I need to be tied to the mast.


Well-Known Member
Do you know he is in a certain spot, or do you just think he is and want to make sure?
I know two general areas but no specific one. The likelihood of finding him is small. But there is a gym where I believe he might be showering. If I could find the name I could call there and ask about him. He is likable and friendly and the employees would know who he is.

If I call and nobody has seen him? How will I feel?

And M and I are old (well, almost old). The idea of wandering around on the streets looking for a homeless person in an area I do not live: I can see myself as getting more desperate. More depressed. More helpless.

As much as missing him, I as seeking a way out of my despair. New Leaf posted today about this very thing. Seeing her sadness as learning opportunities. Learning to know herself and her strengths as well as her sensitivities.

I am not as strong as is she.

This is what M says: It is almost the middle of the month. It is about to get cold. My son will be out of money. He will not have money to pay for a cheap hotel. He will feel the pressure of his situation in a few days. M thinks that it is better to wait the few days until the urgency of my son's situation provokes him to decide what to do. He has always before sought help from me, from us--for better or worse. M's way of thinking makes sense.
Honestly, Copa...if he had, I suspect things wouldn't have worked out any differently this time.
This brings home the impossibility of my situation. Because, really, I do not want my son home like he is. If he does call this week or next, what could be different? A month ago he offered me a lot of money to come back. *I found it insulting. I told him my belief was he needed a program. I know he knows that if he had been able to test clean for drugs, he could have come back.

So. I start obsessing. Under what conditions could he come back? And what would really change? Would I accept him as he is? As he lives? What kind of effort would he be willing to put in? That nothing would have changed. We would step right back into the same dance.
It's my fervent hope that this will all somehow change the groundwork and lead to things working out differently in the future
How do these things change? I am thinking of com's son who just changed. And Lil's son (I hope their visit is going well.) There was no real indication either com's or lil's son would changed. But change they did. lbl's son is different because he is so young.

But my son has issues that neither one of these other sons had. But then as SWOT reminds us, issues do not preclude good decisions.

I guess the only thing I can do is one hour at a time try to put myself back into my own body and mind and back into the present. And deal with the pain where it is located right here and now.

That is an interesting word Albatross uses, groundwork. Change the groundwork. Which to me right now is sounding like the ground right here and right now. Albatross, you have written about relating to your son from this place, in the here and now...without expectation and a loving heart. Maybe this is the groundwork you are writing about.

Thank you.
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Well-Known Member
Oh Copa. I am so sorry for your sadness.

If you did go into the city, would you even know where to find him? Do you have an idea where he stays? What would you do if you found him? Do you want to talk to him, or just see him from a distance? Do you think it would make you feel better?

Sometimes I think I would be better if we lived in pioneer days and could only get letters that took weeks or months to arrive. Because we would be released of expectation that we are going to hear from them. I imagine pioneer age mamas whose sons went west had to just get used to going about their days and living their lives without knowing where their sons were, whether they were ok, or when they were going to hear from them again. Sometimes I imagine mine are far away across the prairie with no means of communication rather than 40 minutes away in the city with cell phones in their pockets. Because I can only go about my life when I release myself of both expectation and responsibility.

I haven’t heard from C or S in I guess about 3 weeks now. They know the bank is closed so there is no reason to call. I have texted a couple times with no response. Their phones may be off - they both use prepaid burner phones and frequently run out of minutes and data. I’m not sure if S is still with the coke dealer or not. I don’t know if C found another place to live or if he is sleeping on the streets tonight. It is cold out tonight.

They are 40 minutes down the road, but it may as well be a three month journey by covered wagon away. They are living in another world, and I cannot follow them there. Even if I did, it would do no good - they don’t want to make the journey back with me.

J is on his journey too. You have left the door open and a candle in the window if he wants to come back. He knows that. You have not abandoned him.

I can only avoid sinking down into the pit if I keep moving. Work. Chores. Exercise. We went out and saw a show tonight. It may sometimes feel like just going through the motions but the more active I stay the better I feel. I just can’t allow my mind to keep dwelling on all the potential disasters or trying to figure out the whys behind the lives they have chosen.

