My son chose the streets

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Mattie, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. Mattie

    Mattie New Member

    My son turned 18 in July. He just got off of Probation at the end of August. He finally had a good paying Job making 11 dollars an hour for an 18 year old that is awesome. He has been on the job less than a month and has called in over four times. Yesterday he didn't want to go to work again. Said he was sick. I have been through hades and back with this kid and of course it upset me. It started an argument and he was cursing at me and being very ugly. I finally have had enough and told him he could either respect me or pack his bags and go. He packed his bags and left. Tonight is his second night on the street. He came home earlier and took his PS3 and sold it for less than 100 bucks for food. Refuses to come home and plainly stated he hates our rules and wants freedom. He is hooked on Pot and didn't even bother calling in to work, just didn't show up. My Husband got him this job and now he looks bad. That aside, I am of course worried to death. My son is very stubborn and I know he will not come home unless he gets what he wants. He will prefer to live on the streets. I can't keep allowing him to abuse me verbally however. I need a support group I suppose. I am so tired. He is driving me insane with worry. What works? What have any in similar circumstances done?
  2. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I have been in a very similar situation with my son several times. We had to kick our son out when he was 18 and he is now almost 23. We have been up and down and all around with all sorts of things. He literally lived on the streets for 4 months in the middle of winter 2 years ago.
    I know it is awful, mostly for you. Believe it or not they find ways to survive, there are programs out there for homeless youth and they learn from each other.

    So here is my advice. First yes find a parents group, alanon has been one that really helped me. Two keep in touch with your son if you can. Do not invite him to come home, because he should not live at home if he cant follow your rules.... but dont wait for him to contact you because his pride may keep him from doing so. So text him here and there (but not all the time) just to let him know you care. That way when he needs you he will contact you.

    That is what we have done with my son.....and what happened is that when he got in trouble (several times) he called us. When he got sick and tired of being on the streets and was ready to come in from the cold he would agree to treatment and we would help him get treatment.

    Definitely dont let him come home and not follow your rules. That doesnt work for you or for him, and in my opinion just reinforces the idea that he doesnt have to obey the rules... which is not the way soceity works.


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  3. Mattie

    Mattie New Member

    I appreciate the reply. I will look in to Al Anon. When I was at my wit's end with my son 3 years ago I sent him to live with his father in Reno, Nevada. That did not work so well. He ended up running away there and stayed gone for a month. No one informed me about it and eventually his dad got fed up and just stuck him on a plane. When he got here, he started his stuff again and got in trouble with the law. My husband is a great man, but he is strict and controlling. More so when they were younger. He has lightened up since then. I have always been the more lenient one. We have had to learn together and balance things out but most important to stand together as a team. That has not always been easy. My son has a good life here. I don't understand. I have three other children. One was just like him for a while but becoming a mother at 17 completely turned her life around. It was a blessing in disguised. Albeit she is still stubborn. THe other two are great. Never had issues like this. As for the texting, He has a pre-paid phone and I have no idea when his month is up. We have him on our contract as well but he has gone through three phones in a year and I simply couldn't keep buying him phones. He bought this pre-paid out of his own money. As for getting treatment, we have had him in counseling for years. He is very good at lying. He is also ADHD. Very charming smooth talker. Very easy going and easy on the eyes too. He knows how to get what he wants. Yes, I am worried. Mostly at night I worry the most. It is very difficult as you know. He had such big dreams. We even put him in The Wil Lou Grey Opportunity School and it had no effect. This is a lesson he has to learn the hard way I guess.
  4. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi Mattie and welcome. I could have written your post. Your story is uncanny in its similarity to my story with my son, who is now 25

    My sister said the other day: He absolutely does everything the hardest way with the most resistance, doesn't he? I'm the writer (lol) but she nailed it.

    My son lived with me here after high school and in and out during his two years of junior college. The drug use was going on then, but naive me didn't have a clue. The problems were worse and worse. My husband (now ex) and I separated when my son went into his senior year of h.s., and so it was me, here, alone (with my ex's telephone support) trying to figure out every day how to deal with my increasingly very difficult son.

    He wouldn't do anything in terms of following my rules or anybody else's. I could tell you a million stories about that. I remember the day he came home from class (he went to school part-time---well, kind of---and worked part-time) and told me he was going to pay a CPA on craigslist $20 to do his accounting homework for him. I was horrified and sat him down for ANOTHER long talk about right and wrong...I laugh now at myself...I threw so many words at him for so long. Made no difference---things just got worse and worse and worse.

