petrified for 23yo son..

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by rebelson, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    He lives in south FL, Palm Beach county(a good place for him as it's pretty much the 'US hub' of AA/sober houses/halfway houses/rehab oppurtunities). Husband (his SF since he was 8) and I moved in 2012 one state away. That really pi*sed him off. He had been living with his paternal GM (who has enabled his alcoholic bio father for forever). Shortly after we moved, he went on a 3day drinking/drug bender with a friend and together they did something that landed them both in jail for close to a year.

    He got out and went back to paternal GM's house. Also in the house with GM, is her long time best friend-a woman, whom my son had issues with.When GM's 2nd husband died around 1994ish, this old best friend (single) moved in to help her financially and just for support. He claimed this woman was jealous of him and his GM's relationship and I believe he was on and off hostile to said woman. Creating tension in the home. Stayed clean for around 6-8 mos after jail (had to, was on probation) and then back to the same old same old-drinking, drugs, marijuana, etc. Verbally abusive, not able to hold a job due to etoh/drug use, etc, not following her house rules, etc. etc. In March, he totaled a car, as he had been on another drinking bender as he had JUST lost a job & has issues with handling of stress. Somehow, he got off that accident without a DUI!

    In August, he got a large insurance check from that accident and thus, in my opinion, the GM felt it was a safe and good time to kick him out. So, the GM/friend had had it and put his stuff on the front porch one day, changing the lock code. Mind you, they are pretty much supporting his bio father as well. Who bounces around between them, his older, divorced sister, an occasional apt that the GM pays for just to get him out of her hair, & Columbia-the country(his brother, my son's uncle owns a condo there?)-which is where bio father currently is. After kicked out, son was homeless and couch surfing. I helped from afar by charging/paying for a hotel room here and there for him. He did have a job delivering food, which ironically he obtained within a week of being kicked out;). Eventually, with my help, he got a room to rent via Craiglist. That one didn't work out, but he is in his 2nd room now, this is the 2nd month. It seems to be an 'ok' situation, I guess.

    Well, one day last week, he either lost his job completely or the take out place owner downgraded his hours significantly. He called me on Monday evening, sounded tipsy and told me that she cut his hours. However, he is not always forthcoming with the whole truth and in my opinion, she fired him. Whenever something happens, a stressor or negative event, he goes on drinking 'benders'. He cannot seem to cope. When he does this, it sets him back even farther. The March accident happened within a week after he got fired..the 'bender' caused the car wreck where his vehicle (that we had JUST given him, for FREE) was totaled.

    Last June, I had made him a psychiatric appointment and he actually went. I 'think' (again, don't get whole truths) he was diagnosed with bipolar. He was put on 2 medications. He tried them and he sounded SO much more normal! One thing about him is that he hates taking RX medications. He will take all kinds of illegal substances, but won't stay on a medication that can HELP him. Very frustrating! About a month ago, he quit the medications, with a lot of protesting from me. He said they made him feel doped up and he had trouble getting up in the mornings. I think he was taking them too late at night, so that side effect could've been possibly alleviated. At the time he quit the RX's, he also had 2wks of sobriety and was attending AA mtgs. He got his white chip, (a marker of one's 1st day of sobriety, I think?) Even began talking about moving in to a sober house. Then, relapse. Boom. A 36hr bender, which started with him going to a local ale house and having some beers with-an old HS friend.

    He was able to pick himself back up and tried sobriety again. Boom. Last week his boss either fired him or demoted his hours. Right now, currently as of last night, he's on another bender. I have to say this one is milder as he's not being verbally abusive to me as usual. But, last night he left a VM (I cringed when I saw his call come in and couldn't pick up). At the end, he mentioned something like 'if I cannot be the real me, the real person then I don't think I want to live'. I called him right back, of course as this caused my heart to pound in my chest. The 1st thing he said (in his voice which sounded like he was on SOMEthing, etoh? drugs?) was 'did you listen to my voicemail?' I am not sure why but I lied and told him 'no'. He said 'well, listen to it then call me back'. I said, 'I don't need to listen to your VM, I have you on the phone right now, just talk to me.' He said 'no, just listen to my VM then call me back.' Does this sound like he was trying to scare me? Manipulate me? Anyways, I waited a minute then I called him back. We had a 15 minute conversation where he basically said the same things he ALWAYS SAYS when he is drunk. Either he says these things in a calm manner OR he says them in an alcoholic RAGE.

