,Being conned?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by toughlovin, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hi everyone,

    Well I just don't know what to think. Recently I have been having some pretty good text confersations with difficult child. They always come when he wants something but he has been polite and we have actually talked a little..... of course he often ignores me when I asked detailed questions.

    So a couple of days ago it came out that he left alot of his stuff at the sober house he was kicked out of, including most of his clothes, his ipod, and a notebook with poetry he wrote in it. He seemed most upset about the notebook. In that conversation he also told me that they didn't let him pack when he left but just had him zip up his suitcases..... and also that the owner pulled him by the hair and threw him against the wall and another resident gave him a black eye. OK I was rather upset by this but what can I do?

    I did call the sober house and asked them about his stuff and they said they would check. I also thought they had cashed a check I had written for groceries after difficult child left which kind of bugged me.

    I knew it was possible my difficult child was making the whole thing up or exaggerating. I mean what reason do I have to believe anything he says? However in a way it makes no difference because I am not going to confront the sober house on the assault....my son felt that if he hadn't done something himself he could have been arrested for charges could be brought... but he is not going to go there because he had also done something seriously wrong.

    So my son needs clothes and it is Xmas time so I am thinking ok we can get him some clothes for Xmas. He has been reasonable in our conversations about that. He also wants a bicycle which I am thinking the money from grandparents could be used for a used bike.

    So yesterday I texted with the sober house woman.... they said he did not leave any stuff. They also said they did not cash the check. I checked the bank and I misunderstood my online banking so I think they are correct and that was my mistake.

    So now I am wondering what the truth is. I probably will never know. I have the feeling there is probably a bit more to this story.... and my guess is they were a bit rough with my son... geez they had plenty of reason to be really really angry with him.... but probably not to the extent he is telling me. And what did happen to his stuff? They called me when they found his liscence... my guess is they wouuld have let me know about his other stuff. So is he just asking for sympathy or did he lose his stuff along the way or sell some of it to buy spice? Or does he have it and is just trying to get a gift card otu of me? He knows we won't give him cash but I am considering giving him a gift card so he can shop for clothes.

    It just leaves me feeling rather unsure of what to do about gifts. I am going to call the place he is at and ask their advice on what i should do.

    Any thoughts from all of you would be welcome. Where else can I explain this scenario and know you will totally understand and get it

  2. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Hmmmm... as I read your post; it dawned on me that your son probably wasn't the only one struggling at the old sober house. If he was using while there, he probably wasn't using alone and I seem to remember that he may have stolen from another resident? (but I may be wrong) so its quite possible he had an altercation. It's also possible that his things were taken by one of his peers who is also struggling or doing without or angry. I think you'll never know, so I would let it rest.

    I think I'd be frank about his holiday gift. "difficult child, I know you need clothes. What size are you wearing and is there anything in particular you'd like?" I would send him actual clothes. (Old navy is having a great sale-coupon for $10 off in yesterday's paper by the way)

    Not knowing and trying to fill in the blanks is frustrating. If my difficult child & I get through this & he is well-I anticipate a Q & A session somewhere very far off in the future. "Enquiring minds want to know...". So many things I second guess in retrospect-hindsight and all.

  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh gosh we have been in that position of wondering which side of the story is true and realizing probably neither are. difficult child had many things stolen at her sober house. The director told us going in that she should not have anything valuable there and if she left and didn't take her things they would be divided up by the residents very quickly. The long time residents that were serious about sobriety were not the problem, it was the ones that came right from jail or those on the street that thought they wanted to get sober but really just wanted a place to stay warm for a few nights. They quickly stole what they could and left. If your difficult child left things at the house they probably were taken and the director woud have no idea if they were even there to begin with.

    I don't know what to make of the grabbing by the hair and throwing up against the wall and like you said you probably never will. But there are many sober houses that are started not for the right reasons and not by people who are qualified to run them. You may have read about the craig lists murders this past month. A man who started and ran a halfway house for men near here solicited the help of a young teen and placed bogus ads on craigs list for work and when the men answered the ads they were robbed and killed. This really hit home for me because we don't know which sober houses are really good and which ones prey on people who are easy targets.

