Sabotaged, discouraged, defeated


I took difficult child to his intake appointment today for outpatient rehab. He was agitated on the way there and told me to note that he was being 'good', that he wasn't flipping out but couldn't wait to talk to the worker and have her tell him 'you don't need to be here, you're doing great! Run along, now!'.

After an hour with him and 45 minutes with me, the intake worker told me he definitely needs the program at the 3x per week outpatient level, but that if he begins drinking or using again he would need a higher level of care, as she put it (they do have inpatient).

difficult child told me on the way home that he refuses to go to the program, even though he signed papers agreeing to take part. He was especially angry that they do random drug/alcohol testing.

So, once we were home, difficult child went and told husband about it all and about his refusal to go. I joined them just as husband was saying that he wouldn't look forward to having an orderly watch him take a whiz either, nor would he look forward to such a program ...!!! I pointed out that whether husband would look forward to the program is not the issue here. I pointed out a lot of things. But it all boiled down to the fact that difficult child knows he can refuse to go, and husband sympathizes.

husband finally asked difficult child what we should do IF difficult child begins drinking again (the last episode was only a week ago). He told difficult child that a 'minor' infraction will mean a month's loss of World of Warcraft, and a 'major' infraction will mean three months' loss. I was beside myself. So husband then added that any infraction would mean difficult child would have to do the program after all.

Now, I know absolutely, after several years' experience, that difficult child will start/continue drinking as soon as he thinks he can do it without us knowing. husband will have to follow through. I told him that he'd better be ready for plenty of justification, rationalization, and accusations from difficult child, because it won't be pretty and difficult child will not go to any program without a fight.

But I'm floored that husband is so deep in denial. Or acceptance. Or whatever. I knew we weren't on the same page but thought we were, ha ha, in the same book. Apparently not.

I'm so floored, so angry, I can't think straight. husband is working night shift. As always, there wasn't time to work things out properly because he had his shift to run to.

I've left husband twice before. Both times the kids were furious with me (they were much younger). Now, my daughter lives in chronic fear that her family will split up. I can't do it to her. If not for her, I think I'd be gone. That's how angry and fed up I am.


Active Member
Living with an active addict and an enabler is not good for either you or your 15 year old daughter. I would throw my hands up and let husband handle any and all of difficult child's shenanigans from this point on. He needs a ride. No. He needs money. No. All you have to do is say no and if he starts with you call the police. It is time to put an end to this for your own sanity. I understand. Been there, done that, and am wearing the t-shirt.


Going Green
Memo to katya02's husband:

Your son is 1) doing something ILLEGAL (i.e. drinking underage) and 2) doing something that he has an ADDICTION PROBLEM with and you are sympathizing with him about having to pee in front of someone? AND if he has an "infraction" (what's the difference between minor and major?????) all you will do is take his video game away???????? Seriously??

No offense or disrespect meant but you REALLY need to get with it. You are so far in deniel that you're deep in the heart of Egypt. Your son is willing to violate all sorts of contracts, orders, etc. just to have a drink. That doesn't scream PROBLEM to you? And before you say it, NO he's not just going through a stage that all kids go through. A lot of kids DON'T do this. And ones that do drink underage and don't have a real problem don't have to be evaluated for (and highly recommended for) 3x week outpatient programs! Grounding Jr. from his video game isn't going to do squat but give him more time to drink!!!!

Step the heck up and be the authority figure you are! Jr. doesn't need a buddy right now....he needs BOTH parents to be on the SAME PAGE to help him deal with his alcohol problem. That's pro-blem.


Well-Known Member
I'm with 'stang. He's 20 years old and husband wants to take his video game away for a month? Good luck with that! My husband is a WOW player, my son is a gamer. husband would pass up sex for WOW, and M kept a butcher knife to murder me with if I caught him playing after bedtime.

I guess I am missing something, and admit that I am unfamiliar with your story. Why doesn't your son have a job? Is there a reason that you can't say "Go to this treatment or find someplace else to live"?

It sounds like husband needs a good smack upside the head.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
I think husband needs a swift kick in the arse. I mean, the kid is 20, not 12. Good grief!



(the future) MRS. GERE
I am unfamiliar with your story. Why doesn't your son have a job? Is there a reason that you can't say "Go to this treatment or find someplace else to live"?
I was going to ask the same thing.



It seems that you have the right idea...your adult son needs to get treatment and get treatment asap. A compromise might be that if any infraction occurs, he goes to the program immediately or he would no longer be welcomed in your home. in my humble opinion, you should NOT hesitate to speak your mind on this important issue. He has an addiction problem and this is unfortunate BUT IT IS fortunate to have kind parents who have been helpful. HOWEVER, he is pushing his luck (to put it nicely) when he refuses to get provided help to end this habit that is causing havoc for himself and family. Some logic needs to be put in place here. An ill loved one might need our help in a matter, but they will never get better if they don't take some personal steps toward growth. in my humble opinion, baby steps are acceptable. You can't do ALL the work for them. Your son simply has to make the decision to get treatment. You are not asking much on his part. It is time he takes this baby step. I see at the end of your post, you are worried about your daughter and your relationship with your husband. Have you considered going to marriage or family counseling? Don't take difficult child at all, and esp. at first. I would strengthen your marriage...get on the same page. Try to find an expert who has an understanding of the complexities of working with a difficult child with substance abuse issues. Consider buying your husband one of the books on boundaries.

