Not sure what to make of it all

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Jackie'sStrength, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. Jackie'sStrength

    Jackie'sStrength New Member


    I am new here, and -as the subject line reads- not sure what to make of it all. Not sure if this is the right forum for this post. Where to begin? I guess I will just start with where we are right now. My soon to be 20 year old son smokes pot. A LOT. I am not opposed to it, as a rule. It is not illegal where I live. I have smoked, casually, upon a rare occasion (never in front of my children). I see health benefits to it (for anxiety, for pain, or other issues for which a person could get a prescription).

    The concern I have stems from the reason my son uses it and with how often he uses it. He says he uses it because he likes it and it helps him with anxiety, and calms his mind (he has experienced psychoses which I am not unsure whether or not they are drug induced, or if the marijuana actually helps to settle his mind (much like Ritalin settles the mind of a person with ADD but I expect-being a stimulant-would send people with already settled minds thorough the roof). With that, I have read that people with depression, anxiety, and other "disorders" of the mind are prone to self-medicating, which is the real reason that I think he uses it-to self-soothe rather than take a productive and constructive approach to his problems he is medicating himself into a haze. I am relieved that he is as terrified of hard drugs as I am and I honestly believe he would not touch them, but I would also never have imagined that my son used drugs off and on since he was 14. Were I to have discovered this at 14, I most certainly would have recruited resources to help him deal with whatever impels him to use. Now, as an adult, it is his choice to make. However, he is still living in my home, with a younger sibling. I do not want my other child to think that I condone his choice, or that similar behaviour would be accepted or tolerated (yet I realize that this is the most likely interpretation given my apparent inaction).

    My trouble is that I do not know what to do about it. I have told him-repeatedly-that I do not want him smoking at my house and definitely not blatantly. Since it is not illegal, I cannot call the police. And, I don't know that I would want to. Again, I don't have such an issue with it that I would feel comfortable throwing him out or having him arrested, even if I could. Previously, I did have an issue, when his choices were leading to his failing in school, and when his mood was not managed such that he ended up in the hospital-twice (he experienced a depression induced psychosis, according to the doctor and the second hospitalization was because he drank a full bottle of cough syrup admitting that he knew he was taking a risk and didn't care). When he moved back home, it was very stressful for a long time. But then he got a job. It is a full time job that pays decently. It seems to have given him a sense of pride in himself and he comes home from work almost euphoric (it is a physically demanding job, and he rides his bike to and from work, so he is getting exercise which is good for mood as well as his self-esteem as he put on a lot of weight while in school).

    Since he moved home, I cut off his phone and he has set up his own account and pays for it himself (he was using all of our shared data while not putting in a lot of effort to find work). He usually does whatever I ask him to do to help out. He does not think he needs help, and doesn't think a counsellor or psychologist can help. He was seeing a psychiatrist (part of his outpatient care) and has since stopped going and stopped taking his medications (one for psychosis, and one for depression). The doctor in the hospital where he was the second time (while at school) did not think he was depressed, but didn't have a diagnosis and ordered brain scans as a baseline. He said sometimes things can manifest at this age, but not always and he suspects that my son may always be a little bit eccentric (he holds beliefs and values that do not agree with conventional norms but they are logical, just not comfortable).

    I used to tread lightly. I didn't want to push him too hard, or over the edge. But, he has shown me that he is capable and motivated and as a result I am not as concerned about his mental health as I was previously. I feel worried when I think about his future. Will he become an addict? Is he already addicted? He does not lie about or hide his behaviour although I sometimes wish he would be less conspicuous and this poses a conflict of values for me. There is a part of me that recognizes the stupid things I did as a teenager and emerging adult which helps to soothe my fears, but another part of me feels overwhelmed by the big unknown. What if he doesn't turn out ok? What if he does have an addiction or develops one? What if he turns to harder drugs once he is desensitized to the current ones? What if? What if?

