Starting over again.....

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by ColleenB, Apr 9, 2016.

  1. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    After the last month, I was convinced oldest son was using...

    We sat down with him last night and the situation all came to a head. I think me being angry really upset him. I've only seen my son cry a few times in his entire life, he is a lot like his dad that way. He absolutely hates confrontation, always has, he was a peace maker as a child.

    He is saying that he is so anxious around us, that he stays out to get away, and that he needs to move out to do things for himself because we hover so much. I do think that is true to a point.

    He promises he isn't dealing anymore, and his bank account isn't showing as much activity. The money he went through I guess was debt and he still has some left. Do I think he was also doing drugs.... Probably.

    He is saying he has been clean and going to classes, but I don't know about that.

    I want to believe him of course.

    However, if he moves out it is so expensive, he will need student loans to continue univ and I'm scared for him. I'm torn.

    He also said I text him too much. Probably true. He asked if I could just call instead.

    We also brought up that he doesn't help around the house. He offered to start making suppers. I said that would be great. We will see.

    I don't know what I think. He really is a sweet and kind soul, always has been, so I know life is hard for him. He has never been abusive or outright disrespectful to us. He has had addiction problems so I do think he needs more help. He has done counselling in the past, but doesn't want to do it again.

    He claims he isn't using. I want to believe him. I think at this point he needs us to believe in him. When he was talking last night, it broke my heart that he thinks we think he is a "piece of crap" and he has messed up so badly. He honestly feels terrible about what he has done. I know some of you would be sceptical due to his addictions, but I know he was being sincere with us. I feel because he was such a good kid, never gave us any grief, he knows that the last few years have been hell, and feels very guilty.

    We decided to try the next month,he has to get a job, his exams are theses next two weeks. After that if its for the best he will move out. If we can give each other some space and he isn't showing signs of using, dependant on how he is feeling, we will take it a month at a time.

    I told him I would love for him to move out too, but my worry is around the money. Maybe we should look into it anyway... To give us all some space.

    I don't know what will happen, but one thing he said was that I need to start thinking about myself instead of him all the time. I agree. Time to start taking care of myself.
  2. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    Well.....just found out younger son plans on moving out in Sept.....sigh.....

    I totally understand why, I would want to move out too at his age. We have made it clear our financial support was in the way of free rent and food. He will have to get loans now. I am not that upset. Maybe it will be for the best, as he will learn to manage on his own.

    I can see older son moving out by then too....we may be empty nesters afterall.....
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  3. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    It is time to start thinking of yourself Colleen. You have taken on all of the worry for your two. They need to figure their lives out. Test their wings. It will be okay.
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  4. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Someone once told me that “sincerity is no guarantee for truth” … Actions are what speak and show the truth....

    Hi Colleen,
    I hope the situation is different for you. I truly hope this may be a turning point. But for myself, I heard these exact things and felt the exact way many times for many years. I truly believe my son was also sincere in all he kept saying he was going to do, he always meant well. It's just that he never got around to doing it. No supportive efforts and believing on my part did any good for any lasting time, but only enabled son's self-destructive tendencies to continue. I waited too long and kept “believing him” repeatedly … until finally now (when he is 36 years old) I am at last detaching and he is out of our home. And I know I cannot help him anymore in the same ways.

    While I cannot berate myself for not realizing our enabling error sooner, at the same time I can’t help but think if I had detached 15 years ago, he might not be in jail right now.

    It is repeatedly validated in many ways by many on this site that the detaching and stopping the enabling is what begins the new journey of freedom and growth for our difficult children.

    You are not alone. There is so much support and comfort and strength on this site. Best Wishes, Kalahou
  5. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    FYI - P.S.
    I could have written this myself. So very similar in my son ... when we are angry, he is upset, and the real tears flow, and he will almost say or do anything to stop it / stop the confrontation and discord. I've learned he knows exactly what to say and do / that he has learned precisely what we want to hear and see, in order to shorten and end the confrontation / the interrogation / the too close and intense discovery. Such episodes always ended with agreement and promises, and hugs, and offers to help .... Never happened / never lasted for long. It may be that these encounters and need to avoid are what actually taught him to routinely lie and keep lying just to tell us what we wanted to hear and so we would not worry and question (... most of the time without even realizing he was lying, since it was such a habit. )

    Sad to say, been there / done that .... no words and promises lasted .... until the loving detachment which is what's really needed. Once the enabling stops, that's when your true trust and believing in him will build and will build in him also. Just my opinion. You know your individual situation and will work through it yourselves. Take care.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2016
  6. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    I feel like others here may think we are being enablers with our son, and I agree to a point. But it's hard for anyone to really know what's going on with any of us, it's one dimensional on the boards.

