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Old 05-18-2020, 03:09 AM
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Hi,

I wasn't sure whether to post this here or on the Family and Friends of Substance Abusers forum - please move this post if it's in the wrong place.

My son is 23 years old. We've had problems with him throughout high school, but eventually he managed to graduate (by doing the bare minimum). During his senior year, I insisted that he make some plans for life after high school - last thing I wanted was to see him sitting around in our house, smoking weed ad doing nothing. Because he said he doesn't want to go to college, we gave him the options of getting a job and paying rent, learning a trade somewhere, or enlisting. Then he surprised us and actually enlisted. He's been through a tour in Iraq, got injured towards of the end of the deployment and ended up getting medically discharged.

Then he met this girl. She's pretty wild, very provocative, parties a lot and uses drugs and spends her time with some shady types. The last person we want around our son. But he decided he's in love with her and going to marry her. He basically admitted to me that they use drugs together, and he doesn't consider it a problem. I'm not sure what they're using, but considering his behavior I don't think it's just weed. They also fight like crazy sometimes, and police has been called to their place because they were throwing stuff and hitting each other.

I'm not sure where they're getting the money for it. They used to ask us for money a lot using all kinds of excuses until I realized they were probably just spending it on drugs and told my son to get a better job if he wants more money (she doesn't work). They stopped asking, but now it seems that they're not short on money. I just hope they don't do anything illegal for it.

What can I do to get my son out of this mess and at least push him in the right direction? He needs a life and a normal girlfriend who won't drag him down. He won't listen to us or to his Army friends who think the same way we do. Whenever I see him I see he's on something and it just breaks my heart.
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Old 05-18-2020, 05:06 AM
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That sounds like a very uncomfortable situation. So sorry you have been put in this position. My only thought is maybe al-anon people might have an answer. I don't know if they have on-line meetings? Best wishes.
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Old 05-18-2020, 07:38 AM
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Read the article on this site, " 5 Most Encouraging Things You Can Say to an Addict."
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:29 AM
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Thank you for the replies. I have signed up for an online Al-Anon meeting but they haven’t gotten back to me yet. I wanted to see if there are any parents here that I could talk to.
I read that article. I can say all of those things to my son, except for the “I’m proud of you” part since I am so not proud of what he’s doing these days. We hardly talk these days.
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:36 AM
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Talomera,
When my son was 23 he became a heroin addict. As a parent, you need to let him know you love him but don't enable him. In order to enjoy drugs you need to be a very selfish person. Selfish people do what feels good. I know first hand as I spent most of my adult life being self absorbed in making my life wanting to, "Feel Better."

In the 2019 movie, “Beautiful Boy,” the father asks his drug addicted son, "Why do you do all these drugs?" The son answers, “I don’t know why, when I tried it I felt better than I ever have, so I just kept doing it.”

This teen's statement goes to the core of human nature and hence, human behavior. He is seeking to regain control of his emotions, how he feels, with the quick fix or mood changer of drugs. We all seek emotional happiness, control of how we feel.
We are all driven to seek happiness (reward). All human behavior is driven by the pursuit of happiness (reward) and that, when we choose a specific behavior, we you do so because we see it as our best available option for happiness, at a given moment in time. Sometimes, we choose what we think is our best available option for happiness, in unhealthy ways, with substances and other corrupt behaviors. We choose quick rewards, ignoring long term gains.

As a parent your opinion is not going to matter much or perhaps not at all. Never the less, my advice is to try to ask him neutral, non judgmental questions about life. For example do you have a 5 year plan for your life? What will you be doing in 5 years? What do you value in life? What is important to you now? What do you think will be important 5 years from now? Don't grill him, ask as if you want his opinion. People don't change until they see value in change. People don't change until they hurt enough and have to, or learn enough and want to.
The good news is most people mature out of this, but the bad news is the harm that can come in the immediate future. My son eventually decided that living on the street and doing heroin (to feel better about life) was not a viable alternative for temporary happiness. He detoxed and quit when he found more value in faith, family and friends than living for his next fix. He figured out that in the long run, the main navigational tools in life are values and purpose. When good values trump your addiction, there is no addiction.

My prayers are with you and your family during this most difficult time.
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