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Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by enablernomore, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. enablernomore

    enablernomore New Member

    Hello. I am sitting here alone and worried and frightened. I have read many of your postings and it makes me realize I am not alone but there are no magic answers or solutions. My son is almost 21 and currently lives at home. He has unipolar depression or could be put on the bipolar II spectrum if you know about that. In 2009 we had to hospitalize him three times and after 10 ECT treatments and many changes in medicine, three years later he is doing well. The problem is I learned about six months ago he has been smoking pot daily for the past year and half now and doesn't think there's anything wrong with it. He's in school for the second time. Flunked out fall 2010 so brought home and he went to community college and living at home and so this is the second and last time I pay for it. It still doesn't look like he's serious about school so have probably thrown more money away but I want so badly to believe his intentions. We have told him if he has D's or below, we're done and that any future college was be his dime only. With his smoking pot his medications cant be working as good as they could be and now hes wanting to go off of the medications and just smoke pot, which scares me more than words can describe. Tomorrow we go to the psychiatrist where I will tell the dr. about the pot since he hasn't yet as I believe the dr. needs to know. I am so tired, weary, and cannot go back through the hell we went through in 2009. I would not wish that on my worst enemy. I have been told to go to an alanon meeting to learn how to take care of myself, so I guess that is the next step. I know this is a lot to put out here all at once. I want so badly to get through to him that smoking pot is harmful but I don't know how. I need help setting boundaries and learning tot take care of myself.
  2. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest


    First...awesome name!

    Second, I'm sorry your circumstances brought you here but think you will find (like I did) great support.

    I just listened to a phone Al-anon meeting. If you are interested, here is the link with the times/days/etc. I love, love, love my in-person group but these help too.
  3. pinevalley

    pinevalley Member

    Welcome to this board! I know that you feel like you are all alone, but you have friends here who will give you support and encouragement. All of us here know the pain and worry of kids on drugs, and you are NOT alone anymore!
    It is a good idea to tell the doctor about your son and his use of weed. My difficult child's psychiatrist refused to prescribe any medications for my son if he used any marijuana at all. Can you ask the doctor to talk to your son about his drug use? Our psychiatrist explained the dangers of weed use to my son much better than I could explain this to my son.
    Please take care of yourself and keep posting here. I'm sure you will get good advice from the moms on this board.
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome. I am glad you found us. I know how it feels to feel alone, worried and frightened. You are NOT alone. We are here for you.

    This site has been a huge help to me. Just when I needed it. Keep writing, keep venting, you will get the kind of support from the parents here that you cannot find anywhere else.

    I understand all of your feelings, I imagine we could all say that. There are steps along the way, First, you have done the most important, reached out for help, in the right place, at the right time. Follow your instincts and find an alanon meeting or a CoDa meeting, or any meeting where you feel good and get the kind of support you need. You may need to shop around for the right one. But, we all need support of some kind, to learn the tools to get through this.

    Like all of us, you have to negotiate yourself through a circuitous path which will feel like the opposite of what you believe a mother or a parent would likely do or think or say. You will need to learn all about detachment, even if in the beginning you hate that word, because it goes against your beliefs about motherhood. You will learn how to focus on yourself and take the focus off of your difficult child, so that you can feel healthy and whole and complete as you also learn how to set boundaries and navigate a whole new territory in parenting which is all about letting go.

    You will likely have to let go of your son doing what you want him to do, he may have his own ideas of what is good for him, which may make you feel crazy and angry, but at 21, it is his life and what he does is going to turn out to be none of your business! And, I know that this all sounds pretty overwhelming, and it is, AND, most of us here have been on this road for a long, long time, and we circle around all of this pretty much all the time.

    However, if you do it all, and commit to yourself, begin to detach, take care of yourself, get support....... in time, you WILL feel a little peace of mind. And that peace of mind will grow, little by little, until your life becomes manageable. You can do it. We are doing it. We can do it together.

