My son is homeless and on heroin

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Kim schildwachter, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. Kim schildwachter

    Kim schildwachter New Member

    I need some help. My son is 29 yrs old. He has been living with us for the past 6 months. He was in a great rehab for 3 months and he left on his own. We took him in to give him a chance. At first he was awesome, but in time he began to go back to his old ways. He had 3 jobs and lost them all by stealing. Then he began to lie to us. First it was weed then pills and now hes back to herion. He has stole money from us and lies. If you met him you would not think he is a bad person. Which is not but has an addiction to heroin. I have been told I am enabling him and I have to let go. Yesterday I checked my mileage on my car and it had more miles on it then should have been. I questioned him about it and he finially admitted he bought heroin after work. He got angry after I yelled at him and told me he will get out. We told him if you leave you will not come back. He is now homeless with a backpack and sweatshirt. He wont answer my text half the time and I am sick worrying about him. I cant eat, think straight and keep crying. Im scared for his life. But my family tells me I have to let go...hes a grown man and he made this decision again. They say I will do him no good if I keep enabling him. Please help. I need some advice to get some piece of mind. I am seeing a counselor tomorrow.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, Kim. I am so sorry about your having to go through this. I will give you my .02 and you can take what you like and leave the rest.

    Your son is a heroin addict. He is lying, stealilng and most likely abusing you either verbally, physically or both. He is really too old to be using your car and if he is an addict he does not belong on the street. I know it's hard, but this is for his safety as well as the safety of others. Nothing good ever comes of an addict with wheels. Makes it that much easier to use. If he crashes up your car, then you have to pay as well.

    I understand that you worry about him, but he is nearing thirty and needs to learn that he is a man and that he can't count on you to solve his problems, even if you desperately want to try. You can't. He has walked out of rehab. He is still using. He is not trying. Have you ever gone to Al-Anon or gotten help for YOU about how to handle your addicted son?

    I don't believe it is good to enable our addicted adult children, especially those hitting that thirty marker. They need a motivation to quit and we need to live our lives too. There is no point worrying about him. He would be doing th e same thing living with you as he is doing out on the streets. Often they act like toddlers and won't answer us if they are angry at us. Sometimes we become only their ATM and no longer seem like we are people to them...we are only what we provide for them. He is too old to be depending on you for money, rehabs, his cell phone, a car, or anything.

    What you can do, and many of us here have, is write out a list of places where the homeless can eat and sleep. He may not like sleeping inside as there are rules at homeless shelters, but his decision is on him. He is choosing to live on the streets. He likes that he won't be judged and that he can do what he pleases without any flak. He is not the only adult child on this forum who is living on the streets. Most are not welcome back home. I personally don't feel you should let him back home either.

    Do you have a SO and younger kids? I ask because they need you to be a healthy and well rested you, and you owe that to yourself too. You need to nurture and be good to yourself. There is not one thing you can do to force your son to change his lifestyle. You only have control over one person in the world and that is yourself. You can't change him, but you can learn new reactions to him, which sometimes does lead to the other person at least treating us better, which is nice.

    Other than that, I am sorry you have to walk this journey. Many have done it. Some are doing it with you right now. Some have stepped over the worst, still have troubled adult children, but have great lives for themselves. It isn't easy, but we do learn to detach and let the mistakes fall on our adult children's shoulders. Your son is old enough to fight for his country, be married, be working full time and owning his own house. He needs to grow up. And we need to learn to allow them to sink or swim and to still allow ourselves happiness.

    I am so sorry you had to join us. Others will be around to give feedback.
  3. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Hi Kim, first welcome and I'm sorry you are here but I am glad you have found this amazing source of support.

    If your real name is what you are using, you may want to create an avatar so your privacy is protected. Also, please consider creating a signature so we will have some more context about you and your life.

    There are so many people on this board who have walked the path you are walking. So many parents trying to deal with their grown son or daughter's drug addiction and the horror that addiction brings with it.

    Kim, you may already know a lot about addiction. One pivotal fact for me was understanding that the addiction resides in the same place in the brain where breathing is. It's like breathing. You have to have the drug, and you will do anything to get it, unless you are in full recovery---and even recovery is characterized with relapse.

    So, knowing that, you understand how hard it will be for him to stop. He will have to want to stop using drugs more than he has ever wanted anything in his life. He will have to want it with every fiber of his being.

    And it will still be very very hard to stop and it will take a lot of time, support and tools.

    So, what is your role? Your role is to get out of the way. Your role is to allow him to feel that kind of motivation to stop that is fundamental, that is his number one goal. Most of our adult child addicts have to be completely without resources, without anything, to want to stop that badly.

