How long do you go on?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by AHF, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. AHF

    AHF Member

    So Peter Pan has been in this terrific program--sober house plus psychiatric services--for a month. He does not want what they are offering; he doesn't believe he has addiction issues, and he doesn't want to live "as a sober man." He wants, of course, the moon--a ticket to Florida, enrollment in a tennis academy, an allowance with no restrictions, tuition paid for college classes that he'll blow off. He is getting none of that; we've told him he is getting nothing else besides this program or the street. The question is--for how long? Our finances can hold out for 5-6 months of this, but if all he's getting is a roof over his head, it's a darned expensive roof. The place doesn't kick people out; folks there will keep working with him, restricting his privileges and basically making life a lot less rewarding but he still gets the roof and 3 squares a day. I have now paid through early December. If he makes no progress and I stop paying then, he'll be out in the northeast cold in December, and most p-docs have agreed that he will at least make a suicide attempt to up the ante. If I keep paying, I'm shelling out long-term savings for my kid to tread water, which seems very foolish. If I offer to transfer him somewhere cheaper--say a sober house without the extras--we just start the cycle up again of his going from place to place always insisting that it's the wrong place. The place he's at says they can also transfer him to a "higher level of care," which basically means a psychiatric ward, which would be his 6th hospitalization in 15 months, with no good outcomes yet. There may be no good answer to this dilemma, but any creative thoughts are welcome!
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Welcome to the board, but so sorry that you have to be here. I had a drug-abusing daughter myself. She is clean now for seven years and has offered me a lot of wisdom about addiction. I will pass it along.

    Basically, a person will not stop using drugs until he wants to stop. NOTHING will change that, not even sleeping on a park bench or eating out of a garbage can. Daughter thinks that enabling addict is not good because it is easier to use and gives no incentive to possibly quit. Not all addicts quit anyway, but it's easier to decide to try if you are not comfortable than if you are. She also told me "Never trust a drug addict. NEVER." They lie, they steal, they are ill and at the mercy of their addiction.

    I would not beggar yourselves for a child who does not want to quit. When my daughter decided to quit, she did not use a program at all...she just did it. Not saying that all addicts can do it this way, but when they are ready they try VERY hard. Often they backslide a few times, but they pick themselves up and move ahead.

    It is easy for the addict to become the focal point of our existence. I recommend going to Nar-Anon or Al-Anon to talk with likeminded parents going through the same things that you are. That really helped us focus off of Daughter and onto our other kids and our own lives and those who were not destroying themselves.

    I want to reiterate that my daughter QUIT, which means that your son can QUIT and that any addict can QUIT so don't ever give up hoping for this. It can always happen, no matter how hopeless it seems today. I thought my daughter would end up either in jail or dead, that's how bad it was. She used everything from pot to meth to ADHD drugs (crushed them in a pillcrusher and snorted them sometimes with cocaine) to trying heroin once (yes, I also thought that once you tried it, you were hooked for life. Not true). I did not know the extent of her use until after she quit. I really thought it was mostly pot and alcohol...haha. If she can quit, anyone can. She now has gone back to school, graduates in december, and has a really good job related to her major. She bought a house with her boyfriend, who is clean and sober. There is hope for everybody.
  3. AHF

    AHF Member

    I may need to be clearer about the issue. Peter Pan isn't a drug addict or an alcoholic. His issues are poker and depression, intertwined. Thus at least some of the resistance at the sober house, where he feels like an outlier even though the consequences of his behaviors--social isolation, academic and vocational failure, family estrangement, loss of coping skills, narcissism, regression--are all the same. Debates about what is or isn't addictive are endless but finally fruitless in his case. The question is whether he is going to make something out of his situation or whether others are going to try to craft a situation for him that will make him "happy." I do not endorse the latter.
  4. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I know nothing about this - so please do not mistake my naivete for anything else... but it sounds like - terrific program or not - that sober house is the wrong fit for him.

    My sister in law is an ex-gambler who worked the program through Gambler's Anon and is still attending meetings nearly 15 years later. AFAIK, she has not had any relapses - but I do remember she had a really rough go of it in the 6 months or so when she began getting help and going to counseling and meetings. I think that's a common thing for people getting help - a period of bristling when their addiction actually gets worse - almost like a last gasp.

    Again, I am not an authority - I only have anecdotal experience through my sister in law -- but I do remember learning that a gambling addiction has a different approach than a substance addiction only because gamblers will need to use their substance (money) daily to live in a modern world. So - it's a different type of recovery process with special need of learning how to manage and make peace with the substance that entraps them.

    I definitely would not go the college/tennis academy route -- but if tennis makes him happy - I might consider trying to add that to his recovery program. Carrot and stick? Again - not an authority - but my boys are very athletic. I think part of my difficult child's struggle began with losing the day to day athletic structure he had grown accustomed to throughout his life. He doesn't play college sports and I think it left him at loose ends.

    Again, just a rambling $.02

    Sorry you are struggling with this - and definitely draw a line - either a time frame or a budget and do not budge.
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    No wisdom in this area to share, but {{{HUGS}}} and amazement at how you have handled all of this. Luv, Dee (buddy)
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    If he refuses to work the program, refuses he has a problem, either with the gambling or the depression, there is no sense throwing money literally out the window. I know that sounds harsh, but it's the bottom line.

    Because difficult child's........well anyone honestly.......have to face the consequences of their actions/decisions until they reach a point of the aha moment when they have no other choice but to see they do have problems and face them. And yes, it's very hard on a parent to watch this whole process. And yes, there are those who never learn and never face their problems or seek help. We as parents just have to pray our kid isn't one of them. Because many do eventually learn somewhere down the road.

