Hi All,

In a previous post I mentioned that I saw my son to give him a used cell phone. I did it for my peace of mind. He is homeless. I am getting better at detaching but to keep myself sane, I wanted him to have the phone. He would call me periodically to let me know he ok. Well, I hadnt heard from him in a while so I checked his phone activity online through the service provider. There has been any activity since Sunday at 2:48 am. When I call his phone it goes directly to vmail. His phone was in good working condition with a charger. I have a million horror stories going on in my head. I am trying to use my tools but I feel panicky. The worst case scenarios keep flashing through my mind.

I can deal with the homelessness, drug use, etc. most of the time. But the not hearing or knowing if difficult child is ok is sometimes unbearable.

I guess maybe I need to quit checking his phone, calling etc.


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Deep breaths and BIG HUGS! I understand. I hate when my kid's phone goes unanswered. His has GPS and when he's "run away" a couple times I used to do that - and he couldn't be located because he'd turn the phone off to keep me from reaching him or he'd be out of the service area. I finally stopped checking him when he was away at "college". (Quotes because you can't really say you're at college if you never attend class.)

Going straight to VM is what usually happens when a phone is turned off. There are literally dozens of reasons it may be turned off. It's entirely possible his phone was lost and thus has died...or it was dropped, or is otherwise broken, and can't take calls. Or that it died and he hasn't charged it back for some reason. Maybe he stuck it in the bottom of whatever type bag or backpack he has and just hasn't thought of it. Maybe he lost the charger? Or maybe he sold it or sold the phone or battery. While some of those are bad things, they are better than what's going through your mind.

Big hugs. Try to be positive.


Thank you Lil. I am at work trying to focus. Your response helped me gain a little perspective. Its incredible how the scary thoughts can really take over. I feel like running away. To where I have no idea. I guess I'm in fight or flight mode. I will take your advice and take some deep breaths.


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I completely understand. I've felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack a number of times over things my kids done. The "OMG What If's" start and all sorts of horrible possibilities run through your head. All you can do is try to think of more positive, logical things. I spend a great deal of time saying, "This isn't forever. One way or another things will work out. Whatever happens, it'll be okay."

Scent of Cedar *

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When 15 year old granddaughter ran away last year, she and friend both turned off cells to prevent moms from contacting. It added to the horror of them being missing.

The girls turned up just fine around noon the next day.

They were surprised to learn the police were looking for them.

It helps me to repeat the Serenity Prayer again and again, until I get it. One of the other moms here suggested that I do that during times of crisis with my kids. It worked.

Sometimes, we all need a tool to help and strengthen us.

I am glad you posted.






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Staff member
I'm so sorry. I know that sense of dread and fear well. It seems to come with the territory with our kids. I know how you feel.

My daughter is adept at losing her phone or having it go dead, or just not picking up when I call..........all the while I would be dreaming up all the worst possible scenarios and scaring myself silly. A therapist would call it catastrophising, conjuring up the worst outcomes and feeling the fear of it. After doing that over and over again and then finding out everything was okay, I began realizing how much of my time was spent worrying about things that NEVER happened............waiting for the other shoe to drop. It turned out to be quite a lot of time.

This is scary stuff for us. These are our kids. AND, often they put themselves in harms way and there isn't a thing we can do about it........but wait for that phone call we've all prepared's a bad place to be.

However, with a certain amount of practice, we can find tools to shift our perspective, to change the way we look at it. When in the throes of that fear, deep breathing as already mentioned helps. So does exercise, a quick 11 minute walk will reset your brain............going to the gym...........talking to a friend..........going to a meeting, Al Anon or CoDa or whatever kind of support you can find where you can go and get your balance back............I found acupuncture to be a great, meditation, Tai Chi, doing something physical.................venting here on the all have our own tool box of things that work for us. Do your best to put together your own, so it is at the ready when you fall down the rabbit hole next time.

Praying helps. Placing your son in the hands of your perception of a Higher Power is also helpful.

This takes time TearyEyed, it is a process..........and it isn't's upside down, backwards and inside out.................we have to learn to ride these tidal waves to shore with as little damage to ourselves as we can muster, because other then how we respond, we are powerless to change it. We have no control over the choices of another.

Hang in there............take those deep breaths............keep posting............stay close................we're here if you need us.............I'm sorry you are feeling this...........


As most of you know, my son is homeless 3700 miles away. I have not heard from him in a week. I sent short text to him today. Have not heard from him. Here we go again with the "what ifs".



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I go nuts over the cell phone thing...only it isnt with my difficult child. He doesnt have one right now and I know where he is. Or if he goes missing I am sure someone will tell me.

