17 yr old son doing drugs, hanging w members of a gang in NY

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by defiantchild, Dec 22, 2015.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Defiant, I am glad you sent that email to London.

    What about asking them, too, if they know about other possibilities. They would know about similar situations. Maybe in Italy.

    What about contacting Beit T'shuvah in Culver City (Los Angeles County)? Maybe he could work in the kitchen? Or maybe he could live there and enroll in a culinary program in LA while living there?

    Such an adventure.

    Maybe Anthony Bourdain would know of something. Did you see his show about Massachusetts where he talked about his drug addiction, focused on heroin use in Western Mass and went to a 12 step group? He is a fine man, I think.

  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I agree with you Serenity. One hundred percent.

    The thing is, parents do this "helping" for themselves, in order to feel that they have done enough. So that they can let go.

    This young man is young. Not even 18.

    If this mother found a program where he was supervised, and got guidance, she will feel as if she can let go...and her son will have had every chance....

    I think a program would be a good thing. And that the child will change if and when he chooses.

    At the same time I would feel better that he have a good launch if the parents have it in their means to do so. By "good launch" I mean in a setting that he is provided the tools for spiritual and moral recovery and a pathway to choose better.

  3. defiantchild

    defiantchild Member

    Hi SWOT and Copa,

    It's nice to hear from you.

    SWOT, I agree with you that no amount of money thrown at a problem can solve it. I don't want to jeopardize our future on a gamble with him. I've often thought of this as selfish, but my parents did that with my two siblings and they are both completely dependent financially on my parents. It's a big problem financially for my parents at this point. They've actually asked us to lend them money bc the expenses are so high supporting themselves and two children both living on their own! I refused. I told them I don't agree with what they are doing. My siblings don't have to live as well as they are living on my parent's dime. And I'm certainly not going to subsidize it.

    Copa, I feel how much you care. It means a lot to me. There really is not easy answer. It's so hard.

  4. defiantchild

    defiantchild Member

    You are both so wise...and have so much insight. I am going to continue my research into programs. I am going to try to reach Anthony Bourdain, too. I wonder if he'll meet with me? You never know...
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Defiant, I googled Cooking/Culinary programs for troubled, at risk youth and found a bunch. I know nothing about any of these, and I will keep looking, investigating. There is so much out there.

    rancho cielo, ironwood maine, fare start seattle, blue sky bakery, rebekah children's services 15-25, sprouts SF, cafe momentum, metals sports bar and grill, boise, Metals Bank Building school for 16 to 29 year olds.

    I will keep finding one until I find one in France or Italy or Spain. And then I will go. I was a Difficult Child too.

  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    If you can meet with AB, can I go too? I will pretend I am your Difficult Child. Pleasssse? I have such a crush on him.

  7. defiantchild

    defiantchild Member

    Copa, you are so funny!! I'll do my best to get a meeting, and who knows??? Thank you for looking into those programs. I'll do some research, too. I never actually looked for programs specifically for troubled teens that focus on culinary. I heard about the one with- jamie oliver on tv...but thought that was it? wow, very cool.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Copa, sure. We do what we can. But some of us don't have the means to even try this. I did not and yet my daughter did quit. I don't know this poster well...and just wanted to let her know that even if we don't provide elite programs in other countries, our adult children do quit...but it is on their timeline. I don't think my daughter would have quit a day earlier than she wanted to no matter where she was sent. And she was young too. She chose to quit at nineteen.She was using in her teens too.

    If you have the money, go for it! I have no problem with that. I just don't think it is necessary as we have given them a strong foundation that they are choosing to ignore. Why should they listen to anyone else? My daughter came back to her upbringing when she was ready to give up her lifestyle and not a moment sooner. We have spoken about it a lot. Many, many parents DO give up all of their savings to try to help an adult child who isn't ready to quit and never does. It appears this poster does have the means.

    D C, wow, I would not feel good about my grown kids needing to live off of me!!! Sorry about your siblings. I have had problems with two of my adult children, but both grew up and are now totally self-sufficient. Isn't that what we want? I don't know if everyone does though. JMO.

