What can you do once they are 18?????

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Saunder1540, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. Saunder1540

    Saunder1540 New Member

    Looking for help on how to affect a positive change in our addicted son. He has already turned 18 and we know that we cannot force him into a program, and of course he will not accept any intervention. He completely denies any drug use.

    We were clueless until September 25th of 2011. We received the call from the state police that he had been arrested for a DWI. He was supposed to be home in bed. He had a friend stay over that night and after we went to bed they got drunk and stole my car. We were unaware of anything and thought this was an isolated stupid kid stunt. We helped with a lawyer and sent him to all the classes, and he actually came out of it all with only a speeding ticket. We took away his driving privledges, punished him to the house with no interaction with friends outside of school. It all seemed to have a positive effect....for a while.

    In January he had turned 18. He had started a job welding in a school/work half day program. We had begun to allow him to drive to work and home. The day after his 18th birthday we let him drive to church with a friend. That is the first time we found out about the drug usage. We found out he had purchased and used K2 the very first day we gave him freedom. It went down hill fast from there. He admitted off and on pot smoking since middle school!!!! He said he was not using anymore and said it was the first time he had used K2 and didnt like it...bla bla bla... We kinda bought it again but were skeptical.

    Now he was 18 and the battles started. Not so much about drugs, but power and control. He began isolating himself from family more and more. We were positive he was drinking, and skeptical about the drugs. He became more and more defiant and agressive the closer he got to graduation. Then in April he was arrested again for alcohol. He had become very seperated from family and hard to get along with. Mood swings, agressive behavior, anger, and losing weight. All he cared about was getting out of high school and being with his friends.

    He increasingly started ignoring our house rules and getting in confrontations with us that were verbal, but could have easily progressed. In Early July we went away and left his 22 year old brother and 23 year old sister in law here with him. He ignored them and made life hell. When we got home we had "another" serious talk with him. We tried to get him to consider military, college, counseling,...anything. He refused help and we couldn't even get him to discuss his future. When we broke it down to him that he had to follow our rules or he could not live here anymore his reply was...."your rules are stupid". We have told him he has to move out by the end of the month. Since then he has had his full time job reduced to two days a week and the motor in his truck has blown up.

    We just discovered a cut off straw with one end wrapped in tape. His weight loss continues, he is pale and looks sick. He has mood swings, is getting into fights, and continues to be defiant and admittedly has no desire to follow anyones rules or laws. We have no doubt that its not just alcohol and pot, but much more.

    What do you do when they are 18 and you can't force them into a program. We feel we have to put him out of the house because his defiance and drug use. We have another child at home. Anyone have any recommendations on how to get him help or is it too late until he decides he needs out of this lifestyle or is locked up and under the courts control.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome. Glad you found us but truly sorry you had to even look. on the other hand you have found a wonderful group of caring people...many of whom have traveled the same road. The parents of young adults using substances are sometimes on the Substance Abuse section and other times in the P.E. section. You'll be able to read posts that will assure you that you are not alone AND that you are not at fault.

    Others will be along soon. I have traveled the substance abuse road for years but it began in early teens for us which meant that we did do treatment centers etc. etc. etc. which we thought (and prayed) would solve the problem.
    Not. My only advice is to memorize the Serenity Prayer and hope it brings you some comfort. It has been my mantra for over ten years. Hugs. DDD
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there, hon, and I'm soooooooo sorry you are going through this. Right off the bat I recommend that you and your husband go to Narc-Anon or Al-Anon meetings to get real, hands on help and advice. They helped hub and I tremendously when our daughter was using.

    Aren't these kids good at hiding their drug use? Our daughter started with pot at 12. When she got caught it was also her (coudh, cough) first time and she'd never do it again. Yay, right. She'd been doing it and more for a long time by then and continued onto very serious drugs, such as cocaine and meth. If your son is losing weight, he is probably on something that kills your appetite. Many k ids also abuse stimulants for ADHD...they cut them in a pillcrusher and snort them either alone or with other drugs for a high. Then they need narcotic drugs in order to sleep. The kids fall apart fast and drinking almost always goes along with drugs.