I go absolutely ape over the fact that I cant get Tony to keep his phone on, charged, check his voicemail or texts, etc. Heck, we just had to go through the whole rigamarole of getting him a whole new phone and changing prepaid carriers because he lost his phone!

Also right now I cant reach Jamie and havent been able to for well over a week. That worries me because I had a missed call on my home phone from his number and when I tried to call it back it went to voicemail. I have been trying ever since and only get voice mail. Sigh. I keep repeating with Jamie, if I need to know, I will.

With Tony I just plan on interesting ways to torture him.


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Yeah. That is a very bad feeling. With my difficult child it was usually because the phone was lost or stolen, sometimes because it wasn't charged. Eventually I cancelled the phone since it wasn't a reliable source of contact, and if anything made me crazy. He could always call me if he needed amazing number of people will lend their phone to a stranger for a call.

We kind of kept in touch via facebook messaging..he would use computers at the Apple Store, or in coffee shops.

Now we don't keep in touch at all. But that is another story.

Try not to panic. You will hear from police or somehow if something bad happened. Most likely the phone just got wet or lost. Let us know when he turns up.

With sympathy and empathy,



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I haven't heard from my son for 3 weeks now. We've been away for a fortnight. I've tried phoning and texting but his phone is dead. This not knowing where he is or what is happening used to make me sick. I'm feeling strangely calm about it now though. I've spent so much time over the years worrying myself sick about him and then find that he's been fine and just not given any thought to let me know that. Sod it. If I can't get hold of him because his phone is dead, then he can't get hold of me either. Is he worrying about me and how I am? I doubt it. They're always fine, or their own version of 'fine'. It's us that aren't.


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I go absolutely ape over the fact that I cant get Tony to keep his phone on, charged, check his voicemail or texts, etc.
That's like H, the original absent-minded, nutty professor. Pointless him having a phone. He never answers it. His brain's off with the fairies most of the time when he's in work.


Well, I finally heard from my difficult child. He called from jail on Saturday. He asked me to bail him out and I said no. I told him these are the consequences of the choices he has made and there is nothing I can do to help him. I told him I loved him. He said "why dont' you f*****ing help me for once". Then he hung up. I havent heard anything since. There were warrants out for his arrest because he had a court hearing at the beginning of August that he chose not to attend so I am assuming that maybe he is jail for that. Not sure.

I do not want to go see him. If he calls I will talk to him. But I am not going to rescue him, no hiring an attorney, no bailing him out, nothing except to tell him I love him. Many questions, how long will he be there, should I go to the hearing, should I make calls to find out what is going on, etc.

But for now, I think I will just do nothing.

I was actually relieved to find out he was in jail. At least I knew he was alive and off the streets.


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Teary Eyed --- Can so relate from here. My thoughts are with you. Glad your difficult child turned up....even if it's in jail. 2 thoughts from here:

1) FACEBOOK -- I have "lost" my difficult child for stretches of time often (several weeks at a time). He is homeless. FB has become our most reliable lifeline for contact or just plain knowing he's alive. A few adventages to FB. If he is posting, it tells me of his state of mind (and whether I should hold off on seeing him for a while). If he's well, we make plans to visit. If not, we wait (on purpose). IMPORTANT: If I send a private FB message, I can see the "Seen at...." stamp on the bottom of a private message and know that he saw it (and, by extension, is alive). If he sees it right away, I know he's most likely got a cell phone (usually for drug purposes). I never get a # because it changes every few days when drugs are involved. Sometimes he replies, sometimes not (lately, it's a "Not"). But at least I know he's alive. If he chooses to reply, then we have cautious contact....wherever he is (except for jail). Which brings me to my second point...

2) JAIL ROSTER -- We have also learned over the years that if he shows up missing on Facebook for 2 weeks or more, then we check the local jail roster on-line. Do you have an on-line jail register in your area? Sometimes he's on there and we, like you right now, know where he is. Not ideal, but alive and with a cot and meals, at least. Our on-line jail roster tells us date/time of arrest, charges (although not always a complete list), and court dates and actions. VERY helpful.

From my heart, Teary Eyed...... We are soooo with you on feeling glad to at least see him in jail! Not that we wish that on anyone, but it is a two-fold blessing in my opinion. 1) They're alive! 2) They have a CHANCE at getting court-ordered help.

The way our kids are, there are often few and far-between windows of opportunity where they "see" some semblance of cause and effect. Every window of opportunity is a gift!

And, luckily for us, as we "see" more than they do, we have far more windows of opportunity to grow OUR lives into greater health and happiness. Though our lives are intertwined with theirs, we are separate people. We have just as much freedom, right, and opportunity to health and happiness as they do.

