wastedpotential ~ welcome to the board!

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Kathy813, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi wastedpotential. I noticed your post on Signorina's thread. Please tell us about your story. We're sorry you had to find us but are glad that you did.

  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I noticed your response also and hope you post. Really it is a great comfort that we have others to share with as we are on this uncomfortable road. Best of all, lol, nobody is judgemental...just supportive. Hugs DDD
  3. wastedpotential

    wastedpotential New Member

    Thank you both for the welcome.

    I chose my name because that's what I think of when I think about my 23 year old son. He was such a bright, sweet, and funny child with so much going for him. That is one of the saddest things to me.

    He started smoking pot at around 15 years old. I found out about pills during his teenage years but I always thought, and he always told us that pot was his drug of choice. He started to smoke a lot in HS and wound up getting suspended in his senior year for having pot in his locker. Throughout HS we had him in and out of counseling. He would tell the counselors what they wanted to hear and we were always told that it was just some rebellious behavior and he would be fine. We tried to get him into rehab but he refused. We kept convincing ourselves 'it's only pot, it could be so much worse'. It just seemed so extreme with him. Everything he does is 'a lot'. He is obese, he eats a lot, he smokes a lot of cigarettes...nothing in moderation for him.

    He went to college and got expelled and arrested for dealing drugs out of his dorm room in his second semester. He came home and got clean in order to be able to live with us and get a job. Long story short, he's been unable to keep a job, been back and forth living with us, we've thrown him out twice but each time he loses his apt we let him back. He has stolen from us...that was when in addition to the drugs he got heavy into gambling.

    Just this week I found out he's doing cocaine, too. That was a reality check for me and I felt like the wind was knocked out of me. I reached out for support on another forum I am on and one of the members directed me here. She said that I'll find the support I need here. One of the conditions of his moving back in was that he doesn't do drugs in our house. I don't think he is, but I know he's doing drugs whenever he's out of the house. We keep changing our rules and conditions because we want to let him live here, but that's getting harder and harder. He lost his last job because he failed a random drug test. He got that job by getting clean but once he got that job he started using again. He got the job he's starting on Monday by using synthetic urine to pass his drug test. I'm just kind of at a loss. I've gone to a few alanon meetings and I liked them, but I after awhile I felt like I was doing okay. And I was fooling myself thinking my son was 'getting better'. Functioning in life, using less...I was wrong. I can't detach. I still want to mother him, love him enough to make him want to stop. I know I can't. I don't know how to change my mindset. I know others here feel the pain that I do in my heart and I hope that reading and posting here will help me learn how to deal with it and how to detach as much as I need to to help him, and myself.

    I also am afraid of drifting away from and neglecting the other parts of my life....my marriage, my daughter....because of the constant strain of my son's lifestyle.

    Thanks for the hugs and for reaching out.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Oh, Wasted, I am sorry. Sorry for you, for him, for me and the others who have had to travel this dreadful unexpected path. Believe me when I say that most of us never imagined having our teens turn into substance abuse, underfunctioning young adults. What a waste!

    Others will be along referring you to the Detachment guidelines that are on the Board. Most will suggest that for his own good it is necessary to have him live with the consequences of his choices on his own. I'm not a Happy Camper this morning, lol, so I'm just saying welcome, glad you founds us and I hope you will no longer feel alone. Hugs. DDD
  5. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You have a story very similar to many of us on the substance abuse and PE forums There comes a point when you will have to take a stand and make him live on his own and suffer the consequences of his drug use. The fact that he has a job will make it easier for you since he should be able to live on his own.

    You and your husband may not be at that point yet. Many of us have gone through the kicking out and letting back phase. Everyone is ready at a different point in the journey. I know that for my husband and me, we just can't go through the chaos of living with our difficult child and her bad choices.

    Others will come with advice and support. In the meantime, it would help if you added a signature like mine below so we can get to know you. To do so, go to the top of the page and click on settings. Then click on my profile on the left side of the page and edit signature.

  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Welcome WP..... hugs. It is a tough tough road and it is really hard to detach and really hard to set the limits you need to to have him face up to his own actions. So yes you have found the right place as many of us have been there or are there still.

    I have found an alanon parents group that has been really helpful along with this board. I really don't think I could have been as strong or as clear this week if I hadn't been going to Alanon. So I would try going again... and if you can find a parents group that would be even better. I think being a parent of a drug addict or alcoholic is a little different than being a partner of one. It really helps to meet others who have been through what you have been through.

    And it is so sad to see the wasted potential but he is still young... and if you can let him reach bottom now he still has a chance of really turning his life around and living to his potential.

