View Full Version : Help me to help my son!

03-26-2004, 07:58 AM
I guess I am pretty desperate now going to a random forum to seek help for my family. After a series of episodes with missing money, lies etc. my 19 year old son has finally admitted that he has been abusing hydrocodone and oxycodone for the last year. He wants help but is totally against trying any type of residental stay or outpatient in a treatment center. He has made his mind up (with the help of his addict friends) that he is going to start going to a Methadone clinic in Muscle Shoals Alabama next week. My wife and I are discouraging him from this as we want to try other methods first and leave the Methadone as a last resort. He says he has been addicted for a year and has used daily up to 100-150mg by chewing them up. I don't know if he is telling the truth about the amount or the type of drug because we are catching him daily in lies about everything. He says that he went 6 days last week without using then fell off the wagon and took some Morphine that was offered to him when he was in town. We took him for a drug screen test yesterday and he did fail it for THC, Morphine and Cocaine. He says that he did not use any Cocaine. The test lab said that it could have been laced in the pot. With his lying to us I don't know what to believe. We have tried the calm compassionate method this last week but I see my wife and I moving slowly to the mad stage. I have taken his cellphone away and his carkeys and right now he is on a weekend trip with my wife to get him away from his surroundings. She called me this morning and said that he purchased a large coffee and when they got back in the car he was very animated and bouncing arounf the car. Her suspicion is that he took something and has drugs with him but she searched some of his things and can't find any. I fear that he still owes people money. What kind of people I don't know. We have talked to my pastor who is an ex addict about the possibility of getting a court order to get him admitted to rehab. If he is not willing is this a good idea. I am lost and all torn up inside over this but we love him and are determined to do something.

John 808
03-26-2004, 08:13 AM
I am so sorry you are experiencing this with your son! I have very small children and have not been faced (hope I never am) with something like this.

I do have a relative that used drugs for "partying purposes" then become addicted and no matter what his parents did, he did not straighten out until he was ready! He finally admitted he had a problem and sought spiritual guidance (luckily was brought up in a Christian home) and medical help (not a treatment center...just saw and doctor and was given something for anxiety and depression temporarily) and is happy and healthy today! Point it, unless you son is really ready to get clean...he won't no matter what you do!

Do you know that he desires to get help and get clean? I tend to agree with you that methadone should be a last resort as that can be abused as well. Is he not will to try a week long detox and AA/NA afterwards?

My prayers will be with you and your family and hope that your son is able to get his life back together. God bless,
J 3:16

03-26-2004, 08:26 AM
I don't know if he really willing or not to do the detox thing. He says no, but can we convince him to try it; only time will tell I guess.

We took him to a Behavioral Counseling center Tuesday to determine if he needed detoxing or not, but in his interview, he said that he had not taken anything for 6 days, so they decided that he was detoxed already. He went out and found Morphine later that day according to him. My son says that his mental addiction is just too strong for him to handle. Of course this is probably true with any addict.

John 808
03-26-2004, 08:37 AM
Let me tell you this, I became addicted to hydrocodone (Lortab, Vicodin) when I was given this for migraines after the birth of my second child. I took them as prescribed but kept a headache because my son had colic and never slept and always cried and I had a headache for three months, I think. But, by then, I was totally dependant on the medicine and then found myself abusing them just to feel "normal." I am a young mother with a wonder family and children and the "perfect" life and I found myself lying to everyone to obtain this medicine or the keep my family from knowing about this medicine, etc.....An addict will lie, lie and lie again to your face to keep from getting caught, to keep from getting help (if their not ready), to obtain the drugs, to make everyone think things are "okay" so, I don't mean to sound blunt or like your son is a "liar," but he WILL lie to you again and again and again until he is ready to face the fact that he is "sick" and is willing to get help!

Hope that is not too discouraging, but it is just the truth!

