homeless daughter and son in jail

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by jodiehooks, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Hello, I have not been able to post lately, because of some medical issues but wanted to just write a few notes here. My son was finally transferred to a prison in nw Indiana, where he will serve his time, and go to a rehab program supposedly. He called me on a 1 minute free call to tell me that I have to fill out a new application to visit since I took my maiden name back since he was in there before and that jpay is now the only way to send money. The call ended so no real conversation was able to happen. My daughter is still working in Missouri, and taking care of herself. I have been doing better at detaching from all this, until I got a call from my son's probation officer wanting information on the house that he set the meth fire in, which is now damaged and he was ordered to make restitution to his grandmother for those damages. I told her this was my ex's mother, and she is now deceased, the state attempting to take lien on the house in lieu of payment due from nursing home (state asset recovery for medicaid) and has nothing to do with the meth fire. And that I have no contact with the ex to know any more. Needless to say I started obsessing again about how bleak his future is going to be when he does get out. He is 48 years ok, 2 felony drug convictions and no family to help. I am so sick thinking of how damaged his life is, he can't get an apartment, or help with food stamps, and a job will be very hard to get also. The family has to watch this and suffer knowing how hard he will have it. How do I detach from this? Any one have any helpful posts? Thanks.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This may be hard, but I try reality. Your son started a meth fire with his son in the house. Maybe others won't feel so much sympathy for this horrible act. Some things you can't take back or society doesn't forget, even though your loving mothER heart forgives.

    If it were me, I know I would have been horrified at my son and feel sad about his choices but never forget those he hurt. I would move on. You can't change the past. Neither can he. And he's back in jail. Is he sorry he hurt people? Traumatized his son? I am not tying to be mean. Just stating what he has done. And it still didn't entice him to quit using drugs, not even after that.

    His crummy life is on him, nobody else. And he doesn't seem motivated to change. And he is almost 50. When will he see the light? Of course his life is damaged. HE DID IT AND STILL IS.

    Sometimes those we love dearly do wrong and suffer for it. Sometimes we just have to accept what is. I think therapy for you would help you lots and lots and I believe you deserve to be happy. You did nothing wrong and your son is on his own with this. Nobody can help him. It doesn't undo his history if you suffer at home and refuse to be happy. Please live your life!!! :) it helps him not a bit for you to suffer too.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jodie, try to learn how to not run out in to the future, it will only make you anxious and depressed. The best advice I can offer you is to stay in the present moment, in the NOW......many of us here have had to avert disasters brought to us by our kids.... believing we can control the outcome, the future....... but we don't have the power to do that, we don't have that kind of control......and certainly worrying about it doesn't do anyone any good. There are many, many stories about how folks turned their lives around after prison, drug addiction, alcoholism, homelessness.......your son may be one of those folks. Whether he is or he isn't, you worrying about it isn't going to help him. While he is in prison, you can learn how to let go of the outcome, how to live in the present, how to stop worrying and find joy in your life. Don't continue down the road of fear about the future, none of us know how it's going to turn out.

    What helped me is reading books like The power of now by Eckhart Tolle and any book by Pema Chodron, which helped me to learn how to live in uncertainty and not ruminate about the unknown. It's a practice, it takes time, but we can learn how to let go and accept what is and still live in peace. You've been at this a long time and now it's patterned thinking, you're used to catastrophe, but you can get Unused to it too.......get support for yourself, do something kind and nurturing for yourself.......
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  4. mcb1964

    mcb1964 New Member

    Hi. I just want to offer some encouragement.

    My brother spent his 40th birthday in prison on drug charges. No hope for him, or so we thought after a lifetime of him giving my parents problems and just being a general drug addict screw up.

    When he was released, he was released to a halfway house and had to follow through with the rest of his rehab and NA meetings. In those meetings, he met a woman who had been clean for just a bit longer than him. They've been clean ever since. He went on after his release at 43 to get his bachelor's degree and is now 56 and has 14 years clean.

