I need a life jacket

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by PamjO, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. PamjO

    PamjO Member

    I am new here and would welcome a response from anyone willing to share advice or simply comment or offer suggestions. My 20 year old son is a drug user and my life is a living nightmare. He has turned his life, my life, and our home upside down with his drug use and refusal to go to rehab. His drugs of choice are synthetic marijuana (K2), which he can legally buy in our state - it should be outlawed. In addition to that - he is abusing over-the-counter medications like Robitusson Gel Caps and Motion Sickness medicine. He takes these in large doses. My son was once a gentle kid with a passion for music. He lost his job for stealing from his employer, which ultimately lead to the discovery of his substance abuse. He has since sold all of music equipment to finance his drug habit, he is a pathological liar, he has stolen from me. I have been able to get him to see a therapist, but he will not go to rehab. He works a part-time job and funnels his earnings to drugs. I have taken his car back - I have established rules in my home - he continues to disrepect the rules by continuing to bring drugs into my home. He does not bother to hide his drug use - I find traces througout my home. I sleep very little at night as he slips out in the wee hours and leaves the door unlocked - while I am sleeping and unaware. I discovered this by accident a few weeks ago. I am a prisoner in my home - I can't even use the bathroom in my own home without bringing my purse in with me. I want him in rehab...I really don't want to throw him out, he has nowhere to go and will not survive the streets. Someone - anyone - RSVP - any suggestions on anything? Thanks so much.
  2. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest

    Hi Pam...and welcome,

    More will be long soon.

    As for me, I HIGHLY recommend a book called Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children. It is the main tool I used to get my very stubborn 18 year old to treatment in March.

    Don't underestimate these kids, he probably can survive the streets...addicts are very resourceful. And don't lose sight of the fact that being on the street may be the thing which causes him to submit to rehab. For example, my difficult child recently left rehab after 5 months. Idiot decided to be homeless and couch surf while trusting his equally-idiotic old using pals. In five days, he was broken...said he never knew it could get that bad that fast. Now I could have told him that but would he listen? NO!

    In the meantime, have you considered installing a safe? Mine cost slightly over $100. I put it on a sturdy closet shelf and used three inch wood screws to attach it to the studs in the wall. You have to have a key and a combo to open it. Alternatively, you might lock your valuables in your car and keep the key with you at all times.

    I installed a security system in January. Simple wireless ones are available where you add contacts only for your doors. Monitoring starts at $10 a month. My insurance dropped 15% (but mine has a fire alarm too).

    Back to your son, I think you have to decide what you want. That book helped me get clear on what behaviors were unacceptable. It gave me the strength to give difficult child tight boundaries. I didn't keep warning or repeating - just let the consequences happen.

    Finally, Al-anon and Families Anonymous are both excellent sources of support for you. You need it and you deserve it.

    Keep posting!
  3. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I believe you're off to a good start, and Alabama Girl's advice is excellent. Your story sounds so much like mine, and nothing changed until my husband and I set realistic boundaries. My son wound up leaving here reluctantly and living with a drug using friend for a while. He hated living there, and hated everything he lost (job, sweet girlfriend, decent friends, education, self respect, intelligence, respect of family, grades, freedom, etc.) so he's working hard day by day to remain off drugs. He does not have other mental health issues other than low self esteem which he thought he could elevate with drugs.

    In any case, if he didn't lose all these things and experience that for himself, he wouldn't be trying so hard now. He did steal from us, and he had a horrible attitude. We also got a security system and locked him out if he returned high or after curfew. It's difficult, but they're very resourceful and they can bully us, too. You must stand your ground. Your son is an adult now.

    Good luck, and I'm sure you'll receive more sage advice soon. Take care.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I can't do a long post tongith but just want you to know that you are NOT alone. Many of us have been there done that and the vast majority of us are bright, loving caring parents. I am truly sorry you are traveling that road and hope others hwere are able to guide you to survival. Hugs. DDD
  5. PamjO

    PamjO Member

    Thanks, All. Did I say my back hurts from carrying my personal items around with me? Yes, have stashed many things in my vehicle and have a safe deposit box for valuables. The constant lying bothers me terribly;
    I feel like I'm living with a total stranger. My son doesn't tell the truth about anything - not even what he had for breakfast (really). I can't believe the person he has become, it is heartbreaking.
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Pam and welcome. I'm sorry you have to be here but you have found a group of parents who understand like no other.Spice, K2, synthetic pot, is now illegal on the federal level so it is not legal in your state. In fact the Federal Govt has recently announced it is clamping down on the distribution and use of synthetic pot. It is apparent in our state where raids have been going on in many head shops and smoke shops. There are many cases pending and it would please me to no end if they all got shut down (I know it won't happen but I can wish).

