Re: Did addiction turn your kid difficult child or was your kid a difficult child who became addict?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Between2trees, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. Between2trees

    Between2trees New Member

    Newbie! Just learning the lingo, etc so bear with me! My difficult child is almost 20. Was a joy as a young child, a bit challenging in elementary school - had some impulsivity issues. In middle school he began getting in trouble - by 8th grade he had his first arrest for pot and entered 6 months of IOP. By the middle of summer between 8th and 9th grade he was using heavily. We spent $$$ for out of state residential treatment. He ran away 9 months into it (had been progressing nicely at that point!), and spent 2 months in Juvie out of state. Long story short he started University this past Sept 2012. We bought him a car as he needed to commute - within 3 weeks he had 2 OWI's and a charge of felony possession of narcotics. We have been dealing with the aftermath ever since. He spent 6 days in jail in Detroit last week for probation violation and is currently home on tether. It has not had the desired effect - he is still using whatever he can get his hands on - I had to lock up the cooking Sherry! I still think that one day he has potential to become a easy child but it is getting harder to imagine. He has robbed us blind, lies like rug and I just want him gone. We pray that when he is sentenced it will be into court ordered rehab - they are talking about drug court but I think he will find ways around that.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome. Glad you found us but sure sorry you had to seek us out. There are many CD family members who have traveled the same road you are on. I couldn't help but smile at your "name"...immediately it came to mind that it could easily have been "Between A Rock and a Hard Place". Sigh.

    Our difficult child#1 was a easy child until his early teens. He had some major emotional upheaval and started his downward trip from there. Our story is long and includes uncommon elements so I won't rehash it. We never, however, had to make a choice to remove him from our home. I am grateful for that. He led two lives and at home stayed true to the rules and showed respect etc. etc. Away from home he did his thing and we were only impacted by his alcoholism as I did pick him up when called in the wee hours.

    Soon others will show up who have walked in your shoes and I assure you they are going to offer support and the best advice they can give. Hang around. You have found an awesome support group. DDD
  3. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hi and Welcome, my story is similar to yours in many ways... My difficult child started being a difficult child about the age of 3 and was always difficult in some ways and very impuslive but also delightful. He started using drugs somewhere between the age of 12 and 14 and that made things much much worse. He is now 21 and has been in several rehabs, several sober houses, has a criminal record etc. We have tried and tried to help him and given him many opportunities to turn things around. I am glad we have done that as at this point it has helped give me the peace of mind that we have done everything possible to help him and now truly the decision is up to him. So now we are in sporadic contact via facebook, our communication when it happens is good BUT I dont currently know where he is. He is hitchiking around the country, homeless and managing to survive on his own. He has now been doing this for 3 months. The last time I heard from him was a week ago, he was in Utah on his way to CO. So I am just waiting until I hear from him again.

    However even with all that I am in a much better place than I have been in the past. It is so so much easier to have him not living here... I was remembering today how much I would look forward to Mondays just to get to work and out of the house. Now I am sad the weekend is over!!!

  4. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My difficult child was a easy child until the end of eighth grade. I believe that is when the mental illness manifested and led her down the path to substance abuse as a way to self-medicate. As time went by, she became a full-fledged alcoholic which I believe was partly due to a genetic disposition. The cards were stacked against her from the day she was born.

    When we were in a counseling session when difficult child was 16, husband made the comment that he thought she was just like his brother who was a bi-polar alcoholic. I didn't believe it at the time but he was right on the money.

    So I would say my daughter was a difficult child first and an alcoholic/addict later.

  5. Between2trees

    Between2trees New Member

    So yesterday evening the Hubby and I decided to escape the insanity for a bit by going to dinner and a movie . Told our tethered difficult child not to have anyone over - so of course he did! Smelled of pot - he denied it of course! We found something new ( kind of surprised since we have been dealing with this for so long) - a "stash can" was left in the basement by his friend who dashed out when we came home. For anyone who doesn't know it looked and felt exactly like a full can of Soda but the top unscrews and inside was what looked like a plastic cigarette - holds enough pot for one joint. So - our education continues and I pass this on to any other naive parents- check the innocent looking soda cans!
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    B2t that's a new one on me. Thanks for the heads up!

  7. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Oh, I would have to say my difficult child's were genetically predisoposed to having sub abuse problems. Long line of them throughout the family tree.

