Question: Hello... There is really no way to explain this with just a couple of sentences. Sorry it's so long:
My son is 16. Started outpatient rehab 4 wks ago (ecstacy, cocaine, marijuana). He's tells me that he’s been clean now for about 2 weeks. I can see a difference in him - depressed.
He says he can use a little $ and get more drugs and be happier, or he can save $ for something better (something new to keep his interest - don't know what yet), not be happier since he won't have the drugs, not get to do the "something better" very often because it'll probably cost more.
I told him he'd have to weight all the factors, not just the high. There is depression in my family. Myself, 4 sisters, 1 brother, mom and I'm sure others. His dad and grandfather also have/had it. He is ADD, ODD, mild Tourette's and depressed. I told him my biggest secret – only a couple of people know (suicide attempt in 9th grade). He hasn’t really had any indications that he’s been thinking about it, but I wanted him to know that l feel that it was the stupidest thing I – or anyone could ever do). I'm 40 now and told him I can't even imagine not being here, therefore not having him and his brothers. Unfortunately, that's not all. His dad and I have had trouble in the past (much much better now).
We've been married 19 years and about 5 years ago, he attempted suicide. His grandfather attempted more than once. I almost feel like we're setting him up in a sense because I heard that it can run in families. None of his brothers display any of this. A few years ago, he used to take meds for the ADD. It was a fight every day because he didn't see a difference. It got to the point that he had to come to us and show us that he was taking it. Over time, it was so much of a fight and he ended up weaning himself off of it. We changed insurance's recently and I'm trying to establish with new doctors.
I have a Psychiatrist appointment. I’m looking for a therapist he can talk to (that's on the list, treats adolescence, treats those with ADD, and has openings). He is open to seeing somebody, but says he's not interested in the meds, that he won't take them. Also, with the meds, if the doctor thinks we should and if I can get him to take them, then I have concerns about all that is said about increased suicide from some drugs. Lastly, throughout the last 2 months, we’ve had other issues – running away (arrested once for trespassing while gone/running away), school problems, etc…
Things have calmed down and I think he has realized that it’s not as easy out there as he thought. I don’t really think we’ll have to thru that again – hope not. How do I talk to him more about depression, about how to keep himself (and for us to help) motivated to stay on the track he’s been on the last 2 weeks? What else can I do to help him? I’m trying to be encouraging and give him more positive about what’s going on.
The thoughts of suicide (him) are scaring me.
Answer: Dear Kim:
I am so sorry you are dealing with this situation. There is nothing more heartrending or heartbreaking than watching a child deal with a substance abuse mental health condition.
You posting is not long because you had so much to explain it is long because you are owning too much responsibility for your son's situation.
All of your concerns are totally valid and still you need to realize he has to help himself. You can not do this for him.
If you are not already an alanon member please get to a meeting and then attend as many as you possibly can to get a perspective on what you are responsible for (your own recovery) and what your son will need to take responsibility for, his own recovery.
Hear me, you can not do enough, be good enough, worry enough or be there enough to cure him and get him through recovery. His recovery is not about you it is all about him.
Even his choices about which medications. You can teach him to research the drugs online and see what is up however, he still needs to be as active as possible to get better. Having you micro watching the process will only impede his recovery.
Remember he is 16 and will shortly be an adult. It is even more imperative he start owning and taking responsibility for his actions and recovery as he will continue this behavior into adulthood as recovery is a lifetime process.
I am sure this is not what you wanted to hear however, I can tell from your question you want the best for your son and it will take a recovery process of your own to allow him to find his own voice (he can't hear it if you are the voice in his head). Please do get involved in alanon and read as much as you can by the guru of co-dependency, Melodie Beattie.
You can do this and he will to if only you take care of yourself first.
M Kay Keller