Heroin meth and mental illness


Thank you for your compassion. He has no money, friends must be sharing. Typically he’s home all day goes out at night doesn’t come home until next day, so he’s not here when using but comes home afterward to sleep. I just can’t bring myself to drop him off downtown and say goodbye. He literally has nothing at all to care for himself. Am I enabelling him? I lack clarity and objectivity, I cannot see anything but through the filter of my love for him.


Perhaps you could approach it another way and set a curfew, after which he will not be allowed in. If he then became aggressive about wanting back in, you could use that as a reason to involve law enforcement and normal consequences would follow.

It would not be kicking him out, but setting expectations.

If he wasn’t in by, say, 11 pm, or whatever time you set, he would not be allowed back in until the following evening. No coming back into the house just to crash and go out again the next night.

Before taking this approach, you might want to contact law enforcement about the laws regarding locking someone out of the house he is living in. I would hope you have the right to do that, but I wouldn’t want you to be put in the position of “breaking the law”. Its ridiculous that we even have to consider such a thing, but it is better to know what is allowed before you do it.


In Al-anon, we give our own stories/experiences, and do not try to speak for anyone else–as in specific advice. The group can take what they like and leave the rest. So, I’m just talking about me here, and whatever you may think applies, feel free to take to heart. If it doesn’t, then ignore that part.

Been there. Done that. It sucks. Kicked son out of the house shortly after age 18, and allowed him to sleep in a tent on the property. Later, we even propped up some plywood as a sort of “lean-to” on the porch. We just wanted him to have someplace to be, rather than sleeping in the park or out in the desert. HE saw it as us treating him like a dog.

Caught him doing both meth and heroin out back, and when told he couldn’t do that on our property, he would get abusive, screaming that he wasn’t doing it, and that I was the one who did those drugs; I was the one who was delusional; I was the one hallucinating, blah, blah, blah. My name was no longer “Mom”–it was “F***ing Whore.”

I told myself repeatedly that if he was “just” an addict, I’d kick him out so fast, BUT, with the mental illness, how could I? I wasn’t just some “wimpy” parent who enabled out of love–my kid was different because of the mental illness and the trauma he experienced as a child that set him off.

Yes, I want to protect him. Yes, he might die. Our situation is also dire, and my son is also unfiltered and self-destructive. (He breaks the orange tips off of BB guns and swanks around, pretending it’s a real gun. He’s even threatened to commit suicide by cop before. He’s had the cops draw on him, and yeah, it makes me fight the panic attacks just thinking about it.) I have days in which I can hardly function. This has been going on for years now.

(and FYI: Friends and dealers only share so much. When there is that much access to hard drugs, somebody is doing something to repay dealers/friends. Mine was stealing out of cars, breaking into garages and sheds, stealing from convenience and grocery stores, making deliveries for his dealers, and, I suspect, possibly selling himself.)

I had a hard time with all the advice to put myself first. That’s not what moms do! Sure, I deserved to feel safe and all, but not at the expense of my child. I didn’t say that out loud to other people for fear of looking like some kind of martyr, but I just couldn’t choose myself over him. I just couldn’t. Then it hit me. What I was showing, and what he was seeing, were two different things. I was showing love and forgiveness–but what he saw was that he could treat me any way he wished. Making him leave when he cussed me out–but then allowing him back after some cool-off time–wasn’t teaching him consequences–or even that his mom loves him no matter what. (No matter how much I was trying to teach him that very thing!) I was teaching him that he can mistreat his mother. I wasn’t just “not helping”–I was actively teaching him that abuse only deserves minor consequences. If his dad treated me that way, we would be divorced so fast! “But this is my CHILD! It’s different!” Yeah it is, and I said that for years. “But he has all these other problems that aren’t his fault!” I said that for years too. But I’m his mom, and no matter how much it hurts, or how dangerous the world is, the only way to teach him not to treat people the way he treats me is for me to refuse to allow it.

He is now 21 and just got out of jail (for the umpteenth time–I really have lost count), and is in a program for homeless addicts, many of whom have mental health issues as well. He is not allowed to have any contact with us whatsoever until his probation officer says he can. He’s gone 2 whole weeks following the rules; but I haven’t reached the hopeful stage–not by a long shot. He knows how to play the game.


