This weekend we discovered that EC2, who is 17, has secretly been smoking pot and drinking and that this has possibly been going on for the past two years. There has been some behavior that made us suspicious - frequent sullenness and irritability, lying about where he's been and breaking into the locked cupboard at his mom's house earlier this summer. There was also a text message from a friend that she intercepted a few weeks ago inviting him to come over and "light up". He's also talked frequently about how marijuana should be legalized. But we didn't have any evidence. This weekend, his step-dad noticed a residue on the screen in his room, so they searched his room and found a pipe with marijuana residue as well as a mason jar that had a hole in the bottom. Presumably, he would place this up against the screen so no smoke would be in the room and there would be no odor. A bottle of beer mysteriously disappeared from their fridge recently as well and the empty was found in his room. There was also a poem stating that he was 15 and smoking pot and drinking and his parents didn't know. husband took him to an intake for an outpatient substance abuse program and they went through the entire interview and EC2 admitted that he has lied to his family and seemed to open up to the therapist. But when it came time to sign the contract to start the program, EC2 refused to participate saying that he doesn't have a problem. His debit card has been confiscated and he must turn over his paycheck to his parents. He has also lost his I-phone for now and is not allowed to drive our cars. He has been suspended from music lessons and the band program, which he loves as he is a musician. We will be giving him rides to and from work. Yesterday, while husband was napping, EC2 took his debit card out of husband's wallet, which was on the fridge and went downtown where they were having a street fair. He charged a lunch, which his mom saw on his account since she has access to it. I was out of town most of the day yesterday and when I came home, husband was napping and EC2 came in the house shortly after I did and said he'd been to the fair. I was wondering if he had been given permission to go there. EC2 apparently returned the debit card to husband's wallet, while I was out of the room. Then, last night I took him with me to rent some videos and when we came back, husband had left the house. Then a friend texted EC2 to see if he could join them at the fair. I told him that he would need to get permission from husband first. I tried calling and texting, but couldn't reach him. So, EC2 started watching a movie and I went upstairs. When I came back down 15 minutes later, he had left the house without telling me. After husband returned, he said that he had had to make an emergency trip to the respite care worker's house to pick up Difficult Child because he was tantruming. (Difficult Child was supposed to stay there all day and be picked up Sunday afternoon.) Then husband called EC2 and insisted that he come home immediately. EC2's excuse was that he couldn't reach him to get permission. Today, husband, biomom and EC2 had another meeting. They told EC2 that unless he changed his behavior to follow the house rules, inform us of his whereabouts and participated in the substance abuse program, he would not be allowed to return to the music program or buy a car, which he was planning to buy shortly. He still refused and insisted that we should apologize to him for forcing him to cancel his shift at work and for not allowing him to participate in the performance last Sunday when we had an emergency family meeting due to the drug paraphernalia discovery. He is not taking any responsibility for his behavior. He's going to be a very unhappy young man for awhile. He's been "sleeping" most of the time since this all started - probably avoiding everyone and feeling sorry for himself. EC2 has started applying to colleges. He's so smart and talented. So far he still has good grades and is doing well at his job, so he's showing responsibility in some areas. If he makes it through his senior year and goes to college, we will be watching to see if his grades drop or there is evidence of continued substance abuse. We will not pay for college if that happens. There's addiction in husband's family and some in biomom's as well. It's really sad to see EC2 go down that path. We'd always assumed that we would have more problems with Difficult Child. We really hope that something will get through to EC2 and he'll turn this around. He's had a hard time growing up with Difficult Child as his brother and a controlling step-father, but we have tried to mitigate that as much as possible by having him spend more time with us doing activities he enjoys and have offered therapy several times. He just doesn't want to open up to a therapist about his unhappiness and is self-medicating instead. These forums have prepared us for the kind of behaviors to expect as he struggles with substance abuse and the boundaries we need to set, but we are very sad to see this happening. husband is heart-broken.