So many sleepless nights...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by LauraH, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    So it's almost 4:30 in the morning and once more I am unable to sleep. I found this site by googling in an attempt to make some sense of it all.

    I'm in Florida and my son, who will be 29 this month, lives in Illinois. I love my son, my only child, with all my heart but honestly it has been an ever-increasing nightmare since he was about seven. I was a single mother most of his life. At that time he was diagnosed with ADHD. At 14 the diagnosis was changed to depression and anxiety. At 17 it was changed to bipolar and has remained so ever since. Each change in diagnosis meant a change in medications and a change in his mantra of "I can't help it, I have ADHD/depression/bipolar!" That was his catch-all excuse for his defiant behavior and lack of control over his actions and words.

    When he was 10 he threatened me with a knife, put his hands around my throat and squeezed until he was interrupted by someone knocking on the door, and swung a 2 by 4 at me. I can't remember now what triggered those events, but I let them slide. He refused to accept discipline. If I removed possession(s) from his room he went into m room room and took my things in retaliation. If I grounded him he sneaked out of the house. (One time I caught him climbing out his bedroom window and foolishly tried to run after him. He started screaming for help that I was kidnapping him. This was around the time of Jeffrey Dahmer, and I'm surprised no one called the police). At 13 or 14 he started smoking weed and graduated to other things, which I will mentioned in a bit.

    When he was 14 he slapped me in the face with a dried out palm frond because I told him we didn't have the money to go to Burger King. No biggie, it only stung for a second, but it was the last straw. He ran off after slapping me and I kept walking until I saw a cop sitting in his car. I told him what happened, thinking that there might be a diversion program I could get him into. Instead, the police picked him up and charged him with battery. In court he was placed on juvenile probation and remained on probation until he aged out at 19 for constantly violating curfews, school attendance, etc. No criminal charges other than the battery charge and one shoplifting incident. But enough to keep him in and out of juvenile detention and a couple of year-long residential programs.

    When he aged out at 19 the nightmare escalated since I no longer had the juvenile court behind me. On three occasions he broke the glass in my front door. The first time I called the police but they told me they couldn't charge him since he lived there. I couldn't evict him since I rented my apartment, and the rental agency told me the only way they could evict him was if they evicted both of us. One police officer told me the only way I could get my son out of my house would be to move! Seriously???

    In 2009 I started dating my husband and the behavior became even worse. I spent more and more time at my then-boyfriend's and more or less my son had free reign over my apartment...parties, no cleaning, you name it. If he wanted to start drama with me he would go next door to my boyfriend's apartment, and once when I wouldn't let him in he tore out the window screen and climbed in anyway. I'm still amazed my husband and I stayed together through it all. At one point my husband, who has a low tolerance for stress and drama, had a stress-induced stroke. He was in the hospital for a solid month and nearly died. In desperation I wrote my son a $500 check and made him sign a contract to the effect that he was leaving and no longer claimed residence in my home. He has not lived with me since, my husband fully recovered, and we got married in 2015.

    Fast forward: Three years ago, shortly after I got married, my son moved to Illinois. It was wonderful at first. He got a great job with a prominent bank and was promoted twice within one year. He was happy, productive, living on his own, and making more money than I ever had. Then he met "Mr. Wonderful" (did I mention he's gay) and not long after they started seeing each other things started going downhill. Just one month into the relationship they had a major fight, but within days were back together. And this patter has repeated ever since. The boyfriend got my son started on meth...his attendance started going down the toilet...he took 3 leave of absences from his job to go to rehab, but never completed a program and no sooner had the door closed behind him but he was back at boyfriend's doing meth with him. He lost his job, obviously, for attendance and other reasons, several months ago. He squatted in his apartment for a few months until he was evicted. Now he is staying with boyfriend (who, coincidentally is 46 and living in his mother's basement) for the last month or so. They continue to fight and make up, fight and make up. I rarely hear from him unless he needs something, like the night boyfriend put him out of his truck on a snowy night and left him stranded and he needed me to call an Uber for him to get home (this was when he still had his apartment). He has no phone service since he obviously can't pay his bill.

    At the moment he's in a psychiatric ward after a fight that resulted in him punching out the glass in boyfriend's mom's back door. He called me to let me know but otherwise wouldn't talk to me, just asked me to get messages to a couple friends of his. I keep imagining the worst happening to my boy either from staying at boyfriend's house or living on the streets. I don't know how to keep these thoughts from creeping into my mind, but at this point in time it's difficult for me to imagine anything positive happening to him. He's not really looking for a job and he's blown off a couple of interviews he's had because they didn't pay enough. I've urged him to apply for disability but he says that doesn't pay enough either....I guess total unemployment pays, though?

