My 21 year old son/help

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by sadmom7058, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. sadmom7058

    sadmom7058 New Member

    Hi all,
    I came across this site today looking for some answers for my troubled son. Your stories as many others hit home. Here is my story... I too have a son who is 21 years old that we have been struggling to help for several years. I also have a daughter with Cerebral Palsey(20) and another daughter(19) that is in her Freshman year of College. He has always had a self-esteem issue due to his height, lack of social skills and eventually acne in high school. He has always been a kind, bright handsome young man, but his personality has changed drastically over the last several years. Started working at 14 and worked 30 plus hours making good money in high school. Not exactly sure when he started smoking weed but I'm thinking around 15/16. When we found out we sent him to a counselor and honestly didn't know how to handle it. We were shocked and didn't probably react well, we were so naïve and unprepared for something like this. His pot smoking progressed and he has become a master manipulator. Graduated early December '16, and moved out saying he wanted to go to college. We signed him up for college and paid for both classes and apartment hoping things had changed as he made us believe. 3 months later he fesses up that he hadn't attended a single class so we cut him off. He worked for awhile, but eventually ended back at home. This is when we really noticed a change in his personality. He talks very strange and calls it his personal development. Watches odd videos on a website called that promote psychedelics and moving away from normal society beliefs. After a short time I realized that he had also been experimenting with acid and Xanax. After a few months we sent him to rehab for a month. 2 weeks after being home he was back hanging with his "friends' doing the same crap. My husband finally had enough of the lies and bs after a few months and kicked him out. That lasted 6 months before he lost his job and had no means to support himself. This after being arrested for possession of a controlled substance(Xanax) October 2017.We hired an attorney and he got a deferred judgement. 2 months later Feb 2018 he was arrested again for DUI and possession. We got him a lawyer if he agreed to go to a dual diagnosis facility for mental health and substance abuse. He came home this May(18), on various medications for depression and eventually started seeing a therapist. He has no "real" friends that I know of and has such social anxiety that it's hard for him to meet new people, and has never had a girlfriend to my knowledge. In July he violated his probation and got arrested for public intox. We again hired him an attorney and were waiting to see if he would lose his deferred judgements. He Started working full time in August and I really thought things were going to get better. We had gotten his acne under control and I thought I was seeing progress with his self-esteem. My mistake was having hope. He just recently got his license back He has in the last month stopped taking his antidepressants, started drinking heavily again, staying out late and this week supposedly started smoking pot again. He is on probation with 2 deferred judgements he is at risk of losing next week and he decided to text to inform his PO that he smoked pot last week. He has court this coming Thursday, saying prayers but thinking maybe he needs to face the consequences as much as it kills me. He is so bright, and has so much potential. This has been exhausting and financially draining several years. I don't have many friends anymore, this has completely consumed my life and the life of our family. I hope my story helps others and would love any advice. So heartbroken.
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hi. Sorry for your situation. Others with more current experience of drug use and the law will come along. I do have a story.

    I once had a daughter who was a serious drug user. We always made drug using daughter face the consequences and she lost the ability to drive our cars or have us help her on the road while intoxicated way before age 19. We never got a lawyer for her or broke the bank although many do pay a lot. But we felt that making it harder would work better. We prayed a lot too.

    For our daughter tough love worked. At 19 we found her having a pill party in our home and made her leave. It was the hardest thing we ever did. I cried for weeks. But in our case, with no money from us and a very undesirable place to stay only, she quit within a year. This is without rehab. I never heard of was about thirteen years ago. Maybe there were not as many. Then (rehabs). But quit because as she told us "Using drugs is too hard." She went back to college, took out her own loan, got a two year degree, worked hard, met her partner, bought a house and they have my sweet granddaughter, a house and the meth, coke and other stuff is gone.

    I would never ever ever help a kid, even my own, drive if I knew he or she was a dangerous driver. I never understand why people do. They can kill themselves and others. But they do. Often.

    I am sorry you are going through this. My daughter started at 12 and ended at 19 or 20. I dont know how brave moms walk this path for longer than that. It was horrible .

    But this story shows that there is always hope so I tell it. Wishing you the best!!!

    Love and light!
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
  3. Hello and welcome
    Your description of your son reminds me of my son who is 24. He doesn't live in the same state as me though. He chose to move to a state where weed is legal as soon as he graduated college. Like you, we have been on this road from hell for a number of years. Started back in high school around age 16... We were so naive as well. His drinking escalated, personality changed, was depressed, was full of anxiety, etc. Like you son, my son is super intelligent. We too have paid for lawyers and never seen a cent back from my son or heard a thank you.

    I had been in counseling and still am. I was told the more intelligent they are, the harder it is to "crack" them.

