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hi guys -- sorry this will be long

Old 01-11-2010, 08:25 AM
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hi guys -- sorry this will be long

hi -- i'm new -- i guess that's a given since i'm posting under this topic.

i'm not an addict -- seriously, i'm not -- so why am i here?

i have a 20 year old son that i think might be -- and he's not interesting in stopping -- and i'd like some advice or stories from people about what made them get help -- especially if they didn't want to. he would probably fit dual diagnosis as well.

sorry this will be long.

some background on my son --

he had learning disabilities and speech problems when he was young which made school difficult. we had problems in our marriage when he was growing up, i think that was very hard on him too. i'm very willing to take my responsibility for my part of the problem. he was very shy as a child, did not like new things.

as he hit puberty, i began to see more of what i now know is social anxiety and depression. he begged & begged to not get help -- for us to just allow him to be himself. i love my son too much -- it makes me a pushover -- so i let it be. i also saw glimpses of paranoia, but only recognize that in hindsight.

at 15 1/2, he had a psychotic break. it was quick, involved about a week of no sleep, no food -- the ER scared the hell out of all of us and didn't give us any real answers, just wanted to ship him off by himself in the middle of the night when he was terrified. he did pass the drug test with flying colors though. we brought him home, got him to sleep & he came around. only counseling was recommended and it wasn't much help & didn't last long.

he was ok until he was 17 and it happened again. and i mean ok for him, he had a couple friends, but was pretty withdrawn. again -- no sleep, no food for an extended period of time. we skipped the ER this time and his dr recommended a psychiatrist this time. he was diagnosed with depression, general anxiety disorder, insomnia and put on anti-depression medication. it worked pretty well except it had to be constantly increased.

at 18, another break -- this time 9 days with absolutely no sleep -- we know because we took turns staying up with him so he didn't have to go inpatient. the right anti-psychotic was a miracle for him although there were downsides to it as well.

in the meantime, he would experiment with various other things to see if something made him feel better. he tried marijuana, didn't like it. he tried drinking, didn't care for it. he said nothing stopped the thoughts that were like bugs in his head -- he couldn't stop thinking about bad things that had happened to him.

so --- last march, my husband was in a terrible motorcycle accident and was almost killed. he's still recovering. there were pain meds all over the place, we were all having a bad time of it -- and my son started sneaking the hydrocodone. i'm sure he'd tried it before, it's all over the schools, he's had friends that have had serious health problems -- or stole from their parents.

in the past 6 months, he's stopped doing the few things he enjoyed. he says that the hydrocodone is all he cares about and it's his "life choice" -- that it's the only thing that makes him feel better. he's even planning on giving that speech to his psychiatrist today -- i don't know if he'll go through with it.

he says it doesn't matter if he doesn't have a life, because he never had one anyway -- that he's not giving up anything. that he'd rather be happy for a short-life than miserable for a long one.

as of last thursday night, he's not had any more access to the drugs. obviously he's not physically addicted because he hasn't had any problems other than the return of the depression. he wasn't taking it everyday -- he was sneaking it slow enough that we just weren't sure -- and we'd ask him and he's deny taking it.

he says that he'll find a way -- he'll hurt himself -- drive to mexico -- something.

he doesn't want to hear about addiction -- he doesn't think treatment will help him -- he just see's that he was miserable and suffering -- and now he's not. this is terrible to say, but i see his point. i think if someone had taken my misery away, i'd want to keep using too.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:41 AM
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Hi and Welcome,

I am sorry about your son, but if he doesn't want help and doesn't think he needs help, there is not much you can do. I hope that he will come to a point when he realizes that he wants help.

I am glad you are seeking support for yourself and I hope you take a look around SR and read and learn.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:52 AM
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Hello blui!

Thank you for sharing your story. Hmm, what got me to stop? Well you'll probably hear a bunch of different reasons but personally I had to hit my bottom.

There is a common misconception that a bottom is losing everything and being a skid row alcoholic/addict. The definition I prefer is: what you are about to lose or have lost is more important to you than drinking/drugging. This could be anything...a job, a house, health - basically anything you value more than the high.

For me the hardest part(s) were recognizing that I had a problem and admitting that I had a problem. I was the last to know I had a problem with alcohol.

IMO, most alcoholics/addicts have some form of mental illness - but it's a bit of a chicken/egg deal. Did the mental illness cause the addictive behavior or did the addictive behavior cause the mental illness?

