My 29 year old son is homeless and addicted, and 700 miles from me...

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Pam_54, Dec 10, 2015.

  1. Pam_54

    Pam_54 New Member

    It took a long time to come to the realization that my son is addicted to drugs. I don't know what he uses, but everything in his actions over the past 10 years tells me that he is a user. I never wanted to believe it. Or maybe I just preferred to hide it away rather than deal with the reality. He called me this morning. I haven't heard from him in two months and when I tried to locate him, a friend of a friend told me that he had been kicked out of the last place he lived and that he was homeless. Over the phone my son could barely speak. It was more like mumbling. He said that he's doing badly. He said he has an infection. I don't know what that means because he couldn't tell me. He told me he needed money. That is a given with any communication. I wired him money because it's the only way I can live with myself. To appease my own guilt for watching my son drown as my own life flourishes. He promised to call me tonight to give me an address where I can go to see him this weekend and try to help him. He hasn't called. I am dying inside. I love my child more than life but it is killing me to stand back and watch him sink. I'm going to try and reach him and then head out to find him. I don't know if I should look for a homeless shelter or a rehab. Is there any place that will take him? I don't have a lot of money so anywhere expensive is not an option. I've tried to keep this brief because of course, there is so much more background to this story. But I could really use some direction. And some advice. How can I help him when I live so far away? Even if I get him into a home or a rehab, I am not close by. I'm looking for as much info online as I can find and that's where I found this site. I'm glad I'm not alone. So many others are going through very similar situations. But it's also overwhelmingly sad to see so many hurting. And it really really not blame myself.
  2. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Administrator Staff Member

    Welcome @Pam_54

    I'm so sorry your son has put you's choices have put you in such a painful and confusing place. I just wanted to let you know that I have read your post and offer you my shoulder to lean on. Hopefully others will come along soon and offer you their support too.

    I understand what you mean when you say that it is really really hard not to blame yourself, but I am here to tell you I do not think that you are at all responsible for your son's choices. He is.
  3. Pam_54

    Pam_54 New Member

    Thank you runawaybunny. I appreciate the kind words.
  4. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hello Pam and welcome to CD. I am so sorry for your hurting Mommy heart, I know the pain of it. It is the hardest thing I know.

    This is difficult to realize, it is not the picture we have for our children's future. But, Pam it is good to know what you are dealing with.

    It is hard to know our d cs are homeless. I am sorry.

    I do understand your wanting to help your son. He is your son.

    I understand the pain of this.

    He is 700 miles away, how would you find him? You are just learning of his disposition, this is heart wrenching, I know. My daughter is out on the streets, using. We have had her in and out of our home, trying to help her. She has chosen this life. It is hard Pam, but it is true. Our d cs only learn from the consequences of their choices. I am sorry, but your son has to be ready to choose rehab himself. The best thing you can do right now, is slow......way....down.
    We want to jump up to the rescue, but often times we end up marching to the beat of their drum. My daughter will come to me one day disheveled and down, barely able to speak, I lose my mind with worry. The next time I see her, bubbly and frenetic.
    The difference? When down, she is not high.
    She continues to use and struggle, despite living near us, and having many opportunities to get clean. She does not want to. It is up to her.

    This sinking is a part of his using drugs. He is an adult making bad choices, it is tough to deal with, for sure. Pam you have much value in your life.

    I understand your first instinct to help him, but he has to want to help himself. Our d c's know our desire to help, and ask us for money. Sadly, they often use this to buy drugs. Our d c's know how to tug at our mama heart strings, to get what they want, I am sorry Pam, but this is true. You cannot help him if he does not want to help himself.

    It is hard to know of the amount of people suffering with this. You have found a good place to share your hurt and your story. We have most of us, been where you are at, Pam. Stay with us and keep posting, we help each other. You will receive others suggestions or advice but it is your decision and we respect that. You are not alone. Please do not blame yourself for the choices your adult son makes. Often times, my two will try to reel me in with guilt. I have learned it is a manipulation.
    Others will come and share. Let your sadness out, then breathe Pam. Take time to think, before you react. You have time for this.
    My heart goes out to you.
  5. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Hello Pam,

    I just saw your post and must sleep soon, but I wanted to acknowledge you and welcome you to this forum, although sorry for the situation that brings you here.

    I think everyone here and on the Parents Emeritus forum has experienced many times the heartache and panic you find yourself in at this time. You are reacting, in fight or flight mode, and it is a frantic feeling. And it makes you feel as though you must do something, and do it now. Your son appears not to be in any rush. He called because he needed money (always a given) and he got it from you (also probably a given for him in his past experiences). These difficult children know very well how to manipulate and pull the heart strings to get what they want, be it money, transportation, a place to live, food to eat, etc. etc. Your son wanted money and called you, and then made promises (always and again there are promises / lies ) to call you back with information (he did not call back... which is something that has probably occurred before also. ) When this happens, we then fear the worst, and are left in a state of dying inside. I have gone through similar scenarios repeatedly for the last 15+ years.

