What do you say? Or do?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Mikey, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    Okay, I know many of you have been there done that, so I don't know how to respond to this. Maybe a Godsend? Maybe psychosis? I dunno....

    Got a call last night from McWeedy's Graphic Design teacher. She seems to have a personal commitment to try and help him succeed in spite of himself. Since she's not a 'rent, that gives her a chance to speak with him in ways that wife and I can't.

    She called about other issues, but she wanted to tell me that McW said a curious thing after sharing with her about his current "plight": He said "Maybe what I need is to go to jail for six or eight months, get my head on straight, then come back and try again."

    The reason that caught my ear was because he said the same thing to wife last week after he ran away and then 'fessed up about being arrested and failing school. He even used almost the exact same words.

    And I think back to about two years ago, when McW first came clean about his real lifestyle. At that time, he nearly begged to go to rehab because he said he "couldn't do it on his own". For many reasons involving family dynamics, that didn't happen.

    Finally, about two weeks ago (before the latest outbreak of McWeedy drama), his teacher and I were talking about his big project at school (getting ready for his art display at Starbucks). She went on to cautiously ask how he was doing, and then politely offered this opinion: McWeedy is screaming for help in the only way he knows how, or in the only way his twisted reality will allow him to.

    I guess I'm wondering if that's true. Now, to be fair, I've often made the offer to send McW to rehab, and then to an EGBS, halfway/sober house, or some other facility to help him reintegrate without the pressure of his friends and previous lifestyle. As of last night, I got the same answer: <BLEEP> NO!

    :crazy2: :crazy2:

    So, what do 'yall think? His teacher thinks he's setting himself up to be forced into a situation where he has to get help, and can't run away. I guess that could be true, since he seems to have no willpower at all to resist his friends, Weedette, or his current lifestyle choices. And if he were in jail, he could quietly get the help he needs without "losing face" (I've heard that nothing angers a group of users worse than one of their own trying to quit using).

    Is it possible that he knows he needs help, knows that he needs it badly, but can't bring himself to ask for it - or accept it when offered? If so, I don't think jail will give him what he wants, but I don't know how to offer him a better alternative that he'll even consider.

    Geez, things didn't seem to be this complicated when I was a simple college drunk. Or maybe I'm just getting old.....:tongue:


  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Well Mikey, I know you offering the help isn't going to cut it. You have set up a dynamic now where the wall between the two of you is pretty much solid. He hasn't reached bottom YET. When he does, he will ask for you for help. I think, in my humble opinion, that his venting to his "favorite" cool teacher is a way to make him look like a sympathetic character---afterall teenage angst is driving him to "do wrong." In his mind, he will not go to jail. That doesn't happen to guys like him. He can talk his way out of it if he can get enough people on his side. Just wait. Or suggest to the teacher to suggest rehab as an alternative. But do not suggest it yourself.
  3. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    At this point, I would say and do nothing.
    You've already made it clear to McW that you're willing to help him choose the right path...get to rehab, a soberhouse, whatever supports he needs. He's clearly not ready to ask for your help to do that, for whatever reason.

    So...I think you need to keep on working on detachment. Leave McW to his devices, and let wife handle things.

    I think if McW were ready to get help, instead of saying, "maybe I need to...", he would be saying, "Please help me to..." I know it sounds like splitting hairs, but it's an important distinction. The second statment shows that McW is ready to take ownership of and responsibility for his issues, and to start doing something about them.

    Until he gets to that point, any attempt at help from you will result in defiance from him.
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Do I think he's begging for help? Yup. Said that when he got busted for the grass in the car right by the school. Is he going to accept it? Nope. It's going to have to be forced on him and that's not gonna happen in your home. It may be by the courts but not in a way that will help him.

