Update on Difficult Child

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Albatross, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Should I phrase it like one of those brag-fest letters we get each Christmas from classmates I haven't seen since high school?

    "Difficult Child briefly considered resuming his camping adventure, this time in our local bus station, but his father has convinced him to focus on his studies this semester. Husband and I continue to be amazed at his resourcefulness in testing the limits of reason. In fact, just this morning we looked at each other and said, 'What the *&C% is he up to now?!'"

    In all seriousness...

    As background, d.c. moved back in with us in August wanting to go back to college and saying he could not do so living on the edge as he was. Despite this request being the 5th or 6th time we have done so, husband and I elected to pay 1 semester of tuition and see how it went, provided d.c. got a job and kept his grades up.

    Difficult Child did get a job. We rarely saw him study. We went through many cycles of his drinking escalating, us talking to him, him sobering up for a few days, then the drinking starting again. Once husband found him passed out on the floor. Another time we found that he had broken into our locked bar (though he did replace what he drank).

    The Sunday before last (the start of finals week), I picked him up at work and I could see and smell that he had been drinking at work. After a long talk, he agreed to go to detox and asked me to let his professors know he needed an extension on completing his classwork and to let his boss know he would not be at work through Friday, though he expected to work Sunday. I did so.

    His detox was to last 5 days, with release on Friday evening. We did not hear from him, so on Saturday evening we drove to the detox unit and found out he had been released Friday morning. He has twice previously checked himself out of rehab and gone MIA for months at a time. husband and I assumed he had taken off again. His boss called me to confirm that he was working Sunday, and I told her that I did not know for sure, but she should assume that he would not be in.

    He finally called Sunday night, saying he "just needed some time off" and was visiting friends. By that time we had packed his stuff and his boss had fired him for being a no-show. We told him he had until the weekend after Christmas to make other living arrangements and find a job because we couldn't stand the ups and downs anymore.

    He came home livid that *I* caused him to lose his job. His position was that if I hadn't gone to the detox unit and violated his privacy by finding out he had been discharged, his boss would have *assumed* that he was still out sick and would not have fired him for being a no-show. He left at 6 a.m. last Tuesday for a "job interview" (in filthy clothes with messy hair and his teeth not brushed) and disappeared until Friday. The "job interview" turned out to be a girl he met in detox. After a 4-day drunk, he changed his mind about starting a new life with her and came home.

    husband and I agreed once again that we could not live like this and that he would have to be out the weekend after Christmas.

    Last Saturday, grades came out.

    Difficult Child got A's in all of his classes.

    Sunday morning husband looked at me and I knew he had changed his mind. He said this is the first time d.c. has ever seen anything through (which is true) and that he won't be able to go to class if he goes back to his old living situation (also true). husband said knocking d.c.'s feet out from under him the one time he gets it right doesn't seem like the right thing to do.

    He said, "I think of d.c. like global warming -- it's our duty to not leave the world with this mess if we can help it."

    I told husband that my concern at this point, to be brutally honest, is for husband's feelings, not Difficult Child's, and that husband should do what he can live with. And I told husband that I love him for so many reasons, and especially for his faithfulness in the face of reason, even though it hurts sometimes.

    So d.c. is still here, and he's been sober for the week since he got home from his "job interview." He and I are polite but distant. He is dragging his feet on finding a job, but that is between him and husband. For right now I am just focusing on me and letting husband and Difficult Child work it through.
  2. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Wow impressive all A in spite of his addiction just wow. Wow is just to little to describe it just wow. No wonder your husband changed his mind.
    That is incredible.
  3. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Albatross and Happy Holidays,
    Goodness gracious, you have certainly been through the mill. I am so sorry for the pain, heartache, and headache of it all.
    Of, course according to D cs account of the story, everything is all your "fault." NOT!!!
    SIGH! I am in the same club you are in, the bad guy of the team. It is not fun.....not fun at all. To go through all of this and low and behold.........

