“Drugs have ruined my son’s life – and I blame myself”

My son is a drug addict in his late twenties. Looking back all the signs were there, but I didn’t want to believe it. He’s been taking cannabis since about the age of 10. I was too naïve and believed him when he said he wasn’t taking anything. He somehow did his GCSEs and got some B and C grades. Gradually he was smoking more and more – I know because I used to clean his room and he started to be open about it. Then he started acting weird and saying there were spies after him and hearing voices. I went on the internet and found out he was suffering from psychosis. One day he started calling me names and saying I wasn’t his mother, calling me a witch. He used to ring me and say he was coming round to deal with me – all very scary. In the end I asked him to go and stay at his dad’s house. But now he’s created a lot of hassle over there with the neighbours. Although he has agreed to seek help, I saw him recently and he looked like a zombie staring in to the distance.

I worry he has progressed to more dangerous drugs as, although he is working he never has any money. I try to broach the “drug” subject with him but he is always on the defensive. I am at a loss. It’s very upsetting to see your son going down a very rocky road and helpless to do anything about it. I feel like I’ve failed him and have experienced some very dark moods about all this. Words cannot describe how guilty I feel and how I wish I’d been a better mum. Is there anything I can do to bring back the lovely boy that he used to be? Pauline

Denise says:

I understand how distraught you are but please believe me when I tell you that your mothering was not to blame. You are one of many good parents who have found themselves dealing with this nightmare of cannabis-induced psychosis. I hope those who say cannabis is a comparatively harmless recreational drug will read your letter and think again. The good news is that there is help available when your son is ready to accept it. Don’t address the problem directly but let him know how much he is loved and that your door is open whenever he is ready to talk. Don’t underestimate the good effects of his upbringing and your influence. One day they may overcome those other influences that are dragging him down. Frank (talktofrank.com, 0800 77 66 00) will give him information and support and Drugsline (drugsline.org, 0808 1 606 606) will help both you and him if you contact them. Adfam (adfam.org.uk) and Family Lives  (familylives.org.uk, 0808 800 2222) are there for parents and will have heard your story many times before. Keep the bond alive between you and let him know you are always there for him. Nightmares end so don’t give up hope. You are very brave for telling your story and simply by sharing your experience you will be helping others.

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