    *had a horrible childhood
    *never felt like he belonged in family
    *family is everything, he has never had one
    *says he and I fought (we did, because he was belligerent and verbally abusive to me)
    *says his SF (stepfather) was too rigid (SF/my hub is super calm, non-confrontational, but is old fashioned in that he is big on respect, something my son failed to show either of us, so from time to time, they had arguments...usually tied to something very rude that my son would say to either myself or hub)
    *says his bio father is a drunk
    *says the woman who lives with-GM hates him & is jealous of him & GM's relationship and that she wanted him out of the house
    *says that we (hub/me) left him down in FL to rot, abandoned him (he was 20 at the time & at height of abusing)
    *says he is apathetic
    *says he is too deep/intuitive for this world and all it's problems (humanity)
    *blames everybody and everything for all his woes/problems! NO accountability, ever
    *brings up how I called 911 on him when he was 20 (this was shortly before we moved out of state & was reason for another short stint he had in jail) and 'ruined his criminal record' (he was so doped up on DXM and who knows what else that night, I was fearful for his life...he was talking to a tree and trying to walk away from house toward a major roadway, so yes, I called 911, for paramedic, however police also showed up. He did not want them to baker act him so he began fighting them when they tried to get him to consent to ER visit-got charged with battery on LEO-but that was OUR FAULT, he says. Still brings it up OFTEN)
    *brings up how (one of the times we kicked him out-he was 18) what horrible parents we were to kick him out for having MJ in his room, which he did repeatedly, way after my husband asked him to NOT have drugs in our home & warned him of the impending request to leave if found again. He ignored and kept doing it. And says how 'pot is legal in almost every state now! but you guys kicked me out for it!'

    I might be missing some of his 'verbal and blaming everybody mantra' that he goes through when he's under the influence of etoh. I have to add that the one bender I mentioned that he had after being sober for 2wks, he was raging at me on the phone. I mean RAGING. For 2 days. I trembled at the thought of seeing his phone # on my phone. He totally raged on myself, my husband and his GM and that woman-her friend. He said that he hated us, that he's only nice to me because he needs me to help him. He was screaming at me, demanding that I put my hub on the phone (he was in bed sleeping!) because he wanted to 'tell him to get my name off his arm, or I will remove it!' (hub has the 3 kids names tattooed on his arm! Son was so raging that he was saying CRAZY things about how hub put 'his' name on his arm, when he's not even his real father! He was slurring and intoxicated, yes, for several days. I was scared to death that he would have a serious auto wreck. In fact, in the middle of the several day rage, I texted him several times something like 'STOP! do not get in that car and drive like this! You will end up in jail or worse! But, thankfully, after he came out of it, he told me he stayed in his room during the bender. This time, this current bender he's on, I've only talked to him like 3 times and he's very mellow compared to that one. He is not saying such things, this time he is saying things like 'humanity sucks/he is too deep/he is too apathetic/he feels no joy' etc. I remind him that he is in control of changing, that anyone can change if they want to, that perhaps he needs to go back to psychiatric MD, he should try church/higher power, he need to go back to AA and this time get a SPONSOR which he totally resists for some crazy reason.

    My husband totally tried to be a role model for him, son was 4 when we met! Son never would accept him as his SF. Hub tried and tried. Would sit on floor with son and played video games with him, tried to bond, even defended son when I would reprimand him for something. In meantime, his bio father was local and MISSING (MIA) in his life! That was painful for son! I almost think he has SO much anger at the bio father, but WE are receiving it! Some boys are ok with a missing father, some NEED IT! My son, I feel, was one of those who dearly needed his father to CARE about him. BE with him, TAKE him for his weekends/holidays! Didn't happen.

    My son was an arguer, still is. He always thinks he's right. Even at young age, 8ish and up. He was argumentative, he went over the line often. I still can hear my mother (RIP) saying to him when she'd be out with us, '******(name), know when to're going to get in trouble'. She meant 'know when to let things go, you're arguing with your mom'. Son and I did have these go arounds and as he got older (13+), his arguing turned into very disrespectful confrontations. Most days, right when he walked in the door after school most days, he would be so mean to me, to where I was crying and called my hub at work to talk to him. Son, apparently resented this (me calling hub and then hub intervening). My hub did tell me 'you made that 1st mistake of letting him get you to it will never stop.' Well, he was right. To this day, he can be VERY condescending...even calling me by my real name, not mom. I tried to make sure that he never felt pushed aside, after the marriage, I even would side with son sometimes when he would try and cause division between hub and I. Which fueled things in a not so good way. While pregnant and after his 2 siblings were born (he was 12 & 14 with their births) I became more intense with giving him attention, asking him if there was anything bothering him, making sure he didn't feel jealousy. However, at this point he was now smoking mj and doing things he shouldn't have been. He became rebellious, listening to very negative, almost satanic music. Still, local bio dad missing in action.