    This would kind of knock me for a loop......all A's that is awesome.
    My hubs is the eternal hopeful, of our half, always wanting to give "one more chance." I see his point sometimes, but I am the one just darn tired...you know? Well we are a team, and their are two making the decision.
    So, I am like you, sigh, and go on with it, trying to hope for the best.
    One never knows when there will be a turning point, for our husbands and our d c's.

    This is a response from a loving wife and partner. How kind of you, to acquiesce in this decision.

    Well, a bit of peace, at least for now. Thank goodness for the week of sobriety. I will be crossing fingers and toes that sons academic success continues, and that he takes steps to improve in other areas as well.
    There you go Albatross, focus on you.
    Thank you for sharing this, I am oft times in the same situation. Hubs will do as he wishes, and I adjust. Busy myself with other things so as not to dwell on the drama. It does get to me at times, but the roller coaster has slowed a bit with our two out for nigh four months now.
    Keep up your wonderful attitude, hang in there, fellow warrior sister.
  4. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi Alb, it's great to get an update about you and Difficult Child.

    What an experience you have had! Just reading your post, I felt the pull and tug and back and forth.

    I would have done the same thing you are doing. Addiction is a disease of relapse. We know this in our minds but when it happens it feels personal. I have often wondered why rehabs kick out their patients when they relapse. It's like a cancer patient getting a bad test result and it's all over. No more trying to save the person. If a relapse is accompanied by the person still wanting to change, then...

    With your situation Alb, the ups and downs have to be hard on you. Is it just too hard? If it is, that is completely understandable and you can only do what you can live with and the standards cannot be we give 1000% until we are out of our minds...all in the name of helping our children. Most of us have been there and done that and I never want to be in that shape again if I can guard against it .

    I love the hope that his straight As brought. But he still has a serious deadly disease that requires treatment. Without it he likely can't stop on his own.

    I hope he will regroup and take some steps to get treatment whatever that looks like, rehab, detox, AA, sessions with a substance abuse counselor, etc. whatever works. His grades are a clear indicator of promise. I hope he can look at what he has accomplished, relish it, own it, claim it and use it as a stepping stone to what is next.

    So good to hear from you Alb. Please keep us posted.
  5. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    hi Albatross,
    Can he take an anti craving medication? There was a very interesting article in the Atlantic awhile ago, pointing out how the US is behind the rest of the world in treating addictions.
    I'm new here and don't know your story, but I can imagine you are in a tough place, like same old same old, but the A grades a reason to hope.
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Wow, Albatross.

    I would be feeling just like you. Torn. I think you are right to let your son know how you feel, as you are. Because he really is doing wrong, while he is doing right. If that makes any sense.

  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Thanks for sharing Albatross. What a few months you have had. I commend you for what you have been willing to do and put up with. I know it cannot be easy.
    I am not surprised at all that he blamed you for his boss firing him, very typical. I'm so sorry you had to endure that.

    Your son has shown that he can apply himself to his studies and intelligence is not his issue as is the case with most of our d-cs.

    I think it's good that you are stepping back and allowing your husband and son to navigate the waters.

    Make sure you are taking good care of yourself.
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  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Oh, no.

    You handled it well. I would have done the same. Once the grades came out, I would have done the same. Whatever is coming next, there is a possible, attainable future. We are not talking barely passing grades, here.

    You were not wrong in the way you handled son's job situation. You were courteous, honest, and correct in your behaviors. In addition you taught Difficult Child how you will handle similar situations in future ~ ethically.

    They say that in breaking any addictive behavior, we will all relapse at least once. It could be that it all caught up with him and he did not know how to ask for help.

  9. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    A break through, it is awesome Albatross. I am so pleased for your son, to be able to accomplish this, despite his challenges. Hopeful.

    With integrity, too, bravo.

  10. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the responses. He moved out tonight. Husband found him passed out on the floor again this morning. Since he has no job, he has no money to buy alcohol.

