No bravado - he did use

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Steely, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Meth, pot, pills, X and the list goes on. He is so all or nothing. He can't just do a little of anything. It is so scary for me, yet he has no fear.

    Within 4 hours of walking the program he had hooked up with a meth dealer, partied all night at their house, and then crashed there. Leave it to Matt to already know every resource in town - and leave it to Matt to not be cold, hungry, or uncomfortable while walking the streets.

    He came back to the program the next day and worked for 6 hours to get accepted back in and they did a UA that revealed his drug use. However after he worked, he chose not to want to talk about why he walked in a group meeting, and they suspended him for 3 days, leaving him back on the streets. He called me to tell me what happened and that he didn't know what to do other than go back to live with the dealers. He was crying and said he did not want to, but he didn't know what to do.

    At that point I said NO. I felt like by the program suspending him was fueling him even further into making bad choices. So he is in a motel right now until I can figure out where to go from here. The program wants him to come back - but I know Matt. Like you said Suz - Rob had to be free - and that is where Matt is. Programs are obsolete at this point, and I know it, and Matt totally knows it.

    So I am not sure what to do with the kid. He can stay affiliated with the program and live off campus in his own place where he would have to get a job, finish his HS degree, etc. There would be a life coach that would work with him daily - and help him with banking, etc. So, for now, I am going to do that. That still will not prevent him from doing drugs, if that is what he wants - but I guess I need to give him one more shot at choosing a good life. This is my last stab helping Matt. If that does not work, than he is on his own.

    Thanks for listening. I know many of you have been down this path too, which makes me feel sad for us all, but better than I am not so alone. Surprisingly I am holding up pretty well. Not sure how, but I am. Other than that first night of him being gone - I am calm and rational. Of course, if he goes missing again, I might not be. I think there is one Al-Anon meeting in my town, that meets once a week - so I might try to find that. God knows there should be more, since despite the size of this town, drug use is rampant.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well I am sorry he is choosing this path but maybe your plan is for the best. Just hang in there and polish up those detachment skills. Looks like you are going to have to use them.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sorry he is choosing to go down this path but it sounds like you have a solid plan in place. Polish up your detachment skills, looks like you are going to need them.
  4. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Do you think my plan is the right way to go? I have thought so much about it, trying to stay completely detached, and look at it every way possible, and I keep coming back to him needing to be on his own. He has no concept of the real world, because he has been in programs or at home his whole life. He needs real life consequences, like no food, cigarettes, or electricity if he chooses not to get a job, or gets fired. No internet, or tv, unless he makes enough money to afford it. You know what I mean? I think he probably assumes all tvs come equipped with cable!!! He just doesn't get the world as it relates to him and his choices (but obviously he understands enough about survival to get dope after being in a city only a couple of weeks).

    But I want to make sure I am making the best choice, because the program thinks he should stay in treatment (of course they do!). But treatment will not work unless the person needing it accepts that they need it.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sorry for the double posting, this server ate it but apparently spit it back out!

    Let me ask you this, how is he going to get a place to live? Can you afford to fund him for a month or two in a low rent place? Does the treatment place have off campus housing? Are you going to pay for him in a weekly motel until he can get a job? Will he be willing to get a job?

    Will you be able to say...Matt, Im going to pay for 4 weeks at Motel X but you must get a job to pay for the rest of your stay and try and find a room somewhere that you can afford. If you choose not to get a job, you will be out on your own. Can you do that?

    Those weekly motels are about 250 a week. At least places I have seen. Might be more in cali. He might be able to get a room in a home or rooming house if you look. Yes it wont be nice. No cable, no niceties. He is starting from scratch. It will actually build character. Cory doesnt have cable. He has rabbit ears. Thrilled to have them. For a time all he had was his dvd player.

    This stuff is hard. You saw what Cory lived in when he first moved out.

