I'm a newcomer...

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by I Believe, Jul 13, 2015.

  1. I Believe

    I Believe ... and, having done all, to stand.

    My 16 1/2 year old son, JT, has been in and out of the juvenile justice system since he was 14 years old. He spent a year in state custody in a rehab program. He got out and began smoking pot again that afternoon. As far as I know his drugs of choice are weed, LSD and mushrooms. I know he will only quit when he is ready. I cannot change that. I wish I could understand his self destructive behavior. He lives at home now. The question now is how do I cope? He smokes downstairs in the basement. Am I legally responsible? His friends all come over and smoke? Again, am I legally responsible? If he is selling out of my home, am I legally responsible?

    My ex- husband have already lost 2 sons. One whom was born pre-mature and required total care 24/7 for the short 17 years of his life. I was already and tired and burned from loosing JW. Parenting is extremely difficult after the death of a child. We are absolutely petrified of losing a 3rd child.

    Any advise?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am sorry for your losses.

    I believe you are legally responsible. If it were me (and remember I haven't lost two children to walk in your shoes) this would never happen...I would have him in rehab and call the police if he broke the law. I did this when my daughter was using and she did quit. But again I have never walked in shoes like yours and hardly know what to tell you to do.

    Please take care. I would definitely not let your son control you in your own home. As for his friends, they can find somewhere else to smoke dope. That I don't feel you should put up with. Let their own parents get into trouble, not you. You've been through enough.

    I think you definitely need to think about yourself now and seek out good counseling to help you make decisions and cope. I would call one today.

  3. I Believe

    I Believe ... and, having done all, to stand.

    I have called the police and had him taken away in handcuffs on more than one occasion. They are among the most heart breaking moments of my life. I've also turned his friends in. Nothing helps, nothing changes until he is ready.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Yeah. No kidding. My daughter pulled a knife on herself and I called 9-1-1 and asked for an ambulance, but I got the cops and they handcuffed her "for her safety and ours (BS), and I heard her screaming "I'll hate you forever" as they shut the door. It is heartbreaking and it's true that we can't make them quit. She did quit though. I was really shocked. I thought she'd end up in jail or dead. Instead she dropped her drug buddies and quit, b ut we had to send her to another state for her to actually stop getting harassed by her (cough) "friends." I cried for three weeks.

    I think you have a big advantage with him being so young. I think the earlier we face it and try as hard as we can to stop it, the better the chances that they quit. But I can't blame you for what you do...my heart is just so sick for you and your pain and I hope you stick around so we can help support you. Nobody deserves the cards you were dealt, and then now this difficult child too. Are you still with your ex, or are you just good friends? Sounds like you still work as a team, and that's a good thing.

    Please, please get some sort of therapy or go to Al-Anon. Nobody should take this walk alone, especially not you.
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome to our forum. Like Somewhere I have not walked in your shoes, it must be so painful. But I also have called the police on my daughter numerous times. There is no way I would have let her friends smoke pot in our house. Other parents allowed that and even hid her from us numerous times. The police had to threaten them with charges. I know it's a difficult thing to do but I knew if my daughter continued down this road I would lose her anyway.

    You only have another year and a half before he is an adult. My belief is that he needs to be in a residential treatment center, probably until he is 18, and never come back home to the same friends and triggers. In the meantime I agree you need to get support for yourself and get strong enough to make some decisions that may be difficult.
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  6. I Believe

    I Believe ... and, having done all, to stand.

    I do go to counseling. Although my ex and I have remained friends, I am the responsible parent. I do have a son who is a junior in college on a full scholarship for academics. He is doing very well. I am very thankful for him. His success tells me that it is not all in the parenting. I am no more responsible for his success than I am for the younger ones struggles. Life is just hard sometimes. I will get to a point where I take action. Right now I just don't know when or what it will be.

    Thank you so much. I discovered long ago that there are many support groups for parents of children with disabilities, not so much for juvenile delinquents.
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Believe, I am almost positive that you are legally responsible. And it may be even worse, that by knowingly permitting your own and other kids to use illegal substances in your home you may be subject to charges of child endangerment.

    There is no easy way out of this, I fear.

    But you will find support and answers here. Others will weigh in and you can decide based on a variety of viewpoints based on a wide range of experience.

    To me, your only option is to bar the the other kids from your house and to watch your son and his inspect his room and his stuff like a hawk. You might consider drug testing him as well.

    I think anybody in our situation would need expert help. And/or Al Anon. I could not do this alone.

    The thing is there are other issues beyond the drug use. There is the issue of authority. Either you or he has the power. If he has the power in your house it is not a good thing for him. Or you. And if you do not speak up and set a limit, he will infer that he won and he has the power.

    As you know he is not equipped to have power over you or your house, nor is it appropriate. There must be consequences.

    That you cannot bear more, unfortunately matters little, in the mind of your child or in the matter of his development.

    Life indeed can be cruel. And it seems you have not had sufficient time and space to grieve. If one can ever get over a loss such as you have had.

    That said, you will find a great deal of support here, to work your way through this.

