My 41 year old is a homeless addict


Staff member
Posting this on behalf of @sadmother

Hi I saw this blog and a bit of comfort hearing that what is happening in my life is not that original.

My 41 year old is a homeless addict. Looking back the last 20 years I can see how we enabled him always, since high school, stealing from us and grandparents, having a big talk thinking that he felt so bad that it would never happen again. He always worked and was doing well, we thought but spending everything he earned . He got a trust fund at 25 and had parties with it bad loans to his friends, he went through that in just a few years . Whenever his dad or i would ask anything, he knew what he was doing and it was his business. After trouble with the law starting at 18 dui several in 4 years he had to go to work furlough instead of prison, due to the lawyer we hired.

Again we are thinking, boy, he learned his lesson. Well time went on he eventually got in more trouble at 29or 30 after being on his own he was arrested for identity theft and sentenced to prison for 4 years. he got out in 2004 family and friends embraced him again with love and support. His father passed away sudden, a blow to us all. He received another large sum of money from life insurance. Long story shorten he did well starting his own business and lived on his own for 5 years until his behavior got so mean and angry. we realize he was on drugs, his business failed his truck tolled away from so many delinquent parking tickets he never got his driving license back from 2000. He just never ever took care of any business, tickets, pay bills, rent.

After this last arrest he spent 6 months in prison he got out in December 2017 we told him he is on is own, which he said he intends to be because he hates all of us (his brothers and me) and wants nothing to do with us. Time went on and 4 months later he is homeless and on skid row LA. We have offered him rehab ^ months or whatever how long it takes to get healthy. He says he doesn't want rehab.. I know that there is nothing I can do until he ask, I am writing this because my heart hurts and I think he will be dead soon living like this. Guess this is his choice, I have to detach myself somehow, I really think that would be impossible.


Well-Known Member
Hi Sad Mother and welcome to you. I really do understand your heartache. I share a part of it; I have a 29 year old son. Honestly. I am afraid to die. I realize how ludicrous that sounds, but I fear for my son and for myself too. That said, I will share a few of my thoughts.

One. Feelings are not facts. Or they do not have to be. I am in agony right now. My son is homeless because I threw him out. He does everything he can to make me suffer, that he should not. It sounds like your son does this too. Remember the children's game, hot potato? We can run like crazy from that potato.

Of course they are our children. Our makeup is to suffer for them. But this forum is full of mothers who refuse to jump on the flaming pyre. First. It does not help. Second. Why? You have value independent of your child's story. So do I.

Which brings me to another point. They have their own stories to write. Your son's thus far has had highs and lows. He was blessed with a loving family. With resources and talents. He has had success. Sustained success. But he has demons too. So do millions of others. Every day brings the opportunity to start a new chapter. There are one year free faith based programs. Free housing. Free food. Support. Renewal. There is ongoing support. Subsidized housing. Community. Every single morning he has the chance to wake up and dedicate himself to recovery. It is hard. But so is life.

Finally. I know prison. I know male prisoners well. I worked in prisons over a 25 year period. Many, many felons change. Some are very, very stubborn. Slow learners. But even these guys change.

Prepare yourself. He may go back. But this may not be such a bad thing. Right now he is externalizing all agency and responsibility for his life onto others.

He is the victim. The martyr. Everybody deserves to be punished for failing him. He knows he has failed himself. He is behaving like a sick, mad dog. Biting who comes close. Stay away.

But there is no reason what so ever that he cannot turn this around. Yes. The worst could happen. For any one of us. But he could turn this around. But he will do it himself, for himself.

The best thing you can do is take care of yourself. You can love him through prayer. Even if you are a non believer, prayer works. We connect to our love and our hope. And we can let it be. Put down for a time burdens that ought not be ours to bear.

Take care.
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Well-Known Member
I want to add one more thing. Stop calling yourself names!! You loved and supported him. We did not know in the first years that this would be anything but growing pains.

Your intention was not to enable. I hate that word. As you learned what he was dealing with, and with that, what you were facing, you learned, you changed.

You are not responsible. There is not one thing you could or could not have done that would have changed things. This is the elephant in the living room. It is about what they do or do not do. Who they are. And are not. This is his learning. No amount of learning by us helps. I have a PhD in suffering. Does it help my child? Not one whit. Does it help me? Even less.

Look. Let's get real. Your son is homeless because he is an addict. He thinks like an addict. He behaves like one.

No amount of thinking about or suffering about this constellation of factors will help. It involves a doing. By him. And with that, a keeping on. And with that new circumstances, new thinking. By him. Not you. Not me.

Every single minute people are doing this. There is no reason it will not, cannot be him. We begin with ourselves. Every moment we have an opportunity to turn to hope.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Hi Sadmother,

I'm so glad you found us here. This truly is a soft place to land for battle weary parents.

My son is 36, currently finishing out a 2 year sentence for assault with a knife. Before that, he was and has been homeless for many years. He also has a problem with drugs and alcohol. He does not lack for intelligence but does lack in common sense.

I spent too many years trying to help "fix" him. It was not meant to be. If my son or your son are going to change they will need to want it bad enough to do so.

The best thing I could have done for myself was to detach from my son with love.
Love, that word can have so many meanings. Love is a feeling, love is also an action. There is love for others and there is self love.
I will always love my son but I will no longer allow him to hold my love for him hostage. I will no longer allow him to use that love against me. Love should never be used as a weapon or bargaining tool.
The manipulation of love:
If you loved me you would do what I want, you would save me from the mess I've made of my life.
If you don't do what I ask, you'll never see me again. I might as well be dead.
You don't love me, if you loved me you would help me.

