My 18-year-old chooses pot over family

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by BeyondSad, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. BeyondSad

    BeyondSad New Member

    I found this site through a desperate google search inspired by sadness surrounding a situation with my 18-year-old son. He started smoking pot a year ago and hanging with drug-using friends, including a new g/f. My family (I have two other children) have always been very close and loving -- extremely tight-knit. My other children love to spend time with me and siblings whenever possible. Last year, my husband died. So, for the first time in my life, I am alone. The summer after my SO died, my 18-year-old graduated and then began lying and not showing up at family events. That's when we found out about the drug use. I immediately laid down rules and when he kept ignoring them, I threw his stuff in garbage bags and changed the locks. Two days later, he told me he would stop and he came home, but I made him pay rent. In the fall, his g/f got an apartment and wanted him to move in. I warned him about budgets (he doesn't have enough money to pay all of his bills) but, of course, he thinks I am worried over nothing, so I am sure he will learn the good old-fashioned hard way. My problem now is this: my contact with him is always initiated by me. When his siblings are in town, he tells me he will come over to be with the family, and when he does, it's wonderful, but he often doesn't show. As I write this post, his dinner he asked me to save for him last night is dried up in the microwave and his sister is pissed because he never came home, even though he said, "see you tonight" and when we called and texted, he said he was coming. We can't believe him or trust him. I'm terrified he will do more than pot. He dropped out of the simple community college classes he was taking and has no foreseeable direction. I know he's young, and it's clear he wants to hang out with friends, which I know is normal for a young adult. But how do I handle the disappointment and constant rejection ESPECIALLY at a time like this, when our family has been ripped apart by death? I just need someone to tell me this is normal and is just a phase he's going through. I can't bear to lose another person from my pack.
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hi there and sorry you are hurting and I'm the tragic loss of your life partner. So sad.

    About your son, I would not call his behavior normal because drugs are involved. Does he work?

    Most of us can not force our adult kids of any age to hang around with us. I have four adult kids and they don't want to hang around me like they once did. This is normal as they spread their wings to prepare for independence and their own families. We are close, but they are busy...I would be more alarmed if they were huddling with me rather than testing their lives.

    What I have seen, however, is more ambition and more of a desire to realistically grow up than your son is showing. Hanging around with friends smoking pot or even other drugs has not been my personal experience. So I really don't think it's normal, but so also don't think most adult kids are super interested in hanging out with family all the time either. I do think any sort of lying can be tied to drugs, but have no clear picture here. My youngest is 20 so I have seen a few adult kids.

    Do remember that you lost a beloved husband but your son lost his father and this could be one of his ways of dealing with it.

    Please be good to yourself and remember:
    Yesterday is history,
    Tomorrow is a mystery,
    The present is a gift.

    Have you sought out therapy to help you through this difficult time?
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  3. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    hi Beyond Sad, so sorry for your loss! I don't think i would worry about him using marijuana. It is relatively safe as drugs go, and you can't stop him. Do you have any reason to think he would try harder drugs? What do you mean by "drug using" friends? Is there more here you haven't shared?
    I do think it is very normal for an 18 year old to be with his peer group more than his family.
    I worry that changing locks, dramatic stances, etc, might push him away.
    Calm down, stay in your own space. From what you have told me, he's doing ok. Does he have a job? He must be paying his own way, and has done so successfully for some time. Good for him! It is not always the best thing to go immediately to college after high school.
    You might want to look into grief counseling for yourself, and your son, if he is interested.
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Pisces, I would have to say that pot, like alcohol, is safe recreationally (not every day) for adult kids. If pot use is simultaneously hooked to new, disturbing behavior, lack of motivation and drug using friends then it ceases to be a benign drug. Driving while high is also driving while intoxicated.

    I would not toss out a grown kid for recreational pot smoking if it was not affecting his behavior and was not in my house (nobody smokes period in hpuse...i can't tolerate smoke or weed smell) but I'd consider it if my adult child refused to work, follow house rules and hung with seedy young adults. My daughter did this until we made her leave (them she quit everything) and those adult kids she hung with were a danger to all of us.

