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Old 06-01-2015, 02:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Five Years Here, So Sad to Still Be Here


I posted the scenario five years ago when my son was age twenty. In five years, his mental health and criminal tendencies have only gotten worse and worse. The situation:

At around age 5 or 6, played with fire with a friend, dangerously starting a fire in the basement of the house.

Up until age 9, B was a very well-liked and likeable kid. Frequently clumsy and uncoordinated, was accident prone. Sister nearest in age was violent with him. In fact, it is suspected that when he was just a toddler, she pushed him down the stairs while in his walker. No evidence that he was injured as he was found still upright at the bottom of the stairs. Household was always full of chaos and he was exposed to a quite a lot of trauma.

Between age 9 and 11, threw rocks at cars with a friend for fun. Threw a basketball at a moving vehicle, breaking its windshield. His father and I divorced when he was 9.

From age 11 or so (2000) until when he was sent to a residential treatment program in 2002, B engaged in the following risky and delinquent behaviors:

- punched a student in school for saying something about his Dad
- ran out of school
- stole from his Dad
- stole from the school basketball team
- with a friend (who later turns out to be a drugdealer) shot a firework at a group of people
- punched me

1999-2002: In the midst of aftermath of the divorce, no structure to his environment. I was working, and he had no parental supervision after school. Older sister would have large groups of her friends at the house, partying. Father tried to have him spend time with him, but there was no schedule to this.

2001: B was bedwetting. Showed signs of PTSD.

Winter 2002 to 2005: B attended a boarding school, where he flourished, for the most part. Had a few problems, however, including stealing money from his Dad during a visit and using it to run away to NYC. Also ran away for brief periods of time from the school in dangerous winter conditions, risking his life.

Spring 2005: B attended high school for a short amount of time in NJ, where he was exposed to violent, criminal, and anti-social "friends." Quickly got out of control: "Robotripping" (at one point needing emergency room care), doing serious hard drugs, borrowing them from gang-related thugs with the promise to pay them back, and was in an extremely dangerous situation. During this time, he also "huffed", sold an exam, slapped a student who got in his face, and mimicked the action of "snorting drugs" while in class, broke curfew, stole jewelry, ransacked sisters' rooms, took my mobile phone against my wishes, and pushed his sister.

Was hospitalized after breaking down the door to his house using a sledgehammer. Diagnosed during that 72-hour observation with bi-polar. This was a very hasty diagnosis. He had not experienced any sleep changes and his use of drugs was likely not disclosed to his treatment team. I infer that because nothing was ever mentioned about it.

Summer 2005: Due to what was going on, was sent to an outdoors boot camp program in Utah. Had a psychological evaluation done which concluded that he had Conduct Disorder - Childhood-onset. (I would disagree somewhat with that finding. I think it was Adolescent-onset, given the timing of divorce and onset of problems.)

Fall 2005: Family tried to keep him at home. Talked about the rules/expectations and even negotiated a contract to set boundaries. Pretty soon, he was breaking the rules and was sent to a therapeutic school in VA.

Spring 2007: Graduated high school. Had done so well there, being a highly-structured and restrictive setting.

Summer 2007: Lived in NJ and had a job, which he performed well. He may had been doing drugs, but nothing too serious happened this summer. He was looking forward to college, which was a full free-ride thanks to the ROTC scholarship he won.

Fall 2007: Started college while living in a transitional program for kids who need extra help and structure in adjusting to adult living. Did excellent because he had structure and was sober. However, he began to relapse, started to disobey the rules, and eventually was removed from the program.

Spring 2008: Lived on campus. Was hospitalized from alcohol OD. Was sanctioned by the school for alcohol possession.

Summer 2008: Lets friend drive his car but friend doesn't have a license. Almost gets cited for dangerous entrustment. Gets a DUI-like charge for driving at the legal limit at his age, which is under 21.

Since turning 18, far too many run-ins and close-calls with the law and problems with drug abuse. The diagnosis of conduct disorder does not seem to be remitting. Instead, it is becoming its adult form of either antisocial personality disorder and/or substance abuse disorder.

