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Old 10-04-2007, 06:15 AM
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New Era

Hi All, This is my first time posting to this forum. I need input and hope you can help. My son is a few weeks away from being 20 years old. He has experimented with drugs since he was 15 but has always remained function, maintained honor student status, etc. I've been through several "detoxes" with him at home. I believe mostly for marijuana and alcohol use. He got himself clean and somber last May without my help and I believe remained clean through the summer.

Here's the question......he's back at the University now and going through $100. in cash every 3-4 days. He's living in a dorm and has a meal plan, there should be very little need for cash. In the past his pattern has been to spend about $350 a month (which I do think is pretty low) and it wasn't ever largely in cash withdrawals.

I'm thinking this is a pattern that may represent meth use. Does anyone know?

Also I'm not stranger to addiction myself, being an alcoholic as well as the child of alcoholics, but I'm unsure how to handle this situation. Obviously he needs some money and most of what he's going through is his own earnings from the summer. I've talked with him several times and he is defensive, but then you probably would be if you were being accused of drug use and weren't using and you most definately would be if you were using. I'm cutting down his access to my cash to what I consider a reasonable amount for school expenses. He gave me his earnings from the summer to hold so that he wouldn't waste them, so I can limit his spending there if it's appropriate.

I guess I understand allowing them to hit their bottom, I'm just not sure if I have to fund the ride?

Thanks for any and all help.

Easeful
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:36 AM
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Welcome!
Others here can offer more advice but the one thing I can say is you do not have to finance your son.

Hitting bottom means you detach and he is pretty much on his own to face the consequences of his own actions. If that means he goes through all of his money and cannot pay for school he has to leave. It does not mean you step in and pay. It means if he runs out of money for social expenses in any given month you do not give him more money, regardless of the reason or the crying or the begging. It means you do not hop in with money if he says he is being threatened by his dealer or with expulsion or for bail.

He is in college so therefore he is considered an adult. As an adult, he is the captain of his own ship and he can steer it. If he steers it carefully and keeps his nose clean he won't run it aground. If he decides that drugs/alcohol are part of his life that use will likely escalate and become the center of his existance and he will eventually run his ship aground. The sooner you step back and let him, the sooner he will hit those rocks and seek recovery.

You did not cause it and you cannot control it. You absolutely should not pay for it.
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:44 AM
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no advice, just prayers!
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Old 10-04-2007, 07:12 AM
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Remeber the ad of tv with Carol O'Connor who lost his beautiful, talented so to drug abuse? The one where he said, "Get between your kid's and drugs anyway you can? That haunts me. You can't detach and get between them and drugs at the same time, can you? Was he just naive about what you can acutally do? Thanks.
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:19 AM
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Easeful,

I am new to this also. I hear so much in what you are saying that I heard from myself a few years back.I went through a very similar high School period with my son as you. It couldn't be all that bad he was in school and sports, doing well. (most of the time). and when he wasn't I could control it, by limiting his life , right? My son says I should have been a detective. I could always find him and know what trouble he was getting into. And I did a damn good job! ( hmmm?) Then he went off to college. And I wasn't around to snoop, question, restrict, etc. So my son could fall into the life he was bound and determined to find. He would need "extra" $ and always had an excuse. I could always rationalize it as well, " it is a pretty small amount of $ to get by with". Part of me said " He must do drinking or using" another part said, " he can't be" . And the loudest part of me yelled, " how can I control this?" I gave it a good shot. there were times he wasn't using and I thought he was. There were times he was clean and i thought he was using.
Carroll O'connor is right, if drugs are away from a person they can't take them. But thats not reality. We can't keep our young adult children in a box. And for some of our children this is the only way they aren't going to go searching for them. My point is you can spend a lot of time and energy, thinking you can control him and direct, his down a better path. "If he would just listen to me and see the future as well as I can he would stop this!"
But the truth is your son is the only one who can control himself. " I know this sucks! I found by threating and pleading, withholding $ and then turning around and giving in,and anything else I could do to control or fix his mistakes, i only made it easier on him and I to deny or see a problem.
please keep coming to this forum and go to an al-anon or nar-anon for parents meeting. It has helped me tremendously. Not a lot has changed for my son, but my "Crazies and Anxieties", are getting less and less. and I am learning so much how to REALLY help and care for my son as well as myself. I have a ways to go but the little bit of peace I am beginning to find is worth it to me to keep searching for more! Good luck. you are in my prayers.
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:50 AM
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You cannot control it. You did not cause it.

