Visit with difficult child at halfway house

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Tired Mom, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. Tired Mom

    Tired Mom Member

    difficult child has been away at rehab since the end of October. Right now he is in a halfway house with IOP 3 days a week. We decided to fly down to visit him for Christmas. I think it was a mistake to come visit him. He's not at his worst but I honestly don't think he's going to be any different once he completes this program in May (Assuming he finishes it.) I don't think drugs are difficult child's biggest problem even though he almost died from an overdose. I think there is either a mental health/personality disorder which as far as I can tell aren't being treated and may not be treatable. There are small things that are better he doesn't seem as angry at us as he is sometimes but its like he just checks out and we can't draw him into any conversations. A week and half ago his counselor was concerned because he wasn't looking for a job and wasn't going to AA or NA meetings. He has since gone to two AA meetings and while we were here we drove by a place that said help wanted and when we asked about applying he went in and talked to them which is something difficult child has never done before. He would need a car for that position so it wasn't a possibility. I don't know its hard to not want to push him to look for a job but he just completely shuts down when bring it up. If he doesn't get a job then I think he will eventually get kicked out. We have seen red flags while here when he using my laptop he was looking at sunglass store online which I think the only reason he would want sunglasses is to hide drug use. Also we heard something about a girl coming to visit at 2 in the morning which I don't think would normally be allowable at most halfway houses. Its hard I tried to keep my expectations very low for the visit but even with low expectations it is hard not to be disappointed.
  2. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I hope you guys can focus on the good and remember that the bad isn't as bad. It sounds like your difficult child is doing the minimum which is a shame. I hope that changes and he makes more effort in his rehab.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I love the phrase "it is what it is."

    And he is what he is.

    You accomplished what you wanted to do. You saw your son and gave him further proof that you do love him.

    You also could not do what is not possible. You did not cure him, whatever is wrong. I think most of our adult kiddos have personality disorders from borderline (mostly the gals), to narcissistic to antisocial. At this time, the later two are not treatable, but borderline was not treatable until just recently when a brilliant mind found a type of therapy that works well for hard working, motivated borderlines who WANT to change. There is always hope where there is life.

    I also found a nice motivational quote today on the calandar I bought my daughter for her college dorm. Maybe it will give you some peace. It did me: "The past is over. Learn from it. The future is not here yet. Plan for it. The present is now. LIVE IT!"

    I find that focusing on "now", not thinking back to what was, and not thinking too hard about the future either (as I can't predict it) actually works best for me. The facts are, you visited your son, it went ok, and now you can move on with whatever you need to do NOW.

    I hope your son decides to a least become substance free.
    Today he is not using.
    Celebrate today :)
  4. Tired Mom

    Tired Mom Member

    Thanks for your replies. I know one of his roommates mentioned that the restaurant he works at was hiring bussers and difficult child said he could do that. I want that to so work out but I don't know if difficult child will follow up on it. He really is afraid of people. I think the bussing job would be great for difficult child. To stay focused on the positive it really was a big step for difficult child to actually to go in and ask the one place about the job posting. He has had 3 jobs that he just fell into without looking. Once he has a job he does do a good job. One of my favorite memories was once when we was complaining about how lazy one of his coworkers was and he had to close the store by himself every time she worked. I don't think difficult child realized how much that made me smile since he has drove us crazy with how lazy he can be.

    Yes unfortunately he is only doing the minimum. I mentioned to his counselor that his previous counselor had made it mandatory that he attend AA or NA meetings as part of his PTI and the NA had seemed to help him but she said she didn't agree with it but the philosophy of the center is not to force people to do things. I think one his roommates asked him if he wanted to go an AA meeting and he said yes. (difficult child is very much a follower.) He somehow seems to have met this girl at the AA meetings. He has helped her move and has shown up at their house at 2am with a puppy from the shelter she was volunteering at. I suspect he will continue to go the AA meetings to see the girl. I would prefer he go to AA for himself but maybe even it is for the girl he will get some good out of it.