    Many hugs and blessings to you ENM. Keep coming back.
  5. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Hi and welcome to the board. "Recovering enabler" said it all so well-I can't think of anything to add!

    We get it, we're here, together we all help each other to stay strong.
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome and I hope you find some comfort and help from those of us who are walking in your shoes. I agree with what pinevalley and recoveringenabler said. I think it's very important that this doctor is told that he is smoking pot so I'm glad you are doing that. It must be very scarey knowing he needs the medications and what could happen if he stopped them. Your comment about not being able to go back to the dark places of 2009. I feel exactly the same way, those places are too dark to even keep in my memory.

    I'm concerned that his lack of motivation for school is a result of smoking pot. My difficult child was smoking 24/7 and drinking and she also was enrolled in community college after lasting only one semester at a university until she was arrested for smoking/drinking and suspended. So we will not pay for any future schooling either. But while she was smoking heavily she had no interest in going to classes or studying.

    I hope your session with his psychiatrist gives you some hope.

  7. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    Sadly, welcome aboard - you are not alone. I agree with everyone else. He's 21, it's time for him to see if his way works and you to take care of you. You have set the boundaries for school - Ds or lower, you're done - mean it. Set rules about drug use while living in your home - for your own peace of mind, if he cannot follow them, he is old enough to get a job and an apartment, he can see if his way works. I have found forom my own experience (in a different way because my son is younger) and from the experience of many wonderful people on this site, so long as things are easy for him, the party will continue. I don't think there is anything you can say at this point to make him stop his pot usage, he has to see for himself through some tough times why pot doesn't work. Unfortunately, there is a culture of "pot believers" amoung todays youth - they don't see anything wrong with it. Set your boundaries of what you can accept in your home, if he doesn't follow that and you are not comfortable with him in your home, it may be time to think about him getting his own place. He will soon see if he does that the partying lifestyle will not enable him to take care of himself, nor will it be easy for him to pay rent and finance his habit. There is an expression - you didn't cause it, you can't control it and you cannot cure it. It's true - so be good to yourself. Your son will hopefully find his way as he has to move on in life and take more responsiblity for himself. It's painful to have to "detach" but often the only thing that really helps. Be well.
  8. enablernomore

    enablernomore New Member

    Hi Nancy, I have never posted to a website before so am not sure if I am supposed to reply to each of you or if this will go to the group to see. Also, what does difficult child stand for? I understand it's how I refer to my almost 21 year old son. I have heard such wonderful things about the alanon meetings and will look to find one. I will also look for a coda meeting as well.

    I'm reading very good books about letting go and not enabling and it's helpful. I just can't believe this is happening. After everything we went through to get him out of that black hole, that he would risk going back there. Like someone else said hopefully the psychiatrist will be able to explain the dangers of smoking pot but I am scared he will get up and walk out of the appointment. If he does that, I don't know what I'll do. I guess between the support from all of you, an alanon group, and my faith, I will get stronger and learn what I need to do to survive. For now, however, I find myself scared, shaky and tearful.

    The thing is I have two other children, one older and one younger and still at home and a husband who need me. I know that I cannot let my difficult child's bad decisions and habits rob me of my happiness and health so as hard as the thought of detachment is, I understand the concept.

    Thank you again for being here for me. I will continue to post.
  9. enablernomore

    enablernomore New Member

    I need your advice on setting rules about the drug use. As of right now he is not allowed to do drugs in our home, but we know he is doing them. He has a part-time job and is going to classes but we don't ever see him study so if he passes it will be a miracle. I know he wants to move out on his own. I know that he believes smoking pot is not a big deal and that it is less harmless than alcohol. He tells me he will never do other drugs and that he doesn't see himself doing pot on a daily basis in the future but to let him be for right now. He thinks the medications that saved his life are now just chemicals being put into his system vs. smoking this natural herb.