    My son has been homeless multiple times. He has been in jail multiple times. He has been without anything but a backpack. No car, no job, no money, no place to go, nothing. That is what it took, and even then he didn't stop. What seems to have stopped him---at least for today---for right now---is fearing that he was going to go to prison for four years. That seems to have been a major wake up call, and since last June he has been doing better. You can read my signature.

    Kim, in order to give them space, time, distance, a chance to change, we have to get out of the way. We have to stop being the safety net with all of our "help." We have to let them experience the consequences of their own choices, as hard as it is to watch.

    I have turned my son away from the front door multiple times, once when he was sobbing and crying and begging to be let in after he left the hospital AMA after being stabbed. I talked to him through the door and said if you don't leave this porch I will call the police.

    Lest you think I am different from you, let me assure you that I love my son dearly. He is the youngest of my two boys and there is nothing I didn't do to help him, before I learned that my help was only prolonging the day of reckoning for him.

    I know how hard this is. Start working on yourself. Start today. Look up Al-Anon in your town. Get the schedule. Start going to meetings. Keep on going, no matter what. Get the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. Read it. Get the book Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. Read it, and underline it. Post and read this board until your eyes blur. You will hear lots of "recovery from enabling" from many, many posters here.

    We are here for you. We get it and we care.
  4. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Kim and welcome. I have a 29 year old daughter who is an alcoholic and substance abuser. She has also used heroin so I certainly feel your pain.

    We sent our Difficult Child (difficult child) to a three month program in another state over two years ago. She did finish the program but has relapsed multiple times since then. The one thing that my husband and I agree on is that she can never come here to live with us again.

    She lied, stole, and brought illegal drugs into our home. She even overdosed on heroin on our couch. My husband came home from school and found her unresponsive and had to start chest compressions. The EMT''s said if he had come home a couple of minutes later she would have died.

    That taught us something, though. Letting an addict live at home will not stop them from doing drugs. It just drags us down into their world of chaos caused by drug addiction. It took me two years of therapy to understand that I needed to let her go in order to save my husband and me.

    Your son has made the choices that got him to the place he is now . . . homeless. He could make other choices like rehab or a sober living facility if he wants to get off the streets.

    I am glad that you are seeing a counselor. Mine has helped me tremendously. I would also suggest trying out some support groups. Some CD members have really benefited from Alanon, Naranon, and Families Anonymous and others haven't. You never know until you try.

    Also, keep posting. You will find support and understanding here. We will share our experiences and advice and you can take what you like and leave the rest.

    One more thing. I heard this saying for the first time when I joined the CD forum. I later heard it used in 12-step family meetings. I find it very comforting.

    The three C's: You didn't cause this, you can't control it, and you can't cure it.

  5. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry. I've had to ask my son to leave as well, the first time in 2011. Then he came back, started outpatient program, got out of control (alcohol was his first substance of choice), to hospital/detox to rehab, released, relapsed the day after, another outpatient program, got a job then more turmoil for a year until he graduated to prescription drugs, called ambulance, admitted and discharged three times in a month then finally sent to rehab and then halfway house. That was in January 2013 and he hasn't been back since. At least the weather's a little better. Small consolation. But you did what you had to do. It's so difficult.

    Whatever you decide to do, I would not let him live with you ever again, or the cycle will start all over. The lying, the stealing, the manipulation. We've been through it all.

    Good job in getting some counseling. You are going to need it in the coming weeks. Go to a support group, such as Families Anonymous or Alanon. Read books. Post here as much as you want. Everyone is here for you.
  6. Kim schildwachter

    Kim schildwachter New Member

  7. Kim schildwachter

    Kim schildwachter New Member

    Thank you all for your info. This is new to me and I am trying real hard. I just can't get him off my mind right now because it's so new. Never had him living on the streets. He's trying to get a bed at homeless shelter and trying to get back into rehab. But I am helpless. It's all him now. Thank you again and please keep posting ideas n help. Again, very new to me having a son homeless n on heroin.
  8. WearyMom18

    WearyMom18 Member

    I felt like you do just a few weeks ago with my 18 year old daughter. It is hard and that's something you need to let yourself feel so you can come iut the other side with an understanding of why this is happening. I learned very quickly from these wonderful people on the forum that you need to take care of yourself, find yourself and believe that he is making his own choices, no one is making him do drugs or lie or steal, his addiction is driving it.
    He will have to make more choices as time passes and the sooner he realizes that he can keep falling back on you or anyone else besides himself for change or help, the better.

    I didn't think the hurt would ever go away. I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown from the worry and hurt and stress but I didnt. I very quickly learned that my daughter is a separate person from me and she is making choices for herself, not me. Don't take on his problems, let him carry the burden.

