Sadly new

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Blondiesbf, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. Blondiesbf

    Blondiesbf New Member


    I'm thinking you are possibly the best find I never wanted to find!

    I feel broken, chewed up, spit out, hopeful, hopeless, angry and sad. Please feel free to add any other adjectives that apply!

    My name is Sheila and I have a 20 year old son as well as a 21 year old son. The 20 year old, Ricky, is the cause of my anguish.

    R is a very intelligent boy. He had a scholarship to college and studied aerospace engineering for a year. He also learned to fly that year. The second semester was when the telltale signs started. He dropped two classes he was failing. However, we were 'blind' to what was going on.

    He came home not knowing what he wanted to study in school. We suggested community college to work on his pre-requisites but he refused. Instead, in an odd turn, he chose to attend culinary school, which didn't start until October.

    In the meantime, we went on a two week vacation to Mexico. While there, we discovered both the boys had their licenses suspended for underage drinking. When we returned, we took away R's car...C had already self-imposed. That night, R got very drunk. He ended up wandering the neighborhood, pounded on a neighbor's door, broke their car door handle and was returned to us by the police at 0430. We convinced the neighbor not to press charges and paid for the car repair. Shortly after his return to us by the police, I found him tying a tie around his ceiling fan. I will never forget that moment. Did we do anything? No. Our first major fail.

    He went to school the next day, despite our despair over the previous nights events. That seemed to go well at first as he worked out a ride between his dorm and the main campus. Several months later, I received a letter that he had missed quite a few classes and was on probation. Shortly after, he quit that school, claiming it wasn't for him. Instead of coming home, he moved in with a 25 year old girl.

    That eventually didn't work out for him as he didn't make enough money to pay for rent, food, etc. She also bought alcohol for him and it was causing much so she called us one Sunday saying R was very drunk. At one point he had passed out in the shower and was acting beligerent. She also revealed to us he had been cutting himself. We took him to the ER for psychiatric evaluation. He admitted to some depression as well as being bisexual. After several hours, they chose to release him. A few weeks later, he returned home.

    Since then, he has kept a job at BK, barely enough hours to pay his bills, which he is now 3 months behind. He makes enough to pay us his car payment, insurance and rent.

    Discussing his future causes arguements. Last week, yet another binge occured. He got drunk with his friends in STL. On the way back, he jumped out of the car at a stop light and took off running: no shoes, no phone, no car, no money. The boys searched for him, couldn't find him, and finally called us at 0600. C spent four hours looking for him but couldn't find him. I left work to return home crying, frought with worry. As I was making contact to file a missing persons report, I received word a good sam found him under an overpass and was bringing him home. When he arrived, he was filthy, but safe. He figured once he cleaned up, he was going to take off to go swimming with his friends. Not so. We "repo'd" the car. His thoughts were he's home, he's safe, it's over so let's just move on. He doesn't fully get what he put us through that day. The next day, he demanded his car or he would move out. As hard as it was for me, though not hubby, the answer remained, and has remained no. He said he was going to drain his account and go live somewhere. He hasn't done so yet.

    I spoke at length with his friends as I had no where else to reach out to. Mind you, I did have a counseling appointment schedulded for Monday for the entire family. They want to help R. They see he has a drinking problem. They acknowledged his depression and the large amount of stress R is under with bills, low hours at work, not knowing what he wants to do in life, messing up his scholarship, etc. They said they would ensure they don't let him drink and keep him as safe as possible until counseling.

    Monday came and R refused to go unless he could drive his car to the appointment. We did he. The three of us went to the appointment as our pain and distress caused by R's behavior is overwhelming. The doctor concurred R needs to see him and will require some inpatient time. Problem is, it won't work until Ricky realizes he NEEDS to go. R doesn't see he has a problem.

    This morning, I had thought to myself that R hadn't drank all week. As I was leaving for work, one of those same friends I was working with, pulled up to drop R off. He got out of the car with a beer, juice box and 5-hour energy drink in his hand. He said he had started drinking vodka at work at 11:00pm (mind you the friend is the manager of R on his shift). My mood was set for the day...back to feeling lost in getting him help. Lost in him seeing what he is doing is wrong. Just lost.

    It is a horrible way to live right now. I'm losing focus because when these things happen, it just makes me feel so bad inside. I stumbled on this forum at work and wanted to cry. At last there are people who can 'relate', not by choice but by the circumstances of our lives. At last there are people who have 'been there' and not just well-intentioned friends and family who give out advise like it will just change things. Like it is so easy to 'fix' all this.

