home three weeks and not cooperating...

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by recovering doormat, Mar 7, 2009.

  1. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Updating on my difficult child 2 who has been home for three weeks from a six-week diagnostic program at an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). The facility recommended that he go directly to another Residential Treatment Center (RTC), that he wasn't ready to come home yet. In a moment of weakness I gave in to his dad's desire to bring him home and place him in a private day school, away from his druggie public school friends, have him work part time and attend substance abuse counseling as well as psychotherapy (he is unmedicated for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Dysthymia). We foolishly thought we could keep an eye on him 24/7 but it's much harder to do in real life, and I have the luxury of not working outside the home right now. I've learned that he has smoked weed at least once since he's been home, he violated his curfew one night and refused to go to his old high school one day last week to take the 10th grade NCLB test (his district is supposed to set up tutoring while they figure out where to place him out of district).

    I feel foolish and ineffective as a parent, and although I'd like to place the blame squarely on ex-husband's shoulders (he has access to money and I don't), we share joint legal custody (son lives with dad two miles from me) and I could have at least thrown a hissy fit and demanded that he stay at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC). But I felt sorry for how lonely and sad my son sounded every time I called or visited. He begged us at every opportunity to come home, promised us everything, and he still tells us he doesn't want to fall back into his old ways, but when he doesn't feel like getting out of bed, he doesn't. He lies.

    He meets with his PO Monday (I keep her informed of what is going on) and he may end up going back on the ankle bracelet, which leads to juvie. We have an IEP meeting Wednesday with the school district to figure out an educational placement if he doesn't go to juvie. We brought him to an expensive college prep high school that is a 45 min. drive each way (no transport provided, dad and I would have to drive him) for an interview and to spend a day shadowing a student, and he seems to want to go there, but I have to ask myself, what's the point if he is just going to give us the same old b.s.?

    I think if I were a stranger looking at my son and his relationship with us, I would be saying, 'what are those parents thinking? This kid has been running the show for years and they're still letting him get away with it. Let him go to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), or juvie, or make him get a job if he won't go to school.'

    I feel like my life has been on hold for so long trying to get enough peace and stability so that I can do things for myself and my family, like going back to work after being home for 18 years, or taking care of all those nuisance home repair jobs, or tidying up my yard, just generally making an attractive home for my kids and me. This is probably why I have so little energy; I feel really drained.

    Let's hope that this week we get some structure into our son's life. He hasn't been in a classroom (except for the tryout) for three weeks and he's unraveling. The fact that it's our fault just makes it hurt worse.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm sending a quick cyber hug before work. The decisions are hard to make. There is no crystal ball and as much advice as we all seek "they don't know my child" runs through the brain often. How to heck can you take advice from unnamed parents of difficult child's????? Good question, lol.

    Whether you left him there, moved him someplace else or brought him home really doesn't matter much right now. Don't look back. Look forward with expert advice
    (as well as CD family input) and then take the next step forward. It is a blankin' rollercoaster ride for almost all families. That's what makes it so hard.

    Once you and Ex decide where you agree to draw the line in the sand...DO IT and stick with it. Hugs. DDD

    PS: Might I suggest that you rethink reporting to the PO? Unless you are one of the very very few who are blessed with a PO who totally understands kids and looks for options outside "the system"...it might save potential future grief if you
    are not the middle man.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Of course he's not cooperating. He's a drug user. They don't cooperate. It's probably more than pot too. Of course he begged to get out, probably cried crocodile tears. They all do that. He's going to tell you anything you want to hear, and the more it works, the more he'll snow you. These types of kids can lie while staring you straight in the eyes. Maybe they're high when they lie to us. Again, it is probably more than pot.
    Frankly, I think it was a bad decision to bring him home. I've seen what teenagers can do and how clever they are when they want to do things. We can't stop them.
    I hope you reconsider and send him back to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) because there is no way you are going to keep him away from those friends at his age. He'll either just make new bad friends at the new school (and these bad kids exist even at private school) or he'll hang with his old friends on his own time, and he'll find a way to do it. If ex won't send him back, then send him to live with ex full time because you're right--there is no way either of you can stop his behavior. You need to learn to detach with love.
    Good luck.
  4. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    I am so sorry! I must agree with both DDD and MWM. You can't sit and ponder the choices you have already made, all you can do is move forward. These choices we difficult child parents have to make are extremely difficult to say the least. We never know what lies ahead. We always second guess ourselves, as DDD said, we don't have cyrtal balls! Having said that and having been exactly where you are I agree with MWM, send him back!!!! I made the same mistake, I caved and took my daughter out of her last Residential Treatment Center (RTC) sooner than she was scheduled to leave and the last year of our lives have been absolute hell!!!! She has caused so much havoc in our lives and got into so much trouble over the last year. She is now on the run and facing jail time. Of course hindsight is always 20/20, but had I know then what I know now, I would have left her there for sure and for as long as possible. That's not to say that things would have turned out any differently, but now I will never know!!!

