I bought my kid a tent today, he's homeless.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Josh'sMom, Dec 25, 2015.

  1. JMom

    JMom Member

    I bought my kid a tent today, who does that?!I

    I bought my 20 year old addicted son a tent today, who does that? Well, apparently I do. He started smoking pot around 14 and progressed to xantax, then meth. Although I think k hid doctor has always been pot and xanax. He started smoking K2 to pass drug tests around 16 yoa, that's when things went downhill rapidly. The enabling started; paying tickets, wrecked cars, dragging him to school, paying truency fines, lying to family and friends, rehabs, ect..
    Fast forward to 20 years old, and 3 rehabs later and here we are. I stopped the enabling at 18 (for the most part) as far as any cash. There was still rehabs being paid for, occasional phones provided and a meal or two here and there. I went to Alanon for a while and sometimes it helped.

    Just recently I set him up to live with a family member away from old friends and hopefully a new start. He got a job (he's a good worker and not afraid to work). He did well for about 2 months and my family found weed hidden in the house, so he was out the next day. I realized that my involvement, was again enabling.

    It's just bizarre to me. I always told myself this was just a phase and when he decides to change, it will be good that I forced him to finish school, dress up for court, ect..

    Here I sit. I delivered him a sleeping bagand tent to his homeless camp a couple of days ago. I knew where it was but had never been inside. He kept urging me to see it. I wasn't scared, I'm a police officer and carry. I reluctantly went. It wasn't at all what I imagined. It was like a small city. Different people had their own campsites within it. They had 3 rules, no stealing or robbing people, no lying and clean up after yourself.

    He and another young man slept in a tent. The other young man was a veteran . The tent mate had found him a small matress and put it on my son's side. They had a fire pit and tarps and twine run through trees for their clothing. They had a dog.

    While part of my felt better that he wasn't sleeping on the ground and had some shelter from wind and rain, my gut kept saying over and over "what mom walks away?". This one did. I provided ameal, the tent and sleeping bag and left. I went home to my two story home and cried and wrapped presents for my other two children.

    I thought surely no one else has had to experience this. Then I found this site. I saw one post that reminded me why I should walk away- if I don't , it interrupts the natural consequences that need to take place for him to grow.

    So now I have to constantly redirect my mind from him to myself and the rest of my family. I turned down the street last night to see my in-laws for Christmas and saw him ona corner with his new friend, a dog and a sign that read young and homeless. .that read "young and homeless".

    I turned the kids attention to another direction to see Christmas lights. I don't want them to see. I don't want anyone to hurt like I do. I have accepted that this is his choice. I have decided what boundaries I have. They are to contact him occasionally for a hug. They are to drop off a meal if I'm in the area. Nothing more, nothing less. He doesn't ask me for anything and was very grateful for the tent. All he asked was that I give him an update from time to time on his sisters.

    Detachment. I am learning a whole new level. It hurts like no other hurt. I am sad. I may have to bury him, or he may figure it out and have one heck of a testimony. Today I pray. I pray for my son and a of you and your hurt. Take a deep breath.
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  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sweetie, he sounds like a lovely young man caught up in the disease of addiction. It was kind and thoughtful of you to give him a tent...good thinking and not enabling. I wish I had magic words that would tell you how to change him, but that has to come from him and I'm glad you have other loved ones to interact with and love on this Christmas.

    My daughter is going to school now for law enforcement. I have a great respect for police officers. Thank you for all you do. You are also a caring, loving mother to your son. His choices are his own and have nothing to do with your parenting. My daughter chose to get clean. Your son is young. Hopefully he will take the same path.

    Hugs for your hurting heart.
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  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome.
    Yes, you are one of "us". Parents of non-typical and/or non-conforming kids.

    What mom walks away? Well, in my books, you didn't "walk away". You did the only things that were possible in his situation. A tent = a roof over his head. A sleeping bag = a bed. And you gave him a meal besides! The statement to him is... you care. And it's true.

    He may have the tent and sleeping bag for a while. Or not. That's on him, not on you. You got him the best possible presents for HIM.

    What I can tell you is that there are a LOT of young men that seem to really go off the deep end as teens and young adults, who then somehow wake up / grow up / or something by about age 25 or so. And walk away from that lifestyle and go on to be "normal people". There is hope, at least.
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  4. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Hi JMom,
    Welcome to this soft place to land. You will find support, comfort, and wisdom here to continue to grow in your healthy detachment. You did not "walk away" from your son. You are not turning your back, but rather just "stepping back" to allow son to move on with his life, in the way that he chooses he will. By detaching with love, you give him freedom, space and wings … to experience challenges and responsibilities to mature and step into his manhood. It may not be the picture you had for him, but it sounds like he is resourceful, confident, and has some respect for you. That he wanted to show you his place, introduce you to his friend, and was thankful for your gifts, shows he values a connection with you.
    The folks here on this forum know your hurt and pain. We all hurt here. You are doing the right thing, Mom ... you have accepted the situation that you cannot change him, and you have set boundaries, and he is not asking for anything and still wants to be updated on the family . Something deep in him still cares. These are things to be thankful for.