2009: B has a party that the cops bust. Almost gets charged with being a social host. During argument with his girlfriend, B spits on her and gets charged with harassment. During another argument with his girlfriend, she hits B. Cops get involved. B gets suspended from college and banned from campus. B enters campus anyway and almost charged with trespassing. ODs on valium and a week later does some oral drug (Cloricidin). B gets expelled from ROTC for being suspended from college.

Summer 2009: lives in NJ with his Dad. Continues to do drugs. Escalates to the point where he takes his Dad's car without permission and doesn't come home in time for Dad to go to work. Dad on the verge of kicking him out of the house. On the verge of homelessness, I took him in for about a month during which time he was completely sober. Then gets a break by being allowed to live at his girlfriend's house.

Fall 2009 - Spring 2010 - As far as I know, was hard-drug free and only used marijuana, and was doing really well. However, he began to smoke pot more and more as the summer approached. Later admitted to having done hard drugs during this time. Gets car in March and shortly thereafter crashes car, doing $1500 damage to the other car and $900 damage to his own car. Gets a speeding ticket. Was smoking increasing amounts of marijuana.

Summer 2010: Gets ticket for not producing drivers license for cop after being stopped for reckless driving. Gets stopped by police in NYC for a traffic violation, risking being caught with cocaine. Starts doing hard drugs again. Gets stopped for reckless driving and is cited for DWID. His Dad was again on the verge of kicking him out and cutting him off financially. However, since the only drug he claimed was in his system was Xanax, Dad did not want to take such an extreme step.

This was the point at which I discovered this forum. I haven't posted here since then. The same history has kept repeating since then, only with higher stakes and graver consequences.

He spent some time in Virginia, and did well for a year or so until he started taking Adderall. He began to abuse it, then went off the deep end. He went psychotic, had a breakdown, and was institutionalized for 72 hours. The doctors recommended at least a month in-patient treatment but his father did not go along with that and instead brought him back to NJ. He got B an apartment and pretty soon, after a few months or so, B was back on hard drugs, probably cocaine. He was arrested for "groping" random women. His Dad did not bail him out of jail. After about six weeks, he was put on probation for this low level felony offense.

Winter 2013-2014: B got involved with drug dealers who were robbing houses to support the drug business. He either allowed them to use his car or drove it himself, but whichever it was, he was an accomplice. He ended up arrested and charged with 2nd and 3rd degree felonies. He was facing a maximum of 10 years in state prison, but the attorney hired by his Dad got him a very strict 5 year probation through the drug court program. This was settled in the fall of 2014 and included weekly drug testing and psychotherapy.

Just a little over one half year later, and B has been arrested again. I don't have all the details from his Dad, but when I do, I would like to share. There are no meetings anywhere near me. The closest is over two hours away. I sure could use the support as can many families in my neck of the woods. I'm starting to want to start a local chapter....
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Old 06-01-2015, 02:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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alterity...

Welcome back. I wasn't here when you had your first go-round with us. But my hope is you'll find comfort and solace during your time with us.

I, myself, do not have children. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like for you as your son has slowly unraveled. A nightmare is probably putting it too mildly. But as you're no doubt aware, we have a lot of moms here that have been in your shoes to one degree or another. Not to steal their thunder, but I suspect after years and years of this, they would advise you to start taking care of you.

The hardest thing for any parent is to detach from a child who is this ill. My guess is it goes against every paternal/maternal instinct there is. The question you have to ask yourself is what's the alternative?

Anyways, I'll cede to our moms. They are, unequivocally, our most precious resource in our little corner of SR. Allow them to embrace you and comfort you. And be open to what they share with you. You may not believe this, but there is hope for you.

Welcome back, and God bless.
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Old 06-01-2015, 04:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you, zoso77.

You might see from the history that my son's father has not only not detached but has been enabling him all along the way. I had to leave the area a few years ago, which put physical distance between us but I had also put emotional distance as well because I could not handle the dysfunction.

Five years ago, I started the habit of turning off my phone at 8pm so I would not get distress calls in the middle of the night. A number of times, my son had called me in a panic about the police being at his apartment or other such things. My therapist said that as a result I was suffering my own PTSD.

