Back after a few years. Three steps forward, 2 steps back,

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Karenvm, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. Karenvm

    Karenvm Member

    It's probably been about three years since I visited this site! Things had really calmed down with my DS, and then about a year ago when I wanted to log in, I couldn't for the life of me, remember the name of this site! UGH! Anyway, I'm so happy to have found you all again. I still remember some of you!

    My DS is almost 21. We've had issues for about 5 years with marijuana, and drinking. He was in and out of inpatient adolescent psychiatric a few times, many different psychiatrists (and medications, but "none of them work"). My son is extremely smart (academically), but just can't seem to get his sh*t together, still.
    A year after he graduated high school, he was doing well, and actually went away to college. He's a math and physics major- not an easy path. Did well at school, though on Christmas Break, came home very drunk, sick, etc. UGH.
    This past summer was great- he got a great summer job, was a total participant in the household and family, was just "normal". husband and I were amazed. We actually ENJOYED having him home!
    But this semester (sophomore year)he seems to be slipping- never registered his car (that he just got from his grandfather when he stopped driving), despite many times being told to do so. So, accumulates about $170 worth of parking tickets. Apparently was so drunk one night that he was arrested for being underage and drinking, and was taken to the ER. Of course he has not followed up on the arrest (or "citation" as it's called), and very likely he will have to pay a fine of $500, and have a suspended license for 90 days (I know this only because I could see the public record of his charge). He's done nothing with the citation (was supposed to plead guilty and mail it back), so likely now there is a warrant out for him. Again, stupid stuff that could have been avoided had he just done what he was supposed to do! He managed to pay the parking tix to get the "boot" off of his car so that he could drive home for Spring break. I was so angry I could barely speak to him. Oh, and then he lost his debit card the day he was leaving to come home.
    A few nights into his spring break, on Monday night, I wake up at 3am hearing his voice in his room next door. He is always on the computer, talking/skyping, whatever, and we are constantly asking him to quiet down, and the rest of us have to get up for work/school! So I get up ready to knock on his door, and then I realize I'm hearing a girls voice as well!! I take my "secret key" (all bedroom doors have locks, but I have that little tool to unlock them), and I open his door, and he's in bed with a girl (fully clothed). I ask him if he is kidding me, and he tells me to get out and leave him along. OMG. No. I told the girl to leave (I knew her- someone he's known a few years, she's a disaster herself). I asked him if he was drunk, he swore no. Then he started freaking out, screaming at my husband and I, tons of F words "F both of you!". It was a scene. Meanwhile, my 12 year old and 17 year old are "asleep" in their rooms, hearing all of this. Finally he goes to sleep. Next day, I left work early to talk to him, and told him that he could stay the rest of this week, but this summer, he is NOT going to be living here. He will need to stay somewhere else. I will not put up with this any longer, it's been too long already. He apologized, said he was drunk, hates himself, etc. I told him I'm done, I'll support his tuition (he does well academically. I don't think he drinks often at school, but it seems that when he does, its beyond excessive), but that's it. Will not have his brothers listen to him screaming at his parents. Nor going out after we are all asleep, and bringing someone IN to MY house!!!!!
    So for the rest of the week, he stayed in his room mostly. Stays up all night on his computer or whatever, and sleeps most of the day. I could hardly speak to him. He got nothing done during the week- waited until this afternoon to finally get a new debit card, get his medication prescription filled, do his laundry (it never even came out of his car until today). I've tried talking to him about how his drinking is an issue, and how he has not even apologized to his father for the other night, etc. He says he can't talk about it, he's getting panic attacks, he knows he's a bad person, needs help, needs ME to help him. I said that I love him, but I can no longer help. All I am doing is enabling, and it stops now.
    He just went back to school. I said that I loved him and to drive safely.
    Now begins the guilt that I feel. He will not do anything to make a plan for the summer, and that is going to be a disaster. I just can't have him here. I love him, he's a good person, but he will not address his issues (drinking, and whatever mental health issues he has). My heart breaks. I just don't know how he will make it in life. But I need to detach.
    If you made it this far, thank you for reading. It makes me feel better just to write it all out.
  2. Kayla Marie