    I really dont see that you have much choice though. Matt is running this show. Its really all up to him. You can help him up to how much you are capable of doing but in the end, its his life and he can now take the reigns and make it what he wants. If he wants to fall down into the gutter with the drug dealers, he is making that choice. He knows he doesnt have to do that. He has other options.
  6. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    The program suspended Matt as a natural consequence of his actions. It's a life lesson, not geared towards expediting Matt's downfall but it's what an employer would do if he's not doing the job, it's what happens when adults blow it.

    Steely, please don't misunderstand. When Rob decided he wanted to be free, we didn't subsidize his existence. He didn't have any more street smarts than Matt but according to him in that later conversation he needed to learn those lessons the hard being homeless, unemployed, smelly, dirty clothes, hungry, etc. It was heartbreaking as a parent to know he was going through these things but they were his decisions and actions, not ours.

    It sounds like Matt is bound and determined to sabotage anything handed to him....the program, a roof over his head via a motel, etc. If I recall correctly, he's in CA and they have homeless shelters, don't they?

    Unfortunately, these choices are Matt's to make, not yours. It will break you if you assume the burden of Matt's choices when he is the only one in control.

  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Suz is right as she often is. Matt is going to have to learn these lessons on his own. He is choosing this path and basically telling you this is how he wants it to be. Tons of kids runaway to CA every year and manage to survive. Matt will too.
  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    So Suz, what is it that you think I should do? Say go back to the program or you are on the streets? If he goes to the program I am still subsidizing him. If I pay for an apt and make him pay for everything else he would be working as hard as he would in a program. I am not sure if I agree with the concept of all or nothing. It seems very sudden, and not as if it is setting him up for success. It seems he should have a chance to work his way into a life. I mean college students have their dorm rooms paid for, so what is the difference if Matt is working towards getting his life back on track. Now I agree if he sits on his butt every day then the gig is up. But I am not sure I understand telling him its the program or the streets.
  9. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I sent you a cyber box. Have you received it? It's part of my heart
    to use like superglue as yours threatens to break.

    God this is awful stuff that we live with. I'm thinking of you. DDD
  10. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE


    ExDH and I made decisions we needed to make based on our family and our experiences. You are the only person who can make those decisions for yourself and what you can live with. I am simply reporting my experience and what worked for us.

    I completely agree with your statements. Matt should have a chance to work his way into a life....and so far he's been given at least two chances. He got kicked out of one program and is now suspended from another. Not to mention that his first act out of the second program was drug abuse. How many "chances" are enough, too much?

    If it was Rob and he'd blown other chance then yes, we probably would say "get with this program or you are on your own. If you choose to be on your own, here's a list of homeless shelters in your area and places where you can get something to eat. You can learn job skills at XXXXX. When you are ready to change your life, let us know. We love you and you know how to contact us. Take care."

    A college student has a dorm room paid for because he has worked hard to graduate from high school and gotten accepted to college. I don't see any similarity in this scenario with the reality of Matt- or Rob.

    When Rob started making good decisions we were delighted to assist; but not until then.

    Steely, this is a place to "take what you need and leave the rest." I cannot advise you on what you should do. Like I said earlier, I can only report what worked for us and what I would do if I faced the scenario again. It was hell to go through, that's for sure, and I don't envy you.

  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Steely, I tend to come from a place where I might do one thing if I was able...say pay for one or two months of a motel or apartment IF I HAD THE MEANS which is something that I would probably not be able to do unless it was very cheap, but after that he would be on his own.

    I dont see our kids in the same scenario as kids in college because they didnt do things the correct way. Just plain facts. When Cory moved out, he had to pay his rent and his deposits. We didnt help him. He got social services to do his electricity deposit. His dad did help him put the floor in with used lumber and some wood Cory bought cheap. He went without carpet or vinyl for months until he could find some being thrown away. He bought dishes at the Goodwill and got stuff off freecycle for his fridge and stove. Before he had those he used a microwave he paid 2 bucks for and an old electric frying pan I had under my cabinet. He used an ice chest to keep stuff cold.

    We havent bought him hardly anything. I got him pots and pans for xmas. It was what he asked for.