    Sadly,your son is caught between a rock (his drug use and inability to stop) and a hard place (his attitude and family dynamics). He's 18, he can no longer be forced to rehab except by the courts and I'm willing to bet the courts will either toss him in jail or just keep putting him on probation until he commits a major felony. You no longer have the ability to force him to rehab. His pride and ego won't let him go because that's admitting he can't do what he wants, how he wants. Sorry.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think he both wants help and either isn't ready to get it or thinks he can't make it. Is he a shy kid underneath his rebellion? Drugs can help shy kids socialize with more ease.
    I have to agree with the others though. The bottom line is he has to take that step himself, and he still isn't doing it. He knows darn well you'll support him if he makes that decision. I think it's best to stand back and wait. If you push him, he may get belligerent just because you're pushing him. The teacher is obviously trying to help, but she hasn't lived with him all those years. Eventually, she may get tired of him saying that he needs help ("I need to go to jail") and doing nothing about it. Maybe your son is afraid he WILL end up going to jail, and is trying to think of the bright side. It's very hard to know what a druggie is thinking...
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Two years ago maybe you could get him into a program and he could have "saved face" before getting so submerged into the addiction culture. It is too late now. Now...he has to step up to the plate when
    he is ready.

    I do NOT mean to indicate that you blew it. My easy child/difficult child never talked back to me or showed defiance. (He did HIS thing quietly & politely.)
    I found a program and told him he was going. He went. He was kicked out and I found a better program, told him he was going AND had his PO
    tell him that if he didn't "work the program" and got kicked out he would
    be violated and sent to a Department of Juvenile Justice program. When I got the call that he was
    kicked out of the 2nd private program I cried so hard that I tossed my cookies. I called the PO and they issued a warrant for him.

    All of that was done firmly and with love and without confrontation.
    It did NOT solve the addiction problem. Sometimes you do every single thing "right" and it still ends up wrong.

    Eventually, life will straighten him up. Stay strong. DDD
  7. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Mikey, I think you just might be on to something!

    The wife of one of my co-workers is a mental health specialist who works with teenagers. He said that his wife has stated that, to kids that age, status among their friends is EVERYTHING! And that to be successful in dealing with kids that age, you have to always remember to allow them to "save face".

    McWeedy KNOWS he needs to get his life back on track, he KNOWS that what he's doing is dangrous, and he KNOWS how desperately he needs help. With the stuff he's pulled lately, it's like he's almost begging to be forced to get help! But guys that age are all about "posturing" and looking good in front of their buddies - the macho strutting and chest thumping stuff. He sure doesn't want to admit how badly he needs help because his drugging and drinking buddies (and maybe he, himself) could perceive this as a weakness. And he sure doesn't want it to be YOUR idea that he get help! That sounds like he had a confrontation with daddy and daddy won! Daddy - 1, Kid - Zip. Daddy and Mommy(?) made him go in to treatment! They won - he lost! See where I'm going here?

    But if he is ARRESTED? If he goes to JAIL? It's involuntary, it's certainly not HIS idea, and all his buddies will perceive him as the big, bad dude! He will be removed from his substance-abusing friends, at least temporarily. He won't have free and easy access to drugs or alcohol, and he'll be relatively "safe" from the dangers he's putting himself in to now. He will have time to regroup, catch his breath, and maybe start over. He may even be FORCED into treatment ... but hey, it wasn't his idea! He was forced in to it!

    I know your family situation makes this very difficult, but letting him spend some time in jail just might be the only thing that really might make a difference here. Lord knows, you've tried everything else and it didn't work.
  8. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Ok. I am officially dreading when my demons hit puberty.

    Ever thought of an intervention? Try watching that show on tv (no not the BBC channel! silly kan-niggit!). I'm sure someone knows which channel it's on.

    Basically, it comes down to a go or get lost discussion. The parents, sibs, involved teachers relatives, etc. present their impressions of the addict, talk of their concerns and give them an ultimatum. "You will participate or you're not living here any more...yadda, yadda, ya."

