Missing or just AWOL?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by LauraH, Feb 24, 2019.

  1. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    After a period where things seemed to be looking up for my son, things went due south in a hurry, starting about a week and a half to two weeks ago. I won't get into all that right now, but it's gotten really bad for and with him. He's been staying with my husband and me for maybe a week, which hasn't been too bad behavior-wise other than the fact that he's no longer working (again, not getting into that right now) and still using. But he's made a greater effort to help out around the house and be polite and courteous, so there's that.

    Now for the meat of this post. I last saw him late Friday afternoon when he was leaving supposedly to meet up with a friend to get a motel room for the night. His last words heading out were "See you tomorrow (Saturday)" I didn't hear from him all day Saturday and when I tried to call him around 7 to see if he would be home for dinner, he didn't answer. I called again around 8 and still no answer. Finally when I called a little after 9 he answered and said he was in the ER of a neighboring county needing to detox. He sounded terrible, and although he seemed to be coherent for the most part, his speech was thick and slurred.He said after he and the friend he supposedly got a room with went their separate ways at whatever time on Saturday, he went to another friend's house. I have no idea how or why he ended up going one or two counties over after that. I don't know why he didn't call me to let me know that he was going to the hospital, as he usually does, but he's an adult and not required by law to do so. He told me what hospital he was (supposedly) at and the room number. He said he didn't have a number for me to call other than his cell at the moment but that he would call me when he knew what was going on. That was the last time I spoke with him.

    I wasn't super worried at first, assuming he actually was at the hospital, but when midnight rolled around and I still hadn't heard from him, I got concerned. I called the hospital he had named, was transferred to the ER, and was told that his name wasn't in their system. I've called his cell several times between then and now and he's still not answering.

    I don't know if he's in another hospital, if he was lying about being in a hospital at all, if he's in trouble somewhere, or what. I don't know if I should just wait this out and see if I hear from him today (Sunday) or report him missing. And if I do report him missing I don't know if I should wait until later on today or call right now. I don't know if I should be frantic with worry because he may be hurt or in danger, not overly concerned because he's (allegedly) in a safe environment (hospital), or furious because he's jerking me around and being selfish and inconsiderate. I think I'll just try to get some sleep and wait and see what my husband thinks before I do anything.
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear Laura

    I can't comment on the veracity of what your son tells you. I know that my own son lies to me. What I can say is that for some time now from your posts it seems like your son's life is utter chaos and that chaos, more and more is affecting/infecting your life. You are caught up in his ups and downs which he imposes upon you, without concern. Your own well-being seems to have become a question of his well-being. That is your sense of self, your sense of safety and contentment are contingent upon whether or not you perceive he is safe and doing well, achieving goals or not. In this most all of us here, share this same state of affairs until we see it, and change it.

    What is wrong with this picture, as long as we live it? With them, we are in continual crisis, over which we have no control. We are stressed. We are afraid. We feel dependent. We feel powerless because we are powerless.

    Anything could happen and be happening. It could be jail. It could be intensive care. It could be a drug-fueled haze. He could be ill. He could be in the street. He could be injured. And I am speaking here about my own son. As long as I am living inside of him, his reality, I am out there with him. With no information. I have lost myself.

    To me, for me, the thing to do is to take my own life back, little by little. It is not that I don't care what happens for my son, but I have to care (more? some? a little?) about myself. So do you.

    First, we cannot protect them. We cannot influence them. We can only lose ourselves. Second, we matter.
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  3. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    So I guess the best thing to do is wait it out and pray for the best. Eventually I'm sure I'll get some word from or about him. This isn't the first time he's "gone dark", although it is the first since he left Chicago. And I am concerned and a little worried, but I'm not frantic with fear and dread as I was when this happened in the past.

    Ironically, it was my husband that said he could stay with us, not me. If it was up to me he would be fending for himself the best way he could. I think that's why, up until Friday, he's been on best behavior, more or less, because he's aware that one slipup on his part could land him on the streets with nowhere to go. And assuming he's not in the hospital, this weekend, in my humble opinion, is a major slipup. But we'll cross that bridge when and if we get to it.
  4. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I had a similar response from the ER when my daughter was in a car accident last summer. She called from the hospital. My son was with her at the hospital, my friend from church also visited her in the ER. We drove home and arrived after 1am as we drove 5 hours from another state. I went to the ER (as she wasn't answering her phone) and they wouldn't tell me if she was there, admitted or dismissed. Damn privacy act. I told the lady I knew she had been there, as my son and a friend from church had waited in the ER room with her. She finally felt sorry for me and said she was no longer at the hospital...

    I knew she wasn't seriously injured... So I knew she had left.

    Maybe that's what happened with your son. I hate it. I did finally hear from an adult that she was at their house. It took over two days for her to answer phone or text, infuriating!

    Kicking myself for driving all the way home when I could have stayed at the only family reunion one side of my family had ever had.

  5. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    I thought about that possibility, but the guy didn't say he couldn't confirm or deny if my son was ever there, he said his name wasn't in the system at all.
  6. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I'm so sorry LauraH.

    Did you find out anything more?

    My son is back with us and it's hard for me not to let HIS life or what he's doing overtake MY life.

    I hate that part of it and my son is doing better than he has since he was 15!!
  7. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi Laura,

    Hopefully, your son is just hanging around with friends.

    Most of our drug-addicted young adults are way too self-centered to keep us informed about their welfare, and really only contact us when they need something.

    The real question is—what are you going to do when he returns?

    Do you stay on the roller coaster with your son, or do you get off?