    He has been hungry, he has had to figure things out. He is determined he will never come home again. It worked. And yes I have worried.
  12. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    OK, thanks for the input. I am apparently in a different mental paradigm than most. Perhaps a kid is just not equipped to adapt to a structured, conformist "program" - yet they respond to real life.
  13. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I don't have experience with this with a child. But I've often thought about what avenues I might take should such a situation arise. I'm a bit Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) about planning for the worse way in advance just in case. It keeps me from losing my head in a crisis.

    This is the first time, to my understanding, Matt has actually been out on his own. Given that.......and the fact that the program is willing to work with him outpatient and give him a coach........For me personally, if it were my child, I'd attempt to find a way to fin him housing on a temporary basis until he could land a job and pay his own way. And I'd be careful when doing so to be positive it would be something he could afford comfortably with a job he'd be able to get with his skills, which are limited with his age. You want him to be able to take over the rent and utilities once he has that job.

    In short...........I'd give him a chance. He deserves 1 chance. Everyone does. But I'd make it clear it would only be once, and what conditions he is to meet for you to do it.

    And while doing this, I'd be mentally preparing myself for the fact that he will probably not follow through. I'd hunt down that Al anon meeting and become a faithful member. I used to have a book they gave me many years ago. It was an enormous help. Although I had to read it and re-read it until it began to sink in. I was a better person for it. Not the person I went for.......but myself.

    Having just lost my bff to drugs I so totally get you wanting to do everything to can to help him and make sure he stays away from them. I really do. But in the end, it is his decision....and you've got to prepare yourself for if it's the wrong one.

  14. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Steely, I hear what you're saying. I don't necessarily disagree with you. At the end of the day, we have to do what we can live with.

    None of us can predict Matt's success. Maybe he will be the exception to the rule and do far better in his own place, out of a program, without having to go thru the ... what's the word? Trials? Disappointments? Hard times? Something along those lines - anyway, maybe he won't have to get to some of the really dark places that some of our kids have gone to (or are there now) in order to figure out how to lead his life.

    If you choose to put Matt up in an apartment, you need to really prepare yourself for all possibilities. Those logical consequences of no food, no electricity, etc, can come really fast. Will you step in? For how long? Will you sign him up for public aid, food stamps, services, or will that be his responsibility? And what will you do if he doesn't take care of it?

    I agree that continuing in a program where he's completely uninvested is pretty much pointless from a treatment standpoint. However, the big positive is that he is at least connected to some place, and there's some degree of supervision. Don't discount the peace of mind you get from that security. Just speaking from my little corner of Hades, though, you need to prepare yourself for the fact that he may continue to appear uninvested in his life even outside a program. I say "appear" because... you take a kid with no education, no life skills, an inability to make realistic plans and goals and then follow thru, and you may get a kid who spins his wheels a *lot*, makes bad decision after bad decision, and leads a really marginal life. With my kid, there's a total disconnect in the ability to get from point A to point B. I think he *wants* to succeed, but only on his terms which by definition makes it impossible because "his terms" are completely off the radar.

    There isn't a right answer here. There's just a lot of folks who have been, or are, where you're at. Heaven knows, husband and I have toyed with all kinds of possibilities, not least of which was buying a house down the road and putting him up there, with no expectations except it had to be drug free. Who knows... we may end up doing that someday (hope the housing market doesn't pick up, LOL).

    In my heart of hearts, I think for our more oppositional kids the only way they are ever going to have a chance to get with- the program in terms of living their lives is after they get the full force of logical consequences for their choices, without our interference. My kid had *ample* opportunity to get an education, get supported employment and living situations, get supports period. He chose not to. He's making a goofy attempt at improving his life right now, not an attempt I think will succeed, but at least he's doing something (which is saying a lot) and I will admit that I am offering support to him right now, albeit on an extremely limited basis. But his life hoovers majorly and it breaks my heart. His choice.

    Do what you need to do, Steely, for yourself, for your own peace of mind.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2010
  15. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Thanks slsh..........your insight is I think our kids are cut from the same mold.

