I registered here as MAL a few days ago, but have decided to become Molly. MAL, chosen because it's an acronym I share with a friend in the same plight, means "bad" in French and looks angry. I am more of a Molly. I want to tell you a little about me and my family. My husband and I are both mental health practitioners. He's worked in substance abuse for some 30 years. My training and much experience is in child, adolescent and family psychotherapy. Our son was a junior in high school when, two years ago, he told us he was addicted to OxyContin. Our professions certainly exacerbated the guilt we felt by misinterpreting the warning signs: lying (don't all teenagers do this to get what they want, or to dodge punishment); bad grades (well, he'd just transferred from private to public school, and the curriculum here was more advanced), etc. We immediately had him admitted to an adolescent day treatment program. I started radiation therapy for breast cancer the same day. A week later, he relapsed. We advised him to share this in group. He did. A few hours later, while on my way home from radiation, his therapist called me. We hadn't even met yet. His disclosure had required her to notify our insurance company, and resulting in denial of further coverage. She made the call to them before his tox screen even came back - clean! They let him participate one more day, on their dime for "closure," and did a supervised urine. Still clean! But the damage was done. He'd lied about using (why oh why - but that became part of his MO), they acted, and no appeal to the insurance carrier reversed this myopic decision. Next: afternoon group for teenage substance abusers in a neighboring town. Therapist did not engage family, believed his tales, blamed The Mother.
While the medical system failed our son, the school district soared. They understood our position that he could not be in those hallways, where OxyContin sold for $2.50/pill or completion of the seller's homework. Gave him one-to-one tutoring and he once again excelled. Secured a place for him in a stellar alternative program for senior year. Looking good! But in the spring between junior and senior years, he met a girl who asked him to take her to prom in the city. "Is she okay?" I asked his friend who introduced them. "Just a drama queen," he said. Omitted to say that his best friend since preschool was committed to a locked psych ward due to the emotional abuse he endured with her. That's why HE couldn't go to the prom. Nineteen months later my son is still with this girl. Their relationship is a prototype of domestic violence with my son as victim. She undermined his senior year, destroyed his friendships, and split him from his family. Tried to have him committed when he was still 17, but they determined he was neither a danger to himself or others. Therapists and law enforcement officials told him he was in "grave danger." Finally, after kicking me in the stomach (my son had previously been compassionate, loving and totally nonviolent), he left home and lived with her for 6 weeks. Then he recognized that she's a monster! He came home! But he was increasingly depressed, refused help, became suicidal, and we hospitalized him. Reestablished contact with her - even in the hospital, where it was allowed. He conned the psychiatrist, was discharged prematurely with way too much medication and an inadequate treatment plan. Failed to do any of it. Just abused his meds, escalated drinking, and continued with girlfriend. .
I have been on the emotional roller coaster for two years - denial, grief, terror, isolation, disappointment, betrayal, anger, obsession. His sickness became mine. My younger child's needs are often unmet because his problems consume me. So add guilt to the mix. In another post (under MAL), I described how he left home recently on his birthday. Now he's home (and physically away from her - but there's the computer!), in outpatient therapy, and registered for spring semester at a local college. The helplessness I felt two weeks ago has (once again) made room for cautious optimism. I was never a large person, but have lost 40 pounds in the last year, all due to stress. Were it not for the therapist I started to see last spring, well, I don't know where I'd be now. This is a sisterhood I never imagined needing. But, like Beautiful Boy, I'm glad I found you. I hope to be a positive presence in this forum. I am so afraid of living like this forever. So much stronger than I was a year ago. So far to go in rediscovering myself and reclaiming my life.
My heart breaks for those among you who have lost children. Thank you all for being here - and for listening.
Clarification: WE tried to have our son hospitalized when he was still 17. His girlfriend didn't. That wasn't clear in my post above. (She, of course, was scared that he'd be admitted and, like her previous boyfriend - who was in one or another residential program for 15 months - get help.)
By the way, that boy and his mother are now at the core of my life. We are nurturing a friendship between our boys, who have experienced an addiction to the same black widow. The other is a survivor. May my son someday be, too, and overcome his abuse of drugs and alcohol.
Sorry for the lengthy introduction divided into three (now four) segments.
Hi Molly, Your story, like all the others, is different yet the same. It is heartbreaking to know that we are supposed to help ourselves when our children are drowning in addiction. Hard as a mother to accept this. This forum really does help.
Molly, I'm glad you came to the forum. I can relate to everything in your post. This forum has helped me so much to not feel alone and also learn from others. You will find many kind and understanding friends here, please keep coming back. Ann
Thank you so much! Late last night I came here to read your older posts. I wanted to know and remember your stories, and be able to associate your names with these struggles, losses and victories. I'm learning who you are, and starting to believe that in your company I will feel less alone. Again, thank you for your warm welcome. I'm here for you, too. Best, Molly
Hello Molly, Welcome to the forum. Last year I was extremely ill, No one really knew what was wrong. The flu??? A virus??? I think now that my system just broke down from the grief and stress. Then I decided to live and I found this forum of fantastic people living lives something like mine. I'm futher down the road than most of you. I lost one in 2005 and have a daughter into meth. She hasn't seen me in 4 years. That sometimes happens when you cut off all funds, housing, etc. I no longer see my oldest grandaughter because we don't shell out anymore. I've done my "time" so to speak. Keep writing on the forum. It will help us and you. Best wishes, Deb
Molly, thanks for sharing your story. This forum will allow you to share what so many others do not understand. Knowing that so many here do understand is a God sent. During the active using days, I did not have this forum and like many, endured life in my own craziness. Addiction is not something to be discussed over coffee. We choose to hide as much as we can and live our lives in fear and chaos. My daughter is a true miracle and I pray she can continue to be an inspiration to many. She is back in college and is majoring in Art therapy and Substance Abuse Counseling for the youth.
Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate to your feelings and experience. I don't think any of us imagined this road for our children. Nothing really prepares you for it, but support from those who understand really helps me.