What if "IT" never gets better? Or, it gets worse?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Signorina, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Just feeling down tonight...

    difficult child is *home* again and I suspect up to his old tricks. Thinly veiled contempt underneath nearly every word, speaking in well modulated tones, not offering anything, short answers to mundane conversation attempts...bristling when dad asks "when will you be home?"... out every night, awakening us at 1 or 2 in the morning when the alarm beeps when he returns...once again the strange, brusquely polite house guest who just happens to be our son. He is working when his boss has work, sleeping when he is not out. I haven't seen him altered, I haven't found any evidence but that old familiar feeling of nauseous dread is back in the pit of my stomach.

    I am not liking where I sense this is heading and I am doing my best to provide a roof over his head, pleasant interactions and nothing more. I'd love to sit him down and try to woo answers out of him; but as we all know - those wooed answers are usually lies or half truths. I wish I could be the PARENT and request answers, but that didn't work out so well the last 2 times we tried. And I can't go through him storming out with all of his belongings again. And I suspect that's where we are headed. And I hate the idea that I may again be placating him = handing him the power in the relationship. I'm not going out of my way to do much for him - I do his laundry*, make dinner, stock the fridge and keep the roof over his head. He rarely helps out other than clearing the table or doing the bare minimum when H asks for help with something. We haven't given him any spending money and his car use is severely limited. (H let him use it tonight but told him to have it back by midnight, I think it was h's novel attempt to get him home at a decent hour, difficult child dropped it off at 9:00pm, he is "headed downtown" and "doesn't know" when he will be back...ugh. Maybe I am reading too much into it, but I suspect he brought it back EARLY to prove a point.)

    When I first started posting here in Aug '11, I thought that this "WHATEVER" would come to a climax of sort and go one way or the other or at least be more clear within a matter of months. We are approaching 18 months of the same dance and no resolution. And from what I read here, I could be dancing this dance for years. (And when you are a mom, leaving the dance hall is NEVER a real possibility. You are always there in your heart, even if its just worry; Know what I mean??)

    He told us that he's decided he is going back to college town apt this week - Thursday thru Sunday - may even stop to visit pc18 on Saturday (UGH). Maybe I am hormonal or overtired or blue, but I am just WEARY. I felt that his statement was another attempt to SHOW US he will come and go as he pleases. WHICH IS OK by me...I actually felt RELIEF that he wouldn't be here. I feel like he never went thru that 14-16 yo rebel phase of wanting to "make his OWN decisions" and this is some sort of regressive posturing.

    School? He claims he is making enough money to pay his back tuition, he will get a student loan and register for Semester 2. (still on account hold) I asked when his 2nd tuition installment would be due - if it would be after mid terms. He wasn't sure, but I did tell him we would pay the 2nd installment directly to the school *IF* he had a C+ average on his mid term transcript. He did seem thankful. Of course, that was Saturday...today he is back to being pleasant with- a sprinkling of contempt. At least in my read of it. (weary, hormonal, etc...) Told us he has his schedule set - Organic Chemistry, Spanish 301, etc - an extra heavy load; "he can handle it" . *Snort* been there done that, he's claimed this on 9/2011, on 1/2012, again on 9/2012 and here we go for 1/2013. He only actually enrolled 9/2011 and he dropped out mid semester. And hasn't gone back. The cynic in me wants to point that out. And the optimist in me wants to jump in and offer to pay his back tuition, and his 1st installment *IF ONLY* it meant that he would enroll. BUT I DID NOT DO EITHER. YAY ME. He knows if he asked - we WOULD. But he hasn't asked, and I won't offer. If his goal was an education; he could easily find a way. I suspect his goal is to save face. The boy doesn't have a shred of humility.

    And lest you think I am rambling in vain - I think I just realized what bothers me the most. The complete LACK of humility.Not even a soupcon of humble pie.

    He is safe, keeping up appearances, working, in touch with us, and has a bed to sleep in. We have (momentary?) peace. I will let that be enough for now. I don't know what else to do.

