Adult son 33 is homeless, Im Mom, 57, trying so hard to detach, not enable...


New Member
I am in the struggle of my life, trying to set boundaries and watch my son go down hill. He has had many problems with responsibility his whole adult life and we, my husband, his stepdad, have enabled him since he was 18. He has had addiction problems but mostly just severe inability or refusal to deal with life. He was evicted in June from an apt I paid for, and is living in his car that we pay for. (have to, was stupid enough to co pay 1 1/2 years ago.) We have stopped most of support, but I still get sucked in and it is killing me, not to mention affecting my job and marriage. Some days I am so strong and sure I am doing the right thing, other days I am just sad. Im not conflicted about not enabling him anymore; I fully believe this is the right thing to do, but winter is coming and watching him be homeless is so hard. I am getting ready to get a restraining order so he will stop calling me at work; up to 50 times a day!!!! We had to get a no trespassing orderr to keep him from coming to our house to demand money for a hotel. I am a fool but I listen to the voicemails and call him back!!! Im in therapy and reading tons about co dependancy and enabling, but I'm not following the program very well lately. I think codependancy in a parent child relationship is harder to break, especially for a mother. I changed my cell phone number and now have peace on weekends, but come to work to tons of desperate voicemails. His tale lately is that he cant get a job because he has no clean clothes and cant shower: both untrue. I keep telling him to go to mental health clinic. I need peace and I need strengh to watcth this play out.
Dear mom, I can relate because I am a mom who as well has a son just turned 28 with same/ similar issues. I raised my son alone after leaving his father, my husband who was an alcoholic and drug addict as well as very abusive. I know my inability to overcome many of my own problems have affected his life and caused him many if the problems he has atm. However I am/have learned/ am still learning how to put up healthy boundaries as I am in recovery to pain pills for nearly 4 years and getting ready to graduate the program in 6-7 months. I was adopted and abused until I was placed in a group home at 15, but by then the damage was done. I didn't understand the phycology of it until I was in recovery myself, and now I find myself feeling guilty and on occasion giving in by giving him $ because I know I helped put him in this position by my codependency and trauma. Here is a video that helped me a lot. Don't focus on the spiritual part as it may not be for you, rather listen to the mother's word's and heart. Much love, Mom from Pennsylvania



Helicopter Mom in Recovery
You're welcome. I found this board last January, just as everything heated up with my daughter and she was arrested and then lived with us for awhile, then lived in her car, it was horrible. However, with the support of others on this board, I saw that not only was I not alone, but others were going through all the same feelings and fears, resentments, sorrows and nightmares about what COULD happen to our kids. I had to find that strength just as you are right now, it is not natural to have to do what we have to do.

I don't know where you live, but I'm in California and I belong to a very large Health org. called Kaiser, which has a remarkably good codependency program in their chemical dependency network. They have therapists trained in codependency and offer private therapy as well as groups. The groups are wonderful because I am among other mothers who are heartbroken about their kids choices, whether it's because of substance abuse, mental illness or both. We see ourselves in each other and really help one another get through this. It's a year long program which came to me just as all of this was coming to a head. Now that I am (or seem to be and hope to be) passed the worst part, I can look back and really see that without all of that support, I think I would have been suffering a whole lot longer and perhaps maybe not been able to let go at all. I don't know, but what I do know is that the support of trained individuals helped me to see the whole thing through a different perspective, and with support that perspective made more and more sense and helped me to let go and accept. Acceptance is the key, in my opinion. If you have a spiritual network, it's very helpful to utilize prayer and meditation as well.

It goes against so much of what we feel in our hearts that we want to do for our children, it goes against all our instincts to protect and love and nurture and help. It's like trying to stop a run-away train. That's why you need so much support. Look into your health plan and see if anything like that is offered where you live. If your son is mentally challenged as well, look in to the local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness- that's who I got my daughter hooked up with) they offer support groups for families, for you, and believe me, it helps you to understand, cope, find resources and begin to find peace. Just keep digging until you find the right resources for you. The way out of this, as I see it, in addition to detaching from your son, is to really take EXCELLENT, continuing care of yourself, to get all the support you can so that you can not only detach from him, but have a good, healthy, joyful, peaceful life. You certainly deserve that, especially now, as we are older and close to retirement.

I send you warm wishes and prayers that you find peace and a light heart. Oh, and have a wonderful vacation with your husband and daughter, put this all aside and go have fun! (I went to Kauai when my daughter was homeless, it was hard, but it really helped to break the unhealthy connection) (((HUGS)))
I so need help!


Staff member
I am here to support you. Parenting can be really hard and scary. Hang in there and take care of yourself first. You deserve it.