Would seeking him out really make you feel better, or just keep you stuck in despair?

Is it time to change the channel?


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And COPA, you should know that he DOES love you - even on his darkest, angriest, longest days, he DOES love you, and NOTHING will change that.
How do you know, One Hurt Mama, that he loves me?Maybe he doesn't anymore.

I always had the sense that our great love one for the other had something to do with all of the problems. A little bit like Lil and her son. I always had the sense that the strength of their bond and the need to break it, created pain for them both. It is no surprise that her son was able to grow up and away with the support of another woman. But in my son's case there seems not much hope. He is just not in that place.

I feel a little better. Because I am realizing that this is about love. More than worry it is about love. I mean. I am worried. I am especially worried about his liver.

I do not know how this will work. But I realize I am not supposed to know. Today is today. Groundwork needs to happen. I need to figure out what that means. For me.
I don't remember if you still go to counseling
The reason I am so taken by that word is because I have been doing somatic therapy. Two visits. It is bodywork. From that way of thinking the body is the ground where changes are made, not the mind. The body holds feelings that can be released in a manageable way, feelings that have been held sometimes for lifetimes that have blocked the healthy expression of self. And with that the body/mind has a way to better deal with experience.

So, yes. I am going to a type of therapy. But not psychotherapy anymore. I need to think that through. What I need.

I had also stopped all of the exercise which was not so smart. I feel weak and labored when I walk, and that feels disheartening. I think I will build that up first, the walking and gym again. I felt so healthy and good about myself when I did that. I think it all fits together.

Thank you.
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Tired out

Well-Known Member
I had also stopped all of the exercise which was not so smart. I feel weak and labored when I walk, and that feels disheartening. I think I will build that up first, the walking and gym again. I felt so healthy and good about myself when I did that. I think it all fits together.
There is no doubt that feeling good and exercise go together. exercise releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy. When I want to just sit down and cry because I am sad about my son, I walk, fasssst,,it becomes a run by the time I stop the feelings are ebbing, i head for my weights, then the heavy bag...oh thank goodness for that release and the well done feeling.


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I find exercise is as important for my mental health as it is for my physical wellbeing. I think that’s a good to start. Perhaps with some music or an audio book or engrossing podcast to take your mind off things.


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I think I would be better if we lived in pioneer days and could only get letters that took weeks or months to arrive. Because we would be released of expectation that we are going to hear from them.
This is a very good point, Elsi. If I knew that there was no volition on his part (pipedream) and if I knew that there was no way that I could hear from him (pipedream) I would feel differently. Because I would have REASONS that were outside of my fault, my responsibility or my control. Those mothers were innocents. They were not culpable. This is where I think I fall into the pit. I think I could have done something differently. Done better. J thinks so and when I get moored, I do too.

I often think about the wild west. And imagining my son is a cowboy does ease the pain some--I love westerns. I think about him unpacking his bed roll (like a cowboy) and sleeping under the stars. And then some of the degradation and pathos falls away.
Because I can only go about my life when I release myself of both expectation and responsibility.
This is exactly the truth. And the key here is I RELEASE MYSELF.
J is on his journey too. You have left the door open and a candle in the window if he wants to come back. He knows that. You have not abandoned him.
Yes. This is true. Who I abandon is myself.

I can only avoid sinking down into the pit if I keep moving. Work. Chores. Exercise. We went out and saw a show tonight. It may sometimes feel like just going through the motions but the more active I stay the better I feel.
M and I have a very dreary life where we live. Right now his Dad is in the hospital again. I have abandoned all of my self-care, pretty much. My community is not a place where I like to go to movies or out to dinner. I love to go out to dinner. But good places. M only wants Mexican food. And M does not like my movies. He only speaks Spanish. We are both just consumed by worries and by trying to dig out of the hole we fell into six years ago when my mother got sick, etc.

I never thought about this before but we are sandwiched. We are the sandwich generation. Caught between the responsibilities of dying parents and a grown man child who will not grow up. And everything that is triggered by the both.