    (*and I do his laundry only because I DO NOT SHARE MY WASHER AND DRYER and his stuff combines into PC15's laundry, no extra loads)

    Thanks for listening.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think you are doing the only things you can do. If he isnt bring drugs into your home or coming home obviously under the influence, then he is behaving appropriately with you. He is keeping his adult life separate from his life with yours. In some ways that is fairly normal. Most parents dont know everything that their young adult kids are up to. If they did, Lady Clairol would be even more popular. We just happen to have kids who share too easily. Or are too dumb to hide what they are up to.

    I really get the feeling with your son that he is going to come to his senses sooner rather than later. I dont think he is a full blown addict. Like you said, he didnt go through his teenage rebellion so he is just out sowing his oats now. He may not exactly come back to live in your house like the prodigal son but he may find himself and grow into his own man in his own time. And I dont think it will be long in coming.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Well, I don't like extreme words, so my first reaction to "never" was... "never say never".
    IOW... he's young. And immature, and still finding himself, and ...
    For the near term? this may be as good as it gets.
    Give him a few years... and you may be surprised at where your relationship ends up.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't think this was a good post for me to read today because I am feeling much like you are lately. Things just aren't going anywhere. Nothing is changng, she isn't moving ahead. Of course things could be worse but things aren't much better either,, and she was arrested for shoplifting last month. She is just floating through life. And I see the same old patterns of her being snippy when I ask her something and the constant lies about everything which is why I try not to even ask anything anymore. It's just all a good remonder to me why she could never live with us again.
  5. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    That's exactly it Nancy. And I feel like I am expected just to float along next to him. And this cannot continue for the long term. I can't live like this. If he wants to be an adult, he needs to man up - get a "real" full time, non seasonal job with some long term potential and support himself completely and stop playing student. I was happy to have him come back home as his safety net - but I am feeling like he is totally taking our home - and everything that goes along with it - completely for granted. I am sensing that same sense of entitlement that I've seen in the past and it is making my stomach churn.

    Last night, he made a show of putting eyedrops in at dinner. Menthol eyedrops. I look them up online and sure enough these particular drops are an iconic part of the pot culture. Yay.

    I am so looking forward to him going BACK to his apartment. I have to remind myself that this is what he chose. He had other options.
  6. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I have been a little 'blue' lately too. I normally love the holidays, but having difficult child send nasty texts slows me down. Mine is much older and I had hoped that he would be further alone the path of leading a responsible life than he is. in my opinion he has been back sliding! Mine still refuses to grow up!

    While is is their choice, and only their choice, don't give up hope. I honestly know of people living in the streets, using, that have turned their lives around a complete 360. As long as they want the change it is possible - never give up hope!
  7. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    It really stinks, big time...I know, I feel for you. A week or so ago there was a thread here on the board about Tattoos. I sometimes feel like getting one across my forehead that says, "I AM NOT THE ENEMY!"
    I wanted to ask you...after difficult child's altercation when he first went to college, did he ever go for therapy? Could he have PTSD? I don't know if he is even open to talking about it with a professional, but it couldn't hurt. If he won't cooperate and participate, it's a waste of time, though.
  8. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    When he came home stoned his first night home after his freshman year away at school (2 Cs and a D, plus an A in weightlifting) in May of 2011, we insisted he see his psychiatrist. He went to 3 sessions. That's all we could force. He refused to go back. I had hoped that 3 mandatory sessions with the psychiatrist he used to really like (the one that set him back on the right path) would be enough to keep him going voluntarily. If I could just get him in the door - maybe he would find worth in it. We begged, offered to find him a new psychiatrist, anyone of his choosing. No such luck. He VEHEMENTLY refuses and we've stopped offering.