New Member
Hi all, I am so glad I found this page tonight. We are struggling with our almost 27 year old son. He had it all but when he hit the college years it all fell apart. We have supported him through 5 colleges, 1 rehab, 1 stepdown and 1 sober living. He has been sober 3 years but he just keeps dragging his feet in getting his degree. He was supposed to finish it this past spring and self sabotaged and failed one course. So, in keeping with an agreement we made last December, we let him know that we were cutting him off (in our opinion, we supported him for too long). He has the money to take the one last class to get his degree. He is supposed to be driving an Uber to make money so he can afford his bills and to be able to stay in his apartment but we just found out from him that he has only worked about 8 hours in the last two weeks. We had to finally tell him we were really done, we've been manipulated and lied to for so long. I am giving you such a shortened version of what we've gone through. I feel awful but I told him this was the end of the road for us. That he is no longer welcome to come home, thank God he lives on the other side of the country, but I will have no idea if he ends up homeless or if he ends up pulling it together. I told him as his mother I love him but that he's not a part of our family at this time. I feel numb and awful and I want to punch anyone who tells me about their perfect kid!

Double A

New Member
Hi Bambi, welcome to the board, I'm glad you found us. I'm sorry you are going through all of this with your son. I too have an adult daughter who cannot take care of herself well, is sometimes homeless, makes bad choices, etc. however, it's mental illness, not addiction. I too am raising her daughter, my granddaughter, who is 16 now (and also thinks of her mother in a similar way as your granddaughter thinks of her Dad).

It sounds to me as if you have done a lot for your son, likely way beyond a lot. At this point, there is nothing more to do. I can say that with the absolute full knowledge of what that means to you and how much it hurts to get to that point. There is no where to go from here but for you to let go, detach, accept the situation and your son for what it is and who he is. You cannot change it. You didn't create it. You cannot make him healthy or guide him to the right place when he doesn't want to go there. Like you, I tried everything too. Most of us here do. And, most of us get to the point you're at, we hit that wall and then what? All your instincts say, protect, love, take care of, give, make better, help........but you've done all of that, right? And, he is still the same.

So, now is the challenging part, you must set strict boundaries, boundaries that have you as the focus, that protect you, your husband and your granddaughter, boundaries that keep your son's lifestyle choices out of your life. Which, I know from experience, is the hardest thing you'll ever do. And, at this point, exactly what you have to do. All you can control is your reactions to him and exactly what you are willing to do and not willing to do. I would give that a lot of thought and come up with a plan.

What I did with my daughter was to get her connected to the local Mental health organization which can provide housing, counseling, jobs, training, education, health care, etc. (NAMI- the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which you can Google and find a chapter in your area if that feels right to you) I paid for her to get to what I called "level ground" since she had, by her own choices and by some terrible things that happened to her that weren't her choice, fallen so far down, she needed some help getting back. I provided that help all the while telling her that once everything was arranged, she was then on her own. And, finally, once I accomplished that, I realized the other part of her life is creating intense dramas which were emotionally, physically, mentally, financially and spiritually draining me, so I told her to keep all of that away from me because it was having such a negative impact on me. The final boundary I set with her was to tell her not to contact me until she had gotten into therapy AND gotten a job. I cannot be involved in her life. So far, she has honored that request. I have no contact with her except occasional emails. I hope she can avail herself to the help that's been offered, but I don't know if she will.

This is not the ideal life I wanted with my only child, but it is the only life I can have which respects me, keeps me out of the insanity of her choices, and keeps me away from watching her live in the horror of her life where I feel helpless, angry, filled with sorrow all the time and hooked into riding the line of helping versus enabling. It is just too much for me. I had to let go and I had to accept my limitations in what I actually could control in her life, which is nothing.

Your son, like my daughter, may end up living on the street, go to jail, get hurt, or worse, on and on the scary thoughts will go............and there is nothing we can do. I am in your age bracket and since I let go of my daughter, my life is reflecting calm and peace and laughter once again. You deserve that, your husband and granddaughter deserve that too. And, soon, she will be off in her own life and you deserve to retire and enjoy your life NOW, not when you are 90 and your son is still stealing your life force from you.

Get support to do this, it's very hard. Get into therapy, get into a group. talk more here, read books, pray, take long walks, appreciate nature and laugh more. For me, getting a lot of support was the answer, it so helped me to make sense of all of this and to make choices for ME. Our kids are in G-d's hands now, a far better place then ours. I'm sorry. I wish you peace and the knowledge that you're doing the right thing. (((HUGS)))
Im not sure if this is a forum still up and running. But, I wanted to say all of this has helped me. Thank you!