Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I am not my mother.

I wrote the following post on October 14, 2008.  I didn't publish it, I just wrote it to get stuff out of my system.  I chose to make it public because recently several people have given me the "my kid wouldn't take pills that he didn't know about" or "they wouldn't even know where to get them" lines. I can tell you that they might. I don't know if they will, but kids today know a lot more about drugs and are willing to take a hell of a lot more risks than we did. It doesn't help that we live in an over medicated society, so the 'good stuff' is easier to get.  

I am not my mother

I have 4 beautiful children. Today I am going to talk about my younger son. My 15 year old son is tall and handsome, smart and interesting. He's also a drug addict.  First I am going to describe my night to you.

Mondays are always hectic. My husband has classes at UMKC and my older son has trumpet lessons in Prairie Village. Lots of running around for me. I have had my younger son watch his little sister, but not so much in the past 18 months or so as his behaviors have escalated. Yesterday I did have him watch her. His behavior has been good for a few weeks and he has never used anything around her. Until yesterday. Yesterday one of his friends stole Seroquel and gave my son a 200mg pill. He waited until he got home to take it. That was at 7:30. We got home at 10pm and my son was unable to stand up or walk. He stood up and collapsed into some dog vomit on the floor. (he let the dog eat junk food and it made her sick) As I stood there watching my 6'2" son laying on the floor in a puddle of vomit I totally understood how a parent could drive to Nebraska. I was torn between fear for his life and anger that my 9 year old had to witness this. His brother had to help him to the car so we could take him to the ER. This was the first trip to the hospital. There won't be anymore trips home from the hospital for him. If I have to take him there again the state will have to find him a new place to live.

This is where the phrase I am not my mother comes in. I am not my mother though we have one very special thing in common. We both have sons that became addicts as teenagers. My younger brother started drinking at 12 and using hardcore by 16. He wasted 25 years of his life and went to prison before he could get clean and sober. Midtown Miscreant has blog post where he talks about the criminal frame of mind. It rang true to me because both my brother and my son have that ability. They can magic away guilt and blame and rarely show any remorse for anything beyond getting caught. Add an addictive personality to that mind and you've got an explosion of trouble waiting to happen. I don't want my son to live my brother's life. I don't want him to go to prison and discover the joys of becoming someone's sexual outlet.

I didn't cause his addiction, I can't control it and I can't cure it. Only he can do that last part. But I don't have to make it easy for him to be an addict in my house. My mom spent years fixing my brother's life. She forgave him for stealing from her, acted like she wasn't embarassed when he stole from the neighbors, bailed him out of jail and always let him come back home when he said he was sorry. I love my son too much to do that. We have no insurance and a treatment facility wouldn't work right now anyway. The addict has to want to end his/her behaviors first. I watched my brother cycle in and out of treatment wasting thousands of $$ because he wasn't ready to get cured. So what to do? All I can do is force my son to be in situations where he has better choices to make. Places where being stoned is not an option. He's already homeschooled (lots and lots and lots of drugs at school) but now he has no unsupervised social time. That has to be earned and after this last stunt it will be a long time before he can do that. I don't give him access to $$ and everyone in the house already knows to keep an eye on their valuables. Basically he is in prison without the rape. In a few minutes I am going to wake him up. He kept the entire family up past midnight and there is no fucking way he is going to sleep off his drug hangover. We had to get up and have a semi-productive day. So does he. He can choose better behaviors or he can choose foster care. I will not subject my other kids to his nonesene. I will also not let him hide in the home of my well meaning parents or my recovering brother. They have their own issues to work out and can't help him. If my son wants help with his problem I will see that he gets it. However HE has to want it. Won't work otherwise.

This is harder on my husband than it is me. Not that I love my son less, but I've seen this up close and personal before. Addicts will use you. They lie as easily as they breathe. They find the one thing they can say to make you feel for them and they push that button over and over again. Works on my husband and he keeps getting his heart broken. I'm harder. I knew he was smoking pot but hadn't caught him yet. He denied it and my husband believed him. We did catch him (love home drug tests) and he claimed it was the first time he had ever done it. My husband believed him. He got caught buying it (no charges because the cops bought his sob story and told me that they were sure he had learned his lesson) kid swore he would never do it again. My husband believed him. Two weeks later I caught him buying again. This is how it goes on and on. I feel so bad for my husband. I want to trust my son, but that has to be earned. I've spent plenty of time crying but this whole thing has really crushed my husband's view of people and family. Family just doesn't lie to you like that - not in his world.

To my knowledge this was the first time my son took anything harder than pot (which I firmly believe you can become addicted to) or alcohol. I don't know if the experience scared him. Scared the hell out of me. Scared the hell out of the parents of the kids he was with. (I tattle) I called them at 10:30 pm and told them to search their kids pockets. I didn't want any of them ending up at the hospital with my son. I'm sure at least one of them counted the #of pills left in the bottle. We were told he should sleep it off and that he would feel crappy today. He got lucky. Search the web, there are a ton of stories about kids who didn't have his luck. If you take it, your kids can get it and they WILL share it.


For the record my son has not used since this incident.  At least not anything that can be tested for.  At home drug tests are a wonder and I use them.  He's doing well and has pretty much become the kid I remember before the drugs kicked in.  Does that make him not an addict?  No, it makes him someone who is currently making better choices.  I gave him his choice and  I'm thankful that he realized I was serious.  It's a hard, very scary thing to do as a parent and you have to be willing to back up your threat.  He has stopped cussing and is more interested in family, friends and life in general.  He helps me at the store and I am happy to be around him.  He's not perfect, he's still a 15 year old boy, but I am thankful for every day for the small, 'normal' screw ups like not taking out the trash. 

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