Here's the short of it: 19 yr old son who has regularly used marijuana for a couple years, and was recently caught by a family member snorting an unknown substance (suspect ground up pain killers). Son lives at home after failing out of 1 yr of college. No signs of health problems,; no problems with mood swings, he's generally happy; no friends as we live in a place different from where he went to HS and college; we control his income, and have not had our money stolen or valuables gone missing; he has no car. Nonetheless, the snorting incident has unsettled us. We strongly suspect he may have gotten a supply of pills from friends while visiting them in another state, and has been using this supply for about 2 months. When confronted over the snorting, he told the family member and us (both parents) it was tylenol. He has lied to us in the past about drug use and performance while away at college.
Connundrum: we are of the opinion he has a problem with abusing an unknown drug (he snorted something). He will not admit to it. Trying to get him in a rehab program (it is available to us) seems worthless if he's in denial. Do we continue to keep our eye on him and wait for the next event or do we give him an ultimatum, "We believe you are abusing drugs. You are denying it. We love you, but we think it is time for you to leave home." We will not support him, other than to provide him a backpack and $1000 for him to go somewhere, likely seeking refuge with peers from college who are drug users, too.
It pains me to type this and I know I sound draconian, but we've been dealing with his lies and denial for some time.
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Tell him he can stay but he will be subject to random drug testing. I don't think a couple of years of pot and one time snorting an unknown substance is grounds to kick him out but it is enough to put him on notice. And if he fails a test, he has X number of days to vacate - taking not much with him other than what he can carry on his own. Give him no money to go nor let him have a car unless it is already in his name. Don't pay his insurance either. Call Tough Love - it should be in your local phone book.
@rjcl. I feel for you! My sons are a little older than yours , but not knowing the right thing to do when you feel your child is in trouble is the hardest thing to go through. We always worry about them getting addicted to some substance ( and it seems like an epidemic now. I believe that some young people turn to drugs etc. Because it's " fun " the problem is they can't see in the long run what it can do to them. So many young people just do not think it's wrong to smoke pot. But they can't seem to grasp the consequences of using it such as they say pot usually leads to harder drugs, if they get caught it can really screw up their lives in the future when they apply for jobs etc. I would just talk to him & let him know you won't give him any money if he's getting high, if he gets caught using anything in your house, he'd have to find another place to live. But always try to keep the communication open between y'all. Hopefully it's just a phase but it's best if you could get him to stop now. Hopefully if you try to talk to him & let him know your just trying to help him, he will talk to you & you can figure out how far he's gone. Good luck- have 2 sons myself & have been thru this much with them. The only thing I know is talk,talk & pray a lot!!
Hi, I'm sorry for your recent concerns about your son's drug usage. It is important not to alienate him while you are trying to get to the bottom of this. I would encourage you not to hesitate any longer in getting him some help. I understand that he doesn't want to admit to drug use, but it seems obvious to you that a problem exists. Be proactive for his benefit. Drug abuse is an epidemic today among our young people. Addiction is a medical illness which requires treatment. Start with the family physician who can advise you and your son about further intervention and drug testing. I come to you from a place of understanding and unfortunately I know first hand about the misuse of drugs by teens and young adults and the deadly consequences. Be strong and firm, but don't approach your son with blame and judgement, but rather love and concern for his wellbeing. I wish you and your family the best.
Im not sure if you have proceeded in intervention yet but I did want to share one thing with you. I am and was an addict to snorting pills and one thing I can promise you is that if he isn't admitting to you he has a problem then he can not be helped (yet). Im not saying he wont but you will have to be patient and if you feel the need to kick him out unless he admits whats going on then thats what you should do. I would tell him that when he is ready for help that you are there for him 100% but you can no longer enable him by ignoring the problem. Someone who doesnt admit to having a problem will not go to rehab for them but you in which most cases they will relapse when they come back out. I am still a recovering addict and have been taking methadone for 8 months. Today I begin to detox from this medication (which is another story).