    So most nights I lie away envying my sleeping husband and conjure up all sorts of things in my mind, and it's really draining me physically and emotionally. Gosh I so apologize for this being so long but I wanted to give you the background and I'm not very good at being succinct. Hopefully future posts won't ramble on like this one. Thanks for letting me vent, though, I really needed this!
  2. Enmeshedmom

    Enmeshedmom Active Member

    Have you ever been to al anon? I just started in January and find it to be extremely helpful. I do the same thing with my son as far as creating horrible stories in my mind of where he is and what he is doing when he isn’t at home. And as far as I know right now he is only smoking pot. It is very hard to recognize that the only person we have any control over is ourselves. Nobody could make me start using meth not even my husband when we’re first dating, so while boyfriend may have introduced it, your son made his own choice to try it. I use to blame all my sons friends for his pot smoking and whatever else but only recently I’m beginnig to realize and except that he doesn’t need somebody else to help him make bad choices he does it all on his own. I like the saying “birds of a feather flock together.” My son wasn’t forced to be friends with the people he chooses he picks them for a reason. We can get off the roller coaster our kids are on and still be ok, I wish you the best.
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  3. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    Your sons diagnosis history is similar to my sons. He is 36. Your son at one point proved to be successful and at that time was happy. This proves that he is capable of managing his own said that although he didn't finish them he checked himself into rehab. He had the wherewithal to know he needed help. The time in hospital might help get him back on track it might not but only he can decide when he has reached a point that he realizes he needs to change. All you can do is let him know that you are there for him within boundaries. Do not offer or give money and under no circumstances allow him to move home. That would not benefit anyone. I hope you are able to find peace.
  4. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Laura and welcome to the forum. I am so sorry for your need to be here. You have been through a ton of stuff, thank you for providing the background to your story and reason for being here. Most of us found this place, just battle weary and tired, our stories don't make for coffee break small talk, that's for sure. You have come to a place where people understand and can relate to your aching mommas heart. Life is so difficult when the kids are with us, all of the drama and chaos that ensues. When they are away from home, there is this wondering, a sort of relief from the pain of it, but still this emptiness. I think especially so for an only child. I have five kids, two off the rails. Out there drifting somewhere. On meth as well, and definitely not in their right minds.
    I feel like this from time to time. I spend a lot of time praying that my two will wake up from the meth nightmare and seek their potential. Where there is life, there is hope. I do have a niece in active recovery from meth, and that is a beacon of hope. What helped me most, is that I gave my two back to God. I don't know if you have faith in a higher power, but this is my saving grace from sleepless nights. I also began a routine of walking in the mornings before work and find that to be cathartic. Switching focus to self care is beneficial. It is not selfish. It took a while for me to realize that, because as moms, we are trained to focus on our kids and their well being. I used to think that I couldn't possibly be happy when my two were out there drifting. Then, I realized that I couldn't bargain away my peace and joy, for them to find theirs. When hub passed nearly two years ago, that was a real wake up call to how incredibly short life is. I realized that I had really been grieving a long time, grieving over my twos lifestyle choices. That grief did nothing to change them, and it took a lot of my precious time away. I would have long talks over lunch with a dear friend at work, and she helped me realize how much the chaos and drama of my twos choices and consequences just, well, infected me. She suggested gently that I seek counseling, and I did. Perhaps that would be helpful for you.
    There is a good article on detachment I have linked for you below
    It is a good read to find out where we are at in our relationship with our d cs and how it effects us. Although your son lives far away from you, his life and choices are definitely effecting you emotionally. Lack of sleep is really bad for our health. You going down the tubes with your sons choices is unacceptable. A waste. How would that help him? It doesn't.
    Our mind can play tricks on us with worry and stress. This is not good. Finding strategies to shut that sort of thinking down is important. If you have faith in a higher power, prayer is comforting. If not meditation helps. A routine before bed. Find mentors in noble souls out there who overcame life's difficulties. Viktor Frankl, Maya Angelou, or anyone that you find up lifting. It takes work to shift focus and understand that we didn't cause our adult kids issues, can't cure them, or control what they choose.
    I focus on my two finding their true potential. Frankl gave a talk years ago about the spark that everyone possesses inside. He spoke of being an idealist, rather than a realist. That if we saw a person as they were, rather than they should be, we were lowering the mark for them. He related this to his lesson becoming a pilot, that with wind, one had to project their course at a higher point than where they wished to land. It's called "crabbing", sort of like throwing curve balls. He said that we should view a person for the potential they have, rather than what they were doing.
    This may seem like overreaching, or ignoring the problem, but it has helped me tremendously because my two are out there drifting, homeless. Kidnapped by meth. My mind used to go to the places you are going with yours. Worry, stress, imagining the worst. I am completely aware of all of that, but switched my focus to what I know lies deep inside underneath all of that mess. Their spark. So, I pray all of the time that they find their light.
    Don't worry about the length of your posts, or rambling. That is what we are all here for, to vent, to be comforted by kindred spirits who have been through similar experiences with their beloveds. I find it hopeful that your son is getting help right now. Hopefully it will lead him to understand his potential. That is entirely up to him.
    I know you love him so much and want the best for him.
    I have found that what I really want for my two, is to practice self care, to improve their well being. So, as their parent, I take that cue as my duty to take care of myself. To lead by action. As parents, we are our kids first mentors. Self care is not selfish, it is imperative to care for our physical, mental and spiritual well being.
    Sometimes we get so caught up in our kids choices, we neglect ourselves and feel selfish pursuing peace and joy, while they are out there "suffering". There is nothing further from the truth. There is no benefit for us to suffer along with them. All along, it is just another Tuesday to them.
    Addiction is designed to snag and enmesh not only the addict, but also their loved ones. The net that traps us, is far reaching.
    That is how I view my own physical, emotional downfall with my twos addiction. I was trapped by it, too.
    Pulling up and out of that entrapment takes work.
    You got this Laura, you are not alone.
    Keep posting, and we will circle the wagons for you.
  5. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    Just recently I had looked into al-anon but I don't drive and the nearest meeting, while accessible by bus, wasn't the most convenient. However, in my search I found nar-anon, for families of drug abusers/users...and it's literally 5 blocks up the street to my house. I had intended to go last Monday but because I didn't sleep at all Sunday night I slept all day Monday and didn't get up in time. So now I'm aiming for tomorrow, cross your fingers!
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  6. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    He couldn't move in with us anyway because, among other things, our rent would go up and we are barely scraping. The shop my husband had worked at for 25+ years closed in October due to not making any money, and the owner's other store sustained vast hurricane damage. He's been on unemployment since and it just ran out about three weeks ago. Fortunately the other store will be reopening soon and he'll be working again.

