A few months ago, in October I realized my 17-year-old son was slowly being erased, by what I did not know… and all that remained was a shell of a person. The person I knew as my son was gone. Just a year and a half ago he was hard-working, creative, self-driven, had a beautiful mind, and so mature for his age. So many opportunities ahead of him. He now had no ambition, no drive, no rationale, no personality, nothing mattered. His grades began to decline from A’s and B’s to barely passing. At age 16, we knew he was struggling with life including coming out of Covid lockdown, like the rest of the world. But we had no idea what would come next. We did our best to provide a healthy environment throughout his childhood. I am not a perfect parent, but I always try to be present, preventative, invested in my number one job of being a Mom. He was now at the age where becoming independent from parents is naturally a struggle. And we trusted him, over the years he seemed to be our most rational child out of six children. He was the one who, up until that time, had proved to be the most responsible. So, we gave him a little more freedom. After getting caught smoking marijuana at the end of 2021, I expressed my concern of using drugs and that we don’t allow it. He asked us, “Do you think I’m dumb? I’m not going to do anything addictive!”
In the Spring of 2022 my son had begun an allergy program, a life-changing opportunity to put his anaphylactic food allergy into remission. It required an intensive daily program, only available at one location, and traveling every 2 months across the country to the West Coast. During those visits the doctor’s office watched his heart rate, blood pressure and lung function closely. All three test results were inconsistent and abnormal, which was alarming to me. Even though it was unexplained, the doctors weren’t too concerned. Traveling closely with my son I noticed he was unusually tired, easily annoyed, no longer implemented self-care, and spent a lot of time in the bathrooms. Due to our close proximity to each other during travel and staying in the same hotel suite, I noticed very strong fruity smells, night terrors, his unsteady shaking hands, stomach issues, decreased appetite, lack of self-control with junk food and drinks, weight-loss, and headaches. I dismissed it all to his allergy issues and travel jetlag.
One very early Saturday morning in November I woke to the sound of my phone. It was my husband, he said he found our son passed out in his car, surrounded by marijuana, alcohol and who knows what else. I felt like I was in a bad dream… I still haven’t woken up. I already knew in my gut. We found his nicotine vape a few days before that. The night before my husband found him, when I asked my son to pee in a cup for drug testing, he refused. It all made sense now… why I made sure we had Narcan in the house, why I was searching through my son’s belongings. By the time we realized what he was using, it was too late for early intervention. He was too far into many forms of marijuana, including daily dabbing of high potency 90% + THC. And it’s so easy to get, even mailed directly to you, along with having no smell so it’s easily hidden. After each positive drug test, bit by bit, we took away his rewards, the two biggest being driving and Wifi. We pulled him from the allergy program and made him quit his job at a restaurant which also had a bar. We implemented weekly random drug testing, required him to report to an accountability person, installed cameras and he lost his privacy. I began a life of confiscating car keys at night, figuring out what my liability and legal rights are as a parent of a minor, and started to educate myself on what my son uses. In three weeks, he will turn 18. He has no money, no car, and can only drive to work and school due to a license restriction. We told him if he continues to use, he will have to leave our home. He has no plan for where to go if he leaves. None of the consequences have mattered to him. Last week he told us he “reduced” his usage, then this week he says he “stopped”. I told him I can tell a difference; his personality is returning; his focus is coming back. But sadly, another drug test shows use.
It’s still a bad dream. I hurt. So bad. I feel like I’m drowning. Everyone who knows my son is shocked by his choices. Perhaps my son would still have chosen high risk behavior, but if THC had some real legislation and potency caps perhaps his life wouldn’t be in such ruins. How do I get through it? I talk with other families who have loved ones who are also suffering from THC use. I’m trying to do “normal” things, focusing on my other 5 kids, looking at what I still have which are so many GOOD THINGS. But mostly how I get through each day is, I believe in and worship The Living God. I rely on Him heavily through these dark times. My hope is that I know one day all this pain and heartache will be gone.
I thank God for people like Laura Stack, Ben Cort, Dr. Crystal Collier and so many others who are tirelessly fighting this fight. The other night my husband prayed to God… “please, make it hard for my son to get the drugs, put obstacles in his path.” If you’re reading this story, you can be that obstacle. Educate yourself and help spread the truth that marijuana, and especially THC, is a dream-killer, that it’s un-regulated, and killing our kids.