His whole attitude and behavior were just not improving.
Most of the time at home, he was angry, belligerent, defiant, uncooperative, demanding, disobedient, arguing, fighting, and disrespectful.
He was even getting disrespectful to his therapist. When she mentioned at Family Therapy that it might be a good idea for us to just sell the X-box, he said “F-that” right to her face!
But, usually, in a group, or in public, he may have appeared to be sullen or quiet, but he wouldn’t show the obvious hatred and anger that he had toward us. He would wait until we were back at home.
We go out to eat a lot after Family Therapy, after Family Group Therapy, or after AA. I haven’t cooked very many meals during this whole process since we are always gone at dinnertime. At restaurants, he isn’t supposed to have caffeinated beverages after 7:00 p.m., but he got away with it that night and then, he couldn’t go to sleep when it was time. I was sure that it was because of the Dr. Pepper or whatever he had that night at the restaurant. He ended up staying awake watching TV until 2:00 a.m. I didn’t feel well that night and letting him stay up was easier than fighting with him about turning the TV off. My husband had gone to bed early and didn’t even know what was going on.
The next night, I don’t know if my son was trying to get away with the same thing that he got away with the night before or if he legitimately couldn’t sleep, but by midnight, he was still wide awake. We wanted him to try to go to sleep without his TV on, since we had been doing better at not having midnight arguments with him about it, lately. But, he dug in his heels. He even told my husband that he and I had worked out a system the previous night. That wasn’t true. He just played me and then tried to use it to his advantage. Every time I give him an inch he wants to take a mile. He thinks that the inch is a new pattern to live by.
It makes me so angry and I feel like I have been backed into a corner when I am a little lenient sometimes.
We were being set up for an Ambien argument. His body wanted him to be asleep, but he was fighting it. We gave him one more half hour and then he said he would turn the TV off.
30 minutes later, he did turn his TV off, but insisted on listening to his I-Pod. The unreasonableness that Ambien brings out in him started to show through as he plugged his I-Pod into his surround sound speakers in his room!
He argued with me when I told him that he could only listen to the I-Pod with his ear-buds. But, he didn’t know where his ear-buds were and it was all MY fault because I must have been the one to move them!
We finally found the ear-buds and everything quieted down except the throbbing in my head. About an hour later, I went to the kitchen to get some more ice for my ice-pack and all of a sudden, my son was standing there, too. He scared me to death! I thought he had finally gone to sleep.
He wanted me to let him turn his TV back on. When I said, no and told him it was time for him to just try to go to sleep, all heck broke loose. He swore and swore and swore at me telling me that everything was so F-ing this, that, and the other. He wanted to go live somewhere else. He thought the rules were stupid and that our trying to enforce them was stupid. He hated us and wanted us out of his life.
When he seemed to have finished ranting, I told him to go to bed. I went to bed. I cried and cried. My head hurt so badly and the crying didn’t help. It made me sad to think that he would say those awful things to me. It made me sad that he hated us so much that he didn’t want to live here anymore.
The next morning, he said that he didn’t remember much of what went on the previous night, but I know that he did because he sure seemed to pick it right back up where he left off. It was like a continuation of the night before.
He started talking about how everything around our house is B.S. and dropped a lot more F-bombs just because he couldn’t play the X-box when he wanted to.
We were subjected to another tirade about how we shouldn’t have put him in rehab…
We shouldn’t have any control over his life…
He doesn’t want us to care about him and if we would just stop, it would make things a lot easier…
He doesn’t want to do what he has to do to commence from the program and even if he does, he is just going to end up right back in it two months later because he will probably go out and “use”...
There is nothing good about rehab and he is not getting anything out of it…
He hates us and doesn’t want to live here anymore and wants to find a place to live where he has all control over his life.
He seriously thinks that we should just let him do whatever the heck he wants to do, whenever, and for however long he wants to do it, and if we did that, things would go a lot smoother around here.
Too bad though. We wouldn’t just let him have all of the power. We know that watching TV all night while taking sleeping medication does not make sense. We know that playing the X-box for hours and hours without stopping isn’t good for him. We know that the best chance he has right now in his life is sticking with the rehab program.
We can’t stop caring about him, either.
