New and Struggling

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Lil, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    First, hello to everyone and I hope I find some support here. From browsing a bit, it looks to be a caring group. I'll apologize in advance that this will be a long post. I'm posting in this forum, because I know some substance use is involved here, although I'm not sure if it's the cause of the problem or just a symptom.

    I suppose some background is in order. I'm 50 years old and the mother of one child, my son, age 18 as of last April. His biological father was my first husband. I married poorly the first time. I only knew him a few months before we married. He was a high school drop-out and, as I later discovered, an alcoholic. He seldom got "drunk", but he drank all the time, if that makes sense. His father also had a dependence on alcohol. We divorced while my son was just a baby and I remarried right after his 5th birthday. My husband is a wonderful man. Stable, dependable, caring, a former marine, hard-working, and a good father. He adopted my son when he was 7. We hadn't seen from his bio-dad since we'd married and as it turns out, he'd taken up stealing as a calling soon after we split and only a few months after the adoption he hung himself while in jail awaiting trial for something. My son has no real memories of him. I have never spoken ill of his bio-dad to him and he only found out the truth of his dad's death in the last couple years. He had never asked. When he did, we told him the truth.

    Around age 16 my son changed. He's always been a difficult kid. He hasn't ever really fit in anywhere, never had many friends, has not been "happy". He was always a solemn child, not a smiler, you know? He always had a tendency to obsess. When he was really little it was trains, then it was star wars, then it was video games. I mean that he almost literally would do nothing else and play nothing else. He did, however, spend time with us, watch TV or what have you, with us. He never joined clubs, had no interest whatsoever in sports of any kind, even when little, he’d play one season and never do it again. He took karate lessons for a few months, to dojo closed and he refused to go anywhere else. But he began spending more and more time locked away in his room or with friends. We really thought it was just the teen thing. He still made decent grades, although his teachers universally thought he was lazy. He’s VERY bright, but the kind of kid that wouldn’t do homework, or would do it and not turn it in. By mid-term he’d be getting F’s. By finals he’d bring it up to C’s, B’s and even A’s. The older he got the more he changed. His old friends were replaced by new and we were concerned by his friends, they were “slackers” for lack of a better word. The long-haired, baggy-pants, kinda-maybe stoners. But, he assured us, he wasn’t doing anything wrong and he was never in trouble, kept his curfew, etc.

    Then shortly after he turned 17, we found him stoned on synthetic pot when we came home from church. After he straightened up, we searched his room, and found nothing else, but he left home for a week. He came home when he realized no one would take him in. We did a few family counseling sessions and thought things were better. We suspected it was still going on...but we both work, we aren’t home all the time and can’t really monitor him 24/7. At the same time he was selling things, his guitars (he’d quit lessons anyway) and his X box. Anyway, after his 18[SUP]th[/SUP] we (about June his birthday is April) found out he’d stolen from us by returning some items we’d bought for home improvement to the store. Again, he left home and returned in a week for the same reason. While he was gone he sold his laptop and $125 headset we’d JUST bought him and a psp he’d just gotten. He came home broke, saying someone had stolen his $ at a house he’d been at, and in such a state we badgered him until he agreed to go to the ER. They diagnosed him with depression and prescribed an antidepressant. We got him a counselor and he saw her all summer, but as soon as he got to college he stopped the medications. Again, we thought things were better. We knew he was still smoking pot, but he’s over 18 and we can’t stop that. We forbid it in our house, and he always said he didn’t in the house, but our house would smell “funny”, not really like pot, but I guess the synthetic doesn’t really have that smell.