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hopefloats36 (03-14-2012),Phoenix (03-14-2012)
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1moretime, I'm not so sure that because the young man hasen't yet admitted drug use to his parents that he can't be helped. It's just not that cut and dry for everyone. Most children aren't going to be honest with their parents. It's obvious why. But they might be honest with someone else they trust, admit they need help, and ask for help. That's why I'm suggesting that the parent's involve someone else to help get to the bottom of it all...someone who isn't going to be judgemental...family physician, counselor, peer, clergy, coach, close family friend. I belong to a group in my area which supports teens and young adults to get help with their addictions. I'm surprised at how many of them asked for help when confronted with the obvious from someone other than their parent. These young addicted kids are scared and at a loss for how it all got so bad so fast, and more importantly how to get out of their situation. Most have begun to steal or deal or worse to gain access to their drugs of choice. Eventually, we are hearing from many of them, "I don't want to do this anymore. How can I get help to stop using drugs?" We are finding that transition from rehab programs is critical for these teens and young adults. They can no longer hang out with their drug using friends. Our group provides an outlet for access to AA/NA meetings, peer support, adult support, dinners out, sporting events, gym memberships, volunteering opportunities, and other organized activities that promote healthy substance free living in the real world.
1moretime, I do applaude you for the courage it took you to accept help and wish you strength and conviction in your journey for sobriety. Best wishes.
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You can buy a drug test at most drugstores and do the urine test for multiple drugs at one time. I agree that in the privacy of an interview with a drug counselor more their age they are far more likely to admit the extent of their use and ask for help. The fact that he failed out of college is a first consequence. As a young addict he will need the support of peers to get through this - they need friends who they can relate to as from their perspective rght now it may seem all of their friends who they think of as normal are doing the same things. Good luck - this is hard. You might want to try some Al-anon meetings for you as this is rough on parents!
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hopefloats36 (03-26-2012),Phoenix (03-25-2012)
I know the feeling about how we parents are made to feel so draconian in our attempts to help our teens. Your son is hopefully old enough to understand consequences and maybe just telling him he will have to leave would be enough. It is a scary world with all the drugs and addiction can be so hard on the addict and the family.
I have a 16 year old son who is addicted to marijuana. He uses it all the time. He has pretty lost his school year but worse, I don't feel he is very healthy. It seems as though he is only hungry when he is high. Last October, we called the police when we tried to remove his stash of marijuana and he became violent and smashed doors and knocked a glass out of my hand. The police advised us to have him charged with assault....it was a very difficult decision but we had him charged. I would never do this again because I feel that the courts fall short in helping kids with addiction problems. All he has done is 5 counselling sessions. He is no better. He is as addicted as ever. I actually found a weight scale in his room and I know he has small amounts of stuff in there also. I have threatened to throw everything out and he removes stuff but it ends up back there. I am very worried about him. No self-esteem, sad, no goals....just worries about where to get marijuana...all symptoms of addiction and it causes problems in our relationship as well. I could never throw him out as he is only 16. I am dealing with a Social Worker from his school but I think I am going to go to see an Addictions counsellor tomorrow. I have to do something to help him. As it is said, if an addict is in denial, they don't thinnk they have a problem and they won't go for help. Any suggestions from anyone would be welcome.
I think you are so right that one has to be ready to accept help. I pray for you that you will overcome your addiction. You can do it! You sound like someone who could be a good counsellor to teen kids. Again, good luck.
You are right...at least for my son, the ultimatums don't seem to work. He just goes somewhere else. Let me be clear that I am not allowing him to smoke up here but I can't be sure that he isn't when we are gone to bed or if I am out shopping and his Dad is at work. He and his close group of friends really seem psychologically addicted....it's all they do although my son is in a worse stay because his motivation for school, sports and everything that was once important to him is not there anymore. I am not giving up though. I will keep trying to steer him clear and hope that he will accept the help before things get worse.
Well I honestly feel for you and your wife. From the stance of a parent with teenage sons and a chronic pain patient who has abused narcotics in the past and knows how much drug abuse can tear up a family.