    I have read about the treatment for borderline personality disorder. There seems to be some hope that it may help people with antisocial personality disorder as well. The other night I was researching looking for ideas if difficult child comes back home and saw that are some people who have trained for this type of treatment somewhat near where we live. I think it was called Merma. I don't know if we will come to a day where we will need to try explore that more.

    difficult child is difficult when not on drugs but when on drugs there is a meanness about him that is not part of his normal personality. We have seen the change is his personality twice. Once about a month and half before he was arrested and then the month leading up to when he moved out. I do not want to ever live with him when he is using again.

    He is still saying he loves us when we tell him that we love him which has never happened in the past. We would have preferred that he save his money but he did get his brother a present for Christmas. He was thinking about someone besides himself. I need to take the small good things and hold on to them.

    Seeing him do the minimum I am trying to mentally prepare myself that if he is ever going to get it that he may be someone who will need several trips to rehab to cumulatively get the help he needs.
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Have been there done that and I so understand yoru disappointment. I wanted to see change during our visits and so often I just more of the same. Even though I tried to keep my expectations low I was so often disappointed.

    I do think most of our difficult children are dealing with more than substance abuse. I always suspected my difficult child had a borderline personality disorder. If it gives you any hope my difficult child is a much different person than she was for most of her life. I never thought she would be as repsonsible as she turned out to be. She seems to have learned many tough lessons the hard way. I know in the back of my mind there is always the possibility that she will backslide but she seems to have conquered many of her demons.
  6. Tired Mom

    Tired Mom Member

    Ok trying to keep from getting excited. difficult child had an interview today that he thinks will get a job offer for.
    Even if he doesn't get the job it is a step in the right direction. I know that this harder for him then normal people. It is a cook position.
    He says he wants to be a chef and took one year of culinary classes at the local community college before dropping out. As far I could tell what girlfriend'G's previous plan was to stay at half way until May not working come back to our house have summer off and then go back to school and not work which I think was a recipe for disaster. If he couldn't conquer his fear of talking to people to get a job then I really didn't see the point in him going back to school. Fingers crossed this works out.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hmmmmmmm. Did your son have any speech delays or noise sensitivities and is he socially afraid or socially inept? Does he have any obsessive interests? Does he have trouble making eye contact? I should ask...did he always have trouble making good eye contact with you and strangers?

    I'm just asking because I'm wondering if he is struggling so badly because he may be on he upper end of the autism spectrum, such as Asperger's Syndrome. At his age, a young man should be able to go on a job interview with, yes, some apprehension, but he should be ok doing it. I'm just wondering if he has some sort of neurological difference. Unfortunately, psychiatrists are not that great at finding autism spectrum disorder because it is not a mental illness, but a neurological difference that has a lot of features that look like a shy mentally ill person. Sometimes it is misdiagnosed as social anxiety disorder. Actually, it is different. It is social inability to understand how to communicate well with others, even if the person has a good vocabulary. This causes them to like to be alone and struggle with life's simple things. The drugs could be used to make him feel comfortable in a world he doesn't really understand and with people he can't figure out...not due to his own fault.

    I have a twenty one year old who has this, but is much better now. However we knew he had it and he got very early interventions and supports and still has some.

    Here's hoping for the best. It is sad when other problems drive our grown kids to drug use and addiction because then THAT becomes the major problem. Nothing can be solved while the person is still using drugs. I wish him luck. My son cashiers and works in a small restaurant-type place part-time and collects some disability while living alone. He is friendly with people he knows well now (he used to be shy with everyone) and has a good life. He is very happy, but he needed and needs the understanding and the small adult supports. Anyhow, I could be way off base, but thought I'd see if it struck a chord.