    New Leaf gave great guidance above.
    Take time to read the article on detachment at the top of the Parents Emeritus forum. Here is the link.

    One thing we have learned with our difficult adult children is that we cannot help them, cannot “fix” them, and cannot change them, by anything we do for them. For us to continue to provide for them, to give money, to try and make it easier to bring them around is simply enabling them to continue in their self-destructive behaviors. ----- They must reach the point themselves, their own point of readiness and desire to take necessary action for change to happen.

    The best thing for us to be able to keep our own health, strength, peace, is to learn the process of detachment, to release our own fears and emotions, to release any hopes and expectations. By detaching with love, we still love these difficult children without the resentment and frustrations that cause us such strife and sadness. This does not mean turning our back on our children, but just stepping back to allow them to move on (however, whenever, wherever) with their own lives. They are adults and are free to do as they will. We need to release them, and they need us to release them. By detaching from our difficult children, we are actually giving them a gift.

    In a way, it is to your advantage that your son is a distance away. You cannot rush immediately to rescue him. Plan to calm your emotions if you are in communication with your son by phone. Have a list of neutral statements to be able to respond noncommittally, such as this list that Childofmine posted on another thread on the PE forum. Childofmine suggested to have this list handy to remind us of these responses when you are in the midst of a flustering phone call from your difficult child.
    1. I'm sorry, but I’m not giving you any more money.
    2. I love you. I'm sure you will figure things out.
    4. Call us in a few days.
    5. Oh. Really.
    7. That's interesting.
    8. No, I'm sorry, we can't do that (whatever it is).
    9. Well, if that's how you feel, okay (when they are blaming us).
    10. That may be true.

    It helps to keep posting here and reading the different threads. You may find some threads on the Parents Emeritus forum helpful also. You are not alone Pam. Take care
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
  6. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    You sent him money. He promised to call you later that day. He did not call you. He did not call you because he may have used the money to buy more drugs.

    You did not cause this unless you forced him to take drugs. Your guilt is because you feel you were not a good enough parent or perhaps he witnessed your abuse at the hands of whoever. Perhaps he was a sickly child or subjected to other unpleasant things as a child. Many people live through horrendous childhoods, but do not become drug abusers. It is a choice.

    The cold reality of his situation is that you can't help him by bankrupting yourself or making things easier for him. If he is truly ill, he will get himself to a hospital even if he does not have any money.

    It sucks rocks and it hurts like hades and so many of us are living this nightmare and still trying to live a productive and peaceful ( if not exactly perfect) life.
  7. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hello and welcome to the SA forum. You have found a place where we totally understand your fear and guilt. If you gut is saying that your son is using drugs, you are probably right. I have found my gut feelings are usually correct.

    This will be hard to hear but sending him any money is buying him drugs. The first time my therapist said that it really took me back but I realized that she is right. Even doing something like paying directly for rent just lets them use the money that they would have had to spend on that for drugs instead.

    I see that your son is 29-years-old. That is an adult by any stretch of the imagination. Not even a young adult. The only thing you can do at this point is suggest that he go to rehab and a halfway house and let it go. I learned the hard way that I can't "fix" my daughter and that she has to want to lead a sober life in order to change.

    All you can do is focus on your life. You said that it is flourishing. That is because of the choices you made. Your son has the same chance for a successful life but must make good choices, too. I know it is hard to let go of the guilt and I found private therapy really helped my husband and myself. Others find support groups like AlAnon or NarAnon an invaluable source of support. Families Anonymous is another group that many members have found helpful.

    Keep posting here in SA. We will be here with advice and support. Only others that have dealt with a substance abusing loved one can truly understand what you are going through.


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  8. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I meant to add something that helped me when I first found this board. Someone posted a saying from AA which I found very comforting:

    You didn't cause this, you can't control it, and you can't cure it.

    I read a book where the author added a fourth "c" . . . you have to learn how to cope with it and lead a fulfilling life.

  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome.... I understand your pain and obsessive worry. I remember when my son was 19 and in jail I thought that was the worst thing that could happen to a parent.... and then a couple of years later my son was living on the streets across the country and that was so much worse...

    So yes having a kid (no matter how old) on the streets is heartbreaking and worrisome and it is hard to focus on anything else but your worry.

    And yet they learn to survive, they learn to live on the streets, they learn from others. My son has lived in situations I cant even imagine.

    But giving your son money while he is using drugs wont get him off the streets... he will use the money for drugs....

    As others have said you cant save him no matter how much you want to.