Teary-Eyed -- You're doing a great job navigating this very difficult situation! His life = his freedom and his consequences!


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I'm glad he turned up alive.

I do not want to go see him. If he calls I will talk to him. But I am not going to rescue him, no hiring an attorney, no bailing him out,

Hold tight to this. Write it down. Put it by the phone. Tape it to the back of your cell phone. Your thinking here is right and good.

should I go to the hearing

difficult child had a very darling public defender once, who took him on as a cause and called me (not their usual MO in a big city). I apologetically told her I wouldn't be coming to the hearing..I was scheduled to be out of town for work, and I had already been to several, was starting to wonder why I needed to spend so much time in court when I hadn't committed any crimes (yet). She said..I fully support that. You have no role there. He is an adult. Don't come to the hearing.

That was pretty great other ways she made me doubt myself, thought I should post bail (I didn't) and a few other things, but she was clear on that. I share it with you. Nothing really good comes of going to hearings. You have no impact, you may get sucked in to the consequences (asked to pay fines, or have them remanded to your custody..gah!) His crimes. His consequences.

FB has become our most reliable lifeline for contact or just plain knowing he's alive.

I do this too. Good for you for sharing this "is he alive" tip.

- We have also learned over the years that if he shows up missing on Facebook for 2 weeks or more, then we check the local jail roster on-line

This is brilliant! I check WHILE he is in jail to see if he's gotten out, but I never thought to check when he disappears. Another good tip!




I just re-read your post from a while ago "Can We Talk About Jail". It was reassuring to me to read that whole thread. Lots of good advice. I can so relate to what you were feeling/thinking/questioning at that time.


I apologetically told her I wouldn't be coming to the hearing..I was scheduled to be out of town for work, and I had already been to several, was starting to wonder why I needed to spend so much time in court when I hadn't committed any crimes (yet).

This made me laugh. Thank you:)


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thank you for reminding me about the "jail" thread. I went back and read it too...there IS so much good advice there, and loving support and wisdom from a lot of people, many of whom I have come to know better and grown very fond of since them...a few of whom have disappeared...maybe their problems and their difficult child's resolved themselves! Anyway, it is quite interesting to me to see myself as I was serious, so worried, so uncertain. So embarassed to bring up "jail" on a public forum! I've changed a lot since then. Also, I want to reach into the thread and say "DUH!! DO NOT BAIL HIM OUT!!". Funny, and sort of touching to see how hard that was for me to arrive at at the time.

It reminds me to be grateful for community in general, and for this one in particular.



one day at a time
Tearyeyed, warm hugs. I am glad you know that he is alive. The fact that difficult child is "somewhere" has grown to be a comforting fact for me. Somewhere like jail, like in a motel, in a rehab, at work. Just somewhere definite, even for a few hours, instead of "out there."

Headlights gave you great thoughts.

I do exactly the same thing as she does. FB messages (he has no phone but always borrows lots of different phones to call) and then we have a jail app here that is on my phone now.

Teary, I don't go to court dates anymore. Early on, I went to all of it. There is lots of waiting, and then you just watch and hear what happens. You don't get to talk to them. You don't testify or say anything. And the cost of all of that waiting, listening to the other cases, and seeing them in handcuffs and orange jumpsuits is very difficult. I truly see no benefit. You can call the court office at the end of the day and ask about his outcome. So you don't have to be there to find out what happens.

I also don't put money on jail accounts anymore. been there done that. Once I found out that they use the money and things they buy when they play cards for the winner, I stopped.

I also used to have books mailed directly to him via the publisher/Amazon---here that is the only way to provide books. I haven't done that in a long time.

I also haven't visited him at all the last couple of times.

I have written postcards. We can no longer send letters, because evidently people put drugs in letters, so now it's just postcards.

I have learned these lessons along the way and have slowly stopped doing much at all when he is in jail. He has been in jail 8 or 9 times at this point---honestly don't know the exact number.


Here is how I try to think about jail. He is "somewhere." He has three meals. He has a bed. He has a roof over his head. He is likely not getting drugs in jail or alcohol. He is safer than being out on the street. When he is in jail now, I relax.

When difficult child is in jail, I really ramp up my life. My work on myself, my small pleasures, more exercise, more lunches/evenings out with girlfriends, more kindnesses, more work. It is now a better time for me than when he is not in jail.

The phone doesn't ring with the endless needs and questions and asks for help.

I always try to close each conversation with I love you. He says it too. It's one thing we both can agree on.

Warm hugs. Please be kind to yourself today. Do at least one nice thing for YOU.