Shelters drug test...where does my son go now?


Last night my son sent me a text that said "I'm hungry". It was late and he either thought I was going to open the door for him or he was just playing me another guilt card...( I'm catching on to the guilt game he likes to play ). At first I told him we had some wings leftover from dinner then looked at the clock and told him it was late and he'd have to go to a shelter and knock on the door for a sandwich. I called this shelter and briefly spoke to the guy who was on watch that night. I wanted to know what the option was for my son and now that I know he has a place he can go I feel so much better. The guy said if my son knocks on the door he could give him a sandwich and to have my son call this 800 # to get on their waiting list which should only take a couple of weeks to get in. They have 20 guys in the program and they are given case workers, help them get employment etc. etc. it's a good shelter ran by caring people that really want to help the guys but one problem...they drug test. Now the ball is in my sons court, I guess it always has been. My son didn't know he had any options other than my nosy friend up the street and a 6-9 month strict addiction rehab center for guys with serious addictions that they want to help themselves. My son of course doesn't feel he has a problem so that's out. I told my son there are soup kitchens etc. of course the main soup kitchen is one that is in the center of the worst neighborhood in the city. I mean the kind where people are shot almost everyday. Some by simply getting shot in the way of gunfire. terrible place for a kitchen for the homeless but I guess that's where a large majority of the homeless live. So anyhow I found this other shelter, not in a dangerous neighborhood and my son has a car so transportation isn't difficult ( not at the moment anyhow ). Again they drug test, my son has to quit the weed now in order to do anything in life, getting a job...anything it seems. He never texted me back.

I'd like to add that I'm getting pretty angry at my son right now knowing these options are available to him and that he is choosing not to get help. I feel it is our job as parents to at least inform these kids about their options, that help is out there. Not to make the calls for them , but to give them the # to call. It makes me feel better anyway. hungry is my son? I'm realizing he must not be that hungry. Am I right?
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Well-Known Member
They have ways to get food... they learn believe me. My son has stood on street corners begging (yes it horrified me), he has dumpster dived, he has had peoples leftovers at McDonalds... he has found ways to eat. There are resources for the homeless and there are homeless youth and they learn from each other.

But what better way to get to mom then to call and say I am hungry? I would definitely not invite him home, but if it makes you feel better meet him with some groceries. I have done isnt perfect and it may be enabling but if it makes you feel better than ok.

However from all you have said it doesnt sound like coming home should be an option at all.

And I know the worry of having a son homeless.... it is awful and it is worrisome and it is what it is, and it is the choices he has made. I know with my son we have let him be homeless but when he was ready for treatment we helped him get into treatment. At times he got ready.... and did ok until he was no longer ready.... and then off he would go again.


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one day at a time
I'd like to add that I'm getting pretty angry at my son right now knowing these options are available to him and that he is choosing not to get help.

You're making progress, Worried. Next time give him the phone number and he places the call and works out the details.

The time after that, he does the research, finds the phone numbers, places the calls and works out the details. He is an adult---finding out what is available is his responsibility, not yours.

And the time after that, you don't answer the text that says "I'm hungry." He may be hungry, and that is a natural consequence of his own choices and decisions.

One step at a time.

There is plenty of food out there for people who are homeless. Keep repeating that to yourself.

I know it's hard. Keep working on you.


Well-Known Member
I hated those calls, tugged at my heartstrings and had to keep reminding myself that she was doing this to herself. I never understood how she could pick that life over the comfort of our home and her nice bedroom and all the opportunities she had when she was living with us. But that was not the life she wanted back then. I had a quote on my refrigerator for a long time that someone on this board wrote that went something like, they live their life and you live yours, you did not choose that life for them, they chose it for themselves and you will not feel guilty for their choices. Not exactly but you get the message. I had to ead that several times a day to get enough strength to get through to the next.

I use to tell my difficult child all the time that she had control over her life and she could change it anytime she wanted. I'm sorry you are hurting and I hope he decides he's had enough of running.

Stress Bunny

Active Member
Great job recognizing the guilt trip. You are moving in the right direction.

Everyone here has offered you great advice already. I will just emphasize that your son has options to get food. If he chooses his drugs over the shelter, then so be it. That is his choice. I know it is hard to watch him make poor choices. I am going through that with my own difficult child. I echo what someone else said that you seem to be more concerned about finding him a place to stay than he is. Try to let that go. The sooner you do, the more likely he will be uncomfortable and willing to make better choices. The same goes for the hunger/sandwich thing. I wouldn't be taken in by that. Let's figure it out. Why is your son hungry? It is not your fault that he is hungry. He is hungry because of the ridiculous choices he continues to make. He won't starve to death. He needs to work his way out of this, the hard way, unfortunately. Food and shelter are basic necessities, and I bet if you take a step back, he will find both.


WM- this will sound so hypocritical because I am fretting right now just like you - but HE needs to ask that question of himself. Sometimes, we want to answer it for them and long before they even think of it.

Our best shot at getting our kids back is for them to turn inward and say things to themselves like "OMG, the shelters drug test and I am homeless - what will I do?" Because that may be the only shot at them realizing that it's choosing to do drugs that create the problem and that the first step to fix the problem is to STOP THE DRUGS.

We can hope, anyway


Thank you all , I needed not to.feel rotten about.telling my son if.he.wanted.a sandwich... to try to from a shelter. sorry about.the punctuation errors in this.......on my cell again.


Well-Known Member
We just got our very first place that gives out food to people who are hungry/homeless. We still dont have a shelter here. I dont think they have the funding to do drug testing because its all they can do to feed people and they are only open 4 days a week.