How do you 'get there'?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by wastedpotential, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. wastedpotential

    wastedpotential New Member

    I know that by letting difficult child stay here we are helping him be a drug addict, contributing to his death. But, how does a parent get to the point where they put their kid out? What's conflicting for me is that it really isn't bad having him live here. The only negative really is that he's messy. Otherwise, when he's here I usually enjoy his company. He's not even home a lot. He's been working a lot and stays at sister in law's a few nights a week (closer to his job). When he is here, he's in the other room playing video games or on his Kindle or sleeping.

    Here's the thing---I'm thinking it's bad. Worse than I let myself believe. First I hoped it was only pot. Then I found out about 'occasional' (according to him) cocaine use. Last night when I went to sit on the sofa where he had fallen asleep the night before, I found a xanax. husband has a prescription so I asked him and he verified that that's what it was. husband keeps his medications pretty safe but of course difficult child could be stealing them. Even if he's not, he's getting them from off the street.

    So, I find the xanax and wish I hadn't...because, now what?

    He's working, he's paying us rent, he isn't confrontational or disrespectful to us...I don't want to throw him out, but I don't want to help my son be a drug addict either. I'm so lost.
  2. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest


    I think everyone has their own thresholds.

    You mentioned husband keeps his medications 'pretty' safe. I'd think about that. If difficult child is using then difficult child will like use anything....or sell it.

    Remember addicts lie. It is part of the nature. I know the truth hurts.

    For me, al-anon has been a huge help. Is there a meeting near you?
  3. wastedpotential

    wastedpotential New Member

    Apparently it's time for a lockbox for the medications.

    I went to a few alanon meetings months ago and then I stopped. I got complacent, it just felt better to pretend my son isn't a drug addict, I guess.
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I read this and didn't know how to reply so I waited to think about it. Alabama Girl said it best, we all have our own threshhold. It was easy for me because our daughter was drinking daily, very out of control, lying, stealing, staying out for days at a time, very disrespectful, flunking out of school and making very poor and dangerous choices. And so when she came home one morning at 4am and urinated on the hallway carpeting an hour later because she thought she was in the bathroom we knew it was time for treatment and that she could no longer live here.

    I'm not sure what I would have done if she was pleasant to be around and her behavior was not disruptive, hopefully I would have tried to convince her to get drug treatment. Have you discussed your son's drug use with him and what is his response? Eventually his job will be affected. Does his job offer an employee assistance program and would he be willing to go?

    It is easier to be in denial when their behavior is not horrible so I applaud your concern and willingness to get help now.

  5. wastedpotential

    wastedpotential New Member

    I have asked him about his pot use and he said that it makes him feel good and that he knows he has issues but he is not ready to deal with them and would rather continue to numb himself and self medicate than face his issues and work on them. I haven't asked him about the cocaine and other stuff, but I think I will. I'm going to ask him why, if pot is his 'drug of choice' (according to him during a conversation we had years ago), did he choose to step it up to the next level. I'm curious as to what his response will be.

    He is covered under husband's health insurance and he will not go to therapy or treatment. When I found out about the cocaine I told him that he needed treatment and he was 'very insulted'. He also said that he feels very unaccepted by his family and I said, 'You are a drug addict and that will never be acceptable to me.'

    He has lost job after job so yes, it's simply a matter of time until he loses this one.

    I'm going to work on having a conversation with's been awhile. Not that it will help but here I am doing nothing so WTH.

    Thanks for the feedback.
  6. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Hi WP- I wish I could answer.

    I was in you place most of 2011 when h and I swept our concerns with our pot smoking son under the rug-not wanting to rock the boat. He was pleasant, just a week ago - I had a lovely lunch with my difficult child. In my first posts on this forum last fall; I was set straight. The fact that h & I were placating him, looking the other way - basically accepting his drug use & the accompanying warning signs -meant we were handing him the control in our relationship.

    When push came to shove and the warning signs became too obvious (disdain, lake of motivation, declining grades) - we were quick to give a second chance. Hindsight tells us that those second chances were the equivalent of lowering the bar. When we finally asserted ourselves - he turned on us. He left for good on Sunday. He has nothing to run to except an apt he can't afford in a college town where he no longer goes to school.