    Through all this time we also fought his temper. He has a horrible temper and since he was a young child has had what could best be described as tantrums. He was kicked out of daycare at 3 for them. He saw a child psychiatrist for a time back then. He was never diagnosed with anything. Since about age 17 he took to punching holes in his door. He was finally told that if he did it again, had a screaming fit toward us, he’d be out. It nearly came to that, but things settled down.
    In August, right before he left for college, we discovered he’d pawned his dad’s guitars. We got them back, but there was no way we weren’t going to catch this – his dad takes a lesson every week! He said he needed the money to “help a friend” (un-named of course) which is his default answer. I should mention that through all this he’d gotten a small allowance, $15 a week in gas and $20 cash. He’s never had a job. He “said” he’d looked, but when he refuses to cut his hair or wear appropriate clothing for interviews or listen to us when we tell him HOW to job hunt....well of course he doesn’t get hired. We debated, seriously, about sending him to college. It’s a 2 year university 4 hours from home. We sent him, because we wanted him AWAY from our town and his “friends”, most of whom are drop-outs and on probation. We told him if he stole even one more thing from us, we’d call the police. He was getting $50 week spending money and was always broke. We pay for his dorm, but he says he hates the food so he buys fast food all the time. He came home about every 3 weeks...he got high as soon as he’d get in town, I might add. Then in Sept he came home to sign his $700 student loan check (after the university takes their share) and we discovered that BEFORE the guitars, he’d stolen our archery equipment and pawned it. We’re also missing his dad’s PS2 and a number of DVD’s. The ONLY reason we didn’t call the police was that it was done before the guitars. His father wanted to keep his car at that point (in our names) but I couldn’t face it. So instead we cut his allowance to $25 a week and told him to stay gone until Thanksgiving. Our hope was that with so little money he’d #1 not be able to come home on the sly and then get stranded (it takes about $40 gas to get one way) #2 not have any money after gas and cigarettes for pot. He was also told he better get nothing less than B’s or C’s or we were taking the car. Of course, he is always dead broke and begging for money.

    In the last couple of weeks, we’ve been advised he’s failing. I thought that would mean he’d be coming home and I actually drew up a set of rules to give him over the holiday. Now he’s saying he doesn’t want to come home. His big idea is to move to Colorado (he didn’t say WHY Colorado, but I can guess) buy cheap land he’s found on the internet, and live “off the grid” in an RV with this other guy he’s met down there that also hates college. When told he would NOT be taking our car out of state, he was ******. He apparently planned to enroll in next semester’s classes and then take the $ and run instead. I reminded him that he only gets about $700 after the university takes their share (Oh, his prior $700 is in MY bank account at the moment). Again, he was ****** because his friends get so much more in student loans – we make too much for him to get more. No matter what he does, we are on the hook for his student housing, because we guaranteed the lease, to the tune of $680 per month.

    I’m just lost. He was supposed to go to school and get an education and hopefully at least meet a little better class of stoner. (A joke – but you know what I mean, people who actually want an education!) but instead he’s just so out there. I don’t know what to do. Do we take the car? Do we stop his $ altogether? Do we give him his student loan money and say “That’s it. Do what you want.” He won’t listen. He says he can’t find work down there. He won’t come back and says he can’t find work here. But he won’t change anything TO find work. He won’t consider a different college. (The one he’s in put him in nothing but computer courses in his major – no general studies – not exactly what I’d thought was wise, but I couldn’t change it.) How do I get him to see reason? I don’t know if it’s the pot or if he’s just...lost it.

    All I really know is right now I wonder what I did wrong. We set reasonable rules, we gave him love and respect and he’s just completely turned away from us and it’s breaking me apart.
  2. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Lil, and welcome to the SA forum. Your story has a very familiar ring to it. We hear it over and over here on the SA forum. 18 is such a hard age to deal with. They think the are adults and know everything and there is nothing you can do at this point regarding their drug use and life decisions.

    Honestly, I think your son sounds like he is going to learn things the hard way. As hard as it will be, I think I would let him go find out how hard life really is without a skill or education never mind while using drugs.

    If the car is in your name and you let him take it, you could be held liable if he gets into an accident while drunk or high. So no, he shouldn't get to take the car. I also think you should stop the money altogether . . . he is just using it to buy drugs

    He has shown that he does not want a college education. I truly believe that the only help you should give him at this point is if he is in rehab or a halfway house. The college loan money is trickier. If it is in his name, I don't know if you can legally withhold it from him.

    Keep posting. You will find incredible help and support here.

