New member, familiar problem


New Member
Greetings all,

Glad there is a forum to discuss these issues.
We have a 19 yo son who will be out of jail soon for stealing.
He stole from a family friend but has stolen from us and other family members.

We told him to leave when he was 18 for very disrespectful behavior, constant lying, sneaking out, getting his girlfriend pregnant, hanging out with druggies, etc.

Every-time we try to help him it seems to only magnify the problems so we have been hands off as much as we can. (example, sending him to college, paying for room & board, then he doesn't bother going to class or to his dorm, giving him a truck to drive to work only to have him drive hundreds of miles per day and then steal gas to support his driving habit).
We tried to get him working but he chooses not to keep a job (again, just does not show up or maybe he's stolen there also).

After the failed college snafu and rebellion to the point of being homeless, the grandparents stepped in and housed him as long as they could BUT getting arrested was the last straw with them, so he now has no place to live (when he gets out).

He is/was a nice kid, raised in church, not prone to physical anger. He has Tourettes syndrome (no not the Hollywood cursing version, just movement and vocal tics).

I could add so many other details but here's my question for the group:
Where can we send him where he might actually get help for his behavior?
He cant stay with us or any other family members due to the multiple bridges he has burned.

He says he wants mental help, but he could be just be playing us again, telling us what we want to hear.
(We've paid for visits to a therapist but no change in behavior)
Youth camps seem to cut them off at 18


Well-Known Member
Hi there and sorry for your hurting mommy heart.

We would have to know more to help you at all, although the real answer is that you can't send him anywhere unless he signs himself in. But if he is willing to do it and you think he wants to get better and are willing to pay, then it all depends on the problem. He sounds like many of our adult kids who use drugs. Does he? If you are going to say no or that you aren't sure...that's important. Weed is a drug, by the way, as is legal weed. If you have a mental illness weed is not a good thing. Alcohol either. Also, Tourettes, as I'm sure you know, has a high rate of bipolar disorder. Has your son ever gone for treatment, gotten diagnosed, been given psychiatric drugs? Will he take them? If not, that's a problem.

If he is using drugs, that becomes the primary problem and a drug rehab or dual diagnosis program is a good choice, but unless he is willing to work harder than he's ever worked before, it won't do any good to send him. Just ask us about our experiences...haha. If he is mentally ill only and you 100% positive he doesn't use drugs, then it is still up to him whether or not he goes for help, complies with all treatment include drug therapy and therapy. If he's not on recreational drugs or drinking, then he has a serious, maybe dangerous anger problem and will probably need psychiatric medication plus maybe something like cognitive therapy.

Do you support him even though he won't work and won't try? Many of us think that's a really bad him money, especially if drugs are involved.

I'm glad you found us. I feel like these women are family. They are so wise and kind.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
As you suspect drug use rktman, that would be the place to start. Is your son willing to undergo treatment? As you mentioned a religious upbringing, your priest, pastor, or rabbi may be a good reference for you regarding appropriate treatment programs.



Active Member
Welcome glad you found us but sorry you needed to. If live in the united states might try community mental health (usually thru county) they might have a half way house for him to stay while determine if he's employable; if not they can help him file for social security disability.

Him being over 18yo it will be hard for you to sign him up for anything unless you have guardianship of him. Might want to have him write out a request for services while still in jail and you can take that to CMH to hopefully have a landing site ready for him when he gets out; otherwise he will probably be knocking on you or grandparents door.

Any past psychiatrists that he's worked with might also be able to refer for CMH services, but he would need to sign a release & request for them to do so.

Wishing you luck dealing with this, it is a tricky situation to arrange something for him; even trickier is him trying to arrange mental health treatment that is available as soon as he gets out. Do you or grandparents have a camping trailer in the backyard? that could also be a temporary shelter in the meantime.



one day at a time
If he is saying he will go to treatment, be sure to have that lined up as soon as he is out of jail. My son (now almost 25) has been to treatment (including 10 days detox and a week in a psychiatric unit) some five times. He has not gone willingly and was not ready so has continued to use.

However, something sinks in while they are there, and you never know. You just never know.

So when they agree to go, send them if you can, and if you can afford to.

I am now hoping that one day my son will ask for treatment, and he will really be ready, and I will be willing to send him again, and pay for it.

Until then, he is not welcome in my home, he has not had an address for a year (homeless, rehab and jail, like a revolving door), and he continues to do the same things over and over again.

He just got out of jail again almost a a week ago.

Drugs are an awful awful scourge on our families, our country and ourselves. And particularly on the addicts themselves.

If you "have a feeling" your son is using, and he is hanging out with drug users, and he is stealing, and he has used in the past...well, if walks like a duck...

Not to be facetious, but what you usually know about a drug addict is the tip of the iceberg.

I am very sorry that you are dealing with this.

The best thing I can say is this: start studying about your own self and the effects of his behavior and using on you and your family. Go to six Al-Anon meetings until you decide if Al-Anon is right for you. It has saved my life and my sanity. Read Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend and CoDependent No More by Melody Beattie. Another really good book about addiction is When The Servant Becomes the Master. Pray, meditate, write down what you want to happen and what your boundaries are with your son, take good care of yourself. Find your Higher Power and work on that relationship.

We can't control another person. We can't make another person stop doing anything. We can only control ourselves.

Dealing with what you are describing, you and we need all of the help we can get. I am very very sorry, and I do understand. We all do here. Please keep sharing with us. We respect your decisions, and will offer care and concern, regardless of what you decide. Warm hugs tonight.