    Kayla Marie New Member

    Hey love personally, I feel you have done the mothering any mother can do! You and your hubby both! You've set ground rules, set down basics and he needs to understand them, he needs to be an adult. If he needs help, okay but you are not the one even as the parent to play the rescuer. That doesn't mean you can't help him look for a place to live though--a roomate that doesn't mean you are completely cutting him off you are saying "Hey I am paying for your tuition, I love you but clearly you need your own place to live, we can look together for either a small studio apartment for you or a roomate and maybe it's time you look into some N.A or A.A meetings I love you but you are your own person and I'm here 100% for you but I do not support this behavior that we both no isn't helping you, it's hurting you." It's only normal for you to feel guilty, any parent would but, you're doing the right thing. He put himself in this mess it's his job to get himself out of it and if you want you can offer him guidance but that's all. ❤
  3. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Karen, welcome back to the forum, I am so sorry for your need to be back here. I'm new, just been here for six months, boy I wish I had come here earlier. What you are going through with your son is so similar to my daughters. Up all night, sleeping through the day. Ignoring tickets and bills, just not being responsible and all, right down to the moods and the "I hate myself..."
    I agree it is time to put your foot down. You are smart, doing this asap, because he's got two brothers watching very closely, the shenanigans. Not to mention you are doing your son the best thing by setting your boundaries and allowing him to figure this out for himself.
    Stick to this Karen. I ended up having my girls come and go through the revolving door and things just got worse. It is true, we enable, they take advantage and it is a vicious cycle.

    He may, or he may not, but that is up to him. Please do not feel guilty, you have done the best you can, and he is making bad choices. I am at the other side of the pendulum, feeling guilty that I hung on for too long. Wished I had detached sooner. I feel I just prolonged the problem. This is your sons opportunity to test his wings.
    I am sorry for the heart ache of this Karen, but you are right in every way. Something I had to look at too, was the fact that my 14 year old boy has been waiting in the wings all of these years we were dealing with the intensity of his sisters situations. I finally woke up and realized that my top priority in parenting is HIM. He is a minor who needs and deserves my attention.
    Your son will have to learn to make it in life. Parents here will write about failure to launch. These kids will come back to us for "help" while still going off the rails, then get worse and become resentful and disrespectful. They keep pushing the envelope, breaking the rules, when really, they should be appreciative and grateful for the help. Rents are not cheap out there. My 21 year old is moving back home for a while. I do not mind helping her out, because she "gets" it. She is respectful and contributes, does not party, works hard and helps out. Her sisters would start out okay, then slowly slip back into the same old, same old. Staying up to the wee hours, going out and partying, sleeping as we all went off to work and school, and on, and on.
    Not happening, so not happening.
    It is unacceptable.
    If they want to live this lifestyle, they will have to live it away from our home.
    Their choice.
    Not mine.
    Thank you for posting Karen. I am sorry for your troubled heart and mind. You sound strong and have come to the hard conclusion, but it is a good one, for your family and for your son. From where I am looking at it, the earlier this is addressed and followed through on, the sooner your son learns that there are consequences for his choices. We cannot soften the blow of their consequences. Then they do not learn to choose differently.
    Take care.
    You are doing the right thing.
    It doesn't feel good, but it is right.
  4. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    I feel better reading your post, if that is any comfort......

    Our oldest is 21 and I am sure there is a warrant out for his arrest by joe for unpaid tickets. I worry all the time. He is also smart but can't even stick to university.

    I feel your pain, I know the guilt.

    I sometimes feel like none of my friends can relate at all to what we live. It seems like everyone else's kids around us have their life on track and somehow our kid is the only one..... Ugh

    I read this site all the time to help me through this.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Welcome back Karen.

    I believe you are doing the right thing.

    I would go further, but that is me. I feel that when our children are behaving self-destructively and the behavior puts them and others at risk, we give them a mixed message when we continue supporting them at college, or allowing them to live in our home.

