I'm new here (long)

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by in a daze, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. in a daze

    in a daze Guest

    So glad I found this site! Here's my story

    So we got a call one Sunday morning in May at about 3 AM. It was my son, calling from his university dorm room, frantic that people were posting lies about him on Facebook. The roommates called security. Not sure what role they played, but he managed to calm down, and did come back to reality. He has not had another episode since as this was apparantly fueled by a combination of Adderal and alcohol.

    Then we got a call from the Dean of Students telling us to come pick him up. So we did. (The school was 3 hours away, the farthest I would ever send him)

    DS was the perfect son for a week, finished his classes (the profs were understanding and let him finish from home) and was being very cooperative with our rules (we had decided to give him NO spending money unless he earned it, made him apply for jobs, etc. While at school he had run up a large credit card bill buying fast food and liquor etc.) When he got back, I made him give me the credit card back.

    Then I discovered the credit card missing from my purse, and unauthorized charges from his taking his friends to a bar, getting an Adderal script filled early, etc.

    So we took away his laptop as a punishment, and he retaliated by running away and selling his Adderal as he had no money. Came home, had it out with his dad, ran away again and then we had to get the police involved as we recieved an alarming text message from him stating that he was "coming close" to hurting himself (it was determined that he was not in danger of doing this)

    Alcohol abuse has been ongoing; I have been finding empty bottles around for a year. His excuse has been that he brings the leftover booze home from the parties, and we are "freaking out" about nothing. If he earns any money and he doesn't go out to meet his friends, it goes for booze. We are still finding the bottles and smelling it around. He seems to have a high tolerance for it, which is really scary.

    He has been going to a therapist, and we (his parents) have met with the therapist twice; however ds has not signed any release of information form. So he is going to be very upset when he goes to see the psychiatric in July and finds out that she knows about the Adderal abuse.

    So he does chores occasionally for money, or to use the car. Right now he is at a wedding. He has no money, no credit card, no wedding card with a gift in it. He was offered odd jobs by some relatives to earn money for the gift, but he did not follow up. He expected us to front him the money for the gift. He stomped out yesterday after a fight with husband (ds hates his dad, says he is "toxic:; husband often acts as the heavy although lately husband and I have been presenting a united front on advice from the therapist so that he cannot play one of us against the other) He spent the night with his friends and is presently sponging off them.

    Ds says his problems are all our fault and stem from the fact that we brought him to the doctor who put him on antidepressants when he was 16; states he has "brain damage" from the antidepressants. He says he has little motivation to work, do chores, study, etc. without the Adderal.

    The one good thing is that he is taking a class this summer to meet some of his requirements so that he can graduate (eventually). It does keep him busy at least three days a week as he has to take a bus and a train to get there, and then he stays with his uncle who lives not too far away from that institution.

    This kid, despite his struggles with the adhd, learning disabilities, etc., has had a pretty good life. A large supportive extended family, parents in a stable marriage, travel, Catholic high school and private university,etc. We tried hard to raise our kids as best we could, and didn't spoil them. It worked for our daughter, but not for our son.

    I lock up my wallet and my money now. I have warned my husband and daughter to do the same.

    Is there anything else I should be doing?
  2. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Hi, sorry you had to find us, but glad you did. Your son's story sounds eerily similar to my difficult child 1's. I would suggest that you work closely with your family therapist to help you learn to detach (i.e. let your son take responsibility for his own decisions, and not let yourself be emotionally hijacked) and to help you decide on the boundaries to set with your son. I assume that he is over 18 and probably over 21. You don't owe him a place to stay and you have the right to establish house rules that will protect your home and peace of mind. For example, you can stipulate that he may not use drugs while at home under penalty of immediate eviction, and require him to get regular drug testing. If he is selling drugs from your home, you could stand to lose your home. You can require him to get a job by a certain date or find another place to live. You can discontinue funding him and require him to pay rent. I would suggest that you work with your therapist to make a list of rules that you and husband agree with and will back up. One caveat - don't make any rule that you aren't willing to back up. Make a Plan B for what you will do when he breaks a rule, because he almost
    certainly will.

    Once you have a list, make a contract and have him sign it. This was a turning point in our relationship with our son; it was the first time I think he ever took us seriously.

    Given that your son has stolen from you since arriving home, you will unfortunately have to keep your wallet and medications (and small, easily saleable valuables) locked up as long as he's in the house. You may want to consider not leaving him alone in the house, getting an alarm system, and changing the locks. I'm sorry to sound so negative but he will steal again. We had to go through this too. You can make it clear to him that any disappearance of cash, medications, or other items will automatically be attributed to him. If you are prepared to follow through, tell him you will call police if anything disappears.

    You do not have to accept blame for giving your son medications. You took the best medical advice you could get at the time and did the best you could for him. His current drug use may damage his brain, but a short period of antidepressant therapy is not responsible for any of his behaviors. His accusations (our son has blamed us in the same way) are an attempt to shrug off responsibility for his own actions.