    So if he doesn't do as expected in school this semester, we mean business and will not pay for more. This whole thing gets complicated because of his mental illness. If he stays off his medications and continues to smoke pot, he will crash. When he crashes and if he becomes suicidal I can't kick him out of my house. If he were not suicidal that is another thing. Right now he works, but if he gets really sick again and loses his job - all by his own doing of going off his medications - he will come to us to want money for gas, etc. Before when he was sick we gave him just about anything he wanted because he was so very bad and we were so very scared and he was just 17. Now if we go through this a second time knowing what we know, I would be afraid to give him any cash.

    He has already been in trouble with the law once. He was caught in possession of cannibas and had to pay a $350 fine, which he paid 100% himself. We would not even loan him the money. Now he's been in an accident and needs to go to court on 3/15 to ask for supervision and to arrange a way to work off the fine for the county, which he has done before.

    If he doesn't get sick and we can manage to keep him on medications but he continues to smoke pot, do we kick him out for that?

    i guess its too early to know how this is all going to play out. I am just truly thankful for all of you being here for me. I am just confused, overwhelmed, and realize all over the place in these posts.
  10. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    I am treading lightly here as my son is younger - but I have some suggestions based on other member's experiences and my sister's (two college age pot smokers). You cannot control his use outside of your home. The rules apply to your home and anything you pay for; ie a car. The basic rule is this - no drugs, and no paraphenalia in our home (or your car) period. If you do pay for the car and you find drugs, etc in it, the privledge of using it is gone. Finding stashes of pot in your house is a violation of the home rule. It's your choice as to how many times that is violated before you cannot have it in your home. I hear you on the mental health issue. Many of the difficult children on this site have similar issues. It's a very tight line to walk between how much slack you give him for that and enabling the use and lifestyle of irresponsiblity. Keep reading, keep will find your balance of toughness and support. It is different for everyone. The only thing I will say is by making it too easy for him to continue with the status quo, the less likely he will change anything. Some good reads: "The Unchanged Mind" and "To Change a Mind" - these two books talk in detail about struggling young people and mental health issues and how to help move them forward in life. "Changing for Good" is an excellent book that helps understand what you can do to support addicts at different stages in the process of getting through it, including the stage of denial.
  11. buddy

    buddy New Member

    You are doing fine. difficult child is gift from god... the way this board refers to the child (children difficult child 1 difficult child 2 or other creative ways to express it) that brought you to the board. a pleasant way to identify our challenging kids.
  12. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest


    Welcome to the board. Sorry you have to be here but glad that you found us. As you can already see you have found a wonderful supportive group who have been where you are and really understand.

    What I have learned is that learning to stop enabling, figuring out and setting appropriate boundaries is a process. We all go through that at different rates and in different ways. The important thing is to recognize what is going on, recognize when you get lied to or conned, and keep coming here for support. We all do understand.

    I think finding a good alanon meeting is a really good idea. I have found a parents meeting near us that has been a godsend to me... it has helped me a lot.

    As far as specific advice.... again it is a process so take this as it makes sense to you.

    First as someone said you didn't cause it, cant cure it and can't control it. You have no control over whether your son continues to smoke pot. He probably just plain wont listen to your warnings about it. Hopefully he will listen to the psychiatrist but he may very well not. You really can't do much about that except to let the psychiatrist know what is going on. I agree with others that is the right thing to do and very important.

    As far as rules.... yes no pot in your house or in your car. Does he drive? I can't remember but if he does that may be something you can take away if he breaks these rules at all. If you think he is smoking regularly and driving then you want to put a stop to that.

    Other than that I personally think it is easier and more effective to focus on the behaviors some of which you have identified, such as not doing well at school. There are other behaviors which you will probably notice if he gets heavy into pot smoking.... so continue to pay attention and if behaviors that are unacceptable come up then figure out what to do about those.

