Oh well

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Echolette, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    So I'd like some help sorting through how to handle the next few days.

    So my son went from 6 months in jail to a residential treatment center...inpatient, where he is supposed to stay for 4-6 months, and then he had a placement in transitional housing in a place with job support, drug testing, etc, all covered by the state, all perfect for his needs EXCEPT

    He left.

    He was there for about 10 days...I visited him last weekend (they only have weekend visiting hours). He called me every day, as he had from jail. ON Tuesday he called to say guess what, a friend of a friend had told his ex girlfriend, another street dweller with a heroin habit who is 8 years older than he is, that he was out, and...GOOD NEWS!!! She was going to go visit him on Sunday. I expressed some reservations about this, and he was very defensive (I was cautious, but he was looking for me to say "that's great" and didn't get that response).

    He never called again.

    I called Saturday and they told me he wasn't there. There was brief detour when I called his PD who assured me that he was there and it was a misunderstanding and I needed to provide his social security number when I called but...I got a facebook message from a friend of my daughters today saying she had seen him in a local starbucks and he wanted to contact me but was afraid I'd be disappointed in him.

    I told her thanks, and if she saw him again to tell him it is OK to contact me.

    I called the PD and left a message to let her know (after I called the treatment center and confirmed that he had left on Saturday).

    I'm not sure about legal ramifications but I think this means he goes back to jail if picked up. What is the likelihood of being picked up in this big city? I don't know.

    So...I know...pause. Stay calm. Try not to fall into anger or despair. Take tylenol for the headache maybe?

    For now I think I will not answer calls from unknown numbers. He can message me on facebook if he wants to do so.

    I would like to know the legal consequences. I need a little space to think how to respond when he calls, which he will eventually. I guess I'm disappointed but not surprised...although disappointed seems too small a word for this yawning maw I feel within.

    Any words of wisdom....

  2. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    And..the PD says that the treatment center is willing to take him back...and that if he doesn't show up in court on Wednesday he'll get a summary...and then they will plan on an extended sentence. The PD said she would drive him to the treatment center if need be, and also was willing to go to the starbucks where he was seen...she is pretty great. I feel like I should participate just to keep her level of passion for her job fulfilled! I'm glad there are people like that, even if people like my son make themselves hard to help.
  3. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Oh Echo, I'm so sorry. I've been down a similar road with my son a few times.

    My son would go to jail, do the required time then be released on parole into a residential program. He would do good for a couple of weeks then leave. This happened 3 times.
    Each time he had a week to return to the program, no questions asked but he never did. He would be on the streets hanging with the same old crappy crowd and lets not forget him breaking into our house a few times during these episodes.
    Without fail, he would do something dumb and get arrested and the whole cycle would start over.
    To answer your question about the odds of being picked up in a big city, we were in a big city. I don't think it matters the size of the town or city, if they do something dumb, they will get picked up.
    The last time my son ran from the program they charged him with felony escape. When they caught him he was sentenced to 2 years.

    I do hope your son will reach out to you or if the PD finds him that he will be willing to go back.

  4. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    He is still in his addiction. It is so sad that they still want our approval even when none is deserved.
  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    We have been where you are too, Echo. I am sorry this is happening.

    The most helpful thing I can think to tell you is to understand detachment parenting as a set of tools we can use to detach from the emotions. If we can recognize and manage our emotions, we can stay steady state. Panic? Just sit with it. Frustration? Sit with it. Recognize whatever emotion it is. Let it be.

    "Oh. That's just my panic. My anger. My fear. My grief."

    That helped me very much. I had to walk a fine line. In times when I felt raw or vulnerable, I stayed very quiet. I stayed home, if I could. One day? A lady I had liked so much but did not know well yet stopped over unexpectedly. And I was behaving like a normal person in every way until she said, "So, how are you?"

    And I just blurted out the whole thing.

    And I could not, for the life of me, shut my mouth.

    I hate when that happens.


    Try not to write the end of the story.

    Whether it's good news or bad, try not to write the end of the story.

    We have to stay very much in the Now.

    That is best.

    That, we can do.

    We can manage our emotional responses.


    I think it helps not to judge. Which is so hard, for me. But just to take one thing as it comes and then, the next thing. If you can find some imagery that portrays that feeling for you, that will make it easier to reach for centering.

