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Message Board > Families / Partners of Addicts > Newbie - 16 Year Old Son (iv Drug Use)

Posted by: YellowBirds December 26, 2018, 12:49 AM

I just found this message board. Thank you all for sharing your stories. It was not how I hoped I would spend Christmas Day, but here I am.

My son is 16 years old. He has been struggling with addiction since he was 14. Same old story - bright young boy with loads of potential, well liked by others, a gentle soul. We started noticing a change when he was 13.

He tried cocaine for the first time when he was 14. He did almost every drug possible by mouth or up his nose - cocaine, xanax, ketamine, LSD, opioids, GHB... the list goes on. I suspect he smoked crack for a short period as well. He did everything to excess - multiple drugs, often in combination with one another. He stole from us, punched his fist into mirrors, ran away, carved crude handmade tattoos into his arms, quit school.

I just found out he has crossed the line from snorting to injecting. My husband and I are beside ourselves.

We have done everything in our power to try to help him. We sold our home to pay for rehab (he agreed initially but then refused). I searched for him in flop houses, knocking on strange doors in the middle of the night. I physically picked him up off the street and drove him to the hospital (he was Baker Acted for 2 days and then released). We locked him in the house, sleeping in front of his door to prevent him from leaving. We sought family therapy, individual therapy, couples counselling. We read books on addiction, spoke to addiction counsellors, went to parent groups. I even attended AA meetings on open nights to try to understand the addict better.

None of this worked. In fact, it got worse.

I just found out my son is injecting. This week, I walked in on him high. He could barely stand straight and was slurring his words. I found needles, tourniquets, and sterile cups in his room. He has been shunned by all of his friends. He has no one except his girlfriend, who is also an addict. They are in a codependent relationship. Joined at the hip, needles in their veins. They are awake all night and sleep all day. His hygiene is atrocious.

My husband and I are on the same page, however we are both inconsistent with our bottom line. We kicked him out a few weeks ago but allowed him back in when the friend whose couch he was sleeping on died of an overdose. We got scared and buckled. Since that time he and his girlfriend have been living in our basement. We recently learned that they are injecting IN OUR HOME. My son admitted this to me this morning, crying, however he is not ready to go to rehab. He thinks he can do it "on his own."

I live in a country that is very cold this time of year and the shelters are almost always full (I know, I called). They have been shunned by everyone, even their addict friends. I'm terrified to kick him out but I don't want to continue enabling him. I feel like I may be able to handle it emotionally if I don't have to hear or see his pain, but I don't see how that's possible unless I block his number... but I don't feel I'm ready for that. I assume that day may come, but I'm not there yet. It goes against every fibre in my being as a mom, but I'm beginning to understand when people say you can't free someone from their addiction... only they can.

Thanks for listening. I think I've found my new home.

Posted by: Sallyanna December 26, 2018, 1:42 AM
Yellowbirds welcome and so sorry about your son's addiction. My daughter is an IV heroin user and I remember when I learned she was using IV my heart just sank....he is so young I hope he will choose to go to rehab.

Posted by: YellowBirds December 26, 2018, 2:23 AM
Thank you for the support. I’m having a rough night. Can’t stop crying. Does this ever get easier?

Posted by: Walkedon December 26, 2018, 10:24 AM
It never gets easier. I'm so sorry for you.
Since he is a minor you might have some controll on having him sent to another rehab one that takes you insurance.
Have you thought about having him and his girlfriend arrested. Sounds like its time for drastic measures.
My daughter is 30. I am just now letting go of her mess. I wish when I would have done so much more when she was 15.

Posted by: YellowBirds December 26, 2018, 1:31 PM
Thank you for your comment. I have considered going the legal route, but can I ask what I could have him arrested for? For the drug use? Is there a minimum amount he needs to have on his person to result in a charge?

