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18 Year Old Son
Posted: January 1, 2014, 8:36 AM


Posts: 16
Joined: January 1, 2014



Before I get started I want everyone to know I have one of the best son's a father could ask for!

This is my first day on this site and joined because I agree with the "tough love" approach I have read on many of your threads.

My wife and I just found out on the 26th of last month (Dec. 2013) our 18 year old son has been using marijuana for four years. This information came directly from him & what scares me is that he had absolutely no fear of telling us. We tried to make him aware of the dangers but he refused to listen. Then it dawned on me; you cannot have a coherent discussion with anyone who is addicted to drugs. He fought us every step of the way.

Day two; I cut off all his outside communication; phone, lap top, and car & told him to leave the house. He became very angry. So much so that he attacked me. I have never witnessed this type of behavior from him before. My wife then blocked what I was trying to do and everything went down hill from there. Not only did my son leave, but my wife left with him & will not communicate. To her defense, this was a tremendous amount of information to absorb in such a short period of time & I am certain most mothers would have done the same.

What's next? Please help!

This post has been edited by M7557 on January 1, 2014, 9:00 AM
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Posted: January 1, 2014, 11:20 AM


Posts: 16511
Joined: October 17, 2003



M7557,

We've moved your post to the Families/Partners of Addicts forum. You will get more feedback about your situation here.

- the Moderators
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Posted: January 1, 2014, 12:05 PM


Posts: 16
Joined: January 1, 2014



Thank you.
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Posted: January 1, 2014, 6:33 PM


Posts: 397
Joined: August 8, 2005



Tough love has both its fans and its detractors. It needs to be used in a planned and careful way, not as the result of an angry confrontation. It is not effective as a punishment. It does not necessarily force someone back to compliance. It can often backfire if the other spouse is not on-board. Kids can sense the division between the two parents, and work it to their advantage by driving a wedge between husband and wife.

Perhaps you were premature in instituting this approach. It was obviously a shock to find that your son has hidden his pot use for 4 years. It is natural to be angry and disappointed with him, but communication is important right now. Does he work or go to school? What are his plans for his own future? Is he sitting around doing nothing? These are important bits of information to consider when speaking to him about his pot use and the impact it can have on his life plans.
(If he is seeking employment, he will soon find out how many companies do drug screens before hiring.)

At 18, it is important to guide him towards independence. Give him opportunities to help pay for the luxuries of a laptop, phone, and car. If he cannot or will not contribute, then allow the natural consequences to happen....phone gets shut off by the company, can't pay for the car insurance? car sits in driveway as it's illegal to drive with no insurance. This to me is a better tough love approach, as it is more what true life is like.

When he decides to come back home, have a plan as to how much and what he is to contribute to the household. He is probably thrilled to be a legal adult, but needs to understand that with those freedoms come responsibilities as well.

It would be a shame to harm your relationship with your son, who you state is the best. He needs your guidance, not anger and frustration. You also need to spend time talking to your wife, as she needs to express her feelings and fears as well. By sitting down as a family, set some goals for your son to work towards. This way, he will feel he is taking an active role in his own life, rather than simply being punished for his behavior.

Best of luck and keep posting. There are a lot of people struggling with similar things.


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Posted: January 1, 2014, 7:56 PM


Posts: 16
Joined: January 1, 2014



This is wonderful advice and I agree with everything you've written. However, there is much more to the story. My apologies for not getting into more detail in my opening post but I did not want to bore anyone with a long drawn out explanation. Hope I am not doing the same now...

Several months ago we caught our son using pot in our home. My wife and I spent a lot of time talking to him about that incident. He appeared to be back on tract. Then a few months past and he began staying out late with friends. The worst was until 3:00 am. We had another discussion with him and set the ground rules which he did not agree with and left home for several weeks. He then called his mother and asked if he could come back home and we both agreed but only if he followed our rules, one of which was becoming more responsible and of course not engaging in reckless activity. This lasted until I detected the smell of pot in his room… hence this discussion.

Once I detected the smell of pot in his room I simply asked him where he purchased the pot. He hesitated, and then stated from a friend. I then asked him to write down on a sheet of paper what his punishment should be. This is what he wrote; “I think if I stay consistent with my grades and pull my weight then I don’t think it matters what I do on my own time. If I’m responsible enough to have good grades too then I’m responsible enough to be a young adult”.