    When we know better, we do better! Hang in there.

    Many (((HUGS))).
  5. maril

    maril New Member

    Others give good advice. I am not in a position to give advice but send you hugs and wish for strength for you! Of course it is not easy but you are doing the best you can; take it one day at a time. As far as those that may criticize, perhaps they might have a different point of view if they were to walk a mile in your shoes.

    I hope you have a peaceful evening. Take care.
  6. compassion

    compassion Member

    (((( )))). It is a process. Be gentle with yourself and your son and the family. It is not easy at all. There is NO easy way. My difficult child has been in hospital for 5 weeks and it very , very difficult to not scoop her up.
    It is so hard to have that seperation, I know I am living it right now. Al-Anon, this board and the CABF Residential Treatment Center (RTC) list, my therpaist are all keep;in me out of denial in to the truth, but it is not easy. It is very impoirtnat Occupational Therapist (OT) stay non-judgmental, non-cirtical and trust the process and get out of the cycle of guilt and beating one's self up.
    I had a lot of presxsure to hospitlize my daughter for 4 months before3 I actually did it and I had to really turn to my Al-Anon proram, Higher Power for guidance and to this site. I came to this site when she had 1 week not running/using. I was so committed to keekping her out of the hospital but her illnesses ( I view substance abuse and BiPolar (BP) both as illnesses) were more than I or anyone could handle at home and she has now had 5 weeks of medication stabilizasiton, not doing dangerous activies, and or using illegal subatances.
    It is excrtuaitng and I have to turn to all my suppoet systems daily to know this is the best thing. Deniual is so strong, all the way around . Like you, I thought I could monotr and channel 24 hours a day but her illness is not goign to instantly go away. I went to an Al-Anon meeting last night and a pamplet said it can take a year to sleep off the effects of the heavy abuse. She is very fatigued.
    Support, opness, encouragment, and acceptance I send to you, fellow warrior Mom. Compassion
  7. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Thank you, fellow Warrior Moms, for your wise words and compassion. I feel guilty a lot because I just want this to all go away. I'm wiped out and feel like I have so little to give after living in an emotional state of seige for about five years now and no clear end in sight.

    I catch myself worrying about how difficult child 2 will react to things he doesn't like, like I need to be the buffer between him and the big bad world. It's only been in the past few weeks that I've come to see just how important it is for him to feel the natural consequences of his behavior.

    since he's been home for the past three weeks, I know for a fact that he has smoked pot at least once, and he lied to me to get to meet up with the person he smoked with (won't divulge who it is) - told me he was going to meet up with a girl he likes at the mall that afternoon and would be home by curfew (7 p.m.). I was so happy that he had someone not part of his drug past (I can see you all shaking your heads now, how could I have been so stupid and naive to assume he was meeting up with a nice, clean young lady?) to socialize with, because he can't be with any of his old buddies who used to smoke with him, that I didn't push it and insist that I meet her. I make some bone-headed mistakes sometimes.