    Many of us have had to draw the line in the sand with our drug users and tell them that they either have to get help for their drug use or find alternative living arrangements. It is not easy and every one of us who have had to do it feels the same as you do, they have no place to go, they will live on the street, they may die, etc., etc. We gave our daughter the ultimatum of treatment or leave our house and she did choose treatment but several months later and after spending $25,000 out of pocket she relapsed. We had to make her leave out house and it was the most awful thing I have ever done and it still breaks my heart when I think about it. She lived for several weeks with a neighbor boy who was on heroin and then begged to come back home. We said no and she found a sober house to go to. She stayed there several months and participated in their treatment but moved out and relapsed again.

    When she was living here we had to hide everything of value in the house. I slept with my purse under my bed, I took my laptop and cell phone and anything valuable with me wherever I went. We did not ever let her in the house alone. We left no money or credit cards around and yet she still found ways to steal from us or her sister. She would go out in the evening and either never come back or come home at 4 am drunk. I couldn't live like that anymore. Our house was a prison and we were a mess. I simply could not live like that anymore. I was either going to divorce my husband on move out with our other daughter or she had to leave. I wasn't willing to sacrifice the rest of the family anymore.

    Your son needs treatment, you know that. He isn't going to go willingly. You are going to have to force the issue. He has a job, if he doesn't want to get help he can move out and find out what it is like to have to pay rent and live on his own. You won't be able to do this alone, you need support. There are support groups that will help you through this process. You may also want to start making calls to treatment centers so that when the time comes you have available resources to send him to.

    You are not alone, we have all walked in your shoes, most of us still are.


    P.S. You can tell an addict is lying if there lips are moving. They will lie, cheat, steal and sometimes worst to get their drugs. Drug addiction gets a hold on them and you are right, we no longer recognize the child we raised.
  7. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Hi and welcome!! :)

    Your son is a grown adult. He is not going to change a thing until he has a reason to. Right now, he has absolutely no reason to go to rehab. He has a roof over his head, his, needs are getting met, and he gets to enjoy his drugs. Why in the world would he want to change that?? They need to hit bottom in order for them to want to change. You are preventing bottom by allowing him to live there.

    It may also be helpful to find a Families Anonymous meeting in your area!

    Keep coming back - this is a wonderful group of warrior parents who have been there!!
  8. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest

    Pam, I have a thought. Forgot I had done this a while ago.

    Buy a basic door lock and install it on your bedroom. You can lock everything up in there. Get one of those key chains that goes around your wrist.

    But...know that is a temporary fix for a symptom of the problem.
  9. PamjO

    PamjO Member

    Thanks again-will keep you posted-I'm slowly removing the support. Kicked him off my phone plan and made him get his own, will drop the cable next (I can live without it), and the internet after that. I am working on getting braver - have researched rehab facilities and am ready. Have 24 hr locksmith number if it comes to that, bedroom door is locked always. One day at a time...keep praying for a miracle.
  10. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest

    Just sharing a prayer that Marianne Willliamson sent me recently when my difficult child left recovery. Hope you find comfort in it.

    Dear God,
    Please send your angels to ####,
    to bless and protect him.
    Surround him with light
    that the darkness cannot enter.
    May the Holy Spirit break the chains
    that bind him,
    and miraculously remove his addiction.
    May he crave no more the stuff of sorrow.
    Send angels to his mother than she might know peace,
    and remove from both of them any lower things.
    May Christ awaken in all concerned.
    Thank you, God.
  11. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Pam, welcome! Your story is similar to mine and i totally understand the fear of kicking him out etc. It has got to be the most frightening thing i have ever done. I know for me what pushed me to really take a stand is i have a younger daughter and i could not let her continue to live in the utter chaos that was our life when our son was home. None of us wqnted to be home because it was so awful. The other thing i realized at the time (my son was 18) was that i was not helping him by letting him live at home flqgrantly violating all our rules ( which were very basic) . Society does not work that way! So finally we did kick him out.

    I wish i could say he immediately went to rehab and all was fine. It was a much ore arduous journey than that which included several arrests, time in jail, severalr rehabs and sober houses, time living literally on the street.....but now he is 20 and is in a program that seems to be making a real difference and he is doing better. I know without a doubt he would not be here if i had not kicked him out and let those things happen, although they totally roke my heartnwhe they did.

  12. PamjO

    PamjO Member

    Thanks - I am so consumed with his problems. I'm fighting that with everything I've got. I am haunted with knowing the decision I need to make. My son knows he has a problem, doesn't like himself the way he is now - but has not found the courage to get help. When he is not using (which is rare), I see the decent person he once was - I struggle with that...knowing my old son is still here and that I cannot reach him. Thanks for the prayer also - I am glad I found you folks - I don't feel so alone.
  13. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    That person he can be is still in there but the drugs take over. Someone once told me that when you have an addict their primary relationship is not with you but with their drug of choice. My experience is that my son will lie, be awful and incredibly manipulative when he is using. They may know they need help, or at least know that you think they need help but until they get to the point where the consequences of their drug use take them to places they really dont want to be they wont really get help. For my son those experiences were 2 weeks in jail...which after a while lessened in his mind....and then later living on the street. And even though i was very scared when he was on the street, he was not really scared....what really got to him was the bordom!!!

