An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

advice sought

Discussion in 'Share Your Story Here' started by lbkgirl, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. lbkgirl

    lbkgirl Member

    Hopeful to get some insight on best ways to handle my situation.
    I have addiction in my family my brother who i was very close with died of a heroin overdose he battled
    the addiction for years. My other brother battles alcohol addiction. My sister and i are fine no addiction issues.
    My husband and his family have no addiction issues.

    Fast forward to my direct situation.
    My son had a drinking episode when he was 15 to the point where we took him to the hospital.
    We montitored him all through high school and no additional problems with drinking.
    He admitted to trying marjauana when he was 18 in the spring of his senior year.
    He complied to random checking all the rest of the spring/summer and promised he tried it and wouldnt be
    doing it again. He admitted it to us upon talking about drugs ( we had a feeling he may had tried it hence why we asked) We had heard a friend of his was a user so we suspected he may have.
    He was good no alcohol or marjauna and we let him go off to college and we talked and talked about everything under the sun before he left. and about how bad behaviour would ruin his family history etc...
    He decided to smoke marjuana wax and had a very bad reaction. Hence we pulled him from school after only one month away.
    He resumed school locally commuting and is doing well and is working 3 days a week and school the other 2.
    He had alot of restitution cost him all his saved money because of fines at the college.
    My question to you all is he is 19 i cant control what he does every waking moment.
    I do feel his is regretful and he spends all his free time now with his sister who is 20 and us his parents .
    We watch movies on friday and saturday nights ........he hasnt been out in 6 months other than school or work.
    I know he isnt using drugs or alcohol currently and he has 5 years he has to stay out of trouble.
    My fear is when his friends all come home from college.
    What do we do .........he is 19 ........Can i say you dont hang with them ? I want to and if
    I do he will comply but at the same rate I want to let him rebuild trust heart says
    he doesnt hang with them in the evenings. He is planning to join a mens league sports team where
    some of his old friends will play. I am tempted to allow that but i just dont know how to handle it.
    I dont want to make a mistake here on how to handle this. Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. integrity101

    integrity101 Active Contributor

    I think the first thing you need to admit is that no matter how much you love and want to protect your son, the final decision about using or not using solely lies in him. If he wants to use, he'll do it with or without his old buddies. Give him some slack and let him learn from his own mistakes. That is the best you can do for him.
    KaseyHopeMartin and lost247 like this.
  3. lbkgirl

    lbkgirl Member

    I agree with that hence why i am leary on a bunch of groundrules.........I do realize fitting in is important to young men and they dont make the most rational decisions at this age . There is some influence that comes into play so i am partially hopeful some kind of ground rules would help until he matures some more.
    I dont see him actively seeking out drugs and alcohol at this moment and i realize if he wanted to he could probably find and attain it and he isnt. But the birds of a feather keeps coming to my mind and choosing a different group would be helpful. Just thought if anyone had any good ideas out there
    KaseyHopeMartin likes this.
  4. Steve Dawson

    Steve Dawson Community Champion

    Although your natural reaction is to want to protect your son as much as possible, its true that being over-protective is not always the best way to go about it. For a young man of his age he sounds quite sensible compared to many others of his age group. The drinking episode when he was 15 is something he will have had plenty of time to reflect on, I'm sure he's a much more mature and wiser person than he was at that young age. Having had a bad reaction to 'Wax' - which I understand is a very potent form of marijuana, it will hopefully put him off from repeating the experience in the future. I think you should continue loving and supporting him as much as you always have done, and continue to let him know that you are always there for him.
    KaseyHopeMartin likes this.
  5. MrsJones

    MrsJones Community Listener Community Listener

    Hi @lbkgirl welcome and thank you for sharing your story.

    Am I correct in understanding that your son is on probation of some kind? You said he has five years to stay out of trouble. What would happen should he get into any kind of trouble? Surely, he is aware of the risks he would be taking should it occur with his friends from college once they're back around.

    I think what's important to ask yourself is if you trust your son to do the right thing when you are not around. He seems to have adjusted responsibly now that he is at home with a job and back to school. Maybe he just wasn't ready to be away from home with no one to be accountable to.

    Your concerns are valid but you are expecting the worst to happen. Ease up and enjoy having him at home. You'll know if he changes, trust your mother's instinct.
  6. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    You are a parent. Even if your son is 19, he is still a teenager and obviously not making the right choices. You have every right to intervene since not only is he blood of your blood but you cannot find it in your conscience to let someone as young as him lose his way. Your intention is very noble, so do not hesitate to do what you can out of love.
    lbkgirl likes this.
  7. lost247

    lost247 Active Contributor

    First, welcome and thank you for sharing your story. I think it's important to see all sides to addiction and it is very enlightening to hear the perspective of the concerned parent, I think many of us would have made different choices had we known how our path had affected our parents. However, it's likely we would have made the same choices despite that knowledge.