    Collectively as a family we never thought it would happen, but he's responsible, has a house of his own, has stepped up to be a good grandfather and is trying to make up for lost time and amends with his daughter for missing a good part of her childhood.

    Sometimes the light switch just comes on and prison the catalyst for that as it was for my brother. Hold out hope while still remaining skeptical until you see appropriate changes. He's responsible for making the changes and I hope he finds the support network to make that possible for himself like my brother did.
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  5. jetsam

    jetsam Active Member

    :beautifulthing:wow mob! what a beacon of light in this stormy sea we call life. To hear your brothers story does give me that small ray of hope. It is so good to hear a success story amidst all this utter chaos that we call our lives! Thank you, I needed that
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  6. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Thanks for your post. I have spent the last couple of weeks either away or it seems going to the doctor for tests. So, I haven't been able to post as I don't have a computer at home. I think that besides worrying about the future here, I am just plain afraid that he will get out and I will be the only one to help him. I am not saying that he won't do better or he will, or that he deserves his fate or doesn't. But this is all just taking my breath away to think that he will get out and again be homeless. And it is mainly ME I am worried about becuase no matter how hard I try, he is my son and to watch him be homeless and hungry again, weather he is using, or clean, just makes me sick. I agree that he did this to himself, but he did it to me also and anyone else in his life that cares or ever did. So, I am trying to hold on to the hope that is it possible for him to get out and live without being homeless. But the fears creep in. Your name is so appropriate, recovering enabler. How to mentally unhook from someone your related to, love but cant tolerate thinking about?
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jodie, you and I are the same age, we have a similar history and similar responses to our difficult adult kids. What I have learned over many years of trying to help my daughter is that I have to continually practice letting go. It's not as if I landed someplace and without any effort I remain peaceful and detached over the long haul......perhaps some folks are fortunate enough to do that, but I am not one of them. Now that I am retired, I have a lot of time to do that practice. It's mostly taking very good care of myself, which as a former academy award winning enabler, that alone is a huge shift. I'm talking about eating right, sleeping well, exercising, doing things that are fun, letting go of what I can't control, letting go of negativity, judgements, people who do not support my highest good, and in general, making sure I take care of myself on ALL levels.

    I've had to learn that I am not responsible for anyone but myself, that was a big lesson. I had to learn how to let go of controlling the future and living in the past. I've had much therapy and I continue to read books which are inspiring and helpful. When I feel myself slipping into enabling my daughter, I use my tool box of resources I know work. I go for a hike. I meditate. I call a friend. I look for beauty. I list all that I'm grateful for. I change the thinking pattern into something else, it works. Sometimes I have to do that a lot, other times not so much.

    It's painful at times. I wish it were different, but it is what it is. I have to accept what I can't change and I intend on having joy in my life......and peace......and to that end, I use my tool box all the time. Find your tool box, your resources that work when you are slipping into enabling......when you are suffering, look for what you want to happen and recognize that that expectation may not be met and let it go, learn to accept. I am learning that over and over again. Acceptance of what is is the way out......not an easy route, but it's the one that works.
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  8. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    And I need to hear all that. It is very hard for me to let go. It is that simple.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Me too Jodie, that's why I practice all the time.
  10. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    well put. I have to work harder and I am trying. The image of him in the shed in below zero weather has not yet left my mind. I will have to try harder.
  11. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    I agree that it is VERY hard to detach from our Difficult Child that we love so much and have such high hopes for.

    My son just turned 21 so hasn't really been an adult that long. I use the term adult age wise, but mind wise he is very young thinking.

    I have had to cut off my communication with him completely recently for my own mental well being. He has been struggling with addiction for five years and I am just worn out. I know that nothing I say or do will change anything HE does until HE is ready. If he is every ready. That is a hard pill to swallow. Why won't he just listen? The frustration!!!