John 3:16

03-26-2004, 08:42 AM
Well, the only good news out of your story is at least he knows he has a problem and is somewhat willing to do something about it. First and foremost, you and your wife need to start going to Alanon meetings. They will help you so much in figuring out what to do or better - what NOT to do.

Sounds like he is using down there with her. I'm from Alabama as well and I know in Birmingham, there are TONS of rehabs. Being an addict is something that I would not wish on my worst enemy... especially hydrocodone and oxycontin. The drugs have control of him... he does NOT have control of the drugs. That's why he has to get help and it sounds like you guys know this.

I will say this... I am an addict and am currently taking Suboxone - this is a maintenance drug just like methadone. However, you do not have to go to a clinic for it and you get no euphoric effect at all. I'm a Vice President at a bank and a singe mother of three young children and getting on this drug has saved my life. Basically, you take it and it takes away the cravings for drugs. It also has a drug in it that if you were to take any other type of opiates, you would not feel any high at all. It cannot be abused because it has a 'ceiling effect' and the bottom line is, it works. My mother overdosed and died from lortabs. If it were me (and please, everyone has their own opinions) but I would rather someone take methadone or Suboxone (preferably Suboxone so that he wouldn't have to go to a clinic and be exposed to other drugs and also, I've heard the withdrawals from methadone are much worse than Suboxone... although there are side effects from withdrawing from Suboxone). Anyway, I would rather someone do that maybe as a first step to recovery than to take the chance of them using. It's just a thought and obviously, you want your son to be clean. I understand that - but people who are not addicts can not imagine how difficult life is after you are addicted. It's hell on earth. However, Suboxone has completely changed my life... I am making responsible decisions, I don't drink and I have NO desire to take any drugs at all. I am 33 years old and finally am being the responsible mother I am supposed to be. This is ALL due to the help of God and Suboxone. My prayers are with you and your wife as well as your son. You really need to get to those Alanon meetings.

One more thing - just to reiterate... the fact that he's considering getting on methadone, I believe is at least better than him continuing to use. He absolutely cannot get clean without getting help because drugs are stronger than we are.

03-26-2004, 09:00 AM
keep the methadone as a last resort...he is a big boy however and will be most likely making his own decisions or trying to......he is opiate addicted so hell keep trying to prevent w/d symptoms...diahrea insommnia,restless legs,sweating,goosebumps...hell have withdrawals for a solid week without opiates...chances are he is finding a way to get them cause if he didnt for one day that night hell be in withdrawals...pastor is a good thing since he is a recovering addict...your son definately did the coke or the test wouldnt have showed it up ....he needs support and help...alanon may be helpful for you..he needs a/a or n/a and treatment/help/guidance...at 19 hes got his whole life in front of him...im 44 and did drugs for 28 years..........chef

03-26-2004, 09:01 AM
I'm so sorry to hear about your problems. I've been dealing with the exact same situation with my younger brother now for over three years. He started with OCs and moved to heroin, methodone, whatever is available at the moment. It's very true that you can't make your son stop until he decides that there is NO other option, and realizes that the consequences of continuing to do OCs are more horrible than stopping. I've gone through many emotions trying to help my little brother and have watched my parents break down over and over. He's stopped many times only to fall back into it. He's lucky that he has a very supportive family but I think it's also a disadvantage in a way because I watch as my parents enable him by allowing him to live under their roof, eat their food, and drive their cars. It's so frustrating to watch because I know they only want to help him but instead their actions are allowing him to slowly kill himself and dodge any real consequences or responsibility. They finally got to the point where they had tried everything possible and finally worked up the courage to kick him out of their house. I was proud of them because I know it's so hard not to see him as their little boy (he'll always be my little brother) and I thought that they were finally taking the right steps to help him help himself. Unfortunately, he was back that night with more convincing, empty promises. I'm sorry if I'm rambling but your post just sounded so much like my brother -- the fact that your son won't commit to actually getting better is what my brother does. He satisfies my parents with half-assing recovery because it's easier for him and it's easier for them. Nobody really wants to deal with going to detox, then a rehab for 30 days and then to a halfway house for 6mo to a year to rebuild your life. I believe that the people who do that are truely committed and grateful for a second chance. I'm not a parent but I'm sure nobody wants to kick their child out but I think it gives them the opportunity to see what they are actually doing to themselves and to their family, otherwise they will just continue to lie to themselves and the people who love them. Anyway, I really just wanted to point out these articles that helped me try to figure out what to do with my relationship with my brother. I'm not very religious but I think they make some valid points:


Good luck to your son and to you. I wish you the best.

03-26-2004, 09:13 AM
WOW! What a tough situation to be facing,but unfortunately,not that uncommon.You said he reported being clean for 6 days when he was interviewed-do you believe him??Usually,when you detox(he reports he's been using fairly heavily for at least a year) you are absolutely miserable,sick,something that wouldn't go unnoticed.Did you observe any of this??Chances are,he wasn't being honest,and should probably still be medically detoxed.But the issue is this-and true with any addict-he really REALLY has to want to quit.You can force him into rehab,lock him away,but when he gets out,chances are he's going to go back to using if he didn't want to get clean in the first place.I really hate to say this,because it can sound so discouraging,but most of us who are addicted have to hit complete "rock bottom" before we can make the decision to come clawing our way back into sobriety.Of course,at the same time,as parents,you don't want to see this get any worse,so it's kind of a catch-22.Ask your son where he sees himself, say in five years-still using?And if so,what does he think his life will be like??Just a way to kind of set him thinking about managing life with an addiction.Better yet,why don't you have him read a lot of these postings,present and past,to let him see what addiction did to those of us who post here on the board.Plus, there is a lot of help here,and a few other very young people struggling with this same thing-why not have him join the boards and talk to people himself.Right now,I think it is important that he gets educated about what leading a life with an addiction is all about-and there really is only three things that it leads to-jail,institutions,or death.OR,coming back to sobriety.
He CAN be medically detoxed at home,under the supervision/guidance of a doctor,with meds prescribed to make withdrawal more comfortable.Usually,the meds prescribed are Clonidine,Valium/Xanax/Ativan(for the horrible anxiety and restlessness),Ambien for sleep,immodium,bentyl for stomach cramps.But as most of us know,after detoxing,the HARD part begins.
He is VERY lucky to have a set of parents like you.I can only imagine how scared you must be,what you're going thru right now.I am so sorry this is happening to you,am so sorry your son has fallen victim to this rotten disease.Things CAN get better,it won't happen overnight,but it WILL happen.Educate yourselves,educate your son.Strength and prayers to you and your family,hang in there.


03-26-2004, 11:04 AM
hope...justa question to cure my curiosity....i live in florida and im sure some states might be different...i lived in michigan the first 27 years and lived here since 1987....im not aware of anywhere that supplies a opiate addict unless under a in-house treatment center possibly,that they would prescribe xanax,valium or any type of benzo.....in places where i have experience with in the past the only chemical assistance thru detox they gave a patient was librium..cause its so weak and the side effect issue...ive never even seen a detox center prescribe ambiem....now,ive seen places that are a 5 day detox where you stay there and theyll give you 30mg of methadone the second day and knock it down by 5mg everyday and then when they boot ya out you are basically in the same place as you were when you checked in...thats one thing ive never understood about that detox ceenter cause there really not helping the opiate addict per se......the place i go to now on a out-patient basis and i happen to be friends with the cheif medical dr. since he is a recovering addict,they only give clonidine and if you fall under the guideline issue they will start you on detox version of bupenorphine but at least they follow it up and when the patient is discharged they start them on bupenorphine therapy unless methadone fits the bill better...they use maintance only as a last resort..i think alot of places dont hand out benzos cause they dont want the patients to pursue that avenue or crutch when they are released and w/d's have a good impact on individuals who are detoxin for the very first time.....us chronic folks get a more medicinal approach,know what i mean.....chef