    I really suggest if you can to find a good parents alanon group. This has been a huge huge help to me. It is very comforting to find people who truly understqnd what you qre going through and dont judge you for it.

  14. PamjO

    PamjO Member

    Anyone out there attended naranon meetings? I have found one in my area, have not gone yet - looking for some support and heard naranon is a support group for family/friends of drug users. My son continues to use drugs-I am struggling to accept what I cannot change...looking to find something, somewhere, where I can find even a small amount of peace.
  15. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I go to a parents alanon meeting....the people there have kids who either are alcohlics or drugaddictsor both. I dont think the substance they use matters too much really. I think the important thing is to find a meeting you like, with people you like. If you dont like one meeting try another. I do think finding a meeting with other parents is important, as i think it is different being a parent of an addict rather than a spouse. I hope you find the meeting helpful.

  16. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I go to a parents support group formed out of a men's sober house. It is based on the same prinicpals that naranon and alanon are based but i smor elossely run and we have topics we discuss each week and there is less formality. I have also found families anonymous very helpful. The group of people there are fun and accepting and we find things to laugh about.

  17. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Pam and welcome. I'm another one that has lived through your nightmare. We kicked out daughter out several times. Let me caution you, though, depending on the state laws of the state you live in, it may not be as easy as calling a 24 hour locksmith. In my state, you cannot simply kick someone out that has established residency. We were told by the police that we would have to go through the eviction process to make our daughter leave even though she didn't pay us rent and had stolen from us. She knew that and had told us that we would have to evict her but we didn't believe it until we heard it from the police ourselves.

    The next time she stole from us we gave her the choice of leaving immediately or we would prosecute (we had the forged check for proof). She choose to leave and since she had nowhere to go, she agreed to go to rehab. From there she went to a halfway house and was eventually kicked out for drinking.

    We let her come back home when she agreed to begin a DBT program and get a job. So far she is doing well but I still don't trust her and never leave my purse out of my sight. I don't know whether I will ever get to the point where I can totally trust her again.

    The others are right that your son has no reason to change as long as he has a roof over his head, food to eat, and money to spend on drugs. I am not a big proponent (anymore . . . my views have changed) of tough love or the sink or swim philosophy but until your son is willing to go to rehab and recognize his substance abuse issues, I don't think you have any choice.

    Keep posting. We are here for support. It would help us all if you would add a signature to the bottom of your posts like the one you see below. Here is a link to help you learn how to do it:


  18. PamjO

    PamjO Member

    Thanks Everyone for your feedback. Kathy, your story is nearly identical to mine. My son has told me I can't kick him out without notice - due to the "established residency" thing. Apparently, he knows more than I thought he did - must be all those hours on facebook. I will keep in mind that I have the option of filing charges the next time he steals from me. On a more positive note-I am doing some things for myself...started taking a zumba class (it nearly killed me) & bought a bicycle (will ride the trails beginning tomorrow). I have boosted personal security in my home...my personal life is either in my safe deposit box or in the totebag I take everywhere (including the bathroom). Prayers to all of you who are struggling, you are not alone.

  19. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    I am getting closer to having to make this same move of kicking difficult child out. I have not experienced it. I think it is tough and every case is different. Because the mental illnesses my daughter has are so severe, I feel I must get some support in place for her first. I am not at this point willing to let her go in her current state of things. I don't think she would be alive too long because of the dangerous and desperate things she would do when she wore her welcome out after couch surfing at the few places she could go. Her history is different and loaded with abuse-so...

    That said, I go to FA meetings which I love. I tried a few other 12 step meetings and they just didn't feel good. This meeting has many experienced parents. Not everyone there has severe drug abusers-many have mentally ill kids like mine who use pot. I agree that you just need to find the group you like the most. Took me a few months. I can't live without their support now. I also recommend you give each meeting a few chances. Sometimes group leaders rotate and you might get there on a night that isn't very "inviting". You'll know when you fit in. Hang in and good job caring for yourself. I find that the trick is gettig through the crisis so you make good decisions that take care of you. :)
  20. PamjO

    PamjO Member

    Trying to find peace, not sure how to do that. I am consumed with my son's problems-I feel I live my life in one hour segments. I talk to him when I'm at work, and I'm good for about an hour. If I can't reach him by phone, I freak. I'm at the point where I feel that if my son's problems were resolved, my life would be great. I've raced home from work when he doesn't answer the phone-so sick of living this way. I want a life so bad, not sure how to get it back.