    Your son is 23. I imagine many of his peers have moved on to responsible adult lives while he lives at home and plays video games. The distance between him & his age mates will only deepen as the time passes. Since he does have a job, I think I would be pushing him to move out. Paying you rent seems like a bad idea to me; I think I'd try pushing him out of the nest to his own place. Gently of course - welcome for dinner on Sunday but no more. And hope that he grows up. Otherwise, you may have him living with you 10 yrs from now. With my son, his drug use & unmotivated lifestyle became his normal and he balked rudely and 100% when we gently tried to get him back on track. He had lost touch with reality and because we had been so complacent- he took our desire to control our OWN lives (instead of catering to him) as a personal affront. Your difficult child likes the status quo. Please know the moment you stop maintaining it- he will fight you.
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I'm coming from a slightly different persepective, but... Onyxx got violent. I "got there" long before husband did - but no legal rights as a stepparent.

    And there were times she was such an angel. She still swears that we tried to put her in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) last spring when she was "being reallly good". Ahem, cough, Bovine Manure. She was stealing, still doing drugs, sneaking out, etc. but acting like an angel at home.

    And then she did the unspeakable (accused someone of sexual abuse where it was CLEAR she was trying to deflect her own getting in trouble) and that was husband's final straw. He refused to bring her home. He agreed to pay for private foster care, but she could not live here. Her version is still he threw her out (she ran away) and she had to find somewhere to live (husband found foster mom). She used up her cred with foster mom and ended up in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) - thanks to a great PO.

    BUT - we will not accept her behavior anymore (even though she is a minor). And the fact is - if your son is an adult, he needs to act like one. He's not only using drugs, he's using YOU. By the time I was 23 I was on my own, car payment, rent, etc., and struggling horribly but doing it anyway. I'm an only child, and I could've stayed with my parents till I was, oh, 30 if I'd wanted to. But a "normal" adult needs to take care of themselves...

    And... If you are wondering how to get to that point - you're on your way, sweetie.

  8. wastedpotential

    wastedpotential New Member

    His group of friends are like him. Most of them sit around and get wasted all day, few of them work and if they do they're at crappy jobs. They all got thrown out of college like difficult child did. They are all being supported by their parents. All the kids he was friends with in HS who stayed in school and became productive adults, difficult child doesn't hang with them anymore. You're right, as soon as we fight the status quo, he does get hostile and confrontational. We always say that as long as difficult child is comfortable and getting his way, things are peaceful.

    His immediate plan is save for a car and then an apartment. He has a car that is on its way out. He thinks it will take 6 months, I don't see that happening.

    I had difficult child when I was 23. We were married and both working full time paying our bills and raising our kid at his age so I hear you. And yes, he is using us. He says he doesn't need us but when he's short on cash until his next pay, he asks us. And we give it.

    Can't figure out how to quote on here but...your last sentence made me smile. Thank you.
  9. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    You know WP - I say to myself over and over and over again "If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything"

    Because we did - we looked the other way (didn't stand for something) and we lowered the bar (fall for anything) Behavior that would have rang alarm bells 3 years ago were just now just average weekends at the Sig household. No destruction, no theft, no violence and really very little discord. Why? Because we wouldn't give in to the discord (rise to the bait, stand up for ourselves, take a stand PERIOD) and the behavior hadn't escalated to to theft or violence or destruction YET.

    Don't come home for a few days - text "Hey Sweetie are you ok? ", sleep until 2:00pm, go out a 4pm, return at 1:00 am repeat - "um could you let me know if you will be home for dinner?" Watching my 48 yo old H with the bad back shovel the 100' driveway during the workday while difficult child sleeps upstairs....*crickets*

    It's no wonder that difficult child had a prepared list of conditions by which he would agree to live at home... HE WAS IN CHARGE

    take back the control!
  10. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Here, it was easy to give the ulitmatum because she treated everyone in the house like pure ****. She thought every one was a servant to her. Reading everyone's responses here, I always see one common theme - at one point we all seem to have placated our difficult child's, walked on eggshells, etc.

    But, I digress, after her treating everyone this way, getting expelled from school, in legal trouble, going out for days partying and coming home only to crash and eat everything in the kitchen, doing absolutely nothing with her life and too messed up on drugs to even try to puppet her to do anything, enough was enough. I found a meth pipe and told her if she is going to live here, she needed to go to treatment. It has been just about a year since she chose to be on her own. She is now a professional couch surfer learning life the hard way and still refusing treatment.

    But, we are no longer slaves to her moods. My house is ALWAYS a peaceful place for me to come home to and I look forward to coming home, where before I dreaded it. I still worry and obssess about her daily, though. Hoovers beyond belief to care more about them than they do about themselves.

    You painted an okay picture at first but after reading more all I can think is....hmmm, hanging out with losers, partying, keeps losing jobs and doing drugs...