What there is to do here for the two of us, would be camping kind of stuff. (And gardening. And house work. Which he is doing almost all of.) And we have been talking for years about getting a small RV just to go a couple of hours either to the coast or to the mountains the other way. We are in the spine of the state.

I know that if we were able to go away for a few days at a time with the animals I would feel better. We would be better. When we leave here together to go to the city we always have a good time. We take the train. We eat out. We walk and cut slips off of people's plants....That is so fun for us. Smile.

Thank you.
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Well-Known Member
Copa. You cannot put self care last. When our responsibilities for others start to stack up, that is exactly when we have to keep ourselves strong. It's not selfish. It's necessary. How can we help anyone else if we are not strong?

M and I have a very dreary life where we live.
That makes me sad, and it needs to change. I know caring for parents is time consuming and limits your ability to get away. But I hope you can find a way to at least get into the city more often, or go walk in a nearby park, or even just plan a special dinner and night at home. Something to shake you out of your dreary routine. And then perhaps the routine won't seem so dreary. Exercise and eating well are also really important right now. And do you have others in your life you could go see a movie with, or catch up with over coffee? A spouse or partner can't always fulfill 100% of our needs. Going out with a friend may really help right now. (Says the woman who almost never leaves her house. But even I recognize that it's not healthy for R and I to only have each other, and I need to get out of my routine and see other people every once in a while.)

Most of all, I hope you can escape the feeling that you should be "doing something" for J, or that you are responsible for the choices he is making right now. He DOES have options. The fact that he doesn't want to conform his behavior to take advantage of those options is not your fault.

Are you familiar with the Buddhist concept of "the second arrow"? The idea is that pain in life is inevitable, but our response to that pain is a choice. The first arrow is what life does to you - acts from other people, natural disasters, financial loss, the death of a loved one. It hurts. But the second arrow is what we do to ourselves. Our emotional reaction and our interpretation. J's refusal to talk to you right now is the first arrow. This is a fact that you do not have control over. The second arrow is your interpretation of it - thinking it means he no longer loves you, or that you were a bad mother, or that you are responsible for his choices and behaviors, or that something worse is bound to happen next. The second arrow is OPTIONAL SUFFERING. You can choose to stop shooting yourself with projections, interpretations, and predictions.

(This is also the essence of what I have taken away from CBT therapy, which I have found VERY useful - more useful than traditional psychotherapy for me. Learning to control our emotions by controlling our thinking, and eliminating bad habits of thought.)

You are not inside J's head. You don't know why is making the choices he is making, or what they have to do with you, if anything. You cannot predict what the future will bring. You can't change the past, and can't know whether the changes you wish you could make would make things better, worse or have no impact at all. You don't know. So release yourself from wondering. Acknowledge the fact of the first arrow, and the pain of it, but don't shoot yourself with the second.

This is something I am still working on myself.


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Copa do it. Even if you rent an RV. Get out of Dodge. Have fun together. M. needs it too. In therapy I learned to try what I am afraid of or think I cant cant do or should not do. You too can do things that seem too hard because of your sadness. Or like in my case anxiey....I never thoight I could fly and I dont often but I did and would again. It feels so good when you do what you once would not.. You CAN.

Love and light.
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Well-Known Member
The second arrow is your interpretation of it
Last night I realized something painful and true.

Part of my agony with my son is thinking about the inevitability of his distress as an adult, and how I denied it. My son was both drug exposed and taken from his birth mom to be put in an orphanage at 2 weeks old, where he stayed until I found him there when he was 22 months.

I believed throughout his childhood that my love, our love could cure. Because I was in as much need of redemption or more. And it did. Together we were whole. Until we were not.

A psychiatrist told me 4 years ago something I felt to be brutal: Recognize It, he said. This will never get better. (J.) He will never get better. What is served by your denying reality, he asked? I reminded him he had never met my son and his knowledge of him was filtered through me, a distraught mother. He would not hear me.

Well. What I am facing is that it has been my m.o. in life to deny reality. That is why I could not face that my cat was ill until she was 5 lbs.