    That said, your son sounds like he is doing his very best to comply with our guidelines to help to alleviate your concern. Staying in weekends and transferring schools is a huge commitment to your peace of mind on his part. He sounds like a fine, upstanding young man. You are doing everything you can as a parent to keep him on the right path, but as @integrity101 said, you can only do so much, and if he wants to do something he'll find a way.

    With the bit of information on the one side we have here, I will say I wouldn't worry too much about any serious drug use. Honestly, and not saying it can't pose an issue, but my mom smokes pot on occasion, and has for many years, and has never had an issue with other drugs. Addicts will find a way to abuse anything in active addiction, I've even seen nasal spray get abused! Marijuana, of all the drugs, in my opinion and experience, is the least harmful and least likely to lead to criminal behavior. While it is still technically illegal, many states are adopting a decriminalization policy regarding it and charges that would have been jailable are now only fines. Not and excuse or reason to use it, just a point of consideration.

    Sending you love, light and understanding!
  8. lbkgirl

    lbkgirl Member

    thanks so much for the well thought out responses. I figured this group might have some insight.
    I am trying to have the dialogue with him off and on without overdoing it. Trying also to build on our relationship together instead of focusing fully on his friends and those relationships. I plan to support him playing the mens league sport and if and when the friend thing comes up i may say go ahead but if the alcohol and pot comes out it is time to leave and i trust you will make the right decision.
    And to answer above yes he had charges pressed against him and they gave him a 5 year stay out of trouble and no charges. He almost died from the wax ...he had a terrible reaction. Long story but the officer did commend me for
    having an impressive young man but i couldnt really see that at the time.
    I do know he is trying and i will worry and keep talking and try to enjoy him also ....i dont want to treat him like
    he is going to use pot or other drugs when he is showing otherwise.
    And i will know for sure !
    Thanks Again all !
  9. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @lbkgirl... Welcome to the community. Al-Anon teaches us that we didn't cause our loved one's addiction, we can't control it, and we can't cure it. The only person who can control or "cure" your son's addiction is your son. I'm the father of a son in long-term recovery from heroin use and I can tell you that my wife and I drove ourselves crazy for years trying to control our son's behavior. We ended up becoming addicted to his addiction and it started to destroy our lives.

    The bottom line is this: Your son will use/not use drugs with or without you. It's his decision, period. You can try everything possible to keep him from using, but if he wants to use, he's going to. My suggestion would be to step back a bit and try to trust that your son will make the right decisions. And, if he doesn't, remember that it's on him, not you.

    I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers. Being the parent of someone who struggles with addiction is an incredible challenge. Just make sure your son's situation doesn't consume you.

    Peace and hugs.
    kgord likes this.
  10. lbkgirl

    lbkgirl Member

    Thanks i do realize that........and my husband and myself have said the same sentiments .
    I strongly feel we are premature to any addiction per say but i clearly see he has the capability of some bad choices. My parents spent
    years just saying about my brothers that they couldnt do anything about it and boys will be boys attitude.
    And then my brother became an addict and i watched them enable him for years to the point where he died in their home from
    a heroin overdose in his 40s which was 10 years ago now my son was only 8 or 9 so he didnt really understand it.
    He knows about it now !
    I am just hopeful i can do some things differently before there is any addiction or worse yet advancement into trying even more
    addicting drugs.
    We have lost so many local kids to drugs and each one hits so close to home with my brother and my sons episodes that i thought some
    insight here on what not to do or maybe some gem would be out there i am not thinking of to help guide him per say.
    So far i am glad i logged in lots of good insight !
  11. Moll

    Moll Member

    I grew up in a community with lots of issues stemming from drug addiction so I can understand and empathize with your situation. I think that Mrs. Jones is right on the money—that your son wasn't prepared for all the things that college brought him. He seems to be getting himself on the right track now that he's re-leashed, but be careful not to pull that leash too tight and drive him further from you and into the arms of drugs. I'd say that keep a close eye on him, support him, love him, but don't interfere unless something major happens.
  12. ReadmeByAmy