    I like Sigs suggestion about sending him the clothes. I did that with difficult child for her work clothes for her job. She needed khaki pants and blue scrub tops so I bought them and sent them to her. When she needed a couple long sleeve scrubs I had her go to the store and I spoke with the cashier and had her put them on my charge and mail me the receipt.

    I usually find that when difficult child tells me a story that is hard to believe it is just that, a "story" made up so that she doesn't have to face the truth. In fact I really think she believes some of the things she tells us.

    In these kinds of instances husband or I usually have a conversation with difficult child about how we have no reason to believe she is telling us the truth and even if she is her irresponsibility is what caused her dilemma. Then we ask her what she is asking of us and we decide if we can help her and make it clear to her what we are willing to do and want we are not.

    Hopefully you can get some advice from his sober house, I think it's a very good idea to stay in contact with them and build up a trust.

  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I don't have any experiences with sober houses.

    But I'm more than familiar with a difficult child that will keep the lines of communication open as long as it's paying off for them. Most of the time we only heard from Katie when she wanted "needed" something......or was setting me up for a huge sob story that led into the I want/need scenario. At a great distance, of course, such stories are hard to check. But I'd already grown overly suspicious before she even came back to town. Once here.....well, let's just say if I pinned her down every single time she "lost" something or something got "stolen" it was her fault. The 3rd time one of the kids coats came up "missing" I stopped replacing, even though it was for the kids.

    Not saying you shouldn't get him the clothes and whatever for xmas. Just saying you might want to start some hard thinking on how much replacing his stuff you're going to do. Doesn't matter how it came up gone.

  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I hope he isnt conning you but isnt this the second time something has come up with an Ipod? Personally I wouldnt replace that with an actual apple product. It would be a knockoff. Apples are way too expensive for him to keep losing. You can get the cheap ones for a whole lot less at Big Lots.

    I like the idea of sending him clothes too.
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    The ipod is not even on the table When he was inpatient he was not allowed to have anything that connected to the internet so we did get him an ipod shuffle... which had lots of room for songs. He also had (but was not allowed to use) and old ipod touch whose screen was cracked up. So I am not sure which he has lost or if both.... he has not mentioned or suggested that we get him an ipod. I think he knows that is out of the question. And it is, there is no way I am replacing that, losing that is the consequence of his own bad actions.

    I did talk to the sober house guy today which was helpful. He actually manages the regular sober house (vs for the guys out of detox) so hasn't seen my son much. His drug tests were clean actually but he has not pushed to go early to the regular sober house so they have kept him at the more restricted one which is good I think.

    Anyway I think I am going to get my son two gift cards for Sears. One from us for clothes. And one from the grandparents to buy a bike. The guy said that you can get pretty cheap bikes at Sears and all he needs is something to get around on. I looked online and you can get one for a little over $100 which is about the amount he should get for Xmas money from the grandparents. So I am going to suggest to my dad that isi what we do as I certainly don't want him just getting a check.

    i need to check with Sears to see if you can turn a gift card in for cash... if so that is a problem but may be a risk I will have to take. I just hate the thought of shopping for his clothes, having to ship them down and I really think a 20 year old would rather pick his own clothes than have his mom do it. (And I am find with that as my husband's mother still tries to give him clothes and they are awful. lol)

    It sounds like difficult child has been doing ok really. We haven't been getting any complaints which is good, He should be moving over to the regular sober house this week and then time will tell how he does in a less restricted environment.

  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    How about taking him shopping? That way he can choose his clothes but you know that's what he's buying- give him the $$ limit- and you can have some time together chatting.
  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I would do that but he is 1000 miles away in another state...if he was local I would definitely give him the clothes directly and not do a gift card. I am glad on the one hand he is where he is and not here...but it does make this stuff harder.

  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Oooops- I forgot about that part. Then, I don't know. He could always sell GCs if he really wanted to. But then, he could sell clothes if he got desparate enough. I guess it boils down to what your gut tells you.
  10. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    You usually can not convert a gift card for cash, however, you can sell the gift card for a lower amount than face value to another person. "Here is a $100 gift card that I will sell you for $75 cash." I have heard that happens when money is needed. People desperate for cash will even sell them at 1/2 face value since they are still ahead the money. Sears has such a huge selection of merchandise that it would be easy to find someone willing to purchase the card at such a savings.

    Can you catalog order clothes and a bike to be delivered to him? Even through e-bay and amazon, I believe you can choose the delivery address different than the billing address.