    The big question is-what if? What would happen if these fears come to pass? Can I control this? What do I have control over? Can I do something now to put him on track? I know that I have to put my foot down. The reality is that when he is smoking, I am not comfortable in my own house. And I have the right to be. IT may also make his sibling uncomfortable, or would be guests. So, for that reason alone I can tell him he cannot smoke at home. If he feels he has to make that choice, and that he will smoke regardless, than he can do it somewhere else. Not my problem. I just do not know if I am prepared to ask him to leave if he violates the request.

    I have received advice from well intended people who care about me. However, I feel that the advice given is attenuated by their perspective and proximity to the situation (i.e. is too personal, they are biased and not objective enough). I do process what they share and try to consider it objectively, (because I too have my own biases and perspective about their perspectives). It is sometimes easier to take in advice from people who do not know you, because it feels less personal and less like I am doing something wrong. That said, all any of us can do is speak from our own perspectives. Any well-intended advice or opinions are welcome.

    Thank you
  2. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    Hi Jackie,

    It is a tough one. I do not live where weed is legal, so it's a no brainer for me. However, I am a lot softer on weed than a lot of other folks on the board. I see it a lot like alcohol. Some people can work all day, come home have a smoke and be done with it. If they have it, fine, if they don't no big deal. Like a glass of wine. (in essence of full disclosure, I, personally don't smoke, and I am really only a "special occasion" drinker)

    There are other people who have issues with addiction and weed leads to worse, or they smoke it to the exclusion of anything else in their life. They just smoke, eat, and sleep. Like alcohol, there are some people who can manage it and some who can't.

    However, it is your home and like anything else, if you are not comfortable with it in your home you have the right to prohibit it. Since it is legal, if smoking is that terribly important to him, he can, certainly, do it elsewhere.

    Personally, I would be very concerned about the mental health issue. Psychosis is something far more serious and difficult to manage than depression. Most major mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia do manifest themselves in the teens and early 20s. It does sound, to me, as if he is self medicating.

    I am not sure about the "little bit eccentric" thing. That doesn't sound like something most psychiatrists would say. Many delusional systems are well organized. It seems, at this point, your son has some ongoing psychotic symptoms but he is able to manage them, maybe with the help of pot.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with Sisters Keeper as a whole, although I do have mental illness and to me pot made me paranoid and nervous, not calm. I don't know that pot has a place as a psychiatric world. I think many people say "I have anxiety" for pot use. And it doesn't calm everyone down and, like alcohol, is not good for those who are already mentally ill. At the very least there is no proof that pot helps anxious people function better. Often pot users lose their motivation to do anything.

    The psychosis is scsry. It could mean SERIOUS mental illness or else perhaps stronger drug use. Meth causes psychosis. You don really know what your adult daughter uses. And there is nothing you can do to stop her, except inform her that she can not live with you and do drugs. You can supersede the law in your own home. This is setting a strong boundary, if you are so inclined.

    Nobody smokes anything or gets drunk in my home, for example.

    I hope your daughter decides to get help. Hugs for your hurting heart.
  4. worried sick mother

    worried sick mother Active Member

    Welcome Jackie,
    I smoked marjuana when I was younger also , not regularly but a few times and I do know people who function, hold jobs and smoke it daily. I also know people who are total burn outs that smoke daily.

    My drug and alcohol counselor who is the leader of a board of mental health specialist in my state who are fighting to prevent marjuana from being legalized told me that by legalizing marjuana it's not the same marjuana that I would have smoked when I was younger. He said when it's legalized that the THC level is altered so high that it can cause psychosis leading to other mental health problems. I would assume this could be the case since its legal in your state. I'm not saying that's what happened to your son , just that the THC level is probably very high due to being legal.
    I used to not be against marjuana, I didn't think it was the best idea but didn't think it was all that bad however after what has happened with my son I am totally against it!