My guess is you are hoping to tell him something to make him stop using. That's where it gets tough. I'm of the opinion that there is nothing you can do to make him stop. It will only drive you and him crazier than Gary Busey without his medication. I'm only speaking from my experience because I've been lectured to, scolded at, pleaded with, and cried to and nothing worked. I've tried to quit for others and to no avail. It wasn't until I quit for me and me only that I have been able to stay sober (this Thurs. will be 30 days for the first time in 4 years) this long.

I'm not sure if that is what you were looking but I hope it helps. I'm sure others will be here to share suggestions and ideas with you as well. It pains me to know how much we hurt people like you who just want the best for us.

Take care.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:53 AM
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thanks for the welcome

i feel like i'm just coming out of denial on this -- well, more than feeling, i know i am.

we can make sure that he can't get anymore of the meds from home -- but i'm at the point where i feel like not trying to help more than that is just more denial.

i realize that not using because you can't get any is not the same as recovery.

for people with mental illness that don't realize they're sick, they have strategies to get them to accept some form of treatment. i was kind of hoping they had the same kind of thing for addiction.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Untoxicated View Post
Hello blui!

Thank you for sharing your story. Hmm, what got me to stop? Well you'll probably hear a bunch of different reasons but personally I had to hit my bottom.

There is a common misconception that a bottom is losing everything and being a skid row alcoholic/addict. The definition I prefer is: what you are about to lose or have lost is more important to you than drinking/drugging. This could be anything...a job, a house, health - basically anything you value more than the high.

For me the hardest part(s) were recognizing that I had a problem and admitting that I had a problem. I was the last to know I had a problem with alcohol.

IMO, most alcoholics/addicts have some form of mental illness - but it's a bit of a chicken/egg deal. Did the mental illness cause the addictive behavior or did the addictive behavior cause the mental illness?

My guess is you are hoping to tell him something to make him stop using. That's where it gets tough. I'm of the opinion that there is nothing you can do to make him stop. It will only drive you and him crazier than Gary Busey without his medication. I'm only speaking from my experience because I've been lectured to, scolded at, pleaded with, and cried to and nothing worked. I've tried to quit for others and to no avail. It wasn't until I quit for me and me only that I have been able to stay sober (this Thurs. will be 30 days for the first time in 4 years) this long.

I'm not sure if that is what you were looking but I hope it helps. I'm sure others will be here to share suggestions and ideas with you as well. It pains me to know how much we hurt people like you who just want the best for us.

Take care.
thanks -- i'm sitting here crying -- but i still had to laugh at the gary busey comment -- thanks for that one.

at least i know his mental illness came first -- i'm not sure if that's a plus or not. i really do think something is wrong with his brain chemistry. those same pills that he loves -- just one of them makes me sick as a dog -- i can't tolerate them at all.

i mention the hitting bottom stuff and is this what you want?
i'm not sure he has anywhere lower to go than where he is now unless i do throw him out the house -- which i don't think i'll do.
most parents can say that they're not responsible, but with him this is just the part of the very long road we've already been down.

maybe rock bottom for him will be if he ends up in an inpatient facility somewhere?

i used to think that as long as he wasn't psychotic, everything would be ok -- somehow this feels even worse.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:15 AM
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I only stopped when I wanted to.. nothing else could have brought me to the point to where I wanted sobriety before I truly did.

Please post your story in the Friends and Family of Substance Abusers, they have tons of experience with this stuff, and they are a great support to one another.. and can offer guidance for you. You're going to hear a lot about enabling, not providing a 'soft place to land', and establishing boundaries, taking care of yourself.. all of which are important things to do.

I'm sorry that you're going through this, and I hope you find a way to just take care of you.. at least for today.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:28 AM
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thanks flutter -- i will post it over there too. i was feeling bad when i found this forum and didn't look around enough first. that's where it should have gone first.

i know i'm an enabler -- but the first step to change is to admit it, right?
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by blui View Post
thanks -- i'm sitting here crying -- but i still had to laugh at the gary busey comment -- thanks for that one.
I try not to make it all doom and gloom, although my optimism and sense of humor gets me in trouble sometimes.

TONS of support awaits you in the friends/family section but you are most certainly welcome here too.
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Old 01-11-2010, 11:46 AM
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Hi Blui and welcome. I can imagine how distressing this is for you. After all, whatever age he is, he is still your baby boy.

Originally Posted by blui View Post
i'm not sure he has anywhere lower to go than where he is now unless i do throw him out the house -- which i don't think i'll do.
most parents can say that they're not responsible, but with him this is just the part of the very long road we've already been down.
As far as his life goes he may be rock bottom but as far as the drug use goes he is at the very start of it. When we first start using it is bliss. The drug (alcohol or whatever it is) makes us feel like we can take on anything, that life is just wonderful or it comfortably numbs out all the bad stuff that we feel. And this is why we keep using.