You need to be very straight and strict with your son and get this situation under control, before it gets worse. Snorting ground up Tylenol is not going to do much for you, so you can pretty much bet, he's lieing to you about that. While I don't agree that you should hand him a 1000 bucks and toss him out, you do need to make it very clear that if he expects to live in your home, he follows your rules, and there is no drug use. I would go through his room and possessions with him, and flush any drugs that you find, including marijuana. I would make him take random drug tests, you can get them at drug stores now, simple pee in a cup, and dip a stick in. You need to make him get into a routine and get some responsibility, he shouldn't be living off of you at 19, if he's not in college he should be working and paying some kind of rent. You need to make him responsible. And if he's working he has less time to sit around getting tweaked. If over the next few weeks, he can't get with the program and you still find drug use, you need to get him in rehab, and no he'll never act like he want's to go. If he flat out refuses and throws a total fit, then yes, he needs to find a new place to live, without you handing him a 1000 bucks. If you need to help him then put a down payment on a cheap apartment or something, but he really needs to either finish school or get a job and support himself, the longer he lives off you guys, the more he'll sit around screwing off, doing drugs, and acting like the world owes him.
Good luck and I truly hope you find some peace of mind in this situation.
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I know this is 2 months away, but I felt like I should reply to this, and let you know my story.
When I was in highschool, I loved to drink and party. I started taking pills and would snort them (it is very likely your son was not snorting Tylenol; and snorting pain pills in general eat away your esophogus and nasel cavaties, not fun) When I was 19 I was introduced to another substance, and used it until 20 years old. I relate to your son because i failed out of college my 1 year. I was partying too much, I wanted to get out of myself by using a substance, and had my priorities all messed up. At 20, I overdosed, was bagged, and then awoke (power of God!).
I grew up in a very good way; my parents cared about us ,gave us everytning, wanted us to suceed, etc. Drugs just took me down, it does not matter what substance. They should not be rated on "well, it isn't that bad of a drug". Doing drugs is not normal. End of story.
After my overdose, my parents gave me an ultimatum. Go to treatment, or you're out. I chose treatment and I am sober today. This was in 2010.
Givnig your son money and makign him leave will only have him go buy drugs and crash on friend's couches, even live on the street. Some people have to have that sort of bottm in order to get to the top. My bottom was not overdosing. After that, I decided to drink alcohol which I shortly got addicted to. My parents disowned me, they would not be a part of my unhealty lifestyle. Drugs=you are not who you are.
Whatever you do, do not give your son money. That enables him to have access to drugs. How would you feel if he overdosed on drugs you basically bought him? I know this is harsh, but it's so true. You have to think of the worst, because it can happen any day. What is he doing with his life? It seems as if he does not have a job, and just sits around?
In my opinion, ultimatums work. "You're going to treatment, or we will not speak to you". If he chooses to leave, let him. It's his path and his life. I highly suggest Al Anon. yo uwill meet other parents with the same issue as you, who have gone through it.
I have been in your son's shoes. I never stole, but that means nothing! Not all drug addicts steal! It will be incredibly hard, however, you could save his life. What's more important, dealing with treating your son that way, or his life?
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hopefloats36 (04-25-2012),manyamile (04-23-2012)
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Ultimatums do work; if he uses elsewhere, he uses elsewhere! Once he realizes he has lost everything due to drugs, he will realize he is an addict and seek help (probably from you!). Nothing can be done to an addict who doesnot want help. He can go to treatment, you can force him to do things, however , he has to WANT IT!
Ps. Do not enable him by allowing him to take advantage of YOUR house. Do not give him money. While he is using drugs, he can not use YOU or your wife. He must find somewhere else to sleep, eat, and do drugs.
I am an addict who had extremely caring parents. I am passing the info to you as what worked for me.
Amiisane's words are very true. I urge you to listen to his advice. Your son will appreciate you for it -if and when he gets sober - right now he can't even love himself. Best Wishes and as he said, pray.