    My son started out smoking marjuana, never in my home but he didn't deny using, he argued it's a plant made by God and he definitely thinks it should be legal. I don't know for sure but it seemed to be a gateway drug for my son who ended up a heroin addict. My son didn't have any mental health problems before drug use so I'll never know if he was self medicating a mental illness or if drugs caused mental illness.

    I wouldn't allow it in my home around my younger children either if I were you. The what if's are so scary but I've learned the hard way and from others on this board that we don't have any control. What you do have control over though is your home and the rules in your home. It does sound like your son is self medicating. Stick to the rules in your home and whatever your consequences are if those rules are broken, be sure and stick to it. Keep posting, others are way more helpful than me.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry. I read this last night and forgot ypu have a son, not a daughter.
  6. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    While I'm pro-legalization dating back to the days of NORML, marijuana is contraindicated in cases of psychosis as the jury is still out on whether or not it can trigger psychosis in those prone to it, or who already have suffered bouts.

    I should qualify this by saying that I last smoked in '81, and what i know about weed from that time on comes from studying, reading, and speaking to more current users.

    I do believe that it has major medicinal value and is safer than many other medications out there.
  7. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    Welcome to the forum!

    My son has severe anxiety/depression which manifested at 15. He started to smoke weed to "help" it. It was a gateway drug for him. He now is abusing prescription drugs.

    I never thought marijuana was bad either. I smoked a lot of it in high school so when he first started to smoke, I figured it was the normal teenage right of passage and he'd get over it. Wasn't super concerned.

    His psychiatrist actually said that marijuana does help initially with anxiety but actually makes it WORSE. The medication he took for anxiety he was selling for weed and so it was a huge mess.

    If your son is making decent money he should get his own place and then he can do what he wants. Many on this board feel that adult children should NOT live at home and this is one of the many reasons why. I have to agree. I would not budge on this at all. If he does not follow your rules, he needs to leave your home. You don't need to have a reason why. You have a younger child and that child deserves to not have to live in a home where there is drug use, even legal marijuana. Your obviously very uncomfortable with this situation or you would not have posted here.

    Your son is an adult now. He is doing adult things and making adult choices. My situation is much different than yours but that fact alone has helped me tremendously to detach.

    Hugs and good luck and I certainly hope everything works out in your favor.
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  8. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, Jackie!

    If he were smoking regular cigarettes in the house, would that be OK with you, or would you put your foot down to keep it from happening?

    Same basic premise.

    We (and especially our minor kids) have a right to be free from Second-hand smoke in our own homes.

    I know quite a few people who smoke cigarettes (my hubby quit a year and a half ago) but only one who smokes in the house.

    That is a stand I would be willing to take.

    If he can't accept your wishes, that is a problem.

  9. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Well, it basically boils down to "your house...your rules". Smoking is legal. Drinking alcoholic beverages is legal. Using marijuana is legal in some states. Whether or not YOU allow it in your domicile is entirely up to you!

    For example. Up until 3 years ago, I smoked cigarettes. I did not smoke in other peoples' homes unless given permission. (I did NOT ask.)

    I vape nicotine. So far that is legal, though upcoming taxes and laws may price vaping out of existance, if not render it nearly illegal.

    I do NOT vape nicotine in other people's houses even though (so far) exhaled vapor has not been shown to be harmful.

    I do not vape in any environment in which smoking is not allowed, even though I now find cigarette smoke to be repulsive.

    Alcohol? I occasionally have a fancy beer at home. If at a family gathering where I'll be spending the night, I might have a drink.

    Usually, I'm hitting the road after dinner, so if its a Jewish Holiday, it's Kosher grape juice for me, or otherwise it's water or soda or juice.

    If we got out for dinner? Guess who gets stuck driving? Luckily, my lil' SUV only seats 5. I'm glad I couldn't afford to buy the Highlander which seats 8.

    My mother doesn't allow vaping anywhere near her. She quit smoking 30 years ago and has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Though its not proven, she FEELS that the exhaled vapor MIGHT be dangerous to her lungs. That's enough for her to refuse to risk inhaling it. '

    You know what? That's her right! Even if it's outdoors and we're walking together.

