I am so scared :(


New Member
Hello Everyone:

Where do I start ? I think my/my son's story is quite long, but I can't keep my thoughts together to describe the whole thing. My son is homeless, since yesterday. Maybe he was able to spend last night with friends, maybe he slept in his car - we don't know... He is 22 yo with a long history of problems and long history of therapy in his childhood. He appeared to change when he was 13 (it was when we moved from Europe to USA). We had absolutely perfect 4 years with no problems (or with no problems we could see). I married my husband when son was 13 and for the first time in his life he had a full family with parents having plenty of time to assist him with anything he needed (I was a single mom before and our life was quite hectic, but I have always thought that with help of my parents all his needs were met). He was new to this country, but learned English really fast, his academics were fantastic and for the first time in his life got involved in sports. This lasted until his junior year in high school, when he practically stopped doing any school work, but because his curriculum was so packed we thought he was taking too much on himself and could not handle it (he is not a hardworking person). Still managed to get accepted to a few colleges and we let him go to his dream school, even though it was out of state and significantly higher. Freshman year was a HUGE failure. He entered with almost 50 credits already completed through AP classes and ended with 60, failed most of attempted classes. Spent almost a year looking for a job to only end up with a retail part-time job. And right then I accidentally found his pot. We told him this needed to stop and started testing him. He was told he would need to move out if he is positive again. The next positive happened when I was out of town and my husband gave him one more chance. There was no next failed test, but cops at our door at 10 am on a Sunday with contempt summons (his car got searched after a traffic stop, pot was found, he went to court by himself without telling us, refused counsel because he thought he would have to pay). So this is when we kicked him out and even helped him move to a house rented by a bunch of his friends. He straightened up his court and ASAP obligations, picked up restricted license, and everything seemed ok until the cops came to us again, Saturday night this time, with probation violation summons. Failed drug test (supposedly it was to be forgiven if it didn't happen again, but he stopped going to treatment all together). At that point we hired a lawyer, who sent him back to treatment. I drove him every single time 3 times a week to make sure he makes it to the treatment. In court we found out he was suspended in treatment for not turning in a report from AN meetings he was supposed to go to (I did not know anything about those meetings). His lawyer managed to get another continuance since he was still not kicked out of treatment. Right after court we dragged him to his therapist, paid his debt (even though he was getting $$ every time I took him there to pay for it), the therapist said all was left to do was 8 weeks aftercare. We drove him again for 8 weeks. The store where he worked went out of business, he didn't have any income, could not find a job. He was losing his housing too and said he was going to live in the car. My husband told him to come back home. Right before his last therapy session I told him I needed a letter from the therapist saying he successfully completed, otherwise I am not going to court. For over a week he was bringing this letter... Supposedly the letter was mailed to his previous address and he kept forgetting to bring it. Finally yesterday I told him not to come back without the letter.... so he never came back.... Court is on Monday next week, I know I can't handle it, my husband said he would go (the lawyer says it looks better when parents are there, but I guess in this case it doesn't matter). I asked him before if he was addicted and he said no, now I don't know anymore. How can he not be addicted and mess up so many times knowing the consequences ? My husband says if he was addicted he would need money all the time, and he doesn't seem to care or try to get the money. I wrote more than I thought I would. I have been crying almost non stop for two days, no idea what to do....


Well-Known Member
Hi. Very, very sorry for your hurting mommy heart. We've all been there. I assume your son is 18-21?

I don't know if your son is an addict or what he is addicted to, and you don't get to know that either anymore, unless his lawyer tells you. After eighteen, they are protected from telling us what they don't want us to know. I was shocked to learn what my daughter was on after she quit and finally told me.

I'm going to work soon, but wanted to respond so you don't feel we didn't see you. The short answer is that you need desperately to get help for YOU so that you an cope with your son's choices. We all have to do that. We can't control our grown sons and daughters, what they do, whether they comply with court orders, whether they really try to stop using drugs or not or whether or not they quit, which is all their decision.