That is why I could not face my own internal landscape which is bereft and alone. I maintained the illusion my whole life that I could make my life something it was not: whole. As I believed that my love could make my son whole.

The pain of this is the need to confront myself and my lies. I blame myself because had I faced my sons limits I could have had different expectations about what he could do for himself.

I am thinking about Elsi's two, particularly the older son who is homeless. This young man has wounds. But he has strengths. What could Elsi have done? With the kind of strengths he has, could she have really insisted he go to some kind of protected situation?

My son has had two traumatic brain injuries
as a young adult. The first one happened in my house or outside of it. The second one in a homeless shelter when he was hit in the head because he was carrying thousands of dollars in his pocket he had inherited from my mother. And was talking about it.

What I am struggling with here is my role in protecting him from life. What could I have done? What I should do?

I am struggling here with the concept of safety and healing. I am facing that the danger that was never acknowledged and the brokenness that was never faced was my own. Finally in my life I have the proper lens on the proper problem. I am the problem. My own feelings and thinking.

And I am hearing you, that the acceptance and healing need to start with me.

Thank you.


Well-Known Member
I know. This is the journey I have been on also. I have spent my whole life trying to fix damage that was, in large part, done before I even came on the scene. And later damage I had no power to control. I haven't given up hope that C and S could get better one day. But I have had to accept - really come to terms with and accept - that they may not. And I have had to stop shooting myself with additional arrows. I'm not good at this yet. But I'm trying to be aware at least.

We have to learn to heal ourselves, even if we cannot heal them. They are no longer small children who we can protect from the world and from themselves. Perhaps it was never fully in our power to heal someone else without their participation and consent. I know no one else can heal me without mine.

Hugs to you, Copa.


Well-Known Member
You cannot predict what the future will bring.
For some reason I am thinking about the Buddha here. About whom I know virtually nothing.

But I do believe he was HOMELESS. I think I am remembering that he came from a wealthy and well-connected family and for some reason he came to feel that his real life, the life that was consistent with how he felt inside was to suffer on the street, degraded.

Now. I may be making this up. But this is EXACTLY what my son is doing. He is exposing himself to the elements willfully because he believes this is what he deserves, this is the manifestation of the brokenness inside of him.

I, on the other hand, did everything in my life that I could do to avoid feeling and being what my internal reality was.

That is why this is so triggering to me. It is kind of like where the rubber meets the road. And there is no more rubber.

I am doing a lot of thinking. In response to this thread.

Without very much difficulty at all, my life could be wonderful. It may be that I have tried to run from painful feelings for my whole life, but at the same time what I have done, what I have made of myself in my life are considerable. In so many ways I have become a person of integrity and personal power, despite my limits and the difficulties of my life, of all of our lives.

I am thinking that I could give myself permission to be this person that was created in the encounter of my soul in this life. I could own this person...instead of running from her. I could accept her...instead of fleeing. I could protect her instead of abandoning her.

This is where choice comes into play.

I am thinking here of you, RN. And your bible study. That is the kind of deliberate choice I am thinking about here. You could keep running from fear, but you stopped. And you decided to find community to face yourself and to face your life. I could do the same. I don't know how but I could.

Thank you.
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Well-Known Member
I am back to quoting myself.
I maintained the illusion my whole life that I could make my life something it was not: whole.
In so many ways I have become a person of integrity
Well. The definition we usually default to for integrity is moral rectitude or probity. But the essential definition of integrity is this:

the state of being whole and undivided.
"upholding territorial integrity and national sovereignty"
synonyms: unity, unification, coherence, cohesion, togetherness, solidarity
"the integrity of the federation."


Think about it. What kind of wholeness ever really happens without the threat of disintegration, or the experience of it? Civil War. Divorce.

We may have the remembrance of unity, or the fantasy of it, but as long as we are alive, we live out this dream against the reality of incompleteness, brokenness and loss.

I am not writing this to be sad. I am writing this to own the potential, the capacity to WIN. It is like SWOT says above. We dare ourselves to be whole. We achieve it in moments. Because we cannot sustain it, does not mean we have not won. The victory is there. It has been claimed. We just have to look on the wall. The plaque is there.