    He abuses marijuana, klonopin and alcohol. I truly don't know who the real son is. He started smoking pot in middle school. It went downhill from there. He has serious issues with past regrets, anger, resentments. I think that the etoh brings it out.

    Bottomline for this post is. I am scared to death for him. I feel helpless but there is nothing I can do, right? My hub says to let him go, that I have done everything possible to help him. Says I need to let him find his way. I have to say that since the GM kicked him out in August, he has done way better than I anticipated! Out on his own. I saw growth but I also see him self setting self back. Benders harm him, and have taken several jobs now. I'm not even sure of his living situation right now. Is he still in that room? When he goes on benders, he tends to roam around town. Not safe. Nothing I have said or done, does he listen to. HE doesn't take life advice, thinks he has all the answers. That, or cannot handle thought of future as it's too stressful. Stick head in sand.

    I fear he is so depressed and that something detrimental will happen to him. OR that he would go ahead and do something fatal. Either because of intoxication or intentional. On top of the worry, I have moderate to severe anxiety issues. It kills me that my son is self defeating. I just want him to be happy. He is super intelligent, gifted IQ and had/has desire to go, finish college! He's attempted 3 times to take classes but flunks out or quits mid semester. I need help on how to let go. Last night, I went upstairs and collapsed on the floor in tears, pleading to God, help my son......please

    I know you women will help here.

    I am so grateful to have found this forum.
    Thank you all in advance. :sad-little:
  2. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I am sorry you are going through this. Please be aware that he can quit neither the ETOH or the klonopin without going inpatient.

    Both ETOH and benzo withdrawal can cause fatal seizures and require medication and close medical supervision.

    In addition, withdrawal from either can cause skyrocketing blood pressure and psychosis.

    Benzo withdrawal is counted, amongst drug abusers and addicts, as the worst of all withdrawals. It takes months if not years to get back to pre-use normal, and some people do not ever get back to normal.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome.

    HOW he got to where he is, isn't your biggest problem right now, but... can I take his side for a minute? Given what you've told us about his diagnosis, and his history... life in general, and school in particular, would have been a living nightmare for him, every single day. And absolutely nobody would have seen his side or understood. Having lived that way most of his life, of course he has a very specific perspective. It's not entirely his fault. If there is any blame to be put anywhere, it's on school systems and medical systems and mental health systems that punish these kids from the beginning, never believe them, try to force them to "be like everybody else". Why do I know this? I've lived it... three times. Once myself, and twice more with my two kids.

    Once the damage is done, there are no easy answers. Ideally, he would be able to get in to a dual-diagnosis program, where they can deal with both the addiction(s) and the mental health issues, and try to give him the skills for stability. Trouble is, he probably doesn't trust anyone, and especially medical people - due to his past experiences.

    We have come so far in our attitudes toward physical disabilities. We are still in the dark ages when it comes to mental illness, and we live in a world that is less accepting and less forgiving every single year.

    Hugs. You need to look after yourself. You are important, for you. And for two more kids and a hubby. A child (or adult child) with mental illness can suck the strength and health out of us. We do what we can, but it is necessary to set limits, boundaries, whatever term you want to use.
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    HI rebelson and welcome. Thank you for the background, it helps. There were many times that my daughter said much of the same to me and my husband, she hated us, had a horrible childhood, only feels like herself when she is drinking, I was a horrible mom for calling police on her, what kind of parents would file charges and kick their own daughter out, etc. The bottom line is we could no longer take her abusing both herself and us and we did what we did to try to help her. She was in a hospital rehab for two months and lived in a sober house for 6 months. We could not let her come back home, she had to make it on her own.

    Your son is an adult now so whatever wrongs he perceived you have done to him it is now his responsibility to help himself. As parents we can help our kids as long as they are taking steps to help themselves. This may sound very harsh but you cannot help him anymore. He needs drug treatment and to stop blaming everyone else for his problems. You know it is the drugs talking when he calls you.

    We had to hold our line with our daughter and explain what we were willing to help with and what we were not. A good place to start is to explain to him that until he gets help for his drug problems there is nothing more you can do for him, and stick to it. Don't answer his calls. I know it's hard, we would get the voice mails that she was going to kill herself, but she didn't thank goodness and she did manage to decide she no longer wanted to live like she was.