  3. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Thank you Kathy. I am just so lost right now. I should have mentioned I suppose, that I have a law degree and my husband has a bachelors. He got his degree after we married, taking on-line and night classes while working full time. We're both civil servants, me in Social Services and my husband with Corrections. God knows we're law abiding people, but we also know we can't force anyone else to be. I'm actually not worried about personal liability for any car accidents. He's over 18 and the car is insured with him as the primary driver. It would be a serious stretch to find us liable, at least in my state. I do find it hard to believe he's buying pot with as little income as he has. His bank account is linked to ours so I can see where he spends his money and while he does tend to get $10 or $20 cash now and then, he spends it mostly at gas stations, fast food places and discount cigarette shops. But I am equally sure he finds a way. Maybe I'm just in denial.

    Right now we're just kind of in limbo. His money is in our bank account because when he was home and we found out about the other stolen items he endorsed it over to me. I told him if he wanted to go to summer school, there was his tuition, if he wanted to move to an apartment 2nd year, there was the deposits, but of course none of that is likely now. We're not looking forward to Wednesday when he comes home for the holiday. Which is just sad.

    Oh, and sorry, I apparently used a word I shouldn't have. I thought it was tame enough to get through. I'll used ticked off from now on. :)
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hello there. From your description of him, sounds like he could have Aspergers Syndrome, but he certainly understands right from wrong and could access help and maybe diagnostic testing if he wanted it. He does not have to use drugs, which will make everything ten times worse.

    Because he is selling his possessions and wanting to hide out in a remote area, I am guessing that his drug use is more than pot. I'm really sorry to even have to post this, but I was fooled myself. My daughter, who started smoking pot at twelve (yes, you read that right), moved up the ladder and ended up using everything...psychedelics, meth, even a few tries at heroin. I thought if you did heroin one time you were addicted, but apparently not. Still, it is scary that she went there. Cocaine was a big one for her and ADHD stimulants that she and her drug "friends" crushed in pillcrushers and snorted, alone or with cocaine. Then she'd need some downer to allow her to sleep. She did this while taking a hairdressing class and getting all A's in it!!! Her school counselor called with concerns about drug use after she had promised she had quit. I tried to believe her when she told me she quit because I badly needed to think it was true, but she disappointed each time until we had to make her leave. She kept drugs stuffed in her room and we could have been arrested for having them in our house...and we had two younger kids who were tired of seeing Officer Unfriendly dropping by looking for her.

    There is nothing you can do to stop your son's destructive lifestyle at his age. But you don't have to allow him into your house to maybe steal and sell more of your precious possessions. I would change the locks. And you don't have to send him a dime, which he will probably spend on drugs rather than food (we had to cut our daughter off too. It made her actually go get a job!!!). I would not let Son use the car. My daughter got into three serious accidents while high. After the first accident, she was never allowed to drive our vehicles again, but certain "friends" let her. Bad idea. She got into one accident that was really bad and she owed $14,000 to the person she hit long after she quit using drugs. Her father did help her pay it off, but by then she was completely sober, gainfully employed, and trying hard to put her life back together, which she did (THERE IS HOPE!).

    Anyhow, I learned most of what my daughter had done after she quit because I was caught in between denial and just really not knowing what was going on with her...I just knew it was not good or something we could live with. If I were you, I'd get some hands on support and go to Nar-Anon or National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) where they have classes for parents of the mentally ill. You need desperately to take care of YOURSELF. You can't control your son, but you can control your reactions to his self-destructive lifestyle and you can still live a fulfilling, rich, good life. By the way, you didn't do anything wrong. Most drug users come from good families. At a certain time, peers become more influential than parents in many kids and other than lock them in the house, we can't help that. Your son may have a predisposition to drug misuse because of his biology. He needs to learn this and to control it, but that's on him. You can't do a thing to make him do it. If he comes to your sincerely looking for help, then I'd go all out and get him into a rehab, but that is it. He has to want to get better for you to be able to help him do it or give him support.

