Need advice......have a question about when your child was asked to leave.

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by rosepress, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. rosepress

    rosepress New Member

    Please, I am still learning and adapting. Only been to one AL-ANON meeting, but have an appointment with our sons doctor and a counselor and I will ask lots of questions then, but we were wondering, is it ok or NOT ok to talk over phone with our son or send a text? Our soon to be 20 year old was asked to leave for his addiction to weed and pills. He called on e day to ask if he could get his bike, and we let him. but it was outside and we didn't have to interact with him. He quietly got it and left. Is it wrong to send him pieces of encouragement by text? Or is more effective to have NOTHING to do with him, including calls, letters, or texts. I want to do what we are suppose to do...and what most effective for him.

    Our son, his grandma points out to us all the time, that he isn't just a drug addict, he has had a host of issues from the time he was very young...ADHD, ODD, social anxiety, post tramatic syndrome...his grandma explains that yes, it was his choice to start smoking and popping pills, but she says he needs it so he doesn't deal with his issues. I say a drug addict is still a drug addict and that we all have issues. If I started doing drugs just because my husband and I struggle with bills, or because I have osteoarthritis and need more surgeries, or because I take care of his stroke stricken grandpa or my good friend just passed away...just to name a few, I would have been an addict a long time ago! I tell her he has to make up his mind, GET HELP! My mother in law feels sorry for him and thinks he can not help it...I hate when she tells me this stuff, then I feel like I may be leading him to HARDER drugs and over the edge. husband and I forgot that our son still has his phone service that we pay for. He said that he is going to text him to let him know that he will have to be paying for it himself but will give him a heads up first...then we will have no-line of communicating with this what we should do also? I know a lot of you been through this, that's why I value your opinion. Gob Bless.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    As I mentioned before I have not been there done that due to an accident that changed our circumstances completely. on the other hand, I have been here for over a decade and can assure you that is NOT one checklist to use. All of us are different and our difficult children are not identical either. Some of us have remained in touch and paid for the phone to assure difficult children didn't isolate from the family. Others have cut off the phone right away to emphasize that difficult child was on his or her own. Absolutely a universal rule is do not stay on the phone if the call is abusive or manipulative. Just say "Bye, I've got to go now." and hang up.

    Personally I don't "think" that you should call him to provide encouragement. If he calls with a specific concern you can offer direction IF it seems appropriate. Yeah, I know, it sounds conflicting but it has to be based on who you all are. For example if he calls and says "there is no place I can go to sleep" you should have a list of "homeless shelters that you have spoken to" so you can respond "difficult child you can go to x, y or z." Knowing my personality I would likely add, lol, "OR, son, you can decide to give up drugs and go to the ABC Center for treatment which Dad and I believe is in YOUR best interests". If he calls and says he is hungry...pull out a list of where free meals are served. IF he is one to "blame" or "whine" have a list by the phone or set responses...choose one and read it to him. Examples??? "I know you can find the right solution for this problem because you are a bright kid." Then, you say "good luck, I've got to go now. Love you."

    Others here have been there done that and also are still doing that. I completely understand your fears and your goals and your love. I can't help but feel compassion for the grandparents, sigh, because they have not yet gotten to the point you and your husband have reached. Some difficult child parents are able to just get flat out ANGRY and cope that way. Some difficult child parents keep hiding from the problem because they just can't "man up" and try to change the course of their kid's life. Most of us??? Most of us make well thought out choices and then spend a heck of alot of time crying alone in fear and repeating the Serenity Prayer.

    Trust yourself and your husband. Stay in a tandem line with husband. You guys created difficult child, you love him and today you are fighting to encourage him to find a healthy path. The two of you can wax and wane a bit with-o feeling guilty. It is YOUR life. It is YOUR son. The whole process is not etched in stone. Personally (and I think most of the parents on the CD Board) I would give my life in a nano second IF I could change easy child/difficult child. Sadly we just can't. Hugs DDD
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    The key to detachment is to do what feels right for YOU. I don't see anything wrong with encouraging messages....after all - you still love him a lot! And the idea is to accept that YOU are not going to be the difference in his life. YOUR CHOICES are not going to determine his future - HIS are!