    He searched the house to find a box I had very well hidden in the garage. He has been drinking for the past 2 days (he says) but I think it is more than that, given the quantity of what's missing and the usual clues he leaves. When I told him we thought he should get some support in his quit because searching the garage for hidden bottles is concerning, he scoffed and said, "Like your hiding place was all that great! I found it in like 5 seconds!"

    Talking to him is like arguing with a 12-year-old, except I've been having those arguments for 10+ years. And yet he complains that we don't treat him like an adult.

    So the usual conversation ensued once more, about whether he would be willing to go to AA, go to a counselor, go to a psychiatrist to get something to help with his depression and cravings.

    And once again it is all OUR fault, because he is 23 and he just wants to live his life and have us stay out of it, and of course he doesn't NEED counseling, doesn't NEED medication and AA is a "cult."

    I guess he just wants us to leave him alone so he can not work and drink our booze.

    Husband and I should have walked away before we started screaming. We didn't. It all devolved into lots of screaming and ugliness from our end and the usual nitpicking about semantics from his end, rather than him taking responsibility for his actions.

    The end result was that he packed his things and moved out, his choice, which we made very clear.

    Within 1/2 hour he was texting to apologize, I suspect because he found out his new roomie doesn't have as good of cable or internet as we have here. But he can't come back. I can't do this anymore.

    I told him this is for the best; that we would cover tuition if he keeps his grades up but now he can live on his own and I am sure he will feel much less pressure. I told him we have all faith in him, that he can do it if he tries.

    The saddest part of it, I think, is that all I feel right now is a profound sense of relief that he's not here in this house anymore. It was a mistake to let him come back here.
  11. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Ouch Albatross, I am so sorry this happened.
    This sounds like my two. I do not think so, so not happening.......

    Meh, we are only human, after all. One can only take so much. Well, at least you got your point across. Hopefully, the words will echo in his ears, and he will learn.

    Ack, this is tough.

    I hope it all works out for him, and he keeps up his schooling. It is nice of you to offer to cover tuition and close on a positive note.

    Not a mistake. Another try. He was pulling all A's, what else could you do?

    The relief I know too, well, a break from the chaos and drama in the house.........

    I am so sorry for the heartache of all of this.
    You sound very strong, Albatross.
    Take care, dear.
  12. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Alb, I am sorry. He's not ready. And you can't "get him ready" as you know.

    Yes that is exactly what he wants, to sit and not work and drink.

    My parents' counselor said some clear and comforting words about my brother, who lives at my parents' home and is a functional alcoholic. He works full time and drinks. No friends, no outside hobbies or life, but he does help my parents around the house. Functional but an empty life.

    The counselor said, after my parents expressed a lot of worry and sympathy and pain about my brother --- hold up. He's doing fine much better than you are. He has his number one girlfriend: alcohol. That is his primary focus and as long as he can get it, that is all he wants. Your pain is much greater than his.

    I don't know if they heard her or not.

    You have tried Alb and here is the result right now. I think it is positive that he wants to go to school and makes good grades. He is functional. So many alcoholics are.

    You did the only thing you could do and I think it's just fine that you got your feelings out to him. We can't keep it all inside and sometimes we just have to tell them how much we hurt.

    Hang in there. We're here for you. I am so sorry for your pain. Hugs.
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  13. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Hugs, Alb. I just found this thread and was reading through it - very sad to read the latest.

    As COM said, he is just not ready.
    (My Difficult Child is not ready either).

    Until then, they seem to believe the mess they have created is our fault - everybody else's fault - so they do not need to change a thing. In their minds, We should just fix it the damage we have caused..with $$, of course. (course, again, my Difficult Child is meaner than most).

    Straight A's....I agree with everybody above that that is wonderful!

    Perhaps wanting a degree will be the impetus to make him get the help he needs.

    I guarantee you I would feel the very same emotions.

    You doing anything fun this weekend???
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