    I'm glad you came and you are always welcome to post and we will respond. I am sorry, however, that you had to come here at all and for your hurting mommy heart. But you do need to make decisions about how you will handle your son and then you need to try hard to go on with your own life, your other loved ones, the things you love to do, and you need to live at a high level in spite of the poor choices your son makes. It is out of your hands so there is no point in punishing yourself by suffering with him. Big hugs!!!
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Just a quick note of welcome. You have found a wonderful place to express yourself with-o fear of identification. Many of us aren't sure we would have survived the years of stress alone. Read the SA Forum and the PE Forum and you will find comfort in learning you are not alone. What works for one family does not work for another. Like you and your husband we "knew" that our high achieving kid would bring us great pride. Sigh. Hang in there and know you are no longer alone. Hugs DDD
  6. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I want to thank you all very much. Maybe I am in denial about what he is actually doing, but I just really find it hard to believe that he's able to buy gas, cigarettes, food and pot on $25 a week. He does like having cash, and tends to go buy a pack of cigarettes and then get cash back from stores, but we also see him spending money at fast food places and the discount cigarette shop in town. (His bank account is attached to ours, so we can see his and transfer money, although he has no access to ours.) Then there was the fact that it's hard to GET the boy to take medication. About two months before his 18th birthday he had his wisdom teeth out and get an abcess in his jaw which required surgery and two days in the hospital. They sent him home with a big bottle of liquid hyrdacodone (spelled wrong I think) but he pretty much refused to take it. We left it in his bathroom until he started having friends over and we got nervous about it, but we just moved it to our bedroom and he knew where it was. He took maybe six doses, we took almost the entire bottle to the police station to have it disposed of several months later. I'd even ask him to take it and he wouldn't. I'd think that a kid on drugs would take them when offered! We've never had any of our medication missing...and there are narcotics that we just forgot to pitch.

    I didn't mention it before, but his dad and I are certainly not dependent on anything but cigarettes. There's always liquor in the house...because we buy it and never drink it. A tiny bit of Irish Creme I had in the fridge was missing once. But he always had other kids around, so might have been anyone. But there's vodka that's never been drank and wine and lots of stuff, open, in the fridge or cupboard, never gets used unless I cook with it. I have a law degree and my husband has a bachelors. We both have 19+ years at our jobs - Social Services and Corrections, respectively - and certainly didn't set a bad example. Right now we're even working a second job that we do together for extra cash for home repairs!

    Aspergers. I researched that a lot when he was young because I had my suspicions, but no professional ever suggested testing. He'd never agree to it now. I wonder though if he did, what good would testing do? I can see him then saying, "It's not my fault. I have a condition." instead of taking any responsibility. God knows he doesn't take responsibility unless he has to.

    I do appreciate your support. I think I'm just not quite to the point of giving up and washing my hands of him. This weekend is going to be ... not fun. I can already picture him telling us about his plans and then us telling him why they won't work in real life and him getting huffy and/or ignoring us. The one thing I want to make clear to him is that the car is OURS and not his and we won't under any circumstances allow it to leave the state and that if he drops out of school the tiny allowance is ended. We're waiting for the grades to see if he keeps the car. He was told he would with B's and C's. Of course, he says he's failing...but I hate to take it if he enrolls in another semester, if for no other reason than when it snows and rains and such he'll probably not go to class. But the rational part of me says, buy him a bus pass, keep the car and cut him off. I know he won't starve to death; he can eat in the cafeteria. But I was a college student. It sucks to be penniless when other people are ordering pizza or going to a movie or whatever. He's already so unhappy and I don't want to make him more unhappy than he is. I know a hard stand might be right. I don't know if I have it in me.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    What difference would it make?
    I'm fighting for a diagnosis for my not-quite-adult kids... because it makes a huge difference in the real world.
    For us, each accurate diagnosis changed how WE handled the kids, the things we tried to teach them and HOW we taught.
    Asperger's isn't a disease. It's not progressive, although interventions can help. It's really about being wired differently. They (we) think differently, process inputs (sensory, auditory, emotional, etc.) differently. They see what most miss... and miss what most see. If you understand what you are working with, it really helps. It would really help HIM, too.

