New to this mess

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Twin, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. Twin

    Twin New Member

    My 21 yo son just admitted to me 2 days ago that he was smoking pot. I had suspected this for about a year, but looked the other way thinking it was temporary or a phase. He is a senior at college 2 hours away. He stupidly posted something about it on Twitter, which I saw and I telephoned his father to speak about it. His father, after thinking about the information, angrily called DS and asked him three questions. "Why did you lie to us about pot use?" "Why did you put it out in public?" and "Why are you smoking?". DS called me and told me what husband had done. I sat in the parking lot of a doctor's office (taking Mom to appointment) and talked to my son about it. Son said he hadn't smoked all summer--2 jobs in other state--knew no one. He felt that he was functioning this semester and the smoking wasn't harmful. I asked him why he was smoking, but he just said, "I don't know". I told him that many people medicate themselves with substances because of stress, anxiety or depression and if those things were the issue, we would help get him counseling. I let him know that substance abuse was dangerous and could ruin relationships. I said it was no way to get to sleep at night or help solve problems. At one point, I suspect he was crying because he sounded like it. He said, "I don't want you guys to think I'm a bad person." I repeated a phrase I often used while the kids were growing up, "I love you, but I don't like your behavior." I repeated most of these points several times, hopefully in a non-threatening way. I wrote him an email after I got home, saying some of the same things and trying to keep my self calm. I have had no response to the email or a telephone call I made today. I texted him after the initial phone call, and said that I would support him in any way including counseling. His response was "Oh and now you think I need counseling!" I texted back that it was an option and anger wasn't required.

    My points--I don't want to drive him from casual use to frequent use by badgering him, yet I need to let him know where we stand. I am worried because we have addiction on both sides of our family and I know that DS is one step away from getting in too deep. Since I haven't heard from him, I am a wreck, crying and can't concentrate. I am trying to repeat: "I didn't cause this and I can't control this." My husband and I have already had one small fight about how to handle this. He is looking at this as a phase and maintaining that we have no evidence of addiction. Since Son is two hours away and in a paid apartment, I can't make a living agreement with him. He is so close to his degree, I very badly want him to finish that. I do pay his cell and he drives an old car I own. His living expenses are deposited into an account. If he does run out before the semester is over, he will have to make up the shortfall. I will take away the phone and car if I see any evidence that he is using. However, I'm not sure how to tell from 2 hours away.

    I am sick about losing my relationship with my son. I love him dearly and he is a good person who is making some dumb decisions right now. My husband travels, and irony of ironies, my mom, who I am close to, was a nurse in an alcohol and drug rehab for 15 years. I can't tell her and I feel I have nowhere to turn.

    I want to give my DS the benefit of the doubt, let him quickly see the errors he is making and correct them. Can I get some support from you all?
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member've found a new supplemental family. Others will be along soon. I've picked up a "bug" so I'm not spending too much time on the computer today. Just wanted to say Welcome! Hugs DDD
  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome to our board Twin. I understand how frightening this can be but let's put it into perspective. He is in his senior year in college and I assume he has done well enough to be on target to graduate on time. So his smoking pot isn't interefering in his life or causing problems that you know of. Many young people smoke pot occassionaly and do just fine in life. It's not what I want my difficult child doing either but if she were just smoking occassionaly and in her senior year of college I would be delighted, in light of what she is doing and the problems smoking and drinking have caused in her life. I'm not sure he needs counseling at this point.

    How old is your son? Obviously he is an adult and living on his own so you really have no control over what he is doing but with your familiarity with substance abuse I'm sure you are concerned. He knows you and your husband are supportive of him and unless there are other warning signs I don;t think this is a serious problem.

    Please understand I am not saying smoking pot is OK, it's just that I have come to terms with the fact that so many young people do it and most of them turn out just fine. Of course if there are other troubling signs that is different but it doesn't sound like it. You are not going to make him see the error of his ways, you may just push him away if h feels you are overreacting.