    So, I guess the first thing I need is advise on how to become less emotional without him thinking I love him any less. And maybe suggestions on how I can get him into counseling.

    Dear Lord. Does or will this ever get better????

    Last edited: Aug 5, 2011
  2. keista

    keista New Member


    Welcome to the board! Glad you found us but like you said yourself, sorry you had to.

    I have no specific advice for you, but did want to welcome you and offer my support. Others with more experience will be by to offer you more guidance.

    Glad you found us. Stick around, this is a life saving community.
  3. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    Hi BlondiesBF,

    I am so glad for you that you found this forum - it has been an eye opener for me [long after the fact and I am still learning]. So much upheaval in your life right now - but you will find that if you read some of the back posts and threats, most of us [more or less] go through or have gone through similar upheaval with our difficult children. You might also glean some suggestions and ideas out of back posts.

    You're asking for advice on emotional distance [detaching] - I think a great place to start in real life would be AlAnon for you and your entire family. Family [or personal] counseling might be helpful as well.

    "R" - by the way you ought to change the names for privacy reasons etc - has a problem, and as you said yourself he does not [yet] see it, and he may never or not for a long time. There is only so much you can do for him, short of becoming an enabler - and it sounds to me like he is in a lot of emotional pain, possibly depression, that he is trying to mute with drinking, drugging [?], and running with the wrong crowd. Rehab if at all possible [and if he is willing] comes to mind, certainly counseling.

    Is he talking to you or anybody at all [brother, friends?]? I think as long as they talk, there is a chance to talk sense to some of them, and getting them to see what the logical steps to getting and feeling better would be. If he refuses to talk or listen, or does not acknowledge that he has a problem, there is really not much you can do for him, as he is now an adult. In addition to the drinking, I would certainly insist on him taking a drug test, so you know what you are really competing with...

    I would also cut off any moneys coming to him, college funds, etc until he works out his problems. If he is driving drunk - the car ought to go. He has enough on his plate, to not have to deal with the potential loss of life or property damage he may cause to someone else. When I say ought to go, I mean not only confiscating his keys, but move the vehicle off the premises and put it in storage, or park it with a friend of yours where he would not think to look for it.

    Hang in there and be strong. Heartfelt hugs to you and your loved ones!
  4. Blondiesbf

    Blondiesbf New Member

    Thank-you for the welcome. I have spent some time reading previous threads. It breaks my heart and brings tears to my eyes. But there is also something inside that has found relief that I am finally not alone anymore.

    I don't know if this is the correct forum for me but it is pretty darn close. C has mild ADD but nothing that has caused problems. Neither boy was a problem growing up. The problems started AFTER they graduated high school.

    In the case of R, it is very difficult to know the 'right' thing to do because he has so many underlying issues he is dealing with. I do strongly believe the alcohol is a crutch and he even stated it is a "social thing" while his friends say he tends to drink more when he is angry. Either way, the drinking has caused problems and could have resulted in death, to include his own. He was not driving last week; the boys had a daughter. None-the-less, the was irresponsible with the's a privledge, not a right, despite the fact he makes payments! I co-signed so I can take it away.

    He doesn't really talk to us about his deeper issues. I know what I know from talking to his friends and my own gut. (I use the term friends loosely). He has talked to C but they aren't close right now due to the increasing problems. C is so angry right now.

    I have already been to counseling so I can deal with this with-o having panic attacks. I also learned I can't fix matter how much I want to.

    My reading of threads makes me realize I need to take more drastic steps but I have to be ready selfish as that may sound. With the support here, I know I can get there. I also know my husband supports the more drastic measures...I am the LIMFAC (limiting factor). I just need strength because at the end of the day, despite how I feel, it's not about me, it's about R and ultimately getting him the help he needs!

    Heavy sigh.
  5. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    I totally understand about the part of having to be ready for drastic measures. You've got to work yourself up to it, put your thick skin armor on and get mentally ready for the mayhem that may follow, and be also prepared to follow through amd enforce new rules, guide lines and consequences if they are broken. I am glad your husband is with you on that - it is easier to deal if your spouse is on the same page with you, and has your back. And you know it is going to be UGLY there for a while.

    Another word of encouragement - do whatever you need to do - soon. Situations like this can drag on forever, and they will drain you - emotionally, physically and financially too. I always feel when dealing with an addict [no matter what their poison] = the sooner they hit rock bottom, the sooner they can begin recovery and healing, and the more life [years, health, endurance] to enjoy is left when they have it back under control. I also think with a "new" addict that the chances of a swifter recovery are more achievable, like for someone who has been years and years in the scene and is entirely entrenched in booze, drugs, and high risk behavior.