    Keep posting with us here. It helps. Others will soon be along with more insights and wisdom and support. You are not alone. Welcome to the forum. Take care and breathe. As you continue to read other threads on the forums, you find common principles and issues throughout and learn from other situations and get strengthened from others' support. Read the article on "detachment" on this forum at this link. It is a great reminder. http://www.conductdisorders.com/community/threads/article-on-detachment.53639/#axzz3vMgrCSmN

    I hope you will find a bit of joy in this holiday time of renewal. I take some comfort in believing that even though I don't understand all the whys and wherefores of our difficult children and their situations, that all works together for good in some way.
    It is a new day... You are going to be alright... Kalahou
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
  5. JMom

    JMom Member

    You guys are all do incredible. Thank you for your kind words. It's going to start raining tonight and our first freeze is coming. Gut wrenching, but I'm hanging in!
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  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have read a lot about the homeless and I'm not positive, but I think when it's cold often those tent city folks take care of one another and some have bonfires to sit around. Also, I'm positive there must be a shelter in the area, if he is ok with going and following their rules. There is always a way to be warm. Please don't worry too much (impossible, I guess), but there ARE places to go that are warm.

    More hugs!!
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  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Merry Christmas, JM.

    You are doing incredibly well. Please do not judge yourself harshly, or at all. Any involvement you have with your son beyond the cursory is as if to support his choice. Which you cannot do. It would be completely sending him the wrong message, I think.

    He knows how much you love him. I think what you did was loving and completely appropriate. I spent a career working in prisons. I think it is harder still for us who see and deal with the consequences of the choices are children are making.

    It feels like a special kind of hypocrisy to me who can find compassion for prisoners who have done way, way worse than my son--and need to push away my own child. Indeed, even feel disgust and anger. But he is my son. It is a world of difference.

    I am glad you found us. Every one of us is living with a variant of your story, your heartbreak. Posting helps a lot. Welcome.

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  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi JMom, welcome to CD, and so sorry for your need to be here.
    You are a good Mom, to do this very loving thing for your son for Christmas. It hurts when our kids choose this path, especially when we have done everything in our power to try to prevent it.
    It does just eventually boil down to a brew of choices our d c's make.........there seem to be more and more people living off grid, " non-conformist". Your description of your sons area reaffirms that homeless folks do network and have rules. My eldest girl chooses this lifestyle as well. It is hard to comprehend, but it is her choice.

    This is true JM, it does not seem like it, but you are helping him, more than you will ever know, by not helping, not enabling him.
    I am sorry JM, this is hard to see. It is the same with my eldest. I have not seen her on the streets, but she comes over every so often, either depressed and disheveled, or chatty and high.
    It is mind boggling and heart wrenching.
    The hurt will come and go, sometimes a bit more than others, especially around holidays. You sound so strong on the path of acceptance and boundaries. It still takes some getting used to, progressive work. Your son sounds like he still feels connection with family, this is a good thing. My two have pretty much replaced family with street and party friends....nevertheless I do believe there is hope for them to find their purpose and meaning, one day....
    It is a whole learning process that is for sure JM. At times there is this emptiness inside. It helps to take good care of ourselves. Be very kind to yourself, you matter, you have value.
    It is good you pray, it helps me, when I am thinking of my two, to say a quick prayer. Thank you for sharing your story here, and for your prayers for hurting hearts.
    Keep posting and let us know how you are doing. My heart and prayers go out to you, dear.
    I want to thank you for your work as a police officer. It takes a special kind of person to be in this great service.
    Do take good care JM.
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  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Hi JMom,

    You are not alone....even in the buying the tent and sleeping bag. I did that when my son was homeless....he was across the country and I ended up going to a store where i live and ordering and paying for it and he picked it up where he was. So yes I did that....and you know what I felt it was the right thing to do. It showed him that I love and care about him and I see nothing wrong with that at all.

    The whole not enabling thing is a balancing act... we dont want to support them to use drugs or give them money which they can use for drugs.... but doing things to let them know we love them and things that give us peace of mind are reasonable in my book.... and what those things are differe from person to person.