    I know you are scared. You need to find a support group to help you through that. Families Anonymous was a great support for us, the families we met there were all going through similar situations and we learned a lot. Many people are helped by alanon, I went to many meetings and it all helped to make me strong and stop enabling our daughter.

    Your son is abusing you, that needs to stop. I would make it clear to him that you will not listen to any of his rants anymore. We have all had to learn how to go on with our lives and not be consumed by our loved ones sickness. I hope you can do the same.
  5. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    I had no idea he had any type of mental health issue, until around 21 or 22. Everything that would've been visible, bipolar wise (if he is in fact BiPolar (BP)) was completely veiled in drug use. He has ALWAYS been on something. Other than when on probation a few times. He's called me randomly with certain 'paranoias' like socially. I thought (and he did, too) at some point when he was 21ish (while he was clean due to probation) that he had social anxiety. Would call citing situations where he described feeling socially awkward when with friends, in a group. Saying stuff like 'I am not sure if I should look in someone's eyes when I am talking to them, or does that make ppl feel awkward?' And once, while at a small party at some friends apt., 'one girl was asking me if I was ok cuz I wasn't talking much...' He said he felt awkward when she asked that. Come to find out later, that in these instances, he was smoking pot. Pot causes paranoia. My 'normal', clean son is not socially awkward. He was always the class clown in elementary school, with girls having crushes and so forth. Some kids were jealous of his attention from the girls. So, does he have social anxiety? Who knows? Because he's always smoking pot. Could the pot also be causing the bipolar symptoms? Who knows? Because he's always smoking pot. When he's been clean for long enough, I saw NO signs of these things. But, the sobriety does not last long enough. This has been a LONG road, going back to his early teens. Small little breaks, but certainly not sustained long enough to know who the real adult he is underneath all the muck. Does he have mental illness? I'm not 100% sure. Are most of his symptoms, caused by an almost constant presence of drugs and/or etoh in his system? Not sure, but possible. He has said his mind races. Is that from bipolar or could it be from self-medicating or from ADHD-which is what he was diagnosed with in 3rd grade? Who knows? I do know that after the psychiatric evaluation in June, and he was put on 2 medications, he raved and raved. In that first week, he said 'I am going to be on this stuff for life.' He said his mind calmed and he in general, felt calmer. A month ago, he stopped it. What can I do? Move him in and force feed him his pills everyday? It is his choice. Everything he does is his choice.

    I relate his alcoholic rages to the alcohol and associated decrease in inhibition. I've learned that mean alcoholics are usually the ones who tend to meanness, sarcasm in their sober state. That is him. He has his father's dry wit, sarcasm and tendency to pessimism. I guess that was genetically passed on.

    He has been in a facility for troubled teens, was there in around 9th grade, I think? For 3 months, inpatient. Mandated, I forgot what he got caught doing. I think that time he was in a vehicle with 2 other friends and there was pot in the car. His 'counselor' at that facility said nothing about mental illness. Said he had addiction issues. Was that a misdiagnosis? Not sure.

    Once in middle school, he was baker acted. He had alcohol poisoning, took his GM's whiskey or vodka one day and decided to do shots. He was baker acted for 36hrs for that, in an inpatient psychiatric hospital. Did the psychiatric MD give him a mental illness diagnosis? Nope. Was something missed? Not sure.

    From the age of ~14 to as long as he'd comply (maybe refused at ~16?) I dragged him to several counselors. Trying to get him to talk. He never completed any of it and was not polite to the counselor/psychologists. I had many sit downs with him. I apologized for anything I did to cause him upset, from when he was little to the time of the talks. It didn't help. He chooses to keep a tight grip on anything that he can use for manipulation, I think. My husband has many times had sit downs with him, trying to resolve any past misunderstandings. Nothing we've done, has helped. I cannot do this anymore. It is aging me. I currently have no appetite with this latest alcoholic binge. I told you about our phone convo last night. At one point when he started to bring up stuff about life and it's all bad, just very negative comments where it's hard to find something to be positive to, I got firm with him. I had been very kind and patient, trying to point out the good and positive that he could turn his life in to. But, at that point I got firm. He hung up on me. I was so tired as it was almost MN. I didn't want to go to bed on a bad note & was still worried about that VM he left me about not sure he wanted to live, so I texted him positivity. He texted me back that as a child, he needed a strong, independent man (which actually is how my hub is), a rock in his life. That was a dig at my husband, I think, as he mentioned in the next text that he had "me & his grandmothers". I never would've married a man who didn't love my son as HIS OWN. I can honestly say that his perception about my husband is not the reality we saw. But, his perception is his perception. Nobody is perfect. We all made/make mistakes. NO parent is perfect. We addressed multiple times with him, separately and he won't let anything go. His text sounded fairly stable so I went to bed.