    Just make sure you are not "costing" yourself anything. If his phone calls are making you feel emotionally exhausted - then don't take his calls. If his phone calls make you feel good - then by all means - make them!

    Having a positive relationship is a good thing!
  4. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Hi Rose...

    I have definitely been there done that and am still doing it three years later!! So the best advice I got when we kicked our son out was from my therapist. My first reaction was to just cut him off until he called us..... and she told me no keep in touch with him, let him know you love him. Dont let him come home but let him know you care about him.
    It took 2 weeks for him to call us but when he got arrested he called us!!!

    It is now 3 years later and we have been on a crazy long journey roller coaster ride which you will find in various places on this board...and my son is still struggling and he is definitely not living at home nor will he.

    But I am convinced that one thing that has both kept him alive and kept him from becoming a hardened criminal is him knowing we love him. And we have always been there and supported him when he was ready for help.

    That is our line... we will support him when he is doing the next right thing ro getting help, and we will not help him at all financially when he is using but we will still love him.

    So last week when he was seriously suicidal he called us and we ended up taking him to a psychiatric unit where he still is.... and we are visiting him almost every day.

    We have let my son be homeless and literally let him live on the streets but always we let him know we love him and we have supported him going into treatment.

    So yes detachment does mean thinking about what feels right to you... noone else can really answer that question for you. For me that has meant at times that I have gotten my son clothes or shoes or food and always helped him find treatment. It also means he absolutely cannot live with us, both for my daughters sake but also our sake.

    One thing that helps me on this at times horrible journey is that I have done every thing I can to let my son know he is loved and to help him.
    The rest is really up to him....

  5. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    As DDD, Daisy, and TL said, it varies from family to family. As far as encouraging messages, I don't think that will help right now since your difficult child hasn't even acknowledged that he has a drug problem. So encouraging him to get clean will fall on deaf ears. An occasional I love you, though, wouldn't hurt. He will probably throw it back in your face, however, since he is looking for someone to blame right now. I know my daughter would have replied that since we threw her out it showed that we didn't love her and probably would have added some other ugly things.

    Texting was easier for me but there did come a time that we had to set limits to the contact because our difficult child kept trying to manipulate us and we had to make it clear that we would not listen to it anymore. DDD was right about setting boundaries about what you will listen to . . . hang up when he is abusive or manipulative. We even ended up blocking our difficult child's texts and having her calls go straight to voicemail so we could choose when we wanted to answer her calls.

    As far as paying for his phone, we chose long ago to make that her responsibility so we do not pay for her phone and haven't since she was a teen. Somehow. she always managed to make that payment. She has a MetroPCS account which only costs $50 for unlimited phone calls and data. She has to pay upfront so it doesn't matter that her credit rating is in the toilet.

    Other members like being able to see that their difficult child's are alive so they have kept them on the family phone plan. That is up to you but if he is being abusive to you then I definitely would suspend that line for the time being.

    There are no easy answers and there are no right answers. You have to do what you feel is right and that you can live with. You have it harder than I did because husband and I didn't have any family close by so no one was second guessing us. Of course, that also meant that we didn't have family support to turn to when things got tough.

    I actually agree with his grandma about the mental health issues being a factor in your son's drug abuse. I have become convinced over the years that mental illness and substance abuse are intertwined. My difficult child has had many different diagnoses over the years. I still don't know which ones are right. Doctors really can't make a diagnosis until the person is clean and sober. There have been several recent studies that show that treatment must happen simultaneously. It is called dual-diagnosis and the top treatment centers work on both the substance abuse and mental health issues at the same time. Otherwise, it is just a vicious cycle. They get clean but then self-medicate due to the mental health problems. Or they are in treatment for the mental health issues but the addiction gets in the way of it being effective.

    Either way, your son has to acknowledge that he has a problem and be willing to get help.

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2013
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Totally agree with everything Kathy said.... and we are one of those that have chosen to keep paying for difficult children phone. I continue to do this because it does let me know he is alive and even if he is not contacting us I can see if he is contacting someone.