These forums are filled with people who have tried to get between their kids, SO's, Family, Friends, and Spouses and drugs. Most fail.

They (addicts) have to decide when enough is enough as do us codependents. They have to decide when they want recovery. Some never seek recovery. My XABF was one of those. Some seek recovery but cannot ever get it together and do the work. My X husband is one of those.

Yes, some die using drugs and that is so very sad and is often the greatest fear of those who are trying to save the addict.

I am sorry you are going thru this but I can say honestly if you keep the money flowing and the rescues coming, then the drug use will continue for sure and the damage from it is cumulative to the body and to the mind.

I spent a lot of years trying to save an alcoholic and then an addict. I can tell you that it did not work and I sure wish there had been a warranty on all I spent trying. If there was a warranty I can tell you I would ask for my money back because all it did was let them keep on doing what they wanted to do while draining ME.

Today my X husband is dead from years lf alcohol and Rx drug use.. he died as a committed inpatient in a psychiatric ward. My 18 years of working to prevent it and get between him and his alcohol etc. certainly did not work.

My XABF is shacked up with a new co dependent and is draining her dry as we speak. he has been a drug addict for 40 years and can spot a codie who will give him everything from a mile away. I tried to "rescue" him for 6 years. I wish I had my money back on this one for sure!!!!

What has all my intervention done? Cost me years of my precious life and many many dollars.. thousands I can tell you. Never again. Addicts can save themselves. I am tapped out!
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:08 AM
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Smile Enabling.....

Hi Easeful,
I have been in a simular spot with my son and just stopped sending him money. He still was able to get drunk or high even when he didn't have money because of the type of kids he hung out with. I also am a recovering alcoholic so understand some of what goes on with the kids.

I helped my son by listening and we would go to AA together once in a while but not a thing helped him...treatment..mental health counseling for depression...and he finally tried suicide and failed. Now he has a miserable life of his own making. It is hard for me but his Dad and I give a lot of support but no money even now.

He gets a pension from the Navy and Social Security to live on and of course all the meds and supplies he needs from the VA Hospital. He has to pay for caregivers out of his income so doesn't have a lot at the end of the month but seems to make it.

He is sick with an illness and understands this. He is on pain meds and I noticed he does still buy some alcohol, although I have only smelled alcohol on his breath once since he has been out of the hospital.

I do agree with "you can lead a horse to water but can't make him drink."

Please keep posting and if possible Alanon might be a help to you.

Kelsh
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:23 AM
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Another mom here. My kids couldn't manage to go to college, but my son did enroll for nearly a year.

How are his first semester grades? Do you have any access to those (probably not - we can PAY for the college, but the stupid rules say "privacy" won't allow us to know what our kids are really doing... grrrrr).

I think $100/week is pretty high, considering he is getting all meals. Why not tell him you will be sending $100/month and it is his choice how he spends that. The amount can go up, if his grades are all good.

Then hold firm... for me, that meant NOT answering the phone when they called. It was far easier for me to be strong if I did not have to listen to the "quacking".

My daughter's drug of choice is meth, and she couldn't even make it out of high school. But she also never needed any money from us - she was able to get her drugs through friends and by being a "runner" for the dealer. My son got his drugs by stealing from trucking companies and selling the scrap materials to a recycler. He also worked as a runner for the dealer.

In both cases, their appearance changed drastically. Daughter's make up got darker and darker... she dyed her beautiful red hair a dingy, icky brown. Son stopped showering and brushing his teeth and his clothes and car were always dirty. Daughter (the meth addict) got really bad skin... and when she got real bad, she started having sores in weird spots - like her arms and upper legs. The picking was due to nerve damage that makes them itch and pick (they call it meth bugs).

Neither of my kids EVER ever gave me "permission" to set a boundary, so I expect your son will balk at the reduction in funding - no matter what his state. But if you believe that $100 a month is reasonable, then his squawking doesn't change that.

I also started looking at the cell bills... egad. Both kids "rented" their cell phones to drug dealers... and the number of calls to folks I didn't know was incredible. They both also "lost" phones that needed to be replaced. And they both started wrecking cars. Son wrecked two and daughter wrecked five in one year.

I honestly thought daughter needed more instruction in driving and paid to have her retake some driving at the driving school that had graduated her... I found out from her drug counselor later that meth impairs the peripheral vision. Jeeze.