    As everyone else said, we all have our own thresholds. But seems he has it pretty easy as things are, so what reasons does he have to change?
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is a very interesting thread to me. Until i read it, i did not realize that our druggie daughter was a compliant (we thought), loving angel until we shook ourselves out of denial and started trying to curb her behavior. Why do we always believe "it's just pot?" I have no answer, but I thought so too. Making her leave was the best thing we could have done for her and for us. Now to WP:

    Are you sure Son is staying with sister in law when he says he is? Are you sure he isn't out partying and getting high and just SAYING he is staying with sister in law? Do you always check in with her? Is she somebody you can trust? The very first thing I thought of is, "He's lying. He's not staying with HER...he's doing something with drugs." This is from my own experience with a drug addict. Also, the Xanax...could be hubs; could be he got it from somewhere else, but your son is seriously involved in drugs. The fact is, they are usually far more steeped in drugs than we know or want to even think about.

    Only you can make the decision whether or not he should stay or leave. I would go back to Al-Anon and keep talking to people in real time. He's getting to the age that you'd like him to go to rehab and quit or face the consequences of being a drug addict. You DON'T want him to still be in your house at age the same condition. I think it's best to ease them out and, if they get suddenly violent, force them out.

    Do not have him pay you rent. EVER. Then he is a tenant and the laws may make it hard for you to evict him, even if you decide that you want him to leave!

    Hugs and keep us posted!
  12. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest

    Some great advice here....

    One threshold I have is if I wouldn't allow a friend or stranger to speak to me the way difficult child does, then difficult child gets a consequence. I have to stay alert so I am totally consistent with him.

    I agree he needs to start his adult another location. At 23, I was working, in grad school and saving for a home...totally self-supporting and poor as dirt. Builds character.

    Good luck....keep posting!
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    AG... at 23, I was still living at home, and working... AND running half the household, because my mother was very ill and there were still younger children at home. BUT... I was definitely on the right side of society... clean, sober, earning my own way, and contributing to the household in significant labour if not in dollars. Really, its not about the age of the adult child - its about the condition of the adult child, the condition of the relationship, and any special needs. There is no blanket rule for age. And I think that is part of why it gets confusing. Sometimes, it does make sense for adult children to be at home... just often enough that we end up double-guessing ourselves.

    Blanket rule for behaviors like drug use? or even just non-contribution to the overall well-being of the home? Sure.
  14. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    WP -Good question. To be honest I am not sure we would have kicked our son out at age 18 if he was pleasant to have around. His behavior was disrespectful at best and he was flagrantly violating our very simple basic rules....such as taking the car in the middle of the night without permission.

    I think it is pretty hard to govern or control drug use away from home....however you can certainly prohibit any drugs or drug use in your home.

    I think it would be hard for me to kick my kid out of the house just because having him there seemed to enable him. I think i would need a more concrete reason of how his behavior affected me...we did have that and it was still hard to kick him out even with really concrete solid reasons.

    The more he gets into drug use the more it will get in the way of a prodctive maybe for now concentrate on not enabling him in other dont give him cash for any reason and dont pay for anything to do with his car etc.

  15. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member


    As you may have read my 23 yr old Alcoholic son is headed to prison.
    I tried to "take care of him" since he was released from the Army. It did not work...he still chose pain medications and then strickly alcohol to self-medicate. There was nothing I could do to stop the progression of this disease.

    We cannot make it better for them...we cannot fix them or convince them. Consequences seem to be the only thing that they understand. "It hurts...I need help...Please help me."
    And until they get to that point I don't think they can "see" any reason for change in their lives.

    With understanding and care,
  16. wastedpotential

    wastedpotential New Member

    Hugs to all of you, and an extra one for (((LMS))). One of my nightmares, although at one point we thought that maybe prison is just what he needs.

    I didn't see him last night, he got home a few minutes after I went to bed. This morning he told me that he spoke to his aunt about staying there during the week and just coming home on the weekends. His job is 5 minutes from them and an hour from us. He said he can save money on gas that way and wear and tear on his car. I asked him what she said and he said she will talk to brother in law.

    Very interesting dynamic there...she has a lot of her own issues and has always been close with difficult child, often playing good cop to our bad cop. She has a lot of mental health issues. I have a feeling she will love being the one to 'save' difficult child. Interestingly, she has always been one to be strict with her own two boys, lots of rules in her house, so we'll see how that plays out with difficult child, who always thought we were unreasonable with our rules.

    There are so many years of a lot of dysfunction in our relationship with sister in law. This is who my son runs to---not too hard to figure out the psychiatric stuff on that one.

    I still want to have a conversation with him about the coke and xanax. Later if he decides to come home at a reasonable time.