My husband and I have three children: a son and two daughters. When our son turned 16 and began smoking pot, our lives changed completely. He became very disrespectful towards us. His grades declined, he was secretive, and he stopped participating in family functions. He was smoking pot daily and then progressed to using other drugs. He had traffic violations and two DUIs. His childhood friends stopped hanging out with him, and his new friends were ominous. When we gave him a consequence, he would do something worse than the original infraction: he punched holes in walls, keyed our cars and was destructive in many other ways. Our home life became very stressful. There was chaos every single day. My husband and I began arguing, and there were lots of tears – almost daily. Our daughters withdrew socially and became depressed due to the effects of their brother’s actions and our reactions to him. We were completely lost and confused and exhausted. We sought out every form of help we could find. We tried it all and spent plenty of money in the process. This went on for several years.
Then we found BILY.
Through attending weekly BILY meetings and reading the BILY principles regularly, we changed the way we parent. First, we worked diligently to be united so that our son would stop manipulating us by putting a wedge between us. We now work together
to come up with a plan, and we are stronger in applying consequences. This, in itself, has made a huge difference. We now realize that we are not responsible for our son’s choices and that he needs to handle the consequences of his behaviors. We have learned to let him deal with his crises; our job is more to care and listen and empathize with him rather than fix his issues for him. We religiously attended BILY meetings for several weeks and witnessed our lives changing slowly but surely. Once we made a decision, the group held us accountable to follow through. We took some very difficult steps, but they have paid off. For example, our son chose not to follow our house rules. The rules were very basic: do not use drugs, be respectful, complete house chores.
He immediately broke every rule. As a result, we followed through with telling him to leave the house, though we were forced to
call the police because he would not leave. This was very stressful and sad but we have seen huge changes in him due to our follow through.
I am happy and grateful to report that our home is now a peaceful and healthy environment once again. BILY has given us the tools to reclaim our lives. I can’t tell you the last time that I cried myself to sleep. Our marriage has been restored. Our daughters are relieved to have peace in the home. And our son realizes that things are different so he is growing up.
We will continue to work the BILY steps as our children grow and beyond. Our parenting approach has changed significantly with the help of BILY, and it works. I have observed that all three of our children are benefiting from the changes that we have incorporated into our lives. Even now, several years later, I continue to attend BILY meetings. I am determined to be there for other parents who are suffering the way that my family and I suffered. If I can help one other person change their life for the better, I am committed to doing that. Plus, participating in the meetings as a leader is a consistent reminder of how far we've come and how important it is to stay on this healthy track.