    I didn't call him all day today. Just a bit ago, I dialed his #, while I got goosebumps fearing how it'd turn out. If he answered, what would he say? Well, it rang and went to VM. I need to turn off ringer tonight, I got little sleep after last nights convo. But, I have so little willpower at this point. How do you guys do this? Should I turn off ringer tonight, at night? At night is when my stomach gets sick....
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Nothing that happens at night is not something that can't wait until the daytime. Nothing.He's in the hospital? You'll find out in the morning. No big deal. No surprise. He's in the hands of doctors. The very worst scenario? It can't be changed. You can find out in the morning. I've been on this board fifteen years and can not think of one poster whose addicted adult child actually know. The odds are that he will survive for a very long time. Even if he abuses.

    I would turn off the phone and have a good nights sleep. He can call you during the day and, if you don't want to, you don't have to answer the phone. He is of age and you can't do anything about his problems. Answer when you feel strong enough to listen. This has been going on for a long time with your adult son. It's time to take care of YOU.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Certain drugs can cause symptoms of mental illness. in my opinion it's impossible to know what's there and what isn't until the person is clean and sober for a while. My daughter got a bipolar diagnosis. when she was using drugs. She is drug free elevein years now (yes, it can happen!) and is clearly not bipolar. Drugs do funny things to the users brain.

    All drug addicts seem to tell us their problems are our fault. Unless we held a gun to their heads while they shot up and forced them, it is ridiculous and said to cause guilt so that we will give them t hings, especially money for drugs. Don't give in!
  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Rebelson, welcome to the forum, you have come to a soft place to land. It is a hard battle we are in, first when our kids become troubled and dabble with drugs in their teens, and stay on that road. It becomes a continuing downward spiral, many of us have spiraled right along with our d cs with the sheer frustration and anxiety of it all. Really, we would just like our children to live well. It doesn't always pan out that way. It is hard.
    This is true, I am glad your husband understands this. It is true. At 23, your son is an adult, and will do what he wants to. We have no control over our d cs choices. Watching them take this journey is hard on us. I am sorry for the heartache of it.
    This shows that your son does have the capability, he needs to figure that out, and realize that there are consequences for his actions, and want something better for himself. This may take awhile. I have read that most young folks brains do not reach full maturity until around 27 or so.
    I have found a similar story with my two. They do not want to hear it from us. So you know what? I decided not to offer up the information, to keep conversations short. It all falls on deaf ears. There is really nothing we can tell them that they do not know already.
    As far as our d cs blaming us for all of their problems, this seems to be a universal code for addicts. I am not perfect, and made many mistakes in parenting, everyone does. Do not fall into the guilt trap Rebelson, it does no good. It is a way these d cs yank at our hearts, to keep us in the pit of despair. You know why? Because when we are down there, we cannot keep our heads on straight. We cannot be strong, think clearly. Our d cs are off the rails, making stupid choices, with nary a care, meanwhile back at the home front, WE hold all of the worry, and stress.
    Truthfully, what you want for your son is something he has to champion for himself. I have been there, in the pit, many a time. It got to the point where I said to myself "What are you doing?" Trying and trying to fix someone, who did not want to be fixed.
    It doesn't work.
    Prayer is good, it is how I was able to let go of my two, and my grands. God is powerful, can work miracles. I prayed, "God, please take these two, and my grands, under your wings and look after them, the job is too much for me." Each time I felt myself falling back into the pit, I repeated that. If I have faith, then I have got to believe that He will look after them. Sometimes, just a short quick prayer, helps me to stop the thought process that you are going through right now.

    So, letting go, and letting God, is one way.
    Alanon, naranon, therapy, are other ways. There is a good article in the PE forum on detachment

    I read it over and again to reinforce my commitment to step aside, and unwind the entanglement my relationship with my two had become. It was not healthy for them, or for me.
    I had to work on my own self worth. I had fallen into a trap of disrespect with my two. They were not behaving lovingly, to themselves or me. I didn't do enough to stop it. This creates more and more disrespect, and wears us down to a frazzle. It is unacceptable.

    Changing focus is important. We become so focused on what these d cs are doing, what may happen, how are they living, etc., etc. It is a never ending cycle of worry. This is not good for our health.