    Here is a link about Aspergers. No Aspie has ALL the symptoms, but all suffer from social issues and talking to people is a huge one as this is a communication disorder, among other things. If he does have it, and can get diagnosed, there's a lot of help for him out there:
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2015
  8. Tired Mom

    Tired Mom Member

    Hi Midwest Mom - I have also wondered if he could be a highly functioning on the Autism Spectrum. He doesn't have all the symptoms but some. He didn't have speech delays but from a very young age to this day he has been very noise sensitive. I can remember when he was only 3 or 4 or and the teachers at his daycare telling us how he really freaked out whenever there was a fire alarm. It worried them because he would run out of the daycare center. I can remember him being completely terrified of hand dryers in bathrooms at restaurants. One of the few items he wanted when we visited him was ear plugs. He is also very sensitive to what kind of fabric he can stand to wear and he has light senstivity. He has always had difficulty with eye contact and it is exactly him to say that he has the inability on how to communicate with others even though he has a good vocabulary. He doesn't really connect with people. I know the friend that he had for the longest was someone who talked a lot and didn't really need for my son to say much in return. I wish that friend had stayed in his life because he was one of the few people who I felt like wasn't using him. I have known one person who was diagnosed with Aspergers and that person would talk and talk and that part is not my son. He does have three main hobbies longboarding, snowboarding and reading. My husband can have meaningful conversations with him on those three topics but it is almost impossible to have a conversation with him about anything else. Sometimes when they are talking about a book they have both read I can hear a really intelligent person. It is really hard to draw that person out.

    I think my husband's father could be a highly functioning Aspie. He is very much only focused on one topic cars. He worked as a mechanic. He memorizes every detail about every new car that comes out. Has been banned from car dealerships because they know they know he just goes there to get the brochures. When we visit him it is impossible to get him on a different topic. Usually our visits are 2 or 3 hours of hearing about every change each car has had with the new models. He very much reminds me of the one person I know who was diagnosed with Aspergers but functioning at maybe a higher level. I know my husband has always made his sons a priority because his dad really never connected with him or his brother.

    I don't think my husband would be open to getting him tested and since my son is 20 I don't know if he would go along with it. I would like to get him tested. I worry about how our son would function without us.

    With his rehab I am sure it is his lack of social skills that is keeping him from looking for a job and going to AA or NA meetings. When a roommate has said lets go together at this time to an AA meeting he goes but for him to do that on his own would be hard.. He likes going to the main rehab center. I think he might be going more than he is supposed to. Since he went there for a month he understands how it works so he has no problem going but to figure when and where an AA meeting is being held and to not have that fear of what the meeting will be like is difficult. I think if could get in a pattern for an AA meeting he would enjoy it.

    I looked at the web site of the restaurant he had the interview with. It was a red flag to me that they are open until 2am. There is a curfew of 10pm at the halfway house. I don't think difficult child would make the connection when they asked him the hours he could work. We will see. Even if this doesn't work hopefully he will continue to try. For me that is the most important thing is that he is trying. He so easily just shuts down.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Tired, he has so many traits of Aspergers and could get so much help. Of course, there is nothing you can do to force him to see (I'd go to a neuropsychologist) if an evaluator agrees. He would have to be totally honestly to be rightly assessed. It is almost impossible for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) adults to read other people or social clues, unless they learn how sometimes in a text book sort of way, and this is what causes them to turn away, tune out, shut down. They really see the world as "too much." It is too loud, too colorful, too busy, too confusing...and they lack the skills to function as an adult. It is not their faults if they suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

    If your son is ever open to reading about it or hearing you talk about it, I suggest maybe getting him a book on Aspergers Syndrome. He would have to take the next step. In the case, I think of your son as more socially disabled than a bad young man trying to get revenge against the world and you. It's possible he is doing the best he can.

    I wish him lots of luck in rehab. I hope you are good to yourself, even for this one day, and find peace and serenity as right now your son is in a safe place.
  10. Tired Mom

    Tired Mom Member

    Hi Midwest Mom what you said below is exactly how I think my son sees the world:

    They really see the world as "too much." It is too loud, too colorful, too busy, too confusing.

    To me an example of that was my son really enjoys shoes. The ones he has right now are in pretty bad shape so as part of Christmas we offered to let him pick out a new pair at the mall. We went to the mall and went to two stores and I could just see that even though he really wanted new shoes it was overwhelming him and pretty quickly he was ready to leave. We went back to the hotel and I offered to let him search online. Even that seemed to overwhelm him and at that point he completely shut down and was ready to go back to the halfway house. The next day with a fresh start he was able to pick out a pair online.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Yes, my son has a lot of trouble with big decisions. He needs to focus on "Out of these two, which do you like the most?" He is getting better and is thriving on his own now.