  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    HUGS to you and welcome. I do not have this issue in my life but we all can use love and support. No advice, just supportive shoulder offered here. Buddy.
  8. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    So many of my posts read very much like yours. I've been here since August when I found out my son had a "whole other life" using pot that I did not know about. And when I did find out - so many pieces (bad grades. slovenly appearance, crappy attitude) fell into place. We didn't intend to kick him out - we wanted him to stay home, go to school locally and get help. When he refused, we were stunned. Still are stunned and we still struggle with it. As of today, he has been home on college break for 4 weeks, he goes back next week, I have no idea how he is supporting himself beyond the minimal student loan he received and our offers to pay his tuition have been refused. I also have no idea if he is actually enrolled (though he seems to be) and no clue as to what classes he took or will take or what his grades are.

    When I posted about my anxiety in the middle of the night (really 2 am), I meant it. Very much like you - I am struggling to detach. When I awoke the next morning - exhausted, cranky, anxious - I hid out in my room because I was ANGRY. My middle of the night anxiety had brought forth the realization that I was actually BEGGING my nearly 20 year old son to let me GIVE him $10,000. And when he balked, I actually begged more. HOW SCREWED UP IS THAT???

    It took every bit of exhausted anxious energy that I could muster NOT to drag him out of bed and tell him exactly that. .. except I was exhausted and cranky and I knew it wouldn't be in MY best interests to give him a piece of my mind at that moment...

    So I wait, and I wonder and I hope the 19 years of bed time stories, lovingly prepared dinners, Church on Sundays, "please, thank you, I love you" eventually overwhelm or outlast the part of him that thinks we are the enemy, who want to control him by taking away his freedom to use drugs.

    Posting here, I gently realized (and sometimes was flat out told) that placating him was actually handing him control, 2nd chances were not opportunities - really, they just lowered the bar, that his drug use is bigger than me, and that I can't want to stop for him. He's got to want to stop and I've got to muster the patience and the courage to wait it out. And the more I enable, the longer that will take.

    So I detach on the surface - but in private: I vent here, I stare at the bedroom ceiling at 2;00 am, I cry in the car, and I often sob into my husbands arms. The tears are often close, but I won't let difficult child see them. This beautiful baby whose eye's lit up when he saw mama after his nap has become a young man with a sneer on his face. And I need to let go of the baby.

    As far as drifting from your marriage and you daughter - you need to fake it until you make it. Let your H know that you are struggling and you need his help. Be honest with your daughter - she knows more than you think. It's ok to share with her - the reality may be far better than what she is imagining.

    And we are here for you.
  9. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    :) "Fake it til you make it" should become a new Board expression. That is so all inclusive. We have to "fake it" to the outside world when they ask questions. We have to "fake it" to the schools by keeping a calm outside demeanor when they rag on our difficult child's. Most of all I see it as a new mantra for dealing with our detachment struggles. Most of us will not give our difficult child's the verification that they are messing up our hearts and lives like they are so they don't get off on the power trip. Yep "Fake it til you make it" is now part of my mental vocabulary. DDD
  10. wastedpotential

    wastedpotential New Member

    Thank you all for the responses and the welcome! Signorina, I see myself especially in your words. I think about all the care he got throughout his life, and so much love, and the fact that he chooses to harm himself this way, and care so little about himself, kills me. I see a commercial for children's vitamins and I think angrily, "yeah, make sure they take their vitamins so they can turn into drug addicts when they grow up!" Stupid thinking like that. Basically, what was the point? is what I think.

    DD19 is well aware. As a matter of fact, she wrote her college entrance essay on how the experience of having a brother who is a drug addict shaped who she is today. She learned how someone with so much natural intelligence messed up his life, and how she plans on being the exact opposite in her life. When I read that it made me realize how greatly this has affected her as well. We talk a lot, husband, daughter and I. She is sad for her brother, but strong in her convictions. She is kicking butt in college, she's friggin' amazing.

    Same as you, Sig...I had a heated discussion the other day with difficult child after I found out about the cocaine. Today he asks me to help him clean out his car and I jump to do it. We become so desperate for anything that feels like helping them, it is kind of pathetic.

    A friend told me that every time I help him, it is helping him use drugs.

    Anyway...I'm glad I'm here. I plan to post more, I'm just trying to learn the format and get comfortable with the lingo.

    I'll fix my profile in a bit.

    Thanks, all :)
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome. I am sorry you have to be here but we all understand and many of us are living the same story.

    You can love your son to death, literally. Do you want to be living like this in 5 years or 10 years? that's what will happen if you continue to allow him to live in your house if he is using, irregardless of whether he does it in your home or elsewhere. You are not helping him by letting him live there and continue to mess up his life. You can't keep changing the rules on him. There should be one rule, he has to get help for his drug problem or leave your house. I don't say that lightly and it will probably be the hardest thing you will ever do but it may save his life. Don't say that until you mean it though.

