Could really use some advice for 17 y/o pothead

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Kaim, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. Kaim

    Kaim New Member

    I've been reading some of the other posts, and could really use some advice on how to proceed with a situation that we are currently dealing with. In the past year, we realized that my girlfriend's son had a drug problem namely with xanax and marijuana. He was also very verbally abusive in the past, including property damage. We tried counseling, calling the cops, grounding - nothing seemed to work, and from the outside it seemed we were crazy as he's a master manipulator, very charming and smart so no one saw this side of him. Finally, this summer, after close to 5 years of hell, when we were at our breaking point and ready to give full custody to the stepfather (bio dad was in the picture for only a bit, he also has a marijuana addiction), the stepson came to us and said he didn't like the path he was on and wanted to change. He also asked to live with us full time since he felt that the weekends with the stepdad was fueling his addiction, he also came clean about the amount of drugs he was doing and overall, seemed to really want to change. We agreed to let him live with us full time under the condition that he stay clean, sober, and respectful. We immediately got him into a diversion program, which he completed successfully and was clean for about 2 months. He seemed to really be changing his life, he talked about going into the military, was doing better in school, got a job, and even successfully got his driver's license.

    This all changed about a month ago when after asking us to use the car to go to a movie, he stumbled in at 2, drunk and high as hell. Turns out he never went to the movie, instead he went to a party and decided to drive drunk. The same thing happened on Saturday, he decided to skip out of work (which we let him use the car for) and instead went to another party. Broke curfew and came in drunk and high again; at this time we decided that he wasn't following our rules, he was out. After talking with him, we backed down from kicking him out instead opting for an intensive outpatient rehab program that he would comply with or he was out of the house. There were no if, ands, or buts - any usage and he was out. He thanked us, and said he wouldn't screw up this chance - well flash forward 3 days later to last week, my girlfriend decides to leave work early and he's not home. Well he finally comes home, and is obviously high again. So we call the cops, and since Friday, he has been at a runaway shelter.

    While in the shelter, he admits that after we told him about the rehab program, he went on a binge and has been smoking pot pretty much nonstop because "he wanted to get it out of his system before rehab started". I'm so confused on what the next step is, he obviously has a problem - do we let him back in under the condition that he does the rehab program? Do we just let go on his own way? We presented the option of an well known inpatient rehab program that he is open to, but I can't help but think that this is all just to avoid being out on the street.
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Kaim, welcome and I'm glad you are here. I've been there with my difficult child. It is my belief that anytime they are open to treatment of any kind we should do whatever we can to support that. He may be doing it just to avoid consequences but many substance abusers get clean and sober in spite of why the went there. AA and NA meetings are filled with recovered substance abusers who went kicking and screaming into rehab. It is also not unusual for the addict to go on a binge right before they enter treatment.

    You can try the intensive outpatient program but from my experience, inpatient is much better. They have to be away from their environment and all the temptations to use. All their attention must be on recovery. Relapses are also very common, but every intevention or recovery program gets them that much closer to a sustained sobriety.

    My daughter was 19 when she first went itno treatment. There were many others around her age, treamtnet center sar enow filled with our young people. Since he is 17 you will need to find a treatment center that accepts minors, I assume the one you found does. It is possible for young people to recover and we need many more of them to spread the word and help all the other young people who need it. My difficult child met a young man who was 18 when she went into her inpatient program. I became very good friends woth his mom. He now has one month shy of two years sobriety and is an inspiration to so many other young people.

    You are doing all the right things by setting limits and following through and insisting on treatment.

  3. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest


    Oh it is so hard. He is only 17 and so is young and still underage, which means you have the opportunity to be more involved and get more information from treaters. My sense at this point to grab the opportunity and give him the chance to get help. Relapse is not uncommon at all and he does sound at least open to help. Now at some point you may want to cut off help but i would not do it so soon. Some people do respond well to early treatment.

    My son is not one of those. He is almost 21 and has been in numorous treatment centers and walked out of the last one which was really good. At that point we did step back and he is on the streets breaking my heart. However i think without the treatent he has had he would have been where he is now younger and more vulnerable so i dont regret the help we have given him...and hopefully if and when he goes for help again things he has already learned will kick in