    And I have told my son that I don't want him in my home, period, until he gets clean and remains clean. As far as his stints in rehab, don't let him fool you. He went into rehab because he got tired of getting up early every day to take the train into the city for work. By going into rehab he was able to get short-term disability while living a life of leisure. Even after checking out he did not make an effort to go back to work until he absolutely had two, then after a week or two he applied for an extension of his disability and it started all over again. How he managed to stay on the payroll as long as he did is beyond me. And now he's seeing rehab as a place to stay if he can't go back to the boyfriend's house.
  7. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    Thanks for the lovely welcome and supportive comments. Here's just an example of my son's total lack of empathy. Shortly after the first of the year I got sick and after trying Nyquil and all sorts of other OTC medications, nothing was working so my husband took me to the ER. My son called when we were at the pharmacy waiting for my prescriptions to be filled. The conversation went something like this.
    Him: Hey Mom, how are you?
    Me: Well not so good. I just left the ER where I was diagnosed with pneumonia and now we're at Publix waiting for my scrips to be filled.
    Him: Oh wow. Hey when you get home can you take (something, I've forgotten now) to the Post office and get it in the mail? (All I wanted to was get home and go to bed!)
    Me: (I probably shouldn't have said this) Your empathy and understanding are amazing.
    Him: What do you mean? The first thing I said to you was how are you and that I was sorry you're sick.

    Can empathy be learned? Or is it something you either have or don't have? Maybe I'm wasting my time hoping and praying for him to evolve into a caring loving person who can see that sometimes others' needs are more important or urgent than his own...
  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Some people don't have it. Nobody is sure why. I don't know if it can be learned. As long as your son is on drugs though he probably won't. And you can't force him to detox either.

    I would keep him out of your house forever. If he gets clean then he should get his own place. You certainly don't want him with you when he is his boyfriend's mom!!
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  9. Enmeshedmom

    Enmeshedmom Active Member

    That’s great if you have nar-anon that close. Definitely try to make it I don’t think you will regret it. I said I was just going to try to make one meeting a week and I’m going to 4 or 5. Nobody understands more than the people here and in those rooms. There are also meetings you can do online I use
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  10. LauraH

    LauraH Active Member

    Actually this is the only nar-anon group in my area and they meet on Mondays only. I'm sure if there were more meetings throughout the week I would end up going to several. I'll definitely check into the online thing as well, thanks!
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Given your son's past behavior, why would you want him in your home for any reason? He is an adult and can figure things out for himself. Your husband is your primary responsibility. He cannot handle the stress of living with your son, as proven by his stress induced stroke in the past. Please don't EVER let your son live with you. Not even overnight!

    As for your son not being able to help his behavior due to having ADHD/bipolar/addiction/whatever, I call nonsense. My son went through the diagnosis merry-go-round for some time, ending with Aspergers (high functioning autism), ADHD, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Even with those problems, he is still responsible for his behaviors. He had medications to help him behave better, but the final responsibility was ALWAYS on his shoulders. He is 26 and now he appreciates that we NEVER let him use his problems to get out of bad behavior. His behavior was dangerous and horrible at times, but we did all we could to hold him accountable. If we didn't, eventually the world would, as it should.

    Your son is an adult. He needs to go be an adult and not come home to you. If his meth creates problems, he needs to figure out those solutions on his own, without dropping them on your shoulders, regardless of whatever he claims his problems are. He is NOT your little boy any longer. He is a full grown man who wants Mommy to take care of him. Mommy has herself and her husband to care for.

    Think back long and hard on all those years when you could not get him out of your home, and how miserable and scared you were. Do you want to go there again?? You owe him NOTHING! No matter what he tells you, you have given him all that you ever owed him.

    Alanon and NarcAnon are very close, and they can be so helpful. It is NEVER a parent's job to support a drug abusing child, no matter if that child puts a guilt trip on the parent or not. The child chose the drugs, not the parent.