    So I have two suggestions.... one find a good support group for parents such as alanon... this has been an immense help to me. And as part of that do things that you like to do, find things that interest you so you can go on living your life... at first it may be faking it and going through the motions but do things you like to do if for no other reason than to distrat yourself from the worry.

    And the other is to think about how you would help your son and how you would not. And think about taking a stand.... our stand has been we will help our son when he is wanting to help himself.... and we wont if he is not. And I admit we actually have helped a little when he was on the streets and not seeking real help... we got him a sleeping bag at one point for example. But when he has wanted treatment we have helped him find it.....and there are places like salvation army that provide places for people who want to get clean.

    Keep posting.... we do understand what you are going through.
  10. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Welcome to the board, Pam54..
    I am sorry to hear about your most difficult situatiion..and the pain you are in..It is so anti intuitive to do nothing..and that is a process.
    When I first arrived here I wanted to straighten out the mess my son is in due to the use and abuse of drugs.
    It is always about money.
    Since I've learned not to give money to the addict, I found that there is something I can share with him, information..To know what resources are in his area, homeless shelters, detoxes, rehabs and it sounds like you have done some of this..When he calls, I can let him know I care and then ask what he is willing to do? If not willing, he is not ready. If willing, I can let him know what resources there are and exactly where they are..this gives me some comfort...
    In addition to this amazing website, I attend Alanon and Naranon meetings..that provide support to families whose loved ones have substance abuse issues..locations can be found on line.
    We are here for are not alone..
    Hang on, you will find answers and support.
    xox, Carolita
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    you got great advice. My daughter used from age 12 to 19 and we made her leave our house when we cane back early from a two dsy vacation and found a pill party going on. You dont need to know more than that except she did quit and share things about drug users with me. One is this.

    "Never trust a drug user ever. They lie

    We cut off her money and car completely after we knew. We did not want to help her buy drugs and die.

    She quit quietly when she was ready. We couldnt help her. She rejected help. So is your so .there is nothing you can do or say to magically make him quit. Sending any money is used for drugs.

    Alanon got me through it.

    Good luck and stick arou d.
  12. SeaGenieTx

    SeaGenieTx Active Member

    Dear Pam_54, I am so sorry. All of us know exactly how you feel and the gut wrenching pain and worry you are experiencing. As much as you want to run to his rescue, do exactly what New Leaf said.....stop, slow down, think it through before you make a mad dash out the door.

    I've been where you are at - in a state of panic wanting to find and rescue my son. When I have thought the worst, it was never as bad as I imagined. No contact, picturing my son strung out on drugs lying under an overpass with nothing to eat.... then I see him post a picture of a huge slice of pizza on Facebook with 40 likes and realize he is out there surviving and having a good ol' time.

    It might be different with your son but remember, he is 29 years old. He must hit that rock bottom and get to that point where he wants help. If he is sick and desperate enough he'll find a way.

    Not helping or sending money goes against everything our poor momma's hearts tell us to do. But think about it. If you were out on the streets making poor choices, sick with an infection, no food or money wouldn't you finally get to the point and say "I can't do this anymore, I need help, I don't want to die, I want to live a healthy life?". Until our son's get to this stage - nothing we do is going to help them, it will just hurt them and prolong the misery.

    My son is 23 and on drugs, out mooching off friends and running all over town jobless, no goals, been arrested 3 times, driving with a suspended drivers license and no insurance, in debt, etc. He's not losing sleep over anything - he is posting on Facebook daily and having a good time smoking pot, drinking, partying, going to clubs. He's learned to become a master manipulator and liar with friends so until they see thru his b.s. and kick him out, he's just hopping around town scamming everyone. NOT MY PROBLEM ANYMORE!

    These children of ours are grown adults. We can be there to love them, when they call crying and needing help, we can suggest places they can go but we can not give them money or rescue them. It's taken me a LONG time to realize this but being on this forum and reading books on addiction (and having already lost an older brother to alcohol addiction) the key here is we cannot let them kill us in their quest to self destruct.

    The addict must want help and want to change their lifestyle, until then, your attempts to rescue and help will be futile. Do not spend YOUR money in attempts to rush out and find him and rescue him. Take care of yourself first.

    If he calls - tell him you love him and tell him so seek help at a shelter or church.

    The addict has no remorse for what they are putting us through and you will eventually get to a point where you are past the worry and just plain pissed off and angry. That's a good place to be because then you will start detaching.

    Please give it some time before you rush out the door - he will be ok. Let him figure it out and pray that he stays safe. Please keep us posted and write on here as much as you need to. We are here for you and in the same exact situation. You are going to be ok!
  13. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Pam and welcome. I am very sorry that you are facing this, so many of us have and we understand your pain. I don't judge you for sending him money. If this was the first time he called and asked then I would have done the same thing I am sure. It took me a long time to understand addiction and enabling.