    August of 2011 we told him we could not send him back to school knowing he intended to smoke A LOT of pot (he had purchased a boatload of paraphernalia including a scale the day before he was to leave for his soph year). The deal on the table was staying home, getting professional guidance, taking a CC class or two in preparation to returning to school full time in January. We offered it calmly with a lack of judgment. We could not send him back to school - he had broken every family "rule". He was using drugs, his grades were in the toilet (weightlifting was the sub for a biochem class he had to drop bc he was failing it) We were totally unprepared for the firestorm that erupted. He stormed out with all of his things. Totally unexpected response. Never contacted us until we initiated contact. I was a basket case. That was the night I found the boards...
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Okay, now you have given me more to work with. You are floating with a petulant toddler in a young adults body.

    The boy is 20. While not quite where you wanted him to be he has made his own bed at this point. As I did. I may not have been quite cut out to be what your son was cut out to be but I had the SAT's to get into any IVY league school and my father would have paid for it willingly. I threw it away. Yeah, bonehead move. You can slap me now if you like. Sound like anyone you know?

    Anyway, at this point I think you should tell dear son that you love him dearly but he is a grown up now and grown ups live on their own and take care of their own business. You are more than happy to see him on holidays, have him over for dinner on weekends, talk on the phone, do all the things parents and grown kids do but seeing as how he has chosen to be an independent adult...well have at it son! Go forth and be happy! We shall watch from the sidelines and cheer you on. We have all the faith in you that you can make your life successful.

    Dont say anything negative to him. Just push the baby bird out of the nest.

    This way you arent taking on the whole issue of what he is doing that you dont want to take on. You are putting everything squarely where it needs to be which is on his shoulders. Eventually he will figure out that he has to either pay rent, electricity, eat or smoke pot. Let him learn. If he gets in trouble, use the old standards of telling him you are sure he will figure it out. He is a smart boy.
  11. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    IC- he got a drinking ticket (underage citation - he was not driving and he blew a 0.03) at a party that was broken up by the police when he was 16 - summer going into junior year. Of course, they called us to come get him from the party. He had told us he was going to a movie. Whatever. Personally, we didn't think it was that big of a deal but wanted to nip it in the bud. So we told him we were going to take him to his dr the next day for a drug test since he had been lying to us...and "was there anything he would like to tell us before we saw his dr? Honestly, we were bluffing and thought he'd cop to having smoked pot a few times.

    The boy sang like a canary...he was smoking pot, drinking a lot, had experimented with some pills, friends had to drive him home more than once... he'd been basically living a life of debauchery for about 2 months that summer. We took him for a substance abuse assessment at a local "positive parent" agency- a SASSI test - which showed him at risk of addiction but not an addict. They work closely with the court system and requested (privately, with our blessing) that the judge for his citation order counseling if difficult child wanted to keep his driving privileges. (16-18 is a probationary license here, any underage drinking is grounds for losing it)

    In the meantime, he had to notify his football coach about his athletic code violation-apologize to his entire team-make amends to them (basically by helping out with the JV team) and he lost his special teams position and his Varsity letter. It was a major, humbling experience. But he soldiered through it. He also had to attend an 8 week (1x w) substance awareness program run by the school (i had to attend with him 3 times, ugh). At the same time, I started him in private counseling with a psychiatrist. difficult child was extraordinarily cooperative. He was basically grounded from Labor Day thru Thanksgiving. He saw the psychiatrist weekly, then bi weekly for about 6 months.

    By the time he finished counseling, he was a straight A student in a really great place in life. His counselor felt that he did not need further counseling. We drug tested him randomly at first once a week and then 1-2x a month for two years - until he left for college. He ALWAYS passed. He was good. Really great. Motivated, responsible, straight As in AP classes, on a Leadership team at school, he had nice friends and was a joy around the house. We had a terrific rapport. We never would have sent him away to school if we thought there was any risk. He set the conditions for attending "away" school - 3.0 or greater, no drug use, drug testing. We tested him every time he came home for break at least once... His last test was March 2011. He passed. In May 2011, our insurance agent requested his transcript, we were stunned to see the D. He's been lying about his grades. We decided to address it with him the next day. That night, he broke curfew by an hour - the first time ever. H asked him to take a test. He refused. He admitted that he was currently high and took off for the night ... he did come back, and that's when we told him that if he wanted to go back to school in the fall, he needed to see his counselor 3 x. It was a long, dreadful summer...we were counting the minutes until he left and then I discovered the pot paraphernalia purchase...and the rest is history. He had all ready broken his own conditions for attending school and we couldn't overlook this last, big breech.