    Your son is right where he needs to be right now. Out of your house. Selling/pawning/hocking his stuff. Let him have anything that belongs to him. Don't fight it.

    Being homeless isn't that bad, evidently. My son has now been homeless five different times. This time, right now, it's been since June 26. The longest stint. He's been homeless in another city last winter during the coldest days and over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Hard to believe and hear, I know, but the drama has continued nonstop for the past four+ years. He's been in jail 8 or 9 times. He has multiple misdemeanors and two felonies.

    I remember agonizing over each awful thing and the surreal feeling that this is a new low and it can't get worse. And then it did get worse, and I had to learn how to accept and cope with that.

    You cannot save him. You cannot throw enough words, boundaries, rules, contracts, begging, pleading, therapy appointments, appointments with ministers, etc., etc., etc., to shake the sense into him that he needs. I wish you could. If it were so, all of us on this board would have done it already. I spent 10 years trying to get my son to "fly right."

    The pain and despair is agonizing. That is why you must take care of yourself. I would work hard, if I were you right now, so that I could learn to say very little, do very little, but be kind, loving and encouraging. That takes work, to be able to do that.

    Comfort yourself in the meantime with these thoughts: there is so much help for homeless people. Food, temporary shelter, clothes, food stamps, meals (three meals a day and two on the weekends here, in a small city of 110K), medical care, job and resume assistance. On and on. I believe there is actually too much help today (this from a bleeding heart liberal).

    There is a community among homeless people. They look out for each other. They give each other a few dollars here and there when one of them gets some funds. They pile up in motel rooms, 10 to 15, until they get banned from the motel. They hang out at the library (air conditioning and heat) and in the mall food courts until they have to move along. They learn the ropes, very quickly. It is a whole sub-culture.

    Go to Al-Anon. Read Al-Anon literature. You can order it online. Read CoDependent No More. Start working on yourself. This could be a phase for your son, and I hope and pray that it is. I am an eternal optimist, still. Your son and my son can stop today, and turn and walk in a new direction, but only if THEY decide to.

    Are they mentally ill? Maybe. It is still their choice to get help, and then to comply with that help.

    We're here for you. We will support you no matter what you decide to do. We care, and we get it. Keep coming back.
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  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Mattie, I could have written your post also. I learned that when I told my difficult child she could leave if she didn't like my rules, she did just that. My difficult child had been in counseling since the age of seven. When she turned 14 she began using pot and drinking. At 18 she began getting tatoos and staying out all night drinking/smoking. At 19 she went to rehab, came out and relapsed and lived with a heroin addict for three months. The went to live in a sober house and finally out on her own. She got and lost several jobs during that time, couldn't follow rules and was often too high to go in. It was several horrible years of worry and chaos. She is now 23 and living with her boyfriend and his 6 year old daughter and has a good job and realizes she threw away so many opportunities. It breaks my heart now when she says she would do anything to have those years back and go to college but we tried that twice and she threw it away.

    I wish I knew what to tell you to do that worked for us because honestly the only thing that we could think to do was to stick to our boundaries, not alow drugs or disrespect in our house and be there when she wanted to do the right thing. I worried constantly so I understand. Some kids have a very difficult time growing up. they turn 18 and think things will be great out on their own with no rules. What they find out is that the world revolves around rules and it's not so fun out there on your own.

    Families Anonymous (FA) is another great support group. Whatever you do make sure you take care of yourself and stay strong, do not let difficult child think you are weak and will give in.
  6. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Let me jump in here with a suggestion for seeing a therapist. I know groups have been great for many of our members but I found seeing a therapist who helped me set boundaries was really helpful. Many also find a combination of support groups and private therapy helpful.

    The bottom line is to get support somewhere. You are going to need it.

    Keep posting here, also. I don't think I could have gotten through the last ten years without the understanding and support of the wonderful people on this board.

  7. Mattie

    Mattie New Member

    Wow, Thank you all for such a warm welcome. Honestly I hadn't even thought to introduce myself or look at my profile or any of that. My mind has been so pre-occupied with all that is going on. The stress I am under right now has been enormous. Not just with my son living in the streets. I do need Therapy for myself. Just to have someone to talk with, to vent and release these tears and pent up frustrations.

