Well here I am...

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by AtWitsEndinTN, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. AtWitsEndinTN

    AtWitsEndinTN New Member

    Hey all, just found this place this morning and have literally spent the day reading countless posts and replies. I've found myself multiple times feeling like finally I am not alone as well as ordering some books I've seen in other posts off Amazon.

    So how did I end up here? I am a 37 year old father of a 17 year old son who turns 18 in just 3 short weeks. I had my son when I was 19, his mother bailed when he was 5 months old and never came back but he and I have had a great relationship for so many years. I coached his sports from 5-12, we played paintball with his friends, I was the "cool" dad to all his friends (never let them do anything just they enjoyed coming over and playing pool, swimming, etc.). He got into swim in high school and I made sure, despite me having to travel for work, that I never missed a single meet. We were going to colleges to visit, he was making great grades, I made him get a job on his 16th birthday and he had saved up almost $3,000 working at Taco Bell. Life was good. I never got to go to college and he was going to get to live out my dream. My son! All the hard work was so worth it, we're in a good financial position so I could afford to pay for his school, he even got several scholarships to cover more than half of the costs. Life was going well.

    Then last Thanksgiving. I find out he had been using pot. He came home one night and although I have no sense of smell, could smell weed and tell he was stoned. He had driven himself home while stoned... I was furious at all of the multiple thoughts that entered my head about what if he hurt himself, someone else, all the possibilities. Admittedly, I eventually just wrote it off as "hey he is just going through some of the usual experimental phases, hell I did that too." When I was home, he was ok. When I traveled my wife would text me or email me things saying he looked like he was high, he was tripping out, etc. They never had a "great" relationship and I wasn't seeing any evidence of this when I was home so I failed her and never really set boundaries, rules, etc. Life is going along, he appears to be ok, sure they don't get along great but they aren't at each other's throats so he'll be off to college soon and life will work itself out like it always does right?

    Wrong... 2 weeks before Thanksgiving this year, his car engine blows out (he had a perfectly fine car, 2012, picked it due to safety ratings). We are doing well, I go buy him a new car, a 2014 seden very low miles in hopes it's the car that will safely get him to and from college 90 miles away for the next 4 years. Again we go along, 6 days of the week are fine, 1 is suspect he is up to something but I write it off in my head not wanting to believe my little angel is up to no-good because everything on paper looks fine right? I get a text with a screenshot of a social media post where my son is passed out stoned at some guys house. He's asleep, I go check his car and lo & behold in the bag he got as a gift on one of our campus visits is a mason jar half full of pot, a scale, baggies, a cutter, and multiple empty packages of cigars. I log into his bank account (which I never did because he was doing so great right?) he has blown all of his money. All cash withdrawals, 6 weeks, $3,000 in savings he worked for gone. Not only was he using pot all along, he was selling it. Apparently he has the reputation as the local drug dealer to all the high schools sports teams. My son... after all these years of love, support, being there, literally doing anything and everything I could possibly do... my son was doing this....

    That day was really tough, he was extremely abrasive when I confronted him about it, it lead to a physical confrontation, I took him to counseling the next day, they contacted child services who came out and did an investigation (how embarrassing, this chapter of his life was not supposed to end like this). They recommended IOP or intensive outpatient therapy. First night we go and although the main counselor isn't there the sub is fine, the next 2 nights no counselor. I ask around for referrals and find a great one but unfortunately he's booked for over a month. I can't get in until next week and although he is not covered under my insurance whatever, he's apparently worth every penny if I can just get to the guy. I have my son go stay with my mother for a week. No car, no phone, no job, but both my wife and I are still trying to process what all happened and we need some time away from him.

    Things look like they are improving, he comes back home, things are going ok, I suspect he may still be using, I subject him to drug tests and of course he pops positive for not on THC but traces of cocaine... He tells me he has stopped it just needs another week to flush from his system. Next week, same thing. I can't get to this counselor fast enough. I take the car and I am personally driving him to/from school. Work is it. This morning at 4:25 AM my wife wakes me up, our bedroom smells like a Grateful Dead concert (no one smokes in our house) and alas he is awake almost expecting me to walk in the door. He claims it is just cigarettes, I go outside to his car and behold a cigar wrapper yet again. My wife suffers from migraines, the smoke smell makes it intense. She has had enough, we are moving in a few weeks and she insists she can't live with him anymore. She doesn't feel safe in her own home, what if someone he owes money to comes looking for him, etc. I spent far too long hoping he was someone he is not and making excuses for an addict. I realize that. They were his choices and he owns them but I definitely enabled things for far too long.