    ReadmeByAmy Community Champion

    A parent and their children must always have this open line communication so that there will be respect and trust for each other. Your son is already a teenager and he deserves the right to enjoy his youthful days. Don't think negative ahead of time and what might happen if he will join a men's league sports team having his old friends around. Even if you will not allow him to join if he want to try something bad it will happen no matter how you would like to protect him. As a parent just be there to support him all the way and let him be responsible for all his actions and decisions in life. And in case he fail again never leave him and instead help, support and love him more.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  13. lbkgirl

    lbkgirl Member

    Thanks so much for the great advice !
    I did support him joining the team and i do plan to allow him interaction i just plan to monitor the known party times per say as best i can ......i think if things get going he will leave he has alot more than most on his back . What i dont want to do is rescue him every time he makes a mistake . We put all the financial burden on him with the last episode and he had to rebuild back up his own bank account. Right now i do feel good about where he is at so i am pretty hopeful. But leary ......we are finding our relationship with him is much closer. We do alot together so that makes me feel much better !
    Time will tell
    KaseyHopeMartin and deanokat like this.
  14. I know you have already gotten some very great advice from fellows, but I would like to also contribute.

    I have a younger brother who just turned 20. And he drives me up a wall with worry sometimes.
    To give a bit of background:
    He mostly lived with his father (adopted father, as his biological father was a drug addicted deadbeat who disappeared around the time he was born) throughout his childhood. His father sheltered him to a mass degree. When my brother was 15 he came to live with us. He didn't know it was okay to go outside and play without someone breathing down his neck, he didn't know how to change a tire, he was failing in school because he was rebelling because his father wouldn't let him grow up and experience anything.
    When my brother graduated (after a LOT of deprogramming: he had turned into a habitual liar and a sneak because his dad had a tendency to yell at him WAY too much over stupid little things, and yes, it was abuse) we thought we were in the clear. We'd figured we'd gotten him to deprogram with the lies, he had only tried weed a few times as far as we knew and he was sorry for it, and he had turned into quite a good person.

    Then my brother tried to join the marines, and he was dishonorably discharged in basic training due to some blockhead hazing my brother in training. My brother has a temper, and he's a big guy, he can lift me up and carry me around like nothing. Seriously, my brother is like Hercules incarnate. So it's a bit scary when he gets mad enough to react (because in general he's a relaxed, hilarious, fun loving guy). When he came home he went into a spiral. At 19 years old, he was going out and partying everyday after he joined a band to play bass in, he denies using drugs even though EVERYONE in that band has a bad weed habit (and he can deny all he wants to, but I know the signs of a stoned person when I see one, because ya know it's obvious), he didn't have a job for the longest time and when he did get one he got fired from it for stealing for one of friends (didn't scan some of his friends stuff at the register), and he only continued to get worse.

    My mom and I tried everything. EVERYTHING. We tried being strict, we tried being understanding, we tried reaching out. Nothing really worked. My brother is hard headed you see. So we backed off. We let it happen. We let him experience it. because wasn't that what he needed? After a few months, he stopped. He started coming around again, he stopped going out and partying, now when he goes to band practice he drinks maybe once every couple weeks and doesn't come home wasted any more.

    He just needed that experience.

    I understand your fear, because you had someone you were very close to die of a drug overdose. And your other brother has an addiction as well. When you look at your own child it's terrifying because you know better than ANYONE else in this world it's so very very very very possible that he could have an addictive personality like his uncles. And you can see everything that could go wrong, and you can imagine all of the horrors that he could go through in his life, and you can also see how much potential he has to be absolutely great!

    But here's the thing. Kids grow up. Your kid is 19. You sound like a very, very over protective parent. WHICH is not a bad thing! But the other side to that coin is, you need to realize there comes a time when your baby is an adult now. And he needs to make his own choices. And he needs to experience things.

    From what you have described, your son sounds actually probably a lot smarter than my own stupid younger brother (because god knows he did some very stupid things during his 'dark ages' that made me worry SO much I swear my life is probably going to be years shorter because of it). Your son sounds like a good kid with a great head on his shoulders. It sounds like he wants to stay out of trouble, and he's really not looking into getting into all of that. If there was only one drinking episode, and a few times of trying weed (because admit it, at least 95% of the population tries it at least once, and be honest with yourself, are you included in that?) then it sounds like he's a wise kid whose learning his lessons.

    But from experience with my brother - if you don't allow your son the freedom to grow up and make his own choices, if you restrict him and try to suffocate him with ground rules (even though you are just trying to protect him from the world around him), if you shelter him and keep him from doing things he likes such as hanging out with friends or sports: He will resent you. And I have learned that it is never too late with a young man to go into an absolute hellacious rebellion period. After all resentment from trying to be too protective over him is what started him at an early age to rebel - against his dad, and then us when we tried to control his downward swing.

