I just found out that my 18-year-old son has been using and dealing drugs. I hope you will bear with me as I post my long story, because I am still sorting it all out. A little background, I am divorced for three years, and since my son started college this fall he has been living with his dad. Before that we split the time evenly, and it seemed to be working. The kids have always had two parents who are actively involved in their lives, on the same page in parenting them, and love them to pieces. His dad is only about 5 minutes down the road, so I still see him regularly. We also have a 14-year-old daughter who now lives primarily with me. We are both very involved in both kids' lives and do a pretty good job of co-parenting. Over the summer, we found out our son had been smoking some weed. It was difficult to figure out exactly what to do, since he is an adult and we figured if he had went away to school he'd be experimenting and we'd never know it. So we set some rules -- no having it in the house or the car, no having it around our daughter, no DUI, and if he was ever caught with it, he was on his own. We would not bail him out. We actually thought he had quit, but we knew he was still running around with some friends we didn't trust. He had always had good friends before. He was an incredibly talented trumpet player in an award-winning band. His plan all along had been to go away to college and major in music. Then he damaged his lip and couldn't play anymore. So in August, he watched all his good band friends go away to school. Since graduation we have been troubled because of his lack of direction and total ambivalence about life. We found out about the weed use and were even more troubled, but all we knew to do was set those rules. All our friends told us we had to let go, let him have his freedom, etc. So Thursday night his dad called me asking if I had heard from him. He hadn't come home at all the night before. We had both texted him through the day and he hadn't responded. Again, we were trying to decide whether we just let it go, all that freedom issue and everything. Then we found out all his friends were looking for him, too, and that's when we got really worried. His dad had a tracer on his phone and went looking for him, found his car at the home of a friend we didn't know. He went to the door and rang the bell and there was no answer. He called me again and said he was worried. Again, wondering if we should let it go, maybe he just went with a friend somewhere and left his car there. But something kept telling us there was something wrong. His dad walked all around the house, looking in windows, finally saw them in the house sleeping. He started pounding on the windows, yelling, and finally my son woke up and came to the door. We found out he had taken 4 Xanax bars the night before in the course of 45 minutes. He had been out for 21 hours. His pupils were still dilated, his speech was slurred. His dad got him home, sent him to the shower, and at that point started going through his phone. That's how we found out how serious it was. He called me, and I hoofed it over to the house as fast as I could. The texts we found were alarming. We were able to go back two years, but there were not references to any drug use whatsoever until after he graduated. Six months from smoking his first joint to using and selling dabs, Xanax bars, acid, cocaine, and I think heroin. He said he hadn't done heroin, but there was one reference to it in a text. He also said he hadn't actually done cocaine, just sold it, but there were several references to it. he also told a friend he was trying to quit because he found out it had something in it and he couldn't believe he was putting that in his nose. We told him that was the case with all of this stuff, you have no idea what is going into it. You have no control. It seems he was never a daily or even weekly user, from reading his texts. Lots of times people would hit him up and he'd say he had nothing for days at a time. One or both of us has been with him since we found him Thursday, and he has shown no signs of withdrawal or agitation at all. So I do not think he has a physical dependency yet, but he was well on the way to it. And I could be wrong, am willing to be wrong, it's something a doctor needs to determine. But the bigger issue for him seems the social aspect of it, the thrill of that lifestyle. He lost his musical community, he lost his sense of purpose, and this gave that back to him. I'm not 100% sure he wants out of it, although he says he does and seemed very remorseful. There was no anger, no aggression, nothing in his eyes but sadness. The fact that he wasn't defensive gives me some hope. But he's still lying, and I don't know how badly he wants out of the lifestyle. He's attracted to the thrills of it and this new persona, feeling important, being sought out by all these people, more than to the drugs themselves. So here is what we have done so far and what we still plan on doing. I am hoping we are on the right track. We took his phone away. He'll get a phone that has no social media accessibility. That has been his main source of contact. He has not been back to work. He made some contacts there, and these people know to look for him there. I am trying to decide whether it is better that he stay out of work, focus on school and recovery and finding a new purpose, or whether without any source of income at all he will return to selling. The pastor at my church has offered him a job plowing and shoveling the parking lot, which will give him a little income but not enough to go out and buy drugs, and it will keep him out of an environment where these people can find him. Might be a good compromise. He likes to work and earn money, and it might help keep him busy as well as put him around good influences. He is going to his dad's church instead of mine, because there is are more college-aged kids there. We are hoping that will help him find another group of friends. He is going to start Celebrate Recovery, which follows the same 12-step program as NA and AA. He has to stay in college, even though he doesn't know what he wants to do. We told him to just close his eyes and point and take whatever his finger lands on. You never know what will catch his fancy. He will get one-on-one therapy to help him navigate this difficult period of figuring out who he wants to be now that he's not a musician anymore (he could be a musician if he really wanted to be, but he is angry and resistant to anything we suggest). If the therapist believes there is an addiction or dependency component, we are willing to explore further rehab. I do think NA or AA still might help him just to see where this path leads. Drug dealers are not Walter White. His dad, sister, and I will go to therapy and/or al-anon to help us find support and make sure we are staying on the right track for him and for ourselves. If we find any evidence of drug use or selling, we will report to the police. We had told him that before, and we told him that the reason we are giving him a second chance is that we didn't know the extent of it, and we hadn't gotten any kind of outside help. We will allow him to continue living with his dad as long as he is taking all of these steps to make a different kind of life for himself. I know we can't make him do any of these things, but I am hopeful because he doesn't seem resentful, he seems to be willing to do whatever we ask. He knows he has nowhere else to go, and I'm hoping that his near OD was a wakeup call for him, because I realize it's not enough that he wants to do it for us -- he has to want it for himself. My heart is absolutely broken. So many shattered dreams and hopes. I love my boy so much. I'm so scared that he won't want to change, and I feel so hopeless. I know there is nothing I can do to make him want it. But that knowledge doesn't make me any less afraid. Thanks for listening and for being here.