Need some advice, PLEASE!

by TweetieBird 18 Replies latest jw friends

  • TweetieBird

    I don't even know where to begin but I'm having trouble with my oldest son (grown) who just moved back home. He recently got fired and kicked out by his roommate because he has (in my opinion and the rest of my family) an alcohol and pot problem. He doesn't think he does because he can go days without either, a whole other story. He says that he drinks and smokes because he gets bored. Recently, he started smoking spice to stay away from the pot. When he got fired he was seriously depressed so we let him come stay with us temporarily. We suggested that to prove he doesn't have an alcohol problem, he should go the month of August without it, which he was able to for several days but he was still smoking the spice. I don't know much about spice but in my opinion the way it affects him is 1,000 times worse than the pot. Last night was horrible. He unloaded so many layers of pain that he has kept in all these years starting with being raised a JW. I can't change the way we raised him, thought we were doing the right thing, if I could go back and change things I would, yada yada yada. There were other non-witness issues brought up that made me stop and go "wow!". By the time I went to bed last night I was completely drained but I honestly feel that he has a mental illness. He reminds me of my brother that suffered from paranoid schizophrenia(sp) and so much of what my son was saying last night was like talking with my brother, who recently died due to his alcohol and drug use.

    My husband and I are at a loss as to what we can do to help him. My other son says to let him leave, that he will have to hit rock bottom, tough love, etc. I honestly believe he has a mental illness and the drinking and smoking are side effects. My husband thinks maybe we should go to family counseling, which my son has reluctantly agreed to in exchange for leaving him alone for the next week and let him do what he wants. My husband has been harping on him the past couple of weeks to go get another job which is what set him off last night. He feels like we think he is a disappointment to us (claims we have told him that in the past), that we would be better off if he just disappeared and so many other statements like that.

    Sorry this is long but I am desperate for any input.

  • mythreesons

    That's a difficult situation. I've seen alot of good families at a loss as to what to do about situations like this. I'm no doctor but the way I see it, family is always there to help pick up the pieces and set them off again. That's what family is for. Seems to be what you are doing, even though I don't know of any quick fix.

  • skeeter1

    I suggest setting some house rules.

    1. Give every adult some major responsibilities (chores) that must be done. If he does the chores, you leave him alone. Mentally, you always feel better if you can finish a chore. If he can roll a doobie, he can roll a lawnmower over the lawn.

    2. Give every adult some financial responsibility towards the bills. If he pays his financial responsibility, you leave him alone. Even if it's a cable bill, and you put the money away in a bank account! Otherwise, he's going to use and abuse the situation. I have family who has lived "rent free" for years, and now thinks the family IS to provide them with free housing!

    3. Do not give him ANY spending money. It's up to him to find and keep a job. Getting and keeping a steady job is a sign of mental health, and will keep him from turning into a dope.

    4. Do not allow ANY illegal drugs in your home, either for personal use or for trade. You can be held criminally responsible for drugs "in your possesion" (i.e. in your home or car.) Tell him that you're inviting police dogs into the home to make sure of it, and his room is up for random search by you or the dogs at any moment.

    5. All people living in the home are subject to random drug testing. If he's clean, he can stay.

    6. As a family, all of you are going to family counseling. I think he's been hurt, but I also think he's a manipulative jerk who's trying to guilt trip his caring parents.

    7. Alcoholism - AA and a medal doctor.


  • Scully

    He needs to go to a physician, to rule out or treat clinical depression, and then be referred to someone who can better diagnose possible mental illness. A positive family history of schizophrenia and substance abuse to self medicate is, in my professional opinion, a red flag that needs to be investigated.

    The fact that your son is an adult complicates things somewhat, because you can't force him into treatment unless there is risk of harm to himself or others. Since he agreed to attend counselling, it sounds as though he wants to get to the bottom of things and find out what is going on.

    An upbringing in the JWs (or other fundamentalist belief systems) can sometimes create some deep-seated phobias (Armageddon™, demons, etc.) that persist long after a person exits the belief system. Perhaps if he is in fact schizophrenic he could be having auditory / visual hallucinations that are based in JW lore, and wreaking havoc with him emotionally and mentally. It's definitely worth investigating.

  • cptkirk

    if you live in a big city there should be good resources in terms of psychologists/psychiatrists....the fact that he can go extended periods without the drugs is a good sign. it's a good sign because if they give him psychotropics and they work, he'll be less likely to smoke/drink while the medication is balancing him out. no idea what spice is. but yea he might have some deep seated phobias as mentioned above, that he isn't even aware of. talking to the psychologist/psychiatrist over time can help with this.

  • Nickolas

    Cannabis is by and large a safe drug, inasmuch as there is no known lethal dose and it is not physically addicting. However, it can trigger psychosis in a small minority of users. This could be what has happened with your son, but it sounds more like clinical depression, as has already been suggested. Alcohol will most definitely exacerbate depression and simultaneously smoking or ingesting cannabis will greatly magnify the depression and will result in emotional outbursts and delusions. Someone who has an inherent problem with alcohol will find it almost impossible to not drink after having used cannabis. The only spice I am aware of that is smoked is mace, but its effects are rather docile and do not mesh with the behavour you are describing. I suspect the spice your son is smoking is not spice at all but salvia. It might be appropriate to find out for sure. Salvia is in many places much more readily available than cannabis and is much cheaper to purchase. It is an hallucinagen and the effects on users can be very nasty and manifested in like behaviour.