    I think you also should have a good look at C, there is something going on with both that caused the drinking issues out of the blue. I think you really ought to have both drug tested - asap. Tonight, tomorrow - and fully unexpected out of the blue. I know that there are drug tests available over the counter, but am not sure if they are any good or not. Maybe someone else can make some suggestions here...
  6. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    (((HUGS))) He doesn't see he has a problem because it's not a problem for him. He still has a nice warm bed, food and some income-he doesn't need much right now, he's living in your house. You stated something about draining an account, is completely his? If it's not, maybe you can make it so he can't access it. He's very, very smart. Is this behavior new? Did he act like this when he was younger?
    Things have to get worse for him to make him want to get help. You have to protect yourself emotionally, you can't be freaking out worrying that he's going to hurt himself, or hurt someone else. It seems like he's hurting himself...I'm so sorry! If he wasn't allowed to live in your house, that might make him realize he needs money, and may make him see he needs help. If he threatens to kill himself, or do ANYTHING like that-CALL THE POLICE! He will go to an inpatient facility, he really needs help. (((HUGS))) I have been where you are. You can't be walking around on eggshells, you won't have any quality life, no one in your home will either. Be proactive. You have to be really strong now, you can do it!
  7. keista

    keista New Member

    I'm so glad you posted some more. I know it hasn't been long since you posted, but it's been eating at me and I have to express my gut feeling. I was afraid to at first because this whole thing is relatively new for you and I do NOT want to overwhelm you, but information is power.

    I am not a Dr and cannot diagnose (diagnosis). What I'm about to tell you is based on my gut and personal experiences. In my opinion, it looks like bipolar disorder.

    Yes, the alcohol seems to be a crutch (self-medicating) The friends, although probably not the best crowd, seem to be concerned for him and reasonably responsible.
    Yeah, they are all drinking, and probably drinking excessively, but not more so than 'average' college kids. Your typical 'no good' crowd of kids would never have called you.
    I have a strong suspicion that he does realize he needs to go for help, but he is absolutely petrified with what's going on with him, therefore he's self-medicating with he alcohol, which throws his emotions AND behavior even more out of whack, and scares him even more.

    Just so you know, I have two (that I know of) childhood friends with bipolar. One I lost touch with and don't know the details of his disease. Information I got about him has been through our community 'grapevine'. He is currently a lawyer, but it wasn't an easy road getting there once the disease struck. I heard he had SERIOUS bumps in his road, but do not know details past that. The other friend is my BFF's little brother. His story not so promising, but he manages to hold down jobs and works on his music and still has his big dreams of 'making it'. Ironically, BFF and I were talking about him yesterday.

    I would suggest approaching R regarding his "underlying issues". If you attack his drinking he will come out swinging because that's his 'medicine', the way he copes with those 'underlying issues'. If you acknowledge that, he may be willing to come around and get the help he needs.

    Honestly, I hope I am wrong on this, but had to share my opinion in case I'm not. The sooner he gets stable the better the outlook. :consoling:
  8. Blondiesbf

    Blondiesbf New Member

    You are all giving me great information and much to think about, digest, and even some action items. I looked in resources and wrote down the titles of two books to buy. Went to Borders to see if they had them and lo and behold, the paper I had put into my pocket was gone. Walked around and picked up a book titled No More Letting Go: The Spirituality of Taking Action Against Alchoholism and Drug Addiction by Debra Jay. It seems to be a different approach. I'll be reading and determining if it has helpful information.

    I have already considered psychological issues...even bipolar, but he has to see someone for that determination to be made. I will definitely approach him in discussing underlying issues. Try to get him to open up, and set the drinking aside. I think he needs to know I love him regardless of whatever sexual orientation he ultimately chooses. I've tried to discuss solutions to his other issues like debt and career choices but he gets frustrated. I was actually thinking discussing getting help for his perceived depression would be a start instead of pressing the alcohol issue. It might be a better avenue to get him to the doctor.

    The money Ricky has is his. It is his pay from BK. We don't pay for anything anymore for him. He'll never learn if we do.

    I know both boys smoke pot and I know they do it in my house. No more. First rule and boundry in effect immediately is it will not happen in my house anymore! No paraphenalia, no dope, no nothing. Should they choose to not take us seriously, they can move on!! It's a start and I know it's empowerment that will keep us moving in the right direction.
  9. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    Good morning Blondie,

    just wanted to give you an e-hug [if you allow ;o)] of encouragement. I think you are doing great! You're not only reading up on stuff, you are stepping out of your comfort zone and hunting for more info. Leaving your comfort zone is a big step towards empowerment! Do remember to look into AlAnon - I think attending a meeting or three will considerably help you, and may do more for you than seeing a councelor.

