One step forward, two steps back

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by RN0441, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. RN0441

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

    So my son has been gone a year this month. It hasn't been an easy year for him (or us) as you can see by my signature.

    He has been fairly steady the past several months. Working and taking one class and getting an A so far. We have been paying 60% of his rent and he has been paying the rest and for his food and gas. Things were moving along fine.

    Husband always more optimistic than me. I have not SEEN yet what I have wanted to SEE. When we see him while we are at our condo about 2.5 hours from where he lives, it is nice but I know that he is still the same as he was when was living at home but he is now being forced to tow some of the load. Husband felt he was so much better. Yes he was doing more for himself than he ever had. I am very anxious before every visit.

    This weekend that all changed for us. We had a few FaceTimes with him. His eyes looked funny to me. He said he "just woke up". Husband didn't see it. Then he was vaping and coughing. What?? In front of me. Not the little cigarette thing but some other thing. I got upset and cut the call short. I had a feeling in my gut. I am always right. Why do I always have to be right.

    I texted him about not liking that, he's on a slippery slope etc. etc. He apologized, says he's good, loves me.

    Yesterday husband found son had helped himself to some $270 from their shared account that my husband has a password on. It was not a good password obviously. He trusted our son. Also charges on our Visa that he had no business using. That is part of the $270.

    I told my husband that I would back up what he wants to do. I confronted son on phone and he said he'd pay us back. We know benzos are involved. He never did stuff like this unless they were in the picture. They turn him into a liar and a thief. He denied (shocking right). I blocked him again.

    Husband texted son that he is taking the money he owes us out of his monthly rent. That is how my husband wants to handle it. He knows our son will suffer and be embarrassed that he does not have the rent money. He will have to deal with it. He could have more severe consequences but this is what my husband wants to do.

    We are both devastated by this. I am going to talk to my therapist about this on Monday. I am letting my husband deal with him once again. I am going to stand way back and establish firmer boundaries for myself. We are not letting him do the planned end of April visit. I told him I do not want to see him. He looks so forward to these. When he does reach out to me by email (as he has done in the past) I'm going to tell him I cannot have any relationship with him until he admits he has a problem and takes steps toward working on it.

    Our journey is far from over and I'm so tired.
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think your husband's solution was perfect:
    It is a punishment that really fits the crime, so to speak.

    The part of this I want to ask you about, talk about is this:
    We all know how wrapped up I got with my son and how much it costs me.

    I am not going to do a new thread, but I am going to (sorry) piggyback on the latest developments with you to address indirectly where I am because I think I am in a similar place.

    Last week I told my son to leave. To leave here and to leave the other property I control. M took him there to get his stuff. But it turns out M couldn't stand the idea of him homeless. The two of them have been dealing with the situation with me out of it.

    I did not know right away that my son remained in the other house. During that interval I regressed. I went back to bed. I got physically ill. And I began feeling as if I wanted to die. (I do not need to hear from people what I need to do. I know.)

    So when I realized my son was safe, and that I was out of it, little by little, I began to feel better leave the house, with a zest (little bit) for life again.
    And last night I told M: I do not want to see my son. I do not want to speak with him. As far as I am concerned this is a permanent state of mind.

    I had begun to feel as if my life depended upon it.

    And M responded: I think you are right. You have to put above everything your own state of mind. If you feel J, what he does or does not do, has such an influence up to and including your desire to live--you have to insulate yourself from him.

    Keep everything business-like and calm, and put as your overarching objective, your own tranquility and peace of mind.

    Let him solve his own situations. Let's let him live the way he wants to, except for the basic obligations that he owes us. Like rent. (We did not spell out the rest.)

    I have come to see that our wanting and our trying empowers my son. In the wrong way. It gives him a means to control us. It over-inflates his sense of self-importance, and not in a good way.

    My son has been flailing around trying to do things to impress us, but not in a sustained way. One thing he did do was to begin taking the antivirals for his liver.

    Except this changes everything. Because if I put him out, he will stop the antivirals or lose them (they are more than $1000 a month, which is neither here nor there) and stopping the antivirals in itself is bad for his health. The virus boomerangs.

    What M said to me is is: Let's accept the way it is. Let's not ask for everything all at once. Let's allow him the stability of the apartment and let's see what he does with it, or not, of his own accord. You stay out of it, because you are making yourself sick.

    And then I saw your new thread and it felt like an affirmation. A message to me.

    That when our children are making us sick or sick at heart, that our hearts matter. Our bodies matter. That we cannot overrule this sense of recoil, of fatigue, of despair. We cannot raise them above our heads, over our now exhausted bodies and minds, indefinitely.

    I know this sounds dramatic because it is.

    I think you and your husband are doing things exactly right. That rent money is leverage. I wish I had something similar. I do not, that I am aware of.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
  3. RN0441

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


    Yes it makes me feel sick too. It truly does.

    When we do for him it results in him NOT doing for himself. I see that more clearly now. I think that this has opened my husband's eyes also. He was seeing what he wanted to see i.e. it's been rough but now he's on the right track! I almost hurt more for him than for myself. It really broke his heart this time.