    So so just don't see either pot or alcohol as necessarily safe or ok if the young adult is not functioning well. And this young man isn't.

    On the other hand if he does have a decent job and lives on his own it is nonlpnger a parents place to tell the adult child how to live.

    I do think grief counseling is a great idea. No offense meant!
  5. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    SWOT, why don't you think he is functioning well? Am I missing something?
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    No mention pf working.

    I think suddenly shunning family and hanging with drug users is not functioning well. The emphasis is on quitting school to hang around with drug users. Perhaps I am wrong, but none of my kids, except my daughter who used drugs and quit, did this. And she stopped when she quit.

    Often they stop calling us when they are up to no good. Even if they dont hang with us, my experience is that they still call and would visit to see a sibling. He is hiding something in my opinion.

    Drug users hanging together to me spells trouble. Could be using other drugs too.
  7. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    I don't know. He is supporting himself. I don't know if he is shunning his family, or just growing up, and visiting less than mom would like. I also don't know what is meant by drug using friends.
    It all could be fine, and the perspective belongs to whoever is doing the telling.
    All this behavior is pretty normal to me - most of the young men in my extended family use marijuana (nothing else) recreationally, and have dropped in and out of school, while being independent. They are good kids. Yes, he could have serious problems, or he might just be figuring out life. So worry at this point is useless, and could cause distance.
    If mom is ok with it, communication is open - and if mom takes a hard line, you get lies. And yes, I could be totally wrong. I often am!

    Either way, both have suffered a huge loss and likely are both in mourning.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    All I know is that from my experience this is not how healthy adult kids act. I smell trouble. And I didn't read that he has a job. My guess is if lhe does it is not a career building job. Yes he is young but not that young. My husband was in the military at his age. Many are in college full time or working full time at eighteen.

    I don't believe pot is harmless in many cases. If nothing else it can kill motivation if overused. Look on this forum. Almost every adult who has not launched is a daily.pot user. 99%. That says something. If it's just pot.

    Pot is very bad for me. It is not always benign.

    I just did not see my normal thriving kids or thier friends hanging out smoking pot. So it is not my experience or belief that this is what normal thriving adult kids do. My drug addict daughter did this until she quit but then was too busy working to hang out.

    So now the original poster has two opinions. She seems concerned. (Shrug). There will be more too. Thanks for your opinion :)
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    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  9. PiscesMom

    PiscesMom Active Member

    Oh, and OP, I hope I don't sound at all like I question your decision to have your son leave. If he is openly smoking, or causing disruption, you might have done the younger ones a big favor. And you are raising three kids alone now. :( So you have a lot on your plate!
    If anything I said isn't helpful, just ignore.
  10. BeyondSad

    BeyondSad New Member

    Thank you everyone for BOTH opinions. I need to hear all sides. I know because my family is very close, I may not really understand what's normal. My head does, but my heart doesn't get it. My son works at a restaurant doing dishes, and has since he was about 14. However I've heard through the grapevine his performance is slipping. The drug-using friends means all of his friends are his friends because they get high together and that is the thing that made them friends. From what I see, they have nothing else in common and he is afraid to introduce them to me. My main concern right now is that he tells me he is coming for dinner or whatnot and then won't show. He makes promises and breaks them. The reason I kicked him out last summer is bc he didn't come home at night, even though I gave him several warnings. He smokes pot several days a week. It is the main reason he moved out (bc he wanted to do it every day and I said no) He is a sweet kid and I am scared the pot habit will lead to stronger drugs. I'm scared of losing a relationship with him.
  11. BeyondSad

    BeyondSad New Member

    Thank you. To clarify, my 18-year-old is my youngest.
  12. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis


    You and your family have been through a lot. Many here have. In your heart you know what's best.

    He is so young, no one matures at the same rate. Many here have differing opinions on pot...he may be using to numb his pain...he probably could use some
    counseling, as you could too.

    I don't know if you really know these "friends" of his...but maybe since your family is so close you could talk to him and gauge if he's using anything else.

    You are also.mourning your sons dreams you had for him. Unfortunately , u can't control that. I would keep your communication open, tell him if he needs help or is ready for school again your there. You can worry about the drugs...but it will only cause u pain and the whAt if game is not for the faint of heart.

