New here and seeking support

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by elle108, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. elle108

    elle108 hopeful but weary

    My name is Ellen and I am new here. My difficult child is a 15 year old former honor student who has moprhed into an oppositional, drug using, school avoiding, failing, physically and verbally violent rule breaker. I cannot recall a day in the last 6 months that he has not done something outrageous. The day after Thanksgiving I discovered that he had let a homeless heroin addict into the house and that my lifetime worth of jewelry, silver and other sentimental items had been stolen, with his help in some instances over a several month period. He curses at me, comes home late, you name it, he does it.

    He has a therapist and is classified at school, but nothing is working at school, largely because he's rarely there a full day and because our district is, frankly, not too responsive to classified students, especially with his type of problems. He wants to drop outof school, but I oppose this...he's capable of straight A's and has no apparent future if he dropsout. I've taken things away...cell phone, computer...etc...He's been in drug day programs but invariable missed the van...I want him to get into some sort of residential program but have no money for that.

    Tonight, I am struggling to feel anything for him but anger. I know I love him, but I just don't feel it anymore. He has hurtme and the family in so many ways and I struggle each day to have enough courage to go to work and face my patients with a smile and a helpful ear. My heart is broken.

    Does anyone know of a way to get a child into a residential program without going into serious debt? Does anyone know how to live with the knowledge that one of your children may end up in jail or on the streets? What do you do with the hole left in your heart??

    Thanksfor listening. I know this was long.

  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I will pm you some info.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Have you called social services? I think there may be things you can do legally to get him help. Not everyone in rehabs are from rich families...
    I had a daughter who abused drugs. I know your fear and your hurt and I send you warm vibes and the strength you'll need for this battle. My daughter straightened out. Your son can too.
  4. Jena

    Jena New Member

    I just wanted to welcome you and say you have found a great place. I do not have any info as far as what you are looking for is concerned, yet wanted to offer some support.
  5. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Hello and welcome. I can relate more than you know. My daughter is on the streets right this very minute. I haven't seen her in 3 weeks. I have heard that she is smoking Angel Dust and either selling drugs or prostituting. She has also been to Juvie and Jail. In fact that is why she ran away because she punched me in the face and when she realized that I called the police she took off because she was afraid of going back to jail.

    She is incredibly hard to be around so I can understand how you feel with regards to being cursed at. My daughter is the meanest most selfish person I have ever met!! I, too struggle with how hard it is to love her. I feel such anger towards her that sometimes the love gets overshadowed by the anger. My heart aches as your does. You are not alone.

    My daughter has been in 3 rtcs. The first one I fought the School District tooth and nail to get her into. They paid for it. While she was in that Residential Treatment Center (RTC) she went on 13 awols her first 3 months there. On one of those awols she was caught shoplifting so I appealed to the court, begged them to place her as I was desperate to save her from herself. That worked out better as she was court mandated to be there and the school placement was on a voluntary basis so there was really nothing keeping her there. You can also apply for a pins petition. "Parents in Need of Support", it's done through the probation department. It is just like being on probation, curfews, drug testing, weekly meetings, must comply with all therapy sessions as well as medications. If the child violates the next step would be placement. You could also call CPS, however if you have other children that might open up a can of worms that might backfire.

    As for the hole in my heart, I wish I had the answer. I am still looking myself. The wonderful people on this site help me a great deal. I am learning to detach. It is a bit easier for me to detach as my daughter is now almost 18. I have no choice, there isn't anything else I can do for her at this point in her life unless and until she is ready to make a change. I know it is hard for you because your son is still so young. You can only do so much. He has to make an effort in order for anything to work in his favor. That is the hardest part. Accepting that will make it easier. I have been going through this hell for years and am now just beginning to accept it. So, I know that is much, much easier said than done.

    You have found a wonderful support group to belong to. The people here are so kind. You will love it here. I do. They have gotten me through and they keep me strong. Finding this site was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.

    Hang in there and God bless. :)
  6. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member

    Hi and welcome to a wonderful, supportive place where most of us have been through or are still going through much of what you describe.

    Yes, I see a lot of what we went through with our son in your post. My son was also a bright student, though the marijuana use took away any incentive he had to go to school. The highlight of his days became getting high, and he then went to crack one night, and spiraled down for 6 weeks while using, though we didn't know for a while.

    We went through an agency and psychiatric hospitals for help. We had him admitted through the ER a few times, and he was transferred to short term stays in either rehab type or psychiatric hospitals.

    We finally were able to get help, through an agency that was somehow structured under our county's MHMR Agency. They agreed that the short term and outpatient we tried didn't work. He was evaluated for, and accepted into, a long-term (he was there 10 months), secure (locked) residential dual-diagnostic (psychiatric and substance abuse) facility. I still credit them with literally saving his life.

    While waiting for that bed, unfortunately, my son was in what was supposed to be a 30 day adolescent substance abuse facility, but they released him on day 12. That very night, he left the house out a window and was arrested and charged and convicted (as an adult after turning 17 two weeks prior to that) for a felony. So, he does have a felony on his record, but before the court date, he was already in the dual-diagnostic facility, and the judge agreed that was helping him turn things around and refused (though the prosecutor tried to get the judge to give him adult jail time) to transfer him to jail. Fortunatey the judge realized he was still an adolescent who was addicted to drugs and applauded us for "forcing treatment".