Anyway.... it is a rough road, being the mom of addicts. Alanon was the biggest help to me... and my home group is made up of LOTS of double winners. I think you would find it very helpful. I know, I did.

(((hugs)))
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Old 10-04-2007, 10:15 AM
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Another mom, there is no easy answer. I personally learned the further back I stepped the easier it was for me. Plus, she sensed a difference in me.
susan
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Old 10-04-2007, 12:11 PM
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Even though our children tend to drag us into their addiction, we have the option of being involved or not being involved. Everything that I have learned from this site indicates that we as parents should not enable our addict....which to me means...stop funding! You need to sit down and find out what ..financially he needs are for the regular style of living (not addict living) and fund him only that amount. Of course, if he is using, he will find another means of getting the drug and there is nothing you can do to control that. If he runs out of money, so be it!
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Old 10-04-2007, 12:14 PM
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Easeful,
Welcome to Sober Recovery.

Neither of my sons made it to fell time college, so I'm kind of out of your loop here. But, I agree with you, you don't want to be funding hs addiction if that indeed is the case. I think you should somehow access the situation in realtion to his grade point standings, and perhaps go from there.

I may be naive regarding college costs, but $100 every few days sounds unbelieveably high to me.

If I may ask, where is exactly is that money being spent? If he's dorming, that's paid for right? Is it for food and extras? (told ya I was naive...)
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Old 10-05-2007, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by BigSis View Post
<snip>

How are his first semester grades? Do you have any access to those (probably not - we can PAY for the college, but the stupid rules say "privacy" won't allow us to know what our kids are really doing... grrrrr).

<snip>
(((hugs)))
Thanks for the input. I don't have access to his grades. I didn't ask for it this year, pretty much as a show of faith. Asking now would probably be conterproductive. What I do have is access to the University billing. He's on an academic scholarship that pays half of his tuition. They'll put me on notice if that's in jeopardy. It's an annoying situation but way better than most.
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Old 10-05-2007, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by mooselips View Post
Easeful,
Welcome to Sober Recovery.

Neither of my sons made it to fell time college, so I'm kind of out of your loop here. But, I agree with you, you don't want to be funding hs addiction if that indeed is the case. I think you should somehow access the situation in realtion to his grade point standings, and perhaps go from there.

I may be naive regarding college costs, but $100 every few days sounds unbelieveably high to me.

If I may ask, where is exactly is that money being spent? If he's dorming, that's paid for right? Is it for food and extras? (told ya I was naive...)
So far his grades have always been above average. It's one of the harder parts of this to stomach. He's an honor student, debate captain in high school, Eagle Scout.....all accomplished what using something illegal daily. ::sigh:: Pretty obviously self medicating, at least in the beginning.

As for how the money's being spent, I've asked and the answer is music, movies, take out, dates...... All of his living expenses are covered by tuition, so it's all extras. $100 every few days is very high. But I'm able to rationlize it in my mind by saying he earned more money than ever this summer and spent absolutely none of it. He deserves to splurge a little. But then that voice in the back of my head says the withdrawals are too regular and too much.
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Old 10-05-2007, 07:05 AM
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Listen to the voice in the back of your head and your gut. That is a LOT of money. I own a house and pay all my own expenses from working and that is a LOT of money if you have your food and housing etc. all taken care of.
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Old 10-05-2007, 07:16 AM
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E. is so right! Far too much money for a college student-for whatever reason. Trust your feelings-beleive me I have found those "gut feelings" are right 98% of the time. Dates, movies, take outs-a $100 every few days-if it was even true-he needs to budget and save for a "rainy day". Just beware and take care of YOU first.
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Old 10-05-2007, 08:10 AM
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Thanks to everyone who has responded so far, your input is so welcome. I e-mailed him yesterday and pointed out (again) how much cash he's gone through in the last 7 weeks and asked what he has to show for it. The answer was pretty much "nothing" and an assurance that he would not continue to spend so recklessly. I replied that he needed to present us (his Dad and I are together) with a proposed budget along with how much he'd be spending on each thing. THEN the 3 of us would decide together how much of that would come from his earnings and how much if any would come from us. He agreed (what else can he do?) and said he'd get back with me next week. That's fine, but there'll be no money going into his account util we have this resolved. Right now he's got $40. left.

My biggest problem with this is the feeling that I do still need to provide for him. We've agreed to cover school expenses, housing, food and medical care. I've repeated this several times.