So, I have been able to detach but every time something new happens, I get so stressed out. With the probation violation that B just committed, I am scared to death of him going to state prison. B is a very handsome man, so what could possibly happen to him when inside just terrifies me.
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Old 06-01-2015, 04:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Five years ago, I started the habit of turning off my phone at 8pm so I would not get distress calls in the middle of the night. A number of times, my son had called me in a panic about the police being at his apartment or other such things. My therapist said that as a result I was suffering my own PTSD.
I believe it. You've had a hell of a ride. And now is the time when you've got to take care of you. Doesn't mean you don't care about him. Doesn't mean you won't worry about him. Because you will. Of course you will.

What it does mean is while he's your son and you'll always love him, you have to protect yourself and allow yourself to heal. That comes first.
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Old 06-01-2015, 07:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Zoso is right, it's time to let go and start taking care of yourself. My son has been addicted for 20 years now, missing for the past 11 or so. Before he went missing I nearly lost my life trying to save his and I knew that it was going to be a long process for me to reclaim my life and my sanity.

Meetings helped me most of all and SR here, and today I live well and embrace the beauty and joy in each day. I say a prayer every morning asking God to take care of my son, then leave the rest in God's hands as I go about living my day well.

I hope you can find your own peace in spite of all that has happened.

Hugs
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Old 06-01-2015, 07:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You found your point of breaking and grabbed the lifeboat. Self preservation as ZOSO mentions seems to go against everything that we are as parents. But you realize that you cannot 'save' them from themselves and there is a reason that you are here and people who need you.

You have been thru hell. I can't help much but i can let you know that we all cry for each other and for the children. It's a greater pain which sees no relief. Walking away and letting him control his own life isn't easy. I have a nephew who is a handsome man. He was 18 when he entered prison. He had an attitude but managed to remain in one piece without any physical altercations or assualts from any other inmates. He had never broken the law before and had not experience with the 'life' in there. He smoked some weed but that's not what sent him there. He learned fast and adapted to the expectations. Became american muslim (like so many have to) to survive. Once out, went back to the lifestyle he was confortable with. It saved him.

This won't change your worry for your son, but i think the distance both physically and with availability has helped you greatly and he is responsible for his destiny now.

hugs to you, please keep us updated. There are many moms here who have many posts. Please read them as they have been where you are.

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
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Old 06-02-2015, 07:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Also breaks my heart to see B's father's anguish. He's at hit wits end.
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I am so very sorry for what brings you back here, but am glad that you have SR to come to for support. You are not alone!

The thing is, he has been given so many opportunities. With an addict, if you rob them of the consequences of their actions, they have no incentive to do anything but to keep using. For some, many in fact, it is not until they face some hard jail time that they actually get it. Some don't ever get it.

I would continue to do what you are doing, which is to step back from this. You did not cause it, you cannot control it, and you cannot cure it. The best thing you can do is pray for him.

Hugs to you. Keep posting, we are here for you!
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Update

So, here is what I know about the end of last week. B had taken something along the lines of GHB. He showed up at his Dad's house disoriented Thursday. His Dad brought him the next day to his routine weekly drug testing but he didn't attend. Instead, he took off. B was found in a really bad part of a drug infested city on some doorway by a man later that night, with his phone, wallet, and shirt off his back stolen. Since a warrant had been issued for his arrest for not attending his drug test session, B turned himself in at the jail Friday. Alternating between screaming and crying, jail staff sent him to the psychiatric ward at a local hospital. CT scan revealed an anomaly. MRI is currently being done. Dual diagnoses are the worst.
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hopeful, I understand what you are saying, but when a person has a disability, such as a nonverbal learning disability (verbal IQ greater than 10 points higher than nonverbal IQ) which impairs the ability to foresee consequences and to have normal executive function, etc., like B has, then what kind of help is "tough love"? This is what I struggle with as I am a firm believer in from each according to his means and to each according to his needs.
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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So, here is what I know about the end of last week. B had taken something along the lines of GHB. He showed up at his Dad's house disoriented Thursday. His Dad brought him the next day to his routine weekly drug testing but he didn't attend. Instead, he took off. B was found in a really bad part of a drug infested city on some doorway by a man later that night, with his phone, wallet, and shirt off his back stolen. Since a warrant had been issued for his arrest for not attending his drug test session, B turned himself in at the jail Friday. Alternating between screaming and crying, jail staff sent him to the psychiatric ward at a local hospital. CT scan revealed an anomaly. MRI is currently being done. Dual diagnoses are the worst.
Yikes. Yes, dual diagnoses are the worst.

