Downhill Slide

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by katya02, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Hi, I've been away from this site for a few years, but used to post on the forums when we were going through tough times with difficult child 2. He graduated high school last year and has been at college this year, and I hoped and prayed that he'd grab this opportunity and do well.

    It hasn't happened. Since the summer before senior year he's gotten drunk several times, including while visiting relatives and in other really inappropriate situations. Last spring he used pot at someone's birthday party (we got a phone call). In Oct. '07 he was charged with underage drinking - found wandering outside the dorm hall in bedroom slippers, completely smashed. He did the counseling sessions, had his licence suspended, and we paid the fine on condition that he straighten out and also provide his expertise in building an outbuilding on our property this summer. He was in a steady relationship with a girl who is/was really good for him ... a hard worker, independent, honest, and not a drinker. I was so thankful he'd met her!

    Over the winter, after difficult child 2's visits home, we started missing alcohol from the cabinet. Entire bottles were empty, or white spirits like rum and vodka were watered. When confronted with anything like this difficult child 2 has always flatly denied responsibility. He has to be caught red-handed, and even then he denies other similar incidents and insists this is the only time. On his last visit home he went through an entire bottle of scotch malt that was well hidden. It remained hidden; just without the scotch. He apparently told our third son at that time that he was in withdrawal from all the pot he'd been smoking; but he vehemently denies this now.

    We just found out he's received his second UA charge, has lost his licence for a full year, and has another fine, community service, etc. Plus a fine for use of the impaired student holding facility at the college. He's home on spring break and just broke up with his girlfriend. We've hidden or thrown out all alcohol in the house. But to try to talk with him about his alcohol use is a nonstarter. He started by saying, 'Well, it doesn't seem to matter what I say, because I say it and say it, but alcohol is not a problem for me.' When I told him that it's not what he says that concerns us, but what he does, he became furious and left the room. (That's better than getting violent, which is what he used to do.)

    He is failing three of six courses at mid-term. Last semester he passed everything. If he fails the year husband says he'll have to go to work full-time - he won't send him back to try again. But husband is willing for difficult child 2 to live with us while he works! I don't want him on the street, but I can see lots of problems even getting him to get a job. He desperately needs money now, having emptied both his bank accounts and owing the second UA fine to the court; in spite of me offering to pay him an hourly rate for major chores around our property this week, he hasn't done anything yet.

    I have to deal with him on my own a lot because husband works very long hours, and 'talks' between difficult child 2 and me never go well. I don't want to address issues without husband (difficult child 2 splits us expertly) but difficult child 2 brings things up when I'm alone and then gets angry. I really don't look forward to the prospect of him living at home having failed college! But I don't think he's going to pull it together, given his complete denial right now.

    I really dread what's going to happen, including having him steal money from us (we've all missed money at different times when difficult child 2 has been broke - but have never caught him in the act. We just know who it is). Plus he'll have to be driven to work and home, if and when he does get a job. I'm so disappointed ... shouldn't be, given his history, but I had so much hope. Bleh.

    Sorry for the long rant,
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The fun just never ends, doesn't it?
    Actually, it sounds like your son has a drinking problem and perhaps it would be good for him to leave college for now and work. I would make going to AA regularly and not drinking a demand for living at home. Also, if you caught him with pot, and he does that a lot, there is an excellent chance that he is using more than just pot. His falling grades are not a good sign. in my opinion if he doesn't do any work, he stays broke. He will likely spend it on alcohol and maybe drugs anyway.
    I'm sorry this is happening. I went through this with my daughter and it was a mess. I hope you can get the situation under control.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry you are in this position. What is your husband's position on making going to rehab a requirement for living at home? REhab first, then living at home?

    Do you think there is any chance on getting drug testing done BEFORE you agree to let him move back home? IF he was caught with pot, then said he drank to cope with not having pot, chances are there are more drugs in his system.

    What kind of risk does he pose to his younger siblings? You already know he steals from them. Are you ready to have their home be a battlefield?

    It might be a good idea to speak with counsellors at the university to see what options exist. Also to investigate rehab options in your community. If you do not live somewhere he can walk to bus service, then maybe if this is available at a relative's home, or a rental, that is an option.

    If he refuses to get help, then why would you bring him in to your home? He is an adult, though he is your child. But he is NOT your only child, and sometimes the needs of minor children should be put ahead of the needs of adult children.

    Most addicts/alcoholics will not stop using the substance of choice unless they hit bottom. Moving home to mom and dad's house is not hitting bottom. It is free room, utilities, food, rides, and people to manipulate or steal from.

    I am so sorry your heart hurts this way.

  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Katya, I was going to send a pm with something to consider, but you have to enable pm's first.

  5. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Oops, sorry - I hadn't gone to the options link yet but have enabled pm's now.

