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Thread: Regular Alcohol Use by 16 yr old

  1. #1
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    Regular Alcohol Use by 16 yr old

    I'd like to hear what Dr. Bradley has to say about 16 year old drinking on a regular basis. During the summer is was most nights he went out. Now it's on the weekends so far during the school year. I'm the stepmom and his father claims he doesn't smell anything but any time I've gotten up, I absolutely smell it on him and his eyes are glassy and then I confront it with both of them and all hell breaks loose when husband tries to punish him. Then when husband punishes him, the punishment is never implemented. If I don't say anything, husband just kinda closes is eyes to it and claims he didn't smell it. I'm worried because about 6 months ago this child came home staggering drunk and vomited and I found out about that when I was picking up the room he was in the next day. This child lives with us full time for 2 years now and I'm very concerned about the drinking. Husband feels it's not that bad. It's creating a lot of bad stuff in my home for me. He's not my child but he is under my care as well. I can't set any boundaries, when I've tried, they have been ignored by my husband. To top it all off, this child was diagnosed with mono a moth ago and also got diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis over a month ago. He will not take the meds for the EE and is constantly choking on his food. He needs to find out what food allergies he has that may be contributing to his EE but no one has followed up with a dr. yet. It's all so terribly confusing for me and I'm frustrated and angry.
    Last edited by stepmom3boyz; 10-18-2009 at 08:29 AM.

  2. #2
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    Dear Parent,
    You and your husband need to see a helper immediately. Alcohol is a terribly addictive and toxic drug for a teen brain since it is much more vulnerable to the toxic effects than is an adult brain. One example: a teen who starts drinking at age 14 has a FIVE HUNDRED PERCENT increase in the odds of becoming an addict than a kid who waits until age 21 to first drink. Further, booze is usually involved in about every bad thing that can happen to teens to include mental illnesses, sexual assault, crime and even suicide.
    Get help quickly.
    Good luck.
    Dr. Mike Bradley

  3. #3
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    Regular Alcohol Use by 16 yr old

    Well, the weekend before last my 16 yr old ss came in at 2:30 pm staggering drunk again. Husband took away his text messaging, computer time, etc., and the very next day he didn't uphold the punishment. He took the text messaging away and the child told him he would take his medicine (child has a disease and needs medication) if his father gave him the text messaging back. So the kid took his medicine for a day and husband put texting back on. I'm so sick of this and we had a big fight over it and I told him he is ruining our marriage becuase of his inability to parent his child and work with me in implementing the punishment. This is all so hard I am about to throw in the towel on my husband. He doesn't understand that it's not the child the issue is with, it's him. He feels sorry for his son because his mom wanted him out of the house a few years ago and he's been with us since. I feel sorry for his son too because of his father. He's getting the wrong messages (all mixed up and confusing) from his father. His dad just got physical custody of his son a few weeks ago too. I know I must detach, again. I have no respect for my husbands behavior. This child used to at least listen to me but now he know my husband and I aren't on the same page so I must detach completely and that's difficult for me to do. My husband will not go for any help at all for our marriage and for his child. I'm at my wits end. Husband thinks I'm overreacting. He actually told me that he was thinking like his child and gave him the text messaging so child would take the medication. I thought as a parent you were supposed to teach your child how to think like an adult. I don't know what I'm ultimately going to do.

  4. #4
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    Dear Mom,
    It might be time for that Serenity prayer, you know, about accepting what you can't change, changing what you can and being wise enough to know the difference. The fact is that as the bio-parent, your husband must take the lead in these life-or-death decisions about his son, and you must take your comfort in knowing that you've done what you can. I think nothing will be gained by losing your permanent marriage over the temporary problem of your step-son. Please try to remember why you married your husband in the first place, and separate out the disagreements about parenting the son. Perhaps feel sorry for the terrible predicament that faces your husband, and lovingly detach a bit from attempting to manage the son. One way or another, that situation will resolve. It would be great if the two of you can survive as a couple.
    Take care.
    Dr. Mike Bradley

  5. #5
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    Thanks Dr. Bradley...I know the prayer extremely well and use it often already. It sounds so easy to do but it's not all the time. I detached myself for awhile and got pulled back in. I'm having a hard time respecting this behavior from my husband. I'll do the best I can.

  6. #6
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    Regular Alcohol Use by 16 year old

    Well, my 16 yr. old stepson threatened to punch me in the face last night. I had to tell him that if he threatens me again or touches me, the police will be called. I said it in front of my husband and reiterated it later on. Teen came in last night and husband wasn't sure if he was drinking so he asked me to check on him and the minute I opened the bedroom door I smelled the alcohol. We confronted him and he denied it. He was supposed to be at a basketball game and we asked who he was with and he rattled off a few names but stopped because he feared I would try and call them. We left his room and he called my husband on his cell phone and husband put him on speaker and he said if I called anyone that he would punch me in the f_ _ _ _ _ _ face.