    To me, the substance disorder trumps any other thing that they may or may not be doing and needs to be addressed first to justify continued support. I seem to be in the minority in this, but because the drinking or drug use is so potentially deadly, I feel I need to say it.

    While I am old now I supported myself 100 percent through university and graduate school. I paid rent, tuition, food--everything. Younger than him I found apartments and jobs. I bought cars. College is way more expensive but kids do it that do not have parents in a position to help them. Your son will find a place to stay.

    I do not see how you could not have done what you did--told him no more. He is flaunting every rule you have imposed, and flaunting common decency. You have younger children who are vulnerable to this. What choice did you have?

    I see no other option that you could have taken. Your son forced you to it. You had to respond.

    I hope you keep posting. Take care. Take care of yourself. The elephant is in the living room. You said, leave.

    He is a man now. He is defining himself as such by his insistence on doing what he wants when he wants it. You are respecting his decision. Try not to take this on yourself.

  6. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I do agree with this. I have just finished reading some articles about drug use in college, frightening. Of course, drugs and alcohol are everywhere, but there seems to be this attitude especially with freshman year, that kids will sow their wild oats and it is acceptable? Even the teachers I work with, say they partied a lot the first year.
    I guess you can tell I didn't go to college.......ahem.
    I think that is something to consider too. If my child is acting out, substance abuse, being irresponsible, will I fund his college?

    My son wants to go to college, but I do not have the money for it. He will have to work hard now in high school to earn scholarships and work to pay his way.

    Thank you Copa.

  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    New Leaf. There are scholarships and grants reserved for Pacific Islanders/Native Peoples.

    I was just looking at the possibilities for Native American students. I believe there are just as many or more for students from Pacific Island Tribal groups. If he is interested, tell him to google financial assistance or scholarships for Pacific Island/Native students.

    I believe many if not all public universities offer free tuition. Some States offer much more. Then, there are many private scholarships and grants.

  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Whether it is acceptable or the norm or not, to me, is not the issue.

    The issue is the danger, the consequences, and what we say to them when we as if say to them: Your completing college is more important to me than the fact that I know that you are behaving in a way that could destroy your life, or someone else's, could kill you. But I will look the other way because completing college is more important.

    How can we send this message? What is more important than their lives and their holding their own safety and dignity and the safety of others, as valuable?

    I will say it: I drank and used a very little bit of drugs in college. But I was an idiot. And I paid one hundred percent of my living costs, college, everything. What could anybody say? But nobody cared. I wish somebody had.

  9. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you Copa, I will seek out some of my Hawaiian friends who have received scholarships. For both my son and Hoku. She has taken time off to work, but does want to attend college at some point.
    Son is going to be in the marching band next year playing the tuba. His instructors have told him that colleges seek out tuba players. At this point, he is looking at becoming an engineer, but as you know, that may change.

    Thank you Copa,
  10. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    I agree with this as well. The amount and type of drugs college kids are getting into is scary. My friend pulled her child out of school due to this. He then worked to get his captains license and is making a nice living.

    Thank you for sharing this. I think most kids experiment. When it gets out of hand, it is life threatening. My friend lost his niece, right after she graduated high school. She died of alcohol poisoning. Nobody checked on her. When they found her, it was too late. Such a tragic waste.

  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Karen, nice to see you again. I always wonder what happened to those who leave and hope it is because they no longer need the forum. My daughter only lasted one semester at college because of her drinking and pot use. Her grades were awful so continuing to pay tuition was out of the question.

    Your son was very disrespectful to you and your husband. It was the alcohol talking but that's no excuse. My daughter said and did some horrible things while under the influence.