03-26-2004, 11:17 AM
jammie...when i was young and my dad tried the intervention thing,now that im sittin here thinkin about it,...to make sure i didnt have any drugs,my mom and sister were gone,he strip searched me.....now it may or may not be the right thing to do but the bottom line is he found the drugs........30 years later i remeber i had the best hiding places...its part of the deceiving we do once narcotics become more important than food and common sense.....opiates make us do things we never were capable of...if your son get withdrawals bad enough he will do whatever he needs to do to get the drugs...steal from you and his mom,steal from the neighbor,visit an inlaw who has medicine in there cabinet,i mean we stoop to anything...now once he realizes in his heart and he is honest with himself and knows he has a problem and wants to be sober hell have to go thru a process of controlled steps....at this time he may not want to be sober..there is alot of frustration that will come from this cause there really isnt the right way or wrong way to approach addiction....youll have to take it step by step too,just as hell have to llive day by day knowing he is a opiate addict and down the road he cannot use opiates again unless it is under a dr. supervision or hell be right back to where he is now...this disease is progressive and unforgiving...and once you get it,it is a battle and a half and 19 years old isnt the maturist age either to be dealin with something like opiate addiction....us addicts think we know everything and we can beat this disease on our own and we cant...chef

03-26-2004, 11:33 AM
I haven't had any problems with the Dr.'s(here in Illinois)getting clonidine or Valium/Xanax for detoxing.Now they weren't associated with a "detox facility",per se,or specifically addiction med doctors.They followed a "detox protocol",and I was only given benzo's on a very short term basis.I was prescribed Ambien for sleep,but was only given 5 of them.Also,in my few past attempts where I was hospitalized,all three (different) places gave me Ambien at night for sleep.Remind me if I ever need to detox again,not to go to FL!!!What are they....just mean???LOL.The meds I was given to detox at home were pretty limited,and I WAS told that if I needed more,I would have to be hospitalized.Otherwise, I didn't have a problem getting what I needed.The clonidine,though, I can understand some places not wanting to hand it out because you really should be monitored while on it.
And I thought FL was the sunshine state.... ;)

03-26-2004, 03:22 PM
I can feel for you. My daughter is 20 and addicted to opiates. She has a 17 month old little boy who is just precious and she lives with me and my husband. She went for treatment in July of 2003 and she was using again in September of 2003. She didn't think she needed NA or counseling her response was "I can do this on my own".

I had a feeling she was using again. I would ask her and try to talk to her, but she continued to lie about her drug use. She finally hit rock bottom, at least I hope she did, 3 weeks ago and signed herself in to rehab. She didn't have money and was going through w/d's and she knew she needed help. She called me at work and told me she needed help. I came home to watch her son so she could go for some help. I told her I would support her in every way I could, but when she got out she needed stick with a treatment program.

It's been a week and a half and so far so good. She is on suboxone and is doing great. We have sat down and had some long talks..something we haven't done since the drug use began. I am taking it one day at a time and I pray every night that she finds peach and happiness she so desperately deserves.

You are in my thoughts!


03-26-2004, 03:37 PM
Thanks for all the replys.
Yes my wife and I are very scared. We are Christians and are praying for this situation. We both know that we need counseling also and have been give a number to locate a local NA meeting place. We have scheduled a full physical for my son next week to determine if he has any damage, kidney, liver, respiratory. He agreed to this and hope that he doesn't back out. I only fear that he is going to skip town one day with his addict friend and visit that Methodone clinic and begin treatment before we can begin some other form of rehab. Maybe he will have to hit rock bottom first. I read a post above and went to the links provided which discussed distancing ones self from the addict to let them experience the consequences of their actions. WOW, that is a scary thought and I will have to pray about that. We know that as his parents it is quite possible that we are enabling him to keep up the habit by letting him continue to live here, etc. I just don't know if we can put him out the door to let him hit rock bottom then help him pick up the pieces. He has no job and is attending college, but has had to drop out of all but 2 classes because of attendance.