    I had husband call his mother and I told them this child need to get some help. He's crossed the line now with threatening me. I'm really upset and I'm just venting here as well as with a few of my friends. I'm 27 years sober myself and this is extremely difficult for me.

  7. #7
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    Regular Alcohol Use by 16 year old

    Well, I'm here again just to get things out. My 16 yr old stepson got caught last night going to baseball practice drunk. The coach, who is also one of his teachers, did not contact my husband until this morning. I don't know why he didn't call him immediately last night. I hope my husband now realizes that his son needs help and needs it now. We're supposed to meet tonight with his mom, if she can get off of work at a reasonable time. I am praying that my husband does the right thing. His mom got the name of a therapist in her plan last week but never made an appt. for the child. I'm really concerned about this child and I truly believe he is bordering on the edge here and it could cross over into alcoholism if it isn't already. I wish they would put him away for a time and get him so real help but it's not up to me.

    Thanks for letting me vent here.

  8. #8
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    So fast forward......my stepson is now 18 going on 19 in May. Stepson got caught drinking last year at homecoming dance and suspended, got caught at a hotel within the last 6 months for underage drinking...police called his dad to pick him up. Just this past Tuesday morning got a call from the police at 7:20 am that my stepson was basically 2 blocks away tapping on someone's mailbox with a big gash on his head. He was trashed. Someone who saw him called the police and they called an ambulance. SS doesn't know what happened to him. They had to stitch up his head and do a CAT scan. Thank got it was nothing worse. SS in total denial that anyting is wrong. It seems that things are getting worse....progressing. I basically begged his parents to go get help themselves to make changes in our homes. The police never gave any tickets for anything so there have been no consequences in the courts. I don't understand this. The Dr. gave him a sheet and one of the diagnoses on the discharge papers was Acute Alcohol Intoxification. Just needed to vent....I'm powerless and scared for my SS. God grant me the serenity..................but we sure could use some help.

  9. #9
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    Dear Step Mom,
    As a final statement on this danger facing this young man, you might softly ask his dad at what point he would admit that this kid has a terrible problem that requires treatment. Ask him to delineate specific scenarios that would confirm what you've been seeing all these years. Then write those down and save them. When one does occur (as it is likely to do) take out the list and say, "Now what? Do we get help or write a new list that includes a fatality?" Beyond that, work to stay close to your partner and focus your energies on helping folks who need and want your help.
    Take care.
    Dr. Mike Bradley

  10. #10
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    Aggravated DWI

    Dr. B...I know your last post was a final statement. Just an update that my SS. Last week he came home drunk at approx. 1:30 am and took the SUV and drove it around the corner and wound up wrecking 3 of our neighbors cars and property of another neighbor. He then drove around the corner and ditched the SUV and walked back to where we live and the cops caught him. He was arrested and got charged with Aggravated DWI, leaving the scene and 2 other charges. We've been to court and he can drive to school and work (after the car gets fixed) and he is going for some kind of therapy at a local hospital. We have to go back to court in a month. Being that he was under 19, he falls under the Youth Offernder Adjudication law. He turns 19 today. He still doesn't get that he has a problem. Neighbors have been wonderful. Praying that when he get to therapy they will educate him on alcoholism and he learns. I'm going to alanon by myself. DH is still going into denial which is sad. Praying that he doesn't kill himself or somebody else. Jails, institutions and death.......I made the speech to him when he cut his head open not too long ago. I've shed lots of tears. God Grant Me the Serenity......

  11. #11
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    Dear Step Mom,
    I hope you were able to use the suggestion in my prior response with your husband:

    "...you might softly ask his dad at what point he would admit that this kid has a terrible problem that requires treatment. Ask him to delineate specific scenarios that would confirm what you've been seeing all these years. Then write those down and save them. When one does occur (as it is likely to do) take out the list and say, "Now what? Do we get help or write a new list that includes a fatality?"

    A DUI was hopefully on that list. The fact is that perhaps someone IS answering your prayers. Your kid didn't die or kill anyone. He got caught, is being forced to get some treatment, and all this happens just days before the law would have hammered him as an adult criminal. As scary as this all seems your family just received a blessing/gift since the stage is finally set for a sanity injection. Your husband will likely be required to attend some counseling with your step son where I suspect the counselors will nail his dangerous enabling denial in a New York minute. By all means get to the Al Anon meetings, and don't forget to tell whomever you pray to that you owe him, her or it a huge favor in return.
    Keep us posted.
    Dr. Mike Bradley

  12. #12
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    Thanks Dr. Bradley.....I did ask him and that question and he didn't answer me.

