How and why does this happen?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Tarahas3, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. Tarahas3

    Tarahas3 wife and Momma

    I have an 18, almost 19 year old son whom is homeless. Recently my husband and I gave him our old van so now he parks wherever he can and sleeps for the night. He has a fulltime job amd makes pretty good. He has substance abuse problems so he is ALWAYS broke...

    My question is how does this happen to smart and talented kids? And why can you never get them to see reason? We didn't raise him like this! I keep trying to figure out how I screwed up so badly! I was very strict but my husband wasn' all! I'm at a loss and I don't know what to do!
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My heart aches for you and I know how disappointing it is when this happens. Do not feel guilty or blame one another in a marriage. This is not your faults. Lenient parents have street kids. Strict parents have street kids. Religious parents have street kids. Atheists have street kids. There is no particular pattern as you will learn on this board. The best advice I can give you is to stick by your spouse...he is the one who will be with you in the end. Our kids leave us, even if they don't end up on the streets...

    It is such a hard path for parents to walk. One thing for you said, you did not teach him these things. He chose them. And after age 18, we can't legally do anything to stop their choices. I have found that there are a few continuing themes with homeless young adults.

    The most common one seems to be drug use. Our adult children, with such a promising future, decide to hang around with druggies and get into illegal substances and some legal substances which are more dangerous than illegal ones. They are good at hiding it and often we think they are just smoking weed, but if they are so far gone that they are no longer wanting to live at home, they are usually (not always) hiding how bad it is. They know we would disapprove, maybe even call the cops, and they'd actually choose their drugs over a warm home. There is a large community of people of all ages living in the streets and in tents and in shelters (if they are willing to follow the shelter rules) and they help one another and give advice about getting food and other commodities to the other street people. Would I or you like to live this way? NO!!!! But many of our grown children choose it, for whatever reason.

    Another reason can be chronic, severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia. Our system has no real support for those who are chronically mentally ill and often even loving families can not keep these adult chldren at home and they leave and wander the streets only to get arrested. I saw a very sad feature on the show "Lock Up" (which shows the justice system) and how it has taken over the role of mental health hospitals, since our state mental health hospitals were pretty much abolished. It is sadder than sad and, in my opinion, wrong.

    Some adult children have personality disorders aned are dangerous, steal from us, even assault us. They probably have a hard time even getting along in the streets!

    I would say those are the biggest reasons our adult children find themselves in the streets.

    Although many bright, well-brought-up young adults are in the streets, so are kids who were brought up in poverty and abused and older people who are sick or alcoholic...there is no economic barrier to disturbance and no age limitations.

    If you ever feel like "Talking" we are here. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year and we understand and care.
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  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Tara welcome. It may be prudent for you to take down the picture of your family, since this is a public site and we need to protect our children and ourselves from identification.

    Many of our kids have a 'conduct disorder' or a mental illness or as in your son's case, are substance abusers. You might also post over in the Substance Abuse forum where other parents are dealing with kids who use.

    It isn't about you, or about you screwing up, or someone being lenient or strict, although some of that might come in to play, it is usually our kids who make poor choices and refuse to take responsibility for those choices.......At 19 your son is considered an adult, and an adult is supposed to be able to act in a fashion which shows self respect, respect for others, the ability to make positive choices, to be responsible for themselves, work or go to school and eventually become a contributing adult. However, for whatever reasons, our kids don't.

    At the bottom of my post here is an article on detachment which you might find informative. There may be nothing you CAN do, since your son is legal adult. That is the hardest thing for us parents to understand, that we cannot make any difference in the choices our kids make. We are essentially powerless. We have no control over what they do. It is a bitter pill to swallow.

    Most of us here have gotten ourselves in to a supportive environment to learn how to cope with and understand what has happened to our kids. You might try a 12 step group like Narc anon if that feels appropriate. Or a therapist or Families Anonymous, or a parent group. Someplace you can go to get support for YOU and your husband.

    You cannot reason with a substance abuser, it is an act of futility. It will make you crazy. This happens to smart and talented kids, poor kids, rich kids, privileged kids, street kids, pampered kids, kids of all nationalities and backgrounds, there is no answer to the why of that.

    This is very hard on us parents. When our kids go off the rails, we feel guilt, anger, sorrow, disappointment, grief.........many, many emotions.......which we have to come to grips with over time. It isn't easy. Which is why I always advocate finding some kind of a supportive environment for yourself. You will likely need it.