    Her right to NOT breathe something supercedes my right to vape, smoke, whatever. (Sez she who lives a parking lot and sound barrier wall from a major expressway)

    Same goes with alcohol or marijuana. Not just smoking weed, either. That includes eating or drinking it as well. You have a right not to be around high people if it makes you uncomfortable in your home. They make me nervous so I don't allow intoxicated people over to visit. The one exception is friends or family who are on psychiatric or pain medications at RX doses and are experiencing side opposed to abusing them.

    I mean, if someone is taking Vicodin for a broken wrist and falls asleep on my sofa, that's fine. If someone took 5 VIcodin and is constantly nodding in and out and mumbling nonsense, that isn't fine.
  10. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Jackie and welcome to the forum. First of all, I wanted to write that I am glad your son has found a job that he enjoys, that in itself is a big relief. D cs working their way to self sufficiency is a huge plus.
    This makes me wonder, if you have told him repeatedly, does that mean he IS smoking at your house, or that you are reminding him? Your house, your rules..........
    I have experienced this, the stress in my own home. My two have a younger sibling and looking back, it was unfair to him. Our homes should be our sanctuaries, not a place where adult children move in and wreak havoc. I am sorry you went through this, it is hard.
    Wonderful! So, how is his money management? Is he saving money to eventually move out? Does he pay any rent (you could have him pay his fair portion, I think it is a good thing to teach adult children to help with household expenses and pay their way). This could be one step to take towards his further self sufficiency. You could put some of it away to help him with finding his own place, if you didn't need it to help with the house bills.
    That is the big question for all of us. We are all subject to unforeseen circumstances. I do think it is good to mull over the possibilities a bit to try and prepare yourself and what your reactions would be to the what ifs......
    That is a big one. The only control we have is over our reactions to circumstances. You have control over yourself and what you allow in your home.
    Depends on your relationship with him and how willing he is to listen. For most of us here, we have learned that our d cs have a hard time following our advice, more resent it than anything. I think it is a part of growing up and spreading their wings. They are going to do it their way.That is what makes it hard having them continue to live in our homes. They are going to do things their way, and often times, that boils down to ignoring house rules.
    You do have a right to be comfortable in your own home, 100%. Our homes are our sanctuaries.
    This is the thing. I don't know how old his sibling is, but if he/she is a minor, it is important to remain firm with rules and boundaries for siblings sake and feeling secure in their home, as well as setting an example of not putting up with rule breaking. There are boundaries and rules everywhere we go. An adult child living in the home, breaking rules is disrespectful. When I visit my mom, who is very clean and organized, down to shutting lights off in order (this one then that I do it. It is because it is her home and I respect her. My sibs may joke a bit amongst ourselves about her O C D-ness, but we follow her rules.
    It seems it may not just be smoking at home that bothers you, the self medicating and frequent use seems to be in the picture as well. So, if he does it somewhere else, but comes home high, would that be an issue?
    Thinking this through is important because if we set rules and they are broken it is confusing as all heck when the consequences are not followed through on. I can understand why you are unclear on this, given the issues you have had with your son and concern for his mental health, as well as the gains he has made with holding down a full time job, and helping out at home. I am not opposed to adult children living at home, as long as they follow rules and contribute to the home. Rents are ridiculously high where I live and there are many multi-generational households here. What is difficult, is when there are problems with drugs and partying, younger siblings observing and learning. This, I have experienced. I have also seen pot use escalate to a point where if my d c is not high, she has uncontrollable mood swings. That is scary. The pot nowadays, as others have mentioned, is really, really strong. I smoked as a teen, but the stuff people are smoking now is way more potent and often mixed with other substances. Risky.
    If there are still underlying mental issues with your son, is it self medicating, or just numbing a problem that may just rear its ugly head in the future? Only time will tell.
    It is totally up to you what you decide. The good folks here have been through just about everything, so their response is from the heart and from their own unique experience.
    I am glad you are open minded to opinions. None of us here are experts, just parents who have been through, or are on similar journeys. It is completely up to you, what you decide.
    Having written that, I will say that through my own experience, having drug using d cs in the home was a hellish ride. My son grew up with the chaos of it, and it robbed him of his right to a peaceful home environment. HE is my focus now. Peace in my home is my focus.
    My adult children are older than your son. I can see why you are extending your home to him, all we wish for our children is to be healthy and successful. But, being able to live at home as an adult is a privilege, not a given. From my own experience, rules that are broken, become repeatedly broken and adult d cs begin to have expectations of entitlement. Be very careful about drawing lines and allowing them to be crossed. It can become a slow escalating vicious cycle and your peace of home and mind is lost in the maelstrom of it. What may seem benign now, in the long run can be the beginning of trouble down the road. Measure the inches taken over the boundaries, they can become miles quickly, without even realizing it as it happens. Having firm boundaries and sticking to the consequences is really important for your own peace of mind, self respect, an example to your other child, but most of all to your son in question. IF we don't have enough respect for ourselves and the house rules we set to enforce them, then our d cs will not respect us, or our rules. I think it is important to figure out what you are willing to put up with. It is your home. You matter. How you feel in your own home matters. Your home.
    You have extended your home to your son.
    Is he grateful and appreciative?
    He should be, and show it by respecting you and your requests of him.
    If he cannot, then with a full time job he should be looking at launching and finding his own place.
    Keep posting, it really helps to write things out and get different perspectives.
    Take care.
  11. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    OK this is my take... coming from someone whose son was smoking major pot at 14 and has overdosed on benedryl (which also causes psychosis) and mucinex.

