Dilemma and choices

I think I just need to vent and get these thoughts out in writing. Feedback welcome.

My son has a friend who lives across the hall who is also schizophrenic. In the beginning I was very happy that my son gained a friend that I thought he could discuss things with other then me or his workers. There is so much concern over isolation. However I do not feel that that is an issue with my son as he doesn’t isolate himself unless in active psychosis. The problem with this friend is that he drinks a lot and smokes marijuana. I don’t blame him for my son’s choices but I struggle with the reality that if my son didn’t have such easy access to these things than he wouldn’t drink or use as often. Even without money he just has to walk across the hall and there it is. Because of this my son is drinking a lot more regularly. At least on his own he would only have money for alcohol and/or marijuana once a month then it would be gone and he would have to go without until the next month. I see the pattern over and over. He drinks more then it’s more marijuana and insight goes out the window and he stops taking his medications either by choice or because he just keeps forgetting them. His nurse has been trying to teach him that he can’t do both and remain out of hospital. He’s had 6 hospitalizations in 3 years. The last one in September.

I feel very strongly that my son’s last break probably would not have happened if it wasn’t for this relationship. Again I don’t blame the friend but if they weren’t drinking together all the time and smoking marijuana then the resulting down slip could probably have been avoided.

All this has been building up and a recent conflict I had with this friend is making me realize that I have some big decisions to make. Two days ago he came in my apartment drunk. My son was napping. I got told that I shouldn’t be giving my son his sleeping meds because look at what it is doing to him, he is sleeping during the day. I replied he is sleeping because he is not taking his meds correctly and because he is drinking and smoking pot. (He had stopped taking his Trazodone which helps keep his thoughts and mind from racing and results in him not sleeping right along with the drinking and pot) Of course I got attitude and got told that it is ok for him to drink 3 beer a day, his addictions counselor told him so and drinking doesn’t make him sleep during the day so it’s not the drinking doing this to my son. I replied go to AA and see if they tell you that it is ok to drink every day. Then I was told that cigarettes are more harmful then marijuana that it is ok that he is smoking it couple of times a day because the cigarettes are worse. I replied that he needed some education because I have been through drug rehab and there is more harmful chemicals in one joint then a pack of cigarettes. He left. The next day when he came over I asked him if he remembered the night before and he said: ya I remember you telling me that I needed to go to AA and that pissed him off. I told him that I recalled the conversation a little differently and that I don’t appreciate him coming into my home telling me how to handle my son’s medications when I am the one here every day trying to help him and that I would be the one holding his hand every day if he relapses and has to get admitted again. That if he does it again he will not be welcome in my home. He left. Later that day he came back and said he didn’t mean any disrespect that he was just voicing his opinion on my son’s sleeping meds. I asked what sleeping meds as my son doesn’t take sleeping pills. He calls his night time ones his sleeping ones. Later that day my son comes back from there with a bottle of beer because his friend was kicking him out because he was going to sleep. This is a fairly regular occurrence. His friend sleeps a lot during the day due to drinking to much. So ya I’m kinda pissed that this what I am dealing with.

The dilemma is that we can not afford to move right now. My husband has horrible credit and everyone does credit checks so we can’t find someone to rent to us. If I get a full time job then I will not be here with my son the way I want to be and I would have to find a job that pays enough so that I could show that I could afford it without putting my husband on the lease because his credit rating would still have us denied. I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I can’t stop my son from seeing this friend. Anyways sorry for the length I just needed to get these thoughts out as they are just going in circles and frustrating me.

This is a very delicate situation. You can’t move. You can’t stop your son from seeing this friend. And you can’t leave him alone in his current condition.

My first thougt is: Sit down with this friend for a serious, but non-confrontational conversation. Educate him, with research-backed information, on how drinking and drugs negatively effect people with schizophrenia. Have him understand that what he’s doing is actually HARMING his friend, your son.

Who knows. This could help him see the light and start HELPING your son, instead of hurting him.

Heartfelt communication and thorough education can go a long way.

I hope you find a solution to this problem, to keep your son healthy.



He is seeing an addictions counselor and was supposed to go into rehab but didn’t. It’s the same addictions counselor that my son is supposed to see eventually but they seem to be using the approach of harm reduction instead of abstinence which is another concern I have. The last thing I need is an addictions counselor telling my son it’s ok to drink everyday. If that is the case then I won’t be letting her see him. This friend knows that he has a problem but when he gets drinking that all goes out the window. I have on several occasions expressed my concerns to him in a calm manner and explained that as friends they are not helping each but doing the opposite. I even tell him that I think he deserves better and that I’m proud of him when he does the odd time go a couple of days without drinking and tells me that he has. He is another rock and hard place situation that I find myself. I’m trying to teach my son responsibility and I have this friend at my door on a regular bases asking for toilet paper, coffee, cream, sugar, munchies when drunk and high and sometimes just for food to eat because he spent his money on other things. Or my son is giving him his cigarettes that I’m making sure he has saying that his friend is going to pay him back. Which I rarely see and it’s me that should be getting paid back lol He won’t go out with my son for bike rides etc but it’s my son that he comes to get to walk to the beer store with him and carry back the beer. Sorry I’m just frustrated :smile:

I can totally imagine your frustration! I would be mortified by an addiction counselor telling someone I love that it’s ok to drink. That’s doing way more harm than good. I’ve been through addiction myself. From my experience, and as a former psych nurse, I know that abstinence is the only successful long term solution.