    I lost my mother recently. It does not seem like such a big deal, but it was. My relationship with her had been difficult and estranged, although we had made a kind of relationship. And I cared for her as she was dying. The grief I had consumed me. For what I had not had and never could. I have not worked in nearly 3 years. On top of it was my son. Homeless. Mentally ill. I could not do it either. But I am.

    Nothing is like the loss of a child. I know that because I fear it most of all.
    I have not lost a child, but I know how repetitive and unrelenting losses and disappointments have affected me. The thing is, oftentimes, affirmative acts to confront a difficult situation, can strengthen us.

    We take decisive action, speak up for ourselves, taking a stand for our child, and we see ourselves changing before our own eyes. We become different people to ourselves. People who deserve more. People who can do more.

    You are at a choice point or you would not have posted on this site.

    Welcome to you. I am so sorry you are suffering so, and you have suffered so much. While not the same as you, we have each had our share. I hope you keep posting.

    Take care.
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    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    My heart is with you...I have been there....and am still dealing with the substance abuse issues with my son although he is older now. So there are support groups for parents of kids with substance abise problems...alanon for one. I go to a great alanon group for parents but there are other types of groups too. Find one for yourself. It is a great support to meet other good parents who understand those middle of the night calls from the police.

    As far as liability...it might depend on the state but I do believe you are at risk of all kinds of liability.

    I agree you need to set some boundaries and follow through...no smoking pot in your house etc.

    I am so sorry for all the loss you have already suffered...that must make this even harder.
  9. I Believe

    I Believe ... and, having done all, to stand.

    I had a melt down last night. It's funny, what set me off is his going into my room and borrowing my comforter. I let him know in no uncertain terms that my room and my stuff is totally off limits. I then called one of his case managers from when he was in the JJS. I needed some support. He came by the house and talked to my son and we are going to talk more. We'll see how it goes. I really do not want to put him back in JJS for his sake as well as mine. I need to try everything I can before I resort to having him arrested.
  10. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hello and welcome. I agree with the other members who said that you need to take a stand. You can't let him blatantly disregard your rules and smoke pot in your house. I can't even imagine letting him have friends over to do that.

    I would contact the local police department for advice. As hard as it is, I think that you need to take a hard nosed stand and let the chips fall where they may.

    I know that when we found out that our daughter was bringing heroin into our house, my husband and I were afraid that we could lose our teaching licenses. The judge granted us a restraining order based on her bringing drugs into our home.

    Of course, our daughter was a legal adult so the circumstances were different but I do believe you could be held liable if drugs were found in your home. Parents that let teenagers drink in their homes have been held legally responsible by the police when parties get out of hand.

    I am glad to hear that you are getting therapy. It has been a lifesaver for me.

    Keep posting, too. You will find a great deal of support and understanding here.

  11. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    Hello. I am sorry for your losses. My heart is very sad for you. Since we both have 16 year old boys, I wanted to offer my opinion too. My son has been caught several times smoking weed in our home. Each time, I flush it down the toilet thinking this will be the last time. He has so much nerve, he just does it again. Then my husband caught him and 2 friends about to light up in our basement. My husband promptly took all evidence, loaded kids into the car and delivered them home. He went up to the door and told the parents exactly what happened. It is exhausting and awful but we will do it EVERY SINGLE TIME. I have responded to text messages about drug deals saying I am the parent and they better stay far away from my son. It doesn't appear that these action are very effective but it is our home and (was) our cell phone and marijuana is still illegal here. I do think we would be liable. But it is more about showing my son that although he can cat and mouse all day, we will not give up. And I have also decided that when we meet with juvenile intake officer (which we are doing due to other issues) I will let them know this part of his "story".
  12. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Occupational hazard and the fact that I can be a bit of an a-hole, but for this I would call the police and turn the phone over as evidence. Granted, I don't know if I could have done this two or three years ago but now...without hesitation.

    Sorry, should specify that I work for the Department of Corrections so am a mandatory reporter.
  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Laws vary from state to state...but I'd hazard a guess of Yes. Yes. and Yes. Drugs in your home make them in YOUR possession. Kids doing drugs in your home with your knowledge may well be endangering the welfare of a child. Selling drugs out of your home may well make you an accessory. The biggest part of all of this is you know this is happening or may be happening.

    Look up "civil forfeiture". If that doesn't scare you into making SURE he isn't selling, nothing will.

    I am so sorry that you are dealing with this. Knowing now what I didn't know then...I'd take drastic actions if my son were still a minor, starting with a rehab facility if that is an option you have.
  14. I Believe

    I Believe ... and, having done all, to stand.

    The thing is that I have been doing all of these things since he was 12, throwing away pot and parafenelia that I find, going to talk to other parents, taking him to counseling, turning him in, going to court, visiting him at a group home, turning his friends in, reading his text and messages, turning off his phone.... Four years later he is still smoking weed. All I know is that I can't live in that war zone with him anymore. I can't make him stop, he has got to make that decision for himself. He is not abusive to me and my home is not being destroyed. There has to be another answer.

    The year in the group home was good for him. He is more appreciative of me and the home I provide for him. Things no longer disappear from my house. When he wants money he comes and asks me for extra chores. The situation is not ideal but it is improving. Sometimes it does get to be overwhelming.