    I really do appreciate the support and advice , so I'm not saying to not give your opinions. I guess I'm asking for some compassion and no judgment. I think we all have to do this journey in our own time and even if it seems like it's obvious... It isn't always so clear.

    Trying to navigate this is like being blindfolded... In the dark.... And trying to find your way. Even if someone is trying to guide you, you kind of have to find your way on your own. I'm trying to find my way. I really am. I'm learning things here I use, like trying to stop fixing him, and leaving advice I can't do just yet.

    I'm still at a point where I can see my sweet boy in there, and he is so sad. I can't kick him when he is down. I'm starting to think it's more a mental illness like severe depression that he has been coping with using substances. I don't know, but I know I have to at least listen to him, and try.

    Feeling sad tonight that he is feeling badly and knowing I can't fix him.
  7. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Its up to you to set your own pace. We can share our experience, but I think most of us started off wanting and needing to believe.when I look back, my daughter was so young when she used drugs...12-19. She did have low self esteem and wanted to have friends and the drug crowd were the nicest to her, a new kid in a new middle school.

    Time and experience taught me not to trust my teenager's promises. She had to show me. And she did.

    I hope your son shows you.

    Certainly do what you need to do to look at yourself in the mirror each day. But be on guard so that if it turns out that son was not sincere, you are not devestated or shocked completely.

    Always,actions speak louder than words. Watch, look, listen...but listen with caution.
  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Colleen, I hope I have not written anything to offend you. If so, I apologize. Everyone has their story and moves at their own pace. It is okay Colleen, this is your life.
    I have to tell you what I read in these responses are experiences from caring people who reach out with their stories in hopes to spare others the grief and drama they have gone through. So, at times posts may come across strong and seem judgemental, I don't think that is what is meant.
    It's that old hindsight working, the " If I only knew then, what I know now, I would have done things differently" syndrome.

    I am glad you wrote truthfully about how you are feeling.
    I am so sorry for your heartache.

    This is such a very difficult journey.

    It was different for me when I first came to CD. I had pretty much made up my mind that I could not have my two living at home anymore. It did take me awhile to figure it out, okay I confess, again...... it was 18 on and off years.....the last few being pretty unbearable.
    I remember when I went to a therapist and told my story. She looked at me and point blank said "You are an enabler......."
    Whoa, I was not prepared to hear that. I was so ,well, mad.

    It is okay Colleen, you have to go at your pace and be able to look at yourself in the mirror. That is the point of CD, take what seems right for you and your situation. No one here has a right to judge you, and I honestly do not think anyone does. They may have differing opinions, but not judgement.
    We all had to figure our way, in our own due time.
    I am sorry for your heartache. I don't think any of us thought we would be on this journey when our kids were growing up.

    It is all so devastatingly hard.

    Please know that there is no judgement here.
    Just folks who want to try their best to help and share their stories truthfully.
    I think these stories are so hard, how can one even relay them in a comfortable way?

    None of us are professionals, just parents like you, who love our kids dearly and are at different junctions on this road we never thought we would be on.

    Take care and do something good for you.
    You are not alone, and we do care so very much for you Colleen, you are a fellow sister warrior.
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  9. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member


    People here mean well even if they say things that hurt sometimes. You and your husband have to find your own path through this forest of parenting. Your way may be different from another's, and that is okay.

    Warm hugs for your hurting heart. :grouphugg:
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  10. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    I hope I didn't make anyone feel like I don't want your advice... Because I do. I guess I'm just feeling a bit sensitive.

    I know that it seems like my son is manipulating us, but it's so hard for others to really see the whole picture with a forum.