    Be supportive and loving. Try not to lose your temper. Get some help. Talking to someone at AA would be a good place to start because they will have considerable knowledge of cannabis/salvia/alcohol interactions and problems.

    Stay strong.

  • nugget

    I feel for you we all want our children to grow up happy and healthy and self assured individuals and when they go off the rails it can be very hard.

    It appears that your son has a number of issues drugs, drink coupled with mental illness. If indeed there is a history of mental illness in the family then drugs have the potential to cause long term harmful affects and is a priority to stop this over and above the alcohol.

    He certainly appears to have issues surrounding his past but he has grown up now and needs to start taking some responsibility for his life. You had the courage to leave the organisation and give him an opportunity to make the best of his life and he is squandering that sacrifice. You cannot be blamed for everything that is bad in his life. I would insist he seeks medical help to establish whether his drug abuse has caused any medical or mental harm and whilst he lives at home he should not smoke spice. After all what he does affects all family members in the home. Just because you are his parents it does not mean you should tolerate lower standards. If he is an age to work then you need to see him making efforts to get employed. After all drug habits are expensive and he soon will run out of money to pay for his bad habit.

    I would also suggest he gets some counselling to get some direction in his life and also to address the negative feelings he has regarding his past. He is an adult and therefore needs to find a way to deal with his issues and move past them. He only has so much time when being irresponsible is acceptable he will soon move into the age when people expect to see motivation and drive and a degree of maturity.

    When we hurt sometimes we lash out at those who love us because we know that they will forgive us. But he needs to recognise that though you love him you have feelings too and you need him to allow you to help him get back on his feet.

  • talesin

    Hi, and wow, this is a hard time for you all.

    What Scully said is so important! One of my best friends and little bro by choice, deals with schizophrenia, and he too, self-medicates. It is an illness that is genetically linked, and I hope you can get him to see a really good GP, then on to a mental health professional. It's not always severe, and like many other illnesses, can often be managed quite well.

    This "spice" thing is puzzling. I'm agreeing with Nickolas, that it sounds like salvia (I've been worldly for 30+ years, and seen lots of friends experiment with many drugs, but there is no spicethat makes you high). Salvia is an hallucinogen and is NOT a safe recreational drug --- maryjane is much less dangerous to one's mental well-being, as far as my doctor is concerned, and can actually help someone who's mind is racing (but NOT in combination with alcohol).

    It must have been sooo hard to hear what your son had to say,,, all the pain and ugliness just pouring out of him ... ((((hug to you)))). I am happy to hear that you love him that much, to listen, to 'take it', so to speak. This can be healed, I promise you!

    sending you much love and compassion,


  • DarioKehl

    Having tried both pot and spice, I can testify that spice is much, much worse. It felt like a seizure! Extreme panic, paranoia and a feeling that my body had been poisoned. That crap is marketed with a "not meant for human consumption" sticker so the manufacturers are clear. Very little is known about the production of the synthetic cannabanoids and 2 close friends of mine have vomited while using it. Slowly, in my state, it is being banned by county. As well it SHOULD! Pot and synthetic versions of cannabanoids are extremely powerful psychoactive compounds that have been shown to mimic schizophrenic brain activity and should NOT BE USED by people who are already prone to that disorder or who suffer from general anxiety and paranoia. I hate the way I feel everytime I use pot or spice and vowed last summer never to do either again. You son is taking a huge risk to his mental health and spice is TOTALLY unresearched, especially as far as any long-term effects go.

    I'm sorry to hear this... does he respond well to common sense or logical reasoning? Perhaps show him (in a "non-worried mother" sort of way) the harmful effects things like this have on his body, his mindset and his overall behavior. Weed is much more "healthy" than alcohol, tobacco and synthetic crap and he will probably throw that common argument in your face. However, the smoke inhaled, even through bongs, is much more sticky and tar -filled than cigs. My biggest question is, if he is exhibiting schizo/paranoia traits anyway, WHY ON EARTH does he enjoy taking substances that make it worse??? Has he ever had a total panic meltdown on it? Maybe that's what it will take--that's what got me to swear to never play with that stuff--or anything else--ever again!

    good luck!

  • blondie

    If he is an alcoholic, unless he is committed to recovery, there is not much you can do that will be lasting re this.

    I have an alcoholic mother and I was stuck in the enabler role and thought I could get her to stop. I found out at Al-Anon how I was the only one I could change, change how I responded to the alcoholic.

    I found out how to do an intervention and got her doctor, supervisor, and a workmate (not a single one a jw) to help break through the denial. Fortunately it worked and she went into rehab and is sober 25 years later. But even if she hadn't responded or went back to it, Al-Anon helped live my own life in a healtheir way.

    Love, Blondie

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