    All of this takes time, and a new way of looking at things. You have value, you matter.

    One thing that really helped me, was to understand that actions speak louder than words.
    So, by my taking good care of myself, my health, and living life to the fullest, I was showing my two, how to do the same.
    This means, instead of spending time being petrified, full of anxiety, I had to flip the switch, and get out there, and live. I look at it as due my adult children, that I show them by my example, how to have self respect.

    Now, Rebelson, this will take a commitment from you to work at it. Start with something small. Make a list. I read an article about changing habits and thought patterns, lists are good, because we are writing things down. It is a way to retrain our brains. This is what we need to do, our brains have been trained to be in the pit of despair, to act on the crazy emotional cycling we go through along with our d cs drug use. We need to retrain our brains. We need to understand that feelings are just that, feelings.

    Breath and slow, way down. Take time to meditate. Read.

    Keep posting here, that was really helpful to me, and it still is. As I post, I am sharing my story, and remembering what I am working towards. So, you have helped me already, by posting here. There is nothing you can post that the folks here haven't already seen, or been there, done that. There is no right or wrong, no judgement. Just kind, caring folks who have walked similar paths, and want to help one another.

    You are not alone, Rebelson. Feel what you have to feel, get it out of your system.
    Then start to make your way, out of the pit.
    You can do this, there are plenty of folks here, who care deeply and will help as best they can.

  9. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    I know from experience with my own daughter, that when they are using, it is hard to know what is the drugs and what is a true mental illness. She has been given two different diagnoses, but when they are never "straight," the symptoms of addiction can mimic mental illness. Like you, I am not sure how much is really mental illness and how much is the addiction. Almost a, "What came first - the chicken or the egg?" type of dilemma. And as long as they are using, getting them to take their medication is difficult on top of it being difficult for a professional to figure out the "right" medications bc illegal drugs affect the Rx - and they aren't truthful to the doctor about using. It is very frustrating.

    In the end, he is a 23 year old MAN, regardless of how he behaves, his perception of the world, his life choices, etc. I know that is hard to accept when they seem more like toddlers, but they are NOT. There is a different between "being a parent" and "parenting." You will always be his "parent," but it is not your job "to parent" him his entire life.

    As mentioned before, the detachment article is very good and has helped me, personally, quite a lot. He is dragging you into the storm of his chaotic life...and you willingly let him. When you respond, either by answering the phone, giving into listening to the VM, trying to "make him feel better" and constantly give advice, you feed into his manipulations and guilt tripping. As long as he gets you tangled up, he will continue to trap you into these feelings of fear and guilt and regret.

    It is hard...but you know you have done your job. Lay down your sword and give yourself a break. As long as he has people in his life enabling this behavior, he is being rewarded (in strange ways we don't understand) and he has no reason to stop.

    Everyone's bottom is different, sometimes very deep. And we have to let them hit it before they can ever rise.
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  10. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    When I see the list of all the things he "says" all I see is excuses and blaming others. There are so many people in the world that have worse lives and somehow they end up with good lives. I had a horrific childhood and somehow I have managed to have a very good life. He is an alcoholic and has some mental issues. He needs to admit that and HE needs to make the changes in his life and stop using excuses.

    I had to recently let go of my son who has mental issues, did drugs, homeless off and on- this has been going on for years. I finally came to the realization that I was not helping him- I was keeping him from helping himself. I had a line in the sand and he crossed it- I had enough so I did what I had to do and walk away. I gave him to the Lord who has someone protected him and kept him alive for so many years when he should of been dead.

    Detach- read the document here. Print it out- read it every night. Keep conversations simple, when he starts drama talking, blame talking, hang up. When he tells you to listen to voicemail again, don't do it. Don't answer phone for a few days. When he calls with a problem he needs help with like housing, money, etc. Just be supportive and say I am confident you will figure this out on your own- say I love and hang up.

    Yes in letting go we take a chance that something could happen to them- but that is because of the decisions they continue to make. It's their life.

    Let go, let God take the wheel. Take your life back.
  11. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

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  12. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    Oh my, this helped me much to read. I did turn off the phone last night, and I did sleep. I have to admit, I woke up twice for potty and peeked at phone. Was relieved both times to see nothing missed. You are right about those reasons...and those things are things that certainly DO worry me re: turning off phone. But, the one thing I do have trouble wrapping my enmeshed mind around, is 'what if phone is off and he calls because he is suicidal and there is a chance I could calm him down, talk him down?' But because my phone is off....I missed the opportunity...and he goes through with it? How could I live with that? Do you have a suggestion for that one? See? I am seriously enmeshed.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    How often has he called you when he is "being suicidal"? What is his pattern?