    Hope you find the right solution for you ;)
  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    There are so many websites that talk about preparing to be a chef. There is a lot of controversy whether cooking school is necessary or an unnecessary expense. I found an article on the Eater website to be especially informative as well as an article by the pastry chef David Lebovitz who worked at Chez Panisse 12 years, who lives in Paris. I can vouch for him. Delicious.

    I learned that the famed chef Daniel Boulud is now working with an online culinary program Rouxbe.

    Lebovitz recommended several books:

    The making of a pastry chef Andrew MacClauchlan
    On becoming a chef, andrew dornenburg and karen page
    Letters to a young chef, daniel boulud
    The soul of a chef michael ruhlman
    and Kitchen Confidential Anthony Boudain.

    Several writers also recommend an apprenticeship program through
    American Culinary Federation-- There are 4 apprentice types.
    They talk specifically of the Oliver program in London. And some recommend junior college culinary programs.

    I am thinking that the way to go with your son is speaking to his strengths, not his problems.

  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Maybe you can contact David Lebovitz in Paris? People want to help. They really do.

  11. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Defiant,
    All of this work you are going through, the searching, the trying, will in the long run be proof positive that you tried everything in your power to offer an alternative for your son.
    He is young, 17, you have tried many things I am sure, already.
    In the end all, if your boy is set on his path, that is what he will do.
    So, you offer him these several alternatives, and there is still, no forcing him.
    He will make up his mind what he wants, just as you have written.
    He is headstrong and set in his ways.
    It seems to me, that it will be his call.
    What is in it for you, is that you tried your best to research and offer choices, that you can afford.....

    I found out this fall that my Great Uncle at 16, lied about his age and enlisted in the army to go to war, with his brother (my grandfather) who was 18. I can only imagine the shock for my great grandmother, sending her two boys off to battle. This is a different scenario, but just the same, a case of a headstrong young man, who was going to do just what he wanted, and no one could stop him.

    I am glad you have support here on CD, a place to vent and figure out which route you will take. Hang in there, the answers will come soon. In the meantime, take very good care of yourself.
    This kind of stuff, is difficult to live with. The disrespect, the just not knowing where he is, the disregard for your family and your feelings.
    I hope that you are able to take some time for yourself, to rebuild and restrengthen.
    Whatever the outcome in all of this, it is important for you to take very good care of yourself.
    Hoping the best for your boy and your family,
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    These resources which came up in a google search (at risk/culinary program) are specifically geared to New York. They may or may not be geared to the impoverished. We are not impoverished and my son qualified for resources.

    the charles hayden foundation
    the harry chapin foundation
    Cafe Boulud NYC *who knows?
    College of Culinary Arts Johnson and Wales University
    East New York Farms Project
    The Sea of GLass NY City

    There was a fascinating paper: Cook it up Heather MC Thomas about a program in London. It may point to other things.

  13. defiantchild

    defiantchild Member


    Great information, thank you!

    We've gone back and forth regarding the culinary schools....some chefs say it's necessary, others do not. The real issue is if you want to own your own restaurant - you really need the hospitality/business degree to have a better chance of success. Difficult Child wants to own his own restaurant one day. Who knows if he's even capable of that. But he says that's what he wants.

    For sure when and if he's ever ready, he will take out the student loans so that he is personally invested in his future.

    I wish my Difficult Child would do some of this research himself. This is why we MUST make him own his choices and his mistakes. It's too easy for him to just continue with the status quo.

  14. defiantchild

    defiantchild Member

    Leafy, that's an amazing story about your great uncle. Your poor Great Grandmother!!
    Thank you for your words of encouragement...it's so good to hear. Especially at those moments when I feel I'm wasting my time. xo
  15. defiantchild

    defiantchild Member

    Yes, SWOT, it's a terrible thing for my parents, who are now 90 (Dad) and 88 (Mom). I really do feel for the, they tried their best, they really did. But the enabling is so unhealthy. They say "but your brother and sister are not well" meaning emotionally not well...but they've never had to do anything for themselves!! So what would the motivation have been to become somewhat self sufficient? I do feel badly for my parents. They did try. It's very sad.
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I forgot to mention it.

    That article in Eater mentioned a Business Degree as the most important thing somebody could do. Especially if they want to own a restaurant.