    Watch over him. But let him start spreading his wings and most of all have trust and faith in him. Because at the end of the day, what's going to keep him making good choices is his relationship with you, and if he feels you're smothering him he won't want to do what will make you proud of him. Your faith and trust in him at the end of the day are absolute KEY to keeping his good morals in check. Because he will want to do what makes you proud of him.

    P.S. You said you son isn't going out much as it is, and he spends a lot of time with you. It sounds like you guys have a great relationship. And it sounds like you did an awesome job of raising him. To be honest, he's probably going to grow into a fine man. You're always going to worry about him, but you can't keep worrying about him the way you are. And I don't think there is need to because from the sounds of it: you did a damn good job of teaching him right from wrong, and your relationship together is strong. So take a deep breath, and look at him and be proud. Because as of right now, he's way better off than most people his age in maturity from what you've told us about him.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
    deanokat likes this.
  15. Zyni

    Zyni Community Champion

    I have a child about the same age. Once they are legally "adults," we lose a lot of the authority we once had. If we push too hard, they'll just move out. Then, we really won't have any say.

    It sounds like your son is trying to do the right thing, so hopefully, he has learned something. I think at this point, open communication and plenty of love and understanding are your best tools (along with prayer, if you are a person of faith). He has to, and will, make his own choices.

    I wish your family the best.
  16. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    I agree with Deanokat. At this point it is time to loosen the reins. He is going to do what he is going to do, and you can't be there to protect him, and hold his hand all his life. He may not always make the right decisions but he needs a chance to learn from his own mistakes. My son had a lot of problems with pot when he was younger, but his life experiences..caused him to learn and grow...he is on the straight and narrow now.
    deanokat likes this.
  17. lbkgirl

    lbkgirl Member

    thanks kasey i do agree with you there......only concern i have is the group of friends he is planning to be around they are the kids that he tried it with in the first place.........and he did have the wax episode at college which has us where we are now....I tried telling me husband we maybe allow him to interact with them while montitoring his behaviour to husband feels that if he decides to Hang with them socially he plans to ask him that if he thinks being with them is really a good choice for him rather than telling him he cant. And let him make the decision per say. And remind him of his situation which is he cant get into any kind of trouble and these "friends" are known pot users or now who knows what else..........and how that could effect him. I dont see any big issue with a soccer game in a mens league on a saturday afternoon and he is involved in other sports with my husband but i do worry when hanging out time comes ........he will be working full time so that should keep him busy....we shall see .....he doesnt really argue ....we could tell him flat out no and he would oblige but i am trying to have him make those decisions...........wish me luck the time is coming college lets out in May !
    KaseyHopeMartin likes this.
  18. Good luck! And he sounds like a pretty responsible kid. Like I described with my brother, he's matured enough to know that doing the things his friends do isn't a very good idea, so now he is capable of hanging out with those people and not do the things that they are doing.

    On the upside, if your son doesn't give into peer pressure or socialization pressure, then maybe he could be a very good influence and help those kids make better decisions in the future! Once he gets stronger in his own decision making and decides things for himself I bet your boy would be an excellent role model! A good friend whose a good influence could make all the difference for someone who needs the guidance - and that is something else to keep in mind when thinking about this. Maybe he could even get involved in the Big Brother program or something too if he was interested in that.

    Just remember to have faith and trust in him, and see where his decisions lead him, it'll be good for him to experience these things so that in the future when he's married and has kids of his own, he'll be able to have enough knowledge to give his own kids advice too.

    You and your husband are doing a great job, just hang in there and everything that will be, will be! I'm praying for you guys too!
  19. lbkgirl

    lbkgirl Member

    One thing we don't deal with is resistance -- even though he is 19 he is pretty compliant to our rules -- so we could say don't go here or there and we don't get threats to move out or any resistance -- we are more feeling bad for isolating him hence why we don't want to make those decisions for him -- we do worry about the friends he has and what advance drug use they may return home with -- that being said he went out Friday night and my husband asked he pop back in to meet an old friend of his who was stopping by -- he swung back home about 8:30 and never went back out -he stayed and talked about an hour or so -- ironically my husbands single but older friend brought up a great story about a friend of his with alcohol and drug abuse randomly unprovoked (good timing) anyway later my husband said aren't you going to meet back up with your friends and he said nah going to stay home --
    So we are thinking ok why not -- maybe he had this excuse my husband gave him an easy out to pop back home so he took it --
    Not really sure but either way it appeared he stayed home for a reason -- so going from there hoping it's a sign of good decisions ahead !