    Read others posts here on the board and know that you are not alone, there are others going through this just like you. It will get better.
  9. WearyMom18

    WearyMom18 Member

    Meant to say can't fall back on you!
  10. Kim schildwachter

    Kim schildwachter New Member

  11. Kim schildwachter

    Kim schildwachter New Member

    I feel like that. Crying constantly. Everyone has told me the same thing so everyone can not be wrong. I still have his phone on. They are telling me to turn it off. Is this the right thing to do?
  12. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    Hi Kim! I'm so sorry for your troubles, and want to lend you some support since my story is similar to yours. My son is 28 and a heroin addict. He has been living with us for about 1 1/2 years now since his wife kicked him out of the house. He got fired from his job and was arrested after that, and was on house arrest for 6 months. His case has since been settled and he's been working at a new job for about 4 months. His wife and two small children now live with us also, but everyone is moving out at the end of April.

    We had kicked him out of our house around the end of January when his wife discovered that he had been using heroin in our home. Before that (supposedly), he would only use it at work or other places. He has also overdosed once in our home. When we asked him to leave, he continued to work but "rode the rails" at night. He would come over every night to put his kids to bed. When we were in the midst of a terrible blizzard and a long string of subzero days, he asked to come back and we let him.

    He's had some relapses, but has been attending court-ordered substance abuse counseling of various kinds as well as meetings with his parole officer. The officer told him that one slip-up (missed meetings, failed drug test) means he'll go to jail, so I think he's motivated in that respect. As I mentioned, he and the family are leaving at the end of the month, so I don't see a need at present to make him leave sooner than that. Of course, I will do so if anything escalates.

    You can probably tell, I'm not as far along in "detachment" as some members of the forum are, but I'm learning a lot here and feel more able to see that he's the one who got himself into this situation, not me, not his wife, not his mean fourth-grade teacher, etc. For the longest time, I tried to make sense of it, and have finally realized that it just doesn't make sense. My son has a high IQ and is quite brilliant in some areas (mainly science). He's a joy to be around when he's not high. On his best days, he's helpful, kind, and funny. That's why it doesn't make sense that he's been fired from at least six good jobs (including the military), been in jail three times, and continues to live this up-and-down existence.

    I personally wouldn't feel comfortable cutting off the cell phone, but it's your decision of what makes sense to you.

    You'll gain a lot of strength and knowledge from the insight of other posters here, as so many of us have struggled to balance our love of our children with what's best for them and ourselves. I'm learning, as you will, that we have to let go to find any kind of peace. You're important too, and you owe it to yourself and your other loved ones to try to find that peace while still loving your son.
  13. Kim schildwachter

    Kim schildwachter New Member

    I was
    just worried if he had a phone that would be easier for him to contact drug dealers n vise versa
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Kim, I think YOU are right. I agree with YOU. My daughter who did drugs did it before there were cell phones and if she wanted to get in touch with me, trust me, she was savvy enough to find a way. If your son wants to contact you, he will find somebody with a cell phone and ask to borrow it or he will find a place with a phone and get in touch with you. There is absolutely nothing you can do for him if something happens to him on the streets anyway. As you found out, they can live with us and still be in as much danger as if they lived on the streets. So a phone really won't help their plight.

    Our kids do learn to do without and I believe we should cut off the bank w hen they use drugs.

    I don't believe they need cell phones. They are for our piece of mind, at some times, but not advantageous to the drug addict. And also, our drug abusing street kids tend to punish parents with the phone and if they are not in contact for a while, I can only imagine how scared I'd be, if this were my child. There are two sides tot his and you have to make your own decision. It is ok if a cell phone in the adult child's hands give you piece of mind, but don't think they aren't making plans with bad people too on that phone. And it is ok if you decide to make it harder to contact those bad people by not giving them a cell phone too. There are no right or wrong answers. In our journey, we need serenity any way we can find it.
  15. WearyMom18

    WearyMom18 Member

    Kim- I think this is something you can handle the way you feel is right. I have my daughter's phone still on mostly because I don't want to pay a $200.00 termination fee but also, I will admit, because I want to know that she has a way to call for help if she needs to. That doesn't mean me but 911 or whomever she might need to if she gets in a bad situation. Eventually, I will let her phone service lapse and that will be that.

    All of this said, if your Difficult Child is using it to call and abuse you verbally or harass you, turn it off. Establish your boundaries and stick to them.
  16. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Kim and welcome to our board. I am so very sorry for what you are going through right now. You have gotten some very good advice, so many of us have walked in your shoes. It's ok to be scared, I know most of us have been scared out of our minds and sick with worry. It will be a process to detach. You will never stop being afraid or worrying but you will learn how to go on with your life.

    Heroin is an awful problem and you can't make your son better, only he can do that. You can help him find treatment and help him get there but the rest is up to him. Continue telling your son that you will support him getting help but that is all you will support. I hope and pray he takes you up on it.