03-26-2004, 04:27 PM
sir..im a christian also but one of the negative aspects of drug addiciton is losing your spirituality..i had a empty void in my gut as all addicts usually get or have....i lost my dad when i was 15 and thats when my dilemma started...lost my sister and my mom as years went by and wish i could apoligize now for my actions......lost my wife,kids ,home truck,job to opiate addiction..it happened over a period of time...opiates/pain meds i wish were never made....my latest bout of addiction started in 1989 innocent enough cause of a back injury.....it turned about the ugliest in 2000 and i have stumbled along and for the past year have worked hard on my recovery...i hurt for everything ive done....i now have a cafe i run/own with my girlfriend and attend wkly a/a mtgs...same as n/a...i attended those also except now i live in the country and i travel far enough goin to the a/a mtgs. but it is a slow process...recovery...and the 12 steps we use in recovery step 12 is you refind your spiritual higher power and overcome the addiciton......chef

03-26-2004, 04:36 PM
sorry,i cant be on the internet and run my visa machine at the same time.....anyways,i thiught i had hit rock bottom too...but i learned when you think youve hit rock bottom,you still got deeper soil to dig...everyone bailed on me...i slept in my truck till it was repossed and then was homeless.....and i still looked for opiates..a pain pill anything......this disease is progressive and you must take day/day hour by hour if need be...they say in a/a or n/a to hit 90 mtgs in 90 days...to surround yourself with recovering addicts.....work a recovery program....and your right...i personally at this time and with your sons age not kick him out...not yet...he would stumble thats for sure...but he is still a little too young,and you might do more damage than good.....hed probably run to a friends house.....but he does need to realize hes got a huge problem....and it needs to be fixed...with this disease,in the end its either live or die....good luck,god bless ya and ill say a prayer for you and your family...mostly your son....chef

03-26-2004, 04:56 PM
tjsammy, I can tell you from what I'm going through right now that you would have noticed if he was off them for 6 days. Especially if he's been taking that much. Now I can't help you like these good people that are replying to you cause I'm not well myself yet. What I wanted to say is you are fortunate that you can communicate about things with him, even if he isn't always honest he is talking to his family and that could mean he is willing to get help eventually. I have two little ones and pray that they never have to have this problem. Have faith, I am aChristian too and believe He is always trying to teach us something. Humans just make bad choices. sometimes. Hope all works out for your family.


Best Friend
03-26-2004, 06:13 PM
Hi. I'm so glad you checked in on this Board for ideas and help. There are wonderful people, here! This may sound like an "odd" suggestion, but over the past few months, on his television show, 'Dr. Phil' has been working to help a young man with a serious drug addiction. There was an intervention and the boy was sent to Rehab. It is too complicated for me to explain it all here, but it does seem that, after a setback or two, progress is being made. It may help you some to go on the Drphil.com board board and check out the story. This young man, Brandon, was very influenced by his addict friends and it took some 'tough love' by his family to get him out of their clutches. I'm not suggesting or condoning a 'television show' as an "easy fix-it'...but you may get some helpful info by taking a look at this family's saga. You may recognize some of your son's behavior...and some of your own....and, hopefully, pick up some positive suggestions. I am not much of a TV viewer....but sometimes there are the random 'good pickings' out there...and this show is, I believe, better than most. Much good luck to you and your family!

John 808
03-26-2004, 08:30 PM

You have gotten alot of good replies and hope you continue to come here for support if you need it!

I don't think I would kick your son out right now either. Is this the first time he has been in trouble with alcohol or drugs? As a parent, I would do anything in my power to help my child. Now, if the abuse continued and my child seemed to be not truly wanting help, I may would consider asking him or her to leave, but right now, in your situation, I can't see kicking him out as the answer just yet. I would really get him involved in AA or NA as well as yourselves attending Alanon and possibly drug test him to "motivate" him to stay clean. He'll have to have some mental support- that is where the AA or NA will come into play and possibly one on one counseling.