Your son may be getting money in ways you can't even imagine, just like my daughter did. He could be using the money he made at work, since you paid his rent (I don't recommend doing that, but that's just my opinion), they sell drugs to get money (my daughter says if you use, you sell...her experience), they steal from us (sometimes a bit at a time), they sell their own items or "hot" items that they manage to get...you may find that your son starts asking you for money for various reasons now that he is unemployed. My daughter also worked so she used her money for drugs, but she tells me now she also sold drugs. The fact is, I didn't know what my daughter was doing, and you don't know the full extent of what your son is doing. They will usually admit to pot, but nothing else, which is what my daughter did. And we believed her, of course, because she was our beloved daughter. Until we found a bag of white stuff hidden under her mattress.

My daughter was on parole twice, but did not follow the parole rules as far as not using drugs. She was not put in jail and I think that was mostly because she was under eighteen when she was caught.

If you have not gone to a Narc-Anon or Al-Anon meeting, I strongly recommend going there for the face time support and the coping skills they teach. We can have good lives in spite of our adult chldren's woes, but it takes time and practice. We need to learn that no matter what we do, we can't fix our adult kids. Sometimes less is more...the more we do to get them out of trouble, the more they feel that you'll rescue them so they feel comfortable continuing their destructive lifestyles. And until they decide they want to quit, they won't, no matter how many meetings and rehabs we make them go to, if they are even willing to go. We sadly have 0% control over our grown kids. But we have 100% control over how we react to their behavior and how we relate to them.

Big hugs for your hurting mommy heart. Can you do something nice for yourself today? YOU matter. You are not your son nor do you have to suffer because of his poor choices. I hope you find some serenity and happiness today. It's a start.


Well-Known Member
Hi - I am sorry you have been going through this. It is really scary and hard... and many of us here have been where you are. My son has been homeless, on the streets, and in jail and in several rehabs. He too started with pot and for a long time told us that is all it was.

Amazingly they learn to survive....there are lots of programs for the homeless, and homeless youth and they learn from each other. I have no idea how my son spent 4 months on the streets in the middle of winter but he did. I think in his mind jail is worse than being homeless... although for me at least when he was in jail I knew he had a place to sleep and food.

My stand has always been I will help you when you want help, and wont when you don't. And so my son has gone to rehab several times, and I think each time helps a little bit. Who knows. He is now involved in drug court and so they are requiring him to go to a residentail program to stay out of jail and that is good from my point of view.

I agree the most important thing right now is to take care of yourself and spend time with your husband. Find things to do that you enjoy.... I know right now the worry may take over a lot, but do what you can to take care of yourself. And I agree that finding a good alanon meeting, especially one for parents, can be a huge help. That is probably the most important thing I did for myself and it helped me to get to the place of living my life, and enjoying it, in spite of what my son is doing.


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Well-Known Member
Welcome LostMom. I'm sorry that you are so worried I have been there done that, as have all of us here, and we do understand. My first thought is that our young people are getting conflicting messages. While some states ar elegalizing pot others are decriminalizing it and yet others, like ours, continue to put kids in jail and give them criminal records for using it. I am not at all suggesting we all legalizing it because I believe it is a gateway drug to others, but it seems those of us who believe that are in a minority.

My daughter has a longhistory of problems alos, which kept escalating to many court appearance, suspended from college, living in friend's drug house, shoplifting, residential treatment, sober houses, etc. All over pot and alcohol. We kew that she would continue escalating until she was either sentenced to jail or dead. So I am not making light of pot use because I know what it can do to some.

I am very familar with the paper signed at NA and AA meetings to prove he was there. My difficult child had to do the same. He obviously was not going to the meetings. He is not ready to quit and probably won't be until his life gets so out of control and he is sick of living this way. I know this is hard but you can't force him to stop. It may take living in his car for a while. TL can tell you all about homelessness and what a worry it is.

