Well, he saved us from having to kick him out.
Within a day of that revealing night, I received a text message that said, “Hey, I am going to move in with Spence for awhile. Just wanted to let you know.”
I felt like he was choosing to smoke marijuana over his home and family and it broke my heart.
I replied to him that this wasn’t a conversation to have over text messaging; that he needed to think twice about that decision; and to come back home to talk to us. He did not answer me back.
I did hear from his sponsor. He called to relate some of my son’s concerns to me. He was afraid that we would call the police on him and/or that we were going to put him in rehab again, so he moved out in an attempt to avoid those consequences. Apparently, my son admitted to him that he had been smoking marijuana about twice a week for over a month. That lead me to believe that he had been smoking a lot more than that, since lying comes second nature to him when he is using.
I asked his sponsor to tell him that we wouldn’t call the police as long there was no marijuana or drugs brought into the house and as long as he did not smoke pot IN the house (like he had been the year before), and, now that he had moved out, he also had to honestly be clean and sober in order to be able to come back home.
You know, when we put him in rehab at the age of 14, we thought he had a really good chance to change. And we really didn’t have much choice, but to put him in rehab. We had to do something to try to help him quit using, because we would not have even thought of kicking him out of the house at that age. We hoped and prayed that the things he learned about addiction and the life skills that he learned would have a lasting impact on him. At one of the parent meetings, we were told that one third of the kids would go on to live a productive, successful, drug-free life. But, the odds were also that one third of them would die from their addiction, and one third would just go on living life as an addict—in and out of jail, rehab, and relationships. We only wanted to picture our son in the successful scenario.
But now he was 17 years old and couldn’t see the road that he was heading down again. He actually left home, rather than take the chance of going back into rehab. We really felt that if it wasn’t his decision, he wouldn’t be receptive to anything that they tried to teach or re-teach him this time. After all of the programs that he has been through in counseling and rehab, he had never changed his opinion about using marijuana. He didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. The fact that it was a gateway drug for him which led to his becoming a drug addict who used any and every drug that he could get his hands on, did not seem to matter to him.
The previous year while he was in the Psych unit, as the therapists and psychiatrists were trying to figure out what to do with him, they all agreed that even though they had tested him and he still showed all of the signs of being an addict, they thought that rehab would be a waste of time and money until he wanted it for himself because he knew the game and knew how to play it, thus not taking it seriously.
But, even though he hadn’t had a long inpatient stay, I did think that the previous year’s stay in the Psych unit had helped him in some ways. He seemed to have been able to control his rages more than he used to, even though he still had more of them than I liked. There hadn’t been any incidents that required the police to intervene! I felt like we got along better at least some of the time. He even changed how he talked about moving out and used the word, “if” more frequently than he used the word, “when”. I was feeling hopeful about the future.
And then I was stupidly blindsided.
I GET that he is an addict. I have had years of education on this subject. I knew that multiple relapses were likely.
But, I am his mom. I love him more than he will ever know and my heart doesn’t understand his turning his back on me because of marijuana.
I was at such a loss and had no idea what to do.
We asked our good friend whose life's work is to help transition addicts from rehab back into society what we should do. He said, “Stick with the ultimatum of no drug or alcohol use while living in your house. Part of me feels you should just kill him with the kindness of telling him—good luck. He believes he can make it on his own. What will really happen is that he will get a small, but useful taste of what it takes to me a man. He will lose his job, thereby losing any money from that job. He won’t be able to eat and will definitely grind on the nerves of those he is surrounded by. Pot smokers will only smoke out their friends for so long. He will then come back to you with his proverbial tail between his legs and maybe learn that you guys are through with the bullcrap, which at the end of the day is the key to a person beginning the journey of recovery. He has very few options, but the scary thing is he doesn’t have a clue about that. I believe that he will sooner, rather than later, find that out. I tell parents all the time that it is them who have all the power, but it is somehow the genius of all addicts that make parents believe they have none. Such is not the case. You are all that your son has. Don’t forget that.”
What he said about addicts making their parents feel like they have no power made sense.
We definitely were feeling powerless.
Even though we knew our son would move out someday, we didn’t want it to happen like this and there didn’t seem to be anything that we could do to change the circumstances.
We were so sad.
And so very disappointed.