Posted by: Walkedon December 26, 2018, 2:41 PM
You can have him arrested for possession esp in your house.
The problem with the arrest, is this will be a misdemeanor.,fines probabtion no jail time. It also takes about 6 months before any of that goes in to effect.
At best you can hope for drug court. My daughter has been on probation for 2 years.Did it help her stop using? No but at some point it sunk in to her thick head that jail was a very real possibility.

Posted by: Walkedon December 26, 2018, 2:56 PM
I imagine dealing with the juvenile system is completely different set of problems.
What if his girlfriend Overdoses in your home. Are you liable for manslaughter ?
I was always worried how my daughters actions were going to make me liable. You have already lost a home.
I pray for you.

Posted by: samegame December 26, 2018, 4:05 PM
When they're young is when you go all into to try to steer them away if it's not too late. The longer they do the more normal it will seem to them. Give them their chances, try helping them but before you know it time will normalize that life for them.

The good news is that 16 is young enough to see other ways of life the bad news without a lifetime of experience and wisdom it can be difficult to see a different future. A sober life and possibilities must shown and sold to them as often as possible before they wind up out on the street as an adult. Remind them there no room experimentation and "partying" with those drugs can turn them into an addict. You still have a year to two left to influence their lives/choices-take full advantage.

Good Luck

Posted by: YellowBirds December 26, 2018, 4:27 PM
Walkedon - I have considered the risk involved if she overdoses or hurts herself in our home. We discussed it in therapy the other day. She is at high risk for hurting herself (falling down the stairs, etc). When we moved in the summer I found myself unnaturally interested in such things as the steepness of the stairs, the absence of handrails, etc., as a safety hazard for my son. It’s amazing what addiction can do. Granite counter tops? That’s great, but are the stairs too steep? What about wifi connectivity, is there a good signal in the basement? It’s important if we need to call 911 in an emergency. Sad, just sad.

Samegame - thanks for your feedback. I worry that by graduating to needles at such a young age he will only get worse in time. He’s so young. I try to be hopeful, but it’s hard.

Posted by: Walkedon December 26, 2018, 5:04 PM
Why is the girlfriend there? Isnt one addict enough. I say this because I've been through that too. Had to kick my daughters boyfriend out.
I also assume you provide everything including drug money..been there done that too.
I sold a house that my daughter lived in .She basically turned it in to a crack house.
When I finally started to stand my ground things started to change. Several of my daughters are in rehab and jail. Maybe one of them will make it.

Posted by: YellowBirds December 26, 2018, 5:27 PM
Walkedon - why is she living in my house? Good question. We kicked them out a few weeks ago. The person whose apartment they were staying at ended up dying of a heroin overdose, so we caved and let them in for one night. They haven’t left since.

It’s embarrassing to admit how powerless we feel. If someone were to tell me this was happening to their child I feel as though I would have a ready answer, like everyone else: “Kick them out! Call the police! Charge them with trespassing!” I have been HUMBLED by the reality of having a son who is an addict. Unfortunately, dealing with this is easier said than done... however we are getting stronger each day and are determined to hold our boundaries again.

I am cursed with an excess of empathy. I feel my son’s pain acutely,, so it’s hard to let go. But I know we’re not helping him by doing this. It is coming to an end today. We have a plan and are in the process of executing it. Wish us luck!

Posted by: Walkedon December 26, 2018, 5:30 PM
I feel for you. It's a long road. I'm dont mean to sound harsh. I know how you feel ,we all do.
Keep trying.