Keep posting, you have many friends here who have lived through the same thing.


New Member
Thank you All for your posts :)
I only found this forum yesterday and I am so grateful.... and even more scared. I did some reading and there are so many stories that sound just like mine.
Today when I came home from work I saw my son leaving our house - he was already in the car. I stopped and ask him what he was doing here, he said he came to pick something up. I know he was here yesterday when we were out too - my husband is talking about changing locks. I also asked what the story with the treatment was and this time (according to him, who knows if it's true, I don't believe anything he says anymore) he was kicked out for positive alcohol test. I have never seen him drunk during a day, so I asked how this was possible since we drove him to all sessions. He said alcohol stays in urine for a long time.
So now there is a probation violation hearing on July 28. I don't think I can handle being there. The additional stress is that I work for a law enforcement agency and I know lots of lawyers in this town. Last time we went to court there was a bunch of them sitting there, and thankfully none I knew, but this time may be different.... Should I even worry about things like this ? But I really don't want my coworkers to find out, I am not ready to handle anyone judging me and talking behind my back. We are a very small office, all those people are extremely judgmental and gossipy and everyone's kids excel in everything they do..... and I hope I don't sound ridiculous, but yes, it would bother me if people found out :(
My husband said he will go to court, he is also going to call son's lawyer this week and inform him of the situation.
The lawyer told us before that this can be dismissed if he successfully completes ASAP (first offense status), and if not, a jail sentence will be imposed. Supposedly 1 - 2 months.
I have no idea what to do. Should I do ANYTHING ? Or just sit back and watch what happens ?
My understanding is he will be detained right there in the courtroom ? And then what ?
A apologize for my rambling, I just have no idea what to do ?


Well-Known Member
I wouldn't do anything. Let the justice system do what it will. Make him responsible for his own actions. If you intervene you are just putting yourself in the middle. This way he can't blame you for anything.

by the way my difficult child did not have keys to the house but she did know the garage code so we just changed it.


Well-Known Member
Oh lost mom your story is so so similar to mine!! Only I am ahead of you in the process. I too work with law enforcement and have run into several people I know when I have been to court with my son... it is embarrassing BUT my tactic at this point is to be very open with people about the situation. Not everyone can do this but it tends to be my style anyways. I live in a small town and so people hear stuff anyways so I just hold my head up high and tell it like it is. I dont make excuses for him at all. What I have found in general (with some exceptions) is that many many people have someone in their family with substance abuse problems. It is a very common problem and so when you are open, other people open up to you. I have actually gotten a lot of support that way. Now I get you may not be ready to do that, and that is ok too. But in either case no matter what people say or gossip, hold your head high. This is not your fault, as they say in alanon, you didnt cause it, you cant control it and you cant cure it.

As far as going to court do what feels right for you! If you dont want to be there then dont go. If you do want to be there then go. It is really hard to see your kid put in handcuffs and taken off to jail and yet you might want to get a look at him (and his attitude). It really is up to you, there is no right or wrong answer.

I dont know how things are in your state but here if he is detained they are held in the jail section, which is where they hold people waiting for trial or are detained for some reason. They are not with the guys who are actually doing time. He probably will be able to call you from jail (collect of course) and the calling is a racket. There are things in place where you can put money into an account for calls. Also the jail probably has a canteen account where you can put money in for certain types of things... here you cant send them or give them anything.... so to get a radio, a pair of sweat pants or snacks is all done through the canteen.

As awful as it is to have a kid in jail, for my son it always has really put things in perspective and after time in jail he does better at least for a while. He hates being in jail and a stint in jail motivates him to do what he can to stay out of jail. So landing in jail for a period of time can actually do some good.... as long as it is not too long a time. I bet a little bit of time in jail will give your son a different perspective on rehab and he might be more willing to do what he needs to do.

You might ask his lawyer if they have drug court in your area.... although remember his lawyer is working for him and is going to get him the best deal he can get him and what your son wants... he wont necessarily do what you think is best for your son.