    Just for clarification, the program is the one who is assisting him with the independent living scenario. They are setting up the criteria he has to adhere to in order to gain his independence. Once he is independent, they will still monitor and dictate the rules, consequences, and curriculum.I am not trying to rescue him, enable him, or subsidize him - I am just choosing for him not to be in a structured "program" any longer.

    Sometimes I feel as if I am not "tough" enough to even post on PE which makes me disheartened. I feel sad when people post that I just need to put him on the streets. I would hope that you bare with me in this slow process of learning tough love, because I personally think I am doing an amazing job of detaching, given my background of enabling and co-dependence. It is a process. And I personally am proud of the progress I have made. I am not paying for his apt, groceries, etc while he sits by and does drugs or doesn't work. He is not coming to live with me. I am setting boundaries and stating limits. Yet - I do believe that each of our children respond differently - and it is my obligation to pursue every avenue possible - until there are not anymore avenues left that are healthy. I hope you can have grace as I work through that.
  16. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Steely, unfortunately there is no one size fits all answers. Each of us have dealt with the situations we've face in our own way. We all come to such situations from different places. Our kids, although they all have similar issues, are also individuals, so what works for mine, might not work for someone else's. I live in small town America. Everyone knows everyone. I feel comfortable letting mine figure out life for himself because I know that he is in a community where others will help if he needs it. If it were a large city, I might not be so apt to do that. I provide mine with a vehicle, because without one, he would be stuck with no way to get anywhere. So, we do what we do. Sometimes it works; sometimes it fail. And then we try again. I wish I had a magic wand to wave or a crystal ball to see into the future. Do what is right for you and Matt.
  17. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Steely, personally I think you've made considerable progress. Learning detachment is different for everyone, and everyone gets there in their own time. It's not something you can force, because you've got to live with yourself first and foremost. :)

    This sounds like it might be a really good opportunity for Matt. I really hope he takes full advantage of it.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    So this program finds the independent apartments? See, that wasnt something you told us!

    A program I wanted to get Cory into but was unable to access was like that. I really wish I could have. They had a locked program, then an unlocked program, then stepped it down even further to having clients move in together in apartments that had basic case management and someone to check up on them from time to time to make sure all was going well. Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) was provided.

    I so wanted that program.

    It sounds like this is more what you are talking about. If so, yeah I would go for it.

    In your previous post it sounded like you or Matt would just suddenly have to come up with a place for him to live but the program would let him check in with them as a side note. Kind of like well he can do outpatient here if he wants to. Most kids wont go to outpatient if they get out that door but if they are in a supported living place that is attached to the program it is a better idea.
  19. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Not one of us said you "just need to put him on the streets" and I've been around long enough and know the posters on this thread well enough to know that every single one of us took extra care with our responses because we all know how fragile and sensitive you are and no one wanted to hurt your feelings.

    But Steely, if you don't want our advice ("Do you think my plan is the right way to go?"..."So Suz, what is it that you think I should do?"), please don't ask for it. Or if you only want us to agree with you, let us know. Or if you prefer that I not give you an honest response to your threads, I won't.

    And, like Janet said, it would be helpful if you would share more details at the onset (ie: the fact that it's an Independent Living Program----something that I have posted positively about over the years many, many, MANY times).

    I truly wish you and Matt the best.

  20. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Wow Suz - thanks for your hostile response. Such a soft place to land???

    All I said was that I hope you all had grace as I toughened up. But I don't ever want to be as tough as you. Ever.

    PE is not such a soft place to land - and therefore this board is no longer going to be part of my life. I think other posters have felt the same way - and that is infinitely sad to me - because in the beginning you all offered so much support to me. And, I can offer so much support to others. Yet with responses like this one - there is no need. I am not your kid - I don't need tough love - and I am very sure if we met in real life you would not treat me this way in person. It is obviously a defense mechanism you have learned in raising your kids.

    And for the record, I did give the details of the program offering an independent living situation in the first post. Sorry I was not articulate enough to satisfy everyone. And as far as being "fragile and sensitive"? I would rather be that than a hardened shell.