    In daughters 18th year, we had seen the police at our door one too many times. We had two younger kids who were petrified every time they stopped by and also by Daughter's behavior. We made her leave. She was very lucky to have an older, straight-arrow brother who took her in, but he threw the rule book at her and she knew if she broke even one rule, he'd kick her out without the guilt that we felt. She did stop, but it took tough love.

    The only things you can do once they are eighteen are:

    1/Tell them they either get into rehab or you are giving them notice to leave

    2/Make sure they know you are there for them if they have a change of heart and want help, if they do end up leaving.

    3/Stop giving them money, your car, other help.

    4/Start detaching and going to meetings that will help yourself.

    He will stop when he wants to stop. Nothing you say to him or do for him will make him stop unless he is ready.

    (((Hugs))). Again, so sorry that this is happening.
  4. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest

    Am on phone. Cant type much now. Suggest reading setting boundaries with your adult child. Cut off everything...car, phone, cash, everything. If he has one tiny way out, that may be the one thing which keeps him from sobriety.

    Gather support for YOU. Take care of YOU. Present united front. Learn what service are available. What will your insurance cover...what can you afford.

    Keep posting!
  5. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Hi Saunder. I too am sorry that you needed to find our little corner of the web - but I am glad you did.

    There is nothing you can do to fix him.

    There is nothing you can do to fix him.

    There is nothing you can do to fix him.

    I know I am being redundant. Please know I typed it 3 times more for myself than for you. I struggle with wanting to fix my son and mend my own broken heart every single day. Your story is very much like my own - except my son is now 20 - and we were faced with this decision when he was 19. I want to grab my son by the shoulders and shake some sense into him. I want to lock him in a room and play our (happy) home movies on repeat for days on end while stuffing him full of homemade cookies and 3 square meals a day. I want to stop crying every time I think of him being estranged from us and the fact that he has thrown his once bright future away.

    About the same time I found this board, I found this essay from Norma Borlund. I think I read it every day for 6 months. One line in particular stuck out at me and it still hits very close to home: "Each I day I wake feeling an urgent need to do something and then I realize there's nothing I can do. The emptiness just has to be."

    My son left home rather than get help. Caught me completely off guard. That night, I stayed up googling for answers and fixes and that's how I found the above essay and this forum. I thought for sure somewhere on the www or someone here would have the magic solution of "what do I do now to fix this (him)?"

    It's 11 months (nearly to the day) later and I still haven't fixed him. Our relationship is frosty and he has not lived at home (with the exception of a month at the holidays) since August 2011 .He came back for 6 weeks over the holidays, fessed up about failing out of school and being in debt just days before he was scheduled to go back. We cleared up his debt, tried to get him help and he turned on us. Like your son - it was verbal but easily cold have progressed. He moved out on a Friday, came back On Sunday at 2pm and in the course of 6 hours - he went from tired and amiable, to edgy and uncooperative. He told us "how it would be" if he "agreed" to stay home. We would not and could not agree to his terms (pot, motorcycle, come and go as he pleases, no boundaries, free reign, no rules, no school, no counseling) and after bullying us into paying his overdue rent, he left the next day for good and stayed 4 hours away in his college town apartment thru June.

    Now he is couch surfing while in town for the summer and working his long standing summer landscape job. He intends to go back to his college town in the fall to play college student and he still has not let on to us (or most of his friends) that he is not attending school. He has spent every dime of his savings (the money we saved for him from his birth) and has sold every gift we gave him since HS (laptop, phones, tv, dvd player, Xbox, sunglasses, HS ring, watch, anything remotely of value) He blames us for everything (we want to control him) and justifies his marijuana use as harmless. He is staying mostly with his girlfriend's indulgent parents - they live just down the street from us. I now believe his girlfriend is thrilled to have gotten him away from us and dependent on her instead of us. Every time I try to reach out, he backs further away. It breaks my heart. He has not slept under our roof since January 2012 and we occasionally see him for a Sunday dinner if we make the overture. Even then, he stays for only 2 hours and not a second more. We went out for dinner last night (H, pc15,me and difficult child) and I texted him surreptitiously to ask him to come back to our house for an hour or so to hang out with his 15 yo brother who misses him tremendously, and he refused. He said he had to get to bed early. I txtd back that "I miss him too and that we do have 6 bedrooms" and he ignored me completely.