    Again, please keep posting.... I do need the support.
  11. UpandDown

    UpandDown Active Member

    I get it Colleen. I really do. We have cared for and been there for our children since they were helpless babies. It is ingrained in us to care for them and protect them. Yet, having a child that goes way off track calls for us to do what feels like exactly the opposite of what our gut says. Last night my son got very very upset after my husband found weed in the basement and took it away. Son knew that was a boundary he can not cross and did it anyway. He proceed to say he wanted to die without it, couldn't be in pain tonight, crying. My heart was twisted and hurting. He was begging us to give it to him to stop the hurting. I so wanted to just give it back to him. Husband insisted that we go to dinner with younger child and leave the drama behind. He also refused to tell me where he hid it because he knew I would cave. I was so angry at him. I was terrified that son would hurt himself. Yet I knew through all the reading and advice I have received here along with therapy that I was enabling and enmeshed with him. That me staying and consoling him was only going to make it worse. Not to mention, send him a very confusing message. The whole time at dinner, I was quietly angry with my husband as my need and drive to protect and help son was overwhelming. And I felt like he was standing in my way. Yet, amazingly when we got home, son was upstairs perfectly calm and fine. He had cleaned his room while we were gone and crisis was averted for the time being. I look at my situation with son and am becoming very aware that he is medicating some serious issues. Whether it be depression or anxiety or perhaps Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), I am not certain. Today I am going to dig deeper to find someone/somewhere that can help. Yet knowing he is struggling with something deeper does not make it ok to use illegal drugs in my house and put my family in danger. Having my 3 daughters here helps too with me and setting boundaries.
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  12. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    Would you think of drug testing your son to see if he is using? I know that sometimes it can be hard to tell and I can understand you want to give him this month chance to see how it goes now that you've had the big talk. My son has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression also but the medications he was given couldn't work because he was self medicating too and thought that was just fine.

    I think we made our son uptight too but looking back when he was uptight it was because he was not sober or doing something he shouldn't do. We did not know that he had gotten a prescription from the family doctor for benzos for anxiety which we had forbid because he abused them in the past. If taken as directed, we would not be able to tell anything but he admitted he just can't handle them so not sure why he asked for them to begin with. Even when my son was at his worst he was never mean to us or said anything mean. The worst he did was steal from us but that is bad enough. If they are mean or violent it makes it a no brainer to me.

    Upanddown: I hear your pain. My son started out smoking weed and to be honest, we kind of agreed that if that's all he did we'd be okay. But of course things escalated and now he is no longer in our home. My son always came between my husband and I. My son and I were so close. He is our baby. I couldn't face all the changes. I just thought my husband didn't understand. But after this last binge I decided to let my husband take the lead rather than it being the other way around. I just couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't fix it anymore. It was killing me and taking over my life.

    I got a call from my son yesterday from Florida in sober living. He said he may just stay there and go to community college since he has a job he likes. We originally thought he'd move to another part of Florida to go to college. He is a busboy at a Greek restaurant and says he can be a server. This is so shocking to me because he has very bad social anxiety. I feel that by us not being there he knows he has to do for himself. He said customers ask him stuff all the time anyway and it's a small menu. He has only been in Florida a month and at the job three weeks so I see this as huge progress for him.

    I was in his bedroom yesterday and threw away the last beer bottle that I found under his bed. I knew it was there but don't like going in his bedroom. His room looks normal now. No empty bottles and cans hidden in closets and under beds. No ashes and pieces of weed all over his desk. No empty pill bottles. No empty baggies. No vomit on his bedding. No bottles of urine. I look at the bed and think of the times I've seen him laying there. Not wanting to get out of bed or leave his room. Drunk or high. Threatening suicide. Just all of it is so painful and I am so happy that he is now in a better place. I never imagined this would happen. I never saw a way out of all of this. I'm sad this has happened to him and to our family and it just isn't fair but I now have some hope that maybe we've turned a corner.
  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Sometimes we forget that these drugs are making issues worse and our adult kids are hiding from possibly better mental health care by using these drugs instead of licensed professionals. If anyone claims to need a drug that makes them high in order to survive does this not indicate addiction?

    I have learned, at least in my life, that the tears, histrionics and even suicide threats are for OUR benefit, so that we will do whatever they want so that the don't kill themselves (which they usually have no intention of doing).

    I dealt with suicide threats one way...I called 911. There is nothing we can do to prevent suicide and it terrifies us so I decided to take that one out of my hands, do my best, and just call 911.

    I haven't heard a suicide threat since I started calling 911 rather than worrying and thinking of ways I can prevent the act. Since my one more sensitive son who is fighting in court over his son has received care from 911 when threatening suicide, he doesnt threaten. Nor has he tried it. It is as I gambled...he is basically strong and can handle the difficulties of life.

    Suicide is serious. Threats can be manipulative. in my opinion best to call 911 and let them decide. Too bad if grown kid gets angry. Nobody should make such a scary threat if they dont really mean it.

  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Doesn't necessarily indicate addiction.

    And when you have the BEST, PhD-level Psychiatrist for 500 miles around, and HE says "there's only so much we can do with medications" and the medications are not really helping...

    No, I don't agree with using street drugs to self-medicate. But I do kind of get why some of these people DO it. They aren't being given ANY options.
  15. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    I agree suicide is a real danger. We lost a dear friend's son this past summer, and he kept how seriously depressed he was quite secret. My son is much like that, he doesn't threaten or have histrionics..he is not like that. When I flat out asked him about suicide, he admitted that it was something he has considered, and would probably do it, except he knows that it would really devastate us. He didn't say that to manipulate me. I had to pull it out.

