going from bad to worse

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by jaxx, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. jaxx

    jaxx New Member

    had a vile day at the police stn,resulting in my 21yr old son being arrested and charged with drunk and dangerous driving,and possesion with inteent to supply drugs.Find it extremely difficult to communicate with him..he is extremely withdrawn, and does not speak to me when i try to make conversation.he makes me feel like i constantly irritate him,which really hurts my feelings.i am terrified about whats going to happen to him in court in a few weeks time.its his first offence.he was almost killed 5 months ago-was in a coma and on life suoppport for a month,and had horrific injuries as a result of this drunk driving.Thankfully noone else was injured in the accident,and he is expected to make a full recovery.the experience left me deeply traumatized-both in terms of firstly almost losing my only child,and also the shock of his lifestyle-he had been living away from home for over a year,staying with friends,not working-which i constantly worried about and left me in a daily state of anxiety which would sometimes overpower me...as i always feared what would happen actually happened. Following the death of my father who was killed by a drunk driver 7 years ago,at the time of my son's school exams,i was a single parent and fell apart from grief and was unable to give my son the support he clearly needed at school.shortly afterwards my son's half brother died from a drug overdose.my son faired poorly at school,and refused to go to college.he has now been unemployed for 5 years..and i think is becoming increasingly mute and withdrawn,and totally unwilling to consider help from a g.p or counsellor or other professional.i am at the end of my tether...and am beginning to have suicidal thoughts.Please can anyone help me reach clarity of how i can possibly be a good parent and actually help him somehow??he means the world to me-and i get nothing but pain and rejection in return.sorry this is an essay-have had noone who will listen.Thank you for reading.Jaxx
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jaxx, welcome. I am so sorry you are going through all of this with your son. It is a horrific experience. You've come to the right place. You might also post the same post over on the Substance Abuse forum where other parents well versed in SA can assist you.

    The first thing you may want to do is read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here.

    You may or may not have been there for your son after your Dad's death and it is really unfortunate that your son's half brother died of an overdose. However, since your son is now an adult, your perceived guilt about those two things or your parenting is something for you to let go of, it hurts you and doesn't help him either. Guilt will just keep you stuck enabling your son if that has already been going on. Guilt often is the driver behind our continuing rescuing of our kids because on some level, we believe it's our fault and we can repair it. We may of course, contribute to our kids behaviors, but in reality, once they're adults, it becomes necessary to hand them the reins and allow them to do their own healing (or not.) You didn't cause this and you can't control it and nor can you fix it for him. Only he can do that.

    In my experience, the single most important thing we parents can do is to get some kind of help so we can detach from the choices our kids make. No easy task. Most of us need help in some manner to do that. I strongly suggest you get a therapist or some counselor or someone you can talk to who can give you tools, information and support. If your son has mental issues, NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental illness can be of enormous help. They can be accessed online and they have chapters everywhere. They offer excellent parent groups designed to help parents navigate this bumpy terrain.

    Getting into a 12 step group will be a big help to you too. Al-anon or CoDa will work. You will find other parents you can relate to. They also have family groups. You can look online and find groups in your area.

    What is most important now is to take the focus off of your son and put it onto YOU. He is making poor choices which are a result of his substance abuse and then making the really bad choice of driving while under the influence. As bad as this sounds, jail may be the best place for him now. He would get sober and often jails offer groups to help with substance abuse. Many parents here on this forum have seen their kids turn around in jail. I know it sounds so bad, but it may really be what the reality is for your son, so you may need to face that.

    Most importantly, get support for yourself. Whatever choices he makes, you will need to get help for you. Most of us get to the point of depletion, resentment, fear, worry, anger, sorrow and burn out before we begin to take care of ourselves. If you are having thoughts of suicide, it is CLEARLY time to get help for YOU. What your son does is separate from who you are and the life you can have. You must learn to make distinctions in that so you can have a fulfilling life no matter what he chooses. I know that sounds unreasonable, believe me, it sounded unreasonable to me two years ago, but I sought out A LOT of professional help and now, although my daughter is essentially in the same place as she was, I'm not, I've changed and I have a MUCH better quality of life.