    Because this will happen again—and again—and again.

    Let us know when you hear anything.

  8. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    I just got off the phone with my son. His cell is dead but he was calling me from a hospital in Orlando (I'm in Daytona Beach). He wanted me to send him money, either to help him get back to Daytona or to buy a phone charger, I'm not sure. Moot point, because I have $30 to last me until I get my March SS payment. I didn't explain that to him, just simply said no. His response: "So you're okay with me being stranded in Orlando?" My response: "First of all I had nothing to do with you being in Orlando in the first place. Second, you were okay with keeping Steve (my husband) and me out of the loop this entire time but now you want me in the loop because you need my help." He then hung up on me.

    I don't know what I will do/say when he manages to get back to Daytona. My husband is off today so hopefully we can have a three-way conversation about what we will accept if he's going to continue staying in our home and what is unacceptable. He appears to want our help with no strings and no conditions, and that's not going to happen. I don't know of one individual or organization that gives any kind of help without at least some conditions attached and we are no different.

    He's already managed to alienate my affection, and there have been times in recent weeks when I've had to remind myself that he's still my son and I still love him. I'll update when I see how this is going to play out.
  9. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Well, at least you heard from him! At least you know he is OK.

    Still frustrating... Ksm
  10. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    Once when he was in Chicago he yelled at me for "leaving him stranded in the middle of nowhere with no way to get home" after his ex had kicked him out of the car. Um, no, Joe left you stranded, not me. He yelled that if something happened to him it was my fault. I hung up in the middle of his tirade. I heard from him either the next day or the day after that, and he was calling from Joe's house, so apparently he was able to find a way home without my help. I assume he will do the same getting home from Orlando. None of that is my fault or responsibility. I'm very glad I literally didn't have the money and so couldn't send him any, because I don't honestly know if I would have acquiesced or declined had I had money in the bank. I would hope I would have said no anyway, but I can't say with 100% certainty that's what I would have done.
  11. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    Well, whaddya know...he thought to look up and old friend and not only got a charge for his phone but a ride back to Daytona Beach...all with no help or interference or intervention from Mom! I wish I could say this will be the beginning of him standing on his own two feet but we all know that's hoping for too much.
  12. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    So glad you heard from him. And I admire your resolve, by the way.
    Our son has gone silent. Won't respond to my text messages. There's nothing to do but continue to pray.
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  13. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    He figured it out in his own. The next time he asks for money, remind him of how he was able to work it out this time.
  14. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I think your response was perfect! Of course he hung up on you, you were telling him the truth and he didn't like it. He was probably hoping for you to cave and say "I'll figure out a way to get you some money"
    Good job on standing your ground.

    Well of course he does. This is written on page 82 in the "difficult adult child handbook"
    My son is no different. He wants my help but wants to dictate how I should help him. Reality check, not gonna happen.

    And this kind of response is in the first chapter of the "handbook" titled, "blame the parents"
    It's much easier for them to blame us the parents than to look deep within themselves and admit that their life is out of control, but you see, this would also force them to admit that all the things "mom and dad" have been telling them for years was true.

    Isn't it amazing how he was able to manage on his own.
    I've been down that road too many times with my son. The desperate phone calls or private FB messages telling me he was going to die, starve to death, freeze to death, if I really love him I would help him, blah, blah, blah...................
    As for the ER story, of course you want to believe him but can you?
    I have taken the position with my son that if his lips are moving, he's lying. He has lied to me so many times and for years. One of his desperate messages to me a few years back was that he had a huge gash in his leg and that he needed money to go to the ER. I told him if he went to the ER they would have to treat him and he could work with them on paying the bill. Most likely they would have written it off. He of course got mad at me that I wouldn't help him. Funny how the very next day he was posting pictures on FB of him and some friends hiking in the mountains. It's a miracle how fast his leg healed!!

    One of the best things and hardest things I have done for myself is to fully accept that my son could die and I may never know. I came to realize that I was spending too much time in worry mode and my mind would create all sorts of horrible scenarios. Once I faced the fear of the worst scenario, him dying, I was finally able to move on.

    We haven't heard from our son for over a month. The other day he sent a brief message to my husband that he's going north to do some kind of fishing that he will make a boat load of money. I wish him well but do not hold our any great expectations. I've been down this road before, all the other schemes he's had to make a boat load of money. So, he goes about his life and I go about mine. I'm sure there will be a really long period of silence before we hear from him again. One good thing, because we have held firm in not helping him, he rarely asks us anymore.

    Hang in there!!!
  15. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    So it turns out he did go to the ER and then to a psychiatric unit for stabilization and detox. Of course I didn't take his word for it, but he showed me the paperwork. It's sad that I'm at a point where I can't take his word for much of anything unless he has documented evidence to back it up. If he told me it was raining I would go look out the window before I fully believed him. But it is what it is and he just has to deal with my skepticism until/unless he starts slowly earning back my trust. Keyword being SLOWLY.
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  16. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    It is sad that our children have so damaged our trust in them.
    I have thought what it would look like for me to be able to really trust my son again. What I have come up with is him holding the same job for 3 years, being drug and alcohol free and staying out of trouble with the law. If he could do all of this for 3 years I would be more inclined to trust him again.
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  17. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    I also told him that even if he went out of town on a pleasure trip that it was just common courtesy and consideration for the people helping him to let us know he'll be away for the weekend or whatever the case may be, and that if he can't show us that respect then we
    That and I'm done listening to "I'm going to...I plan to...I intend to." Show me the results because his stated intentions are worth less than Confederate currency.