    I am curently reading a book that I am going to post about when I am finished, but I think you should read it. Addict in the Family by Beverly Conyers. I also suggest you go back to al-anon meetings so you can start taking care of yourself and learn how to detach with love.

    DDD I first heard the term Fake it until you make it in our parents program at the rehab center. That is a term they drill into the addicts heads, "Act the way you want to be and soon you will become the way you act. " It also applies to us so well.

    Last edited: Jan 15, 2012
  12. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My younger daughter is very much a easy child who was shaped by what she saw happening with her older sister. She, too, is vehemently anti-drugs due to seeing her sister throw away college and opportunity after opportunity. easy child excelled in college and is now a first year high school math teacher, living on her own, and doing great.

    However, there are scars on the inside of any easy child who grew up in the turmoil of a sibling with addiction issues. My easy child hates confrontation after the years of fighting in our home (difficult child and us) and will do most anything to avoid it. I worry that she holds too much inside.

    You have to take care of yourself, too. This has been hard on you emotionally and physically. Finding a support group is crucial to your physical and mental health. I found mine here on the CD board and many find Al-anon or Families Anonymous to be helpful.

    Here is a link to help you learn our lingo:


  13. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Welcome, and as other have said, sorry you have to join us. My difficult child is 17 so I am not as far down the road, but I am on the road. We have done all the treatment things-inpatient, outpatient, Residential Treatment Center (RTC), individual/family counseling, school changes until we let her get a GED etc. Wated potential-I get it. A gifted child who has let her struggles rule her despite being given the love and skills to weather the situation. Marijuana has been the constant struggle. I have worried about a sexual addiction because she use to run off for days at a time to older people esp. a 24 year old male.

    I have done as much as I can (with a minor) to not enable, and yet, like you I jump at the opportunities to spend pleasant moments with her. I want to be a mom. I love "Fake it till you make it." Also drilled into us and difficult child at Residential Treatment Center (RTC). This is how we take care of ourselves. I go to a weekly choir rehearsal, and spend as much time as I can with my son because we need each other and those relationships are the ones that will keep us sane. I go to a NAMI meeting as well because my daughter is also mentally ill. I have tried to go to a Families Anonymous meeting, it wasn't there. I tried AA and it didn't help me-but it helps many others-finding the right one is key.

    Keep us posted and know that you are not alone-hugs.
  14. wastedpotential

    wastedpotential New Member

    I felt like I 'almost' belonged at the alanon meeting I went to. If I kept at it, I'm sure it would have continued to help. I always took something away from the few that I went to. They did say try at least 5 meetings. I think I went to 3.

    I will check out the links, article, and book that was recommended.
  15. wastedpotential

    wastedpotential New Member

    I'm posting this to see if my signature will show.
  16. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It does! :) I had to smile when I saw what you wrote about your easy child. My easy child always tells me that I'm batting .500 which is great in baseball.
  17. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Oh me too..... I am so thankful for my easy child daughter who makes me realize that difficult children problems are not all my fault!!! Two kids growing up in the same household but oh so different!!!

    And I really see detachment as having two parts... the external and the internal. So the external is what we show our difficult children and that is where sometimes we absolutely have to fake it til we make it. There have been many times where I have sounded clear and distant and "call salvation army" but have been dying inside, and have sobbed myselfl to sleep.

    The internal is when we start changing ourselves a bit so that we go on with our lives, find some serenity and happiness in spite of what they are doing. I feel like this past week I started doing that in part... I realized that I was not going to let difficult child ruin my life... I was able to sleep, focus at work and have some good moments. To some extent I had to fake til I made it here too... but I was more successful at it than I have been before. And I still felt sad and had my very sad moments... but I was not sobbing myself to sleep everynight... although I was worried. I don't know how long I could have done this without falling completely apart though.

  18. wastedpotential

    wastedpotential New Member

    husband and I always say that it's unbelievable that those two were raised by the same parents. I've realized that it's a combination of different things---their family influences and the way they are raised, outside influences, and I think so much of it is innate. I also think that daughter could have been raised by wolves and she would have turned out great! She's just always been a dream.
  19. wastedpotential

    wastedpotential New Member

    A friend once said to me, when I was doubting myself, 'You raised easy child, too! Obviously you're doing something right.'
    It's easy to blame ourselves. It took me a long time to let go of that. And there are times that I still carry tremendous guilt.
  20. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm another one who has two totally different kids. My easy child excelled at college and is now a teacher but difficult child lasted one semester before she was arrested for drugs and alcohol. When I start to feel like I must have done something wrong I look at easy child and know that it wasn't me. Thank goodness for our easy child's.