We as parents matter. We have given the very best we could to our children. None of us are perfect and that's okay! There should never be any guilt for having done the best we could. It serves no purpose to play the "IF" game. If I had only done this or that maybe things would have turned out different. If I had only done more for him then maybe............. If I had only given him the money he asked for then maybe..............

These sons and daughters we love so much are adults, plain and simple. As an adult they are responsible for their own lives and whatever choices they make are their own.

Yes it's painful to watch them self destruct but again, we have no power over what they choose to do.

Acceptance is a freeing gift. Once I truly accepted that I had no power or control over my sons life choices, that he lives a homeless life, that he might end up in ditch dead and I would never know, to really let that go, there was a huge weight lifted from my life. MY life, yes, I took my life back.
I'm not getting any younger and I have my own life to live.

I encourage you to detach from your son with love, to take your life back, to let go of the sorrow and heartache. Is it easy to do, not in the beginning. It can feel foreign, selfish even, but it's not. Just take those baby steps. Each day do something just for you. Go for a walk in the park, feed the ducks, get a pedicure, eat some ice cream, buy a new outfit, what ever IT is that is just for you.

I and many others here are living proof that our lives can be filled with joy and happiness despite our difficult adult children.

Here is a link to an article on detachment. Give it a read.
Article on Detachment

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


New Member
Dear Sadmother,

I am so sorry for your pain, and what you are going through. My 32 year old daughter is a train wreck, has been in jail, is homeless drugs, etc. I will not help her anymore and now she is pulling the "you hate me" card on me and it is tough. It is just so sad to know how many are hurting.

Heartbroken mom

New Member
Thank you all for sharing your hard earned wisdom
My 42 yr old son. Homeless pulling the guilt card..I am standing strong
Not enabling anymore..this forum gives me the strength and confirms the need to keep on turning back to my own self care
I didn't think it was possible for me to detach with love at first but it has proven so much better for me and him
He has taken some steps and now I finally get that letting us both the freedom to choose and live our lives ...this learning about what is tru ly love has been a wild ride but now all your words of wisdom are bearing the fruit of self love...which must come first

Thank you

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
I will not help her anymore and now she is pulling the "you hate me" card on me and it is tough.
Oh how those words can cut like a knife. I'm so sorry you are enduring that. It's such a common response from our difficult adult children when they feel backed into a corner. When Mommy and Daddy no longer will enable their lifestyle.
Many here, myself included have found having some simple responses written down can be most helpful when our difficult adult children lash out.
Something like:
Daughter - You hate me!
Mom - No I love you
Daughter - If you loved me you would help me
Mom - I know you can figure this out on your own
Daughter - No I can't, you have to help me
Mom - I love you
Daughter - Why won't you help me???
Mom - I love you
Daughter - You're a cold hearted B****
Mom - I love you, gotta go, bye.

It's always easier on the phone or in a text but face to face it still works. The key is to not engage in a debate. Short simple responses.

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


Well-Known Member
I will not help her anymore and now she is pulling the "you hate me" card on me and it is tough.
It IS tough. I think there is a chapter in the Difficult Child Handbook that teaches them how best to draw blood, with an appendix of punch-out cards suitable for parental occasions:

You Hate Me.
You've Never Supported Me.
How Can You Live With Yourself?
It's only X dollars.
I'll Pay You Back.
This Time Is Different.

Hang in there, Aquarian Mom and Heartbroken Mom.

One day, your "kids" may finally accept that THEY need to figure it out. And they WILL. And they will feel so proud of themselves. And they will thank you for it.


Well-Known Member
Give me one more chance.

It's all your fault.

Why did you ever adopt me.

You don't understand. You misunderstood. You always do.

You want me on the street. Without food for 3 days.

Why do you always yell? Why are you so aggressive? Why do you talk like that?

Why are you (me) the way you are? Why is he the way he is? I hate how he laughs.

(Almost all of this in the past hour, at 5am, Saturday, where we live. Give me a break. )


Well-Known Member
I'm sorry, Copa. What a way to start your weekend. There is not one card in that hand that is worth playing.

You've done such a fantastic job of stepping back. Take a big step back today, too, from that nonsense.


Well-Known Member
Copa I am sorry that your weekend started this way. Mine kind of did too. Can I have money to go see my son. Your are on .... side. You are never allowed to see my children again (ex will let us of grandaughter). Grandson a little more complicated. Difference is my S.O. is taking all calls and texts for now it really helps. I am not as strong as I thought and would probably have given in. Maybe somebody could do the same for you just to give you a break either take your phone or answer the door or whatever it takes. It is so hard they know just the right buttons to push for us moms. You have given me inspiration to stop enabling please look back and realize it applies to you as well. Prayers


Staff member
Posted on behalf of @sadmother

Thank you all for your responses ,it is very helpful to me . My son now is texting anyway he can think of to hurt us , the last one was ,what terrible person I am ??? Still dont know why he feels this way other than he has been cut off financially. I have taken advice to start baby steps in detaching and it seems to be helping , but each day is different , I'm not responding to any text ,because i feel its just a argument not a conversation and at this point I am worn out same thing , nothing has changed he is in the same boat , he wants us to know how We put him there . He is the criminal he it he addict we offered rehab but that not what he wants , so around around it goes , so sad that he is so far from reality.dumbfounded but this is the way it is , i'm afraid he is dying , I have no idea what is next


Well-Known Member
sadmother, So sorry things are not going well. I am glad you recognize that you need to detach. I am in the same place same reasons.