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Old 09-27-2012, 11:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Are we overreacting to our teen - snowflake details?


First time posting, never doubted myself or my SO's choices before last night. I'm struggling to keep myself out of denial and really could just use some anonymous judging and insight. This may be long with lots of usel as I'm replaying the past few months in my head, trying to figure out the right call.

My girlfriend's son is 17, and since age 14 has been viciously verbally abusive towards her, and has done some property damage (worst was breaking a car windshield with his fist). He admitted to smoking pot, and we've always been hesitant about keeping alcohol around the place as any bottle we have either disappears or is watered down by the weekend. Eventually, it just became easier to stop buying it then constantly question him about it. In June of 2012, things had reached a breaking point where we were talking to her lawyer about terminating parental rights and giving full time custody (she has sole legal/physical) to the dad since every weekend, it was just a full time screaming match between teen and mom. We tried everything, setting boundaries, calling the cops, alerting his friend's parents, getting him counseling, etc., nothing mattered so we were done - we realized that only he could save himself, and while we would always love him, we had a right to be safe and happy in our own home as well but he would only be able to return if he accepted professional help and agreed to be sober and clean. 2 weeks before we served both the dad and teen with papers essentially evicting the teen, there was situation where he was caught in bed with another man's wife. After sorting through that mess, there was a criminal investigation opened into the wife for sexual abuse, drug trafficking/sale, and possible meth consumption. Apparently she was a recovering meth addict, something we never knew about her. The teen called us up the Friday before he was to be served, asking us to meet him at a local pizza place. We met him, and he came clean about the past few years and his usage. This is where the self questioning begins to take hold.

He told us that he was using Xanax, weed, alcohol, and random other pills on a regular basis. After growing closer to the wife, she ended up supplying him with Oxys, and Percs, also offering him meth and coke which he denied taking. He then stated that he knew that path he was on wouldn't lead anywhere good, that he needed professional help, and wanted to be clean and sober while improving his relationship with the mom. He also asked to live with us full time, which after much discussion, we agreed to on the basis that he attends counseling, and stays clean and sober. If the verbal abuse should return, he would get 1 warning about it; same with the drugs - the next time either happened, he wouldn't be welcome in the house anymore. In the next two months, he completed a diversion program (a little less then rehab), was actively attending counseling, doing better in school, wasn't verbally abusing mom anymore, he even got his driver's license and was passing the random UAs that we were giving him. He was back to being the son we knew and loved, he even talked about getting back involved with the military after high school; something he hasn't done in years (it was his childhood dream to be a solider). Last weekend, he asked to use the car to go to a movie with some friends, we agreed and told him to be home by midnight. 2am rolls by and he still isn't home, finally he comes home at 2:30 reeking of booze and pot. Apparently, they never went to a movie and instead went to party. The next day, he was set to attend a wedding of a friend's sister which we agreed to as we knew the family, and the friend had already bought a dress. He was set to be back by 8, but rolled in at 11 again reeking of booze and pot. From what we gathered, he blew off the wedding and went to another party. Finally, on Tuesday in the counselor's office he starts puking to the point that he needs to be removed; after getting him home, it's obvious he's high as a kite. He's still only admitting pot and booze, but the UA is also showing possible opiates and methamphetamines use. We are still waiting for the lab test to come back and we're not trusting a store bought UA for this.

He still isn't verbally abusive, but one of the conditions of him living with us full time is that he stayed clean and sober. Not only did he fail that, but he also drove drunk and high, putting others at risk. We were set to kick him out last night, giving him until Sunday to remove his stuff, which we told him about before changing our minds, and agreeing to intensive outpatient rehab. He is also only allowed to use the car for school, rehab, and work. Any usage, verbal abuse, or any deviation from the plan we're still working on is instant kicked out. No 4 day period, no passing go, the cops will be called and he will be removed. He can return with the cops to collect his clothes.

I guess I'm having a hard time reconciling who the loving kid was a month ago vs the very real possibility of relapsed son. He is a minor, how do you kick a minor to the street for pot and booze usage when we did the same things? We bent once against our better judgement because we're not ready to give up on him, but he deserves to live his life and the consequences they bring, even if it destroys us inside.

I guess I'm just looking to be told that we're doing the right thing, or that we're overreacting.
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Isn't parenting fun?