    Yesterday he met with his P.O. for his second drug test since he's been home, and if he fails, that's his problem. He had asked to have his curfew set later than 7 p.m. so he could see friends on weekend nights and his P.O. said no, because he had violated curfew one night by going to the movies without clearing it with his dad or me first (sneaky: he texted his older sister to "tell mom I'm going to see the 8:00 show and could she pick me up after"). He thought he was in the clear because he got a message to us about his whereabouts, problem was, we didn't know precisely where he was. Well, P.O. said no. It stays at 7 p.m.

    It was crazy to think we could do what an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) can do. Now we're at the mercy of the school district and DCF to fight it out over where he should be next, day school or Residential Treatment Center (RTC), and who is going to pay for what. I'm feeling bad for our son because he's probably going to have to repeat tenth grade.

    the district demanded that he take the state CAP tests for tenth graders (part of the No child left behind law) and he made it the first of the five days, but for the past three he took so long getting ready for school that his dad was forced to leave without him so his sister wouldn't be tardy. Yesterday when I came to pick him up for his first meeting with his drug counselor he spent over 45 minutes in the shower, 10 minutes brushing his teeth, and we were 15 minutes late when we should have been early to fill out a stack of paperwork. Unfortunately, the counselor was running late so no one reprimanded him for his tardiness. But this happened just about every day when he was going to public high school before his last hospitalization: dad would be fuming outside the bathroom door while junior was flossing for a half hour. There's no way we're going to put ourselves further in hock for a private college prep day school if he's going to be late everyday and get kicked out.

    I need to get rid of these feelings of guilt and responsibility. Natural consequences: that has to be my mantra from now on.
  8. compassion

    compassion Member

    The living under sige: our therapist calls this livng in Danog (Vietnam) and we are ging through PSTD not dealing with it 24/7. difficult child took the grade 10 state tests in Residential Treatment Center (RTC):that is huge for her.
    My experince is we could not do it , she did the same thinkg with the curfew. Right now, I am saying can't come back in the summer at all becasueof the party temptations.
  9. compassion

    compassion Member

    The natural consuquences: I agree with a stable teen but the ilness makes it so those cleazr decsions are not possible, in my experince., I know for my daughter makes it so she can not so right now she is in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) which is diffcult but a huge releif. The mental health system is no picnic but I prefer that for her to criminal justice system.
    She is more stable. I can love, support, and encourage.
    I can really see with her in Residential Treatment Center (RTC), how much is ill vs. bad.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Natural and logical consequences are exactly what you should be working with right now.

    Try NOT to feel bad that he has to repeat a grade. YOU did everything you could to help him succeed. HE is the one who was responsible to do the work and learn the material. HE chose to drug and do other things.

    It is so dang HARD to get past that guilt though, isn't it? You might get some benefit out of reading the love and logic books. If you go to www. loveandlogic .com you can learn more about it. The men who wrote the books are great, in my opinion. One of the doctors who works with Love and Logic was RAISED with it as his father worked on writing the books and figuring the techniques out. I have been to a seminar given by the father and it was wonderful. Very inspiring but also full of USEFUL info.

    And, funnily enough, after Dr. Charlie (the father) was describing a method used with teens to help them turn their behavior around, a teacher from a school near us blurted out "So THAT is what she was doing!". He really IS a teacher, in his early 20's, and his mom was a teacher who learned about L&L. She used the methods on HER rebellious son and they helped.

    Anyway, I encourage you to look at their books and find one that will help YOUR situation best.

    You are doing a great job. Remember, it is Progress, NOT Perfection!

  11. Fancy

    Fancy Blamed for everything

    Hugs to you, and even though it's hard, try to remember that it's not your fault...I understand the conflict your going through. Guilt, because as a parent we're conditioned to feel like it's our fault, and we've failed somewhere. Mistrust, because we've heard all the promises before (which leads to guilt for the mistrust); anger, although it's hard to admit, we're angry that they treat us this way, (which leads to guilt for being angry) and so on...it's like a never ending rollercoaster that makes us feel depressed, angry and somedays like we're going to explode.
    I'm in negotiations with my daughter as we speak, about her coming back home. She's made all the right noises about being sorry, and having no right to expect anything based on her previous behavior...etc. Yet even as I'm dying to see her and hug her when she cries...I can't help wondering...Is she playing me again?
    Only time will tell, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for both you and I that this time, we'll find the right answer to help our children become successful happy adults.
    Don't give up hope:)
  12. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Son has been home from diagnostic/detox program for six weeks, just started tutoring last week at 2 hours/day, courtesy of schoold district, while we get their help placing him ina school. He has also been meeting with his juvenile PO and started substance abuse counseling.