    I have one that refuses to learn because she refuses to see that she has mental issues ect. The other 2 difficult children went through the process and are doing well now.

    Sadly we can't force them to see it, we can't force them to accept treatment.

    If it were my child, I'd be done helping period. At 21 he's plenty old enough to man up and act like an adult and make his own way. Support him, sure, but not with cash ect.

  7. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Well I agree with others, does not sound like he is committed to stopping or helping himself. The first step is recognizing he has a problem which is causing HIM problems. Doesn't sound like he has done that yet. Definitely don't go broke trying to help him, that hurts you and it is not clear it will help him. I don't know the answer but it sure is a good question to ask yourself. I would think about how much you can afford without putting your own future at risk. Don't help out any more than that... and definitely don't give him money directly as he will use it to gamble.

  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I assumed he was a drug addict...sorry.

    However...big addict is an addict. Gambling can do similar things to one's life. Hugs and keep us updated.
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with Signorina. The sober house does not sound like the right fit for him. It sounds like he needs a specialized program for gamblers and the right medications to help his depression.

  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes I can see how he would not fit in completely with addicts who are struggling with drugs and alcohol but he does need some sort of assistance that you cannot give him yourself because if you could, it would have already been done. I am sure there are specialized psychiatrists who work with people with such addictions. Maybe talking to someone in GA would be helpful.
  11. AHF

    AHF Member

    Thanks, all. As I said, it is a terrific program--they do have him talking to a gambling counselor--and there aren't a lot of residential programs that focus solely on gambling, certainly not programs that focus on his age cohort as well as on gambling. Not to mention that you can go crazy trying to discuss gambling with a poker fiend, since they deny poker is gambling ... bottom line is that 12-step programs can help with many issues, from alcohol to sex, and he's not taking ownership of his behavior. He does have athletic opportunities, including tennis. So it's not perfect, nothing's perfect, but it's pretty much the end of the line in terms of what I can offer him. It's the threat of suicide that has me sleepless, and I know that's the worst form of emotional blackmail.
  12. mrsammler

    mrsammler Guest

    AHF, I have some experience with competitive junior and college tennis in my youth, as you know. What are his goals at 21 wrt tennis? Why does he want to attend a tennis academy at 21? It seems to me that there are only 3 goals a youngster can have regarding receiving top-flight coaching of the sort that a tennis academy provides: college tennis (and at 21 I assume that he's "aged out" of that prospect, and in any event it would've happened for him by now if it were possible--you don't need a tennis academy to tune you up to that level--you just need to be good enough in the first place, via the usual routes of high-level high school competition, USTA-sanctioned junior tournaments and the state/regional rankings that one can earn in them), pro tennis (and again, if he were going to go that route, by 21 he'd be on the tour or know that it's out of reach for him), or perhaps becoming a teaching pro (and again, a strong record in junior and/or college tennis is what builds the platform for this career path, not a late-stage stint in a tennis academy). I'm not even sure a tennis academy will take a young man at 21--they're much more about taking nationally ranked players in their early teens and "tuning them up" for higher levels of competition (or the pro tour). So I guess I don't understand how his tennis ambitions fit into the large picture for him, and especially how or why he wants to attend a tennis academy at his age. Frankly, even if he was very good in his teens, if he hasn't been playing varsity tennis in college and doesn't hold a state, regional, or national ranking, I just don't see what goals he hopes to pursue in a tennis academy. A LOT of teen tennis stars (like me) did all they could with the talent and skills that they had, and then understood that, after the college years, tennis was going to be a pastime (perhaps a major pastime--many former top teen players continue to play in adult age-bracket tournaments and leagues throughout their adults years--I did this through my early 30s) but they were going to have to focus career ambitions in other areas.
  13. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    You mentioned earlier that he had been in his current program for a month. Have you (or his counselor) seen any improvement? I do not know enough about treatment programs to make any recommendations - but if there is no improvement at a month, it could be that it's the wrong program for him. Or if not the wrong program - just the wrong time. Regardless of how terrific the program is.

    You mentioned that you can sustain the fees for 5-6 more months. I think I might give it another month - not the 5-6 more months you can afford. I'd save those funds in case he WANTS help in the future. That's the most important component from what I understand - he NEEDS to want it for it to succeed.

    Do you have any rapport with his counselor? What are their thoughts? I apologize if I sound ignorant -- but it sounds as though you could be in the same place in 5-6 months but with a much lighter wallet. I am not sure that is wise. Can you bribe him with some (tennis) court time?

    I play tennis (mostly horribly) and one of my instructors is a Div I NCAA college coach (who teaches middle aged moms in the mornings) and from what I know, MrSam is right on the money.

    Rock and a hard place, I am so so sorry.
    Lasted edited by : Nov 13, 2011
  14. AHF

    AHF Member

    I think the tennis-academy thing is regression. He hopes to return to college in Fall '12 for his last chance at being a "scholar-athlete" (he started in Division 1 but blew out of it academically; he has another shot with a sympathetic coach in Division 3). But mrsammler is right: training is not needed at this stage for that goal. He proposes it as a "situation" in which he would be "happy"--in other words, relieving depression & thoughts of failure and escaping real-world challenges by retreating to "tennis camp" at 22. It's an absurd notion in every way. Unfortunately, he seems determined to prove to me that everything else I support will fail, and he is stubborn enough to risk death in a gutter just to impose guilt and/or get his way. His counselors have seen some small improvements, but not enough for him to begin the next stage of recovery, which normally happens by now. They will keep working with him if I keep paying--they don't give up on people--but they understand why I might stop paying after 2 months of resistance. At the same time, as others have done, they warn about suicide. Ai yi yi.