    The only problem with insisting on AA or rehab or at least outpatient counseling is difficult child 2's denial. I suppose we could insist on it despite his denial - it would be a waste of time for the counselor, but who knows whether the light might come on at some point? There is a rehab/counseling place in town that we could get him referred to.

    I don't know whether husband will be willing to insist on something like this as a condition of living at home. He has minimized difficult child's problem in the past, and although he now acknowledges that these behaviors aren't normal it's another step to requiring difficult child to get treatment. If we had proof of drug use I think that would be the decider for husband - but we have no proof.

    I do worry about the effect on my daughter, who will be the only child at home after the summer.
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I wish I had some worthwhile advice but I am living with an alcoholic
    who just turned 21. Since he has been injured I can't kick him out but I know that "he knows" he has a major problem...he just is not ready to take the steps to work through it. He has been to substance abuse rehab in the past (prior to his brain injury) but all he gained from the experience was knowledge that made him avoid "certain" drugs.

    I am sending understanding hugs your way. It's a terrible position to be in, for sure. DDD
  7. secretly sad

    secretly sad secretly sad

    Hi, welcome back. I too just came back to this site after being gone 2 yrs. I really miss it and really need it. Sounds like an alcoholic, behavior is exactly like one. I have to remind you- "You did not cause this , you cannot control it and you cannot cure it. " Let go and let him fall. The sooner he falls the sooner he will get better, and he can get better.
  8. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    One of my biggest worries is what will happen when difficult child turns 21 and can legally buy alcohol. The day he turned 18 he started openly buying tobacco - he both smokes and chews, go figure. Once he can get alcohol legally I think he'll really fall, if it doesn't happen before then. This has to be genetic. It's like one taste and he was hooked. None of his sibs has the same addictive tendencies as he does. This, combined with his tendency to feel depressed and empty, and his impulsiveness, makes me really afraid of his potential for self-harm.
  9. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member


    First of all, welcome back. Sorry things aren't going well. As said above, you didn't do this. The responsibility rests squarely on your son's shoulders.

    When someone wont' admit they have a problem, it makes it very difficult to convince them they need help. Often, when they are drinking and/or drugging, they feel they are on top of the world and it's hard to convince them otherwise. Eventually, if they continue drinking and/or drugging, however, it begins to affect them and their way of living.

    Your son getting the UA's while at college is a prime example. Those choices might costs him dearly, even if he stays in school. Some university programs won't give admittance into their major programs (usually at the end of their sophomore year when they have to apply to the engineering, business, nursing, etc. major) to those that have received UA's. They feel that the partying will get in the way, and why give that spot to a student that doesn't want it as badly as someone who is really working hard. Sad but true.

    That's if he does stay in school. If he flunks out, obviously that changes his life even more. At that point, if you are going to allow him to come back home to live, then you have every right to give him a written (to be signed by him and you and your husband) list of rules that must be adhered to, and the consequences and time limits if they are not followed. Then you and your husband must stick to them.

    The substance abuse path our children choose is a scary one, and one that affects everyone. They don't see it that way unfortunately.

    Sending you mega hugs. I know how hard it is to watch your child self-destruct.

  10. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I'm very frustrated ... difficult child spent all of about one day staying home after breaking up with his girlfriend (it was, or I thought it was, a very serious relationship - they were talking marriage), and then must have contacted a sleazy girl who was chasing him all last summer. They were out together last night, and tonight she turned up and they're in our basement watching a movie! This girl called incessantly last summer and took him to at least one party where he got smashed; now she's begun calling again and obviously has her hooks into him. He seems to care for nothing but being entertained ... if he's not getting drunk or high or doing something else bad he complains of being bored and depressed. If it's pointed out to him that his situation is entirely of his own making he gets furious.

    Today I gave grocery money to my third son, as he had volunteered to go shopping while I took care of some other things; he left the cash on the kitchen counter and when he got to the store he realized there was $20.00 missing. When he got home he told me, and then went and confronted difficult child, who first told him he had no idea there was money in the kitchen, and then admitted taking it (saying he was broke and had things to pay for, so he needed it). If I had confronted difficult child he would have died before admitting taking it, and would certainly not have given it back as he did to his brother. It makes me completely cynical and unsympathetic about everything he says and does.

    I haven't yet been able to talk to husband, since he's worked 7 twelve-hour shifts in a row; our talk will have to wait until difficult child is back at college. I'm just carrying all my cash in my pocket, locking up my purse, and gritting my teeth about this girl being over ... I don't have a solid reason, tonight, to tell her to leave, but I don't want her over here. Maybe I'm projecting my disappointment that difficult child dumped a really wonderful girl just to turn around and take up with someone who reminds me of the awful, sleazy girls difficult child hung out with when we lived in Canada. But I have a bad feeling about this girl, and I suspect she's supplying difficult child with something - either booze or drugs. No proof, just a bad feeling.