His grades in school began to suffer until my wife and I recognized there was a problem. With our guidance he ended up with a 4.0. He accomplished this by turning in extra credit and dropping an “F” on time. The weight portion has nothing to do with assisting with bills. Everything he has is paid for. This is my mistake because he also has a job and I have not offered financial guidance/responsibility.

My getting angry was a mistake. It happened when he became defiant & stated he had been using pot for four years & stating I should try it & many other statements in support of the drug. I should have realized he is only 18 years old & statements like that are to be expected. What isn't expected is getting attacked because you take away a phone. My reason for doing this was to cut off his communication with his "friends". His most recent conversations were about drugs & alcohol. Two 18 year old boys & a 15 year old girl.


My hard love statement isn't about confrontation. It is about this quote that brought me to my knees… is this not true? If it is then when would it apply?

"If you love me let me fall all by myself. Don't try to spread a net out to catch me, don't throw a pillow under my a** to cushion the pain so I don't have to feel it, don't stand in the place I am going to land so that you can break the fall (allowing yourself to get hurt instead of me) ... Let me fall as far down as my addiction is going to take me, let me walk the valley alone all by myself, let me reach the bottom of the pit ... trust that there is a bottom there somewhere even if you can't see it. The sooner you stop saving me from myself, stop rescuing me, trying to fix my broken-ness, trying to understand me to a fault, enabling me ... The sooner you allow me to feel the loss and consequences, the burden of my addiction on my shoulders and not yours ... the sooner I will arrive ... and on time ... just right where I need to be ... me, alone, all by myself in the rubble of the lifestyle I lead ... resist the urge to pull me out because that will only put me back at square one ... If I am allowed to stay at the bottom and live there for awhile ... I am free to get sick of it on my own, free to begin to want out, free to look for a way out, and free to plan how I will climb back up to the top. In the beginning as I start to climb out .. I just might slide back down, but don't worry I might have to hit bottom a couple more times before I make it out safe and sound ... Don't you see ?? Don't you know ?? You can't do this for me ... I have to do it for myself, but if you are always breaking the fall how am I ever suppose to feel the pain that is part of the driving force to want to get well. It is my burden to carry, not yours ... I know you love me and that you mean well and a lot of what you do is because you don't know what to do and you act from your heart not from knowledge of what is best for me ... but if you truly love me let me go my own way, make my own choices be they bad or good ... don't clip my wings before I can learn to fly ... Nudge me out of your safty net ... trust the process and pray for me ... that one day I will not only fly, but maybe even soar."

Thank you for your advice!

This post has been edited by M7557 on January 2, 2014, 7:01 AM
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Posted: January 2, 2014, 9:30 PM


Posts: 202
Joined: November 2, 2008



Tough Love - not for everyone, needed by some.

I appreciate your concerns, really, but...

How about not cutting off his lines of communication? Meaning, allow him to continue on with those, provided he adheres to the house rules. If not, he is 18, he is an adult. Simply have him removed from your home.

This in no way suggests that you shouldn't love, respect and give him his space. Rather, it sets boundaries.

Here is the fact: People who engage in drug addiction, cheating (sex addiction), anger outbursts, belittling others, using of other people, etc., all have something in common...

They are miserable inside.

The question then becomes, why?


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Posted: January 3, 2014, 7:43 AM


Posts: 16
Joined: January 1, 2014



I agree with the last part of your post but I’m confused about your third paragraph; “Allow him to continue on with those, provided he adheres to the house rules”.

How can this scenario work? Wouldn’t it be like asking a bee to visit a flower and not drink?

This post has been edited by M7557 on January 3, 2014, 8:25 AM
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Posted: January 3, 2014, 9:54 AM


Posts: 16
Joined: January 1, 2014



I have seen too many families destroyed by drugs and alcohol & now that it is affecting my son, my first instinct was to protect him at any cost. I saw this drug as an intruder that would stop at nothing to destroy our family. I was lashing out at something that has no emotions and hurting those who are most dear to me.

I made a phone call to a local treatment center. They meet with parents every 2nd Saturday of each month. Hopefully this will be a good place to start.