    Janet, you are absolutely right and I really appreciate your kind words and the good advice in both posts. We are definitely headed "there"...but the problem is that we have been there done that and it took him further off course and made him furious with us. I can deal with his dislike of us, but it was more than that. It was like he was reacting against us instead of taking charge of his life in any form. We never intended to push him out of the nest. We told him we couldn't support his return to school and wanted him to stay home- instead he moved out. And he went from the frying pan into the fire. And it was a year of hell - punctuated by a brief period of him back for the holidays playing nice but lying to us and eventually storming out once again. He does currently have an apartment, he is paying rent on it - it's in his college town where he doesn't attend school but is bound by a lease. He did not live at home when he was back in our town -working- for the summer. Until the last 2 weeks when his girlfriend (of 4 years) dumped him. We knew he had nowhere to go and we were worried about him digging himself even deeper and we worried about the heartbreak. I feel like he has been spinning so long that he has no balance and I feel like he could be on the brink of spinning completely out of control. It's like he has lost all common sense. Yet, once in a while - we see moments or even a few days of the sensible, loving easy child - the boy he was for 18 years. He maintains he will be attending school for the spring semester. If there is even a chance of that, I won't risk it by pushing him out just yet. I am not holding my breath, but we will see. If he doesn't go back to school, he will have some decisions to make. I am not comfortable with pushing him out so long as he is working and not disruptive. But nothing is off the table. I am afraid he will be here on the couch Christmas thru January & we will find out on January 28 (like last year) that he isn't going back to school. Deja Vu. Except eyes wide open this time.

    I wish I could explain myself better - but I feel like so much of that horrible year was him reacting TO us, against us - further fueled by his girlfriend who wanted to play house and have him rely completely on her. And he did. She was like his surrogate mommy, her parents put him up over the summer, he spent holidays and vacations with them, they rebuked any attempt by us to help sort it out, and she drove him everywhere; to work, to play, here. When she dumped him without warning and he came back home on Aug 20, we tried to convince him not to return to his college town - to stay here, pay his rent there and get back on his feet. He had to pay the rent regardless, but at least if he was living here - he did not have to buy groceries, etc. (While we meant him to do it Sept-Dec, he actually has been going back and forth. I think he gets sick of his roommates and needs money - so he comes home and works for a few weeks. Then he gets sick of us and has cash, so he goes back for a week or so. he goes back tomorrow and claims he will be back here on Sunday night. ) This was a kid who craved order and boundaries for his entire life. I was hoping that if he had a "home" again, a secure place to lay his head, groceries in the fridge, loving parents that eventually he would be more secure and stop spinning. That if we gave him the space and calm so he could stop reacting (stop spinning) - that he would see clearly enough to act forward.

    Just as I was ready to concede to the feeling of dread; he gave us a huge glimpse of the easy child today. He was home early from work, went out for a run, made a dentist appointment, asked if I needed help with anything, was conversant, even told H he planned to meet with his adviser on Friday when he is in college town and that he is coming home on Sunday. Even called his grandma to set a date (Monday) to carry her Christmas decorations up from the basement and set them up for her. That hostile undertone was gone.