I would definitely try to find a different counselor. Maybe if your son makes a good connection with the counselor, he will change some of those destructive habits.

I’ll be keeping your family in my prayers.



I am so sorry you have this mess at your door. Does he live alone? That is amazing on the disrespect level. He shows up drunk and starts lecturing you. You are a much nicer person then I am. I don’t think I could have been so calm and cool if this young punk was in my house telling me how to take care of my kid.

What a hard situation. I can understand you wouldn’t want to bring your son into this because he can’t control his friend’s disrespectful actions. If he’s anything like my sis, he’s fiercely protective off his friends. Your son is buying him smokes and beer? So essentially your supporting this person too?

You know, this friend probably won’t go to AA, but maybe there would be a way to get your son in touch with an AA counselor so that someone besides you can tell your son that abstinence is the only thing that works. It’s only a small and bittersweet concession but at least you know now that this other “councilor” feels that this “three beers a day” thing is ok. So you can avoid her.

I’ve never once been told “yeah, sure have three beers a day” Even people without a problem would have a hard time if they really did drink three beers a day. That is amazing to me.

The pattern you described is exactly step by step what happened to me…. First the drink, then the pot, then less meds and worse symptoms, so more drink, then more pot and then no med and horrid symptoms, so lots of pot, and lots of drink and then end up in restraints in hospital under court order and my family not allowed to see me much and me being injected with meds and sedatives.

Has your son talked about his hospital stay? Did he hate it? Wasn’t he scared in hospital? I sure was. I was so scared and then when I was getting a little better, I was still under observation. People stood outside the door and timed me when I had to bathe and pee. I was only allowed a razor under supervision. Sometimes when I felt better, I’d still be restrained as a “just in case” My family only allowed a few visits a month, no way to use the one phone in the common room. I felt really isolated and very lonely when I was in hospital.

Too bad you couldn’t just keep reinforcing that connection that he himself made; that it’s the pot that put him in hospital last time. But with no insight, it gets complicated, I know. With as much as I hated being hospitalized and as upset and angry as I was, I cycled through a few times.

Stupid friends seem to make life so much harder then need be. I wish I had some ideas for you. But as you know, I too am battling off disrespectful and user friends of a loved one.

Sounds like your son’s friend is dragging him down. Making him forget about his responsibilities. Anyone who shows up at your door asking for a handout should simply get lost. I used to have low life neighbors that would show up to my front door almost everyday asking, for coffee or sugar, cigarettes. I’d say look, I’m not running a wal-mart here GTFO. I don’t drink, but I do smoke pot responsibly. And I’d say your comment about pot having more chemicals than cigarettes is not accurate. Sometimes these drug counselors really don’t know what they are talking about. Have a good day.

He lives with his father and lets just say that isn’t helping him. My son buys the beer once a month when he has money then the rest of the month it’s the friend giving him beer. Thankfully they both run out of money fairly quickly lol. The smokes seem to be more my son giving but who knows what arrangements they make regarding marijuana. Although the pot use is much less then it used to be as I tend to let them know that I know what’s going on and I know when my son smokes it.

Neither one of them have much insight when it’s happening but hopefully I can keep the impact on my son to a minimum. Even though I get pissed off my son is still doing better with it all now then he was months ago. My mom instincts kick in overtime sometimes. Surprisingly my son’s last hospitalization wasn’t too negative for him. At the end of the stay he actually talked about how he wouldn’t mind coming back for a rest every now and then. After getting a little stable he struck up a bit of a friendship with one of the guards as he was told they were there to protect him. I’m sorry your stay was so hard.

I needed to vent it all and it helped me to get it out. I’m much calmer about it today :smile:

I don’t know what to say it’s really a hard problem ! all I can say is that a schizo is so easily influenced into doing any thing no matter how bad they are, in my situation (and when I especially having a bad time) I have very little will power to resist the temptations, so I just keep my self away from tempting stuff as much as I can. I get obsessed easily about anything, and it took me along time into learning how to ignore the temptations I get, and I think I still struggling. your son might be having trouble fighting the will to drink or have drugs, or might not have the will to fight them anyway.
As for the company of schizos or semi-schizos; then It’s much more triggering to be with friends who do approve that the hallucinations are reality, I’ve had several friends through time who had approved that my visual hallucination of some ghosts or weird entities are real and that they saw them as well, these friends did the matter in fact triggered more hallucinations to happen to me, which they were increasing through time because of that, and that was a bad influence on me personally.
May I suggest a solution to your problem; if you can change where you live and go live somewhere where that friend won’t be able to spend time with your son on a daily basis, I think it would be the most resolving solution…it might contribute to improve your son’s SZ symptoms, because from a personal experience I got a lot better when we have changed where we live, and lately I changed where I sleep and I lost my psychotic episodes for some time now…
I’ve read the other suggestions like trying to talk to that friend about the dangers and harm of drugs and alcohol, and I think it’s a very long and hard way to convince some stranger of getting off drugs and drinking, addicts struggle every day and they fail so talking to a stranger on how much it’s bad for him is not going to help at all. And I guess the only way to solve this is get rid of the causes, just move if you can, and isolate him from bad influences…good luck BarbieBF