    But skip the formal evaluation for now, and ... maybe try reading some non-technical/non-medical books about Asperger's. Like "Look Me In The Eye" by John Elder Robinson... a bio by an Aspie. Consider what makes him tick, and how he thinks. Then, if YOU think he might be Aspie, start treating him like one. It means a major shift in thinking (including learning how to be REALLY black-and-white about what you say!), but it might make a difference in how he responds.
  8. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    That's an interesting thought InsaneCdn. My thinking was that suggesting such a thing to him would simply put him on the defensive, "You think there's something wrong with me. You don't think I'm good enough the way I am." He's been very touchy about his self-worth; demanding that people "accept" him as he is and that if people don't like his long hair or black clothes that's their problem. It's why he hasn't gotten a job, he refuses to do anything he doesn't want to do, including changing to a more professional look. Like I said, I had suspicions when he was little, but it was never anything that became a problem so we dealt...but I suspect like autism, asperger's has degrees of severity. I'll look into that book you suggested. Thank you.
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Lil and welcome. My husband has a law degree also ;) and he couldn;t stop what our daughter was doing either. It made no difference to her that he saw people go to jail every day.

    From what I have read it sounds very much like your son is buying drugs. He has stolen enough things from you to have enough money up until now. My daughter also stole from us many times, then began stealing from other people and shoplifting, which she got arrested for. I would not give him any student loan money, that is a farce. You know he isn't using it for school and he intended to take the money for next semester and run. I had to laugh when Iread he wants to move to Colorado, so did my daughter. I questioned her about never havign any interestin Colorado before and she said she's always wanted to move there.....hahahahahahaha that's just one example of her manipulation. She also got suspended from college in her first semester for smoking pot and drinking in the dorm. We were left paying tuition and student loans on classes she never went to.

    Looking back I can see my daughter was doing drugs way back when she was 14. We were not in denial, we called the police on her many times and she had several court appearances before she was even 18. We kicked her out of the house at 18, she lived with a heroin addict for 3 months, she went to rehab, a sober living house and finally in her own apartment. She is now living with her boyfriend, a nice guy but has no license since he had a dui years ago and can't pay the court costs and fines to get it back and he has no ambition to get it, but she is not doing drugs any longer and we have a good relationship with her. She now realizes she blew many chances to go to college and make something of herself but is currently working a dead end minimum wage job, certainly not what we wanted for her.

    I would not give your son the car to go anywhere. If he wants to live off the land let him go do it. Be there with the light in the window for when he finally grows up but I would not help finance his drug habit. I belong to a parent support group for drug abusers, the stories are all the same, the parents are wonderful people, they did not do anything wrong. Drugs are out there and especially ofr a kid like yours and mine who don't feel they fit in, they are a huge draw. My daughter use to say the only time she felt normal was when she was drinking or smoking pot. She was not comfortable in her own skin. The ony thing we could do was not enable her substance abuse until she matured and saw things in a dfferent light.
  10. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    Hi Lil - Welcome - I see similarities in your story and mine. My difficult child is currently in rehab - he has been in and out of programs for 3 years. He is a HS Senior now and saying that he's just going to get his GED now because he can't face going back and graduating late - also claims no need for college as he doesn't want a lifestyle that requires a lot of money. What he doesn't realize is that we will not support his lack of motivation and direction in our home. If your difficult child thinks that he can "live off the land" in Colorado - let him. Personally - I would probably let him take the car only because he would not be able to work without one, but I would provide nothing else. I would also let him know that if/when his plan does not work, you will support him moving forward in a healthy way; ie a sober house or something like that. It does not sound like living in your home will be workable as he feels strongly that he doesn't need you or your rules or society's structure. He may have a few hard years, but he needs to find out on his own what "his way" looks like. I am pretty sure my difficult child is headed in a similar direction and will try something similar. I had a sister who did this at this age - she did struggle with substance abuse for years but got ahold of herself in her late twenties and lives a happy and successful life with two children. I have hope for your difficult child and mine that their moment of clarity will come and the anger/defiance will go away and allow them to reconnect with their families the way my sister did and live productive lives. I also do agree with others that your difficult child is probably using more than pot. I know you mentioned the he refused the prescribed medications, but substance users are funny like that. He may consider that drug taboo but my guess is that he is more into the "hippie" stuff like mine - psychadelics, etc. The pawning and stealing are tell-tale signs of use.
  11. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Perhaps I didn't explain that very well. The selling of his things, the guitars, Xbox, took place over a long period starting before he turned 17 and I know where that money went, mostly. Of our things, the items returned to the store totalled $25. The bow, he got $25 for...there were other items, so I don't know how much he actually got, but I doubt over $150 and some of the stuff pawned was from friends. That would have been about June. The guitars he got $125 for (in case you haven't figured it out we got these things back and paid the pawn so we know how much he got) and that was in August. He also sold a drum set in July and got $300. It was gone in two weeks. So I KNOW he definitely was buying pot with it this summer...but he's honestly only had the $25 a week since September.