    No, you can't force treatment unless they are willing (even if reluctant). Most facilities will only take residents who want help and want to change. Otherwise, they feel they are just taking up a bed that someone that wants to change could have.

    Ask for refererrals from anyone and everyone - start with his pediatrician, school counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, local university hospital, any United Way substance abuse programs for adolescents, rehab hospitals, anywhere and everywhere. I know I spent literally hours for weeks on end until I finally found someone that could help. With each phone call, however, that person would refer me to someone else that might help and so on.

    As for funding, as I mentioned, we went through an agency connected with our county's MHMR Agency. They were able to put our son on social security assistance to help cover the cost of the residential. They based it on our difficult child's income - which was $0. My husband and I did have to fill out financial paperwork, and then they based our monthly cost on our ability to pay. We did haggle back and forth a few times before coming up with a figure that we could pay. It was a very minimal amount, all things considered.

    My heart goes out to you. I truly know what it's like to love your child, to not want to see them continue to self sabotage, but to not even know where to turn to. It's crippling.

    We're here for support; lean on us. We'll offer any suggestions we can, but ultimately, it's up to your son.

    Hang in there and glad you found us. It certainly helps to be able to talk to people that truly understand.

    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  7. maril

    maril New Member

    Welcome, Ellen. It is heartbreaking to go through this.

    To quote you, "My difficult child is a 15 year old former honor student who has moprhed into an oppositional, drug using, school avoiding, failing, physically and verbally violent rule breaker." Except for the honor student part and age, that quote could be a description of my difficult child.

    What options do you have as far as assistance for the type of treatment you are seeking (for example, social services as mentioned above)?

    We have been keeping things pretty restricted around here directly related to his behavior: We lock doors after curfew (took his house key), hide my car keys, suspended his driving privileges (he is still on a learner's permit), inventory any alcohol (we are not big drinkers but have some alcohol around), lock my and husband's bedroom door, have every person he hangs with/plus his girlfriend/plus her mother's number saved in my cellphone, which I have had to use on a number of occasions when he avoids me.

    difficult child still does get together with his friends and girlfriend; can't physically stop him. I do like his girlfriend and think she is a positive influence. Luckily, we do have a say in giving him "fun money" and "rides" and deal with his rule breaking by holding off on those. Also, I rarely give him cash for necessities -- instead, I give him gift cards, checks, or pay for things he needs with me in attendance. He is looking for a job, so that is a good thing (had heard last summer when he was working that he is a good worker, respectful, etc., so you just never know...)

    We have also sought intervention over the years with school, doctors, and therapists. In addition, difficult child always kept busy outside of school with sports (up until the beginning of this year). All of these things have been marginally effective. But, I am thankful that we had those opportunities, anyway! He is also currently suspended from a drug and alcohol outpatient program for repeatedly leaving the building during break time (leaving is against the rules). He can reapply in 30 days.

    It might be a long road (but I hope it is not). Hang in there and take care of yourself. :goodluck:
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  8. dadside

    dadside New Member

    I understand the problem of "a 15 year old former honor student who has moprhed into an oppositional, drug using, school avoiding, failing, physically and verbally violent rule breaker" because we've dealt with similar issues, minus the physical violence. That he is "classified" by the school gives you a much better position than most, since at least they formally recognized he needs some special help.

    My daughter did get effective help from a residential therapeutic school from which she couldn't run -- and it was largely (at the end, fully) paid for by our local school. One key was having the help of an education attorney (not free!) to get the local school to do what they did. A trained education advocate could at least get you closer to the goal, if not all the way, saving an attorney unless/until necessary.

    In our case, a lot went on with our duaghter we didn't realize for some time. Changing friends, changing interests, and other "signs" weren't obvious to us, but falling grades were a basis for getting her classified. Drugs were an issue, and complication in getting her placement paid, but didn't surface with the school until very late in the process, and the school had already agreed a residential placement was in order. Just avoid the drug issue, or consider it a side-effect if school personnel raise it.

    As his issues have been building for a while, and he doesn't want to do what is really needed to restore a bright future, day programs and short-term rehabs don't seem worth the effort to pursue. I believe most residential schools/programs that would be effective are in remote places, discouraging "walking away", but have no legal way to lock him in. Some programs can keep the students there, so you do have to ask.

    Since you've tried local day programs and the school's offerings, and nothing is working, I suggest you pursue the education advocate/attorney route to get the proper placement paid. You'll almost surely have to find the right place yourself, with some good guidance from outside, and probably look out of your state as well. And you'll just have to push the school by using the regulations they must follow. (That is where someone on your side who knows the regs comes in.)

    There are some limited "scholarships" available, but very few. An effective placement will likely mean at least 9 months in the school/program, and often longer (12 - 15 is common), so it is "real money". It was effective for our daughter, as for many other teens. I hope you can get help to get your school to do what they should.
  9. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Hi and welcome, Ellen. I can relate to your situation in that my difficult child had most of the behaviors you mention, except for being an honor student. He is now 20 and I can't force him into treatment, so there is a difference there. You've gotten great suggestions and advice about options to pursue in terms of schools and rtcs.