    I hope your son has a happy ending. I don't believe that this predicament he is in, except for the drug use, is his fault...or anyone's, including yours. It is what it is. That's my favorite saying (of many).
  12. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Has he heard anything about the job?
  13. Tired Mom

    Tired Mom Member

    So I it turns out I read to much into my son's text messages. On Friday he texted "I pretty much got a job today". We responded Oh good did you have an interview today when do you find out if you will get the job and he replied I will find out on Monday and then we asked me the name of the place and what type of job. Well it turns out his roommate works at the place and told him about the open interviews this place was having. He didn't really pretty much have a job on Friday he had an interview today during an open interview time. I am not sure he will get this job and it might be for the best. This is a bar that serves food and the owner told him that they don't normally higher people who aren't at least 21. difficult child will be 21 in March and the owner said he would think about it and would let him know in about a week. I am guessing the owner is waiting to see if he an find someone that doesn't have an age issue (or difficult child issue). Also this bar is open until 2 in the morning. I know neither myself or my husband would want to be outside in the neighborhood of the halfway house at that time. I had read online that there are gangs in his neighborhood and that is what it looked like we were seeing when we there at night. I am not sure that a bar is the best place for an addict to be working. Sigh he's never really had to look for a job before so I am sure he thought this would just be an immediate hire like his other jobs. I guess the good news was that he actually went for the interview. There was at least a little bit of effort. When I talked to him today he had just finished going to his intensive outpatient treatment and he was in a good mood. I told him about two more places very close to his halfway house that were having open interviews. He seemed interested and I hope he follows up on them. He really has enjoyed the jobs he has had in the past. I know he wants a job but he is his own worse enemy.
    It sounds like he will only going to intensive out patient once a week starting this week instead of 3. I wish it wasn't dropping off already. He really seems to enjoy going to intensive outpatient treatment. Previously he was supposed to go 3 days a week from 5-7 pm but he would show up at the center around 11am on the days he was supposed to go and they would let him stay.

    I haven't asked about the AA or NA meetings next time I talk to him I will have to ask.
    I don't know if he really got into the pattern or if he stopped going. The two times that he definitely went he seemed proud to tell us.

    I love him. As much as I want to I can't fix this. It is one day at a time. Even if he doesn't find a job before the halfway house time is up I think he is better off there then here. His old friends live so close to us I know that if he comes back home he will end up hooking up with them and since they are all addicts they will encourage him to use again. May is when he is supposed to be done with half way and it will be here incredibly quickly. Rent is so expensive here like $1,200 a month for a really cruddy place. Finding a place for him after half way is going to be difficult. If he didn't have legal problems I would consider getting started out in a small apartment in the Midwest where all of our family are that could occasionally check on him.
  14. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I think it is a good thing he went to the interview. The friend probably told him just tell the owner I sent you and its a done deal. LOL As for where he would be working I am willing to bet the owner knows good and well they are difficult child's and takes that into consideration when hiring. He probably also keeps a close eye on them too.
  15. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My difficult child got a really good job when she was allowed to look for work after her initial three months in the sober house. I helped her make a list of places to go and write her resume. She was allowed to go out looking Three mornings a week and have a family member pick her up and drive her. On the very first day out she had three interviews on the spot and was called the next day for a follow up from one of them. She got the job, it was a perfect job for her doing what she loved doing, four days a week, ten hours a day, $10 an hour, lots of responsibility. She wasn't ready for it and in hindsight I really wish she had not gotten that job. It would have been better if she had just gotten some basic minimum wage job because she was fired after about 4 months. That began a series of waitress jobs where she learned it was very hard to make any money and she had to work her tail off. It took her three years to learn the lessons of being a good employee before she was able to find a job that paid what the first job paid originally.