    You note you are a practicing Buddhist at the bottoms of your posts, Echo. If you look on image.google.com for Buddha images, there will be one there you respond to. There is an image of the Buddha, sleeping so peacefully, that helps me when I cannot sleep, for instance. I feel the peaceful breath in him and get a bead on where I need to be.

    When I was not on the hot seat speaking to my child, I would place myself in a place of affection for her. Then, I would think what would be the helpful things to communicate, from her point of view. If I were her, and I was talking to a mom I trusted, what would comfort me? I would remember that she was afraid and confused, too. That prepared me, when the phone rang. No panic, because I would remember how I wanted to be, for her.

    That helped me.

    It gave me just the smallest breath of a place to stand.

    Writing that there are really only three prayers, Anne Lamott published the book, Help! Thanks! Wow! Just before I answer the phone, and oh so many times during every conversation with my kids, I still say "Help!"

    I can't think of anything else. Take good care of your health, of course. That matters.

    Here is something I learned recently: "When chopping onions, just chop onions."

    Tears are just part of chopping onions, or of loving someone who is troubled, or maybe, just a part of loving someone, at all.

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  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Oh Echo.... I have so been there. So was part of his sentance the Residential Treatment Center (RTC)....if that is part of his sentance, or part of his plea deal then my guess is they will put out a warrant for his arrest and if he is picked up for anything he will be arrested and will go back to jail. This has happened more than once with my son. I know that absolute drop dead feeling of that phone call when you hear that they have left. All you can do now is wait and see what happens.... and in the process do whatever you can to take care of yourself.

    The last time this happened my son skipped town. He did come by to say goodbye after I promised not to call the authorities.....

    And after that he started trying to get his life together. He moved across country, got a job and found he actually liked working and it gave him self esteem....however it did not cure him of his substance abuse issues. So after a year he hit his own internal bottom and sought help... went to detox and then voluntarily went to their Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and is actually doing well!! A part of me cant believe it because I never thought he would do this for himself, but he did.

    So for your sake I kind of hope something happens soon so you know where he is and what he is doing.... and I certainly hope at some point he gets the help that he needs.
  7. Carri

    Carri Active Member

    Sorry to hear this Echo. Yep, I've been through this with my son too. He was sentenced to a 2 year residential treatment facility and just walked away after 14 months. He would have had his felony erased if he completed the program. Instead, had a warrant out for his arrest, was picked up 6 months later in Hollywood Ca (big city!) living in a car and was sentenced to a year in Prison. Since he's been released, he's been in and out of jail more than 6 times and is currently homeless. Heroin addiction is a beast. Seems like it would be so much easier for them to just follow the rules but drugs are obviously too powerful for them. All we can do is hope and pray that they reach such painful bottom that they actually surrender and do anything that can to get well; surrounding themselves with people in recovery. They know where to go, what to do. It's bedtime for me right now and I ask God to please take over my worries so that I can get to sleep since he's going to be up all night anyhow. Reading your post makes me sad for you and your son, but it helps to know I'm not the only one going through these situations. Hang in there. Carri
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I do not think he is more invisible in a great big city. He is less so.

    While in the short run, by leaving he may put himself in harm's way, in the long run, he has earned a very short leash. It will play itself out.

    While my son goes to residential treatment mainly for mental illness, he leaves, too. Each time I am soooo hopeful. And each time, my hopes are dashed.

    I am getting it. It is not about my hope. Really, it has nothing to do with me, anymore. Sometimes I think about mothers of explorers like Christopher Columbus or Ponce de Leon. Or Wild Bill Hickock's mother. I mean, before there were text messages or email. Or even my great-grandmothers, all 4 of them, whose children left and crossed the ocean never to return again. I mean, they lived their lives. Why can't I. I can.

    I think neutrality is the way to go. Of course there cannot be neutrality about self-destructive behavior, but we can distance ourselves from it, legitimately so.

    Your son already knows what you would say. It is already in his head. That's why he has not called. He knows already.

    If it were me, knowing what I know now, I would try to be neutral. I would try to say few words. I would try to not get in the middle. He needs to find that place in himself that has hope and expectations. As long as they are in you, it will not work. That is what I think. I have not always thought that way. You know that.

    I would try as best I can to focus on myself, and my other family.

    If it were me, I would try to accept that he has decided. For now. He could decide differently, tomorrow, if he chooses.

