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Watching my son deteriorate through drugs

Posted by Wexford63 on 4 March 2017.

Firstly can I say how sorry I am to read about the many problems  people are having. It's heartbreaking to read sometimes. This is long, my apologies. I just need to get this out as its becoming really difficult for me to deal with. 

I am a father to a 21yr old and an 18yr old. The 21yr old has been depressed and smoking pot for many years. Just to add, his mother and I are divorced since he was 12. He was living between our homes. His mother threw him out of her house a few years ago because of the way he had become. I wasn't happy about that and thought it was the wrong decision as he wasn't that bad at that time. He was just selfish and got angry sometimes. The trouble was that his mother responded the same and it was like two teenagers screaming and arguing rather than a parent. His brother hated the way his mother and his brother would argue. I am not throwing mud as his mother as it can de difficult but he was out, the first sign of trouble and moved in with me full time. 

Like many on here, he was an amazing boy at one time. He and I were so close but now everything is different. Back when he was 16 he had a severe case of acne that covered his face, neck and back. It was so severe that we had to go to a specialist who advised him to take "Acutane". I did not want him to take that drug because of the horror stories of depression that can go on for years afterwards. In the end I gave in to his mother and the specialist and agreed. He took the drug and over the course of a year it cleared up his acne but the side effects changed him. He had been in his first year in 6th form when he began the drug, as bright as a button and eager to learn. When he began taking the drug, his motivation and self esteem seemed to drop over the course of the treatment. In the end he was unable to keep up with his school work and decided to go to college. Since that time he has definitely been suffering from some kind of depression or low self esteem. 

It was at this time that he began to smoke pot. He hooked up with the wrong people and things got out of hand. Since he has lived with me I had tried everything to support him and thought that on occasion that things were improving....and they did when he was away from the pot for a while. He changed back into the son I remember. Unfortunately in the last few years he has lost three really good jobs, wrote off three cars, one of which he owes a 6k loan for. He smokes a lot, and he drives his car high. It effects him adversely from my point of view. He is often walking into the house high and going to his room to just space out for hours. He forgets things, loses door keys, does not wash regularly and looks terrible. He occasionally would be physically violent and damage things. A few months ago he grabbed me in a violent reaction. I could have lashed out but I am the parent so just made him let go and told him to get out. After that I had come to the end of my wits. I had never been so upset. He was oblivious to his actions and how he effects our home, his brother an me. He was however working at that time.

I took the step of writing to him as he would never want to talk with me. I wrote to him and said that although he is my son and I love him deeply, he is also a tenant and I would not accept the things I do from a tenant so why should I accept them from him. I gave him an choice. I said that if he continues being violent towards me, his brother or damages any thing in the house, he has to leave. I said that if he continues smoking pot and driving that he had to leave.I said that I would give him a few months notice and pay for the first three months room rent and set him up on his own. I explained that his salary was enough to cover the cost of a room and leave him more than enough for fuel, food etc. I also requested housekeeping which he had never paid

His reaction at first was expected. He threw my note away, screwed it up and chucked it. I unravelled it and put it back in his room. He did the same again. Then I reminded him that in that letter I had explained that if he is to ignore it then I would still give him his notice. I also explained that I would take legal action if he did not leave. I finished that letter by saying after that I would give him emotional help and do anything I could to help him but I would not give him any further financial support. It was the most difficult thing I have ever hd to do.

After a while he took notice and everything calmed down. He started to watch calming programs on netfix to help him calm down. He never told me that was what he was doing but it was clear it was. Things did seem to improve. 

The worst thing I have experienced  so far is coming home to find him alone sobbing in his room crying to himself that he has no life, no friends and nothing. He has done this at least three times in the last 6 months. The first 2 times I was in the house and I wasn't sure if it was for my benefit but the third time he would not have known I had come home. It broke my heart to hear him and see him like this. I called to him that he had me, his father. That it wasn't  true he had nothing and that life was better than he thought and he had my emotional support. 

I thought things were improving. I really did...but now things are worse again. He lost his latest job about 4 weeks ago. I didn't know about it. He had seen his mother and told her that he had been leaving the house and pretending to go to work then coming home after I got home. He had been doing this for 2 weeks. She did not want me to let him know she had told me (I'm sorry, but again I disagree with her as she is a parent foremost and should show him that although we are divorced we are a team). I didn't say anything but kept asking him for house keeping until a week or so later he came into the house and told me.

I had nothing to say. I was just fed up with it all. Now he has lost his job before but remember he has a car loan and another small debt. He has to pay about 240 pounds per month. The last time he lost his job I covered his loan for two months while he found another job because I wasn't sure that him getting any county court judgement against him for non-payment would help him long term as it sticks with you for 7 years. Now the same thing was on my mind again. How will he be able to pay that loan if he is not working.

Last bit now, sorry.
He went to his mother for a job. She is in a position to give him a job and agreed to give him work when it was available. My son told me about that so I contacted his mother and asked her only to give him enough work to cover his debt and no more. I explained that he wont learn if you just bail him out. She agreed at the time but now I know he has been working with her 3 or 4 days a week. His car was a wreck from a previous accident but I let him lie in that. Unfortunately his mother said he could buy a car off their company. So she let him buy a car way underprice and said he can pay her back through working with her. She did not discuss with me at all.

Every time I try to let my son sit in his own mess, hoping that he will eventually think he has to stop this, he is bailed out  and all my work as a parent is just wiped out in one go. 

He is now smoking daily, driving that new car high and he steps out the door every night just before he goes to bed to have another joint. Just to add, I am a real caring person and have tried everything I can think of but my life is being dragged down by this. It is terrible to see your own son deteriorate before you and feel so powerless. 

He now has no job, so I cant get him out into a rented room. I am waiting for his mother to return from holiday so that I can ask her to accept half of this responsibility and I am struggling. Meanwhile his younger brother who is an inspiration is also suffering. 

That it. I am sorry it was so long. I just need someone to talk to about it.


6 Mar 2017

Hi wexford63
I am sure both yourself and his mother feel you are doing all you can.
I myself did what i thought was right. At the time you have no idea what is right.
I do feel your pain as its not what we hope for, for our children. You must get a full mixture of emotions.
With hindsight what would we do different ...who knows. The fact is its real and happening. 
Please share your feelings with others dont keep all your feelings bubbling. Yes you love your child but hate what hes done to himself. There is hope but no quickfix. Help yourself on this journey. I agree you need to be firm but also thats easy to say when you love them so much. 
I hope and pray around the corner is waiting the answer. I couldnt see it until someone else stepped in.

Icarus Trust
6 Mar 2017

Thank you for posting. I'm so sorry to read your son's story and to see how it affects you. It must be very hard for you to see the impact the drugs are having.
 You sound incredibly strong and consistent which I'm sure  helps your son but it is sad to read that you and your other son are struggling. 
It often helps to talk and if you would like to be put in touch with people who would understand what you are coping with please contact The Icarus Trust. 
We are a charity that provides support for people like you who are dealing with a loved ones addiction. We have experienced trained volunteers who you could be put in touch with. Talking with one of our 'Family Friends'  may be able to help you to see  way ahead and to know what other services are available. 
You can contact us on or visit the website
I do hope that you will be able to get some support for yourself. Good luck with everything!

13 May 2017

Can I say that I have read a lot of posts but what stands out about your post is your strength, consistency and determination. You are exactly what an addict needs. You have kept calm and rational for your son and if he is not respondibg positively then it is not because of you. All I can say is just keep doing what you are doing and remaun string and consistent for your son. I pray that he will turn a corner because above all people, you deserve it. Good luck!

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