    I suspect your son will find out working in a restaurant is very hard work and his tips (if any because many people don't tip or tip very little) must be split between many other employees. They oonly work during lunch and dinner hours and the restaurant over hires to make sure they have enough employees. Employees come and go every day, some just stop showing up. I'm not saying this is bad for him because coming right out of treatment he is not ready for a job that will require him to be a super responsible person right away. It will be a process, he will need to make sure he is doing what he needs to do to stay clean/sober first.
  16. Tired Mom

    Tired Mom Member

    Hi Nancy - The program my difficult child is in was 30 days intensive outpatient transitioning to 3 days week for 30 days and then after that 1 day a week. After the first 30 days difficult child was supposed to find a job which he hasn't done yet. We are at about 60 days into the program. He is more than 1,000 miles away so we can't help to much directly. I have sent him a resume and tried to help him. I told him to make copies of the resume I sent him since it is a good summary of addresses, dates, phone numbers even for places that want him till fill out an application which he didn't do he just gave the resume to the one place where he interviewed. He doesn't have access to a computer. We tried to talk him into getting a library card while we were there but he wouldn't do it. Online to me it looked as though it would be difficult for him to get a library card so without us I don't think it will happen. His counselor told me today that he said he now wants to get a library card. I will be happy if he does follow through but he isn't good at following up especially if it is a difficult process.

    He has worked at two food service jobs before where he made min wage and then one construction job where he made a little more. About a month before OD he started saying he wanted to go back to school to finish his culinary program. I think he found the food service jobs easier then construction. Neither my husband nor I really think that Chef would be the best path for him but since it is his idea and he kept his grades high enough to stay in the program we have supported it.

    He doesn't have social skills. He really doesn't have the ability to carry on a conversation. Even though I know he really really wants a job it requires talking and it just isn't easy for him. As an example at his first job they messed up his name on paycheck and rather than his last name they had his middle name. It made it difficult to cash his checks. My husband asked him multiple times to ask to have it fixed. I think for most anyone that should have been easy to do and they would have wanted it fixed. I would think just to get my husband to stop bugging him he would have done it but he wouldn't or couldn't do it.

    If there were no drugs and no legal problems my husband and I would be happy if he just had a min wage job and lived at home. We are struggling on what we are going to do in May when halfway ends.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Has he ever been evaluated for Asperger's Syndrome? He sounds exactly like a young adult suffering from this neurological/communication disorder. These kids and adults may be bright, may have a wonderful vocabulary, but their main symptom is very impaired social skills and an inability to "get" life. If he could get that diagnosis (and a drug rehab won't be the place for an evaluation of this sort) he may be able to get Disability and help for him to launch and become independent. I have a son on the autism spectrum and he sounds a lot like your son, minus th e drugs. Also, guess what? He works in a place called Hidden Kitchen!! He works part time, but also gets disability and can afford his own place, though it's small. Also he has a case manager to help us handle his life skill problems. He is REALLY IMPROVING.

    Just a thought. Your son is not a minor so he'd have to be open to being tested. The adult services are significant and worth it. They allow my son to be an independent, happy young man. The fact is, none of our grown kids can live with us forever. WE can't live forever. Some of them need ongoing outside supports.
  18. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Your son sounds so much like the way my daughter was at tht age.. She was so verbal (abusive) to us and yet when she was out in public she couldn't talk for herself. She didn't know how to communicate with the public and couldn't solve a problem like the wrong name on a check to save her life. You wouldn't believe the trouble we had getting her to call all her former employers one year to get copies of her W2 because she never gave a forwarding address. She couldn't negotiate anything in the real world except how to get pot and alcohol.

    When she finally seemed to get her life somewhat straightened out I had to walk her through so many of life's lessons that she should have learned along the way but was too busy breaking rules and having fun to learn. I also helped difficult child with her resume and printed it for her and sent her copies. I know some may feel that was enabling but in the long run it paid off because she now understands the importance of doing it after having to apply for so many jobs along the way.

    Believe it or not Tired Mom she now tells me that she is thankful for all the things we taught her along the way. At age 20 I did not think our difficult child would ever be OK, her future looked so bleak. A lot of maturing goes on in those early 20's. I can;t tell you everything will be ok but there is much hope, just take care of yourself and take one day at a time. I was so worried about the future that it colored every day of the present.