    What more is there to say? I love you.

    I feel bad. You did not need this.
  9. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    How does the system works there if you do the requires time should you not be free after you did it?
  10. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    In a sense he was "free" with conditions of parole. The conditions of his parole he was to report to his parole officer and also enter into the residential program. If he would have completed the program he would have been totally free.
  11. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I have to say, the knowledge that you all have kids who have trodden the exact same path is somehow reassuring. It seems like a behavior pattern, which oddly helps me feel settled...something about the idea that it is just random crazy bad judgement bothers me more than the idea that "this is a thing that these troubled people do."

    Thank you for sharing this with me. I'm sorry this happened to you...but the knowledge that this is a shared experience helped settle me down last night.

    Yes. It is sad that he is afraid to reach out to me. Its sad to want something that is out of your reach...in this case my approval.

    Yes, labelling emotions is a good idea...just my anxiety. my panic. my sorry. I"m not really falling, it is just a feeling of falling.

    And..this was my mantra last night. Try not to write the end of the story. At least one of my younger kids and probably both are having some issues that are scaring me, one is boundary-pushing and one is school-failing...all these things add to my panic. The clarity of "don't write the end of the story" for all three of my boys helped keep me sane last night.

    I will try this.

    When I woke up in the middle of the night I pictured an image of a Buddha I once saw in China, eyes closed, lying on his side, resting. That helped me go back to sleep. Thank you.

    What a good and novel idea! This is a little brain bending for me, but I'm going to work on it.

    Haha. Yes, I do make all these prayers. Right now...mostly "help!" but even now even now...this morning I saw that a flowering tree on my roofdeck, which I thought had died in the rough winter we had (roots in a pot on a roofdeck is hard on trees) has actually come back to life...and in its confusion after a long sleep, is flowing an exuberant pink flower. Thanks!

    Yes, that is part of his sentence. And his first court hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.

    The crowd support of "this has happend more than once to SEVERAL of our sons..." has been really helpful. Thank you for letting me know.

    How crushing. Fourteen months in. But it helps to have company in this strangely similar story.

    Exactly! Looks like a meme!

    This was also very calming. This too shall play itself out.

    Haha. My family is messy right now! In the normal way of families, but still...

    And yes, this is a good touchstone. I have to accept that he has already decided. Very very good point. He has already decided. There is no role for me here. In fact, he hasn't even reached out to me..he only told a passing acquaintance that he sort of kind of wants to ...

    Part of his sentencing was to participate successfully in this program...with that came an expungement of his felony record. Not fulfilling his part means that when he is (inevitably) arrested again, they will prosecute the felony, and the DA won't be feeling so generous this time. And who can blame him.

    But I"m not writing the end of the story today!

    This was great and exactly what I needed. Don't write the end of the story. He has decided. I am not alone.

    Hugs to all of us who hold our heads up and keep moving.

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  12. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I truly don't think I'll ever get it. Really...WTF? He would have expunged a FELONY. Now, if he already has a couple of others, I guess I could see him thinking, "Eh. Whatever. I already have problems." But really? Fail to do this one thing to make a felony disappear...and it's too much. My kid had to do 40 hours of community service and his one and only misdemeanor would be gone. Now, if he's ever caught, I'm sure he'll have a conviction. I just don't get it.
  13. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Oh Echo I am coming late to this...I read your post yesterday but didn't have time to respond thoughtfully. I was so hopeful for him!!

    The time in jail...to calm down...3 squares and a bed, as we say, drug free, the system finally actually working...I think that is so hard...when it all comes together. And then the fall is so much further for us. For you. I am so sorry.

    But...as several have said...don't write the end of the story today.

    The lure of the street still calls to him, clearly. Once he has choices...outside of jail...he chooses what he has come to know instead of what he doesn't yet know.

    He is going to do what he is going to do...we know that. You know that. I would think he hasn't called because he knows how disappointed and wrong you will think this is, of course he knows that.

    I just hoped and prayed and thought that THIS was going to be his turnaround time. Just goes to show that we aren't in charge of this and him and how the world turns. He has been offered a very good deal and he chooses not to take it at least this time. He's not ready yet.

    I just hate that, though, especially for your hurting heart. I do believe, like others here, that this is a defined pattern of behavior, not just him choosing to be aberrant, but it's the way...until one day it isn't. And that isn't on our timeline so sadly.