    I don't know if clothes are easy to resell but the bike may be.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I will tell you what my dad did when buying me a washing machine once. God knows why he didnt trust me with the money. Probably something my mother said. But anyway, I went to Lowes and he talked to the people at lowes after I picked out an economical model that he would approve of ( he is a cheapskate) or was...sigh...and when they convinced him it was a good model but not overpriced he put it on his credit card from out of state...at the lowes where he lived. LOL.
  12. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Goodwill has gift cards now - I have thought of that often for difficult child.....though you could probably sell them, too, but perhaps it would be harder for a Goodwill gift card?
  13. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I know you disagree - so I am not purposely being dense - but I think I would buy him the actual clothes. So what if he doesn't always love what mom buys? He NEEDS clothes and the phrase "beggars can't be choosers..." comes to mind.

    I actually spent a bundle at Old Navy yesterday but I got a TON of gifts for my money. (120 for 4 men's sweaters, a men's flannel sherpa jacket, 2 pr girl's fleece pants, 2 girl's fleece hoodies, 2 tee shirts, a men's dress shirt, a men's scarf and a men's beanie) They are having a great sale...and AFAIK ...their clothing is well liked among the "young adult" set. There was a $10 off coupon in Sunday's paper for this week and another $10 coupon starts on 12/16. The sweaters I bought will be $10 ea on 12/16 ( I got 2/$29 sigh)

    The prices aren't so dear that you will be heartbroken if the clothes vanish or get ruined in the wash. Just a thought...the flannel sherpa jacket is really nice and was only $25 - a big flannel jacket lined with faux sheepskin. I bought it for difficult child, I think it will be good when it's around 20-30 degrees which is March-June in WI! I'm not sure if it's cold where your difficult child is now...

    (by the way - since the sweater were BOGO, I picked out one for my PICKY 17 yo easy child and he WORE it today! TODAY!!! :)
  14. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    LOL Sig, what a great advertisement you are. I'm going to Old Navy tomorrow.

    This stuck me the other day while I was christmas shopping. I miss having my girls with me and going through the stores letting them show me what they like. I would get excited about buying them their own favorite clothes. Now with difficult child I look for the inexpensive yet still fasionable things that are necessities. I have gone from shopping at American Eagle to shopping at Penneys and Target. Not that there ever was anything wrong with Target or Walmart in the first place but she liked the latest name brand fashions. But difficult child was getting her clothes from goodwilll and donations to the sober house this past year and all her name brands things were sold or stolen. She seems to be happy with the new versions of her clothes and has accepted the fact that her shopping habits have changed drastically. I have no problem picking out clothes for her now.

  15. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Well for me part of it was the convenience for me.... picking out clothes for him and not being sure of what he would like plus having to mail them just felt like a hassle to me.

    So today I went to Sears and got him a gift card... which can only be used for merchandise and cannot be cashed in. I decided I would just take the chance. I decided though on the bike after asking that I would not get another gift card for that but let him go and look at them and then we could order it online and either have him pick it up there or have it delivered to him there. I just did not want to give him that much in gift cards, plus i haven't yet gotten a hold of my dad to see if he wants to do it that way.

    WELL..... I texted difficult child this morning asking him when he was going to move over to the less restrictive place. My understanding is he was where he is for 2 weeks and then would move over so that would be on Wed. He texted me back saying it would be longer than he expected. I asked what that meant? He said apparently he was not strong enough to abstain if it was right under his nose? I asked him if he knew that or did they see that about him? He responded that he discovered and then rediscovered it. I asked him then if he had been sorely tempted? He said no he relapsed and so hence he was not strong enough to resist and so he is going to be in the more restrictive place another two weeks. That is all I know....

    So the good news is he told me himself and admitted it. My hope is that is a step in the right direction....The bad news of course is that he relapsed... interesting that a kid who came in "clean" on drug tests is having so much trouble staying sober. My real hope though is that he is starting to see that he really is addicted to using.

    I feel good for the little conversation and that he seems to be at a place that is really trying to help him. I am relieved that this time it was not a call from being on the street... and in fact I was not invovled at all in any of it but heard this from him after the fact.

    And another clue that my gut of being conned was probably on target.