    Much support and hugs, your not alone.
  13. RN0441

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


    Welcome and so very sorry for your loss.

    I don't think marijuana use for SOME is bad. For my son it was a gateway drug and ruined his life thus far. Obviously you are concerned or you would not be here. You do not sound like some over bearing, protective mother to me either.

    I agree that the grief of losing his father may be causing his behavior, plus he's just at a hard age even without that loss. On this forum I've learned that usually what we know as parents with drug use is just the tip of the iceberg.

    I agree with what others have said. I think grief counseling would benefit you and your son - if he will go - but you should go either way (I would if it were me). You are having to learn how to live a whole new life now with your husband gone and I can't even imagine how hard that is in itself. You certainly don't need anyone upsetting the already tipsy apple cart but isn't that how life is? I sometimes think it truly is a roller coaster ride.

    Drugs certainly can change everything. Our family has been torn apart from our son's drug use and all the unpleasant stuff that goes with it. There has not been a quick or easy fix for us. My son wouldn't listen or learn but maybe you can sit down with your son and have a heart to heart. Can his older siblings talk to him? Sometimes they respond better to peers/siblings than parents.
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  14. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome BeyondSad, I'm so sorry for what you are going through and for the loss of your husband. I'm glad you found us here.

    Your son is an adult and there is nothing you can do that will prevent him from smoking pot. He is making life choices that have consequences and he will come to learn what that means. If he says he's going to come for a visit to see his siblings then doesn't show, he is setting the tone for his siblings to not trust him. You are correct that he will learn the old fashioned way.

    It's my guess that your son may have started using pot as a way to cope with the death of his dad. This can be very damaging because when someone uses drugs to numb their feelings, those feelings are still there.

    I understand that some people use pot and alcohol to "relax" but for me, I do not see the need. I can only speak for myself as I don't drink or do any type of drug and have manged to deal with "life" just as it comes. I also understand that there are people who can use pot or alcohol and are able to maintain their responsibilities of working, paying bills, and keeping up with other obligations. If using pot or alcohol interferes with these responsibilities then it becomes a problem. Drugs and alcohol can easily become the users best friend, mother, father, sister, brother, grandparent, job, etc........... When this happens the pot smoking and drinking are now a problem and many times will lead to other drug use.

    I think you did the best thing you could by letting your son know that his actions would not be welcome in your home and changing the locks was a smart thing to do.

    I wish I could tell you that this is a phase that your son will grow out of. The fact is, it could go either way, there is no way of knowing. The best thing you can do is to set clear boundaries of what you will and will not put up with concerning your son. Also, you have a life to live and need to live it to the fullest. As you well know, life is precious and needs to be cherished. We cannot live for our children, we can only live for ourselves. Live your life, do what brings you fulfillment.

    It's not easy being a parent of an adult difficult child but it is possible to move on from this and live a happy life.

    Again, I'm glad you are here with us.

    ((HUGS)) to you........................
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  15. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    There are people who can use marijuana and live a normal life, work, be responsible, have good family relationships. But then there are others who have addictive personalities and use of this drug is a gateway to more stronger and lethal drugs. However, when using pot and you find yourself not being able to get up and go to work or at work and performance suffers, you begin lying to loved ones and others, you drop out of school, alienate your family, can't be counted on to be there, then that is a definite sign that pot is damaging to that person.

    I do think he is trying to handle his loss of his dad via pot and his druggie friends. Both of you should get counseling to handle the grief.

    I would have low expectation of him showing up for any family events while he is living his way this way. Invite him, if he shows up, great if not, then don't let it break you down. You are also grieving the loss of having close knit relationships- but sadly, as our children grow up, it doesn't always stay that way. It changes and becomes different and you have to find a new way of bonding. Right now it just sounds like he needs space and time to deal with loss of Dad. Give him that. Praying that he heals and figures out his life in a productive promising way back to you and your family.
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  16. BeyondSad

    BeyondSad New Member

    Thank you so much
  17. BeyondSad

    BeyondSad New Member

    You're right. Thank you.