    Echo you know so much already about acceptance...lean into that and refresh yourself in the principles of living with incredible, unbelievable uncertainty. That is the task for all of us...every single one of us.

    There is no reasoning this out. It is way outside the bounds of logic as we know it. It isn't logical. It is a person doing what they want to do, for whatever reason. Responding to the siren call. I don't pretend to understand how that can be better than this life most of the rest of us lead but my son chose it too, for a long time. The drugs were paramount. Until one day they weren't.

    I am hoping for his safety and for you to find some peace and comfort. We are here for you.

    Warm hugs for your heart and his. I am so sorry it had happened.
  14. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Hello dear friend.

    Yes. Not only did I focus on this with him, I used it in reference to one of my younger boys this morning as well...and it helped me settle down and get to work (his therapist called me while I was trying to get out the door to work..THAT is never good!)

    Good point. I hadn't really thought of that. Who doesn't seek the comfort of the known? We do that even when the known is bad. It is still less scary than the unknown.

    Yes, having everyone chime in on the forum and tell me about their similar (startlingly similar) experiences was normalizing...and normalizing with our difficult children is very helpful. It takes the "oh my gosh what is wrong with him?" scary part away and replaces it with...Oh. He is doing that thing. Which is less scary, although no less frustrating. But being scared is bad, and a bad place from which to react.

    I do have those skills, and yes, they do need refreshing. I set to work on that last night. I'm already better.

    Thank you.

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  15. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    A short update....to my great surprise the PD's office called me last night and said that my son had turned himself in, and wanted to go back to the treatment center. They were going to pick him up. They did that...picked him up (after first trolling through every Starbucks in the neighborhood looking for him), then sat with him for re-entry, and made a variety of threatening and pleading and promising phone calls for him to be allowed back in.

    These people set a new bar for putting themselves out there.


    He went back.

    I was flagging a cab to go meet him, but he called on the PD's phone and said he felt overwhelmed, and would rather I waited till the weekend. The PD said he needed detox.

    He told her that he was on a bus with his girlfriend, and she kept wanting to stop and get high. And at some moment he realized that she just wanted his money (he gets SSI) and that he didn't want to get high and didn't want to be there...so he went back.

    This is a first for him...he has checked himself into hospitals before, but never in good weather, never so quickly, never with this tone.

    His story. His life. I"m going to practice what Cedar suggested..

    This is my role today. His is to write his own story, win,lose, or draw (this is my favorite quote from a friend of mine who died in Iraq while serving his third VOLUNTEER tour as a physician).

    It's a good day. Help, Wow, and Thanks.

    Hugs to all,

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  16. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Oh I'm so glad. Another chance to change and he wanted it. That is already change. I'm so glad. Please keep us posted, Echo.

    P.S. Did I say I'm so glad!??!!
  17. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I'm so happy to hear this. Two posts so far today with positive vibes...It's a good day. :)
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  18. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    He is rewriting his story. He is allowed to do that. This is a very good chapter.
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  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Echo, you are allowed to take more than Tylenol for a headache. I recommend a massage, a warm bath with candles and soft music, wine and chocolate.
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  20. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I love this. Feeling overwhelmed, and acknowledging that, and wanting to be clean for you when you do see him.

    This is empathy, from him for you, and from him, to himself. He is engaging in self care here, Echo.

    That's a pretty big deal, I think.

    Acknowledging he will feel calmer in future, that he wants your support, but doesn't need you to comfort him through this part...that is the thinking of someone taking things seriously, of someone thinking things through. He has matured through this experience, Echo.

    A blessing then, in disguise.

    Because knowing how another mom would frame the imagery most supportive for her child would help me Echo, these were the thoughts that came for me:

    Steady state; quiet affection, not gushing or too-bright smiling; grateful and proud for him that he made this choice, that he has given himself this chance; grateful and proud for yourself and his family, that he made the choice you all were hoping he would.

    And that's it.

    And, "Help".

    And after that, just as much presence to the moment where you are, and where he is, as I could manage.

    That this happened, that he made this choice and is handling it so well with the empathy and self care, that would definitely be the "Wow" of Anne Lamott's prayer.

    So, we will just keep our hearts firmly on the "Help!" aspect of things, and maybe, one day in the future, we will get to the "Thanks" part.

    I am so pleased for him, Echo!


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