    The treatment program at the hospital is mandating my stepson to go to a 1 time per week one hour educational program - I guess that's what you call it. I wasn't there....DH went with his ex. I did speak with my husband's ex and she said my husband underplayed everything and I believe that. He made light of all the incidents that we all sat down and put together of what's gone on over the years. The person who did his assessment told my husband and his ex that ss probably is just abusing alcohol but they didn't feel he was alcoholic. SS's mom was my voice there today and I'm glad she stepped up and did what she could to make them realize the situation. She did a good job. SS is waiting for a call from a counselor I believe. They will test his urine here and there.

    I've done all I can and now I must turn it over. I'm having a difficult time. Today I just don't want to live here anymore.....there is so much sickness all around me. To top things all off, when came home at lunchtime dh left one of my dogs out for 3 hours. He forgot about her and let her out before he left. I cried my eyes out (not in front of him) and he made a joke out of it. In all fairness, he did say he was sorry before making a joke out of it. I'm very angry about it. I wanted to yell and scream quite honestly with him make a joke out of the my dogs that I love so much. I'm glad it was only one dog left out and not both. I rescued both of these dogs. Thank God it was only 71 degrees out cause if it was 90 my dog would have been in trouble I'm sure.


    Thy will be done not mine.
    Last edited by stepmom3boyz; 05-18-2012 at 07:44 AM.

  13. #13
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    Just an update......My ss was finally sentenced in September. He was not mandated by the judge to go to the program in the hospital so hubby said he went for nothing. I told dh that at least he didn't drink those 3 days during the week. DH said they are paying thousands of dollars for nothing (insurance covers a lot of this) and it was a joke to his SS. Court ordered ss to go to a drink driving program, had to go to a victimís impact panel, serve 30 hrs. of community service (due today and he didn't do one hour of it so he has to call the lawyer), and has a breathalyzer in the car. He left one job got another one after a month or so and quit that in less than a week cause his boss yelled at him. I have been finding beer in his closet and my husband found malt liquor on his bed just as he was about to go on a bus to see his girlfriend. I was proud of him that he took it. He told me not to give him any of that c r a p when I tell him I'm proud of him for doing that. I found the beer because one day a few months ago I went to close his bedroom door and I thought I smelled smoke so I looked in the closet to see if he put a cigarette out in a cup or something and found the beer. I disposed of it. I have looked in his closet on 2 other occasions and found beer in the same spot (not too bright). I showed my husband the 9 bottles (this last time was a few days ago) and I took it out of the house. I told dh that if I find it I am removing it. I told him he can handle what he says to his son (after discussions with a friend who ran Phoenix House). My ss told my husband a few weeks ago that his beer was missing and dh told him we didn't want it in the house, and that wasn't the first time. My dh wanted me to put the bottles back and we would talk to ss and tell him not to take it in the house. I refused and removed the beer anyway. He told me he would tell ss to put the beer in the shed. Denial........... My husband told me he didn't think ss was drinking in the house and that maybe he was holding the beer for a friend. Now, all has been pretty quiet - no cops and really bad stuff that we know of with ss. He just got off academic probation from local college. He still has no job and is not helping pay for the thousands of dollars shelled out for all of what he's done. DH doesn't believe in any kind of tough love.....he just cleans up the mess and makes the outside look all nice like nothing is going on. It's quite sad but there is nothing I can do. SS found out the beer was gone again and dh texted me say that ss was really pissed and that ss hated us. My response was that ss hates everyone. So, here we are with no real changes.....just forced the court ordered things he has to do. SS only pissed the bed on 2 occasions since May.

    We also just found out dh older son, 22, was out in a bar and would up in the hospital and doesn't know how. My older ss (22) goes in a bar and takes peoples drinks so he doesn't have to spend money (that's what he told his mom). He told my husband that an acquaintance gave him a drink and he didn't remember anything after that. Older ss doesn't drive at all when he drinks, thank God.

    I know I'm powerless.......just sad. Thanks for reading.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for that sharing. It is a terribly sad chapter in your lives, but please try and believe that your "book" is not yet finished. If you read the notes of others who struggled with addiction for years and wrote about it on this forum you'll see that sometimes things work out well even when they looked hopeless. I have to believe that one day you too might be finally posting good news because you refused to quit hoping, and did what you could, telling your kids that you love them and are terrified for them. You must believe in the power of goodness. In the interim I know that you are in the thoughts and/or prayers of many other parents out there. Please stay in touch.
    Dr. Mike Bradley

  15. #15
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    Dr. Bradley,

    Since after all of this happened last year, I have been finding beer in my stepsons closet. I went in there initially because I smelled smoke and thought he might have put a cigarette out in a cup or something and looked in the closet I have been dumping it when I find it. I have not been in there in at least 3 months and wanted to vacuum a little, something I never do but it's probably been 6 months since it was done and I found beer in the closet again - he just turned 20 by the way. My husband never looks and I'm not sure if I should continue to dump it. The last time I dumped it and put the empty can back. I'm not sure what to do anymore. Do I leave it or get rid of it. I don't want him drinking in my home. If you, or anyone out there could respond, I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks.

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