Side note:
I found this book on amazon on boundaries and it looks good!
[ame=""] Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children: Six Steps to Hope and Healing for Struggling Parents: Allison Bottke: Books[/ame]

What is the name of the little book on boundaries? I bought this last year and gave it to a friend. I think I would like to buy it again. Thanks.

hearts and roses

Mind Reader
Everything everyone said about your difficult child and his issues is true. Yes, he is doing something illegal and he's an alcoholic and needs treatment. But you already know that.

I really agree with what Nomad said about you and H working on your marriage (alone together without difficult child) so you can at least get on the same page (and in the same book, lol).

If that idea won't fly with H, then I would definitely hand the ball (difficult child & all) to H and NO MATTER HOW DIFFICULT, DO NOT GET INVOLVED IN difficult child & HIS CRUD OR THE WAY H HANDLES IT).

If that is not feasible (due to H's schedule, etc), then perhaps a temporary move so they will be alone together. Because I know that the poo-poo always hit the fan when my H wasn't around and I'd be dealing with it all by myself most of the time. So when I would relay the incident or situation to my H, he'd look at me like I was crazy and say I was over reacting. Ugh.

I know you're worried about how difficult a move will be on your daughter, but by staying, you are reinforcing that living that way is acceptable on some level to daughter.

Being as open and honest with your daughter about a temporary leave for the benefit of everyone's safety and sanity, at 15, will make some sense to her even if she doesn't like the idea. I understand she needs to feel secure - providing her a safe place to live and play and study IS security and though she may not see it now, later she will.

I would seriously consider finding a place to stay so H can be afforded the opportunity to see just how steeped in addiction your difficult child really is when he's the only parent there to pick up the pieces each day with difficult child. Perhaps then he will finally move at warp speed so you can work together on this.

It took my H a very long time to FINALLY get on the same page with me about my difficult child and now that he is - watch out. He's more zealous about rules, money, etc., than I ever was - lol. It's a good thing. But before that we'd end up arguing and of course, my difficult child would use that to her own advantage - the focus was off of her for the moment and H and I would be arguing with one another instead. Not healthy for anyone.

Sending lots of hugs and support.


Sorry I haven't given any background to difficult child's story ... he has been in treatment, had 2 hospitalizations, etc., since about age 8. Diagnoses have included Asperger's, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) not otherwise specified, early onset bipolar, ODD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (definitely), mood disorder not otherwise specified, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). At age 14 he refused to continue medications or seeing any doctor; he was away from treatment until this spring. Extremely explosive temper with violence was a big problem all through, but there was also weirdness like obsessions with sharps, obsessions with toilet tissue, hoarding, etc. He hallucinated at times and at other times was paranoid to the point of delusion.

In his last two years of high school difficult child was more stable than he'd ever been. There were still a few rages but not violent; he complained of isolation by his sibs and had (still has) no insight into the fact that he terrified them for years. The main worry was that he started sneaking alcohol from our wine rack and/or cupboard. I think husband was so relieved that the worst behaviors had gone that he didn't want to address this new problem. The other thing was that difficult child learned to expertly triangulate husband and I. husband was never home, so I always dealt with issues; difficult child would report a truncated, twisted version of what had happened to husband, who would then accuse me of not communicating well, or of overreacting. My mother in law stirred the pot (did from the beginning) by insisting that difficult child is just a normal little boy who will be just fine, and the problem was/is me. She was furious that husband ever married me in the first place because I'm not of their ethnic group. The family dynamics there permit no boundaries and infantilize males (not females, of course) until they die of old age. Wish I'd known that before marriage ...

Anyway. I'd like to get marriage counseling, though I am more than a little wary - I've been burned in my own past by incompetent 'therapists'. Still, I was looking forward to going to the family sessions of this rehab program, so that husband could hear from other parents and get some objective comments. Also so that I and my other kids could get some support.

I have to admit I'm not impressed with 12 step programs. I don't like the emphasis on powerlessness, and the way addiction is framed as a lifelong illness with no hope of cure, so the patient has no control. Also these programs have an abysmal success rate. I know there's a predisposition to addictive behaviors that's likely genetic, and I have a feeling that addictive behaviors are part of the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) spectrum. That said, there's also a decision that each person makes, a responsibility that must be shouldered. I recently came across a program called Rational Recovery that puts responsibility on the individual. It makes sense to me. It has a zero tolerance policy that it recommends families put in place for any drinking/using by the person concerned. difficult child has agreed to use this program and has read almost the whole book (very unusual for him, he really doesn't read much). We are going through one chapter per day intensively, i.e. reading passages and discussing the content both theoretically and as applied to difficult child's life. difficult child has not touched any alcohol since July 1. It's back out in the wine racks (husband's idea). difficult child has reported one day where he thought of sneaking something while we were all outside, but he used the techniques from the book and decided against it.