I’m always amazed how often its posted that our loved ones sleep outside and then get upset because they are sleeping in less than ideal situations, even though it was a choice they made. I’ve tried to make up nice rooms numerous times but there is always something not right with it according to my son. Something about having that distance but being close enough to know they are out of harm’s way might be why. I’ve never asked. This becomes a problem here when wintertime arrives - ugh.


I am sad for you, and with all that you have been through while your son is still young makes it even sadder. I appreciate you sharing YOUR heart and I think it will be helpful for others. You made some very good points that are often hard for us to see about ourselves, especially in the early years of illness. This is such a terrible illness. If anything can help, the intervention that is happening for him now could be it. If not, you have done what you can. I hope you can have some peace about that. Take care of yourself.


Thanks. He’s been in 2 residential programs already–when he was still a minor and didn’t show any signs of sz yet. This is the first since becoming an adult. He does well when he is in a structured environment and has no choice about it. We’ll see what happens when he’s done with the program.


I’m in southern AZ (hence the “in AZ” on my name), so winter is cold, but not crazy cold. An enclosed space, layered sweatshirts and double quilts is pretty cozy. (But, of course, it certainly wasn’t his choice to be outside–just ask him! lol)


Thank you for sharing your painful situation with your son. I hope life continues to improve for him and you find some peace.


My son spent the whole night posting 40-50 posts on Facebook, very disturbing, delusions etc. Clear to us that he was also using Meth too. Today we let him know that he cannot live here whilst using drugs, needless to say that was met with an FU, go kill yourself response. Very painful to not allow him a safe haven here in our home especially knowing how sick he is. I’m so heartbroken but trying to trust that by enforcing boundaries and taking care of ourselves that that will provide the best scenario for him to get help.


I hope the same for you!


This is so hard to process when our loved ones are in crisis. I used to think it was BS until I actually made it a priority.

Now, my son even acknowledges its importance. I spent five hours out doing things with him yesterday and became mental exhausted to the point that things began to go downhill. I said “I’m sorry, I need to get some rest because I just turned grumpy” - he said “I know. Don’t worry about me, just go take care of yourself” . I still can’t get over it. He likes it when I have that positive energy because I’m fun to be around. Unfortunately I get drained by him after a certain amount of time and have to distance myself for some time to reenergize.

Not the same as your situation but we were at a dark place a couple of years ago, so this is definite progress. I think they see when we stop focusing entirely on them and begin caring about ourselves which I always thought opposite to be true until I tried it.

Good luck!


Thank you for sharing. It’s encouraging to hear your story and the progress with your son!
My name is Holly too🤗
Take care


Yes, I had my youngest son move out when he was using drugs, it took him 2 years away to get clean and in the end he needed my help to get treatment to fully recover. However, it is my oldest daughter who is schz, and she has never used illegal drugs.


I’m sorry for your heartache, it must have been a long two years. Glad your son is in recovery and so glad your daughter doesn’t use, the combination is devestating for my son.
Wish you well.


Yes, it was a long two years for him, but I am lucky that he IS in recovery. I wish it were true for my daughter. I wish it were true for everyone on this site who has a severely mentally ill loved one; we would love for there to be recovery in every case. The heartbreak can be permanent, like the SMI. I hope your son can find some peace, so that you can too.


My son showed up at the house after three days. Starving, exhausted, bloodshot eyes etc. my husband is going to take him to the homeless shelter because he’s been using drugs. I’m so sick over this, I want to keep him home, safe, take care of him, so I have to fight this urge all the way, it’s hard because at least I’ve had some peace for a few hours knowing he’s alive.


I’m glad he came home but am sad about the shelter. I understand you want him home.


Thank you for your kind words. Everyone tells me I have to have boundaries and not enable him but it’s extra hard because of his schizophrenia and bipolar he’s so ill and doesn’t think clearly at all to care for himself. I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing or not by kicking him out, just trusting what others are telling me. It’s awful. Love him so very much.


@Gvgirl I am sure this is rough. One day at a time. If things get better for him, he can come back. I am usually a super worry wart. Someone told me a technique for getting through each day. Just think of the next step. ie. All I have to do is get up and shower. Ok now all I need to do is get coffee and get to work…etc. It seems to help me. I’m so sorry your son is not well. I am hopeful he will get better! Perhaps they’ll get him into a rehab program. When going through the super rough patch with my son, at one point they recommend the detox center (in patient program - I think). Keep us posted.


Thank you for the encouragement dear lady. Good advice and I will try it! Wish you well too.