    First the fact he drank a bottle of cough syrup concerns me. Kids do that to get high so was he doing it to get high or some other reason? Has he had psychosis when not using any drugs at all? So if he drank it to get high then you already have a bigger issue than pot.

    Assuming that he is just using pot. No you can't control it... you can't control his substance use whatever it is. I am not sure you can prevent him from becoming an addict either if that is where he is headed (and plenty of people smoke pot and don't go onto other drugs).

    I think making this a huge issue in a confrontational way is not the right thing to do... I think that could make the situation worse.

    So to me the thing to look at how is he doing in the rest of his life? Sounds like he has a job which he likes and is doing well at that makes him feel good about himself. That is excellent. How is he with you at home and with his sibling? How are his friendships and other things in his life? If they are going well then that is all good and I would keep encouraging those things. If they are not going well then those are the issues I would address directly. If drugs are really becoming a problem it will show up in these other areas of his life... and it may be that you can gently point out how drug use is affecting other things.

    Yes I think keeping a rule that he can't smoke at your house is good. I certainly would not condone or let him smoke at home, especially with younger siblings around. But honestly you can't control what he does when he is not at home.

    And I would stay aware which it sounds like you are doing.... so if things in his life seem to be going off the rails you can step in.

    I think the most important thing is to try and keep a connection with him.
  12. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    What an unfortunately familiar post. You are in the right place. I am a drug addict. I abused opiates for years, and became a very good junkie. I could lie and manipulate my way out of any situation. I stole from the only two adults that have EVER cared about me, or shown compassion. My aunt and uncle. People I have not a single bad word to say about. I respect my aunt more than anybody else on the planet, and my uncle is my best friend. They have given EVERYTHING, and got only heartache, fear, desperation, and trust issues to show for it. The real :censored2:ed up part about this is that I KNEW what I was doing was wrong, and I knew it hurt them. I didn't know to what extend it hurt them, but that isn't relevant. What matters is that I DID hurt them. Why would I ever do such horrible things to these people? I practically worship the ground they walk on. I am not a stupid person. Not a cruel one, either. THAT is the effect of drug abuse. It turns perfectly decent, intelligent people into sociopathic monsters who repeatedly hurt the ones we love, and who love us. Addiction is not just bad for the addict. It takes everybody near by as collateral.