    I'm sorry you're in this situation, and I'm sorry if my advice sounds negative. Unfortunately, when someone is using drugs he or she will lie, steal, and blame everyone else. We tried giving second chances and hoping for the best, but taking action was the only thing that helped. If there's an Al-Anon or Narc-Anon chapter in your area, I would also suggest you contact them. They are a great help. Best wishes, Katya
  3. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Welcome. I'm so sorry. This sound profoundly difficult.
    by the way, good for you and husband for being a united front.
    This is not your fault.
    Can you get your son into some sort of treatment? Do you feel that the alcohol abuse has developed into addiction? What does the therapist say about this?
    Is he going to therapy regularly? Will he consent to going to AA as well?
    I would NOT tolerate thiefery in your home. Ditto for selling or doing drugs in your home or violence in your home.
    If this continues, I would SERIOUSLY consider telling him he will have to live with friends. You can always continue to pay for the therapist, school, other medical expenses and perhaps food. (NEVER give cash out in this case...make checks out directly to physicians and/or services that have been actually provided).
    In the mean time, lock up everything. Consider putting a deadbolt on your masterbedroom and then with-i your bedroom have a keyed lock box for your money, jewlery and other valuables.
    HOWEVER, this is NO way to live for the long term.
    Please look up on line Al Anon or Families Anonymous meetings. Then get yourself to one of the two meetings. Our daughter is not a user, but I still found FA to be profoundly helpful. These parents really "get it" and know good resources in your local community.
    Lasted edited by : Jun 27, 2010
  4. in a daze

    in a daze Guest

    Thanks for your replies.

    I have a small safe, where I keep my wallet, valuables, medications, etc. locked up. I never leave them lying around.

    Strangely enough, the therapist has not focused on the drinking, and the empty liquor bottles. difficult child goes once a week to see him. We are seriously thinking of checking out either Al-Anon or Families Anonymous. I will schedule another meeting with husband and the therapist after the psychiatric appointment in a couple of weeks.

    I have been trying to detach my self emotionally, but it's very hard.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My daughter abused Adderrall as well as other meth and chances are your son is as well. Sorry, but Adderrall is very coveted and abused as a street drug. I'd tell the doctor he is abusing it because he is. My daughter and her friends used to buy Adderral and other ADHD drugs off the street or sell their own medications, pool their resources, crushed the pills in a pillcrusher and snort it either alone or with other drugs such as cocaine. This is serious. My daughter was addicted to meth and we didn't even know it until she miraculously quit using and told me all the gory details. The parents are the last to know. If I were you, I wouldn't give him a dime. He will probably use anything you give him for drugs. Plus I doubt he has just an alcohol problem...he is likely an alcoholic AND a drug abuser (they tend to go together).

    What can you do? First don't feel guilty. You didn't cause this. Some kids are just prone to addiction and only that person can stop using. But make him work at a REAL job for ALL his money. Don't pay somebody as old as him for mowing the grass or painting. Let him feel the responsibility. Therapy will only work if he admits he abuses drugs/alcohol and wants to go to therapy. And prescription Adderrall for him is in my opinion dangerous. He is probably doing the same thing with it as my daughter did.

    Expect him to lie to you about his useage. As my daughter told me, "Never ever trust a drug user, even if they stare you in the eyes and swear on your grave."

    I am sorry you are going through this, but I have been there and I believe it's more serious than you do. He should not be encouraged by extra gifts and too much sympathy while he is using. Enabling will only help him live his current lifestyle and it's dangerous to him! If he steals from you, I would press charges. That is very unacceptable and further indication of serious drug abuse. Light recreational drug users just don't steal from their family.

    I made my daughter leave at 18. It was either no drinking/drugs or leaving. That was a no-brainer. She tried to make us believe she quit, but we knew he hadn't so she had to leave. It helped her.

    I agree with going to Al-Anon or Narc-Anon meetings. They are great support. I think you may still be in denial. Many of us thought "We're a good family. Our kids don't do these things." But they do.

    Welcome to the board, but sorry you have to be here. I hope you can learn Detachment 101!
  6. in a daze

    in a daze Guest

    Yes, MM, we try not to give him ANY money. If we do, he has to earn it, and we try to give him small denominations or reward him with use of the car, etc. I know it sounds ridiculous, but the way I figure it is that emotionally he is a child anyway, so giving him some incentive to do chores is better than him not doing chores at all, and when this class finishes in four weeks we will make him look for a part time job. Anyway, he's such a slacker that he goes around a lot of the time without a dime in his pocket, and sponges off his friends. The hope is that eventually they will get sick of him sponging off them and put pressure on him to pay his own way.