    My son started smoking weed as well as the booze. Treated his girlfriend like trash and finally she left after many years.
    He too has a dui under his belt, spent a night in jail and still it didn't help. Finally now he is sober, completed a 30 day treatment program.. It is early though not even 4 months so I am hopeful but scared. He is doing things all wrong according to my counselor and is headed for relapse. Refused sober living, quit IOP, started a new relationship, etc.
    This has consumed my life as well. I have lost all feelings inside. It is all I think about and worry about. I have turned to God and pray numerous times a day. I am trying to accept that God is in control. Although it may not seem like it is going well, God will see me through. I have a few friends and they know what I have been through and still am going through. They want me to smile again and be happy. It is hard though when it is your child and you wait for the call to come in... It is heart wrenching... My counselor said it is normal for my feelings. I have been like most here through trauma. Every time I hear the same ring tone out in public on some one else's phone, my stomach turns over because I think of when that was my son's ring tone.. I have changed his tone over 4 times now because I can't stand it.
    The drunk calls, the verbal abuse, the worry if he took his life, etc. just awful... I wouldn't wish this on anyone.
    I feel like I am getting numb now. My counselor asked me if my son dies will I be okay? I said "Yes, because I have done all I could plus to me my "real" son has died already."
    So, I don't really have advice because I post on here quite often looking for it. All I can say is that you are not alone.
    Hugs to you.
  4. sadmom7058

    sadmom7058 New Member

    Thank you for your story, hugs to you also. I pray for you all
  5. sadmom7058

    sadmom7058 New Member

  6. sadmom7058

    sadmom7058 New Member

    Thank you for the words of wisdom, unfortunately hind sight is always 20/20. We can only learn as we go.
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Your story I have found is a common one here:
    You did the right thing, here. Some parents refuse to see the elephant in the living room and make what I feel is a bargain with the devil, drugs. I believe you were wise to stop this.
    Sadly, this too, seems to be what happens for some of our children.
    It is a good thing that he does go rehab. That speaks a lot for him, for you and for your relationship.
    My child is 30. As far as I know he has only heavily used marijuana. As far as I know he has not been arrested. However, like you I have had to make hard choices. Because of his unwillingness to take care of health issues, to seek and comply with treatment, to pay rent, to do anything productive, to pay rent or budget money, to take care of the property where he lives (which is ours); let alone his heavy marijuana use.

    I have had a hard time with consequences first because of my own personality, because he goes homeless and things get worse, and because I am afraid for his health and well-being. So the particulars may be different, but it feels the same to me. I get very frightened. I worry all the time. I get sad. I do not sleep. I feel I have lost myself and my life. He becomes the only topic of conversation with my SO. In other words, I cede myself. This ends up like a hostage video. I am the hostage.

    I make several significant errors.

    I allow a situation to develop where I suffer the consequences of what he does or does not do.

    I begin to locate the importance of my life and the power of it in my son and not in myself.

    The results that are important I locate in him, not me.

    Now, if this sounds like you, the first thing to do is to reverse this. The consequences to him, he must bear not you. The well-being at stake is yours, not his. The important and empowering actions to take are yours to take, not his.

    It is not what is right or wrong for him. It is what is right for you. You are traumatized. And you are losing the very resources that will help you restore yourself: friends, family, fun, relaxation, etc.

    Form your post it seems you have decided that he needs to face the consequences of the situation he has created by his choices. It is very hard. But it is impossible if you do not begin to heal yourself.

    Part of that healing involves backing away from the sense that there is some right thing you can do, I can do to stop this freight train. They are the only ones who can stop this train. They may or they may not do it. but independent of that, we need to restore our own health and well-being, and the sense we are back to being us, and living our own lives.

    I want to say something tangential her: when one child is ill or disabled it puts a real pressure on the parents, family and the non-disabled child. This is not your fault.

    There are people on this forum that are urging me, to emphasize right now reconnecting to my son. They urge that this is more important than working out problems. Perhaps that may be true for your son and for you. That maybe you have lost each other to some extent, and could find again this closeness. Maybe your son will be the one who helps lead you back to yourself and your life. Stranger things have been true. The power of love is the greatest power, I believe. Maybe he longs to be close to you and to face what he must face as a man, together with you. This is something far different that experiencing the consequences for them.

    I am glad you are here. I hope you keep posting. Welcome.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
  8. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    I guess I want you to think about you, your husband, your marriage and especially your other two children. I'm talking about the path you have chosen for you. On the path you are, where are you going to end up? You say you've lost most of your friends, a lot of money but most importantly a lot of you.

    You can't control your son. You know that. But you can control you. You can make choices for you. How much more are you willing to lose? How much will be left for those important people in your life? What do they need and deserve from you? Will you have it to give on this path?

    When one of your daughters is ready for a wedding will you be able to throw yourself into it with absolute joy? Or will you be a shell going through the motions?

    I have no answers. I think you know where the path your son is on will lead. Spending money on lawyers, forced rehab, etc hasn't worked. It rarely does. He has to want to change his path. Making the path easy isn't going to encourage him to change it. Making the path harder may not either. But making the path harder may mean more for you and the rest of your family.

    You've read enough here and elsewhere to know what his immediate future holds. Have you read enough to know what yours holds on this path? What path do you want?

