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15 y.o son addicted to cannabis who regularly runs away.

15 y.o son addicted to cannabis who regularly runs away.

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Maggiecoco
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15 y.o son addicted to cannabis who regularly runs away.

Hi, my wife and I became aware that our beautiful boy had been hanging with the wrong crowd and had started using cannabis. This use has become more prevalent, to the extent that he has on a number of occasions has run away from home in the middle of the night (2 am) and not returned for a couple of days. One the first occasion Emergency rang us to say that he , and some others were found unresponsive due to an overdose of Xanax. The six week school holidays have been an absolute nightmare. We have reported him missing to the police at least half a dozen times. My wife and I set our phone alarms to go off on the hour so one of us will check if he is still here. If not we report him missing and drive around trying to locate him. School has only just started today and it does not look like anything is changing. Not matter what we say to him or explain how his behaviour and choices could result in permanent damage or death, his standard reply is “I don’t care”. We are so tired and continually sick with worry. We just don’t know what we can do. We just can’t stop him. I would love any advice from the forum group. Thanks in advance


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Keddie
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Re: 15 y.o son addicted to cannabis who regularly runs away.

Hi Maggiecoco, So sorry to hear about your struggles with your son. I have also been through hard times with my son, who is addicted to cannabis. It effects quite a lot of people I am discovering. It opens up a world of chaos and uncertainty for not only them but you as family members as passengers. My son is about to attend a second round of rehab-28 day residential, after being returned home for around a month. He had improved a lot the first time in hospital, but impulse control has always been a challenge. We are pleased he is willing to re-enter the program. I encourage you to try and see a psychiatrist and find out some other options to help you and your son.

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Andrea-RO

Re: 15 y.o son addicted to cannabis who regularly runs away.

@Maggiecoco

 

I am so deeply sorry to hear about your current situation with your son. It must be incredibly difficult to feel so powerless in such a stressful and scary situation. I can't imagine how hard it would be for your whole family right now. 

 

It might be worth sitting down with your son and talking about what is drawing him to these sorts of activities. It can be really difficult, especially when our teens don't necessarily want to talk to us, but listening and providing a space where they can explain themselves without fear of judgement or disapproval can open up the dialogue to make room for more active involvement later down the track. It might also help to chat with your son about various risk management strategies. This means that even if he does chose to engage in dangerous behaviour, he is at least doing them as safely as possible. 

 

It could also be very helpful for you to get some professional supports in place to help in this situation. A great place to start would be ParentLine, which is a phone counselling line available 7 days a week, which gives support and advice to parents about any struggles of difficulties they may be having with their children. 

 

All the best!

Active scribe
Maggiecoco

Re: 15 y.o son addicted to cannabis who regularly runs away.

Thank you Andrea, it is going to be a very difficult road to manage. I suppose we are hoping he will abandon this  risk taking activity sooner than later. Of course, all we can really do is support his positive activities and hope these win out over the more anti social ones.

Active scribe
Keddie
Solution

Re: 15 y.o son addicted to cannabis who regularly runs away.

Hi Maggiecoco, So sorry to hear about your struggles with your son. I have also been through hard times with my son, who is addicted to cannabis. It effects quite a lot of people I am discovering. It opens up a world of chaos and uncertainty for not only them but you as family members as passengers. My son is about to attend a second round of rehab-28 day residential, after being returned home for around a month. He had improved a lot the first time in hospital, but impulse control has always been a challenge. We are pleased he is willing to re-enter the program. I encourage you to try and see a psychiatrist and find out some other options to help you and your son.

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Active scribe
Maggiecoco

Re: 15 y.o son addicted to cannabis who regularly runs away.

Hi Keddie, unfortunately he seems to be getting worse. He meets up with his "friends" almost everyday and sometimes all night. Often he sleeps in parks. With school have just begun, he is now not going to school as it is much more fun meeting up with "friends" instead. How old is your son? How did you convince him to enter Rehab? My wife has seen a psychologist, who suggested we try and get him to see someone. Unfortunately he is not interested in that because he doesnt see it as a problem. "It is just something he enjoys doing".............