    Still, yes, I'm sure that was what it was going to. Like I said, I'd hoped the limited funds would stop that at college....I don't know if it has. I don't actually know how much pot costs these days...but I know a dime bag doesn't cost $10 anymore. Times have changed since I was in high school. (I never bought any myself...but I wasn't locked in my room either back in the day.)

    You know, I never wanted him to be just like me. I never minded him dancing to his own beat. We didn't fight the long hair and awful music and clothing. We didn't sweat the small stuff. We insisted he get decent grades, stay out of trouble, be home at reasonable hours, do household chores. When he announced he was an athiest and wouldn't attend church anymore, I was more disappointed for him than in him. (It's always seemed such a close-minded stance...that this is all there is and nothing more.) When his girlfriend discovered she was pregnant (not his-long story) and he wanted to stand by her, we told him we wouldn't lie and say the child was his- but we could and would prevent him from claiming the child until he turned 18. But we didn't bad-mouth her and try to break them up. (As we thought, it worked itself out and after the baby came they broke up.) But he was never in any real trouble. He kept his curfew. He didn't get tickets. He passed his classes. He really didn't cause us any problems to speak of. I knew he'd drank. I knew his friends smoked pot. I knew he smoked cigarettes. But until the day I walked in the door and found him stoned I never, ever, thought that I'd witness that. I don't know how we could have not known - but we were totally caught unaware. He always thought we were soooooo hard on him, because his friends parents just didn't care what they did. But we always tried to be fair. We worked on a one-strike system. Kid's screw up. It happens. The first time, there is a lecture, but no real consequence. Do it again and the consequence described in the lecture happens.

    What your daughter said was one of the statements that got him to the ER this spring and then in counseling for the summer. He said pot was the only thing that made him happy.

    Lord just typing that made me tear up. That's what kills me about all this. He has no reason to be unhappy. But he's not. He never has been his whole life, not really, and it's the only thing I want.​
  12. Scott_G

    Scott_G Member

    In my opinion, he is an adult and you have absolutely no place doing this. My son is 31 now and after years of lectures and unsolicited fatherly advice, I finally learned that although they are our children, they are our adults and it is really not our business to get involved in their affairs unless they ask for our support. I will admit that when our son moved back in with us in his early 20s I rode his ass. I constantly lectured him abut what it means to be a real man, and how he had to get a job, and on and on. Even into his 30's I continued to tell him what he needed to do or not to do. Did it help? Absolutely not. It made him resentful that I was constantly judging him and it made me angry that he never listened to my sage fatherly advice. The last straw was the foreclosure on his house. He hadn't paid the mortgage in almost a year. He ignored all the letters from the bank. So I took it upon myself to open all the mail from his bank, read it all, do some research, and talk to some people. The lender was willing to let him walk away free and clear- they would not sue him for the deficiency or any other legal costs associated with foreclosure. All he had to do was contact the bank and surrender the title of the home. Did he follow through? Of course not. When his electricty was shut off and he had lost his job he simply abandoned the house. I got angry at first at his moronic lack of responsibility, but then I had a moment of clarity. Unsolicited advice, help, and judgement was absolutely and totally worthless. In fact I will go so far as to say it causes more harm than good. It causes resentment on both sides and I believe it also can hurt their emotional maturity by not allowing them to grow up and succeed or fail on their own terms.