    There are times when I think of everything that has progressed in the past year and I wish that I could have placated him longer, kept him home and under our roof at any cost. I thought that when he left home a year ago, that things would come to a head quickly. I have a list of therapists and shelters and treatment centers and lawyers saved on my phone so I can hit the ground running if he ever calls us looking for help. He hasn't. And I am beginning to doubt he ever will. I thought that there would be some sort of progress (good or bad) or resolution by this point and we are no closer than we were a year ago. Sometimes I take solace in his lies to us about school - because I think if he cares enough to lie - it means that he is not comfortable with who he has become. And that's gotta count for something.

    I guess if I can tell you ANYTHING for sure - I can write that you have a choice:

    1) Do nothing. Don't stand up for what you know is right and moral. Realize that in doing so - you may not lose him but you will lose quite a bit of yourself. And your younger son will be watching.

    2) Stand up for what you know is right. It may mean you lose your son. You may not change his behavior. But at least he won't be doing it with your blessing or complacent support.

    He's going to do what he wants to do. You can't do anything. But you can withdraw your support. And that won't be easy. It will hurt like heck - even 11 months later. And it may not make a difference in his behavior. But you will take a stand. And if you don't take a stand for something, you will fall for anything.

    {{{hugs}}} Sorry so rambling and so long. I hope it helps. It helped me to write it all out. I am having a hard day after last night. I wish I had a magic answer.
    Lasted edited by : Jul 30, 2012
  6. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome,
    You can try a private interventionist - it may or may not work, but he won't be able to push an interventionist's buttons like he can push yours. I don't know what the straw thing is, but my son lost a lot of weight when he was using meth. You can try drug testing him with a full spectrum test (about $70), but if you don't time it just right, it might be out of his system.
    The interventionist will have him make a choice right then and there to get help or not see you if he's doing drugs.

    He may get help, he may go through a program and relapse, you may waste your money. But he's still young and I'd give it one shot just to say, if nothing else, you tried.
  7. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Hello and welcome. You have gotten some good advise. I find some peace at Families Anon. I could not get on at other 12 step meetings, but this one works for me. We have tried and failed 2 RTCs. However last week a counselor looked me in the face, leaned forward and said, "Nothing you have tried has been a failure. It is all a process of learning for you and your daughter. It takes years and years for most kids to get out of this cycle of drugs/addiction and relapse." I say do all you can to get him treatment-which isn't much at this point. I do agree with the professional interventionist. I like the book "Love First" that speaks of intervention. They also have a website-http://lovefirst.net/wpt/

    I recommend that you go to a group for support or a counselor. You do have power over you and you will need support through this. You will need to work together and talk this through or it will tear your family up. It is a family illness-not because you are causing his problem, but because their behaviors put us in abnormal situations where we develop some coping mechanism that are not healthy for us or them and what we need to do is counter intuitive and not natural. I have also learned a lot from reading Melody Beauty's books on codependence. I do take issue with some of it-but no book is a cure all.