This post has been edited by M7557 on January 3, 2014, 10:32 AM
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Posted: January 4, 2014, 1:43 PM


Posts: 16
Joined: January 1, 2014



Why is it assumed every time a family is in crisis the father is to blame? Why is it when a father searches for help whether it is on line or from local sources it is assumed he is to blame? Why is it when the opposite sex (female) inquires concerning the same crisis type the professional responses are much different then that towards men? Do we live in a society where if one man commits unspeakable acts, all men are the same? Do we live in a society where it is assumed a father’s pain does not cut as deep as a mothers?

I have been married for 34 years. I pride myself in the sanctity of marriage and family. My entire life revolves around family. We have had our share of ups and downs but have managed to get through the difficult times through the grace of God. What we (men) need isn’t; you should have done this or that but rather the same reassurance given to mothers. Perhaps a simple message like; Its obvious you care about your son..., your son is fortunate to have a father who cares..., etc.

FWIW
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Posted: January 8, 2014, 9:42 PM


Posts: 202
Joined: November 2, 2008



"I agree with the last part of your post but I’m confused about your third paragraph; “Allow him to continue on with those, provided he adheres to the house rules”.

How can this scenario work? Wouldn’t it be like asking a bee to visit a flower and not drink?


There is no "scenario" that "works". All that I am suggesting, is, that you allow him to be an adult, and the result of his decisions and/or actions will fall on his shoulders.

The responsibility isn't yours...it's his. And as long as you remove the life experience, the ones where he feels the consequences, you might stifle growth.
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Posted: January 8, 2014, 10:52 PM


Posts: 8548
Joined: April 24, 2007



So true, Chidon...so true. Not allowing them what I believe now to be the dignity of choosing their path, learning from it, and growing is a great injustice. They have much to learn about their own character and stamina...what they are made of...who they are. We are driven by fear and the idea that we can rescue or fix them...really they can and must fix themselves.

Happy 2014 to you =)

Peace ~ MomNMore

--------------------
You will not change what you are willing to tolerate.

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Posted: January 10, 2014, 8:19 AM


Posts: 16
Joined: January 1, 2014



!There is no "scenario" that "works". All that I am suggesting, is, that you allow him to be an adult, and the result of his decisions and/or actions will fall on his shoulders. The responsiblility isn't yours...it's his, And as long as you remove the life experience, the ones where he feels the consequences, you might stifle growth.

Chidon, (MomNMore),

This was my first experience down this road as a parent and now that I've had a chance to collect my thoughts and research this topic in more detail, everything you've stated here makes perfect sense.

I think our roll as parents is to continue to guide him through this difficult time by reminding him of the hidden dangers and consequence of his behavior, and to continue to share with him, family values; all... without shattering his spirit. He is a great son and there is no question in my mind he will make it through this difficult time.


Thanks.

This post has been edited by M7557 on January 10, 2014, 8:31 AM
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Posted: January 10, 2014, 1:15 PM


Posts: 5
Joined: January 9, 2014



Hi There,
I too am new to this site and can certainly relate to what you are currently going through with your son. I also have a son, and he is currently a full blown drug addict! His addiction started with him smoking pot and then eventually progressed into him using other drugs. In the beginning I tried the "tough love" approach but he just didn't seem to care anymore about anything, I felt powerless! As much as I loved my son and wanted so desperately to help him, I had to make the toughest love decision, which was asking him to leave. He was very angry at me after that, and eventually things just got worse! For the first time, as a parent, this was something I could not fix or kiss and make better! I had met the devil and his name was addiction!
Over the years, as my son got deeper and deeper into the lifestyle of his addiction, our lives became one crisis after another and each time I lost more of myself as I tried to find ways to help my son. I could not seem to grasp the concept that I was powerless over his addiction, but I still kept trying to rescue him.
Addicts are not "bad" people, they are "sick" people who do bad things. There is a difference. I remember the good person underneath the addiction, and I so desperately want him back!
There is obviously so much more to this story, but the point I am trying to make here is, in the case of addiction, all to often, helping hurts. When we think we are being kind, we are actually being cruel, because we help keep our addicted child where they are! When we hold them accountable for their actions and they hate us for it, we are taking the kindest action we can!