    Well, we were told to expect some backsliding as far as wanting to hang out with old friends and smoking weed again, and so far he has managed to stay under the urine screen radar...has violated his 7 pm curfew on weekends...but today I really got depressed.

    We had a meetign with the first of four Special Education high schools the district will support, and it looked like a great school, only 18 kids, college prep curriculum, but he was so sullen and obnoxious while his dad and I spoke to the director that I doubt very much they will take him, and he just doesn't seem to care what happens to him. He was angry, dropped the "F" bomb at his dad, basically insulted his father and complained that he hated living with him and hated him in general. He wouldn't make eye contact with anyone.

    There is something really wrong here and I don't know what to do next. He's sixteen, and we have been focused on him and his emotional problems since he was nine. I think there is something bothering him that fuels this anger (and passive-aggressive behavior, the lateness, dawdling...we were 30 minutes late to the appointment today because he took so long getting ready). It's as if he knows what we want from him and he manipulates us by not cooperating.

    I'm torn between wanting to place him in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC),like the diagnostic place recommended, which would come out of our retirement funds, or let the district fiddle around at their own snails pace until they figure out where he should be. But he needs to be ina classroom for a full day. He needs a part time job. Right now he stays up late, sleeps til noon, I attempt to wake him at his dad's house (where he lives) and get him to tutoring by 1 p.m., then back to dad's. The tutor was fuming today because he didn't do his homework.

    There's something wrong and I don't know what to do anymore. Rantings of an exhausted mom who has had enough.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    What's wrong is he's doing drugs, probably more than pot and I'll tell you how I know.
    Well, I don't know for sure, but this degree of "I don't care" is usually more than just pot. Plus staying up all night and sleeping all day usually means using drugs (not pot) all night then taking something to "come down" during the day. That way you, the parent, don't see them when they're flyin.' My daughter used this method successfully.
    If he is hanging out with the same friends, he is doing the same things--that's the clue. If kids change, they quickly learn they need to change their friends and they try very hard to do it because druggies don't let druggies go straight. Plus if you go straight you have nothing in common with druggies. I saw my daughter struggle to get free of her "friends" and then watched her have no friends for a while after she quit.
    I'm on board for the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) because as long as he's at your house he is free to seek out these bad friends and do serious drugs with them, and obviously he will and you can't stop him. The Residential Treatment Center (RTC) will make him at go to school and give you a rest. While there is no guarantee that it will change his life, he will have a chance because he is going to have to be without his "great swell friends" and drugs. It's more than parents can do, keeping track of drug abusing teens. They are clever and will live their lifestyle if they are able to do so. Your son is showing absolutely zilch signs of being motivated to change. I'd want to change his environment.
    On the other hand, if you have to use all of your retirement savings, that is also food for thought. He may be no different once he gets out, but you'll be broke. Can you get the school district or county to pay for it?
  14. dadside

    dadside New Member

    I've got to agree that drug use is likely. I also agree that an Residential Treatment Center (RTC), like "the diagnostic place" recommended, is the right idea. Finally, I agree that that you should seek to have your local school district pay for it, at least in part.

    Your local schools already seem to have agreed to pay for a special school, as they've offered to do so for one of four they selected. I don't know what regulations/basis they are using to incur that cost, but whatever it is, they could just as well spend the money on an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Your son clearly has some sort of disability (other than drug use - which I'd not mention to the school) that negatively affects his ability to learn at his capacity, thus could qualify him under IDEA for an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). You might at least consider discussion with the school.
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Somehow it didn't "hit me" until this morning. It has been so many years now that I have lived in the abnormal world of substance abuse that I failed to "see" one of your big problems. We've all been there done that and some of us still "go there and do that".