    Thank God for my wonderful husband, who is normally very low on patience, for taking over. I told him I just can't do it anymore. He saw the toll it was taking on me. I get my hopes up just to be let down again. Each time it is such a blow to my whole being. I just want to walk away.

    My husband is trying so hard to stay optimistic. He thinks I'm negative and a pessimist at times when dealing with our son, but I guess he doesn't really understand that I put my whole heart and soul into my son and I am now depleted. I have nothing more to give to him. Especially when I gave it all and it was all in vain.

    You really need to use this time to repair yourself from everything that has happened and NOT use it to stress over what the future holds. Your son will turn it around when HE wants to and not a minute before that. They aren't on our timetable unfortunately.
  12. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Jodie, Where there is life, there is hope. His life isn't over. I have no real wisdom on this, but I'm posting mostly to tag my husband, @Jabberwockey who has worked in the Department of Corrections for 25 years and is now teaching life skills and employability skills to inmates about to be released. He, I'm sure, could give you some light at the end of the tunnel if, like mcb's brother, your son applies himself when he is released.
  13. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Jodie, felony convictions don't carry the same stigma with them that they used to. Yes, they still can be an obstacle but more and more the general public is realizing that ostracizing felons only leads them to HAVE to commit more felonies to survive. That being said, he does have a long row to hoe. It won't be easy and will take a serious commitment from him but I see offenders leave all the time who have serious time who are successful. Just off the top of my head I can think of four offenders who've been released in the last three years with sentences ranging from 19 to 27 years flat. The last one to get out did 27 years and has been out since December. It CAN be done! He just has to take advantage of the programs while in prison, and the available resources when he releases. FYI, you are NOT one of those resources other than moral support.

    Nothing more to add to this other than AMEN! We are only ever responsible for ourselves.

    First off, CONGRATULATIONS! I LOVE hearing about success stories! Over the past 24 plus years I have seen many offenders come to prison be it their first or fifth time down and finally just get it! Your son will change if and when he is ready and not a moment sooner and there is NOTHING you can do to change this. Definitely remain skeptical. Users lie, that's the cold hard truth. Cautious optimism is the phrase of the day. Excellent point on the support network. That can be SO vital to success. That being said, it can be done without support. It's just so much harder that way.

    No. You can't help him unless he wants the help. Even then, you aren't the best one to give him that help because that can quickly revert everyone back to old habits. If at all possible avoid being his primary or even secondary support.

    This lesson is HUGE! Yes, he's your son. He is also a grown man, only two years younger than I am. He is more than capable of leading a successful life, he just has to want it and work hard at it.

    Thankfully I learned this lesson at work a long time ago. I actually use a variation of this when I talk to the offenders who just got to the institution and I'm telling them about my class.

    My advice to you as a Correctional employee. Don't send him money. You can buy him phone minutes if you want but there is NOTHING they sell in the canteen that he needs. He gets three meals a day. Are they gourmet? Hell no! But they are edible and they are filling. Does he smoke? Oh well. Tell him to support his own bad habits. Make him take care of himself while he's there. If he calls you threatening suicide if you don't put money on his books then call the institution and tell them about it. If he is serious then he needs to see the mental health professionals that are available. If he's just trying to manipulate you into sending him money, doing that a time or two should break him of it especially if they put him on suicide watch. Its not dangerous but I've been the officer observing them to know that they aren't pleasant either. Keep your conversations short. The longer you talk on the phone, the more time he will have to tug at your heart strings. If you have a lot to say, write him a letter. By all means, visit him. But consider doing it as kind of a reward. He's gone a month without getting a Conduct Violation and hasn't tried to manipulate you, reward him with a visit.