ConcernedMom
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Posted: January 10, 2014, 2:33 PM


Posts: 2309
Joined: February 19, 2010



I went so tough love late in the program it was too late and I don't know if that was right. There isn't a. Right or wrong who the heck knows. I think men and women deal with things differently I use my husband and I as a source. What he didn't ignore he over reacted to .... Me? I totally enabled and at one point made my husband the enemy. Been there survived that. Go to a group by yourself see what helps you. Maybe alanon for families. Keep coming here. It does help to talk things out, even retread your own posts and see how you evolve. momg
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Posted: January 10, 2014, 5:32 PM


Posts: 16
Joined: January 1, 2014



ConcernedMom,

At this point the only drug my wife and I know about is pot, and (forgive me for saying) the types of drugs your son is experimenting with would be our worst nightmare. As a parent my heart goes out to you! I can’t even begin to imagine the pain this has caused. Your quote is outstanding; Addicts are not “bad” people, they are “sick” people who do bad things. I think knowing this is half the battle. And even though, I like you, have only been on this site for a short period of time…I’d have to say you’ve come to the right place.

All the best to you and your son!



This post has been edited by M7557 on January 10, 2014, 5:37 PM
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Posted: January 10, 2014, 5:54 PM


Posts: 16
Joined: January 1, 2014



momg,

I do not regret my response to our son's 3rd offense. I have to believe it was positive reinforcement. I have no problem with him or others being angry with me because I know in the scheme of things, it is short lived. However, I cannot loose sight of the fact that it is time to move on, to supporting my son, and at the same time allow him to experience life on his own.

My hope is that once he is an adult (a true adult & not societies version) I can sit down with him and explain why dad did what he did (good/bad). Whenever times get tough with my son's I always mention this; you will never fully understand the bond between a father and son (or daughter) until you have children of your own. To me, this would be the time to revisit the past.

This post has been edited by M7557 on January 10, 2014, 5:58 PM
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Posted: January 15, 2014, 1:43 AM


Posts: 1
Joined: January 13, 2014



I think you were a little rash and unthinking in your response to this whole fiasco. It is understandable and justifiable after what you have gone through and experienced. But cutting of his entire modes of communication, separating him from friends will all make make him angrier. The best thing would have been to take a softer approach. But what has happened has happened, let us now think about what needs to be done. Since your wife is with your son, you can talk to her. Both of you decide on a suitable rehab for drug abuse where your son can be treated. They say the earlier you start to treat the better. Make him understand how this addiction will destroy his life. I hope you will succeed, all the best.
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Posted: January 15, 2014, 7:53 AM


Posts: 16
Joined: January 1, 2014



RicardoSarratt,

Before I respond can you tell me how old you are? Are you currently experimenting with drugs? Are you a recovering addict? Or, are you a parent of a young adult who is addicted to drugs?
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Posted: January 15, 2014, 8:19 AM


Posts: 8548
Joined: April 24, 2007



I never weighed in on the phone thing, but you are under no obligation to provide your son with a cell phone, so taking it away is certainly your right. I question only that at 18 you are going through his phone without his knowledge. Was it part of your agreement that he would sacrifice any right to privacy if he lived at home? What sorts of boundaries were established ahead of time? You must realize that you cannot prevent him from doing what he will do with or without a phone...disposables are cheap, contact can be via facebook, or instant message, or myriad other methods. This only gives you the illusion of control...it doesn't actually give you any.

Peace ~ M&M

This post has been edited by MomNMore on January 15, 2014, 8:20 AM

--------------------
You will not change what you are willing to tolerate.

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Posted: January 15, 2014, 9:24 AM


Posts: 16
Joined: January 1, 2014



MomNMore,

You are losing sight of what is going on here and reading only what you want to read; First of all, this was his 3rd incident with drugs and what you are recommending so adamantly did not work the first two times (we tried that). And second, as a father and the supposed head of the household, I needed to take a stand… good, bad, or indifferent. What was my stand? To send a clear message that what he was doing is wrong. What you also fail to understand (or read) is that I have also stated; now is the time to move forward with helping our son by offering support and guidance.

All addictions come with underlying issues. My other roll as a parent is to somehow gain my son’s trust so that whatever ails him can be brought to the forefront. Today’s young adults have more pressure placed on them than ever before. And to complicate matters, the family structure has disintegrated to the point where we believe more in the sanctity of divorce, than the sanctity of marriage. Pier pressure has also increased and with high divorce rates; where are these young adults getting their examples from? They are getting their examples from one parent households where dad has been shoved out of the picture (or neutered by society) because he wasn’t “soft” with junior & the kids are allowed to run ramped, and the cycle repeats itself; Getting progressively worse with each generation.

So no, I do not agree with you…
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