    As far as kicking him out for any infractions.... I think whatever consequences you put in place you have to be willing to carry out. So if you are not willing to kick him out then figure out some other consequences for now. If this continues you may get to a point where you are willing to kick him out even if you are not right now. It is really really hard emotionally to kick a child out of your home but sometimes that is what is necessary. We had to kick our son out when he was 18 and it broke my heart but we had to do it. But don't threaten it if you are not ready to carry it out.

    Also just because you kick him out does not mean you have to cut off all contact with him. When we kicked my son out I texted him and although he did not respond initially... he did call us when he got arrested. So my son has been in lots of trouble and has a serious drug problem but he does call us when he needs us and we are still helping him (when he is willing to go for help.. he is in rehab at the moment). Be prepared for him to be angry though... and that can be hard to take too.

    As far as him being suicidal... that has got to be one of the hardest things as a parent to deal with. My son deals with depression... don't think he is bipolar although that has been questioned. Last September he called us because he needed to check himself into the hospital because he was suicidal. Then we went on a wild roller coaster ride of rehab, relapse, sober house, relapse, sober house relapse etc. etc. We ended up finally telling him we would not help him unless he got into treatment. The nightmare I had while he was on the street was that he would commit suicide..... and I finally got to the point where I realized that I could not prevent that... and him coming home is not an option because we are no longer willing to put our younger daughter through his chaos. I also realized that if his drug use continues to get worse it will likely eventually kill him..... and so I had to take a strong stand that I would no longer support his drug use indirectly in any way...... luckily after a few days of being homeless and hungry he did check himself into rehab. I have no idea if this one will take and we may be back on that roller coaster soon... but at least for now I am getting some restful sleep.

    So I do understand how you feel and your worries about your son.... you can offer him help but he has to decide to take it.


  13. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome,
    I'm sure you suspect your son may be smoking pot to self-medicate for his mental illness. However, even a bipolar diagnosis does not excuse a person from following the law. You can (and should) enforce boundaries and keep your home drug free. Depending on his mental situation, you may have to relinquish the expectation that he will pass in school for the moment, either due to the illness and/or the pot use. Taking care of his mental health is of primary importance right now. I'm so sorry for your troubles. We have all been there, and we're here to help.
  14. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I have nothing to add at this time but just wanted to say welcome and that I am sorry you are going through this.
  15. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    ENM, my mother's heart has so much empathy for you. My wish for you is that you feel loving arms around you, keeping you nurtured and held while you go through this with your son.

    I have a difficult child who is 39 and is mentally unstable, homeless and lives "out there" with 4 cats in her car. I have just had what feels like the PHD program of letting go, and my heart is still hurting from this experience. Without exception this is the most difficult thing I've ever had to do. I am sorry you live in a similar world, I know how you feel.

    You have received very good advice here, I believe toughlovin gave you a map which you can utilize for direction as you see fit. There are no rules to follow only other people's experience who've been where you are and your own mother's intuition. My experience of late has been that with LOADS of support each step of the way, I have tools and information, and I can make clear assessments with each incident. I can't look down the road because I do have to take this one step at a time, one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time.

    I have had to learn to see my daughter without my expectations of what I think she can do, without my dreams for her, without my angers and sadness's, even without what I believe would be the best solution for her. I have had to learn to see her for who she is, what she is capable of, what she is not capable of and what she can and cannot do right now. For her there is no "future thinking." I have had to learn the difference between enabling and loving, detachment and connection, what I can do and what I am not willing to do. I have had to learn how to live the serenity prayer, every single day. And, with all of that learning, sometimes my daughter steps in with a brand new dilemma and I have to learn it all over again. But each time is not as far a fall from grace as the time before.

    Perhaps that is as good as it gets with our children, I don't know yet. I have 'normal' days where I can laugh and love and be in my life without hers filtering in ......and I have days which are not so great. But on those bad days, I have you guys, I have my girlfriends, I have my therapy, I have my CoDa group, I have acupuncture....... I do a lot to take very good care of myself. I laugh a lot too, even in the midst of it all, my SO and Star here on the CD site make me laugh. Laughing is good for the soul, it helps in every possible way, don't forget to laugh. I know right now that may seem ludicrous given what you are facing, but life does not end because our kids are "gifts from God." The world keeps spinning. They keep spinning. But we must stop sometimes and just check out the sunset, that gorgeous moon, the beauty in life, the miracles, we have to find where our gratitude lies. There is always much to be grateful for, and that feeling brings some peace.

