opinions please

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by rookie, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. rookie

    rookie New Member

    My son is 14. He was not a problem child when he was younger - not perfect, but no major trouble. Two years ago - when he had just turned 12, he was "showing off" and took his air soft gun (a plastic gun that shoots plastic bullets) to school. He had it in his backpack, showed a couple of freinds on the bus. He didn't take it out or act theateningly to anyone. Another boy told the principal, and he was expelled for 1 year. We felt this was extreme punishment, but stressed to him that he made a bad decision, and the consequences were a result of his actions. He retuned to school last January. The only real problem we noticed was that he didn't seen to socialize alot. Mostly stayed at home, or hung out with freinds from church youth group. Then, the beginning of this scoolyear, he started hanging out with alot more "new freinds". One day he came to me very upset, saying that he was having problems with "everyone", arguing with freinds, etc. I made an appointment with a mental health counselor for him, but before the appointment, we found out that he had been smoking pot, taking triple c's and drinking some. We went to the appointment, and talked mostly privately with the counselor, and we scheduled another appointment, but it was not scheduled for almost a month. During that monthy, things got worse. He started sneaking out in the middle of the night, and I suspect he smoked pot in the house. By the time the appointment came, he was very angry with us because I had done everything I could think of to try to keep him away from the kids he was smoking with - including sleeping outside of his room to make sure he didn't sneak out, and talking to the other kids' parents to make sure they knew what was going on. We had another appointment with the councelor today, and I am getting the impression that the counselor is only interested in talking about what we, as parents have done to "cause" our son to act this way. I know we are not perfect parents, but I think my son needs to take ownership of his own choices. I don't have a problem with some family therapy, but I feel like the focus needs to on my son's destructive behavior first. Opinions please?????????
  2. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member

    Hi Rookie and welcome. Sorry you had to find us, as it sounds like things aren't going very well with your son. You've found a very supportive place here.

    My son was the same age as your son when he began smoking pot and running away weekends. It's very scary to not know where your young teen is and know that he's involved with drugs.

    I can't imagine a therapist questioning you and your husband's actions and not dealing with the actions of your son. I myself would find a new therapist pronto.

    It's difficult to know what the best course of action is, and different things work better for some people.

    When he was expelled for a year, where did he go to school? Was he homeschooled or did he attend a different school? You said he became more withdrawn socially. Are these new friends he's now hanging with that he's drugging with? Is he still going to school now, or has he started skipping school because of the drugging?

    The answers to those questions would probably sway my next course of action, so I'll wait until I know more before giving my .02.

    AGain, welcome.

  3. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I am so sorry that you had to find us---but glad you did find your way here. This is the place to be dealing with teens and substance abuse. Has your son seen any medical professional (pyschiatrist or pyschologist) for evaluation? Usually teens who use fall into two patterns----those who use drugs to self-medicate (like my son) and those who use drugs to "fit in". Usually the later is a passing phase and they move out of it rather quickly. Family therapy is there to work out the problems that exist that may be contributing to your son's choices. Is this person an adolescent counselor who specializes in teens and substance abuse? If not, you may want to look for someone else.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry you needed to find us, but glad you DID find us. I don't have much specific advice, other than to look for a new therapist and to get a complete evaluation for your son. Rehab may also be an option you want to think about. Usually kids don't tell parents all that they are taking/using.

    Anyway, wanted to welcome you and send some support and gentle hugs.

  5. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Hello and welcome. I agree with Ephcap. I would find a new therapist. When my daughter was 8 we brought her to therapy and our first session with this particular therapist pretty much mimicked what you went through. We tried to explain what was happening and all this woman kept telling me to do was "PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN". She would not even open her mind just a little to see that something might be wrong with difficult child, it was all me. She told me that my daughter is too spoiled. I asked her how she came to that conclusion, she replied "Look at her, her hair ribbons match her outfit, she has a little purse that matches, you can tell you spoil her" - WHAT???? I could not believe what I was hearing!!! Because my daughter's clothes matched I am the cause of her issues!!! Needless to say that was the only time we ever met with that therapist. I have had a few good ones though. It takes time to find the right fit. Do not settle for someone who you are not comfortable with. It is absolutely okay for you to be picky.

    You have found a wonderful place to connect with others who truly do understand what you are going through. This site has helped me a great deal. You will love it.