    If he is the one who is spinning...why am I the one who is dizzy???
    Lasted edited by : Nov 28, 2012
  12. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    This may be lame, but could you write him a letter, pour your heart out, and either leave it for him in his room or email it to him? I sometimes do that with husband and daughter, but I give them a heads up that I'm going to be writing things out. They know that I'm more comfortable writing out my feelings, organizing my thoughts that way, rather than a "conversation" that is stonewalled by one of us, then it devolving into crying, yelling, etc. Letter writing helps me to not blurt things out, and I can revise my thoughts at my own pace.
    I did write difficult child a long, heartfelt letter once, and he casually validated that he got it, recognized my feelings, but said he didn't agree with anything. Shut. Down. Big time. It just wasn't worth it, in my case. Sincerely, the only thing that worked with us was telling him we loved him, but he could not live with us if he was going to live like a druggie, etc. He was gobsmacked that we went through with it. However, keep in mind, he wasn't working, he was on drugs, he was bombing out in school, he was verbally and physically abusive, and he stole from us. Your situation is more subtle, less overt, so it's even harder.
  13. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    been there done that too CJ - last January. H had a "come to Jesus" talk with him to try to sort out what was going on. After about an hour of difficult child lying and being hostile and maintaining that he was enrolled in school and everything was peachy keen, difficult child broke down and sobbed. Told h that he had failed out, was broke, and felt trapped in the college town by his girlfriend. (she transferred schools to join him there) That he didn't have any real friends, he hated the college town, he really didn't like his roommate who is actually an **** and a total slob, that he felt lost and he thought he might be suffering from depression. That he failed out because he literally didn't want to get out of bed on most days. He sobbed in my arms like a baby. Ugly hiccuping sobs. And we really bonded. The next day, I bought him one of those mushy blue mountain cards and poured out my heart to him in a written page . I left it on his bed. He barely acknowledged it, but I felt that was typical teen behavior. Until it all went to hell again. He became a jerk again, moved out completely a few days later, back in completely 2 days after that and moved out again the next morning. He took almost everything in his room except the furniture, but pointedly left the card and the letter. I won't go there again. My heart can't take it. This board literally picked me up off the ground in the days after.

    (If you want the nitty gritty - there's play by play (literally) in my posts from January 17 http://www.conductdisorders.com/for...ult-child-not-going-well-i-walked-away-46010/ thru Jan 26 2012.)

    He's not abusive, not violent, has not stolen from us and he is working. My "mommy heart" feels like that sobbing boy is who he REALLY is and I am trying to reach HIM. Folly probably. It was a very brief moment that may have just been a calculated act of desperation.
  14. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    OK, I read the whole thread from a while ago, so I'm all caught up. Susiestar rocks - that's all I can say. When I waffle, I need to read her response over and over.
  15. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Sig - So I think from all you have said about your difficult child that there is a lot of hope... he has a lot going for him, has had a lot of success in his past and I think he is trying to find himself and his independence and his drug use is a misguided part of that. So I do think he may grow out of this whole thing and turn things around... and I think all the sides you are seeing in him are real and that what you are seeing is his own confusion as he is trying to work out within himself of who he is.

    So given all that I think part of your process has to be letting go as much as you can. I think he needs to be respectful while living with you, and he to follow your basic rules in your house. I think there is a lot you cant control and the more you can back off from questioning him, playing detective, and trying to control what he does, the better you will be and the better your relationship will be.

    I have wondered a lot what if IT never gets better. I think my difficult child has much less going for him than yours does. The truth is with my difficult child IT may never get better. I am coming to terms with that although I certainly dont like the idea at all. For me it really is about giving up control and realizing there really is nothing I can do to turn his life around, ALL I can do is to continue to let him know I love him and I am here for him (but will not enable him). And then I need to keep on living my own life and finding things in life that I love and enjoy.

  16. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Wish I could remember the context, but once upon a time - probably in the staff kitchen on some jobsite... someone said:

    How your kids behave when they are with others is a better assessment of where they are going than how they are with you. Note: this is not about how they are perceived, but about the person they present.

    Now - this was said about typical teen kids. Not "our" kids. But... I've noticed that even difficult child provides more clues as to where he is going by his "public person" far sooner than what shows in his "home person".