Personally I think you are being too easy on him. He lapsed twice in a very short time and you relented and are letting him both stay and use your car. I think the car at least should be off limits for him for a long time. And one more infraction would put him out the door. He needs to know that you mean what you say and he has reached the bottom line.


As for you doing the same thing when you were young, it was a different time then with very different drug strengths. What you smoked would not compare with what he has put into his body.
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Dear Kaim, please consider an inpatient program if your insurance would cover it. I only wish I had done more in the "early days" for my son. I believed and forgave him from age 18-19 through age 21 for little "slips", all of which led to heroin and meth.
The son needs professional help to overcome all of the different types of drugs he has been consuming. Please don't minimize the drinking/smoking pot and the drug test results.
Oxys and percs are opiates, and that ALWAYS leads to dependency.
Dependency will lead to desperate measures including stealing and lying to get the pills or worse case, move to heroin.
Trust me, that is a nightmare no parent should have to endure.
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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He drives drunk and high and he continues to be able to use the car? This makes no sense. Many parents refuse to impose consequences because it's inconvenient for them to do so.

A hair follicle test will likely show what substances he has injested over the past several months.

Where does his bio dad stand in this mess?
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree with the others! Set boundaries now and stick to them. Now is your best chance of getting him off this path before he gets in any haevier! It gets worse, and worse, and worse, and worse................
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Car Explanation

Should have explained the car a bit better, we both work too far away to pick him up from school everyday, take him to rehab or work, and neither of us can afford the PTO (it would be about 4 hrs a day). There is no public transportation, nor does the school provide busing to our apartment (different, worse school district). The family support has also said they do not want to pick him up because of the same reasons.

Stinks because I would love nothing more then to take the car away completely, but we're kinda stuck about it.
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Car Explanation

Should have explained the car a bit better, we both work too far away to pick him up from school everyday, take him to rehab or work, and neither of us can afford the PTO (it would be about 4 hrs a day). There is no public transportation, nor does the school provide busing to our apartment (different, worse school district). The family support has also said they do not want to pick him up because of the same reasons.

Stinks because I would love nothing more then to take the car away completely, but we're kinda stuck about it.

The bio dad situation isn't great, very much a white trash hillbilly with multiple kids, a trailer, with drug usage there. Not really involved in teens life (was for a few months in 2012); step dad situation is better, but he's a religious zealot and the one the teen was spending weekends with. Main problem there is the crazy factor, and also the fact that there were limited to no rules at the house (repenting for your sins type mentality). We are by far, the most stable household.
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I bet you a million bucks if he had to find a ride to a party he would have no problem doing so.

Make his transportation his responsibility.
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by womaninprogress View Post
Make his transportation his responsibility.
He's 17. His parent(s) are still legally responsible.
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:39 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaim View Post
In June of 2012, things had reached a breaking point where we were talking to her lawyer about terminating parental rights and giving full time custody (she has sole legal/physical) to the dad... , we had a right to be safe and happy in our own home... 2 weeks before we served both the dad and teen with papers essentially evicting the teen, there was situation...
Why not go back to the original plan?
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The car needs to go. My son went to school 10 miles away from home, and my husband traveled. I was immobilized in a back brace for 4 months, so we let him keep using it because he "needed it" to get to school.

That was a big mistake. We should have told him he needed to find his way there himself. We were so focused on making exceptions so that we could get him to graduate that we lost focused on the big picture - his life. As it was, we wound up doing an intervention 3 weeks before the end of classes his senior year. No prom- no graduation-no senior week. Just lots of rehab...

He did wind up getting his diploma, and is now in college.

Take the car away - when he asks how he'll get to school, telll him it's his problem. If you can afford inpatient rehab, that would be a good idea. It may not "stick" but the tools he'll learn may come in handy later...it will get him out of the house, and keep him clean until he's 18 and you can send him off on his own.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Mom of 21-year-old RAS (IV heroin). Get him help now. Whatever you can afford/insurance will cover. As previous poster pointed out, whatever he learns in rehab or any type of structured program will not go to waste.

Take the car away. Illness is inconvenient and expensive. Get to meetings--Naranon, Alanon, Families Anonymous--whatever is available. It's free and it's effective.

Praying God grants you a clear head and a calm heart.
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