    You asked for some direction so here goes. I don't know if your son is agreeable to getting help. If you believe he may be or even if he isn't now but may int he future, my suggestion is that you start researching places that will help him. When I was faced with this I started making phone calls to everyone I thought cold help, hospitals, addiction treatment centers, social service agencies, others who have faced the same problem in their families. I came up with a list of places that could help. Some took insurance, many others did not require any insurance or payment.

    In our state we have many homes called sober houses, also known as halfway houses. They are run by former addicts and they allow the person to live there while going through their recovery program and eventually working and entering society again. You won't necessarily know them unless you start networking in his area, they are not widely advertised. We actually have a list in our area of many places that help addicts. Again by calling treatment centers in his area you may find many resources that were unknown before.

    Do you know what drugs he is taking? Is he homeless? Does he have a support network where he lives? How willing are you to help him find help, even if he rejects it at first. Many of us have helped our addicts find resources, pointed them int he right direction, and moved heaven and earth to get them accepted, and then stepped out of the way of their recovery. Kathy813 above is a great example of this. What she has done to help her daughter find resources is remarkable, yet she puts her recovery on her daughter's shoulders where it belongs. And she is not in the same area as her daughter but has been able to find help long distance. Many times our addicts have no idea where to go for help and that's where we come in.

    I spent a great deal of time learning about the addiction recovery process. It was what I could live with. Only do what you are comfortable with but for me I needed to have resources to give to my daughter, the rest was up to her. When she called my crying and begging to come home I was able to say no but here is where you can go. I don't know the history of your son so I don't know how far you want to intervene, but one thing is for sure, just sending him money will only prolong his drug use. You know he will use it for more drugs.

    Let us know what happens. We care about you and your son.
  14. Carol B.

    Carol B. New Member

    Hello Pam 54,

    I totally understand where you are at. My son, 31, got messed up with "stuff" and chose to run from life...meaning living on the streets he could be his own boss. He has been doing it for four years at this point. It is difficult to continue with out feeling guilt. Remember guilt is defined as: a responsibility for a crime or for doing something bad or wrong, a bad feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong. As parents we want the best for our kids, and it is painful to know and watch them choose unhealthy paths. If you are like me, you raised him with good morals and values. At some point they get so lost in finding their identity even with our guidance they struggle.

    Like your son, mine will call to "check in" and let me know he is ok (aka alive), at this point he is in the area we live, but only see him when he needs a night away from the streets or his current girlfriend. We have set up help for him multiple times only to have him leave because it was too difficult (he didn't want to put in the work and didn't want to change). Just recently mine lovely child called and wanted help again, when he was told no, and given resources to contact that could help...communication was severed, again. As in prior times, he is getting ready to run to a new city, where no one knows him and the ability to get help from the state is fresh.

    Unfortunately we as loving parents pay the price of heartache. Finding this forum has been great for me, I also have friends that unbeknownst to me have gone through similar situations--having them to talk to and be there and truly understand has been priceless. Another thing I found that helps is that I keep a journal of all the amazing stories and situations and started writing a book about ways to achieve your goals, entertwined.
    with snippets from my son's situation. It is very cathartic for me.
    Sometimes just journaling the situation and how it makes you feel helps.

    Question, when you find him then what? I know here, the only way to get him evaluated is if they are a threat to themselves or others...he is an adult and they will not admit him unless it is on his own, which then he has a right to leave at any time. Even when they are a threat to themselves or others it is only a 72 hour hold. Check with Human Services in the state you are in on that. Finding the shelters is at least an option for him to have a place to be at night.

    I pray that you do what is right for you. If you want to talk privately let me know....I am right there with you.

  15. SeaGenieTx

    SeaGenieTx Active Member

    Took me a full year to get to the point I'm at now where I worry maybe just a couple of times during the day, then go on about my life.

    I know I was a wonderful mother to my son. I instilled values and morals, was always there for him. I was a single mom his entire life (had two relationships but chose not to stay because I put my son first and these men didn't like that).

    All we do for our children and this is what we get in return. It is what it is. We must detach - let go and let them live their lives and face the consequences of the choices they make without interfering. It's hard - I have no other family than my son and now I've lost him to drugs. But I'm used to loss and refuse to curl up in a ball and die because everyone has left me or done me wrong. Time for me to live my life. I love my son with all my heart but he could care less about his mama right now and rather wallow in worry and misery, I have to focus on ME.

    Hang in there - I really want you to know you will be able to deal with this if you just read everything that we all have gone thru and see what has worked, what hasn't. If you make mistakes and contact your son or travel out to see him - that's ok. Come back here when you need the support ok? Keep us posted!