    If he has never done this, then the chances of him calling if he were indeed suicidal, are remote. If he does this regularly and does not have an active plan, then he is not actively suicidal, which means there is time.

    If he consistently calls you because he is actively suicidal, and you consistently talk him down, then you need to put him in touch with other resources that can be there for him when you cannot. What would happen if... YOU got run over by a bus and were in the hospital in ICU and couldn't take his call? There are lots of possibilities. It is vital that we get our adult kids in contact with appropriate long-term resources. It's up to them whether they use those resources or not, but...

    I know what it's like to have an actively suicidal relative, and be the one doing the talk-down on a regular basis. I'm finding ways to transition that, because it's going to be a long term risk. And this is a person who does NOT call me being suicidal in the middle of the night. It builds, the person knows it's building, and the calls come somewhere between mid-morning and early evening. AND this is a basically respectful person who isn't highly manipulative. In other words... I am able to be there for this person. But it is still important to transition to more permanent solutions. In case I get run over by a bus...
  14. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    I see now how common it is for drug/etoh abuse to cover up the presence or non presence of mental illness. Several of you have posted such. Reassuring, to say the least. I hope and pray that he does not suffer from any form of mental illness and that the erratic and dramatic behavior stems completely from the drug & etoh use. I have hope for that. When he was clean for those 2wks, last month....he (positive behavior happened fairly quickly I might add, i.e. clearing of the drugs) would call me and I couldn't believe my ears! I was elated. He was actually a NORMAL son, my 23yo handsome, smart son! He called me once and said the shower in his rented room was draining slowly and what should he buy to clear it? OMG. My drug user was actually with a clear mind and calling mom to get advice on such a simple, day to day solution? I told him 'don't buy anything yet!' (he was on a tight budget!) to ask the homeowner if he had a plunger and then how to use plunger on shower drain. He did so, called me back and said 'wow, it worked, I never knew you could use those like that.' Something so simple to ppl whose children are non-drug users, actually made me so happy. Then................probably within a week, he relapsed-drinking binge for 36hrs.
  15. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    I'm sure you read the post by me where I described his late night phone call and VM 2 nights ago. THAT was the closest he has come to mentioning something like that. Here it is: 'if I cannot be the real me, the real person then I don't think I want to live'." He has made in the past, references to 'life sucks'. But, that other night, that VM worried me. We had a 15min conversation where I let him vent, ranting about the same 'grievances' he always does. Then, at some point, I said 'I think you need to make an appointment and go back to talk to your psychiatrist.' Immediately after that sentence, he hung up on me. Then, I texted him some positivity and he texted me back-which in the texts from him after the hang up, he actually sounded more stable, sober than on the phone convo. It's almost like my firmness woke him up? Not sure. I don't know the real him or who he is!

    Read more:
  16. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    That is wonderful to hear. When my son has had months long stints where he was MANDATED to be clean, he is an AMAZING man. When he got out of prison in 2014 and I visited him down in FL, was there for around 4 days, I cried when I had to leave. I did NOT want to leave that amazing man, that I had not seen ever before! He has a magnetic personality, it is extremely sad to me that he cannot see this in himself and keep off all the crap. I know for a fact that he would LOVE to have a child one day...and lately he's made comments like "I just want to be able to be for my child, what I did not have...'' That does hurt because I feel like I showered him with love. The love that I knew he was missing from his alcoholic father, I tried to make up for. I think he deeply missed the father who is still alive but dead at the same time. Meaning he's GONE/ABSENT from being a dad to son.
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My now 27 year old son is on SSI for mental illness. He has been homeless. He has a chronic illness that requires treatment. He has had multiple psychiatric hospitalizations for danger to self. In the past he used threats of suicide and statements like, "I want to die" to manipulate and for attention. He no longer does so.

    This is what I think: Any solutions will come from your son and public agencies.

    Only he can come to grips with his situation, his life and decide upon a course.

    He is entitled to believe anything he wants about you, your parenting, and his situation. You have a right to protect yourself. You are not obligated to listen to accusations or insults or even threats of self-harm. Every single time he may make a threat, I would call 911.

    You are not obligated to have a relationship with him. Any relationship you choose can be limited in any way you choose. Any obligation you feel for him is for you to decide.

