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18 Year Old Son Relapses on Drugs After Dating a Stripper

by sue
(missoula, mt)

My 18 year old son has relapsed by snorting bath salts or synthetic cocaine. They are legally sold in smoke shops but are worse than meth. Previously he did not graduate with his class because he was doing cocaine and ecstacy. For three months he stayed clean and he took extra home study courses and summer school and managed to get his diploma. I enrolled him in college and he has a job.

However, two weeks ago he began dating a stripper. He started snorting these bath salts. He has missed work and yesterday his boss told him that if he misses another day he will be fired. He needs the job because he owes us $2600.00 for taking my husbands's truck out in the middle of the night in a full blackout without asking and doing a hit and run with tons of damage to another man's car.

My son has only lived with us for a year ... before that he lived with his tweaker Father and suffered abuse. I took him to a hospital when he said he was suicidal and they kept him three days and put him on an anti-depressant. That was three months ago. Then he relapsed. I have offered to take him to cocaine anonymous meetings and to a counsellor but he never winds up going.

My husband, his step-father, is very upset. We argue a lot. He was raised very strict. I have a lot of guilt and try to be understanding because I feel bad for the kid and what he went through with his father. I realize I have weak boundaries an began counselling last week.

What house rules should we enforce? Sometimes my son sleeps over at the stripper's house. He does this the night before he has to work and then doesn't want to go. He has agreed to pay us back the $2600.00 by giving a hundred dollars to us twice a month at each bi weekly paycheck. If he loses the job ... then what?

The relationship between my son and my husband is strained. We made the mistake of drinking beer with him. We stopped this. We are now sober two weeks. We originally were sober two and a half years but my husband relapsed when my son started bringing parties with his teen friends into our garage.

I made it four more months and relapsed for a month. Now we are sober. We told my son there is to be no partying in this house and no friends over during the week and no girls spending the night. On the weekends he can have a friend or a girl over but she must leave by 1am.

I know I have made mistakes in parenting but I am willing to try a new and better way. I was not raised with good parenting so I always feel like I'm flying in the dark. The counsellor is very good and says I have weak boundaries. I am afraid the problems of having a wild teenager will bust up my marriage. What are a set of good house rules for teen son? Answer

Your son is an adult so you need to give him the freedom to live his own life, because you can't control what he does anyway, while at the same time holding him accountable for his actions, so if he makes poor decisions, he's held accountable.

So for a start you need to make it clear that if he wants to continue living at home, he needs to pay his own way and make sure he pays you back whatever he owes you. Work out what he can afford and he then needs to pay you on a set time every month/two weeks or whatever, like one would have to do with any normal loan.

Then you also need to make it clear that someone taking drugs is not welcome at home. So either he takes his sobriety a bit more seriously by making an effort to work his recovery, e.g. go to meetings, or he'll have to find somewhere else to live.

Because your son can't always have in the back of his mind that if things go wrong or if 'I stuff up', Mom will be there to fall back on. He needs to start having to experience all the consequences that come with choosing to take drugs, not have Mom make it easy for him, because you're always bailing him out in one way or another. It's enabling him and while you continue to do that he'll never be sufficiently motivated to change.

Then you write this all down into some form of contract, i.e. what your expectations are and what will happen if those are not met. Be specific. Add whatever you think is relevant, even include things like chores. Everyone signs it and he then knows exactly what will happen if he crosses those boundaries.

Sure, your son may have had it hard with his Dad, but he can't keep using that as an excuse to take drugs/mess up his life. He needs to make the decision that he's not going to let what happened prevent him from realising his potential, and get help/go for counselling to deal with what happened.

So it's important you start putting clear, firm boundaries in place, because not only will it be good for you, it will ultimately help your son too. Good Luck

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