    Watch the show (you can even get them involved. They have a website!).

    Just a thought!

  9. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member


    Do I think he's asking/screaming for help? Yes. It sounds like he knows he needs the help, but doesn't know what to do about it.

    I think my son was in that same place, when he just turned 17. He was also arrested, but his was a felony, and even though he was 17, he was considered an adult.

    Before his arrest, however, we had been trying to get him a bed at a locked, dual-diagnostic facility. The opening occurred after his arrest, unfortunately, but before his court date.

    Though he did end up spending 5 days in the county not nice at all adult jail, we bailed him out on the condition he enter the other program. It was a locked facility, just like jail, so there was no leaving. I guess if push came to shove, he could have signed himself out ... but he never did.

    Like your son, I think mine knew he was going down that black hole and just couldn't stop himself.

    The locked facility gave him the help he needed. We were the "fall guys" as we "forced" him into it. Of course, it wasn't much different than jail, or at least that's what his drugging "friends" thought.

    Thankfully, by the time he got out 10 months later (the judge had agreed to let him stay in there instead of pulling him out of there to go to the adult jail like the prosecutor wanted at his court hearing), all his so-called drug "friends" weren't around and we actually moved about 5 miles from where we previously lived. It wasn't just because of difficult child, although I have to admit that moving away from where the druggies all knew my house, as did the dealers, etc. - was a good move for us.

    I wish there was a perfect one answer fits all, but unfortunately, there isn't. I guess you just have to see where the chips fall, and try to do what's best for your son and for your family. It's not an easy thing to do. It's gut wrenching, in fact.

    Hang in there.

    Sending hugs and good thoughts your way,
  10. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Wants help. Knows he needs help.

    Afraid of ruining his street cred.

    At 18, the priorities are not quite in order yet.

    I say sit on your lips. He has to hit bottom. Of course, if wife was on board, and if she would just kick him out, he'd hit bottom all right. He could always go back to school.

    My opinion is that an intervention might backfire.

  11. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    I'm with Big Bad Kitty on this one.
  12. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Interventions are wonderful IF everyone is on the same page. McdWeedy already knows both you and wife will draw the line in the sand one minute and then erase it the next. I really doubt an intervention would work.

    The only way you're getting him into rehab at this point would be with escorts and I truly doubt any of the services would do it for an 18 YO -- the legal ramifications are just too high for them. Something like a kidnapping charge could too easily follow.

    I really wish there was something you guys could do but I can't imagine what it is at this point. Maybe when McWeedy has to go to court get the judge to order a program which you would be willing to pay for. However, you better have the name of the program and proof positive that they will take him and there's a bed available before presenting the idea to a judge. This is probably the only "safe" option left now that he's legally an adult.

    The other option is to simply let him spiral until he hits rock bottom and asks for help. I'm not convinced either of you could do this. It is truly hard and painful to see your beloved child become homeless, living in filth, using drugs to aleviate the pain. For McWeedy this will more than likely take a few years to get that point because of his charm and long list of friends. It happens a bit more quickly when the kid isn't good at conning others into helping him.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    What does wife think of the teacher's opinion? Is she willing on any level to help you force McW into a rehab, or even to offer it when you are in court? Have either of you looked into any rehabs in your area or not in your area? It is a big financial commitment, but is wife even in a place where she admits that rehab would help him? Can you make sure you have funds YOU can access with-o her blocking you to pay for rehab? I know my bro's was about $24K, and is considered one of the less expensive ones. It was a great facility, and the support they gave was wonderful - so was the accountability. They have facilities all over the US, or so I have been told.

    Would McW go if MOMMY offered it to him with-o DADDY being aware? Could you work with her to make this an option available to him??

    The courts may or may not let rehab happen, but as he is young and this is the first offense/set of offenses (I think?) they would be more open to it than if he waits.