Eventually we find that we need to use more and more to keep this feeling but it still feels good to use.

Then we get to a stage where however much we use we can't get that initial high or blissful feeling that we had at the start. By this time we are so addicted we have to keep using and our addictive minds keep chasing the high.


Next we find that using starts to make us feel bad, the feeling we were running away from in the first place but we still want to use so we keep trying to find ways of using to get that high or take away the bad feelings.

After exhausting all the options of using and finding we can never feel good again we get to the stage we don't want to use anymore but we have no option as the addiction is so overpowering. Now we really are in hell! - using something we hate, knowing we are never going to feel any better, unable to stop and knowing that it is just going to get worse.....Many of us find rock bottom here.

The original founder of Alcoholics Anonymous described this process very well. If you are interested do a search for the Big Book and read the chapter Bill's story. It was written in the 1930s but still applies today to alcoholics and drug addicts alike.


Unfortunately you are really powerless over this. He has to get himself out of this. It is really good advice that you visit the Friends and Family forum and take care of you. You will be far more help to him if you do that. Take care.
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:03 PM
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I replied to your other thread already. I think I get it now - hydrocodone is a painkiller.

I see you confirm your son experiences learning difficulties. It is the major step forward in my life, the one biggest helpful event and enlightenment when I discovered in my 40s that I have those. I recommend he join neurodiversity groups.

Some people with those experience small seizures. It has happened that the reaction to having a seizure is described as a psychotic episode. I'm not trying to push this idea eaxactly, just pointing out it has been known. By coincidence I received an alert to this link only the other day.

Donna Williams’ Blog Blog Archive My Experiences With Atypical Epilepsy

It just so happens that in my 50s I decided to ask my GP to prescribe me an anticonvulsant that is known for helping with nerve pain (noises resulted in pains in my hands - some people take it for shingles apparently) and is also reputed to help with depressions and agitations of mood (which it has proved to do for me in the months I have been taking it). It is interesting that there is this pain killing effect in ths drug and one or two similar ones like it, besides their other 'uses' and that for me the benfits are in all three areas.

I think the irritation of the constant effort of having to re-gather what is going on affects the moods.

We neurodiverse people are very different from each other of course. Also unfortunately doctors specialising in neurology and metabolism are often behind the forefront of knowledge.
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:15 PM
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It sounds like he suffers from Dual Diagnosis. Substance abuse combined with mental illness. It is quite common. The mistake often made is trying to treat one without addressing the other. Here is some info on the subject. NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness | Mental Illnesses

NAMI also has local support group meetings for both people affected by mental illiness and their families. You can find more info on those at the same link. It wasn't until I started looking at both issues as intertwined that I started to make some progress. You might also find the Mental Health and Friends and Families forums helpful here at SR. Welcome!!
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Old 01-11-2010, 03:40 PM
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thanks tyler -- i go to the nami forums too. i'm familiar with the dual diagnosis term, but so far i don't know much about it. i'm learning.
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Old 01-11-2010, 05:12 PM
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Welcome to SR Blui

I agree with the others - my decision to stop had to be mine to make. I had to want to - I don't think it works any other way.

I'm sorry you have to deal with this.

I'm sorry I have no experience useful to you, but I wanted to welcome you anyway Please do check out the Family and Friends and the Mental health forums.

I wish you and your son all the best
D
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:15 AM
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thanks to everyone for the welcome.

just knowing that other people made it through is enough to give me some hope, and with that you can make it through almost anything.
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:38 AM
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blui my heart goes out to you as both a parent and as a recovering alcoholic. SHame he is 18 and not younger, if he was under 18 you could force him to do a lot of different things, but alas he is 18, an adult under the eyes of the law so without some sort of legal proceding there is little you can do in regards to forcin him into treatment.

Is there any one he respects greatly?

Are his doctors FULLY aware of all that is going on with him? Will he listen to doctors?

Very few addicts/alcoholics ever recover until they want to recover.

My wife, children and other members of my family & friends did everything they could to try and get me to stop drinking and it was not until I wanted to recover that I even stood a chance of recovery.

My wife & family finally totally quit enabling me in any shape, form, or fashion. They left me to face my alcoholism alone.... I finally hit bottom.

My best suggestion to you is to seek help for you and the rest of your family. Go to the Friends & Family forum here and ask for suggestions, Alanon & Narcanon could be a great benfit to your whole family in how to deal with this. Seek out professional help as well.
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