    If your son wants to go off the grid and be a pot farmer in Colorado, he is an adult and that is his right to do so. Simply smile and wish him the best of luck, but be sure to tell him that you won't be financing his dreams. I see nothing wrong with imposing rules on adult children in exchange for financial support, because after all, if they don't like the rules they can always choose to try and make a go of it on their own.

    It has been a very interesting experience reading the posts on this site. There is a lot of thought provoking material to read through. One thing that I find very fasciniating to think about is that what or kids do that seems scary or wrong to us seems perfectly normal to them. There is a street culture out there that we know nothing of, people who generally live on the fringes of society have a culture we know nothing of, but when we get glimpses of their worlds from our 9 to 5, 2.5 kid, house with white picket fence world, their world seems foreign, scary, and often downright wrong. For me personally I feel that I am at a point of the detachment journey where I need to learn and practice acceptance. I need to accept who my son IS, not who he was as a little child, and not the dream of what WE wanted for him. He is who he is and will be that way until he decides other wise, not us. Acceptance doesn't mean approval. I don't approve of the way he is living and I refuse to supoort his lifestyle in any fashion, but it is not my place to judge his choices or put him down for not living the way that I believe "normal" people should live. It may sound like I am giving up, and it may sound like a very sad situation (and it is ), but I consider myself to be a realist living in the real world, and this is the reality of the situation. You simply can not control what another person does, even if they are your child. You also can not get an addict to quit. Addiction is a very terrible sickness that unfortunately seems to have less happy endings that sad ones, and while I am no expert, I firmly believe that the only way a person can give up addiction is if they truly want to do it for themselves. As a parent of an adult difficult child I believe that the best we can do is to let them know that we are there for them if they truly want help and want to change their lifestyle, but it is not our place to support their destructive lifestyle or constantly heap judgement upon them.
  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I know I'm probably living in a dream world....I'm just hoping that it isn't anything "stronger" than pot.

    I love the difficult child acronym. But right now I keep thinking, God doesn't give you more than you can handle. I wish he didn't have so much faith in me. :sigh:
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Perhaps, because he IS wired differently, and experiences life from a very different perspective. He's a square peg in a world of round holes, and he just doesn't fit... even when he "seems" to be doing the right things, life never has that "flow" that makes things move forward. He's always tripping on something? Maybe?

    Doesn't excuse the drug use. That's a crutch that makes things worse. But might be part of how he got there. One of the interesting things about drug culture is that it doesn't matter if you're different, as long as you're using, you're "in". It's the one group that is willing to take in many of our differently-wired kids.
  15. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Lil, you seem to be struggling about how this could happen to an upstanding family like yours. It can happen in any family and does. I have been a high school math teacher for over thirty years and my husband was in the software business for over thirty years and is now teaching high school, also. Many of us on the board are professionals with college degrees and have been good role models for our children but, for whatever reason, they took a very different path. Many of us also have a easy child so it obviously can't be just parenting.

    Personally, I believe my difficult child was hardwired differently. In her case, mental illness played a huge role in her substance abuse and the dysfunctional life she was leading. She is doing better now. but I still see lapses in judgment due to her mental health issues.

    All of us reach our breaking points at different places. This is all still new to you and you aren't ready to give up on him yet which is fine. Hopefully your son will listen. He is still young so as a member used to say, "he's not done cooking yet."

  16. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    It's not really the upstanding family. it's that I keep picturing him when he was my easy child, when he was fun and happy and loved me. And then I try to figure out why it changed and when it changed and how I didn't see it or if I caused it. And then I kind of lose it. In fact, I've just dissolved into tears at work and I'm in charge today, so I think I best actually get off the internet and work.