    You do NOT get rehab in jail in OUR county. You get time in a cell with a bunch of other guys. This is how my bro detoxed. He calls it X County Betty Ford. It sounds like a horrendous experience. But it was what he needed to be able to then work his program through rehab and after in AA.

    I think his behavior has been screaming for help for a long time. But it is too late to force him - unless the person forcing is the judge.

    Would Sarge be willing to talk to him about rehab? Any other adult male he respects that isn't you?

  14. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    Mikey - did you or wife talk to the teacher? If you are truly "hands off", it should have been wife. Let HER hear it from others. Let HER make the decisions as to whether to talk to son about rehab.
    We do have a court ordered adult rehab here - it's called "River City". It SO tough that many would rather go to jail than go there. There is only one pass through River City. If you come back to court for anything, or if you "flunk out", you go to jail. But River City is strictly a rehab, there is little to no psychological or life style treatment and help, so it often fails.

    It's great that your son has told someone he needs help, but I'm afraid YOU can do nothing about it. Leave it be, and let wife handle it.
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You know, a few posts caught my attention. Yes, the kids want to save face. Sometimes moving the family works great. My daughter moved to Illinois, taking up (reluctantly) the offer of a place to stay with her straight-arrow big brother. But, as soon as she was out of Wisconsin and away from her friends, the good changes started. She'd wanted to quit for a long time, but her friends kept pushing her. Sometimes a change in geography can REALLY help.
  16. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    About the change in geography.... more often than not it fails to help. The drug users that beniit from this strategy are the ones that really want to change, have been given the tools, are commited to their recovery and just need that last little bit to effect a lasting change. Count me as a been there done that parent. We relocated to help my son by getting him away from his low ife friends. This at the suggestion of his ADHD doctor. While I don't regret the move, it did nothing to help rehabilitate my difficult child. He just sought out a similar crowd in the new location. So, unless you really want to move, I do not recommend this approach. Moving is very stressful in and of itself. Second only to the loss of a spouse.

    As far as your question of "is he crying out for help"? Possibily yes, but it is also possible that he wants to save face with this teacher. By his manipulating her into feeling sorry for him, she has been given the false impression that your son just needs you to push a bit harder at his rehabilitation.

    In effect McWeedy took the focus off of his own responsibilities in getting help and set it right back on his parents and anyone else that could possibly been seen as having the power to force him into treatment. Personally I see his comments as nothing more than another manipulation, just an effort to bolster up his "poor me" personna to the outside worls. -RM
  17. PonyGirl

    PonyGirl Warrior Parent

    I would both say and do nadda.

    Jail is what ultimately worked for my difficult child.

    He's not perfect, but jail is what stopped him from the rapid downward spiral.

    It's the only thing that worked.

    Sadly, I don't believe in your situation that McW is going to be sent to any meaningful jail time anytime soon. His offences are all piddly. Sure, they're piling up, but there's no 'victims' to his 'crimes'. They're gonna just keep writing paper on him. Just my opinion.

  18. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    My son was also forced into treatment many times. He will even say we made him go. The last time he was in jail we tried to tell him to seek out a rehab he said he wanted to do it himiself we had always made hiim go. We also moved from one little city to another to get away from friends. My son walked to where we used to live to be near them - it was about 20 minutes and it took him about 2 hours to walk there - he did it many times because we would not take him. It was awful. I worried about him walking that far - we couldnt stop him and called the police several times but he was not under the influence at the time so they couldnt do anything -
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I totally agree that a change in geography will only help if the person WANTS to change (and my daughter did--badly). But if we'd kept her in Wisconsin, she would not have been able to make a fresh start without her "friends" badgering her to continue her old ways, something that had caused her to relapse over and over again. She, in fact, relocated to Illinois, where her older brother lives. But, I do agree that it is pointless to move if the young adult has no interest in changing. It's all situational. I hope something works for McW before he does jail time. It's hard to know with an addict what is really on their minds.
  20. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I think actions speak louder than words.