    Luckily my mother is willing to take him in on his 18th birthday. I will continue to pay his car insurance and health insurance so long that he stays enrolled and finishes high school. If he chooses the other route, then the best thing I can do is get out of his way and let him hit bottom. That's a hard scary choice. He's at work now and been keeping up his grades so I keep justifying that this will be ok but I am not so sure anymore.

    I don't really know what or why I felt compelled to type all this to the world and some strangers. I just wanted to say that I came across this today and I needed it. I got strength from so many of your stories. I am not alone, we are not alone. This sucks on so many levels, this wasn't supposed to happen this way, but it did. All I can control is how I respond going forward. I am not losing my life, my career, my home, my marriage over the completely piss poor choices of a teenager that for whatever reason seems hellbent on making life hard on himself. I sincerely hope this counselor can help him but I can't live with someone who doesn't respect the rules of my own home.
  2. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    hi welcome! So as of yet, he has not seen any counselor or therapist? I am just wondering if there is some underlying mental health issue.
    I really don't think he should be allowed to drive at all. What if he hurts or kills someone driving impaired?
    Also - if he is at your mom's house, what about her safety? He is going to be 18, seems to me if he can't conduct himself in a prosocial way, he should be on his own, or in some kind of supportive living situation if there is one. I would be afraid for her about any problems associated w dealing, as well as the fact you had a physical confrontation with him.
    I know you are in an impossible situation - I just feel concerned with your mom's and other drivers' safety.
    Good he is keeping his grades up - that is one positive at least. Maybe this will be an unfortunate phase he will grow out of.
  3. jetsam

    jetsam Active Member

    hi at wits end, sorry u had to find us..but so glad u did.! there will be others along who will post and give you ideas. I have to say you sound like you have a pretty good handle so far. I ,like piecesMom also worry about sending him to grandmother. I worry because the drug test showed more than pot. I know with my Difficult Child that drugs other than pot make him belligerent, and angry at everything. (just plain nasty.) I would worry that if he didn't stay away from the hard stuff that he could turn on grandma, and she doesn't need that. If he is turning 18 he could be given an ultimatum...abide by my rules or there is the door...He might reconsider his behavior if the thought of being homeless is looming over his head. Yes he needs a counselor pronto! I don't understand why they haven't been able to get one for him yet! Its so frustrating when as a parent you want to act and then your hands are tied. I hope they find one quickly.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    chances are that AtWit's End cannot just throw his son out because his son is still in high school. In MANY states, if a person who is 18 but still in high school chooses to leave home, they are free to do so, but if they don't want to, then the parent MUST provide a living situation for them. It is a tough situation. Especially now that CPS is involved, plus all the coaches who likely want to try to help save his son. I do think disabling his son's vehicle MUST happen.

    Do not just take away the keys to the car. Go under the hood and take out some of the fuses, or find the spark plug wires and remove them. The fuses can usually be found in the car manual (take the manual and lock it up in a lock box or safe so that son cannot get at it, but you can if you want to sell the car or use it - they are easy to replace and son could have it running in under five min and ten bucks if he put his mind to it and could find the fuse diagram if he knew this was the problem!). Whatever you do, do more than just take the keys away from him. That is just too easy for him to get around and a car is a very dangerous weapon in the hands of someone who is impaired. Not only is he likely to harm himself, he is also likely to harm others. Plus the cost to your insurance for years would be staggering - FAR more than the cost of a few fuses. If you don't want to fool with all of that, go and sell the car. Just be done with it. After all, surely you told him more than once that using any substance while driving was an absolute no. I think every parent does, every driver's ed program does, and every state does. So he cannot claim he didn't know it wasn't acceptable. He isn't yet 18, so do this BEFORE he is 18 and thinks he can legally own something.