The next few weeks will be very tough. I pray that it all works out for the best for you and your son and the rest of your family! Keep us posted as to how things are going. God bless,
John 3:16

03-27-2004, 01:21 PM
"I just don't know if we can put him out the door to let him hit rock bottom then help him pick up the pieces."

I think it takes trying everything else you can possibly think of to help him before you can even imagine asking him to leave. I didn't mean that you were enabling your son at this point - you only just found out recently. I believe you should explore every option before considering kicking him out because if you don't do everything you can possibly think of before asking him to leave, and God forbid he doesn't make it out there on his own, you can honestly say that you did everything in your power to help him. Hopefully, it won't even get to the point where you have to consider asking him to leave. I just wanted to share my personal experience and resources with you.

The thing that seemed to help my parents the most was speaking with recovering addicts. They could see through my brother's deception and give my parents solid advice. My brother HATED that someone actually knew what he was up to but it really kept my parents sane. Again, you're in my prayers. Good luck.

03-29-2004, 07:08 AM
my hubby is on methadone and it has done wonders for him. however, this was/is his last resort. he did detox, was okay for maybe a week or two and the merry go round started again. for you like everyone else has said, go to naranon or alanon. for him to get slean and sober, he HAS to want it for himself. i am a grateful recovering alcoholic married to a recovering oxy addict. no matter how much i wanted him to change, i finally realized he had to do it for himself. you can beat your self up over his actions over and over. stop and think about it, you really do not have any control over your adult child's actions. you CAN offer guidance and advice, but at the same time set boundaries as to what is acceptable for YOU. as to committing him, one of my friends just did this to her ex. in this case, i think he was ready to go but just needed a little shove. recovery for addicts and their families is one day, hour, minute at a time.

03-29-2004, 09:46 AM
Yes, well my son was taken away by my wife for a pleasure trip for about the 4 past days just to get him away from his surroundings. He's is back now and has been give an ultimatum. My wife talked to him while away and told him that if he fails just ONE more drug test then we will take legal action if necessary to get him some help. I have taken away his cellphone and have been listening to some of the voice messages left and it horrifies me to accept the fact that he has been using AND selling but I know that this goes with the territory. I just hope he is not in debt to the wrong kind of people. We discovered missing checks in our checkbook this morning and upon checking my account I discovered that they have gone through for amounts like $200, $100, $100, etc. I am sure he has forged these and I am in the process of getting photocopies of these checks. My wife and I have discussed this morning that if he has in fact forged them and if he refuses help then we will offer him a choice, jail or rehab. We have two other younger boys 16 and 11 and we told him that he will not be allowed to drag this family down with him I know he may not be ready for rehab but we don't know what else to try. One thing is for sure, all money and checks have been removed from the house and we will give him no more cash money. His lunch was packed for school today and I will personally put gas in his car for traveling back and forth to local college. Only time will tell I guess.

03-29-2004, 09:49 AM
Hi there,

I really feel for your situation but it sounds like you're doing all the right things. Sometimes it does come down to an ultimatum. You are offering love and that's all you can do at this point, the rest is up to him. You are also right that you need to keep in mind what will keep the rest of the family stable.

I admire your courage on this - you're in my thoughts.


03-29-2004, 10:28 AM
i like your approach on the ultimatum. i know this must tear y'all apart. i've been there with my hubby as i've said and can't imagine what it would be like with my child. and yes, i have a 3 year old. for me, the best i can do is teach by example for him. my thoughts are with y'all. good luck! keep those boundaries set no matter what(much, much easier said than done). :)

03-29-2004, 12:53 PM
youve got to do what youve got to do and hopefully hell see he has to make the change...god bless ya..chef