Has anyone had any experience with this program?


Spork Queen

You have some serious issues going on here. Enabling, alcoholism, and a 20 year old that has not moved on in life. Are there easy answers? No, but at some point you have to lay down the law. It's not easy as a parent to see your kid, actually he's NOT a kid, go down the toilet. But, at some point you have to detach and let them learn the hard way. We all did it and somehow survived to this point.

Now, on a less serious, but almost more important note, letting a 20 year old sit and play World of War Craft is ridiculous. The game is like heroin. If you Google it, you will see countless websites of people who have lost jobs, wives, etc., because of the game. Cut the computer cord.

Worst case scenario. He eats at a food bank and sleeps at a shelter. Is he going to die for that? No. It's called survival and what you need to do to get out of that. You get a low paying job, buy a $10 bike at a thift shop to go to work, and you work your arse off. Then you go to your second job with your bike.

Is it fun? Heck, no. But, I really feel that eventually you feel some personal pride of working so hard so it continues you on. If you always know there is the greener grass to fall back will. And, he's falling back on the greener grass right now.



Well-Known Member
I understand and appreciate the difficulties you have been through with your son. I see that your older boy is schizophrenic and schizo-affective and manages to live a productive life and is doing well in college. So, you know that this can be done in spite of a persons difficulties.

I get it that he has a lot of problems, but I'm still unclear as to why he doesn't have a job, and/or why is he not being told "stay clean and actively participate in the program or find somewhere else to live"?


difficult child absolutely needs to get a job, I agree. He has put in a number of applications in town and is waiting to hear ... but he needs to put in more apps. When I first brought him home from college in early May he was having numerous panic attacks daily - every couple of hours. They were extreme, with a histrionic element - falling to the floor hitting his head on the way, major inspiratory stridor, appear of tonic spasm - the first time I saw one of these, at 1 a.m., I thought it was a seizure. With Paxil and time the panic attacks have stopped. Now it's definitely time for difficult child to get a job. He still complains daily of fatigue, muscle pain, malaise etc. but there's nothing specific so I tell him he has to carry on.

As for telling him 'stay clean and participate in the program or find somewhere else to live', husband is clearly not going to support me in that. I believe difficult child is clean at the moment, but the program part isn't happening. Again, has anyone else had experience with Rational Recovery?


(the future) MRS. GERE
Again, has anyone else had experience with Rational Recovery?
No, I've not heard of it. You might want to pose the question in the "Teens and Substance Abuse" Forum.

Yes, I have had experience.

I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. I have been attending 12-step meetings for years.

One time, during our meeting, a group of guys from a nearby RR meeting came to crash our meeting. They got on their high horse and started putting the rest of us down.

Now, I am for whatever works. For me, it is a 12 step program. For one thing, it is true that we addicts are powerless over drugs and alcohol. If we had power over it, we could stop any time. For 2, we, as a group, never EVER go around telling other people that their way is not good enough or making fun of them. I was very put off by these guys and their message. Also, they are relatively new. AA has been around for years.

Must be a good reason for that.

AND, their success rate is less abysmal than the success rate of RR.


Thank you for the comments. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. I have just seen the book but haven't talked to anyone connected with RR. I like to get all points of view whenever possible. In terms of the initial panic attack I witnessed, I concluded it wasn't a seizure because my son did not go into a postictal state. He was able to communicate coherently even while his symptoms were subsiding, and he had no sleepiness or 'cloudiness' once his symptoms settled. His later panic attacks were similar to the first I saw, but not as severe. With those it was clear that they weren't seizures.


Side note: Personally, I think a young man with a substance abuse problem, a recent problem with panic disorder, concern about possible seizures and who has just started medication for: early onset bipolar and who might have borderline pd is not the best candidate for a job right now. I do think he needs to have a plan to get his substance abuse under control followed shortly with a plan for employment. I think with support he might be able to hold down a part time job while working on his substance abuse problem. Employment can only lead to increased self esteem and better job skills. However, it is a catch 22 if it leads to repeated failures. AND it seems that part time jobs are not often available. Sometimes what is advertised as a pt job is really a full time job in disguise...often with horrid hours and conditions. One of my pet peeves in this country is that so few decent part time jobs are available. People looks their noses down upon part time work, yet there are any number of reasons why a person would seek to work part time and it is far more noble to work a reduced number of hours per week than to 1) not work at all or to 2) repeatedly fail at full time work because you are not able to do this at the present time. So many of our kids, in my humble opinion, would benefit from taking the first step of pt work. A full time job can be emotionally a physically draining and many have anxiety and maturity issues and will find full time work blowing up in their faces rather quickly. For some, the repeated failures only make things a lot worse. There are also those that may not even be able to ever work full time. I just wish there was more availability for decent part time jobs.


(the future) MRS. GERE
Thanks, Heather. That was very helpful.

Katya, drug testing doesn't have to be court-ordered. In the old days, we were going to make it a condition for our son to stay at home, then other things happened and it became a moot point. Have you tried any of the home tests that are available?