    It's helpful to continue posting, we have been in your shoes......some of us still are. Hang in there. We're here if you need us. You aren't alone.
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  4. Tarahas3

    Tarahas3 wife and Momma

    Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. My heart is broken into pieces... he is my youngest child and a miracle child. Before him I had several miscarriages so my doctor never expected me to carry this child to term. So it is a hard blow to me that he not only is a miracle life but extremely smart and talented. He came by today, we fed him and he pastout on our sofa like he hasn't slept for days..I've cried the rest of the day because tonight it's going to be in the 30s...
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Tara, I'm so very sorry. I understand how much this hurts. You may want to read some of the posts here, there are a number of other mothers who are going through the same thing right now..........and they share your heartbreak. It's helpful to read others stories..........look in the PE forum and read recent posts, there are a few now about homeless young boys out in the cold. It is a scary experience for us.

    My heart goes out to you, it is heartbreaking. Take deep breathes. Try not to let your mind go in to all the awful places of fear.........have a cup of tea..........take a bath...........we all need to do kind things for ourselves when we are confronted with the fears that go along with having what we call,our difficult child's........our "gifts from God." Our troubled kids. He's sleeping right now. He's safe. Breathe. Stay focused right here in the present moment. Don't let your mind drift in to a fear filled place. Right now, it's okay.
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  6. Tarahas3

    Tarahas3 wife and Momma

    I've been reading the post here for hours lol I finally posted cause I thought if I could figure out why this stuff happens then maybe I could fight it somehow... but I know deep down there's no why. If weed or pills were a person I'd beat the fool out of it for dragging my poor son down the tubes but it's not. And I feel weak and hopeless. I'm angry and hurt and if I ever find out who is his dealer/dealers I'd call the law in a split second! I've been close to finding out but I had no real proof. People want weed legalized... not this momma! I going to fight hard to stop it. I've seen the damage first hand, and by what I've read a bunch of y'all have too. Thanks for letting a broken down momma rant for just a minute.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    tarahas3, my daughter was a drug addict from age 12-19. She has since told me a lot about drug life.

    There is rarely one drug supplier. Users supply other users. She supplied others. They supplied her. In her words, and I can't verify she is right but she has been clean ten years with no reason to lie, everyone who uses drugs is in a position where they also have to get drugs for others. If you busted one drug supplier, bully for you! One less idiot off the streets, but there will be many others your son can easily find. Also, turning in somebody can put your life in danger. It would probably best be done anonymously. My daughter had people after her for money and many death threats. I didn't know about it because mot of our drug using kids tell us very little about the truth of their lives. We thought her drug of choice was weed. In fact, as she tells us now, it was speed, meth, cocaine, ADHD drugs crushed in pillcrushers and snorted and she even tried heroin.

    I was, to say the least, shocked to hear her story. But thinking about it, my daughter is not naturally skinny and she looked as skinny as any AIDS victim. In fact, I used to be afraid she had AIDS. It is so good to see her a little bit chubby without dark circles around her eyes...and RED eyes or DILATED eyes! So scary for a mom.

    I hope your son gets the help he needs. He has to be the one who seeks out his own treatment and stops going to the druggies. There is nothing you can do to stop him unless he asks you for help because he wants to quit. Then there are tons of programs. Many people quit every single day. NEVER EVER FORGET THAT!!!!

    Have you ever been to Al-Anon so you can learn how to cope while your son is on a path of self-destruction? I found it helped me A LOT.

    You can rant anytime you want. Heck, the rest of us do. Sending you warm wishes and good vibes and for your son as wellj
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  8. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hugs to you Tara. We have all asked ourselves WHY and the answer is, there is no answer. You can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what, where, why and how. My husband and I raised our only difficult child in a Christian home. We were a typical middle class family, we worked at the same jobs for 20 years, we always ate dinner as a family, we went to church every Sunday, etc.... There is no one size fits all when dealing with why our difficult child's choose the paths they do, they just do.
    You are not alone in this, there are many here that have gone through what you are going through.
    I am proof that you can survive the heartache and go on to live a life that holds promise and happiness.
    Hang in there!!
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  9. Tarahas3

    Tarahas3 wife and Momma

    It feels good to talk to people who know how this feels. It never crossed my mind to seek help for myself cause all I thought about was getting him help...thanks to all of y'all!
  10. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Oh Tara, this is a thought I've had over and over. I have one son, 19, who currently resides in a homeless shelter. We have three bedrooms, good incomes, and my son is in a homeless shelter because we kicked him out. We've spent the last two years pretty much miserable. We tried putting him in counseling. We tried being tough. We tried being easy. Ours loves his pot...I don't know about anything else. Apparently he loves something a whole lot, because he stole $700 from us, after being forgiven and taken back over and over for stealing from us, this was the last straw. We put him out with no car and no money.

    I have wondered over and over what I did wrong. How could any child of mine turn out like this?

    He's attractive, extremely intelligent, lazy and somehow...broken. He's my only child and homeless because he cannot show us even enough respect to not steal from us.