    I am truly sorry that he made these choices. He is showing you who he is. You have to take him at face value, because actions truly do speak louder than words, and addicts lie easier than they breathe. That he would smoke in your BEDROOM when your wife has severe migraines is just plain evil and mean in my opinion. I have severe migraines and would not EVER live with someone who smoked in my home, much less my bedroom. It is so far beyond cruel that I cannot even express it. It is just an ugly thing to do. THAT is who an addict is, not the son you raised and loved. At some point, when he has hit bottom, wanted to get clean and turn it around, been clean a year or two, you will see your son again. But it will be a long time until then. Please, read Darkwing Psyduck's posts. He explains it well.

    Please go to Alanon or Narcanon. They will also help. And keep posting here. It really WILL help. I promise.
  5. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Hello AtWitsEnd,
    Welcome to the forum. It is a safe place, and it is such a relief to pour out your story, to get it out to those who understand, and to know you are not alone with your confusion, guilt, fears, etc. I agree with the good comments the others have shared above.

    You sound like you understand the need for detachment, to not enable this situation.
    You have a good handle on the situation. FYI - There is a good article at the top of the Parents Emeritus forum, which you may check out to keep your alignment on the situation. It is not directly related to drug use but many of the principles apply.
    Link: http://www.conductdisorders.com/community/threads/article-on-detachment.53639/#axzz4USb1yJga

    I do not have experience in drug addiction situations with a young adult child such as yours. My difficult child is a 37 year old adult (your age) currently in a court treatment parole program.

    I give a lot of credit to your mother for agreeing to take your son in. I have grandsons the age of your son, and I personally would not easily or readily agree to take them into my home. Of course, part of my hesitancy is because I am already worn down by my own 37-year-old difficult child (not grandsons’ dad).

    Does your son have a good or close relationship with your mom? Is she attuned to the matters of his drug use and addiction? Is she strong enough to set the boundaries and call him out any abuse or disrespect? Will he follow her house rules? Will he take advantage of her to try to lie or make excuses? To me the immediate goal / focus as you described is for him to finish high school and keep up his grades. I admire that he is working and seems to be responsible. But it appears he may be in addiction, which needs the committed recovery, which only can happen if he wants it himself. Hopefully, your willingness to support the counseling and rehab will make an impression, but often we find (as you have seen on this site) that any success results only when the child themselves wants to change. He is still young and I'm hoping with others here (as @PiscesMom said above ) that this may be an unfortunate phase he can successfully weather out of.

    You might find other threads on the Parents Emeritus forum helpful to you also. That forum focuses on difficult children over 18 or out of the home.

    Stay with us. More folks more experienced will be along with guidance and wisdom specific to your situation. Hang in there. We understand. Keep reading others' posts and threads. It helps. You are not alone. Take care. You are going to be alright.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
  6. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis


    So familiar ...the time we found out our kid was weed dealer to the jocks..ugh

    Any help you can get him if he wants it...do it. He has to get some, even a doctor..is there a reason he's using.

    You have done nothing wrong..but time for him to see what his life could be like if he continues. You can see our signature..scary stuff..but medications our son really needed.

    You should also talk to someone..the heart wrenching shame and sadness of mourning your child's future you saw so clearly. There is hope, he's so young, and loved..that is great.

    Keep posting...we're here. And bravo...don't let him drive!
  7. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Welcome, AtWitsEnd. Sorry you had to find us. Glad you did.

    I am so sorry for what you are going through. It is so sad and shocking how quickly they can lose sight of everything they valued, once drugs are involved.

    I believe, too, that smoking pot isn't what it was when we were their age. Kids seems to get much more ensnared than I ever remember anyone getting when I was their age.

    In many ways I could have written your post. I remember once my son (who had mentioned many, many times that he wanted to be an electrician) had an interview and test scheduled for an electrician journeyman's program. He didn't get up when his alarm went off, so I went upstairs to get him up and found a bong and a bag of pot sitting out in the middle of the floor, with him still high from sitting up and smoking late into the night.