Posted by: pgoho December 26, 2018, 11:01 PM
Hi YellowBirds,
I am so sorry you are going through this. My son started at 13 and now 23 years old.
I too have done anything and everything you can think of. He has been to about 15 Rehabs and
over 18 Sober Livings, arrested 7 times, OD maybe 5 times??, and last January was stabbed from below is breast bone to his privates and cut open because he stopped breathing 2 times.
Now, he is in SAFP (Prison for people that has had severe drug problems). Today he is good and I can sleep but I will be worrying in 3 months. He will be 9 months sober.
I'm sharing this because we understand your pain. Its hell!! I too have left him homeless thinking that would do it, drove by myself into a gang area to find him under bushes all messed up and paid off his drug dealer because he had a gun. OMG its Been a lot.
I personally think what works for one person may not work for the other. Thats my personal opinion. I take all the advise I can get but at the end of the day.. I know my son and I know that I'm the only person truly there for him (his dad died a few years ago).
You do what you feel is right for you and your son.
I have been to parenting classes and all that you mentioned too. There is absolutely no right or wrong thing to do.
I know my son is a good person and he will always know how much I love him. I will NEVER GIVE UP.... But, I know I may have to love him from a distance and when he calls, I will make sure to always say I LOVE YOU.
I'm sorry to go on and on. I believe there is hope for all of our loved ones but you have to have Faith and LET GO LET GOD and let him walk this journey with your son.
Your son is still young and has a very good chance of turning things around.
My suggestions--don't enable. If he gets arrested, let him sit there. Do not get him out.
He really needs to see what the consequences are.
Sorry for rambling. Please message any time. I've been going through it 10 years and you know what? I'm not ashamed of my son and I'm not giving up. I think God has a plan!!
Hugs and Prayers !!

Posted by: YellowBirds December 27, 2018, 12:02 AM
Pgoho - Thank you so much for sharing. I’m sorry you had to go through this too (to a much greater degree). I told my therapist that there are no words to describe the pain that I feel. Its beyond words. Do you remember the story about the killer whale who carried her dead baby for 17 days at sea? There are no words to describe that level of grief.

I can’t imagine how it would feel to see my child OD, as you have. I actively fear it. II don’t know if I can handle it, but I know I have no choice but to face it if it happens.

Thank you for reaching out to me.

Posted by: Parenting2 December 28, 2018, 12:35 AM
I have walked in your shoes. My son started when he was 13 (I just found out recently. I had no idea. I thought he had mental issues, but had no idea the stay-at-home mom of 4 boys was giving him drugs. He has the same behavior-just inhaling massive amounts of whatever he can get his hands on. I tried everything and it did not help.

People who don't understand would act like I was not being tough. But, no matter what I did, he continued. At one point, he had no car, no phone, no money, no food...He did have a place to stay because he was a minor, but we went to zero anything else. NOTHING CHANGED. On top of the hurt of his downward spiral, was the accusations of others that we must be giving him things, etc. Addiction will drive them way down without stop no matter what we do.

We have to learn about addiction, take care of ourselves, and learn how not to enable. But, the horrible thing is...there is no gaurantee the addict will ever stop. I am starting to look at this as if he has cancer. For some reason it helps me let go.

Keep sharing everyone. It helps to not be alone.

Posted by: YellowBirds December 28, 2018, 2:11 AM
Parenting2 - I hear you, and I’m sorry you’re going through this as well. I tend not to speak to others about my son’s issues as it only increases my isolation. They just don’t understand, so I stick to those who “get it.” This is why this forum feels so comfortable.

Posted by: YellowBirds December 28, 2018, 2:25 AM
Parenting2 - You mention one of the hardest things about addiction: the fact that despite doing all the right things (allowing them to hit rock bottom, not enabling, not giving in to demands or manipulations, holding your boundaries, etc), there’s STILL no guarantee they will surrender and accept the help they need. It’s a conundrum - we’re encouraged to inflict further suffering in the hopes of getting the addict to surrender, knowing full well that it may just add further suffering to someone who won’t get better and is already suffering enough!

Tonight is a sad night for me. The pain is acute. Parenting an addict is not for the faint of heart.