    These are just my suggestions, take them or leave them as you please. I certainly don't know whats best for you or your son, just giving you some advice based on my experience in dealing with offenders. Good luck and if you have any questions for me about Corrections I will answer to the best of my ability. Just remember that different states run things in different ways so if you want specifics feel free to contact the institution he's at and ask questions.
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  14. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    @jodiehooks , I hope my post didn't freak you out with my post. I do have a tendency to be overly blunt. Sorry about that, occupational hazard. Please update us on how things are going.
  15. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Jabberwockey: I am NOT freaked out, I entered this forum to help myself lol. I appreciate all that you say. Emotionally this has been so hard on me and I am a softee, so I always think of the other person and hate to see anyone suffer especially my own kids. Unfortunately it is up to him as everyone says. I have written to him, but at this time I am not yet on his approved list, an application is in process but until then I can't send money, visit or do much except write. In a letter I recently wrote I did tell him that I would not take collect calls, that I would send money for him to call me, which is cheaper. And I have told him exactly what you said, to take advantage of any programs available, to seek out spiritual mentor ship, to take this seriously in every way. Why is it so hard for me to just let go of what happens to him on the street? I worry so much. I know worry won't change anything. He is in prison, sentenced to be in a drug rehab which there is a waiting list, so I don't know how long that will take. But in the meantime, I am really being honest and open here with my own problems so that all the people on here that have good advice can reply and I can benefit from the experience everyone has. It is just so darn hard, but thanks and keep posting to me, I need it. Thanks for posting!!
  16. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Glad to hear it! Like I said, being excessively blunt is an occupational hazard for me.

    That's odd. In Missouri it doesn't matter if you're on an offenders visiting list or not when it comes to putting money on their books. But, different state means different operating procedures.
    Definitely don't take collect calls, but if your state is on the JPay system then you should be able to just buy him minutes yourself, without having to send him money. Sending him money just gives him the opportunity to spend it on something not intended.

    Oh, and tell him to PROTECT HIS PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER!!! Other offenders will try to look over his shoulder to get it or will try to con him out of it. Once they have his pin, they can use his phone minutes and possibly even buy more with his money and use them as well. Tell him to treat it like a password. Don't give it to ANYBODY, don't write it down, and change it often.

    Because you're his mom. We've had this discussion here before. A dad's instinct is to prepare them then step back and assist, if needed, when they fall. A mom's instinct is to nurture. The problem with this is that preparation eventually ends, nurturing doesn't so sometimes its a LOT harder for the mom to let go and watch her son or daughter fail. Notice I didn't say child. I'm not sure how old your son is but you are on the Emeritus board and he's in prison so he's an adult and at a point where he should be responsible for his own actions and mistakes.

    When it got really bad with our son and I was at the end of my rope, I called my mom and dad for advice. They were at our house the next morning (I had called them after 9 pm or I'm certain they'd have been there that night). They came running because they knew that, as a Responsible Adult, I had exhausted every idea that I could think of before calling them because this is what Responsible Adults do. Our son hits the most minor snag in life and calls his mom, freaking out, screaming, and basically throws a tantrum trying (either consciously or subconsciously) to get mom to fix it for him. This isn't healthy. He doesn't realize it yet but Lil does. It doesn't change the fact that its VERY difficult for her to not try to fix it for him. We are putting our son on a train tonight to Colorado, his choice. He's running from his problems. We told him we WONT purchase him a return ticket. We both realize that he will probably be crying to come back within a month, when that happens Lil will have a very difficult time not just buying him the ticket even though she swears right now that she wont. She acknowledges to me that she will have difficulty at that time.

    When he starts calling you, crying for you to fix it for him just remember that he is your ADULT son and not your little boy. Yes, easier said than done. Good luck and keep asking questions!
  17. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Thanks. I guess reading your post, it is nature for mothers to care that way. I see mothers sometimes who don't care, just 2 days ago a mother of 2 young children strangled both of them, put them in the trunk, walked into a police station and confessed. I have no idea other than mental illness how that happens. But, saying that, I have had times when I have wished I did not have to deal with a son/daughter with issues like this. Neither of them have taken life seriously and just like you say with your son, my son has gone back and forth, Florida, Michigan, Indiana and from pillar to post all the while pressuring family to "help" him. During times when it was below zero, I did pick him up, take him somewhere, and then cried and cried. My son is 49 years old now and my daughter is 46. I pray that I can have strength to stand back, love him and wish him well and let it go. This is too much worry for people to go through.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    At 49 he has been on the streets long enough yo know places to get warm. On top of shelters, there are Walmarts/Walgreens open 24/7, laundromats, libraries during the day...he has been at this for more than half his life. He doesn't need you driving him around. He can walk.