    For what it's worth I agree with you setting the boundaries you have set. Is he currently seeing a counselor? Would he agree to see one? He certainly sounds very gifted, I hope he gets back on track so he doesn't self destruct.
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    • List
  12. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    welcome Karen.
    What COPA writes is so true. It's also so absolutely difficult to ask them to leave, but he has broken your rules by his choices. Drunk or not, impaired or not, he no doubt could repeat what expected behavior is in your home. He knew it, but he didn't do it on so many levels.
    I am also an RN-we "fix" people by nature, don't we? A counselor once told us "this will be a little harder for you", not being able to make it right. The truth is we do some things to our patients that are painful to hopefully improve their conditions. This is what you are doing-keep the hope that he will heal. Prayers.
  13. RN0441

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

    Sorry you are having to go through this Karen. I have been on and off for five years with my 20 year old son also. Sometimes he seemed to be doing so well but sometimes I think it's me wishing it to be that way so hard that it is how I see it. Our son did have failure to launch even when he was sober which I believe are due to his anxiety and depression so I knew there was still a piece missing. What could I do? How could I help him fix this? What was the next step?

    With our urging, he signed up for 3 college classes and we found a good psychologist close by and I thought we were on our way! Oh but wait, he was kind of drunk the first day of one class and not sober for the other class. He was doing great in his classes though and loved going to college and found it pretty easy so something good did come out of it. We thought we'd just let him finish (we'd drive him/took car away) because we could no longer get our money back.

    However things escalated and we found out he was abusing benzos (not the first time). We realized letting him continue to go to class was no longer an option. We needed our home back. We needed our life back. We then had to give him the choice to either go to rehab or leave and fortunately he chose rehab. The people on this forum gave me the strength to do this. We still have a long road to go but I let his father lead the way and took a backseat as hard as it was I know that we made the right decision for our family at the time. How we deal with this is a different journey for each of us and we all hope to get to the rainbow some day and be able to look back on it all and be glad it's in our past!

    Prayers for continued strength for you and all of us.
  14. Karenvm

    Karenvm Member

    Colleen, I feel the same way about everyone else's kids being on track! And I'm a successful professional, as is my husband, good role models, but in the end, it doesn't matter. I'm so glad to find others who are feeling the same way, even if it is unfortunate that ANY of us has to feel this way!
  15. Karenvm

    Karenvm Member

    Thank you all, for taking time to respond. Your words are so helpful, you don't even know.

    Today, I am incredibly sad, because my soon to be 18 year old son (who is truly the best- great kid all around, SO respectful, smart, etc) who has wanted to be in the Marines for the past few years just received a letter saying that he is disqualified because of a heart issue (one of his valves has two leaflets instead of three, but it makes NO difference! His heart is perfect and there are no issues related to this. I'm a pediatric cardiology nurse practitioner, and I know these things).
    I am so sad, sick to my stomach, and also angry that this wonderful young man, who knows exactly what he wants to do in life and is so willing to work so hard at it, can't do it. Yet his brother gets to "skate through" life, escaping one issue after the other, and taking no responsibility for himself.
    I can't tell whether I am going to throw up, or just cry. I didn't tell my son yet, I got the letter this afternoon, but he was heading out to a concert with his friend tonight and I didn't want to ruin his night. Plus, my husband is out of town, and I need "backup".
    UGH. Why can't life just be easy??
  16. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    I'm sorry for this news about your younger son. It must be heartbreaking.

    I too wonder why life is so hard..... Both my husband and I work hard, volunteer our time, gave our kids opportunities and experiences, but those are no guarantee.

    I feel blessed in so many ways and having a son who is struggling overshadows it all. I often feel I can't be happy when he is so unhappy.

    I wish for all of us some sort of peace.....
  17. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    Oh Karen. :( is there any way they could change their mind? A letter from a doctor perhaps? That just hoovers so much!!
  18. Karenvm

    Karenvm Member

    we are going to try for a "waiver", providing medical documents from his cardiologist and pediatrician. It's worth a try, but certainly no guarantee. So upsetting.
  19. mybleedingheart

    mybleedingheart New Member

    I always say you are only as happy as your in happiest child x
  20. FlowerGarden

    FlowerGarden Active Member

    You mentioned he waits to the last minute to do things, maybe a month before he is out of school, ask him where he is going to want his mail forwarded after school ends. Asking that may get him to realize you are definitely not kidding and he will start looking for a place to stay.