him as much as we do) but to have them pray and support our decision. I cry as I write this-we've all tried so hard. Much harder than they have. Do you know the ladder analogy? 2 ladders side by side, our son is climbing up one and we are on the rung behind them. Every time they fall, we fall too, hitting first and they land on us. And we go again. And again. Finally, we realize we're the only one's who are trying to hang on--so we get off and climb our own ladder, letting them climb theirs. He's young, there's much hope. Protect your "mother's heart" today. You can do this. Prayers.
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  10. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Love the ladder story, so ready to live.

  11. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    I LOVE this.
    But...sadly, it's very true.
  12. Karenvm

    Karenvm Member

    Well, my husband and I talked to him tonight, and stood our ground. He has to be out of the dorm tomorrow. I told him we would pay to have the "boot" removed from his car (again), but then he is on his own. I don't know where he will go, and it hurts my heart so bad, but as I told him, I am only getting in the way of him ever being independent if I keep on "rescuing" him. He asked me "how can you say you love me and then not help me?", to which I replied that I love him SO much, but I am NOT helping him if I keep bailing him out of these messes. I told him that until he learns to face things head on, and take accountability for things, nothing is going to change. This is really the hardest thing I have ever done. I keep thinking, what if he kills himself? My sister lost her son at 21 (motorcycle accident), and I don't know how I would live with myself if I thought that I was somehow "responsible" for that (I know I am not, but there will always be that little part that wonders). UGH.
    Thank you for your encouraging words. They really do help so much!
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  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Karen, I am sorry I am just now seeing your thread. I want to add my voice to the chorus of support that you hold firm. I am of a minority who feel that substance use trumps college. That is I believe we as parents need to confront bad behavior (i.e risky behavior) first, and the college will come later.

    By pushing the concern about substance use and acting out under the rug, we risk giving the message that we in some way condone it, if we keep supporting our children.

    I believe what you are doing takes courage but it is the right thing. I was self-supporting and put myself through college on my own dime. When I had nowhere to stay, I found a place, simple as that.

    It sounds like your son is resisting growing up. It is all too comfortable to make mum and dad responsible while he demands a life of freedom and self-determination. You are saying to him--we are on the down side of the mountain son. Good for you.'
    Why should he, as long as you make it comfortable for him? Of course he is squawking. Good for you.
    I agree. He is acting out in your home. His behavior is dangerous to himself and to others. Tangles with the law are no laughing matter.

    He is at a choice point. Let him begin to choose to do right for himself, by himself. He will define himself as a man. It is hard for us at first, because their lives seem to hang in the balance. But this is why it is so important. You are giving your son the opportunity to begin to act like a real man and to have pride in himself, his decisions and his behavior.

    I truly believe you are doing the right thing and I applaud you for it. I know how hard it is.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    PS I love the ladder story too.
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    When I was your son's age I was arrested twice one summer. In fact I spent the night in jail--crying all night. I can still hear the chill in my mother's voice when I called her. Deep freeze.

    The poor choices continued until I was about 24, about the same time I graduated from University. There was a period I drank a lot. In bars. And drove. On freeways. I really believe I was on the cusp of addiction.

    And then?I stopped altogether. I never again had a problem with alcohol. I decided to be different and make a different kind of life. And I did.
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  16. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    The first step off that ladder is the hardest.
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  17. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    As a newbie here, I have found it to not be so hard to take that 1st foot off the shared ladder, that was actually a refreshing 'load off' my shoulders. But it will be removal of the 2nd foot, that will be my difficulty. To me, removal of that 2nd foot indicates complete detachment.....sadly, I feel far from that. I hope I surprise myself.
  18. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    Copa, I am there with you in that minority. I have not broached the topic of college to my son in a long time. I think, no...I know he wants it, but he is not ready for it. He has had attempts in the past 2yrs at it, and failed. When college classes cause you such anxiety that you need to smoke weed in the pkg lot between/before classes, college needs to be put aside. In other words, for my son, college seems to be one of his 'triggers'.
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  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I never thought college was that incredibly important. Bart never went but makes six figures. goneeboy said he'd start four years ahead of his.peers and started what began as a cell phone company. He is now a multi millionaire. No help for them either. They just had the will and smarts.
    Neither had a college loan to pay off.
  20. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I loved the story of the ladder. Here is something that was shared at a NAMI meeting that really spoke to me. It is long but worth the read.

    The Fable of the Bridge.

    The fable begins with a man wrestling with his own thoughts about his future and what choices he wants to make about his life.

    After much contemplation, he achieves great clarity and is excited about the vision he can see for his life. He starts off on the journey to his future.

    He must travel to another town where an amazing opportunity has presented itself but he must get there by the next morning or the opportunity will pass.

    He travels many hours, each step getting more excited about the life he is creating. As the full moon rises, he is alone in his thoughts as he starts crossing a bridge.

    The man sees out of the corner of his eye a stranger coming towards him. He thinks the man approaching is putting his hand out to greet him. However, the stranger has the end of a rope in his hand with the other end wound around his waist.

    The stranger asks the man to hold the end of the rope. Although perplexed, the man complies.

    The stranger asks the man to hold on tight with two hands and then promptly jumps off the bridge toward the swift running deep river below. “Hold on!” the stranger cries.

    The free-falling body hurtled the distance of the rope’s length, and from the bridge the man abruptly felt the pull. He held tight despite being almost pulled over the side of the bridge.

    Peering down at the stranger who was close to oblivion, the man yelled, “What are you trying to do?”

    “Just hold tight,” said the other.

    The man tried to haul the stranger in but he could not. He could not get enough leverage. His strength was almost perfectly counterbalanced by the other man’s weight.

    “Why did you do this?” the man called out. “Remember,” said the other, “if you let go, I will be lost.”

    “But I cannot pull you up,” the man cried. “Just hold on. I need you,” the stranger yells.

    The man looked around for help, but no one was near. The man holds on for a while, and then calls, “Please, I cannot hold you. Please climb up.”

    “I am your responsibility,” said the other. “Well, I did not ask for it,” the man said. The stranger cried, “If you let go, I am lost.”

    The man tried to invent solutions, like tying the rope to the bridge, but could not find any that would work.

    Fearing that his arms could not hold out much longer, he tied the rope around his waist.

    He thought if he just waited long enough, someone was bound to come and help pull the stranger up. He waited many hours, but no one came.

    “Why did you do this?” he asked again. “Don’t you see what you have done? What possible purpose could you have had in mind?”

    “Just remember,” said the other, “my life is in your hands.”

    Time passed and a decision needed to be made. The man could not hold on much longer.

    A thought occurred to him. If the stranger hauled himself up and he kept the end steady and pulled a bit, together they could get the stranger back to safety.

    But the other wasn’t interested.

    “You mean you won’t help? But I told you I cannot pull you up myself, and I don’t think I can hang on much longer either.” “You must try,” the other shouted back in tears. “If you fail, I die.”

    More time passed and finally, the point of decision arrived. The man said to the other, “Listen to me. I will not accept the position of choice for your life, only for my own; the position of choice for your own life, I hereby give back to you.”

    “What do you mean?” the other asked, afraid.

    “I mean, simply, it’s up to you. You decide which way this ends. I will help you if you help yourself.”

    “You cannot mean what you say,” the other shrieked. “You would not be so selfish. I am your responsibility. What could be so important that you would let someone die? Do not do this to me.”

    The man stated again, “I will not stand here and hold this rope. If you want to live, you must start moving now, and I will help you. Please, start now.”

    He waited a few minutes, but there was no change in the tension of the rope. “I accept your choice,” the man said, at last, and freed his hands.