True to the nature of these problems he always finds ways around the rules. Ex. he "lost" his calc book and had to have money to purchase another one. I explained that I had paid for one book and in the future (always, always in the future it seems) I would not be repurchasing anything. I know what I'm dealing with, next time it'll be something else, his card was "stolen", he lost his id and had to eat out, he broke his glasses, etc.

It's just not possible for me to get out ahead of what he'll come up with. I remember vividly when he was 16 and started smoking cigarettes. I told him I couldn't stop him from smoking but that he would not smoke in my house. The next day I found him sitting in his open bedroom window. He said he thought it was ok because he wasn't "in" the house. So I "amended" the rule to include the yard. Always, Always, Always something. Can you tell I'm getting weary?

I have no delusions about this. He can and has supported his habits in the past without my money. And I know that he will in the future. I'm just trying to find the balance balance where I cover my committments and he takes responsibility for himself.
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Old 10-05-2007, 08:28 AM
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"NO!" is a complete sentence.

Example: "I broke my glasses and it will cost XX to have them repaired. I need the money." Your answer: "NO. I paid for the glasses first time around. You worked this summer and can take the $$ out of your account. Try to be more careful."

"I lost my calculus book and need $$ for a new one." "NO. I paid for the first one, you get to pay for any losses. "

"I lost my meal card and had to eat out and need money." I am sorry about you losing your meal card and it is a good thing you had enough money to eat out. I am not sending you more money. Please be more careful in the future." (If he has enough $$ for cigarettes he can find a way to get food!)

And when his summer money is gone, NO to more spending money is a complete sentence.

"I told you not to smoke in the House. You are in the window and that is in the house. Put it out and respect the rules and my trust in you, please. Thank you." followed by not answering in further discussion.

No is a complete sentence and you are not obligated to discuss everything. Some things are not up for discussion. Your rules. Your money. Your house. Period. (and BTW when he cries 'unfair' tell him life ain't exactly fair.)

Addicts are great manipulators and so are many codies. You can choose to be manipulated and you can choose to respond or you can choose boundaries that you can stick to and allow the addict to face the consequences of their actions. Up to you.
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Old 10-05-2007, 12:28 PM
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>Addicts are great manipulators and so are many codies. <

You may be right Elana, I may be codependent and he and I both have extrodinary skills as manipulators. It's something you're taught in the high chair in our family. But in my mind I'm not a codie, I'm a mother.

When did you feel like your children were adults and leave it to them make all of their own decisions and pay all of their own expenses? I feel like I'm living in a grey area in these college years, since the month he was born I started his college fund and committed my parenting to seeing him through his undergraduate degree. Thanks.
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Old 10-05-2007, 02:34 PM
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But in my mind I'm not a codie, I'm a mother.



I said that when I first came here sad and desparate in April. I hate that word, kinda like I hate "addict", sounds so awful. But look up the definition. You are codependent! We/mothers also enable their behavior.

What stopped me? At my AD's 5th rehab, the counselor who has been clean 25 years told me "You are going to love her to DEATH". I woke up quickly, started going to meetings, focusing on my shortcomings and changing myself. I will not help destory her, didn't think I was, but learned my helping her was in fact hurting her and only helping her to continue her behavior. I have learned when we cushion the fall, they learn nothing. I have learned so much here, better than any counselor I ever paid $$ to see.

When she called last week beaten and no where to go, I stood firm. She called her counselor and he got her detox and in a sober home. When I took her, she said I had changed. I have, she noticed and things changed also. I love her w/ all my heart, and to quote Carol Burnett (on her daughter Carrie's addicition) "sometimes you gotta love someone enough to let them hate you for a while"!

Nothing changes when nothing changes!

You will learn alot here, lots of experience more than me. Lot's of moms, and we all lean on each other. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't found SR!

Prayers for you and your son,
susan
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Old 10-05-2007, 04:45 PM
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QUOTE I feel like I'm living in a grey area in these college years, since the month he was born I started his college fund and committed my parenting to seeing him through his undergraduate degree. Thanks.QUOTE

In my opinion if I had been planning his college that long I would probably be the biggest codie in the world. I would get an apartment right next to the college to be sure he wasn't using (while I was looking that is) I am the mother of a relapsing heroin addict (who is going to the NA convention in MD this weekend) and I still fall backwards into codie mode all the time. I think I have figured that the correct thing to do is just enough to make me feel better, this may not be the absolute thing to do but right now I'm trying to focus on me so only what I'm willing to do is what I do.
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