    We make no judgements here. What is right for you now may be wrong next mo. What is right for me may be wrong for you. But there really is no right or wrong. Its what you choose. And we respect that.
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  9. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    My difficult son is 21, almost 22. as far as I know only put, speeding tickets , stole items from us and sold them. No respect for us . very self centered. No diagnosis. I think he is just a plain old a**. He did 1 too many things and his dad told his to shape up or get out. He left. Now he would tell you Dad kicked him out (idiot) he always changes the narrative to suit himself. I warned him that if he ended up in jail. do not call me. nope I will not go into any type of financial constraints for him. Like you I have a physically handicapped child. my oldest child (27) has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair. we also have a 25 year old daughter who graduated from college, then got married. She has a great job and husband. I have asked her where we went wrong -- she says "no where- he is just a butt headed, self centered jerk" . My ds is very intelligent , can walk, and work and he needs to "get with the program" and so does yours.
    quit feeling bad and trying to fix him and take care of yourself.

    Good luck.
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  10. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    Hello- I'm sorry you're walking this road. It's a long and difficult one. My daughter is now 28, her issues started even in elementary school with poor behavior and grades (although she is smart enough and capable), but really hit their stride when she was 14. That was the first time I got a call from the police that she was at a house party (I dropped her off to spend the night at a friend's) where they were drinking and smoking weed. She had a boyfriend a couple of years older who was there. She was also sexually active with him at that age, I soon discovered. In the midst of all this she really go into it with her stepmom and her dad packed her stuff off, dropped her off and had no more visitation. This kind of stuff went on throughout high school but eventually they broke up and she got a new boyfriend. She told me he was 21 (she was 16 or 17 at the time) but really he was 27. Her senior year after about 3 weeks of school I was notified she had missed 10 days of school. She was hanging out with the new 27 y/o boyfriend. I took everything away from her- car, phone, computer, etc. to no avail. She would still sneak out, not come from the alternative half day school, etc. During this time she had 2 abortions. Shortly after graduating by some miracle she moved in with-her boyfriend and got pregnant. The boyfriend didn't work and was abusive. Shortly before her due date they were evicted and I stupidly allowed them to stay at my house. What a nightmare that was. A few months after my granddaughter was born they moved out. Of course things blew up and I let my daughter come back home. She almost immediately began contacting her abusive ex- I was enraged and told her she couldn't stay at my house if she was in contact with him. She put her infant in a stroller and left my house on foot in a blizzard, later telling everyone I put her and her baby out in the snow.

    This kind of stuff went on for years with her even moving to a different state to live with a guy she met on the internet. She's had her license suspended. She is diagnosed with-depression and anxiety and usually medication non-compliant. She's an alcoholic and smokes a ton of weed. She is always in co-dependent relationships and as soon as one man is gone, she's on to another. She's rude and hateful and doesn't take appropriate care of her daughter. It took me years to get my boundaries in place, but once I did my life improved 100 fold. I never give her cash for anything for my granddaughter. I buy it myself. If she's crazy and irrational, I hang up or walk away from her and give myself a few days of space. She was sober for abut 18 months and things were much better, but she's back at it again. I will do anything to help her get well, but nothing to help her stay sick. I am constantly worried about my dear granddaughter who suffers the consequences and have called CPS on her several times. It's terrible, but I have been able find some peace in life. I hope you can do the same. I know how difficult it is. Hang in there.
  11. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Sadmom, so sorry you find yourself here. Many of us have walked your same path. Others here have already given you some great advice.

    I would say it is time for you to center yourself and you needs in your own life. Your son is an adult now. You have tried many times, at great financial and emotional cost, to get him on a better path. You have learned that your attempting to save home from his choices did not help. Be grateful that you have learned this when he is 21, not 31 or 41.

    What happens next in his life is his choice and his responsibility. I hope you can find the strength to not rescue him next time he finds himself in trouble. It is no longer your job, and it does more harm than good.

    I have had three off the rails and so far only one has gotten his life turned around. His turning point was in prison. The best thing I ever did for him was refuse to bail him out, pay for a lawyer, or ease his time in prison. It was also one of the hardest things I have done. Jumping into rescue mode is easier than watching them fall. As hard as it was to watch, those nine months in prison provided the wake up call he needed to make another choice when he was out. It also connected him to mandated rehab and halfway programs and the probation program kept him accountable for staying sober in those critical first couple years out. He is now married and has a son and a stepson who are my joys. It wasn’t the path I imagined for my bright son with a promising future but it is the path he needed to take. He is building a different future now.

    I can’t say what will happen next with your son or what it will take for him to turn his life around. What I do hope is that you will take this time to refocus on you. Rekindle friendships you have lost, or start activities that will help you find new ones. Find hobbies that bring you joy. Pamper yourself. Give yourself permission to feel joy and be alright in the moment, even if your son is not alright.

    Hugs to you. Keep posting.
  12. sadmom7058

    sadmom7058 New Member

    Thank you for sharing and your advice.