    As far as your question about coping with knowing your child will/may end up on the streets or in jail, I have lived that and will likely see my son in one of the two places fairly shortly. I've been working hard to detach and let his behaviors be his responsibility. It isn't an all or nothing thing; at times I'm calm and able to separate heart from head, while at other times I dream about losing him, feel a mess, and have sudden spasms of grief and sorrow (at the most inopportune times, like in the checkout line at WalMart!!). I mostly try to focus on my other kids and my husband, who is ill right now, and give them all the energy and love they need. I love my difficult child son but I have no say in his choices. So that hole in the heart ... right now it hurts like h***. Probably at some point it will get a little scar tissue to protect it.

  10. Rotsne

    Rotsne Banned

    The first question is: Does he want to quit his addiction?

    If the answer is no there are two options: Give him to the state. If not possible in your homestate there is Nebraska and their safe heaven law. Second option is of course to lock him up and it will be expensive.

    Most private Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s charged between 3-12,000 dollars per month. Wilderness programs are 250-495 dollars per day. Most people grows out of their addiction and if you are lucky your son could do it while in the program, but you will find a lot of parents here and on other message boards who have paid 30,000 dollars per year and once the child is released the addiction starts again.

    I consider Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s for drug use a waste of time if he is not ready to face his problems. Change has to come from within. It can not be forced upon.

    But is he a confirmed druguser? Is there a positive reliable test - a hairtest?

    Here in Denmark a lot of kids are blackmailed into crime. They get some kind of "fine" for nothing - wearing wrong clothes or "insultning" the wrong people. If they dont pay up they are told that they will be beaten up or even loose a finger (It is not fun. Some HAVE lost their finger). If they havn't the money they can leave the door unlocked so someone can empty the house.

    I have seen kids who find it easier to confess that they are drug users than they are cowards. Drug use is so accepted because almost every moviestar or singer has to have a drug conviction and a stay in a rehab in their resume to make it the modern media industry.

    Maybe the easiest way to test it would be to remove him from your local community. Not to a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) but to relatives a couple of states away if possible. If he messes up there, you will know for sure. It wouldn't cost you very much to try.
  11. Pooder70

    Pooder70 Mama Bear

    I am new here too. I have found alot of helpful info out there, tho I have not personally posted myself, until now. What I have to contribute is I was once similar to your son. I was in a catholic grade school 1st-8th grades. I was on the honor roll, spelling and math teams. I was rudely awakened when I found out my mom (single parent) could not afford to send me to catholic high school. I went to the local public school. Before long, I was hanging with-the wrong crowd. My grades dropped drastically. I dabbled in drugs...I was paranoid of what my mom would do if she found out. Instead, I chose hard liquor. I wanted to drop out by 10th grade. My mom had dropped out and gotten her GED. She knew the uphill battle that I would face if I dropped out. We compromised and I went on a work waiver where I attended 3 classes and then went to work. We were able to do this since she was a single parent, she claimed financial hardship. I remember how alone I felt at that time in my life. Like I could never make up for disappointing her. I graduated (barely) with-a 2.0. The thing that kept me in school and not going too far off track was that my mom was hard but she ALWAYS told me she loved me. I'm not sure how your bond is with-your son, but I can only stress to you how important that was for me.
    I am aware that things have changed alot since I was young and I still have alot to learn as a parent of a small child, but please hang in there. You are doing a great job.
    I'm praying for you.
  12. maril

    maril New Member

    Ellen: Aren't these people on this board awesome??? I can't get over how supportive and helpful everyone is, especially since I have not run across that too much in my daily life and contacts; however, my husband and my husband's families are supportive but, at the same time, dumbfounded about the whole thing and really don't know what to say sometimes. Of course, they have good intentions and care deeply.

    I must admit, katya02's post brought tears to my eyes. Hang in there katya02 and better days may be ahead.

    Hugs to all the warriors!:warrior:
  13. lkmcd

    lkmcd lkmcd

    Hi Ellen,
    I have been dealing with a similiar situation. My 16yr old was hospitalized 5Xs this passed year and in 2 programs. I have been trying to get funding for her, but we live in a county where migrants have become the priority in the schools. I did not get her an IEP until this past Sept. where I had to more counties temporarily just to get her the support she needed in school and for them to accept her assessment. I had been trying to get her an IEP since 4th grade. She is Bipolar/ Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)/ADHD/ODD.If I had gotten her IEP when she was younger, she may not has regressed (or maybe I should say PROGRESSED) this far. If your son has an IEP and he is hospitalized, the social worker in the hospital SHOULD help facilitate between the residential program and the school district for funding. The trick is the hospitalization....Do you have an adolescent acute care psychiatric unit by you? Even if he is not suicidal...if he is a danger to himself of is unable to make clear and concise decisions that is the 1st step for admission on a 5150 hold. I hope this helps.... Unfortunately my daughter presents 180Degrees from who she truly is and has fooled many a therapist but her psychiatrist truly knows her. Lots of luck