Community Manager
Janine-RO

Re: 15 y.o son addicted to cannabis who regularly runs away.

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Hi @Maggiecoco and @Keddie , 

 

I'm so sorry to hear that you're both going through similar experiences with your sons and their cannabis use. 

@Maggiecoco  I can imagine that it must be intensely frustrating as a parent when you can see your child in trouble, but they refuse to accept help, and you can see that their behaviour is causing harm. 

I'm not sure if you've seen the articles on the ReachOut parents page, but I just thought I would share this one on teenagers and risk-taking, there's also quite a few resources on drug abuse that may also be be helpful. Basically, teenager's brains are still in the process of developing, and in  a way they are wired to take risks, and seek out approval from their friends rather than their parents. This can make these years really hard to navigate, especially if they're experimenting with drugs in a way that's causing harm, like your son's is. 

 

Your local community mental health service could be a good place to start to get advice on drug and alcohol misuse, you can self-refer to those services. 

 

You say your son doesn't see a problem, have you talked to him about the consequences of missing school, and sleeping in parks? Does he have any hobbies that he enjoys, or ambitions for any further training or work he would like to do when he leaves school? 

 

Thanks so much for reaching out here, I hope that the community here can be a good support for you. It's great that your wife has seen a psychologist, it can take a huge toll on us as parents when our kids are having a difficult time, and it's excellent that she is seeking support. You sound like great parents. 

Active scribe
Maggiecoco

Re: 15 y.o son addicted to cannabis who regularly runs away.

Hi there Janine, 

Unfortunately he is well aware of the consequences of missing school and sleeping in parks etc. His response is simply "he doesnt care". This has all really started only 6 weeks ago. Essentially, all he wants to do is smoke cannabis with his "friends". He was pretty good at school scholastically and really talented at a number of sports. Overall, we have too many rules in our house, like not smoking drugs, sleeping at home and going to school and that is why he doesn't want to live with us. We are really at a lost. He doesn't want to talk to anyone, he is just happy doing what he is doing. He has said that he wants to go to TAFE and do a building course. But I am worried that he will continue with his current habits and direction and lose interest in that as well. The only thing we see in his future at the moment is hospital or gaol. It would be great if the "system" was able to intervene earlier and force these teenagers into counselling.......until waiting for rock bottom.....

Active scribe
Keddie

Re: 15 y.o son addicted to cannabis who regularly runs away.

Hello Maggiecoco, sorry to hear your recent happenings with your son. My son is 20 and he started smoking around 16 years of age. We encouraged him to go into rehab after quite a long time of tolerating his addiction- and he agreed when he got suspended from his apprenticeship.  There has been a long period when he did not want to have anything to do with what was rational or for his own good.  He has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and has struggled with impulse control issues also for ages, and is easily led- unfortunately!  Sometimes it is a bit about letting go as a parent, but I hear you are worried. No quick solutions I'm afraid.  Getting some support for you and your partner is real important.

Community Manager
Janine-RO

Re: 15 y.o son addicted to cannabis who regularly runs away.

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Hi @Maggiecoco , 

 

It must be incredibly concerning as parents to see your son going through this, especially when it's been a relatively recent and sudden change. From what you've said, it sounds like he's a good kid with a lot of skills and interests - is he still playing any sports? 

 

You mentioned that he'd had an admission to Emergency with a a Xanax overdose, I'm just wondering if he was linked in with any drug and alcohol support services when he was there? As you say, it's really difficult to convince people to seek help when they don't think they need it, or don't want to engage with counsellors, but there's a lot of support services that you can access through local area health services (I've linked an example here https://sydneynorthhealthnetwork.org.au/mentalhealthtriage/alcohol-and-other-drugs/)

 

It's great that he has ambitions for future training and going to TAFE, and hopefully that can be a motivating factor for him to change his behaviour - do you know anyone who's already in that line of work? I am wondering if having someone else to talk about his future interests could be helpful at all, and give him a bit of motivation to get back to school so that he can enter TAFE when he's old enough . 

 

I can't imagine how frustrating and worrying this situation must be for you and your family- I hope that things improve for you all soon. 

 

 

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