And this goes back to what I wrote yesterday about a strong maternal instinct. In situations like this, I bet it's off the scale. On the one hand, it seems pretty clear there are serious mental health/cognitive issues with him, and of course your first inclination is to try to help him in every way humanly possible.

On the other hand, though, if this is indeed the case, then what can you really do for him? If he's really, really ill, then he'll be unable to absorb the love and support you or anyone gives him. He's simply not capable of it.

I know this is horrendously awful for you. All I can tell you is take it a moment at a time, and do your best to make the right decisions for you.

Keep us posted.
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Old 06-02-2015, 01:44 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I know in my case, my son's environment as a child played a very large role in "causing" his conduct disorder. His father and I *did* cause "it" by not providing a stable, consistent, and nurturing home life. B's critical developmental years were awful. In fact, I abused and neglected my son. We "gave in" to his bad behavior, punished him unfairly when he was not at fault (his sisters often were), and did so many other things wrong as parents. Yes, I can't "cure it", because I cannot turn the clock, but I won't deny my responsibility along the way.
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Old 06-02-2015, 03:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I know in my case, my son's environment as a child played a very large role in "causing" his conduct disorder. His father and I *did* cause "it" by not providing a stable, consistent, and nurturing home life. B's critical developmental years were awful. In fact, I abused and neglected my son. We "gave in" to his bad behavior, punished him unfairly when he was not at fault (his sisters often were), and did so many other things wrong as parents. Yes, I can't "cure it", because I cannot turn the clock, but I won't deny my responsibility along the way.
Are you in counseling at the moment? Do you think that may beneficial to you?
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Old 06-03-2015, 07:36 AM   #14 (permalink)
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No and yes but I won't be able to see a therapist until I get some insurance issues sorted out first. I was serious about wanting to start a local nar-anon chapter. There is a huge drug problem in this area.
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Old 06-03-2015, 08:51 AM   #15 (permalink)
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No and yes but I won't be able to see a therapist until I get some insurance issues sorted out first. I was serious about wanting to start a local nar-anon chapter. There is a huge drug problem in this area.
OK. There are a lot of layers to the issues regarding your son, and because of that, I don't want to trivialize them by, for example, saying that what's going on with your son is not your fault. I think you need to be careful. And that's why I believe a therapist that can work with you in unpacking your history and your son's is really, really important.

With that being said, however, what's done is done. None of us can change the past. All we can do is examine our past choices, look where we may have gone off the rails, take ownership of it, and apply the lessons learned to the present.

I also strongly encourage you to connect with our resident moms for support here.

Keep us posted.
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Old 06-03-2015, 08:59 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I agree with what Zoso just said above. I cannot even imaging the hurt and anxiety this causes for you.

I guess the next step would be to be very open and honest with the hospital about his current state and his past, and see what they recommend on the medical side of it.

I am glad you are reaching out for support for you, it is so important that you take care of yourself too!

XXX
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Old 06-07-2015, 06:54 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Update: The hospital staff are now saying the CT scan was normal. This is after I told them about the GHB. Are they playing games to align themselves with law enforcement? Tampering evidence is known to happen. In the end, I just want him to get help, but I don't trust the establishment whatsoever. (I'm a lawyer and activist, by the way)
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:19 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Location: Where the mighty arms of Atlas hold the heavens from the Earth
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Well, what's best for you, alterity?
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A measure of a life is a
Measure of love and respect
So hard to earn, so easily burned
In the fullness of time
A garden to nurture and protect

-- Rush, "The Garden"
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:42 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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I don't have any words of wisdom, or anything else like that right now, but I want you to know that I'm thinking about you and your son.

This is a very tough situation. Please know that thoughts and prayers are sent your way.
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:47 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Thank you, Jillian. I appreciate the prayers

So, the probation department has agreed to impose in-patient treatment under the condition that the psych hospital makes the recommendation, not just us family members.

Taking things one day at a time...
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