    Is my son a narcissistic sociopath? Does he even care or know how much he hurt us? My husband now has an answer to the question he posed last week. Would our son still be on the couch doing nothing with his life if he were home??? I knew the answer to that and now he does too.

    We are trying to enforce consequences without saying anything crazy that we can't back up. I tend to do that out of anger but my husband is much clearer thinking when it comes to really being able to do WHAT we say we are doing. We know we need to back way off now. We cannot have a normal relationship with him. It is so hard. I know that him not being able to see us will hurt him very much.

    If not for my therapist and this forum I'd go nuts.
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  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If he is hooked on benzos, and it doesnt take long, he MUST get help in order to quit. It would be dangerous to just stop using them without a doctor. This is one of the most dangerous drugs to detox from.

    I am so sorry for this and hope he accepts help once again.
  5. RN0441

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


    I don't think he's hooked as in using daily forever but this is his binge drug. He never has accepted true help in the sense of completing any program. We don't see that happening. Again it's up to him. He denies it all so hard to know. He may use just one day is what I'm saying. I cannot even get involved in any of it any longer. Just protecting myself.
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  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I tend not to think in diagnostic terms. I think more in terms of good and evil. I do not know why. I am not formally religious.

    I had found myself thinking the last couple of days, this completely illogical and disturbing thing: If my son were not so foolish he would be evil. And I realized that my son is toxic to me. That his constant lying and deception and externalizing responsibility I could not tolerate, to the extent that I was eating myself up alive. That I cannot care more than he does. In fact I care 1000x more than he does.

    That this became IMPOSSIBLE for me NOT to see.

    I really think what our sons do is compartmentalize. And they seem to serve masters (addiction) that have nearly completely derailed what we have taught them, modeled for them.

    So when I post here that I feel I must stand up for the right thing for my son, to stand up and to model how it is to be a responsible adult, when I feel this--it is to be like I am a statue in the park of some old explorer or monarch. And I get spit on. And the birds go to the bathroom on me. I am like nothing. Like an old dead thing. Which is how we feel, M and I. We feel my son thinks of us as old fools.

    And so if I look at the reality of this, I realize that I keep going back, return to an impossibly impossible situation--that the modeling in my life I have to take seriously--are my actions towards myself. That in trying to be that to my son, I abandoned myself. I betray myself.

    There is an enormous hypocrisy in self-sacrifice to save somebody else, who feels, thank you very much you old fool.

    I am my own old fool. Thank you very much. I like me. Let me go about taking care of myself. Screw you. That is where I am right now. I kind of like the honesty and simplicity of it. Do I sound mad? No. I am fed up. With myself. I have been too involved in another adult's life--and I am realizing I do not much like him. Thank you very much. That's the truth.
    My son loves me. He shows me kindnesses. He is NOT a bad person. But the thing is: it is a bad thing to lie, to deceive, to manipulate. Indolence and indifference to consequences is WRONG.

    But what does a statue in the park of some virtuous dead person represent? A place to pee. I will not be anymore a dead statue for my son to pee on. I will not stand around dead anymore...or close to it. I chose this impossible park. For this stupid statue. I am gone.

    I am sorry to be so descriptive, but this is the reality of my life. I am so done with this. This is so over for me.

    Thank you RN.
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    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    RN, I agree with your decision. I think you are brave and strong.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    RN. I went on an on about myself. Sorry.

    I think you are handling this with strength, integrity and responsibility. Towards yourself and your husband, primarily, but also towards your son.
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  9. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    RN, how is it that mom's we always seem to see it first!!?? My husband at times thinks I imagine things with our son. Yet, sadly my suspicions are usually right on.

    I am sorry that your son continues to struggle. Its heartbreaking to see progress and then see him slip. I really like your husbands idea of restitution. Son has to face the landlord and not having enough money. Or he has to go find some extra work. Either way its on him.

    I agree with Copa, you are handling this all with strength, integrity and responsibility. And i would add that you are not giving up on him by pulling back. You are doing what you can do to prod him in the right direction by letting him suffer the consequences of his choices.

    Hugs to you
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  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Very well put, UpandDown.

    This makes so much sense, by Rn and her husband and also as you explain it.

    It is restitution. Restitution comes first. Integrity and accountability and responsibility come first. Even if it has to be enforced. Especially if it has to be enforced.
  11. RN0441

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

    Thank you for you responses and input.

    I can see others' "MUST DO's" but hard to see your own!! That is why this forum is amazing.

    My friend at work today told me that how she hears me talk about our son today versus how she heard me talk a year ago is such a huge difference. That makes me feel good; I'm making progress. Had never imagined "this" would go on for sooooo long.

    I never know IF we're doing the right thing.

    When you're going through hell, just keep going.
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I can see it too.

    It seems like you have taken another huge step in the past few days. In these more recent posts I hear a great deal of power and command. As if you really both know AND FEEL that you and your husband are in control.

    When we change in this way we feel we can come out of our corner (our bed) and have a place not just to stand but to move. There is the realization that it is our children who need to be curbed, to the extent even that we cannot have contact.