    I think this is a very good sign. I hope he respects his grandma enough to keep toeing that line until he at least gets his diploma.

    And I think this is a really good approach to take. I wish I had done so much, much sooner, rather than wondering what *I* did wrong.

    Keep posting. We understand where you are coming from.
  8. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome and yes so familiar. That age was the absolute worst and until age 22 it was just awful. Countless therapists and treatment centers and months of living in friends' basements until she finally got sick of living that way. I too had had enough, couldn't live with her under our roof any longer. Toughest thing a parents has to do is kick their own kid out of the house but I believe it saved her life in the end.

    Keep posting, would love to hear how this therapist goes.
  9. RN0441

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

    Welcome and I think writing it all down is very therapeutic! I know when I go back and read my earlier posts it's very shocking but yet I do see how I have changed and grown through all of this.

    We have been down the "highway to hell" as I like to call it for many years now. Our son is no longer living with us and we are all still struggling but he is doing better than he EVER was living at home. He has a VERY long way to go though but my home is peaceful. I actually love my life again. I still worry but it's better.

    I agree with the others, that you do have a good attitude about what you will not put up with. I do hope that moving in with his mother helps the situation and/or that he gets back on track with the help of a therapist.

    Good luck and keep us posted!
  10. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I'm really sorry about the cocaine and cash withdrawals. You ought to tell him my adopted son's mother prostitutes herself because of her cocaine addiction. Your son needs to ask himself if he is prepared to live that life. I'm not trying to scare you, but you need to be real with him as far as what could happen. Eventually, his addiction could get that severe, and nothing but cocaine will matter. If he thinks pit isn't addictive, he is wrong. But, because of how wrong all the research is, you may not be able to convince him marijuana is unsafe and addictive.

    As a teacher, it frustrates me so much to watch kids piss their lives away. If they are bound and determined, there is only so much you can do. Students at our school get suspended all the time for smoking pot. Because of what is going on in their home life, I truly sympathetize with why some of them do it. Kids need to learn coping mechanisms. There are better ways to handle the problem s they face. Drugs bring instant, faster relief than other coping methods, but in the end, drugs control the addict and take over his or her life.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Crayola, your son is very young. You don't know first hand how hard it can be to raise a teenager even if you are a caring involved stay at home mom, like I was. Your son has serious challenges and challenging biology and you may see yourself in our shoes no matter how hard you try. I hope not but it is possible.

    Crayola, we all try hard. And some parents don't try and have well behaved teens. Part of it is luck.

    You don't live with the kids you teach. You can't know if all of them have lacking parents. I doubt it. You know rumors and gossup only. I worked at a preschool and did not like the guessong about parents that went on mostly by women that jad no kods or small kids. And I told them so. And a few are struggling now as their kids hit their teens. Now they get it.

    Many good parents have kids who smoke pot or worse. Peer pressure is huge. I had a kid who a used drugs. I am a very good parent. My other kids never did. It's a bad idea to assume.

    Lastly there are good kids who achieve who smoke pot. Like alcohol, some people can handle it and some can't. One size doesn't fit all.

    Not meaning to be harsh but I don't appreciate being judged on this support site by anyone let alone a teacher who never raised a teenager yet. Being a teacher is not the same as having been a mother to a teenager. Please don't say you "know" why your students smoke pot because its untrue. It's like me saying everyone who drinks has a rotten life and needs to self medicate. I don't drink. Alcohol is a drug too and a dangerous one to the wrong people.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
  12. wisernow

    wisernow wisernow

    I am not losing my life, my career, my home, my marriage over the completely piss poor choices of a teenager that for whatever reason seems hellbent on making life hard on himself. I sincerely hope this counselor can help him but I can't live with someone who doesn't respect the rules of my own home

    How very true. It sounds like you are setting good and healthy boundaries for your self and your wife. And I do believe your son will come to respect those as well. Sometimes these kids just want to rule the roost, or think they can, and create havoc in the meantime. Protect yourself , your wife and other kids first. You can still be a loving dad, but he needs to know what you will or wont put up with. On a positive note if he is working and continues with school those are good structures for him to be part of . wish you well.