    I once read that 'what you focus on expands.' So, I deal with my difficult child as best I can and I focus on other things too, things that bring joy........... Your other children, your husband, eating chocolate (yum). I try to bring balance into my life with the other gifts life offers.

    Take a deep breath, know that you're not alone, get a good nights sleep, eat well, take a walk, meditate, pray, connect with friends, and always know you are doing the very best you can, every single day. The fate of our children is not in our hands, to the degree that we understand that, we find peace. God bless you.
  16. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest

    Recovering.....AWESOME post! Thanks!
  17. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I'm so sorry you are going through this nightmare. I have gone, and still am, going through it. I thought I was past all of this and this time is bad. Sadly, pot is so widespread now in the movies and TV. I see it a lot on Two and a Half Men (I don't watch it but hubby does) and I recently watched a movie where a judge and sherriff were smoking pot together. Some smokers I know have told me they smoked with their parents! They have also told me it makes you tired and zaps your motivation.

    My difficult child can look you straight in the eye and lie to you, he is manipulative to get money, and every girlfriend he has had, except one, has expected me to support them. He is 33 and moved out at 19, thank heavens! His relationships don't last long the last one is 37, I have met one time, and I had to call the police to stop her harrassing calls. They fight and he cuts himself and threatens suicide. Sounds like out of control middle schoolers doesn't it? She would tell me what a bad mother I was, I was the reason he was so f***** up and for a short time I let her get to me. That is what motoivated me to find this forum for support. I don't think anyone can do this alone, it's just to painful.

    I have had my son in every possible program I could find. He was court ordered to rehab twice. I think any rehab helps them even if they don't want it. My son would not participate in counseling, so I went and it does help.

    There are no cookie cutter answers, when I first started in this nightmare (so many years ago I am embarrassed to admit them ) I looked everywhere for an answer to my question of 'how do I get him to stop'? There is not one. It's his choice, and that in itself is scary. We have no control over whether they stop or not. He may not use in your home, but if he wants to continue to use he will find a way.

    My saving grace is that he was the youngest, and my spouce of 12 years is not his father so he is not emotionally attached as I am and helps me to look at things logically.

    My son was never diagnosed with mental problems, but I think he has some, either born with or drug induced I don't know which.

    This online book was written by a family therapist ands she tells her sad story of not being able to help her son, she gives good advice.

    There are a lot of grest books recommended by the members and I wish they had been available when my difficult child started his drug use.

    My huge problem was feeling guilt for working a lot to get us, and keep us, out of poverty. Looking back now I realize his dad was a drug user, we started out well with our marriage and after 8 years he was fired for selling drugs from his company truck and we lost everything. He walked out and I was left to support 2 children on a clerical salary.

    My guilt made me a huge enabler! Every book I have read says to stop the money and stop enabling them. It's a fine line to follow and I did not realize how much I was enabling my difficult child. I recently made a bio for my son and I read it each time I start feeling weepy, it helps me stay strong.

    My 33 yo gifted son quit his job to go to college full time. Who did he think was going to support him? never crossed his mind. He was conning me for money by telling me he was homeless and I was tryting to help him finish that semester since he was on the Dean's List. It was all a lie! They were livng with her mother and fight a lot, party a lot, and he had been kicked out. She was sent to detox and he Backer Acted himself.

    This time he is homeless and jealous controlling girlie has helped him cut all ties with friends and family. I keep busy and volunteer, it's his life and his choices. Find a hobby, exercise, and read all of the self help books you can. We all know exactly what you are going through!!!!

    (((blessings for you and yours)))