    Get help for you. Keep posting here and on Substance Abuse. I am sending you lots of caring hugs, I know how you feel. Hang in there, do something kind for yourself right now, learn to nurture yourself, throw the guilt overboard and place your son in the hands of what your perception of a Higher Power is........we are powerless to change the lives of others when they don't want to change.............
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If you are afraid for his mental health, do NOT bail him out of jail if that option is available. Sadly, the jail/prison system is often the only place many people can access mental health. At the very least, if you are concerned about him committing suicide and you alert the jail/prison, they will monitor him very closely to be sure he does not do this. It won't be fun for him, of course, but he will be kept alive and given some help. It will be more help than he can get on the outside, and that may be all you can do for him.

    I know it stinks, and that you feel guilty for not being a perfect parent. we all go through that to some extent, but he is an adult now and his life is his responsibility, as are his action such as driving drunk and having drugs. As an adult, those are on him and him alone. The best you can do now is to try to make sure he lives through this and learns that he does not want to continue in this path of behavior.

    Go to the 12 step meetings, and if you can also see a therapist for yourself. It will help more than you are even capable of understanding right now. been there done that and it was well worth it.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't have much to add to your excellent advice. But I want you to know that you are a wonderful parent. You are doing what all good parents do...worrying and wondering. Unfortunately, we can not help our grown children and it in no way reflects our own worth. They are of legal age and any decisions they make or don't make are their own.

    I am currently worried about my own son, so my mommy heart is with yours and I soooooooo understand how hard it is to know there is nothing that we can do to make it better.

    If you feel suicidal, please go to the emergency room. People still need you and you have not finished your life yet. Your life can be great in spite of your child.
  5. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Hello, Jaxx, and welcome.

    You have been through so much, Jaxx. I am happy you found us. We have been where you are, and survived it. Please post as often as you feel you need to. It helps so much. There is no one here who will judge you. Very few of us believe, anymore, that anything we did, or anything that happened to our children, made it impossible for them to choose paths different than those they are walking. Bad things, traumatic things, happen to all of us. If we, or our children, continue to place blame for our current actions on something that happened when we were kids, we will never take responsibility for our own lives. Until we do, nothing can change, for us.

    Our children chose their paths against our wishes and in spite of our advice, Jaxx.

    You have nothing to feel guilty for.

    Many people experience the kind of trauma you have described in your family without turning to a life of violence and drugs. Many people without that kind of trauma turn to a life of violence and drugs, anyway.

    This is something your son needs to work out, for himself. Your job, now that you've found us, is learning to heal, to feel healthy, to take joy in your life, again. We always say here that if a mother's suffering could cure a troubled child, every one of our children would be perfect by now. Our suffering doesn't change anything for our children...but it can, and does, destroy US.

    It helped me to know that the healthier I became, the healthier a role model I could be for my difficult child kids.

    Eventually? The kids were still troubled ~ but I was doing better.


    Small steps now will have great results, later. Is there a class you could take? Something that would enable you to stop thinking about your son, even for just a little while? Maybe a weekly volunteer commitment? Even just a morning walk will start you on the path to healthier. The options Recovering suggested would be a fantastic place to begin.

    Please keep us posted on how you are doing, and on your son's progress. I am so sorry for your pain, Jaxx.

    Here is the Serenity Prayer. It helps so many of us stay balanced enough to cope with what the kids are doing. The trick is to read it, and read it again, until you get it. In the night, when you awaken worried and cannot sleep, repeat it until sleep comes. Repeating this prayer has been a lifesaver for me, and for so many of us, here on the site.


    God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    the Courage to change the things I can,
    and the Wisdom to know the difference.