Posted by: BugginMe January 4, 2019, 10:18 AM
I just wanted to mention something about having them arrested. When my son was still young I went to the police station and begged them to put him in jail or take him to rehab or DO SOMETHING before things got any worse. They told me they could do nothing until he committed a crime. Small crimes aren’t good enough. They would pick him up for running away or truancy but immediately release him. They have real criminals to worry about. A juvenile delinquent headed for trouble is low on their list. They would call and tell us we were responsible for his actions. They threatened to call CPS if we didn’t come get him. We had another great child that we had to protect. They said we had to make him go to school but we both worked and I would get him to the school but he would walk out the back. He was pig headed and determined to do nothing he was supposed to do no matter who wanted him to do it. Things got worse. He did learn some things over time. Learned to play the game and manipulate people. He is still using drugs more than 20 years later. No IV Drug use to my knowledge.

Posted by: YellowBirds January 4, 2019, 6:40 PM
Buginme - Thanks for your post. I am waiting for the police to catch him as well (it’s so sad that we WANT our kids to be taken to jail, isn’t it?). So far he has some petty crime under his belt that they’ve let go, much to my dismay.

My son stopped going to school several months ago. I spoke to the school and begged them to send a truancy officer so there is some form of consequence, but no - there are too many kids to deal with, apparently they’ll get to it “when they can.” I dare them to tell me to try to force him to go to school when he left out of the back door after we dropped him off, especially after all we tried to do to get him help.

Children’s Aid was called when we first took him to the hospital to be assessed against his will. They said they would take him to a group home where he will just run away because he is a flight risk. I told them I was willing to hand over my parental rights if they could force him to rehab (the one we sold our house to pay for!), but they said no... rehab “has to be voluntary” unless forced by the judicial system.

What a freaking mess.

Posted by: sad eyes January 4, 2019, 11:43 PM
Gee yellow birds your son is still so young, you have done all you can to help him, and exhausted yourself, think next step would be intervention, don’t know to much about how you go about it, watched a lot of that on dr Phil show they have a team, heart mbtraking to see are gods make these choices,hope you manage to get through this, stay strong,

Posted by: YellowBirds January 5, 2019, 1:21 AM
Sad eyes - thank you for your words of support. They mean a lot to me.

Posted by: Walkedon January 5, 2019, 5:16 PM
Yellow bird.Is the girlfriend still at your house? I read you were thinking of a professional intervention. What happens to the girlfriend.

Posted by: YellowBirds January 9, 2019, 1:41 PM
Walkedon - thanks for asking. Sorry I’ve been MIA, I’m really struggling these days. It takes every ounce of energy I have just to stay awake and go to work. This is true hell.

The girlfriend is gone from the house. We locked the basement door and changed the locks. It is now a no-entry zone. I haven’t seen her for about a week. We’re not letting her back in the house. We don’t support the relationship so our son is going to have to leave if he wants to see her... and leave he does, for days at a time.

My husband and I had a disagreement the other day that speaks to how we see our role in this. I I feel as though I’ve failed as a parent for not being able to control my young child.. He’s only 16 years old, so I feel as though it is my fault somehow. My husband disagrees, he believes the responsibility lies solely with our son. As with most things, I think the truth lies somewhere in between. We played a role, but our son did as well.

I just can’t stop beating myself up.

We are still considering an intervention. We had a conversation with the interventionist, and we like her. We want to hire her but I’m nervous about being able to follow her instructions. Can I do it? Can I call the police on my son? I’m caught in this scary place where I fear that the actions I take will steer the ship in a direction I don’t want it to go, but I know that I can’t control the outcome. I can only do what I think is best and hope for a positive outcome. The rest is up to our son.

I did take my son to the police once to be taken for a mental health evaluation. It was so hard. He has stolen from us in the past and we didn’t charge him, but we will if he does it again. We let him know. It’s just so hard.

Posted by: Walkedon January 9, 2019, 3:15 PM
I hope the interventionist has a clear path. I did everything my self. Calling police, having kid arrested,taking her to the I wish some one could have said do x y and z.
The arrests didnt work. She only got fines and probabtion,and that didn't go in to effect for 6 months after the arrest. So that was 6 more months of drug use.Pysch wards didn't help..only there for a few days. There needs to be instant repercussions and a clear plan.