    In the meantime you may want to research treatment opportunities where you live and present those to your son when possible.

    Stay with us, we understand.
  17. lovemyson1

    lovemyson1 Active Member

    Kim, I too have a son addicted to heroin. I know how much it hurts to have him homeless. To worry sick all night about his wellbeing. But your son has to want to change, having him live with you will only enable his addiction. Don't feel guilty for helping him reach is rock bottom. Because for most, rock bottom is where the change takes place. All the advice above is excellent, and we all know what you're going through and I'm so sorry for how you hurt! If you can get him into a rehab that's good! However, my son is doing amazing and he's in a program called Victory Outreach. See if you have them in your area and contact them. They are international. Im praying for you and your son right now. ((Hugs))
  18. Kim schildwachter

    Kim schildwachter New Member

    Thank you. He was in rehab called overcomers in sc. Awesome program. He broke a rule n they made him leave after him being there just 3 months. It's a yr program. He has now relapsed n he was in our home. The lies, stealing, and using came back. He started getting high on pot then he stole some of my anxiety pills and then we found out heroin was back. We told him if he left that he would not be back here. Well now he is at a place for homeless named street reach n he has to be out by 8 every morning and back by 3 to hopefully get a bed or else he's on the road all night. I still have his phone on and I'm not sure if that's the right thing to do. I guess it's some comfort for me but afraid he will use it for the wrong reasons. My therapist made me make an appointment at my doctors for a full physical because of stress. Never raised my son in a bad environment and this has just blown my mind. Very heartbreaking.
  19. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Hi Kim, this is so hard. My son was in a 6-month Salvation Army program a while back. He was kicked out once for using, was homeless in that city for 30 days, and asked them if he could come back, and went back, did well for about 30 days (they said later) and was kicked out after two months that time. He was homeless again over Christmas and New Year's that time at a McDonald's. I was devastated but didn't go and get him. Later I found out he had made friends with all of the people at the McDonald's, and was in their office daily, using their phones, smoking their cigarettes, and eating their food. While I was crying my eyes out and devastated but still working hard not to rescue him (for the 1000th time).

    Kim, who knows what it takes for our adult children who are addicts to stop? I know I don't know. I have wracked my brain over it so many times and finally I had to conclude that whatever happened would happen, regardless of what I did or didn't do. That realization was very freeing.

    Regarding the phone, I went through that same exhaustive back and forth too. In time I turned his phone off. But it was a very hard and emotional decision at the time. Looking back, I kept the phone on for me. I needed to keep the phone on. After I started working more on me than I on him, I was finally able to take that step too.

    And my son continued to FB message me, text me from his computer (I didn't even know you could do that) and borrow phones to call me.

    Drug addicts are some of the most resilient people you will ever want to know. They are survivors. My husband worked for years with parents and their drug-addicted teens and young adults. He told me over and over again that I was more upset than my son was about his situation, that I would likely be very surprised if I could be a "fly on the wall" and watch him.

    In time, I saw that. That doesn't mean this isn't very very hard. I understand your stress and I am glad you are seeing a doctor.

    I hope you will start assembling a toolbox for yourself---Al-Anon meetings, books, meditation, quiet time, small kindnesses, extra rest, trusted people you can talk with, therapy, posting on this board, reading on this board...and begin a daily practice of using these tools. If you will devote 30 minutes to an hour every single day to YOU, and to taking better care of YOU (something we don't think about when we are in these types of crises with our beloved adult children), you will see results. You will be shifting your energy more onto yourself---something you CAN do something about----and away from your son, something you CAN'T do anything about. There were periods where I would go to an Al-Anon meeting every single day when I was in the throes of it all.

    You can get through this, Kim, regardless of what your son does or does not do. And if you can create some space, some distance, a shift, there is a chance that there will be time, space, distance for him to step into that small gap and begin to do something new.

    Warm hugs, Kim. We understand here. We really do.
  20. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Hi Kim...
    I am so sorry you are dealing with a homeless drug addict I am too. My son is 26 and he has been using since around the age of 13.

    It is so hard to stop stop doing for them what they should be doing for themselves. I know as I used to be a perfectionist in so many ways. I was GOING to have the perfect family! It didn't fact it backfired.

    Addiction doesn't care how rich you are, how famous you are, how good looking you are, how talented or smart you are. It destroys families. It makes us as the parents second guess ourselves about everything!

    Bottom line...Our drug addict matter how old, have to want sobriety more than the drugs. They have to reach out for the help.
    I wish there was an "easier softer way" I know would have found it in my search. But there was not.

    They have to hit bottom and experience painful consequences. We get in their way when we enable. I believe we get in God's way too.

    Keep posting. Glad you found us...