confused and worried parent

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by seantbw, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. seantbw

    seantbw New Member

    Hello all. My son has been acting strangely these past few weeks. This includes not wanting to communicate with me, locking himself in his room and hanging out late at night. He is 18 this year. I have seen the company he now hangs out with and am worried. There was also one night i thought i smelled pot coming from his room. Can someone help me please. What are the impacts of drug abuse on youths and how do i nip it at the bud? I do not want this to spread to my daughter who is 2 years younger.
  2. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Hello and welcome to the board. I'm sorry I didn't see your post before; sometimes this forum is a bit quiet but people do come along and there's lots of encouragement and support.

    You have definitely spotted signs of drug use on your son's part, and you're right to be concerned. Drug use can completely derail a teen's life. Teens who are using pot are almost always using or at least experimenting with other drugs as well. Whatever your son eventually admits to doing, you may safely assume he has been doing much more.

    It would help people on the board if you would provide a little more information about your son - previous behaviors, diagnoses or contacts with mental health professionals (if any), previous worrying symptoms that may have indicated substance abuse. If you make a signature line that outlines your family structure it will also help people respond to your posts.

    As far as what to do now, I would suggest a thorough search of your son's room and bathroom, as well as your daughter's room, to locate any/all drugs and paraphernalia. If you smelled pot coming from his room he has it on the premises. Go through his room with a fine-toothed comb, open every container, unroll every sock in his drawer, etc. If you know he's creative, be creative in looking for hiding places. This is NOT an invasion of your son's privacy. It's a life/death issue. I take it he's still 17 for a little while, if he turns 18 this year; he's a minor and he lives in your house. You are responsible for his wellbeing and your daughter's wellbeing, and searching out illicit drugs is completely appropriate on your part.

    I mentioned searching your daughter's room because unfortunately it's fairly common for teens to hide incriminating things in a sibling's room.

    Once you find what there is to find, you will need to confront your son. But I hope you'll post a little more about your situation so that parents here can offer suggestions about that, and about treatment/rehab options, etc. You will find lots of support here.
  3. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Welcome. I'm glad you found us but sorry that you had to.

    The first thing you need to do is set up some boundaries in your home. You can not control your son's behavior. In the eyes of the law, he is an adult. Unless you want to enter a tug or war that will leave you powerless and feeling defeated you must look at what you can control....

    One thing is curfew. You can establish a curfew for your home...if he isn't home, he doesn't come in. Take his house key when you goes out at night. That way he has to knock to enter and you can check for any signs of impairment.

    Next you need to set up some rules. I can't stop my son from using marijuana, but I can let him know that it is not allowed in my home. I have to right to search his room. Anything I find is thrown away. When he was 18, I made him leave because he could not follow the rules of my home. He is now 20 and knows that if he can't live by my rules, he will have to find somewhere else to live.

    Finally, until you are sure he is not using, you cut off any money supply that could be used to purchase drugs. If he has a car that he uses to go to school, do not give him cash money for gas. Either drive him where he needs to go or take him to the station and pump the gas for him. Deny any access to cash from you. If you do that, lock up all valuables and hide your wallet. Have your daughter do the same. If he is using, and you cut him off, he may steal to get the money.

    Many young people who experiment with drugs and alcohol quickly move on. For a small # like my son, it becomes a way of life. Hopefully yours is just experimenting and by setting up some boundaries, he will see it is not worth it. You must protect your younger daughter. She has the right to live in a safe environment. If he is bringing and using drugs and bring other drug users into your home, she is not safe.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You got some good advice. Being 18, I don't know how much he'll cooperate. Also, we usually find out about drug use long after it's been going on and often it's a lot more than pot. If it is just recreational pot use, they are usually able to (or smart enough to) not do it at home. And, of course, they don't come out with the truth about their usage, even when they look us in the eyes. I also suggest searching when he's not there, then laying down the rules. Oh, and your daughter may know about it and be covering for him, even if she's a good kid. OR she may be doing it with him. Drug use is one of those things that you don't always know about.
    Nobody can stop him from using drugs. He has to want to do it. Legally, at his age, I don't believe you can force him into a rehab. Even if can, it won't help him if he's not of the mind to quit. Been there/done that. Wrote the book. Do some sneaking around and see how deep he is into drugs. It could be a phase or a very serious problem.
    Welcome to the board and good luck.
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You've received good advice. We know it is difficult to even perceive the possibility that your son who probably is kind, intelligent, obedient and often gifted and accomplished could be stupid enough to start drugs. By acknowledging your fears now you may well be saving his life or their lives.
    It sounds so darn melodramatic, I know.

    Try to take the next step. Do explore. Think through the options that seem to make sense to your life. Quick and emotional responses usually don't have the effectiveness needed. Convince yourself it is not your fault...and also don't be ready to blame the "evil friend".

    Chances are you are correct. Then, depending on your son's actual age you find out what support services are available before he ends up in jail. Yep...jail. Where we live, at least, if "seeds" are found in the car you are whisked off in the back of a cop car. Many wonderful futures are ruined by what starts as a peer group activity like drinking beer.

    As they say in AA "one day at a time". Identify the problem. Find the proof. Figure out options. Use this board family for anonymous support.
    Implement what you feel is best. We will be here for support. DDD
  6. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Ditto to all the above! My son started with pot also - or so he says. He is now using pills, alcohol, and pot. He is 25. he has lost many jobs, and the right to live in our home. He has been to rehabs, hospitals, doctors, been onprobation, to jail, you name it. We have done everything we know to do to help him - but if we dont watch out we enable him to continue doing what he wants. We l ove him but his behavior keeps us in chaos. It is our turn to take care of ourselves. Right now you have the option to search his room because he lives in your house. Do it. If you find pot - confront him - tell him if you find it again you will call the police.