Well-Known Member
I just had this image come to mind.

I had thought about how each of us is so different. That in our real lives, none of us would recognize each other. We would not recognize each other, because we would be deceived by the packaging.

When we are here the differences melt away.

I feel protected by the flock.

It is like we are little wayward birds, and when we are in trouble the flock comes to find us and we are enclosed by it. That is sometimes how I feel when I post.

I am out there and lost and bereft and little. And I post and my flock comes to find me and enclose me and I am not flying alone anymore.

What a gift.

New Leaf

Well-Known Member
Copa, you will be okay. Sit with your feelings and breathe through them. We all have our own range of emotions to deal with when faced with the circumstances of wayward adult children. That you are sad and thrown off base by your sons choices and dealing with M’s father’s illness, who wouldn’t be? It is a double whammy.
Yes, we are sandwiched. It’s hard. There is no respite it seems, no safe haven to hide, but work continuously to find it in ourselves, and those we love who are there for us. Sometimes finding that means taking time to rest, and allowing yourself to feel sad.
I think it is a good plan to get back to exercise and walking. I am the same, movement helps. It is so important to keep active at any age. Putting that high on the list and prioritizing our health is a way back to......sanity and self care which in stressful situations is even more important so that we have the strength to carry on.
I have not heard from either of my two. Tornado will be thirty soon. Another birthday approaches with no word, or knowing how she is.
It is sad. But, there is nothing I can do to change what is for both of them.
Something so simple, the recognition of having no control, can bring about so many complex emotions. It is the difference between what we wish to happen and what is. How we grasp that and move forward is the challenge.
I want to live well. No matter what my own issues and circumstances are, I want to live well.
That is entirely up to me. It took a long time for me to realize this, to address reality and past mistakes, to forgive myself for being......human.
My twos life choices have caused me to go through many changes, sometimes I stagnate and fret, other times I worry, or place blame on myself, the past. But there is nothing I can do to change what was.
What I am realizing is that it all goes back to finding my self, as they must find their own selves and figure out what this life means for them. What they want out of the short time we are all blessed with on this earth. I can go through all of the reasons why things may be as they are, like your J, head injuries, being with nefarious people, there is a list of reasons why my two choose as they do. But......there is a longer list of reasons to choose better. But they haven’t. Not yet. I haven’t given up hope that they will. I just know after so many times trying that I cannot do it for them, fix them, control their choices.
I can have some control over my own. Yes, I despair at times and I fail, as you posted to me that you feel that way.
But growth comes from this, from falling. Like a garden that has been spent and needs to be tilled, replenished with nutrients and replanted.
We are constantly growing and working to better ourselves, our reaction and response, examining when we falter and lie there stunned for a time. Finding ways to rise up and carry on despite what we are faced with.
It is life.
It is hard.
But it is still beautiful and worth treasuring each new day.
I hope this day brings you peace.
Hugs and love,


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
Cops as hard as this may be focus on yourself s d healing yourself. There is something to be said about chsngingbrge things we can change and having the wisdom to know what we can and can not change. You can not Change J as sad as that reality is it is what it is.

I hope your little kitty is doing ok.


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Copa, I'm so sorry to return from my visit to find you so distraught, though your more recent posts seem better. You are suffering so much and you need so badly to take care of yourself. I wish I could offer words of wisdom. But, all I can do is answer this one thing:

How do you know, One Hurt Mama, that he loves me?Maybe he doesn't anymore.
Through all the hurt and all the fights, have you ever stopped loving him? Why should he be any different? You don't stop loving someone Copa, you know that. They can kill your feelings for them, but you can't just turn it off like shutting off a light switch. I'm 100% sure your son still loves you.

I'm glad you've started exercise again. That can be such a mood elevator! (Says the terribly fat out of shape woman - but it's true.) You have to take care of yourself! Not for just yourself, but for M and for J as well. What possible good comes from wasting away from your grief? Does that help anyone at all? Does it make you or anyone you know better or happier? No. But setting an example; showing strength and resilience and self-love, that is a positive thing.