    We'll see what happens at the psychiatric appointment, as we sent a message to her (psychiatric doctor) that he was selling/abusing the Adderal. He is under the impression that she cannot be told, but we did as it is a matter of health, safety, and law. He will be very upset, I'm sure.
  7. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Your son has it backwards regarding whether his doctor can be told things. You can tell her anything you want, but she cannot talk to you without your son's consent. She can, however, listen to you or listen to a message you leave for her.
    I think it's very wise to let his doctor know that he's abusing and selling. As MWM said, it's serious business.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome! I am so sorry it has to be under these circumstances.

    You are doing a lot of the right things. Don't let him split you and husband up, that united front is crucial. Don't believe him. Period. You are NOT speaking to your son. You are speaking to an addict. ALL that he truly cares about is his next fix. I have had many recovering addicts tell me this.

    Whatever he admits to is just a tiny portion of what he does. It is another universal truth of addiction. They admit to a tiny portion of what they are abusing because it makes you think you know everything.

    I assume you are paying for his car insurance. With his tolerance of alcohol he is most certainly driving under the influence most of the time. I would take him off of the insurance and never ever let him use the car. He can walk, take a bus, or get a friend to give him a ride. If he MUST have wheels get him a used bicycle. Be sure you keep the car keys locked up. If he takes a car with-o permission under any circumstance then you need to call the police and report the car as stolen.

    If you continue to let him drive, even insured, he is going to have an accident. Most likely someone else will be seriously hurt. Drunk people are usually very relaxed and they are usually not hurt anywhere near as badly as their victims. As you are paying his insurance and he is on YOUR policy, and driving YOUR vehicles, it is very likely that YOU will be sued for his accident. Lawsuits go after the deepest possible pockets. Your ins co may cover you for this or they may say that his driving drunk violates the policy and then not cover the accident. You will almost certainly be dropped as a client and finding new insurance will be VERY expensive. If the injured party can prove that you knew he had an alcohol problem and you continued to let him drive they can win even more money from you.

    You and your husband NEED al anon or narc anon. It will be a life and sanity saver for you. If you go to a meeting and don't feel it is right for you, go to a few other meetings. Each meeting has its own feel and some will fit you better than others. It is worth the time to find the right ones. When you look at meeting schedules you will see some are open and some are closed. An open meeting is one anyone can attend. Closed meetings are only for those who have a friend or relative who is and addict. I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure that out when I first looked at meeting schedules.

    Put locks on doors to any room you do not want him to go in and to hide things in. He will likely have stashes in several places around the house. Addicts are very creative. When my Gpa died we found over 100 bottles and flasks of liquor in his 2 bedroom house. He even had a bottle hidden in the engine compartment of his riding lawn mower!! Make sure the doors are sturdy and that you use a key lock instead of one of those flimsy locks with the button in the doorknob.

    Keep small gadgets and electronic items put away. They are too easy to pawn or sell when he needs $$ for a fix. Ditto for any small valuable items. Make sure that your other child has a sturdy lock on her door. If she still lives at home make sure she goes to al anon also. If she doesn't live at home it would still help her.

    Is he getting good grades or is he spending more time partying than studying? It may be time for you to stop paying for his education until he gets himself clean. He is NOT going to stop abusing drugs and alcohol until he hits bottom. That is often far lower than any family member could even dream of.

    He needs to pay rent and his own expenses. Paying all his expenses and his tuition would be one thing if he was studying hard and getting good grades and staying out of trouble. As it is, you are likely throwing good money away as he is destroying brain cells faster than he is learning stuff. By paying for his schooling and expenses he has no real reason to stop partying. It is easy for him to party. He has a nice place to sleep, plenty of food at home, the utilities are all paid for, he even has nice clothes I bet.

    If you saw a friend who's child was doing what your son is doing, what would you tell her to do? Would you advise her to let her son use her car? To pay all of his expenses? To let him come and go as he pleased at home?

    I know this is incredibly hard. You have worked hard to give your children a good life. You have always treated the kids fairly equally. You paid for your daughter's education and expenses while she was in school. Not paying for your son's feels like you love him less, like you favor her. It is not the case. You will be giving each child what they have earned through their behavior and performance. If anything it shows you truly love your son because you want to do all you can to help him conquer his demons.

    This is only advice. You are free to use any of it that will help you and to ignore any of it that you cannot handle or that is wrong for the situation. We all know you can only cope with so much at any one time.

    Telling his therapist about the adderall abuse is a very good thing. Katya was right about the doctor being able to listen to you but not being able to tell you anything. I know a few parents who have even taken pictures of their addict to local ERs and urgent care clinics to spread the word that they would come in for drugs to abuse. Not sure it would work well in a large city, but our area is small enough that it was somewhat effective.

    Have you ever seen the show "Intervention" on A&E? It is available for viewing at www.aetv.com and it might help you see what other families have gone through and might make you feel less alone.

  9. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You've gotten some great advice here, I just wanted to add my belated welcome to you. So many of us have been in your shoes, as you can see. I do hope you'll head to an Al-Anon meeting or something similar soon, I cannot emphasize enough how much that helped me, along with reading and re-reading their literature.