All of these emotional roller coasters that we kept riding were tearing me apart. My husband was doing a better job of being detached than he had been previously. Every book I had been reading about bringing your recovering addict home from rehab said that you have to be emotionally detached from their behavior, but it was HARD! I kept going from being mad at him for how he was acting to being devastated about how he was acting. I just couldn’t stand all of the hatred and darkness that was hanging over everything. I felt like I was being ripped to shreds inside.
I began to wonder if he had something else going that was causing all of this Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde stuff. I asked his therapist about having him re-evaluated to see if he was Bi-Polar. I even asked her if he could be re-admitted to see if they could get a handle on whatever was causing all of these issues since everything seemed to be getting worse and worse. I told her that his anger was so much more of an issue at that point than it had ever been and something had to be done. I even thought that they might move him from the Chemical Dependence Program to the Psychiatric Program. Sometimes kids have to do both programs at one time—majoring in one and minoring in the other. I really didn’t know if they would do that with my son, or not. He started out majoring in Chemical Dependence, but had a therapist who was also skilled in Psychiatric issues in order to help him with his depression. So, I thought it would have just been a matter of her shifting the focus.
I knew that a program switch would make him mad though, so I hoped that it would just require a medication adjustment. I thought that maybe he should be on a different type of anti-depressant, or a higher dose. I wasn’t hoping that he was Bi-Polar, I just didn’t know what else to think. His emotions, attitude, temperament, and behavior were all over the place and I didn’t know what to do about it.
Some of the things that I read about Bi-Polar sounded just like some of the things that we had been going through. In a manic episode the person could become angry, irritable, aggressive—picking fights, lashing out when others don’t go along with their plans, and blaming anyone who criticizes their behavior.
But, then I wondered if his sleep medication might need to be changed. When he lets the Ambien work, it works just fine. But, when it doesn’t work, it is just awful. He gets so ANGRY at everything we do or say when he is on it and isn’t asleep. Ambien side effects that apply to my son are: depressed mood, decreased inhibitions, aggression, feeling restless or agitated, loss of personality, forgetfulness, impaired thinking or reactions.
I thought that the therapist might think that we were trying to diagnose him ourselves, but we really were at our wits end and didn’t know what else to do.
At the same time that I was emailing my concerns to her, she was in a staff meeting where they were discussing the same things about my son. I think she was seeking help in knowing what to do for him since I was constantly emailing her and calling her about the problems that we kept having. She also knew that after months of being in the program, he wasn’t getting anywhere. After the meeting, she called me to ask me how my husband and I would feel if they moved the focus on my son more toward Psych than it had been before. He would officially be classified in that program, but would still have to complete his C.D. work, too. She was also going to talk with the doctor about my other concerns, but she felt that this was the best course of action to take at the time and didn’t think he was Bi-Polar.
It was a Thursday when she called me with the decision and she wanted to know if she should tell him right then, or on Monday. I asked her to please wait until Monday so that at least we had a chance to have a good weekend. I was pretty sure that he would not react well to the news of the change. Not that we had been having any good weekends, but I was always hopeful.
I had a lot of questions about the change.
I wanted to make sure that he still was minoring in C.D. so that he would still have all of the coping skills in his mind when he completed the program. I knew that he still hadn’t admitted out loud in front of anyone in Family Group or in AA that he had committed to staying sober. He wasn’t even sure if it was worth it to be sober or not. Once, in one of our recent arguments, he even made the ridiculous statement that if he had a kid who was using drugs, he would smoke weed with him, not put him in rehab.
I wanted to know what his Psych assignments would be like and what they would do to help him figure out how to have a life that wasn’t filled with anger and animosity. He was at a point where he didn’t know how to be happy and wasn’t even sure if he wanted to try. He had no goals and no desire to improve his situation through his own efforts. The therapist told me that she carefully chose his Psych assignments so that he would be doing the ones that she thought would be the most beneficial to him.
Surprisingly, we had a fairly good weekend. I was so nervous when Monday came. It was a long day. The therapist called me late in the day and told me that he did not have much reaction at all when she broke the news to him.
He came home that day and said, “They switched me to Psych with all the _________, _________ crazy people. Great, huh?”
I said, “So stop acting crazy then.”
And that was the last thing he said about it that night.