    I hate having to carry my cash around and hide my purse, and I hate that he took $20 from the grocery money, and I hate having girls I don't like in my basement!!
  11. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Your story sounds so familiar especially about the money. When my difficult child was home we couldnt leave anything around especially money. He would take it and not bat an eye! I am sorry you are having to endure this but this too shall pass. Always when the going got so bad I couldnt stand it anymore something would happen - either my difficult child would get arrested or we would have to ask him to leave because of drugs or coming home drunk, etc. We have two other children who hated it. We couldnt allow him to turn everything upside down and when he needed money and we didnt give it too him..........oh my -
  12. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Hello~ My name is Everywoman and my son's a pothead. I have lived your story since my difficult child was 15. He is now living in another city going to school, so I don't have to deal with it on a daily basis--but...I feel your pain. I would suggest not allowing him to live at home again.
  13. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    We just made another discovery today that has thrown husband for a complete loop ...

    When difficult child 2 was home last week on spring break, I was apprehensive about him sneaking alcohol, given his history and the fact that he broke up with his girlfriend the second day home. (He typically excuses his drinking by blaming some sort of stress, so the breakup would be a perfect scapegoat.) I put away - well, hid in some pretty bizarre places, since difficult child 2 has gone into my closet etc. before in search of alcohol - all the liquor and just left some wine in the wine rack, thinking that he wouldn't be willing to obviously open wine bottles.

    I thought he did well all week. Didn't smell alcohol on him, didn't find anything worrying. Then, on the morning I drove him back to college, he smelled of alcohol. He denied it angrily and wasn't impaired then, there was just the smell. I searched his room and bathroom when I got home and found nothing.

    Today at dinner I went to take a bottle of white wine out of the rack and it was empty. It was a screwtop wine and he'd emptied it and tucked it back in. I hadn't noticed that some of our wines had screwtops! Then I checked the red wine rack and six bottles were missing. I found two empties right in the recycling bin; I haven't found the others yet. These were all $20 bottles of wine.

    husband was stunned. He's avoided confronting difficult child 2 about his drinking so far, but this plus the recent episodes is impossible to explain away. husband has decided that difficult child won't be allowed to drive our cars again. I'm relieved about that. But my suggestion that we insist difficult child go to rehab as a condition of coming home didn't get any response.

    I'm completely depressed. I spent a lot of time with difficult child 2 last week, concerned about his breakup, and he was pleasant to talk with, reasonable, and calm. I thought we'd had a good week. I thought he was coping with the breakup very well. And now I find it was all a lie. He can act well enough to win an Oscar.

    He's been lying to me all his life and it still hurts. I really hate this.
  14. secretly sad

    secretly sad secretly sad

    Rationally you know that you cannot control him. No one can control another person's behavior but we can cause him to see the light sooner than later by not helping him. He will drink until He decides to stop and that ride he is going on until that point is too painful for you and your family to go through or watch him go through. Going through the downhill slide with him will hurt you and your family. I would carry on with your family life normally as possible and when he comes home or is around protect yourselves by not leaving money or purses out of sight, because that is what addicts do, they steal. Since he has to live at home on breaks, I would not have alcohol at home unless you are drinking out of the bottle and watching the bottle and not letting him join you, I would not give him any money and tell him he is not allowed to drink in your home or he will have to find other places to live. Then he will continue his downhill slide, but outside of your home, so you will not be as close to it or see it. Also I would not let him drive. As hard as it is , I would tell him that either his friends have to drive him places or you will drop him off. If he asks why, I would either say that I believe he is alcoholic, which will make him mad, or it is my house and I do not have to explain my rules to you, which probably will get him mad too. They main idea is to keep life as normal as possible and as happy as possible for you and your family, by detaching from his behavior and protect yourself from him so you do not have to think about it every day that he is home. You know that what he is doing away from home is drinking and not a happy scene - but unless life gets really painful for him, he is not going to stop. Let go and let God. Entrust his life now to a higher power and pray for him and that he does not die - better he fall now that hang on causing agony to others for years , especially if he gets married and has children.
  15. So Tired

    So Tired Member


    I'm so sorry - I know how hard it is to be disappointed once again. To see a glimmer of hope for some sort of normalicy and then to find you have been lied to. Again. It is always so painful.

    It seems like husband is begining to see the light. I think everyone has their own idea of "the last straw" and maybe you have just reached that place first.

    I agree with the others - my son is the same. Needs to learn things the hardest way possible and never sees the results as his fault. Always trying to push blame on others.

    It sounds like you are doing all the right things. Stay stong and protect yourself and your home and family. Refuse to get sucked into the crazyness of his world.

    P.S. you don't have to let the new girlfriend hang out there. I'm sure your intuitions are spot on. If it is causing you stress tell him he has to "hang out" with her somewhere else. You don't have to justify to him! That is our biggest problem -- we keep treating them with kindness and respect and get none in return!