    Welcome. I'm so very sorry you need to be here.
  11. Tarahas3

    Tarahas3 wife and Momma

    It is so frustrating! He makes the same money that my husband and I do and he is always broke! No money for food etc... I never give him money but I can't speak for my husband.

    When I look at him he has this "dead" look to him. That's the best way I can describe it. It breaks my heart so I try not to look at him at all which is sad. This is my son! My little boy! I'm feeling all these emotions all at one time!
  12. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I am so sorry you are going through this kind of heartbreak. In our hearts they will always be our "little boy or little girl" but the fact is they are no longer little, they are adults. The "dead" look is most likely due to his drug use. You just have to keep reminding yourself that you did not do this him. You also mentioned that you are not sure if your husband gives him money. I would suggest that you and your husband discuss this and make sure you are both on the same page. My husband and I had many fights over giving money and we came to understand that we could not allow what our son was doing to damage our marriage.
    Hugs for your aching heart.
  13. Tarahas3

    Tarahas3 wife and Momma

    My husband and I have had many arguments over giving him money. We've almost split up several times because of all this.We now have separate checking accounts and we each pay half the bills. So if he gives him any money I don't believe its much because my husband can no longer afford to give him more than 5 bucks at a time.

    I have recently learned that my son has been drinking and drugging since he was around 14..
  14. stressed78

    stressed78 New Member

    I feel your pain. My son is 18 loves his weed and cigs. He was homeless bcuz I put his dad oit who moved himswlf in my home. I saw them sitting under a tree around the corner from my house a few times. During that time he wouldn't speak to me. Since then ive allowed him to come back home with his spermdonor and today I find out hes been stealing my debit card while ive been asleep. When u figure out why they do what they do let me know please lol. I was a single parent and a teenage parent. His dad has never done anything for him and right now the dad is his best friend and im nothing but a pest. Smh. Its so hard to deal with bcuz as mothers we still see our babies and know they are capable of so much more. And to see them destroy themselves while trying to ignore them is so hard to do. But I am close to my breaking point where I have to let him go and not let him drain me emotionally anymore. Im here if u need to vent or anything. And sorry to hear that
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member's sad how young they start, isn't it? My daughter was TWELVE. She told me they used to stop behind a gas station on the way home from seventh grade and smoke weed. Me, being naive and having never gotten involved in drugs or even been drunk, never dreamed anyone took drugs that early. But she knew eleven year olds who did it.

    I so feel your pain. Stressed, you are nicer than me. I know for a fact that I would have called the cops on sperm donor long ago. He was helping your son do drugs and probably providing them when he was a minor. What a loser this sperm donor is. He thinks his son is a playmate, and doesn't mind messing up his own child.
  16. Tarahas3

    Tarahas3 wife and Momma

    I wish there was someway to fight this! From what I'm reading here, this is happening a lot with our kids. Some way to raise awareness, something! These children are supposed to be our future!

    I'm so sorry all of us are going through this hard time...everyone's story here is so sad and heartbreaking! I'm new at all this but I hope I can help y'all in some way. Thanks y'all for being so nice and supportive!
  17. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Taharas, I am so sorry. My son also started using whatever he could get his hands on when he was around 14. He is 22 now. He started with fake pot and large quantities of cough syrup, escalating to basically whatever he can get his hands on, though alcohol is his drug of choice. It is very sad to see full-blown addiction at such a tender age. It is very sad to see people reach out to help and have that help rejected again and again. When he gets out of detox and gets a few weeks of sobriety, I can see that "he's" back, so to speak. The light is in his eyes and he is himself again. Then he decides to go back to using again and I see that "dead" look you speak of, and that is very sad.

    There is no reason why. If there was, I think these mommas would be on it like a pack of dobermans. They are the fiercest, most loving bunch of mommas I've ever seen.
  18. Tarahas3

    Tarahas3 wife and Momma

    There are wonderful mommas here sure enough! I'm so thankful I found this site. I think I've mentioned that our son works at the same place my husband, daughter and I do so I saw him today. He didn't look high but was unkept if you know what I mean. He and I barely speak anymore. Which is hard to believe for me. I'm so hurt I just can't hardly look or speak to him. Sometimes I feel empty. Last night during my prayers to God, I begged God to "fix him". Literally begged... crying and pleading with God for his life. I love him so much..

    I just can't thank y'all enough for letting me ramble on. :pouting:
  19. Tarahas3

    Tarahas3 wife and Momma

    By the way, my husband and I are transferring to another store to get away from him...maybe not really away from him per say. But not a day goes by my coworkers ask me or tell me things about him and I think I just want to be in the dark..
  20. stressed78

    stressed78 New Member

    If it makes you feel any better when my son was gone I cried just about every night and prayed for him to come back also. I think as mothers its natural for us to want to fix them.