    I am glad you found us..... this is a hard journey we are all on.
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  10. JMom

    JMom Member

    Wow, you all have renewed my strength and resolve. From great pain comes great passion. My closest friends who know he's there are taking tent and sleeping bag donations to deliver before the cold and rain hits tonight. I am so blessed to find friends in strangers to share my greatest fears, darkest though and great triumphs of the heart. I think we should all write an excerpt and a book!
  11. JMom

    JMom Member

    P.S. I love that you gave me a nickname JM...that means I've been "jumped in" to the Difficult Child gang. Lol
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  12. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Oh my, I didn't know that......well I suppose you have "jumped in" to our difficult child moms gang. Welcome to our "gang" JM...lol.....
  13. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    Good morning and welcome to the forum JM. It is a good morning for one reason and its that Christmas is now behind us and that makes our detachment with love and growing understanding of setting boundaries and letting people go and working on ourselves much easier. It is nearly impossible to hang on to ourselves at Christmas and especially harder for moms and sons.

    I love your whole post and I rated it a winner. Your honesty, your struggle, your sons struggle...your progress...tremendous progress...is amazing. Your story resonated with me as well as it sounds a lot like my story with my son.

    You can read in other posts here about my sons backstory so I won't go into it here but he has been in jail multiple times for drug related charges, been to rehab multiple times, has been homeless multiple times here in my small city and in a larger city four hours away and on the street in the coldest dead of winter. I have been there and back with him and did so for more than ten years with the last six until 18 months ago the very hardest of my life .

    Today he has been on an upward path for 18
    Months. Has not been arrested, has worked full time and pays for his own place (a trailer he is ashamed of, figure that) and wants to become an electrician. He is still a work in progress definitely and was recently diagnosed with hep C another challenge to navigate .

    My son was evidently scared straight. He was in jail 18 months ago and the public defender told him he would likely go to jail the next morning for four years. My son said he laid awake all night long in terror. The next day the judge let him walk with probation and he has been rebuilding his life ever since.

    JM we cannot know their journey and what it brings. I would have thought 100 other things before that would have been his rock bottom. Not.

    Letting him go has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. We are all sisters and brothers here because we have lived and are living through the worst kind of pain and it seems to never end.

    Thank you for the work you do every day as a police officer. Sadly, I had multiple interactions with the police via my sons choices and they have without exception been compassionate and helpful. You can't know how much that meant to me. You are in a unique position to help others through your own painful experience.

    Please consider going back to alanon, read books line codependent no more and Boundaries and authors like Pema Chodron and Brene brown. They have been invaluable in my own recovery.

    We are here for you. We so understand. We get it. Please keep posting and sharing. Your struggle is our struggle. Sharing helps us all and there is no judgment or "right or wrong". We are all working out our "own stuff" in our posts...often I will go back and see that I was writing to myself.

    On this day after Christmas this is a new day. It is a new Chance for each one of us to learn more and grow stronger. We are glad you are here.
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  14. JMom

    JMom Member

    Thank you com. Every post gives me new strength. I've smiled so much this morning, my jaw hurts. Man its been a long time coming. My hubs keeps peeking around the corner, all suspicious like.
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  15. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I rated your post funny, JM, because my hubs does the same thing.........all suspicious like....
  16. JMom

    JMom Member

    I went to drop off items and ended up all tangled up in more than I bargained for. Lesson learned. .. I'm a slow learner lol
  17. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    It is okay, one step at a time. It is a hard thing to swallow for any of us. There is a learning curve.
    Heart and head, is the most difficult battle.
    One thought I really appreciated from a post:
    Our minds are going a million miles a minute with this.
    Don't be hard on yourself, be very kind and gentle to YOU.
    You are going to be okay, and so will your boy.
  18. JMom

    JMom Member

    Thanks so much leafy. It's cold and thunderstorms and now I have to get them to leave the motel I paid for last night. They won't give me any trouble, but then I drop them in the rain at camp. Just a hassle I should've avoided. I'll just have to put my big girl pants on! Oh well, I learned to not get involved. Thanks for the encouraging words. Jm
  19. JMom

    JMom Member

    It's a new day. Strange how things always seem less stressful during the day. Everything went ok at the motel. They kept it clean and we're all grateful and took 3 showers each, lol. My son and I took their combined 10 loads of laundry to the laundry room and got it all done. I bid him farewell and said he probably wouldn't hear from me for a few days, so I can take care of me.

    He's a sweet kid, just misguided. Now I can check out some books and take care of me.

    Thanks again all. I reread your posts until I finally fell asleep last night. It was comforting. My goal today is eat, sleep and live worry-free. Prayers and good vibes to all of you!
  20. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hey JMom, you changed your name
    You know what, it didn't turn out so bad. At least they didn't trash the room, showered, slept under a roof. They all have clean clothes, 10 loads, my goodness. Maybe, JMom, that kindness, the clean clothes, the warmth of the room, may make them think about their lifestyle out in the elements. We never know......
    SeaGenie recommends "Don't Let Your Kids Kill You" LOL. I like the title, she says its the best book she has read.
    Prayers and good vibes to you JMom.
    Things will be okay.