    For all it's worth - I do not necessarily think there are major "mental" issues here; I am not that up close familiar with what bipolar or aspbergers etc. looks like, so I usually stay away from threads like those. To me what you described are "young men troubles" and growing pains, finding his sexual identity, making poor choices [and messing up] in the meantime and having them come home to roost. If the basic underlying cause of all the confusion and pain in his life, is his perceived or real sexual orientation, this may all be very doable with help of loving and understanding [but firm!] family and friends, and a good councelor or two.

    I would make it clear that his sexual identity has nothing to do with his life capability choices - he had a very promising future ahead, and now we're doing BK? Nooot! He was having flying lessons, and now we're walking? Nooot! I'd point out that he is still young, and in an experimenting stage - and if [that may well be a big if] - he should prefer men over women friends/partners in his life, that has nothing to do with his earning capability or the quality of life he is aiming for. There are loads of professional successful gay people out there, openly or secretly. Just because you are gay, does not mean you cannot do well in life, have a successful career and enjoy the better things in life. There is no reason to run the lowlife/high risk aspect of this. I think he is actually punishing himself right now with his choices, because he feels it is wrong to do. I'd also do a few more gentle safe sex talks, no matter what his age!

    In the meantime - since he has money to blow and appearantly no other bills than car or cell phone - - - - - create some for him and his brother too. They are still living at home and you are floating or padding their life style choices by supporting them. "Well honey - you are all grown, and chose not to go to school, college, etc etc - then it is time for you to take responsibility to maintain some of your own upkeep." You want to minimize the "blow money" after bills are paid? You also said he is 3 months behind on his bills - time to catch up, don't cha think? And once he did - time to help support the household by paying rent. Anywhere from 1/4 - 1/3 of his earned take home pay seems fair to help maintain room and board. This will help him learn how to budget once he gets his own place [aka he'll never move out and will still be with you 5 or 10 years from now, LOL]. And it will also bring it home, that BK just simply ain't cutting it in the long run, unless you are on the management track [and even then it's lousy pay for long hours and loads of repsonsibility].

    If you feel uncomfortable collecting from your sons, set it aside and give it back to him, once he has his life back on track and goes back to school, or some time down the line when he could use a honest hand up [not enabling or bailing out due to poor choices, more along the line of padding a down payment for his first house or plane, LOL]. I think since both have increased the risk factor in their lives, the new rules + consequences should equally apply to both as well...

    Hang in there Blondie, I think you are on the right track!
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board Blondie

    The main issue lies with the fact that your son R is an adult, which leaves you little room in which to "help" him. As an addict he has to want that help, he has to be completely motivated to seek out and get that help and work the program. Even motivated it's a really hard thing to do.

    I'm glad to see you're seeing a counselor. I also advise al-anon meetings. You can learn a wealth of information from them on addictive behaviors and such.

    Parents of adult difficult children walk a fine line between detachment, letting the child learn by natural consequences for their decisions / behavior, and support to guide them into maturity, treatment, whatever it takes to make them a functioning adult. It's not easy, but we learn along the way.

    The problem when dealing with addictive behavior, regardless of the cause, is that until they deal with enough natural consequences that make their lives of addiction so uncomfortable they've hit bottom, the addict will deny there is a problem and not seek help. Because as long as there are people in their lives enabling the behavior, whether purposefully or not, to them it is not a real problem. It just takes them even longer to hit that rock bottom point.

    For a parent / family dealing with an's really difficult. You see what the addiction is doing to the person you love and your first instinct is to reach out and "help". Problem is that often such help actually enables the behavior to continue. Yet no parent wants to see their child be homeless, hungry, locked up in jail ect. Sadly though, it's those types of natural consequences that tend to motivate addicts to seek treatment, and sometimes that isn't even enough.

    At present, R does not see his alcohol abuse as a problem. For him it's not a problem. He's talked himself out of his dreams to convince himself it's not a quitting school is ok, he's now "searching" for what he wants to do. He has a place to live and food in his stomach and clothes to wear, access to transportation ect. Life is good. He's currently living like a teen with adult privileges. In his eyes he's got it made.

    That you charge him rent ect is good. An adult child should at the very least pay rent. Living at home after age 18 is a privilege, not a right.

    You're off to a good start. But if it were me I'd add if you go out and party while living in my home, find a new place to live. If you're not ready for that point yet, it's coming. Enough of the sons coming in stoned or drunk will get old fast.