    It sounds like your son is very entrepreneurial. Smile.

    The thing is, of course they need to do it. But you need to know, too.

    I became an expert in RN training. Across the globe. Because I got this bee in my bonnet that that would be the path for my son. I was truly ill. I was. I may still be.

    Good Luck.

    Keep us posted.

  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is my last idea.

    It is kind of like a combination of Kibbutz and Culinary.

    There are many cities that have urban community gardens, usually founded upon permaculture principles, mainly. They work with youth, and others, to build community. San Francisco has such a place. And Seattle and other cities in Oregon. Detroit has such a place. UC Santa Cruz used to (and may still) have a farm and program on the campus, where participants live and work and learn. It is apart from the regular University curriculum.

    This kind of immersive living and learning experience could be deeply motivating to your child, if he is interested.

    I know, I know. He has to do it. He has to want it. But he also has to know about it, to want it. That is the place I am coming from.

    There is also The Zen Center. In Carmel Valley, I think. They have a program where kids work in the kitchen, usually in heavy tourist times.

    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015
  18. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Kids.......My youngest girl, wanted a tattoo, really, really badly, when she was 16 (it is the "in" thing, and also cultural for Hawaiians). She can be pretty insistent, respectfully so.
    "Other kids have them Mom." (batting eyelashes and smiling...) This went on for quite some time.
    I said no and stood my ground.
    "But why Mom?"

    "Because you are 16, I do not want any part of this decision, I do not agree with it. When you are 18, you will be an adult, and you can decide, it is only two years, you can wait. A tattoo is forever."

    I did not want to be responsible for that one, I could hear it "Why did you let me do that Mom?"

    She is 21, and still, no tattoo. Yay me!

    Kids change, 17 is so young. I do not think you are wasting your time Defiant, you are searching every possibility to offer your son, rather than the "street life". I agree with Copa, that you may be successful, speaking culinary language, since that is what his interests are.

    I also agree with SWOT, that you have to be careful, that you are not vesting more time and energy, even funds, than what your son is. He has to have buy in to this. Enthusiasm for it.

    I think a fair compromise would be to show him your research, and see what he says. If he is engaged and likes the idea, there is the answer. If he turns his head, or makes disparaging remarks, well, that is an answer as well.

    He needs to be working at this too. It will be his decision.

    I am happy,I do not have to worry about my daughter asking me why did I let her get that tattoo at 16?
    For you, if son ever comes back to you and says "You did not give me guidance" You have a story to tell him.
    You most certainly have. But, it has to be a mutual thing, I think. Son has to start thinking about this, too.

    Hopefully, you can visit with your Rabbi, perhaps, a spiritual advisor, will set the spark in your boy. One never knows. Copa is correct, it is a question of faith.

    Viktor Frankl spoke of the spark, and setting the mark higher. I think the fact that you are doing all of this work, indicates that to your boy, that you see a bright future for him. Purpose and meaning.

    At least son has a dream to own a restaurant. You could tell him that you wish to see that one day for him, when you present your ideas and research.

    Wishing you the best with all of this.

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  19. defiantchild

    defiantchild Member

    I love these stories! I love what you told your daughter, too. I'm glad she didn't go and do it anyway. I believe my son would have. He doesn't listen to anything we say:( Such a wealth of knowledge and perspectives here. I am so glad I found you all.
  20. defiantchild

    defiantchild Member

    Hi Copa,

    My rabbi's wife emailed her friends and relatives in Israel and they are going to get back to her with- some ideas regarding the Kibbutz/programs there. She's also looking for someone to help us find apartment shares in Brooklyn.

    My son is so not spiritual in any way (at least he hasn't shown any signs of spirituality towards us). I don't think any sort of Zen type program would appeal to him. Maybe some time in the future...if he ends up going to the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) in Hyde Park, NY, there is a campus in Napa that he can attend at some point. He talks about wanting to do that. Wow, if he can somehow find the discipline to take his GED, pass, and go to CIA, what an incredible thing that would be....I just don't feel he's mature enough to do it. Maybe he will surprise us....

    Thank you for all of your suggestions. You are an amazing person.