  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi Twin and welcome,
    Like Nancy, I too can understand your frustration. If his grades and motivation have been good all along, and you don't see a major drop in either, then maybe he's just doing it once in a while. Believe me, I don't condone it either; it's illegal and just plain stupid in my opinion - certainly not worth whatever high he feels. I can't comment on the twitter post, I don't know what he wrote, but of course you're upset. When he said he didn't want you or your husband to think he was a bad person, I'm sure he meant that - at least he didn't speak disrespectfully or curse you off, as some kids would. I'm sure he doesn't want to ruin his relationship with you both, either. And your suggestion of counseling, which was well meaning, probably insulted him. But you're his mom and of course you're concerned. He probably thinks you're overreacting, and the fact that you're 2 hrs. away doesn't help, because you can't see him or observe him face to face. Did he have any social/learning/substance issues growing up? Any trauma?

    If he blows through all his money early in the semester, I'd worry. Until then, maybe you can take a visit on a long weekend in the next few weeks and just meet him and talk calmly. He is an adult (21), and unfortunately you can only offer your guidance, love and support. You can warn him not to break the law, etc., etc., but if he does, you can remove his phone and car if necessary.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  5. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Welcome...i too agree with nancy. There are plenty of kids who smoke pot once in a while and do not become addicts. I think the most important thing right now is to preserve your relationship and pay attention to his behaviors. If he continues to do well in school, be generally responsible about money and life then i would not worry too much. If he starts failing classes, starts blowing his money, becomes really irritable and non communicative with you then inwould worry and would address those issues. And yeah a visit in the next few weeks might be a good thing.

  6. Twin

    Twin New Member

    Thanks to everyone who already responded and who may respond. I do see that it may be an overreaction. He has been a great kid up until now. One of my concerns is that his room mate from last year committed suicide while they were living together. The room mate was not at the house and my son did not find him. However, it was right before the holidays and then Son went out of the country for 5 months. He may have not fully processed this trauma yet. Also a girl who he was corresponding with over the summer dropped him when school started again. Not sure of the reason. So you can see why I have some concerns. I am going to try to reach out to him once a day on the telephone and then try to let him come to me when he is ready. He will be home in 3 weeks for a football game, but he will have a friend with him and it won't be the best time to really talk. If we haven't cleared the air by then, I'll pull him aside calmly for a few minutes to at least make sure we are okay. Thanks for letting me vent here and give me a reality check.

  7. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Hi Twin!

    I too had a college student who is using pot. It was evident that using pot was a problem for my son. His grades dropped, his personality changed, his appearance declined, his friends declined, he became someone we didn't know and honestly, ashamedly- didn't like very much.

    How is your son? How are his grades? If he is doing OK in school and on track - I would express my disapproval in a motherly way but then drop it. Like alcohol, many people can use marijuana "socially" without it becoming an addiction or having a negative impact on their lives. My kid was not one of them.

    But I would talk to him. I would let him know that marijuana stays in the system for 30+ days and if he were to be in a car accident and test positive, he could face "under the influence" charges. I know it's a remote chance, but it has serious consequences. A local teen drove a vehicle involved in the fatal crash of her best friend. Per state law, she was taken for a blood draw. Although the prosecutor agreed she was not actually high at the time of the crash, the blood test revealed trace amounts of marijuana. The driver and the victim were 17 year old girls - best friends and seniors in HS. Now one is dead and the other is a convicted felon for life. Per the court docs:

    A blood test of XXXXXX (driver) showed traces of marijuana, but no alcohol. The victim had no alcohol or illicit drugs in her system.
    Assistant District Attorney told the judge the case could have been charged as homicide by drug-impaired driving, a 25-year felony, but that his office negotiated the lesser charge, and plea, in the interest of justice and the facts.