    The only way you can be a responsible parent to him is to protect yourself first. Without respect there can be no parental authority or responsibility. Demand respect. Do what ever you have to do to limit contact until he is able to be civil to you. That includes limiting or curtailing phone calls, visiting, etc.

    What must be faced by all of us is that any control we have over our adult children is in the past. We do not have control now. They do.

    There has been no perfect parent. You do not have to justify yourself or defend yourself. To him or to anybody. Almost all of us have been criticized by our children and gossiped about by our families or neighbors or friends. Ignore it. It is not important.

    You are important. Your child is important, but you cannot help him in a way that can be effective or enduring. He can help himself.

    Right now is the time to determine adequate boundaries for you and for your relationship with him and to put these in place.

    If you keep posting you will know what to do step by step. On this site you will find all of the support and information you need.

    Take care. We are glad that you found us. Most of us were in a situation similar to your own. Many of us are not, any longer. Keep posting. It helps. Particularly posting on as many threads as possible. This is what changes us.

    Finally, I learned and accepted that my terror for my son changed nothing. It did not protect him. It made me sick. Only the feelings your son feels about himself about his own peril will matter in protecting him. I know how hard this is. I wish it was different. It is not.

  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Give him the number of a crisis line for the night. He can also go to the emergency room at any time.

    This isn't always true, but "actively suicidal"...does he have a gun to his head? Has he already taken drugs? While I call 911 for all suicide threats, is it maybe possible that he is just using this as manipulation? What happens after you are not here anymore or if you are not available? Our adult kids need to learn to use community resources.Last year my son was going through a very difficult time, almost insufferable to him at times, although the circumstances were different. When he threatened suicide, I started calling 911. It stopped. He never said it again and he never attempted it. Iwanted him to know that suicide is serious and that since I'm not there, I can't help, but I CAN call for help. And I did. People who are actually there can do more than I can two states away.

    I suffer depression and, before I found good medications, thought about suicide a lot, but did not act on it. I didn't really want to die. I wanted to feel better. Has your son tried to kill himself?

    It is your decision whether or not to never sleep because your son may want to talk to you about suicide or if you want to show him other resources and let him use them. We can't tell you what to do. It is your choice.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Stop talking and giving him fodder to bash you. You don't know why he chose to drink, but if addiction is in the family (alcoholic DNA father), it is a hereditary, physical problem. People differ in their tolerance to alcohol and drugs. Many go through a drinking stage and drug stage and then quit and move on. Your son obviously has that addiction "gene." He would have had it even if you had been 100% perfect (although nobody is). Chances are the first time he drank too much, he would have been hooked and his only cure is to quit and not drink or use drugs again. You didn't cause it, but when he is miserable in his world of addiction, and unwilling to seek rehab, he is very willing to toss you under the bus and to tell you why this is ALL YOUR FAULT. It's what addicts do. They blame other people, especially softhearted, loving parents who already feel responsible.

    My advice, and you can take it or leave it, is to talk less, don't accept responsibility for what he does or why he does it, and offer a listening ear (unless he gets abusive...then disconnect the conversation) and say you love him, hope things get better, and remind him you will be there for him when he is working hard in a rehab. If he blames you, you have the right to say, "You're a man now and you choose what you do. I have to go now." It is not good to be afraid to anger your adult child who is abusing you by blaming you for his addiction. It won't help him. YOU can't help him. He has to take responsibility and has to help himself. All the listening and feeling guilty in the world will not help him one bit. He needs to be a man and realize it's on him and only he can help himself.

    This, of course, is just my opinion. Too much listening gives them ideas of what to say to us that will make us feel guilty so that we hand out things, such as money.

    Hugs and more hugs.
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    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Life isn't fair. I believe your husband tried hard to be a good role model, but your son did not accept him as his father. It is what it is. You can't change it. Obviously, your husband is not at fault that he was not accepted and this is not why your son is drinking.

    I had a horrendous childhood. Worse than your son. At least you both love him. Nobody loved me. I did not abuse any substances ever and went for serious therapy very young and still continue in it. I worked out a lot of my problems. If your son has issues with his childhood (REAL issues, not made up) then he needs to get help, but you can't force him to. It's not on you to make him all better. He is an adult now. He has to do it. He can.

    You can drive yourself crazy thinking "why."Meanwhile, Son is doing nada to help himself. If YOU care 51% and he only cares 49% you are investing too much caring. He has to care more than you do to get help. Thank you, ChildOfMine, for that one. I LOVE IT! :)

    I hope you can have a serene and peaceful night, at least partly ;)