Hang in there my friend. You are worth taking care of.


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I broke down tonight and called my son's old friend H. When my son goes to the Metro 3 hours away, he stays near H. I had had no contact with my son for over a month.

H told me J is still homeless. He's fine (???), he said. Not working. He seems to be smoking less marijuana, he says. Sleeping sometimes in H's truck and other times, where, he does not know (but there is a wooded area near H's house.

Is he dirty?
No. He showers in a gym. I think he is going to return to your city.

The conversation closed: I am sure he will call you within an hour.

Is he there with you?

No. But I'll probably see him tonight.

There is no reason to expect that my son would have made any positive changes. He is living in the street without protection or support (for 4 months).

Both of us are dismayed. I told M: I can't bear it if he comes back and it goes back to the way it is. And there is no reason to think anything will have changed.

And M responded: I don't think you can bear to say "no" that he not come back.

I am relieved he is okay. In that he is not sick and taking worse drugs, apparently, and eating, and in contact with somebody who cares about him.

But I am clear as a bell that adverse circumstances, and the withdrawal of support has no effect to motivate him to make better choices. H says that J seems more stable, mature, and tethered to reality (he is not psychotic).

The way M and I left it was that I said this: Any next step has got to come from J. (But what in the world does this mean?)

We do not live where it is very cold. He will get very uncomfortable but there is no snow. But what do I gain from not letting him come back? These months have been very hard. But I am doing it. And if he comes back?

Except he is my son.

When he is in the other property there is the issue of the rent, and his maintaining the property, and that he is lazy and does nothing, and there is the pot. He does nothing to help himself. That is the baseline. There has been no change in years. There is no reason to have any expectation of change. If I don't push, he does nothing except smoke pot. He is nice to the neighbors and they like him. He walks around town and each day is like the last.

The only thing I can do is let it go. He will either solve this or not. I do not have solutions. I only have a house where he can live. If he pays rent, is productive, clean from drugs and living like a reasonable person. It is like M says. We are not changing here. We are still on the same plan. But the thing is, so is he.
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Well-Known Member
Copa, I’m glad you have confirmation that he is physically ok right now. Are you considering letting him come back to the house? Have your conditions for allowing that to happen changed? Has he contacted you at all?

I hope you are able to maintain your peace today.


Well-Known Member
He has not contacted me or, M, who he is boycotting.

I am considering it. As in, stewing.

My conditions have not changed. But at the same time I recognize the setup and futility of having conditions. This sets us up to be manipulated and "played" and is a recipe for disaster. You cannot want something for somebody they cannot want for themselves. I see that.

He knows what I want. He may say the magic words in order to open the door. But after that it is just struggle. I see that life is struggle. I see that I am a person who needs to stay in the game. But I do not want to participate in my son's damaging himself more. But if he is hell-bent in not helping himself, what am I supposed to do?

M says he will make him drug test every day. Is this feasible? I doubt it.

Meanwhile I am trying to let it go (unsuccessfully). This is my son's problem. He needs to decide what to do. And it can't be magic words. I don't know what to do.

Thank you.
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Well-Known Member
Copa...is there any possible way you can let go of the pot? I understand your point of view and I personally am not a pot fan AT ALL, although I really have no problem with if the person does it outside of my home and property. But Im wussy enough that if it was a choice between pot and having to worry about my kid's homelessness I would probably give in and let my kid live on my property that I didnt occupy as long as there was minimal rent paid and him mowing the lawn and taking care of the house. It would be for me, not for him and not to force my kid to produce. I know and am saddened at how you worry and suffer and that is the only reason I even ask. You love him so. Pot is legal there. Being on the streets has not motivated a change in him. Seems as if it may have hurt YOU more and YOU matter.

I think right now pot is a part of your sons life that he wont give up, even though it hurts you both. On the plus side, your son has never used hard drugs...worse drugs. Maybe pot doesnt make him productive but maybe it helps with anxiety or depression?? Who knows? Maybe he would be the same without the pot. I am not trying to contradict you here. I just dont want you to feel so sad. Please take this in the spirit of caring.

Love and light always!