    XXX was convicted of homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle; a felony and will spend 1 year in a year in jail, with release privileges to attend school, as a condition of five years probation. If she violates that or other conditions, she could go to prison for two years, and as many as five, under a sentence imposed, and stayed, by the Circuit Judge

    Also, the internet is FOREVER. Blurbs, pictures, silly drunken statements are mined by various websites from twitter and facebook and will be accessible in perpetuity - long after he deletes the messages or the accounts. Future employers are going to search his name on the internet. He does not want to be associated with those types of posts. The same goes for drug testing. My 48 yo husband - who is an executive salesman - just started a new job after being heavily recruited by the company. As a condition of his offer, he was given a drug test and a physical (along with major background checks) and it was standard operating procedure for the company. Its not a rocket science or machinery operating job - and drug testing is becoming more and more commonplace.

    So, when he is home - have a mother to son chat with him - and then drop it. I think it's definitely something to do in person and not over the phone or via text. This way he knows you are talking out of concern and not judgment.

    I would be concerned about the loss of his roommate - and perhaps suggest he talk to someone in the mental health services or health department at his school. That must be weighing heavily upon him - it IS a lot to process.

    We are here for you
    Lasted edited by : Sep 19, 2012
  8. Rumpole

    Rumpole New Member

    (resident difficult child post)

    He sounds like a good kid. If he's smoking frequently, certainly not desirable. Also, if he's in college he really needs to know that whatever he puts on the internet, with caches and databases it's there forever.

    And I totally take your point about someone making bad decisions, not wanting to badger him from casual to frequent use... when all is said and done, he is an adult, but your love and support could really see him through this period. People experiment, particularly when they're at university (college), it sounds like he's doing well and perhaps made a few silly decisions, but hopefully nothing to be too concerned about. Seeing your difficult child face to face, in a non-judgemental, non-threatening way, can never hurt.


    Edit: What Signorina said, ++, excellent advice, far better than I could have put it
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If he's just smoking pot sometimes and is otherwise doing ok I would not get into it with him. Smoking pot sometimes does not make him a bad kid. I do understand your worries about the traumas in his life. You can certainly ask him how he is doing and offer counseling for him, but it's up to him at his age if he accepts it. Counseling doesn't work if you're not invested in it.

    If you have any reason to think he is a daily user who is being affected badly by the pot or if he is using other drugs, including excessive use of alcohol, THEN I'd be concerned, however there isn't much you can do to force him to stop at his age.

    Hugs...we have all been through this.
  10. Twin

    Twin New Member

    Again, everyone, thanks for the support. I decided that I raised him to the best of my ability, and that I would have to trust my parenting and that he would remember my teachings through his life. I cannot control his actions, and I will not be responsible for his mistakes. Nor will I let his actions affect me in an adverse way. I also got outside today-I work from my home- and got out of my head today. The garden, fresh air and exercise did me wonders! I also IM'd my Son. He responded so I know that he is still talking to me even though he may still be peeved at me for calling him out.

    After I read all your stories and bios, I am amazed at the strength that this community has shown in the face of such adversities! I applaud the people who responded to me and those who didn't. I will think of you all even after my crisis has passed and will send good karma your way.

    I'll be back with an update.

  11. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I know professionals that smoke pot on the weekends and holidays to relax. I also know people that smoke pot and are not motivated to do anything.

    I'm not advocating pot use either. in my opinion it is shown way too much on TV and the movies as just being a cool thing to do.

    Why do they want to post everything 'out there' for the world to see? My difficult child does it too!

    The most important thing I wanted to post is I do not think you have hurt your relationship with your son. You were honest about how you felt. Two of my friends were heavy pot smokers in college - both told me they were amazed they managed to graduate. Fast forward to married with kids and they both had a FIT when they found out their kids had tried pot.

    If he is a senior in college, compared to mine he is doing great things! Have a blessed weekend.
  12. justateenager

    justateenager New Member

    he is old enough to make his own decisions. if its just weed then its not a big deal as long as he is doing well in school.