    He is for sure depressed and struggles with anxiety. I know that the drug use has contributed. In fact, he says that the drugs have probably changed his brain chemistry, and he knows that the pot use is a way of self medication. His pot use has not been as much, we haven't really seen the signs he is using, but his depression is what we are most concerned about.

    Again, I know addicts will say anything. I grew up around two alcoholic grandparents, and my father in law. I worry he does have an addictive personality, but I am not ready to write him off completely. Some days I do that, I project a gloomy future and lament the potential lost, and it only makes me depressed.

    In fact it was someone on here who told me not to give up so soon, not to write the end of the sons are both young.

    Right now we are taking it slow. We think both boys are moving out in the fall, and that may be a good thing. We will all get a little break. They are not moving in together. Younger son is moving in with other boys from Computer Science, so I'm not that worried about him. He is good with his money, and doesn't really party or do drugs. He is a normal kid, but pretty level headed.

    Older son is another concern. He is terrible with money, but this will be good for him to see he can take care of himself. He told me the other day, that he feels bad about himself when I fix things or do things for him. He wants to take care of himself.

    I need to let him. My biggest fear is that his roomates may be druggies.....his university friends would be a better option.....

    I don't know what financial support we will give them. I would like to keep helping them somewhat with tuition, but husband is saying they need a full year on their own financially. To really appreciate it. I agree. I just so want them to make it.

    I will back's killing me, but I will do it.

    Thanks for being here....I do come here all the all are my lifeline in this whole "LOVING detachment" which I am not seeing as not caring, but as not fixing anymore......that is a big mind shift for me.
  16. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Pay them back the tuition for each class they actually PASS. Which gives them the ability to pay for more classes on a roll-forward basis. But they have to put in enough money to pass or they don't get anything back... which puts some of their own hide on the line.
  17. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    My son only threatened it that one time but he later admitted he just did it so I would take him to detox in the middle of the night.

    I am glad it all happened the way it did because now he seems to be on the right path and moving in the right direction and my husband and I are just giddy that we have the summer ahead of us and the house to ourselves.

    We wouldn't have gotten where we are without all the steps we had to go through and I can say I have no regrets in how we handled anything. I think we did okay!

    Thank you to the great advice on this forum because it worked for us.
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  18. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Ic, I am a "never give up" type of person. If not, id be dead myself from suicidal depression. If one doctor,even a good one, says nothing will help, I have gone to another one, usually to find the second doctor doesnt agree. Fortunately (and I know its big) that doctor number two, three and four was not 400 miles away. That changes things. I dont live so far from psychiatrists and when I was younger and sicker I lived in the chicago area, full of doctors.

    I understand self medication too. I just dont think random drugs help mental health issues. It is hard and frustrating.
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I agree. They aren't the answer. But ... there doesn't seem to BE any answer.

    We can't GET a second opinion. There are way to few psychiatrists here, and a minimum 2 year wait to get in for primary evaluation. If you want a second opinion - they don't have time. We need answers NOW. As in, two and five and ten years ago. If a psychiatrist leaves the area - you go on somebody else's two-year wait list. No matter HOW critical it is that you be under continuous care. If you can't wait for the next available psychiatrist, you can use the emergency department.

    Yes. Really.

    It's not just that we are publicly funded. It's that I come from an area with a low population density. We simply do not attract the kinds of resources we need. We can't force them to come work here. They would all rather work in BIG cities. (Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal count. Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax are marginally acceptable. Everything else is... really REALLY hard to attract the resources we need.)
  20. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Hi Colleen.
    Many of us have been where you are and many of us continue to step back and forth over that fine line. Besides, our thinking can actually be and feel as confused as our Difficult Child's. Do as you feel is right, that's what you have to live with. Use the accounts here as info. re: what has worked for others not as what "you should do", but frame your decisions armed with the info. you've learned. There is compassion here and help.

    With much difficulty, hubby and I went to counseling and al-anon. Even that was exhausting. I told the therapist that I had been trying to fix it all for ten yrs, (actually 28), and now they all just wanted to give me two more jobs--to stop enabling and to fix ME. It seemed too much work to even begin. But by this time, I was so at the bottom. Slowly, ever so slowly, we have let our son go on to try to figure it out himself. So far, he has not. BUT, we are starting to...and have more peace than I thought could be possible. We have a long way to go. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Wherever you're at today in this race, I offer you a bottle of water, a word of encouragement. You are strong. Prayers.
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