    The bottom line is you cannot make anybody do anything and your boy is ill. We naturally want to help our sick kids. Drug addiction is an illness that is very difficult to get a handle on. I would try anything you can afford or have access to-then take care of you during all of this. Keep us posted
  8. Saunder1540

    Saunder1540 New Member

    Good morning...thank you for the advice. I am sorry to hear of you and anyone going through this. This has been the hardest challenge of my life and your right it hurts so bad!!!
  9. Saunder1540

    Saunder1540 New Member

    Being new I am so confused as to all the initials. difficult child, easy child, & husband.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    If you put your cursor over the initials it will tell you what they mean. difficult child actually stands for Gift From God which is the description of our difficult/challenging children. easy child's are "perfect children" and husband's are "dear husbands". There aren't too many of them but it does save time using them. DDD
  11. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    I am also sorry for what you are going through. He is 18, so your options are limited, but you do not have to have it under your nose and in front of your other children. If he wants to choose a lifestyle that you cannot have in your home, then he must leave. I would also cut off any financially oriented support such as cell phones, laptops, cars, etc. I would sit and have a calm talk with him. Tell him you love him and you are here for him when he is ready but that you cannot support a lifestyle of use and irresponsible behavior. He is mis-using your support to do nothing productive, only fund his partying lifestyle. I would tell him the only way he can stay is if he agrees to get help and live within the rules you set at home. If he cannot do that, he cannot stay BUT - the door is wide open if he decides that he wants your help and can live under those terms. In the support group meetings that I have been to, former addicts will tell you that when we allow the behavior to continue in our home, with them calling the shots, we are allowing their use to continue. If nothing changes, nothing changes. If you can find an interventionist or attend and open AA meeting and talk to someone who has walked in your son's shoes, it make help you develop the resolve you will neet to take on your son's disease. Good luck. It is not an easy road and many of us have been there.
  12. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hello and welcome. I ditto what Zardo said . . . if he is using drugs and being abusive, he needs to leave. The problem is that is not as easy as it sounds.

    In my state, we found out the hard way that we couldn't just kick our difficult child out. Even though she didn't pay any rent, she was considered a legal occupant and had to be evicted. Since then, I have found out that many states make you go through the eviction process to make a family member leave. You need to check with the laws of your state.

    In our case, we were finally able to make our difficult child leave when she stole from us and we gave her a choice of leaving or prosecution and she chose to leave. Since she had nowhere to go, she agreed to go to rehab and then a half-way house. We were then able to get a criminal trespass order which prevented her from coming back on the property.

    Keep posting. You have found a wonderful place for advice and support.

  13. Saunder1540

    Saunder1540 New Member

    Thank you for the advice. We sat down with him Monday night and had a great discussion with no attitude. We did tell him that if he wanted to stay he would have to get help and follow the rules if not he needs to go. It was very positive and we had good back and forth discussion so I was hopeful. Even though his attitude has been better the last two days he says he thinks he wants to move out ;( My husband and I are still hopeful. We are leaving for vacation on Saturday and hoping he will go with us and spend family time away from his influential "friends". Praying for a miracle!
  14. Saunder1540

    Saunder1540 New Member

    Thanks Kathy. I agree also with Zardo. That's interesting about having to evict. Wow I've never heard of that. I'll have to check but he's not fighting it. He thinks it's gonna be fun!
  15. Saunder1540

    Saunder1540 New Member

    Thank you:)
  16. Zardo

    Zardo Member

    I have to laugh at the part where "he thinks it will be fun". Just wait untili he finds out how much life costs...;). So - he will either slowly find out through a series of failures on his own, figure out how to curb his behavior to meet what is required to live in our society, or he will hit bottom and come to you for help. Either way, let it be HIS problem, not yours. Read, attend support groups, take up a hobby. Try to focus on you. If/when he comes to you for help and he is capable of accepting help, you will be in a much better place to think clearly and help him. Get the behavior out from under your nose, be there to support positive actions when the opportunity arises, ie. agreeing to pay for counseling, and let him learn on his own because he is not open to working with you. He may be at some point in the future, when he sees his way isn't working, or he may just learn on his own.
  17. Saunder1540

    Saunder1540 New Member

    Thanks. Great advice. Yes, I do believe reality will hit him sooner rather than later. We'll see.
  18. Saunder1540

    Saunder1540 New Member

    He is going on vacation with us! Let's hope that's a good thing. Please pray for us this week that we might have a break through. Thank you :)