    My own misinterpretation was that it was my failure. I kept over and over again taking responsibility for both sides of the net, running back and forth and sometimes jumping over. My son was commanding the court. And me. My very attempts to do the right thing were indeed enabling him to do the exact opposite.

    I will see how this new attitude is, after I have tried it on for awhile. For right now, this minute, I feel changed (well a little bit changed.)

    I see the way you and your husband are handling this as what I was striving for but could not effect: you are holding son to right behavior, but not at the costs to yourselves. He will be the one who is held to account. Unfortunately in my case I got impaled by my own sword--or it sure felt that way.

    I hold myself accountable, which spares my son.

    Since I do not pay rent to my son, I cannot withhold it. And now that he has begun the anti-viral this is something that potentially can hold ME hostage. I know that his medication compliance becomes almost impossible, if he is homeless or near homeless. It is 10 days until when he needs to pay us rent. This current crisis was precipitated in part by his NOT paying rent. I call this a marijuana subsidy which I have been adamant I will not do.
  13. RN0441

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

    My coworker said that she saw what our son did to us as "bullying" in a way, taking charge. With our hard earned money?? I don't think so.

    My son is the gentlest and kindest person every when he's not under the influence of anything. He wouldn't hurt a fly. That is the sad part.

    I am stronger when I feel wronged, when I am angry. When he is trying really hard and not using, my heart melts.

    So this in some ways is the easier side of it for me.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    RN, i know what you mean. Drug free my daughter is a sweetheart. She was different on drugs. But the drugged version of our kids is not who they really are.
  15. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    100% agree, it is almost easy to follow through when I am furious with my son. Its when he is depressed and sad that I worry and plot and plan how I can help him. I hate to say, I can't even tell anymore when he is high on weed. Because if I could I'd probably be furious all the time.
  16. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    R, I am so sorry to hear this. I hope he gets some help. You do have some leverage.

    Take good care of yourself during this stressful time.
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  17. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    RN. So sorry this is in your face again. We have had much ado also but I almost feel like I can't write it out one more time.
    You are right to trust yourself. I have seen the signs way before my hubs, consistently.

    I love my son so much but my anger and sadness are closely related. My son has recently been offered a six month bed in rehab---offered, not court mandated-he hasn't recently been in trouble. He said "that's overkill, I'm not that bad" He's 29, his health is really going downhill also. I feel like this is a chance to start over, he hates his life. But he is afraid. So, we help him when he seems sober---moving him again this wkend to another dive. No $ given ever. we wait for him to decide this isn't "fun anymore" We pray he decides before it's too late....
    I believe you and your hubby handled the $ issue just right. Cause and effect. Now, it's just wait and see for you all. I'm glad you didn't fall for the "I'll pay you back" You made that happen now.
    The blocking of the phone is also helpful for me, the PTSD of any call from him is unbearable. My husband handles most all of it and tells me what he chooses. To some extent that feels like he lies to me, a sin of omission I guess. But I simply can't take it, we both know that.
    We have joked that we should just tape a bottle of xanax to the back of the cellphone and we could take one whenever we see him on caller to laugh because we have already cried so very much. You have too. Prayers.
  18. RN0441

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

    As I have said before, I've cried an ocean already so yes, do have to find some humor in even the most painful things if possible. I would like to try a Xanax before I deal with my son too! LOL The one thing I love most about my husband is we can laugh together. I think that is why we have a good marriage.

    The hard part hasn't really hit yet. He took a 3 day Orlando drive with his girlfriend and they come back tomorrow. She had gotten a free ticket to a park and we gave him money for one in lieu of visiting us for his spring break early March. As I felt then and now can confirm, he wasn't ready to visit MY home. This Orlando trip had been planned for some time. She is on spring break. When he really sees it's the first of the month and doesn't have rent money that is when the real :censored2: will hit the fan. I have major anxiety over all of it. My husband, like yours SWTL, is handling but he is broken over this too.

    Does he really have to hit rock bottom, lose his place and job? Will he even get it then? He has already been sent away from his home, overdosed, had legal trouble etc. Lost all his friends here at home that moved on with their lives in a positive way. He does so good for about 3-4 months and then bam. Each time he relapses is not as bad....but. Maybe we've been too kind? Given him too much emotional support? Do I insist he see a therapist, and what good can that do?
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    RN, you have been a champ. I would not bother with a therapist. Unless he is ready to listen, he will run circles around the therapists with lies like my daughter did or just go and not that your money keeps coming in.

    He has to figure it out. Or not. Props cant help anyone until they are ready to use them.

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  20. bluebell

    bluebell Active Member

    Rn, you are doing great. Isn't it strange about a mother's intuition? I've had several instances where I knew my son was in trouble but husband was sitting pretty. Of course, I ramp up and then he does because he 'handles' him most of the time but I'm always right. I'm having that feeling now but A is 3 hours away (I think) and there is nothing I can do. I'm feeling a LOT like Copa's statue in the park right now. If the birds aren't pissing on me now, they will be soon!
    I hope your son returns to his base safely!