I think I have answered most of your questions but feel free to ask any more. And I hope you like the alanon meeting.... I know the meeting we go to, you dont have to talk and the focus is really supposed to be on how to take care of yourself, not about your son.


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one day at a time
Hi LostMom, I am so sorry that you are in this situation, like so many of us are. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

After years of this---my son is nearly 25---I realize you will have to just experience a lot of it, but you may want to immediately change your locks. If your son is using drugs at all (usually this doesn't happen with alcohol abuse) he is likely needing to steal or will be, and there's no sense in your just letting your valuables be stolen because you didn't realize the depth of the problem.

We changed the locks, the garage door codes and put slide bolts on the doors. It was a very hard day for me, the day we did that, but I am very glad we did. My son has stolen from me several times, but he hasn't gotten very much each time, so those losses have been minimal.

I know you are scared and upset right now, and there are a lot of unknowns. Once they enter the legal system, that process takes over, and quite frankly, it's a good thing it does. Today, I don't go to court, I don't hire lawyers, I don't bail him out, I don't put money on his account in jail and I haven't visited him in jail much at all or at all the last couple of times.

But I used to do all of those things, and little by little I became ready to stop. Today, my son has multiple misdemeanors and two felonies, and at one point I thought I would die because of that, but I have survived it, and I still hold my head up high.

He will have to dig out of this hole, if he chooses. When someone just keeps on and on and on doing the same things---the same stupid things----why in the world would we try to intervene to save them? It's for us that we do it, because not to do it is unimaginable to us, at first.

You are right in not believing anything he says about his drug and alcohol use, what he's doing or not doing and what any kind of tests show. He will tell you what he thinks you want to hear. Believe me. I've heard it all, and now I verify anything that is important for me to know. Most of the time, I just let that kind of information go in one ear and out the other.

Words are cheap. It's action that means something to me, today. If I see no action, that tells me all I need to know.

And about other people knowing, it is very likely that you can't prevent people from finding this out and gossiping. You will find out, once the word gets out, who your friends really are. I would say little, hold your head up---after all, YOU are not doing these things---HE is---and just keep moving forward.

We can't control what other people do or say. We can only control ourselves.

We get it here. Please keep posting and keep reading. It will help you. Warm hugs.


Well-Known Member
Agree with COM, but have an additional comment for those who are persistant about talking to you about your difficult child. For me, I haven't had to face that humiliation since he was much younger since we have lived in seperate states for over ten years, but when my dad asks me meanly about him (and he does do it to be mean) I answer him in the same way I believe I'd answer anybody else who inquired. "i'd rather talk about somethng else." Then I hope I could stick to it and if the person really got nosy and obnoxious I'd still not answer, but make some excuse to leave. Fast.

You can't stop what other people talk about, but you don't have to give them any information.

Hugs to you.


New Member
Thank you for your uplifting comments, I soooo appreciate your input and every piece of info. Today I feel like someone kicked me on the head. I realize that nothing else can be done on my part, but there is a part of me that does not want to accept it.
I so don't feel like going to any meetings at this point, but I wanted to ask: are these the same groups for addicts and families ?

I know I could probably get some good advice at work, there is a person there, who has incredible experience in working with addicts and lots of success stories, knows all the local resources available, I just can't bring myself to telling him, I know this will spread and be discussed behind my back over and over. If they find out via other sources, I will live with it.

Thank you once again, I will post updates if anything new happens.


Well-Known Member
There is AA for alcoholics and drug users and Al-Anon for us who deal with them. Two different meetings.

You are not going to find a way to fix your son unless he wants to be fixed so talking to the co-worker who has had success isn't going to help you anyway. They utilize help when they are ready to quit, not before. You have 0% control over your son and his behavior. You have 100% over how you deal with it and how you continue living your own life, in spite of your son's recklessness and dance with jail. Since you can't stop his dance, why not enjoy your own? Angsting over him will not make him stop. Talking to him non-stop didn't work, right? Putting him in rehab before he really wanted to quit was unhelpful, right? Therapists couldn't stop him, right? Crying and begging, bribing, enabling, nothing worked, did it? Do you believe your son could not find resources that would help him if he wanted to? The kids on the street know all the stuff your co-worker knows.