    Now It didn't manifest itself til they were in middle school between the ages of 12-14.
    Oldest difficult child is a very charming outgoing kind of guy...very social. I think oldest introduced cigarettes and marijuana to young difficult child. Young difficult child ended up drug rehab with his brother (Oldest difficult child admitted to trying cocaine) after "huffing Glade" and a neighbor brought it to my attention as young difficult child was with another boy behind neighbor's house. The cocaine use and "glade" incident between the boys happend within a week or 2 from each other. We knew then we were headed for trouble!

  8. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    My son was a born difficult child! Difficult from the day he came into this world. He is so much like is father that I am mixed on the 'nature VS nuture' theory.

    Problems at day care, lies at an early age, even more behavior problems starting school. I had him in so many programs and hopefully some has sunk in. He has always been attracted to difficult children and that was another problem area with having friends over.

    Very intelligent and manipulative, he knows exactly what to say and when to say it. He was always proud and boasted about getting into trouble. He struggles with abandonment issues along with a truck load of other problems. A counselor told me that most she has dealt with were born with difficult to parent issues.

    I also see a lot of difficult children in my family - and many of them do not use drugs or alcohol! It is amazing how difficult they can make every day life be! My hubby (not his father) says they just think differently than we do - but it appears to be so much more than that. My difficult child still does not connect the dots between his action and the reaction.

    At 34 he has decided attend a four year university - wonderful - but he has zero means of support. This doesn't seem to bother him! And the girlfriend is a difficult child from H***!

    It is so hard to not play the 'what if I had only done this' and I think all parents (ones that care) especially mothers, have a hard time letting go of this guilt. My new motto is 'IT is what IT is and I can not control IT'.

    (((huggs we can't FIX them)))
  9. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Mine was the same exact way. Problems since daycare. She has always been a VERY challenging child. Always stole things, lied, and was once suspended from elementary school for setting a fire in the bathroom with a lighter she stole from a friend of mine earlier that morning. Wow, every time I think back on everything we have been through, I am amazed at what we still deal with. Here I thought some sort of switch would flip at 18 and we would be free. HA.
  10. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    My son did not become a difficult child until college. He threw some holy heck tantrums as a 3-4 year old, a few a week for about 6 months and always WAY OTT, out of the blue, out of control and over ridiculous things - but they stopped as quickly as they started and he was always well behaved in school and at home.

    He had a brief experimentation with drugs in HS the summer going into his junior year- but it was BRIEF, when caught-- he was apologetic, honest and cooperative, he received some counseling, we drug tested him weekly for a year and he thrived afterwards. He was a always a good student and to this day he is truly a fine big brother.

    His first week away at university, he was out partying I am sure, was sucker punched by a drunk townie and sustained a concussion(his 3rd) and nearly lost the sight in one eye. I will never get over the sound of his voice at 4 am asking us to come get him because he was in pain and just wanted to come home. My H made the 4 hour trip there and back and he stayed home for the weekend. Against my better judgment, I sent him back to school on Monday. It turned out his eye injury was far more serious than the ER had thought. He was put on bed rest back at school for a week and had to walk around with a badly blackened eye for about 3 weeks and an eye patch. I know that was the start. I still cry because my maternal instinct was to keep him at home and enroll him locally after the assault - to not return him to school.

    I am not sure if it was the concussion, depression from being assaulted, being "the kid with the black eye" or a combination of all 3 (most likely) but he started hanging out with a local boy who attended the same uni and started drinking and smoking A LOT of pot. They had known each other since 1st grade, we lived a block apart, they were teammates, we had carpooled for years and yet they had never been friends until now. difficult child clung to him and the boy was not a good influence. They are still roommates to this day. I can't blame the boy - but yes - it was drugs that turned my son into a difficult child. At the ripe old age of 19. Just when I thought the finish line was near...
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sig... maybe the concussion and PTSD-related experiences turned him into a difficult child really fast, and the drugs just happened to come along really fast after that. Personally... I've known lots of addicts and lots of users (GFGbro's term for addicts who won't admit it)... and so far, not one of them actually started on drugs without some other trigger... but the two events can happen very close together.
  12. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Yep - I think it was the catalyst, for sure. And it's like a chicken and egg thing - did the brain injury lead to the fog he claims he felt academically? Or did he fall into a depression after the assault which lead to self medicating? He's told us he felt "safe" with the friend from hometown (who is a BIG guy and a familiar face) and that's why they started hanging out was it the NEED for this friendship that led him to start using in order to fit in? And until I can get him to agree to counseling; (ha!) we may never know the answer.

