Let me introduce myself...


New Member
I came across this site this morning after searching Google for"help for my homeless son". I have spent some time reading through the posts and I am happy to know that I am not the only one out there going through this.
I am the mother of 4 boys ages 26, 25, 23 and 20. My oldest son passed away from a drug overdose 6 years ago. My second son, who is 25, is homeless. My youngest two are doing well and are leading normal young adult lives.
I am writing out of frustration of helping my son while at the same time trying to come to terms with the fact that he isn't helping himself.
As I read posts, I realize that I am not alone. However, that does not make it any easier to walk away from your child.
We asked my son to leave our home after his youngest brother informed us that he caught him using heroin. We couldn't have that in our home.
As odd as it sounds, he stopped using and is clean, thank God! He still remains on the streets, bouncing from couch to couch for the night. Asking me for money for food occasionally.
I am constantly giving him direction as to where to go for help in finding a job but he never follows through. His rational is that he never know where he is going to be living so it's hard to keep a job.
I am so frustrated with all of this. The more I think about it the more I start to liken it to the "which came first, the chicken or the egg"? I understand that it would make it"easier" to have a place to call home so that you could have a place to shower and sleep but in order to have a place like that, you need to have money to pay for it, which requires a job. So which comes first?
I came across a few posts that mentioned an organization called NAMI...I looked this up but am wondering if this is where my son or I need to start. Is homelessness a mental illness? I'm desperate and am looking for a place to start. I don't want my son to be homeless, I want the best for him. He needs direction. I know I can't force him to seek help, it's his path, not mine. But I can't shake the overwhelming feeling of being a patent who has failed my child somehow. Yes, I feel guilty.
After my oldest son passed away, we sought group grief counseling, so that we could go as a family but we we're never able to find anything that was for families that had lost a sibling to drugs... they were for families who lost family members to illnesses like cancer. I don't have the money for a private counselor, that is why we choose a group. So I often wonder if my son has never recovered or grieved properly over his older brothers death. Maybe that is an excuse for his situation but it certainly crosses my mind and leaves me with overwhelming feelings of guilt on my part that I failed to help him deal with this horrific situation.
I welcome any advice anyone has to offer.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Hi Phoenixmom, welcome.

Your story is not unlike many of ours, for whatever reason, your son has failed to launch properly. I'm sorry. I know how desperately unhappy you are, we've all been in your shoes.

You're correct in your thinking that you can't force him to do anything or fix him or change him......it is entirely up to him. What you can do is learn how to respond differently to him so that your life begins to have balance and some sense of peacefulness. The guilt alone will do much harm to you, keeping you spinning in the hamster wheel that you didn't create and you have no power to stop.

Typical young people don't choose homelessness. Something derailed your son, it may be mental issues, it may be severe grief..... You can always contact NAMI and explain your situation and see if they can help you. If they can't and you think your son is abusing drugs or alcohol, you might try Al Anon or Narc Anon or Families anonymous, many parents here find solace in the 12 step groups. Getting support for yourself is crucial to making any changes.......most of us here require professional support or some kind of support to make the necessary changes so that our lives are not dragged through our kids choices and behaviors.

You may be right about your son not having dealt with his brothers death.......that may be something NAMI can support both of you with.......grief counseling of some sort. However, if your son won't get the help he needs, you are powerless. That powerlessness is what keeps us stuck in the guilt......we have no control over our adult kids choices. Which is why it becomes imperative for US to seek support. It's difficult to accept that we cannot fix it for our kids.....as parents many of us believe we can......but once they are adults, we can't. It's a hard road to that recognition.

You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. Keep posting it helps. It can be a bit quiet around here on weekends, but others will come along tomorrow. I'm glad you're here......hang in there........


Active Member
Hello phoenix momI agree with recovering, you can't help someone who doesn't want to help themselves. Detachment is a good idea. how YOU react to his choices is the only thing you have control over...sorry but there is no quick fix. Like myself, all you can do is give it up to your higher power. Remember he has his own higher power looking over him too! I turn to the serenity prayer OFTEN ! "God grant me the serenity to ACCEPT the THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE! The courage to change the thingsI CAN and the WISDOM to KNOW THE DIFFERENCE." this quote when i seriously read and understand it has helped me really focus on what i am in control of....ME.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Welcome to our little corner of the internet. I am so glad you found us here.

Your story is a familiar one. You asked if homelessness is a mental illness. I think on some level there is truth in that. My son also chooses to be homeless. He does not lack intelligence but does lack common sense. I will never understand why he chooses to live such a hard life. He has held jobs but not for long as he always quits claiming that the "boss" doesn't have a clue how to run a business.

I have come a long way over the years. I love my son very much but I came to understand that spending most of my time worrying and wondering about where he was, is he eating, where is he sleeping, etc..... was not healthy for me. I have a life to live just as you do. I had to make the decision to start taking my life back and living for my self.

I think it's good you have researched NAMI. I do hope that your son is really "clean" from using heroin. I have learned that our adult difficult children can be very sneaky and will claim to be clean but they are not. Heroin is a really tough drug to quit on your own. If you have not done so you might consider going to an Al-Anon meeting.

Stay close to this site, keep reading and keep posting, it helps.

((HUGS)) to you.................................

Snow White

On the Mad Tea Party Ride
=He does not lack intelligence but does lack common sense.]

You nailed that one, Tanya M. Never heard it described so perfectly.

Welcome Phoenixmom. I'm so sorry that you have had to land here. My issues pale in comparison to yours. I can't imagine losing a child to overdose and then have another one addicted to heroin.

The others on this forum are wise and experienced. So far, what they have said is true. We can't control our adult children. I hope that you will seek resources, continue to be active in this forum and treat yourself with TLC.