We have no control over another person, even our beloved children. Sounds like you are still thinking about ways to fix him. But you can't. And you can't keep him away from criminals if he lives like one himself. Even if he lives at home, as my daughter did for so long, he will still be hanging with criminals. She did. It's the lifestyle, not where they live that puts them into danger.

Hugs for your hurting mommy heart. Try to do something nice for yourself today.


one day at a time
Good Morning, LostMom...I hope you got some decent sleep last night.

I realize that nothing else can be done on my part, but there is a part of me that does not want to accept it.

This is absolutely normal. Today, you are right where you need to be in your thinking and feeling about your son. There is no way to hurry your own recovery. There is only the chance----every single day----to work on yourself. If you start devoting time to working on yourself every day---30 minutes or an hour---schedule it into your day, you will start to get relief. Over time, you will find that you are changing---your thoughts, your feelings, your behavior---both short-term and long-term---will change.

RE talks about changing our neural pathways in our brains. That is what we have to do, and repeating consistently new ways of thinking and acting will help us do that, over time. Keep in mind, that your feelings may lag way, way behind as you change.

But another thing you will hear in Al-Anon is that feelings aren't facts. Wow, that was a huge, huge new thought for me, and at first I dismissed it, or I sped past it. This idea---that feelings aren't facts----is worth sitting and pondering. What does this mean? What do I do with this new idea? What do I do with the feelings I do have? On and on.

I so don't feel like going to any meetings at this point, but I wanted to ask: are these the same groups for addicts and families ?

When you are in mortal pain, you won't feel like going to meetings or really working a program at all. It's all you can do to raise your head up and go to work and clean up the kitchen. But LostMom, that is exactly when you need to go. Just stop what you are doing, walk out the door to the meeting, again and again, and believe me, you will be much better able to do the other things you need to do in your life, once you start going regularly. It's like exercising. Who really LIKES it? Its' hard. But we do it because we know it is good for us. Same with Al-Anon. Just do it, LostMom. Just do it.

I know I could probably get some good advice at work, there is a person there, who has incredible experience in working with addicts and lots of success stories, knows all the local resources available,

I agree with MWM here. You don't need any advice. From anybody. What you need is a pathway to work on yourself, and tools for that journey.

You can't do one single thing to change your son's behavior and actions. That is a hard truth to grasp and you can't grasp it quickly and really start to integrate it into your life. It will take time. Why? Because right now, DOING SOMETHING is all you know to do. You have to quiet the crazy hamster-on-the-wheel that is inside your brain. So you DO SOMETHING in order to quiet it.

That is a survival action because right now you are in survival mode.

Over time, with tools and working your own program of recovery (recovery from enabling, fixing, managing and controlling other people, just like he will have to work a program of recovery from drugs and alcohol, if he decides to stop) the hamster will run less and less. You will feel more and more peace and purpose and serenity and contentment and joy and you will be able to sit in silence, and be quiet, and do thing and say nothing, more and more. Not perfectly. But that's okay. You will start to feel compassion---not pity---but compassion for the person you are and are trying to be, and failing often---and then, you will start to feel more compassion for your son and the other people in your life and then more and more for all other people.

will life be perfect? No. Will it be a lot better? Yes.

Go to Al-Anon. Go every single day if you can. You don't have to say a word. For a long time, I just cried through all of my first meetings. That's perfectly okay. Buy one or two Al-Anon books. Take them home and start to read them. Write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal. Buy some flowers for your kitchen table. There---that's at least 30 minutes or an hour every day of new behavior.

Leading to new neural pathways. Leading to more peace. Regardless.