    Thank you all. I'll come back and cry more later. :)
  17. Scott_G

    Scott_G Member

    Since this board is anonymous, in the interest of full disclosure, up until the second half of my senior year of high school, I was what you would call a nerd. There, I said it. I was a nerd. One thing that seems constant across the generations is that for whatever reason, smart kids are singled out, picked on, and ridiculed. I was no exception. Some of my classmates had some very nasty nicknames for me. Kids can be extremely cruel to to other kids that they see as outsiders. As a result, I was extremely unhappy during much of my pre-teen and teen years. It wasn't until I was nearly 18 and started hanging out with the stoners that I truly felt accepted. Now as an adult I could care less who likes me or doesn't like me. I am happy with myself and that is all that matters. I don't need anyone elses approval. But to kids, social acceptance is very important, and not being accepted can make life horrible, and unfortunately outsiders often turn to not so healthy sources to gain acceptance outside of the normal high school social hierarchy.
  18. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Wow, that's exactly right. He didn't like high school...hated it isn't too strong. In his world all the guys were "jerks" and all the girls were "loose" (for lack of words that won't get censored). Our high school is very "cliquey" and as I said, he never fit in. He wasn't a jock or a country kid or a goth or a preppie kid. He told us once, when we expressed concern about his new group of friends, that the stoners were the only ones who were nice to him. He said he didn't feel like he fit in there either, but they didn't care. Sadly, as any mature person would expect, the "good" kids he had been friends with began to see him as one of the "bad" kids, guilt by association, and stopped being friends with him...until all he had left was the stoners. In college I've heard much the same thing. He's got a few people he's hanging out with, none I've met, but he said to me once that everyone there was a jerk. I told him, there are 80 people in the's simply not statistically possible that there's NO ONE that's nice. He was not impressed by my logic.
  19. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Scott I have to say you cettainly have done a lot of interspection and it seems like you are going through the twelve steps on your own. I have finally come to that acceptance you talk about, it took a long time. I held out hope until all I did was cry when I would see her friends moving on with their lives in a constructive manner and she was stuck in this self destructive mode.

    When my daughter was in rehab we had family education day on Sundays and over and over again they told us that just about every addict said they were never comfortable in their own skin, it was a reoccurring theme. For our daughter she felt different because she was adopted. It took her being homeless and having nothing to finally come to terms with herself and not try to fit in. What's really sad is that so many of us don't discover that until adulthood, wish there was some way to teach our kids that.

    Lil you described me perfectly at one time. I kept looking for the "whys" or "hows" as if that would help. I would walk through the mall and disolve into tears if I walked into a store I use to shop at for my daughter. I had to call my other daughter one time and ask her to meet me at the mall to do a return...I couldn't walk into the store.
  20. Scott_G

    Scott_G Member

    I never liked team sports as a kid. Not much use for clubs either. I tried cub scouts, little league, and even the swim team. Gave up on all of them pretty quickly. Not interested in team sports as an adult either. I have no interest in playing them, and unlike many grown men, I have no interest in watching them either. I was always somewhat of a loner as a kid and even to some extent as an adult. My hobbies include hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, skiing, all things that don't require a team or club and you can just do by yourself. While I have a successful career, I still fantasize about telling my boss where he can go and heading to the wilderness of Alaska and living off the grid. Most likely not going to do it (wife hates winter), but it's nice to fantasize. Not everyone loves the "normal" life, even if they are doing their best to live it. I hate Corporate America and working for the man, but I see it as a necessarry evil, a means to an end.

    As a child one of my elementary school teachers said that I marched to the beat of a different drummer. In my home town, it really wasn't until middle school that the social cliques formed, and that's when I became a social outcast. It carried over into high school as well. With the exception of my last few months of senior year, I too hated high school. In fact after my 10 year reuinion I said to myself "I hated these people ten years ago and I really don't like them any more now." Never went to another reunion, never kept ties with any of those people and I really could care less. High School is not the most important thing in life. Although for me college was a different experience. I didn't need to fit in, fitting in didn't seem to matter at the University. For the first time in my life I was with people from all walks of life and from all over the world. I just didn't see the cliques like I saw in high school. I look back at college as some of the best years of my life. High school, not so much.

    The good news is that your son is only 18. Maybe he is just going through an extreme case of typical teenage behavior. Typical teenage behavior can look like difficult child behavior and I think that sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. When they are still acting like this in their 3s and 40s there is no doubting that it is difficult child behavior. While you can't force your son to change and be the way you want him to be, there is hope that this is just a phase and he will come to his senses, or maybe not. Maybe going to Colorado and living off the grid is what will really make him happy, and as long as he is happy and taking responsibility for his own life, you should be happy for him too.