    I don't know if mental health issues are at the heart of the matter or not. Until the addiction is addressed and successfully treated docs worth a hoot won't touch him because addictive behavior mimics too many mental illnesses and they could be adding to the problem instead of helping it. And it is now common practice for addicts to seek mental health dxes to receive medication to get "drunk" or whatever on. My own bff did it.

    Dealing with addiction is so hard. I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. But I'm glad you found us.

  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome. Congratulations on stepping up to the plate and exploring the best course of action for your family. If you have read old posts you will find that many of us have faced or are facing similar situations and although we may travel different roads...all of us are choosing with love. Statistically you seem to have an advantage because alcohol and drug use did not begin at a young age. Most, not all, addicts begin drinking prior to fifteen. Ours began at twelve unbeknownst to us, of course. When pot got added to the equation we sought substance abuse treatment. First outpatient and subsequently three in patient facilities. It has been almost thirteen years and although the drug use is gone we live with an alcoholic who has suffered dire consequences and yet continues to drink. Yep, just this morning he came home at 5:00 and woke me up for company. (He does have some unusual circumstances that compound his addition.)

    I suggest that you explore residential treatment choices. How I wish we had found the 2nd one lst. It is fairly "high end", has excellent counselors who individually and via group explore the issues that trigger the behaviors and have a payment plan based on family income. It sounds funny to recommend what did not work for us but I think that if he had qualified strangers help him at the getgo it is "possible" that the outcome would have lead to a productive life.

    No matter what you do, we are all ready to listen and be here for you. Hugs. DDD
  12. Blondiesbf

    Blondiesbf New Member

    Woke up this morning with a better, clearer attitude. Amazing how deeply yesterday affected me when Ricky came home drunk yesterday I was heading to work!!! I don't want it to affect me so profoundly. I started the book last night. Very interesting. Addressed how the addicts addiction doesn't just take the addict down but takes the family down with it. (well duh!) Also pointed out in waiting for the addict to hit rock bottom, we are allowing the addiction to continue, taking us along for an often long ride. (got it, don't want to be on this roller coaster long!) Still more to read. Fast-forwarded to the intervention part. Several types addressed and will read through those later today. What I did like about this book is it addresses how the family feels about addiction instead of being purely devoted to the addict. How the family is affected and taking positive steps toward resolution versus waiting it out. Have to finish the book before I can truly agree or not.

    With all I've read from all of you, I'm unsure whether to focus on Ricky's other issues first or focus on the alcohol. Both are valid but one could be leading to the other. And I certainly don't want to overwhelm him, perhaps setting off a fight or flight trigger (aka a bottle of booze) reaction. It's going to be a balancing act. Firm. Strong. Realistic. (Sigh)

    When he came home last night, he asked when he was getting his car back. I asked him when he was going to sit down and talk to us. No negative reaction. No fight. He knows he needs to sit with us. The ball is currently in his court. husband and I will need to talk before we talk with Ricky to ensure we are on the same page when the discussion comes. To ensure we limit what is discussed and that we present a firm, united front.

    This is all so a large, elaborate maze. And not knowing if you are doing the right thing until you see the reaction/outcome. At the end of the day, we will not give up. But like I said at the beginning, I really don't like this roller coaster! Guess I'm strapped in tight whether I like it or not!
  13. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Blondie,

    Yep you have found the right place. I have a 20 yo daughter who is currently living in a sober house. She spent last summer in a substance abuse residential center. All it did was give her more drug contacts. We finally did kick her out and she spent three months living with a neighbor boy who supplied an endless amunt of alochol and pot. She finally said she wanted to come back home and we said no, but that she could go to a sober house and she did. Our story is very much like yours. We tried everything and nothing worked until she wanted the help. Glad to put your foot down about pot in yourhome. Also we got rid of all alcohol and no one drank in the home while she was there.

    I hate to say it but your son will not get help until it hurts too much staying this way. He may lose his job, our's did. He may spend all his money and go into debt. He may get arrested and have to go to jail. We been through it all and still each day is not guaranteed. We live one day at a time. It is much easier with her not living here. She now has to make it on her own.

    You may have to draw the line in the sand and decide what you will put up with. Make sure if you draw that line you stick to it. Our daughter's main problem was drinking and smoking pot. We are lucky she never got into more serious drugs. It's difficult because alcohol is so prevalent in young people and they have to learn how to live without it and they haven't even gotten old enough to drink it legally.

    I've been where you are at, so have all the other members on this forum They have been a tremendous help to me and they will be to you also.