    On July 17th I had a complete Hysterectomy with removal of my ovaries. In 2012 I had a tubal ligation that resulted in premature ovarian failure due to the blood supply being cut off. I gained 40 pounds within 4 months of the surgery. Started having horrid mood swings, Dsyfunctional Uterin Bleeding as well among about 50 other symptoms. My end result after one treatment after another was to have this done. My son was a great help while I was recovering. So sweet to me. Then during this recovery, I had to quit my job so we lost my income. My best friend of 27 years passed away unexpectedly and another good friend committed suicide. Now my son is doing this and my nerves are simply shot.

    It is not all about me and I understand that. He continuously tells me that I make it all about me. He says it is my fault he is the way he is. I didn't love him enough, I loved him too much.. I stuck him in front of a TV or gave him too many gifts. I talked to him too much about the dangers of the world and scared him, I didn't teach him enough. It is always something and it is always my fault. He speaks of suicide often. He blames someone else for all of his problems. Mostly me or his stepfather. I know it's not all about me but I sure wish I had googled a site like this a long time ago. I need support. I need therapy and I need people who understand to talk to.

    I know he is manipulating me. I have finally realized that and that by loving him too much I have enabled him. I am not enabling him any longer. He said to me yesterday when he came home for a few more of his items.. how does it feel mom! You thought I was #### joking didn't you! Well whose laughing now! That's how he talks to me and worse. I taught him better than that. I know I did.

    I am looking for a new PCD for myself and a therapist as well. I don't drink or do drugs but I am still recovering from major surgery. My incision split open the first week at home and it has set my recovery back some. I also started HRT two weeks ago so I am not always the friendliest of people at the moment and unfortunately my son doesn't understand that. I suppose my problems is what finally made me stop taking his abuse. I told my husband that if he isn't working or in school that I couldn't handle being at home with him during the day. If I can't turn the TV on or clean my house because it will wake him up and he will stomp and yell or grit his teeth at me then I would leave the house during the day. My husband said no way.. this is your house too and you shouldn't have to walk on egg shells around him.

    He actually slapped my daughter across her face while she was holding her baby and he said the #### deserved it. I don't know where we went wrong but I am so thankful to have this site to come to for support. Thank you all so much. I read each of your stories and it helps knowing that I am not alone. It's sad, but it helps.
  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    You've gotten wonderful advice.

    I just wanted to chime in and say that if your son is capable of slapping his sister across the face while she was holding her baby (or even if not holding her baby) he is dangerous. He's lucky she didn't call the police.

    Also, difficult children always blame us for their bad choices/problems/bad luck/the weather in China. Don't feel alone in that! They don't ever make any bad choices that are NOT our :)

    It is part of their inability to take responsibility for themselves that keeps them so dysfunctional. Also, they know that blaming us makes us feel guilty and it helps their cause if they are going to hit us up for money or something else they'd have if they'd only join society and get a job.

    I'm sorry that you had to have surgery and are still not up to par. Sending warmth and prayers (in any form you wish) and hope you feel better very soon!
  9. Mattie

    Mattie New Member

    Yes, sometimes I fear him because his anger is so intense. She didn't call the police. She called me at work unable to do anything but scream. I of course left work in a panic while calling the police thinking something had happened to the baby. The police came and left by the time I got home. I live 30 minutes away from where I worked. They didn't arrest him because she begged them not to. They told her had the baby been hurt they would have arrested him. It was a mess. He was on Probation at the time as well. He has never hit me or anyone else in the family but he does threaten it a lot. I have a 14 year old here as well and I worry about him. As a matter of fact that is actually one of the biggest reasons I quit my job. I don't want my 14 year old at home alone at all with my 18 year old son. If I am at work there is nothing I could do to protect him.
  10. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    After our difficult child's last relapse, my husband and I cut off all financial support and, for the time being, have cut off all contact with her.

    difficult child was understandably upset but her therapist told us that she told difficult child that we had to cut off support because we were in danger of enabling her to death. The therapist said it was time for our difficult child to stop acting like a victim and start taking care of herself.

    Sometimes what we think is helping is really hurting our troubled loved ones. That is why it is so important to see a therapist or join a support group that can help you differentiate between helping and enabling.