    The worst time for me was when he was homeless and lost his phone or it broke.... so he didnt have a phone. It was really hard on me not knowing if he was alive or dead and not knowing if he had a way to contact me.

    So like Kathy said it is what will make you feel better.. For me him having a phone makes me feel better and so he has one. Not a smart phone, very basic.

    And yes texting is often the best way to communicate and yeah dont push treatment... just let him know you will help him get it when he is ready.

  7. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hello Oona and Welcome! I suggest that you start a new thread so we can all get to know you. It would also help if you added a signature like the one that you see at the bottom of my post.

  8. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I don't have time to write a long answer, but I heartily ditto all the advice you've been given. It is something we all struggle with and we've all posted about it at one time or another or multiple times. I like having my son's phone in my name because there were many weeks that I did check to see if he was using it just to know he was alive.

    As far as texts or calls, you have to live with yourself so do what you have to do. No judgment, no right answer. I couldn't help but remember a board "aha moment" many months ago... I wish I could remember who posted it. I think it was advice received from a therapist or support group. Anyway, " Don't dial pain." Try to remember that. So often, we would go too far in seeking out a connection with a lost difficult child -- chasing their love or trying to reach their hearts- and it would backfire. And then we'd try again. And in the end, WE felt worse. So, try remember that you don't have the magic words to change your difficult child. Yes, call or text when needed, but at the same time - try to keep an inner sense of detachment while doing so.

    Me? I did my fair amount of chasing, of dialing pain. Desperate to hear his voice,desperate to try to get thru to him and yes - it did not work and often broke my heart and poured salt on my wounds. Our difficult children are usually great at detaching from us. My husband would remind me that the therapist told us we needed to give difficult child enough space to miss us. At the same time, the therapist also acknowledged that I had to accept that I was a mother first and I couldn't beat myself up or antagonize over "how" to parent this difficult child perfectly. So, that's what I say to you. Most of all, do what you need to do and don't hold your own actions under a microscope.

    Personally, I eventually settled into a pattern of a "good night, I love you text" every Sunday evening and nothing more. When he didn't reply, I cried my eyes out. Initially, if he replied, i would send additional OTT texts in response that he ignored, cue crying eyes out. After that, when he DID reply, I tried to remember to send just a quick "thank you, sleep well" back in response and nothing more.

    Be well.
  9. Oona

    Oona New Member

    Uh oh - what's a thread and how do I create one?
  10. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Member

    Lots of good advice here. My Alanon sponsor said I should put a timer by my computer. If difficult child is hateful, as he often is, set it for 15 minutes. I have to wait that long before rereplying. I have also opted to typically reply to his FB messages in the morning, when he isn't online and won't reply.

    The best advice I have received is to make decisions based on MY comfort, not difficult child.

    Keep posting. This board has helped more than I can describe.
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    rosepress I just got back from vacation and have not been able to read any replies so I'm sure I will duplicate what my fellow warrior moms here have said.

    When we asked our daughter to leave because of her drinking and drug use we always tried to keep the lines of communcation open. I would take her calls and texts as long as she wasn;t abusive. Our goal was to get her into treatment and we decided we couldn't do that if we ignored her. And we continue to pay for her cell phone to this day, three years later. I just cannot have her out of communication, she needs it for her job and for emergencies, etc.

    Your son sounded like he respected your boundaries by quietly getting his bike and leaving. I'm sure you would jump at the chance to help him if he really wanted the help, and I have always felt it best to make sure our daughter knows that we support HER, not her drug/alcohol use. She is now living on her own with her boyfriend and is working a good job and while she still drinks she is not doing drugs to our knowledge and she has more than once told us that she doesn't know what she would have done without our support. But make no mistake about it, we did withdraw anytime she was actively using and not trying to help herself.

    This is a painful time for you and I am glad you have an appointment with a counselor to help guide you.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oona, THIS is a thread and you just need to click on "New Thread" or "New Post" (not sure what it says). Then you type.