    You haven't grieved for the son you have lost. Your Ex likely has not done so either. I've posted many times about the pain I experienced when easy child/difficult child was prematurely discharged from his 2nd Residential Treatment Center (RTC) which was a terrific program. (In case you don't know, by the way, Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s do not have to keep your child.)

    His favorite counselor sat with me as the staff helped easy child/difficult child gather all his stuff to come back home. The man sympathized with me, told me that he was really a great kid with tremendous potential etc. I replied "We are so eager to get our old healthy grandson back". The man looked me square in the eye and said "Your grandson will never be back. He is gone forever. difficult child has chosen a different path. IF he works very hard he can get control of his addictions and have a worthwhile life but he will never be the person he was before."

    I was like you. Our boy was gifted, for Goodness Sake. Our boy was an All Star athlete. Our boy was truthworthy, funny, dependable, and a leader.He was welcomed into every home. He was a winner and our kid who brought pleasure, pride and laughter.

    The counselor was right. That boy will never be back. He either was not willing or could not go back into high school successfully. He did earn his GED with practically no effort after his classmates graduated the traditional way. He chose and still chooses to spend time with people who never had potential or loving support. He just turned 22 and we have been through Hades since he was 14.

    in my humble opinion it is time for you and your Ex to mourn your lost child. If you are lucky the good parts from his past will guide his future but "geographic cures" aren't easy, quick or universally successful. Forget who he was or was raised to be. He has morphed. The boy who smokes pot, likes pals whom you don't like, has no motivation for school, plays head games with you and himself...that is the boy who needs help. You and your Ex need to find help for that kid as he is today in hopes that in the future he will still resemble the son you used to have. It is so, so sad and hard to do. You can do it. DDD
  16. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    For some reason, this line stood out to me. I guess cause it reminds me of what we did with my difficult child 1 and it did absolutely no good. I wish we had focused less on her and more on the other 2 kids who were doing what they should be doing but got no attention. The one with all the problems was the one who got all the attention and when she wasn't getting attention she found a way to do it.

    She didn't own her own life til she was living on her own. All of our "help" (therapy, caring teachers, and IEP so she could handle school, etc.) was an excuse for her to rebel and basically use it against us.

    I hate to see you use your retirement funds for an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) (we took out a huge loan and now will not be able to retire for a long time and also cannot help our other 2 kids the way we would like) when it is likely he will just revert when he comes out.

    I know I sound bitter and pessimistic, I just think your difficult child is not going to accept help and in fact the more you help him the more of a chance it is for him to basically say "s?rew you"--he can be in control of the situation by having you go to great lengths to help him and then sabotage it all.

  17. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    I emailed my ex-husband (it's tax season and he's at his office on the weekends) with my request: ask the district to put him in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) with a half-way decent academic program, if they can find such a place, or at least someplace he can work on his recovery and be physically away from his bad-news friends. I don't see any other option. If he stays at home we will never get him to go to school. I just foresee more aggravation and stress on the rest of us. I'm ready to snap from the tension, and my ex is not far behind. It's nearly as bad as it was before he left for Pennsylvania back in December, and I vowed I would not relive that.

    If my ex doesn't cooperate (he and I share legal custody but son lives with him) I plan to tell him that I wash my hands. I have a 12 year old to protect. Easier said than done, I know that, but ex has his own profound psychological issues that have never been addressed and I've been looking the other way for too long.

    I have not yet grieved for the son I once had and seem to have lost, because I didn't want to admit to myself that perhaps he is gone for good.
  18. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I understand.

    The decisions are hard to make because there is NO guarantee that any choice is going to help. Sometimes it makes things worse. in my humble opinion, however, you have to separate your emotions from the reality you are in. I would strongly suggest that you not say to Ex "You take him. I can't do it. Etc." That sounds emotional and when repeated to your son (as it will be) it will sound like "Mom gave up on me. I can't be helped. Etc."