  11. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    OK you need to protect your grandbaby and your 14 year old. It is horrible when we have to protect our children from their siblings but we have to do it. One of the main reason we did not let my son come back and live at different points along the way was because of my daughter. She was 15 when we kicked him out. We also had sent my son earlier to a therapeutic boarding school. And truly I think doing that helped save her. She is now 19, in college and doing wonderfully. I dont know what would have happened if we had let him stay at home, but all the things along the way have been trauma enough for her. I think if we had let him stay here she would not be doing so well now. Really. So your responsibility at this point is to protect your younger child, and I know how hard that is when your older child is so troubled!! But your older child is now and adult.

    I will say that now we probably would not let him live here because we ourselves do not want to live with that kind of trauma. That is not necessarily a closed book forever, but not until he shows he can live a good productive life without using drugs.

    It is an amazing feeling when your home becomes a place you want to be again. I love being home now... where there was a time when I couldnt wait to get out of the house.


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  12. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Hi Mattie-just wanted to let you know that my son sounds very similar to yours and I've been to Hell and back more times with him than I can count. My nickname for him was Satan.

    I am FAR from a position to give you any advice, as I'm still going through it all, but now I'm edging towards the perimeter, instead of being mired RIGHT IN THE CENTRE! I go to therapy and read these boards voraciously. The process is beyond difficult and painful but I have to take the advice of the experts here and detach.

    If he has chosen the streets, he doesn't belong in your home. He doubtless knows the risks, the lifestyle, the freedoms that he considers to be beneficial. I think it is all about acceptance and trying to be at peace with both his decision to live as he does, as well as your decision to live your life as you wish, without feeling that you have failed him, or that you can point him in the direction you want him to go. He doesn't want to go that way.

    I hope this doesn't sound like I have all the answers-believe me, I am talking to myself as much as I am talking to you! :)
  13. Mattie

    Mattie New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    There has been an update on the situation some. My son called me tonight and we talked for a bit. He got his last paycheck today from the job he so callously walked out on and is staying at a hotel tonight. He wanted to let me know although I am unsure why because he hasn't cared about my feelings this last week.

    I think he is starting to realize the ramifications of his mistake and his pride is cracking some. I am not willing to give in or give up just yet. He is talking about perhaps he could stay in a camper in our back yard and throwing hints about that. Nothing is decided no lessons have been learned in my opinion. I don't know what is going to happen. This is going to be where it gets even tougher. I will not let him come home and have a repeat of all that we have already been through and still having no respect.

    As for my grandbaby being protected. My daughter took him and they both moved out a few months ago. She moved out of state with her fiance. He was absent for a long while and she was staying with me but she forgave him and got back with him and he of course took her and the baby far away from me. He and I do not get along because I have watched him abuse her and her defend him. Another bad situation. She is a great mother and has really turned her life around with the exception of him. He seems to be doing right by her now but being so far away how can I truly tell? We facetime and talk all of the time but that doesn't let me in on how things may really be. The baby seems really happy all of the time and those are the clues that I look for.

    My youngest son is still here and so am I now. I no longer work for many reasons, him being the main one. I am able to be at home with him. I also talked to my insurance company today- my assigned nurse with them, she is going to have someone call me for a referral to a family therapist. I explained all that was going on and that I needed therapy. I won't go to the same place my son went to because I don't feel that they really cared about him or us. I have my reasons for that feeling. My insurance just happened to be the one to call me today to check on me after my surgery and touch base. So I took advantage of the situation and they will send me a list of Therapists in the area that specialize in behavioral and family counseling. I was up all night last night. Tossing and turning-unable to sleep. My son has anger issues, he is violent at times with hitting the walls and such and the once with my daughter. But he is also very vulnerable. He opens his heart and cries his eyes out with me when he is hurting. This entire week has really shown me another side to him. Usually he is really close to me. I have a lot to learn I guess.
  14. MyHeartHisLife

    MyHeartHisLife New Member

    I too have a similar find that sentiment repeated a lot. Sometimes I read peoples post and almost think they are talking about my difficult child! The biggest thing I've realized since joining is you are not going to say anything and your difficult child is not going to do anything that is all that shocking to anyone here. You can feel comfortable and supported here....something hard to find in your everyday offline life. Just knowing you are not alone is a tremendous gift. I don't have any real advice, since I am still in the thick of it myself....but just wanted to welcome you. Hate to say "Glad you are here!!", because I don't wish for anyone to go through this but since you are I am glad you are here.