    If he is being nice go Grandma... eventually, he will be nice to you.
    There's glimmers in there.
    There IS hope. Really.

    It just takes way too long for them to grow up and get their feet under them.

    I've had to accept that I won't be free of MY kids until I'm about ready to retire. Not what I planned, but...
  17. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Thank you ladies...

    and everything you've mentioned ... well that's my darn problem...

    The news keeps talking about the "fiscal cliff" and I am all about the "difficult child cliff." It's like we are on the edge and he could either go over or he could run to safety. I just never thought he could TEETER for so incredibly long. (18 months+, no end in sight) Not that I am willing him to go over...and I am so afraid - since he is on the edge - that the wrong move could send him over. If only I could pull him back... and I can't. For a while, a portion of this quote from The Catcher in the Rye was a part of my signature:

    ""Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around—nobody big, I mean—except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all..."

    And that's how I feel. And it was ages ago that it was part of of my signature yet nothing has changed really. It's exhausting. I realize it's his choice to go over or run to safety...but until he actually goes over...I have a shot at getting him back. And I never realized we could teeter for as long as we have. And now it's dawning on me that this may go on for years and even decades! And I am not sure I am up to it...the Italian in me (see avatar) wants to shout "BASTA e BASTA! ("enough is enough", when my grandfather or father said it, we knew they meant business) But I also know that any covert attempt to catch him from off the edge will more likely send him over.

    Patience is NOT my virtue...and I am weary. And sad. (and worried, and hurt and etc) My nature is to make lemons out of lemonade and to play the cards in my hand. I tend to spring to action - sometimes prematurely I'll admit. And I am so afraid of sending him over the edge that I am frozen. And being frozen is so against who I am, that it is burdening my soul. I am sorry to seem melodramatic, but that's how I feel. I am not one to stand on pretense. If you need someone to spring to your defense, or bail you out of jail or set you straight, or tell you if your dress is all wrong - call ME. I'll say it nicely or diplomatically or make you think it was your idea to change your clothes. But I won't let you down.

    And this new strange relationship with my kid - while he is living under my roof - feels like I am wearing my right shoe on my left foot. Know what I mean??
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Any chance at all he would go into the military? That might give him the purpose he seems to be looking for in all the wrong places. He could also get some medical training in there because of his interests. It seems like he is looking for a sense of belonging to some group outside of family and he is having a hard time finding that niche in life.
  19. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest

    Speaking for myself...realizing I'm exhausted after being in a Family Program for two days followed today by a horrid phone counseling session with difficult child, whether it gets better or not isn't important to me anymore.

    He has abused me enough. I will take him to an expensive after care facility next week but with tight restrictions on what I am willing and not willing to do. It is to the point that I refuse to be in the car alone with him. After two rehabs, weeks of aftercare, months in a sober living facility, either he will get it or he won't.

    Either way, I am going to forge ahead in my life and take really good care of me. I am not responsible for his disease or his relapses or his recovery. During the call today, he blamed me for his last relapse....heck, if I was that powerful, I think I would change him the other way, not into a two pints of vodka drinking idiot out driving a car I'm responsible for....DUH!!

    As my sponsor said, this aftercare facility is for ME, not him. If he uses it, ok. If he doesn't, ok. Either way, I know I did everything.

    If he gets kicked out, I'm done. If he graduates, I will take him to a sober living facility without a big admission fee that will charge HIM rent and provide transportation to him for a fee. No car or cell. Earn them.

    While he is at the aftercare place, I will participate as they request but I will not listen to his abuse.

    I'm to the point where I wish he was never born.

    Sorry if this is offensive to anyone. It's early, I cannot go back to sleep, I'm alone, afraid, and hurt. been dealing with hateful, selfish addicts since I was 8. just want it all over with.
  20. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hugs AG..... I totally understand where you are coming from. I have been there... and as hard as that place is to be, it is a step in the process of reclaiming your life back!! We absolutely have no control over the future of our difficult children, good or bad.