    If you intellectually believe that your son's best interests are not being served as the situation is now, in my opinion, it is your duty to say to your Ex "I am convinced that difficult child will only get better if he lives in a residential facility where he can focus his energies on accepting his problems and taking responsibility for the solutions. You know I love difficult child as much as you do. If we can't agree to stand side-by-side in making Residential Treatment Center (RTC) happen, then I feel it is best for you to assume full custody of difficult child. Staying with me is NOT helping him and I believe it is harmful for his future."

    No guilt should be involved. You can cry all you want when you are alone and you can post all your fears and hurts here. Make a choice. Stand your ground and don't waiver. Your son needs a strong (preferably united) parental presence that unequivocably says "you need this help". DDD
  19. So Tired

    So Tired Member

    Doormat, first let me say how reading over your post brought back so many emotions. It is obvious how much you love your son and how much you are trying to help him, but I think DDD is right. All your loving help won't mean anything until HE wants to change, and sometimes they are not motivated till they hit rock bottom. It is hard to stand aside and watch it happen....

    I was where you are now 3 years ago. Trying to get difficult child up and out of bed, tracking his moves, trying to decifer the lies..It is emotionally and physically exahausting. I felt used up. Like there was nothing left of me.... all of us here understand...

    Now my difficult child is 19. His problems are his to own. We do the very best we can for our difficult children, but we can't force them to change if they don't want it for themselves. At one point it finally dawned on me that if difficult child chooses to throw away his life on drugs and alcohol, there is really nothing I can do to change that. It was both scarcy and liberating at the same time.

    Now he is out living at a friends. It is nice to have peace in my home again. To let my younger easy child have a friend sleep over without worring if drama from difficult child will ruin the evening. To feel my home is a place of peace and refuge. I'm wishing that for you. If may not be for a while since yours is younger, but I am wishing you the strength to come out of this and be on the other side, saying "I've done all I humanly can for difficult child. I've loved him, helped him, tried to teach him. What path he takes is now up to him"

    I'm sorry my thoughts have rambled so. I just wanted to post a quick thought and let you know that we are here and we understand.....
  20. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    I think I need to have a mantra that I repeat when I get upset or depressed over my son, so that I remember to breathe, step back, and think before I do or say anything. To take the pause that refreshes, in the words of the old Coca Cola ad. I took Saturday night off and visited a girlfriend in a neighboring state overnight, drank some beers in an Elks lodge bar, had some Chinese food and stayed up gabbing with her until the wee hours. I needed to get away for a few hours and not be focused on my kids and their problems. When I got home, instead of throwing myself on the couch for a nap and avoiding my kids (the two older ones live with dad, my youngest was spending Sunday night with him as well), I made a point to visit with each one for a while,then I took my son out to dinner. We had a very nice meal and talked, he asked if he could sleep over at my house and I agreed. We fetched his books so he could work on his assignments for the tutor on Monday. When we returned to my house we watched some Tivo'd Man v. Nature programs (the Bear Grylls ones) that he really likes before bedtime. It was very nice to have himin the house when he is calm like that and not pestering me to drive him somewhere or have someone over. It was nice to have him sleeping under my roof and to fix him some breakfast while he did his homework.

    These moments of normalcy are what I need to concentrate on, however few and far between they are. For whatever reason, he went to tutoring without a fuss today, met up with one of his few friends who doesn't have a history of doing any kind of drugs (a good kid who is an aspiring fire fighter and has the funny-looking antennae on his car, wants to be an EMT and is a ham radio geek) and made it home by curfew at 7 p.m.

    My tendency is to react without thinking things through when it comes to my son, and my past history of conflict with his dad has really cemented that behavior.

    I think if I can remember to say the Serenity Prayer when I start to get stressed it might help me "reprogram" myself. He's only 16 and I'm not ready to give up on redirecting him, but I am starting to feel a bit better about letting go of taking responsibility that belongs to him.

    I really do love this boy. When he finishes a phone conversation with me he always says he loves me, when we say goodbye in person he always kisses my cheek and tells me he loves me. The only exceptions are when he demands something that I am not prepared to give him or do for him and he continues to badger me and on occasion, become verbally abusive. Then I end the conversation with a perfunctory "Good bye."