    But the facts are that the POT certainly didn't help and he has an almost textbook perfect, classic case of "failure to launch", "Motivational deficit" associated with chronic marijuana whatever was the cause, pot is NOT the answer.

    The thing is - this was a boy who has ALWAYS had tremendous leadership POTENTIAL - recognized by so many people! Yet, he has never actually stepped up and been a leader. In fact for years - nearly every report card or conference had at least 1 teacher telling us that he failed to take advantage of his leadership potential. Just the opposite- he has always been a follower. Except for a shining moment his last 3 semesters in HS- after counseling - he became much more ambitious and he was in such a good place...c'est la vie...

    The junior year counseling also identified that his experimentation with drugs and alcohol lead directly and quickly into abuse of the same and that - while he hadn't crossed the line into addiction yet - he was close and likely genetically predisposed to becoming an addict. I remember his psychiatrist telling me that the patterns of his use turning to abuse showed a neurological reaction that is seen in genetic addiction. In fact, after his first session, his psychiatrists first words to me were "who are the addicts in the family?" (A: H's brother and grandfather) He counseled difficult child that continued and further experimentation would likely lead to addiction, something difficult child took seriously at the time.

    I don't know where I am going with this - but it's the same darn circular conversation that I have with myself each and every time I think about it.
  13. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Sig: With your son it seems very evident what was a trigger. That add to some genetic risk and other issues (he was a nineteen year boy, I'm sure he did had issues with all kinds of things. At least I have never met 17-year-old girl or 19-year-old boy who wouldn't have issues regarding their place on world, what they want from future, what is expected from them and so on.) I think that at times it is just bad luck.

    I have wondered this topic a lot (I think I started the original thread from which this is Re: from) and while with my difficult child it is very clear he was a difficult child first (from birth) and will probably always be little different, I still don't really get how he turned addicted like he did. His compulsive gambling developed very quickly and violently and that isn't really common. He went through a cycle of addiction that usually takes ten years in less than ten months. He did so with very little money. It did take only weeks for internet poker taking totally over his life. Though he did won some first, in five months from gambling first time he had sold almost all he owned, in debt and stealing. And just turned seventeen.

    I have tried to explain it to myself by his addictive personality but that doesn't really fly. I mean, he does have some vulnerability, there are substance abuse and addiction issues in family tree, he is very impulsive and immature, he is very competitive and fascinated same type of things that give same stimulus than internet poker can. But when you actually look at him, he doesn't seem that addictive personality. He is nineteen, has been drinking at least five years that I know. He is mostly moderate drinker who tends to drink socially acceptable amount (that in our culture can be anything from half class of wine to so much you have to crawl home because you are not able to walk depending the situation.) He does get sick rather easily and probably because of that tends to drink less than many and often offers to be a designated driver. To my knowledge he either hasn't tried drugs or only done so time or two. He had no difficulties getting rid of his snus (highly addictive mouth tobacco) habit. He enjoys gaming at times but does it less than most boys his age and while he is quite good (awesome hand eye coordination does that) it really doesn't interest him that much. He likes it if he competes with others and does it to pass time if he has nothing to do and there is nothing fun in tv. But certainly not a hint of addiction and in many ways it should be close to internet poker in addiction type. Money could explain the gambling addiction in part, but to tell you a truth he isn't that interested about money. He happily gets by with minimum income and doesn't seem to obsess over things he could have if he had more money. And when a possibility came up last spring he wasn't interested going for the career possibilities with better immediate money. And he does know he has much better chance to make money with his sport than with gambling and gambling certainly jeopardised his sport.

    And still he turned so violently addicted so quickly it really surprised people working with gambling problems. And again after crashing and burning he has surprised everyone in how well he has done in recovery. He has relapsed less and much more shortly than expected. Even under very high stress gambling doesn't seem to be his solution. I don't know why. In a way he shouldn't be doing so well, it shouldn't be so 'easy' to him. Not that I'm complaining but somehow his sudden and deep in-and-out addiction just doesn't make any sense.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012