    So I am going to send him a package for Xmas of some underwear, boxers, some food staples, and a book of poetry and some drawing stuff... oh and maybe a cookbook of my mothers. The gift card I am going to hold onto for now.... and clearly the bike is going to wait.

    We shall see what the future will bring....

  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't think he's looking at it as conning you. I think he knows/feels like he has a good enough relationship with you that he can tell you- you aren't enabling but you aren't deserting him or trying to take over him. As far as him not telling you right away- well, in his mind, I don't think he feels he has to. For one thing, he has to admit it to himself first and his program peers second. Then, he'll tell the people closest to him. This is a good sign, not a bad sign. Otherwise, it would be you that he was answering to, not himself, higher power, or group program. Really, I think he's got a good chance of getting this- you have an excellent relationship and boundary with your son, in my humble opinion, for these circumstances. My son's situation is a little different but I strive for finding the balance with my son that you established with your son.

    I am sure it's still painful and hard for you. In the end, I believe with everything in me that your son understands you love him dearly, want what's in his best interest, advocate for him, want him to be his own man and choose his own destiny, will always love him and be there for him, but wouldn't budge an inch to enable him. That is the ideal parent of an adult child, to me. I really admire you for this and as my son reaches legal adulthood, I will look more and more to how you and a few other parents on this board have accomplished that.

    As far as the immediate situation re Christmas gifts- I think finding that fine line between not 'punishing' him for relapsing by witholding gifts, yet not handing him too much temptation of money or too many gifts would be the best thing.
  17. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Thanks Kimno,

    I did not get to this place overnight that is for sure. I am actually not upset or surprised really. I know he has an addiction problem and my hope is that he will get help for it... to me this may be just one more lesson for him that he is in fact an addict, because I think he questions that since he is not physically addicted to anything. The fact that htis happened and I did not get a phone call either from the place or from him is a good thing I think. It means they and him worked it out and came up that he should stay in the more restrictive program for another 2 weeks. That is a good decision but I am glad I was not part of the decision. He needs to find his way on his own and this is a step in that direction... and the fact that they didn't call me probably makes him trust them more. He is afterall an adult and as a legal right to his privacy. The fact that he told me is a good thing too. Of course I want details but i am not asking for them. And dI agree I want to do something for him for Xmas and not punish him but I also don't want to enable drug use.... so I can tell him that we will help him with clothes and stuff when he is ready but we are not going to give it to him now.

    And thanks on your comments about our relationship and boundaries. I don't have the relationship with him that I want.... but I hope I will someday. I have worked very hard to back off on the control as he is now an adult and the control just gets in his way really. I do agree though I think he knows we love him and are there for him and I do believe that is really important.... but also that we will set limits on what we will do. We will no longer put up with mistreatment from him... and believe me we put up with too much for too long.

  18. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    So this had to have happened yesterday after you talked to the sober house unless they just didn't tell you. It's amazing how they can even get the stuff in a restricted environment. Do you still think he is only doing spice? I'm not sure that's as easy to get as something else would be in that environment. I hope he didn't get it from another resident but that's what it sounds like happened. That's what my difficult child did in the treatment facility and so I never felt safe, they were in there to stop using and every time you turned around someone else was using. I know you can't ask for more details but if it were me I would really like to know also. It helps me not be conned in the future.

    It is good he told you and he is willingly staying in the more restrictive environment. I remember difficult child's counselor in the rehab telling them in front of the parents that they had to have an answer to their drug of choice because when it was in front of them staring in their face they didn't have time to think, they had to have an emergency plan.

  19. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I do really want to know the circumstances...and I hadn't thought about it being another resident but you are right that is what makes sense! The person I talked to yesterday actually manages the regular sober house so he hadn't seen my son in a couple of days. I don't have a direct contact at the more restricted place. I could call the guy from yesterday but I don't think I am going to. I want to know but I also feel like I just have to let this be his journey. Fact is not much I can do anyways.... and yeah he is with a bunch of guys who are detoxing and are drug addicts.

    I am hoping he can see that he really doesn't have much control over using... and so he has to get committed and yeah have a good plan.

    I don't know what he relapsed on. I think he probably used whatever was offered... I think it was spice before because he found a place that still sold it around the corner from where he was. As far as his drug of choice I think it is pot... but I also know he will use anything available and that he has tried much more serious stuff.