    The melt down I had night before last seemed to have had an affect. I came home yesterday and the back patio was spotless. And no one had smoked pot in the house. He is making progress.

    Maybe I am just deluding myself but would you turn your child in for underage drinking? For him pot smoking is a way self medicating. After all he has lost 2 brothers, his parents are divorced and his older brother is practically perfect. (Valedictorian, full scholarship to college, won practically every high school award possible, makes A's in college....) One of his brothers was special needs who required my care and attention 24/7 or literally he would die. The other 2 boys always had to come second to his care. When my special needs child died (4 1/2 years ago, note the same time period JT has been smoking dope) all I wanted to do was curl into a ball. I tried to be there but was hurting so bad myself that I know I was not much help. (Not blaming myself, I know that I did a damn good job considering the circumstances.) All of that is hard to deal with especially for a teenager.

    He has only been home a month. I am hoping that we can come to an understanding that works for us both. I know there are risk but I don't believe that calling the police will doing anything other than drive a wedge between us.

    It is good for me to be able to write all of this down. Journaling never worked for me but writing my story for you helps. Thank you.

    So I will push on, keep praying, keep making my stand and keep praising him for even the smallest improvements.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2015
  15. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I agree you can't make him stop smoking pot. I think what you do need to make clear is that you know you have no control if he smokes pot or not but you are not willing to be liable for anything...so he cannot smoke at your house at all or keep any drugs in your house period! That is for your own protection.
  16. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    Lil - for rehab, I was hoping you could elaborate. My son has been in a Partial Hospitalization program and wilderness therapy. Obviously things are no better than when we started. Actually, maybe worse. Or maybe we just finally realized exactly what has been going on. Marijuana use overshadowed by failing grades and verbal abuse/disrespect at home. Those issues are what got us to take action and through those programs found out what he was REALLY up to. He tells us that he can't live without smoking weed. That is helps him deal with anxiety and gives him a reason to live. He can be very dramatic when he is trying to get his way. Yet, of course hearing him say that is devastating. Would you specifically look for a drug rehab? I am overwhelmed with what to do.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, if you don't mind him and his friends smoking pot in your house, that is your business. The problem is...what if you get arrested? They very well may sneak some pot in your yard. I bring this up because when my daughter was doing drugs, a friend of hers, a minor, lit up a cigarette in my back yard. Just lit a cigarette. A cop saw and gave ME a $75 ticket for a minor smoking cigarettes on my property. On top of that, her mother called and screamed at me saying I must have given it to her since she doesn't smoke.

    Lady, I hate cigarettes, nobody knowingly smokes in my house or yard, minor or adult, and I used to toss my daughter's cigarettes in the garbage. It was very stressful incident during a very stressful time. Turns out the cops were on a rampage over everything because of the drug users in our city. You are taking a risk to yourself. It's not about him. I know he has been through a lot, but he's handling it the wrong way. He needs professional help, not drugs or he may use drugs as his excuse for the rest of his life. His brothers would have wanted him to be clean and sober, I'm sure. They can not be happy if they watch him from wherever they are seeing him react this way. You can try using that because he has a long life ahead of him and drugs will just mess it up.
    You don't need getting arrested either, first and foremost.
    Hugs and take care.
  18. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I wish I could. I'm sorry but we didn't get any further than asking our insurance if they would pay for an in-patient drug rehab. By the time we realized what a serious problem pot had become for my son, he was over 18 and we couldn't send him against his will, so I don't know how to go about doing it even with a minor.

    Wow. That sounds familiar. While we never got the "can't live without it", ours once told me it was the only thing that made him happy, even if it was only for a little while.

    This is addiction. All the people out there saying pot isn't addictive are wrong. Maybe not physically. You don't go thru withdrawal. But mentally? They don't think they can live without it. Obviously that is addiction.

    I wish I could offer you more than moral support. If it's any comfort, my son did tell me the other day that he had beaten a drug addiction all by himself. I really don't think he was doing hard drugs, so it's possible he was talking about pot. I haven't seen or spoken to him for some time when he was obviously stoned. SomewhereOutThere's daughter stopped harder drugs all by herself. It's possible.
  19. I Believe

    I Believe ... and, having done all, to stand.

    His rehab was court imposed group home out of the city. I did not go look for one. Honestly, I have never talked to a parent who forced rehab on their child that it worked. The Judge made the call for us. But it did give me a break and time to regroup and heal. It gave him a little bit of time. to mature. When he was sentenced there he cried like a baby, he did not think he could successfully complete the program, he had heard from other teens in detention that it was extremely hard and he had already failed every other program they tried. But he did complete it and was proud that he did. It helped him in many ways but not to quit using.
  20. I Believe

    I Believe ... and, having done all, to stand.

    I have been in touch with his probation officer (he is no longer on probation) and he is working with me. They rarely smoke when I am there unless I am asleep. One problem I have found with calling the cops is that they actually have to catch them in the act and even then they don't always do anything. I've had him caught in the act by the police while on probation and all they did was call me to come get him. When I have called and said I found the stuff they were no help.