    Hang in there. :)
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Like Deb and many others, we faced the triple C + pot + whatever problems beginning at the same age. Do you live in an area with access to multiple choices for support and care? Sometimes it is almost impossible to find qualified therapists and treatment options in small towns like ours. Absolutely you want to get away and stay away from the lady you first chose. I think I would do a telephone marathon with notebook in hand. I'd date and time each call and enter the name of the person I spoke to each time. I would opt for a conversation something like this:

    "I'm looking for advice and direction to find the best possible help in our community. It is possible that my teenager may be experimenting with drugs and I'm eager to find the best support available in our city. Do you have experience with teen substance abuse treatment? Do you know of any resource that should be explored? "

    There is a difference in teen users and adult abusers. There is a big difference between entry level experimenting and long term patterns of behavior. in my humble opinion you want to find every option available and try to identify the most adept supporter available. Just as you wouldn't let your family doctor perform brain surgery ;) you don't want to put your son and your family's future on the line with someone who is new to the issue. That notebook, if you are lucky, may result in multiple referrals to the same person or the same program or the same university or the same center. It should allow you to feel a little bit more confident as you seek help.

    I'm so sorry you have to travel this road. Most of the time it is longer and harder than any of us ever expected. Start the search and memorize the Serenity Prayer. Not a day has gone by in eight years that I don't have to repeat to myself. Glad you found us...sorry you had to look. Welcome.
  7. rookie

    rookie New Member

    Thanks to everyone who replied. I am currently communicating (via email)with the director of a local drug abuse treatment facility. He has aked me for more information about our situation and said that if they cannot help us, he will refer me to someone who can. He even related his own story about his son & drug use. I am feeling very encouraged at this point. I'm sure I'll be back........

  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    That's great. Just one word of warning, if you don't mind. Remember that these programs are often "for profit". Don't jump in one direction until you have verified and reverified that they have a fine reputation and positive results in a decent percentage of their cases. Some "not for profits" are funded based on the number of heads they have too. It's easy to eagerly seek help and forget that there are some "professionals" who are not that.
    Hugs. DDD
  9. rookie

    rookie New Member

    My son has been in outpatient treatment now for 2 months. Making some real progress now. Still smoking some pot, but not hanging out with old drugging friends or sneaking out at night. School attendance has started to improve (hoping grades will too!) Starting to see glimses of the oerson he used to be. Working out anger issues with counselor. Starting now with some family sessions. I am feeling encouraged, but know that the road will be long and hard, but must travel one step at a time. My son complains that I still don't trust him. Duh! I told him (at counselor session) that his recovery is taking time and it will also take time for me to start to trust him again.
    I think the most important thing I have learned is to accept the fact that I am not in control. He is responsible for his choices. I have found the help that he needs, it is up to him to accept that help.
    Here's to hope.......
  10. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    That is good news. You are right, it will take time and it is all his responsibility after you have given him the tools.

    I would sit down with him and say, "It has been _____ since you have started outpatient. I am so proud of how you are making good choices. I know it has been hard for you to change your habits. You are doing well! I can see the changes." Maybe celebrate by going for ice cream or movie, ect.

    You can only do so much in providing the help he needs but it really is up to him to find it in himself to do the work needed to become the best he can be.
  11. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member

    Glad to hear the outpatient is going well. Yes, trust has to be earned, and it can take a very long time to earn it back. Long after my son returned from his 10 month outpatient stay, I still hid our car keys and kept things locked up and kept pretty tight tabs on him.

    Here's to hope ...

  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I, too, am thrilled that you may have been able to intervene and find good solid help earlier enough to avoid compounded tragedies like many of us have faced. I hope so. Good luck. DDD
  13. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Happy to read your update. Here's to small victories! Yay! I would definitely acknowledge his progress with something (I hear ice cream cakes are very popular) to show that you appreciate that he is sticking with the substance abuse program.

    My son is 16 and recently returned home from a six week diagnostic program where he detoxed from heavy pot smoking (several times a day at the time of admission at New Year's). He just started an outpatient substance abuse counseling program where he meets with a social worker one on one and gets tested. I found out that he has smoked weed since he's been home but not enough to show up onthe urine screen. It makes me nuts but at his age and size, I can't sit on him all day. I've come to accept that he must experience the natural consequences of his actions.

    Hard for me to do, when I'm accustomed to racing to my three kids to fix everything (hence my screen name). I don't learn quick, but I learn.

    Congratulations to you and his dad for finding a way to help him and your whole family.