I opted out - not sure how I feel


Active Member
I opted out of family therapy and I don’t know how I feel about it.

My son is half way through his agreed upon 30 day IOP. But tested weakly positive for cocaine a week ago. I guess his therapist believed it was possibly a false test, but all my sons ranting efforts at denial since seem so familiar, I can’t fathom that he is telling the truth.

And that’s largely why I took a pass. His words mean nothing to me. I felt like I couldn’t subject myself to an hour of his sounds.

But also because I’ve felt, as this has gone on, that there is absolutely no nuance to this problem — as intractable as it is. And it doesn’t take an hour to explain where I’m at to him or to a therapist.

I am just not seeing insight or change. Until I do, there’s nothing to talk about.

We did family therapy with him for a year when he was sober. We didn’t make huge epiphanic discoveries but it felt like we were all trying to move ourselves.

We tried again this last fall but my son was unsatisfied because it wasn’t used to hammer out the terms of reduced expectations and increased support.

If he were an admitted addict or diagnosed with a mental illness I think I would feel different about things.

But he’s not there. And he’s not trying to better anything. He just wants to do what he wants to do.
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Roll With It
I am proud of you. You refused to waste an hour of your time dealing with someone who is still lying to everyone. Why should you spend your time dealing with his problems when HE won't deal with them?

It seems all he wants from you is more money for less effort. That just isn't how the world works. Isn't it time he learned this?

He will be angry about your refusal to participate in this family therapy. Don't EVER let him use it as a club against you! "You wouldn't even come spend an hour of time in therapy when I was in rehab. You don't care about me. That is why you won't help me and the dealer is going to kill me/I am going to freeze to death/die of starvation/be eaten by velociraptors!"

Just hang up when he starts this nonsense. Or leave. Or pull over at the nearest opportunity and kick him out of the car. I am serious. You don't deserve that behavior and he needs the logical consequences of his behavior.

If his therapist is any good, she will use the time to explore with him the reasons why you felt it was a bad investment of your time to attend this therapy session. I hope she is good enough to do this. It might be very helpful to him.

Either way, kudos to you for staying away!! I don't think parents should always show up, time after time, when it is clear to them that their child is not invested in what is going on. Why should the parent invest more in the child's rehab than the child? I think that is where you are now. You are more interested in him having a good, clean, sober life than he is. You might even have to think about letting him go to live his life without your support, on his own terms and dollars.

(((((hugs))))) I know this was not easy and you are second guessing yourself. I think you did absolutely the right thing!

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
I think you made a wise choice to opt out. You have participated in therapy several different times and it has not made a big difference. It's very healthy that you are acknowledging that your time is valuable.
The therapy is for your son and his issues. He needs to be working on himself.

I hope you took that hour and did something good for yourself!!



Active Member
Sam3 , your post struck a chord with me as I have been thinking a lot about the time we spent working as a family in therapy to understand each other and explore what role we might have in our sons struggles. I had been extremely willing to look at myself and say where I could have been a better parent or handled something better, etc. As a matter of fact, when my son was away in treatment 3 years ago we had to write an apology letter getting things off our chest that we maybe as parents regretted. And I poured out my heart with things that I was less than perfect on as a mom. BUT now I realize that I said I could have been better or I am sorry for whatever because I felt that was what I needed to do to fix my son. To own something myself, that perhaps I did this or I did that that led to his choices. But today I want to stand up and scream and say, you know what? I was a really good, loving parent that was there for my son every step of the way and he is the one who made these choices. These bad choices to rage at us, to stop going to school, to use drugs, to quit sports, to not take medicine that would help. He continues to be the one who is hell bent determined to go it his way and push us far far away. Not me, not my spouse, not his 3 sisters. Yes his social anxiety and depression are factors but he is the one choosing not to handle them despite years and years of me dragging him to therapy and different doctors. At this point, he is 18 and doing things his way. If I found myself back requested to family therapy, I think I would be right where you are. I am not interested in getting dragged into the emotional vortex of lies and accusations and half truths. I am sure I am already suffering PTSD from the awful things he has said to me the past few years.


Well-Known Member
sam. i feel i am in a similar place.

my son is angry with us and has said basically no contact.

the turning point was on the face of it trivial and no different from a thousand other interactions.

he resumed using pot. we told him to leave our house and property. he went to live in a sober living house.

i refused that he come to my home even to pick up his clothes.

why? i listenned to what i felt. i really really did not any longer want my home transgressed by somebody either high or in the afterglow so to speak of such a high. especially if said person is my son.

i am tired of his imposition of his rules, his manipulation, his willful wanting what he wants with our support, his drama and self-indulgence.

it has gotten to the point that i am all too willing to let others support him or not.

he can dominate his own situation. i will not fight him.

as far as i understand your situation, what's the point? you are not the problem. you do not have any solution. this is not a communication problem. it is not a failure of support. no amount of changing on your part will effect your son.

to participate in a therapeutic process would only reinforce false assumptions.

my son has always kept me peripheral to any treatment. i always thought that communication and education would help. me.

except i was wrong. the only communication my son wanted was one way. what he wanted. the only education he wanted was me to accept as right and justified, what he wants. and for me to learn to shut up and make his life easier. my only role in his mind was to serve him. silently.

i see you as catching on a decade before i did. i kept trying and trying to get him to listen and to understand how much i love him.

note to self: he knows i love him. he does not think i merit a voice in his life. he's right.

but what's good for the goose....

i do not have to let him in my space or defer to his nonsense. just as he need not partake in mine.

i agree with everybody else. let him stew in his juices. you were right to not climb in the pot. good for you.


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.

Really why beat yourself up? A time out from Bullshit manipulation is what I call it. My son is supposed to be seeking therapy while waiting for rehab. Not my problem. I attempted to get something organized and he was lack luster so I stopped trying to organize anything.

Really how much are we supposed to pour over and endure Bullshit.

So in my books good for you! Maybe it’s time we take our lives back and stop doing every little thing for them and let them suck it up and move on with our lives.

Enjoy doing something for yourself.


Well-Known Member
Ditto the others. Therapy only works if your intention is to learn from it. And if they therapist can track and call out b s. Waste of money and time if son is just using it to, say, get YOU to hear HIM without listening to you or changing. Cocaine? False positive? Ugh. I probably would have felt like you did.

Private therapy for you would probably help more, not this circus. You took good care of yourself.


Well-Known Member
With a long history of drug use, a current positive test and no true efforts, I don't blame you at all.

If he tests negative and there are other changes, perhaps you might reconsider.

I agree, private therapy for you might be very helpful. This stuff is extraordinarily stressful/draining.