    I'm a mom too, but my 38 year old son, who is difficult, can not count on me to take care of him. He's a father himself. I will talk to him. That's hard enough at times as he can be very disrespetful.

    I start the painful letting go process when my kids are 16 or 17. Even my autistic son...it is harder with him but we always bit our tongues and them him do for himself for HIS good. He is 23, works half a day, collects some SSI, lives and pays for his own apartment and bills and is shockingly happy, balanced and I'm often told he is the nicest person people know. We adopted him at two. He was born with Crack in his system and syphilis and had open heart surgery at five weeks. The doctor was amazing. His cardiologist sees nothing wrong with his heart. THIS Child NEVER quiT trying to do everything and I was nervous but I hid it. And let him fail and get up and try again.

    He had tons of strikes against him, another being that he is African American and plenty of people still wreak of prejudice. But he has a life and friends, a job and his own place. And while I have the instinct to coddle him, i dont. I treat him as if he is perfectly normal and can take care of himsrlf. I think we all need to bite our tongues and let them fall or one day they will reuse to even try to get up. They will feel self pity and helplessness.

    My autistic son feels none of that.

    When we cry and fret over our kids who are over 18, and the older they are, the worse I think it is...they get more and more used to our coddling and monetary support...we hurt ourselves and I think we don't help them either.

    Your son knows how to live on the street, if he has to or just refuses to stop the drugs he's lived dangerously for decades. He will survive. Maybe he will finally grow up and you will find peace. Same for 46 year old daughter.

    They may not be walking a path you like, but they do know how to survive. Surely it is easier if mom will throw money at them. But if you dont, they know how to survive.

    Do either of them worry about YOU? Your health? Your financial situation? Your lonliness? Your happiness? They and you are at ages where normal, nice adult children start to worry about us. Do your kids ever express concern for you above their own lives? Your very sirvival? If you feel well? What the doctor says?

    After all you have done and still do and with them being older too, if they don't think about your welfare...that is truly tragic.

    You deserve better.


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    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016
  19. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Somewhereoutthere: You are right you would think, but one of his things is that he has has other people to lean on most of these years,and hasn't had to face sleeping in a laundromat or walmart, not that he hasn't had the street life and know about some of this. As his drug use progressed and he got older people bailed out on him and he eventually ended up sleeping in that shed, with a cocaine addict girlfriend in below zero weather worrying his dad and I to death. But for example, I got a call from his fathers girlfriend the other day, says she got an email from him saying that I had not replied to his email sent a few days prior and that he has been sitting in the intake dorm in the prison since early in September, not being transferred to the drug program but that all the other guys have been sent on, leaving him wondering why and would she tell me to call and find out why. Well, in his life he has had girlfriends, wife's, or others to do this, and I admit that possibly I have been guilty of being suckered into it at times too. But this time I emailed him and asked him why he couldn't ask his own counselor himself. I also told him to quit wasting money sending these kind of requests because his dad and I are busy working, his dad is 70 and I am 66. I also told him that since I have no computer at home and was out of town he needed to stop being so demanding about getting a response. Well, of course he emails back with this, gee mom I'm sorry you are so mad at me for asking this but all the guys have asked the girlfriend or mothers and it seemed to help get them moved along. As I said, he has had a long long history of quilting people into doing things for him that he should do for himself and now that I am asking him to not be helpless and do for himself, he will have a huge adjustment. But I am not in prison and I don't have to spend all my time worrying about his stuff, he does. And thank God for this forum and for other self help groups for myself.