    I cannot tell you if your son is a drug addict, or not. People have differing opinions of what does and does not make a person an addict. I can say that your son is teetering very near the edge of a very tall cliff, and is demonstrating that he is losing his ability to control his use. He displays all the typical warning signs. The biggest red flag for me is the DXM. It's one thing to buy something off the street that is meant to get you high. Wanting to get high bad enough to reappropriate something else is entirely different. Same goes with inhaling whippets or chemicals.

    You shouldn't be uncomfortable in your own home. It isn't fair.
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  13. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Darkwing. DXM has become a very popular hallucinogen, especially amongst younger users. There's actually a whole subculture that's grown up around the stuff, with its own terminology, etc.
    It's a similar concept to "Purple Drank" or "Lean", which is basically codeine/promethazine cough syrup, possibly mixed with soda, and for taste, some people like to throw in a Jolly rancher candy, and kick it up, but tossing in some oxycodone. First became popular when you could buy codeine cough syrup OTC. The thing is, like DXM, the dose of codeine needed to stifle a cough isn't much compared to the dose needed to get high. So, if you want to get high on DXM, you're drinking a bottle or more of cough syrup or taking a handful of pills. If you doing "drank" (sans oxycodone) you are drinking half a bottle of the stuff and gettiing a whole lot more promethazine than you should. (Promethazine is an ancient antihistamine and is in there to stop the codeine making you itch like crazy and for its sedative effect.)

    When I was a small child in the early 60s, I remember my mother chasing me around our apt trying to get a spoonful of that stuff down me. OMG did it taste awful!
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  14. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

  15. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    Yes, I have messed around with DXM. In fact, went through a bit of a faze with the stuff. This was before I discovered opiates, mind you. Back when I was just partying heavily. Friends and I went through a sort of psychedelic phase. Eating mushrooms whenever we could get them, doing acid (though I only did that once), and DXM. In Reno, we call it robo tripping. If you've ever seen somebody on DXM, you will instantly know why.

    The effects are seperated into plateaus. Low, medium, and high. Each level is DRASTICALLY different than the others, so it is almost like taking something entirely new to take more. Which, of course, is incredibly dangerous. I did a 3rd plateau once. And lost my :censored2:. Literally lost my mind for about 4 hours. I wouldn't have been able to tell you the location of my ass in relation to a hole in the ground. Bad stuff.

    There is recreational drug use, then there is self medicating. The difference becomes abundantly clear once we cross over that line separating the two. A recreational user takes something to enhance a situation, or an experience. A junkie takes something because being in a normal state of mind i unbearable. There are those that can and do remain strictly recreational users. Then there are the ones who cannot, like myself and every other addict on the planet. I cannot tell which party your son currently belongs to, but I can tell you that he is walking a very fine line. Is there a history of addiction in the family? Addiction itself isn't hereditary, but the probability of developing an addiction is. Not all sons of addicts become addicts, and not all sons of non addicts remain non addicts. These are just things to be aware of, and flags to look out for.
  16. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I'm 56, back when I was in my mid-40s, and living in a small town up in N. WI, I was coming down with the crud, so walked to the nearest drug store to stock up on "supplies", which included a couple of bottles of OTC cough and cold stuff.

    Got to the cash register and was asked for ID, which I didn't have because I walked. Nope. No ID. No cough syrup. That's when I found out about DXM and did a bit of research on it.

    When I say young users, kids of 10 years old are getting high on the stuff.

    The drug store wouldn't sell you anything with DXM unless you could prove you were over 18, and would not sell you more than 2 bottles of syrup or 2 pkgs of pills. I agree with that. Except that I most definitely looked my age.

    I've done my share of psychedelics, in terms of what was available in the 70s, and I don't regret the experiences, either. Nowadays, with all the new chemicals, and with my current mental health status, I wouldn't go near them.