Daughter is 18 and addicted

by Pam

(Hills, NC, USA)

A month ago I had written about my 18yo daughter. We gave her the choice to get help or leave. This choice was not taken lightly and after several months of pure hell we gave her the choice.

Her ex boyfriend picked her up that night. She is now living with him and his family. We thought if she had to struggle in the real world a little she may realize how she had it made at home and something might click in her brain that she had a problem and would seek help.

Well, were we so wrong. She is still blaming everything on everybody else. She says she has no addiction or problems. I could name bunches but for the sake of time I won’t.

I am very angry at these people who have taken her in. They have no right the way I see it to interfere with the decision we made. I can not tell anybody how this is the hardest decision ever.

I cry everyday, I throw up, sick on my stomach, shake, feel like I am losing my mind. Why would my daughter realize she has a problem with drugs and alcohol or get help if these people are enabling her.

The mom buys illegal pills off the street, won’t work, thinks they are perfect and her son drinks and buys my daughter alcohol.

My daughter was so messed 3 Weds ago she was trying to kill herself. I called the sheriff. She was taken to the ER and kept 13 hours and let go. The doctors could not tell me anything because my daughter told them not to tell family anything.

I need to know if we should talk to her if she calls or texts? This is so confusing and I seriously need an answer.

I have recently started Al-anon and so far no answers. If you could answer my question, please help me.

Stay the Course

by: Ned Wicker

Dear Pam,

I share your anger about the other parents. You try to do what is in your daughter’s best interest, to get her to see the light, and they callously enable her. They are fighting against you.

The trouble is your daughter is 18 and she doesn’t have to do anything. But there is always another strategy, so stand firm and keep trying.

Ever hear the old saying that the “squeaky wheel gets the grease?” I guess you have to ask yourself how much squeaking are you willing to do? The boyfriend, an addict, and his family are not your friends, but your daughter is hiding behind them.

In her alcoholic mind, they are the ones who love her and you are the enemy. Their world is normal and you are interfering. Just accept that.

Yes, take her calls. Understand that the calls may only come when she needs something and she’ll probably manipulate you. That is coming. Look beyond that. Do not give in to what she wants, but look past that to what she needs.

She has no moral or ethical compass, so do not expect her to see that her behavior is destructive. This is a process, to try to help her see for herself what you see. Steady and calm are your focus words. Don’t get angry, emotional or loose your cool.

Calling Al-anon was a good idea. There is a mom out there who understands. If you are in a position to help her with treatment, you can get the ball rolling by gathering information on treatment programs in your area. Get other members of the family together and have a meeting. You don’t want to be doing this by yourself, because if nothing else, Al-anon can offer you emotional support.

If you go to church, know that many faith-based organizations, such as Teen Challenge, offer exceptional programs. This is a Christian program that has an amazing track record. We are all body, mind and spirit, so understand that all three areas are in need.

Your daughter has a physical addiction, but the disease of addiction is also a disease of the soul. What drives her? What hurts?

My prayer is that she will want to come home. The people who are enabling her have their own issues and they are completely irresponsible. The relationship with the boy is toxic and nothing good will come of it. The best case scenario is that you get her out of the lion’s den and into treatment.

But again, get help for yourself and know that addiction is a family disease. Get everybody together and form a plan. You are not alone.

If push comes to shove, the boyfriend’s mother is illegally buying street drugs and contributing to a large criminal enterprise. Does she have a prescription? No. Just a thought and maybe the police would be interested.


by: Anonymous

Thanks Ned for responding to both of my letters about my daughter. You really hit this one on the head. Your response is totally true. I am sitting here crying as I read your response and as I am typing this. I am very angry and it has been building for such a long time. I don’t know what to do with this anger. I feel so alone and am so hurt and just plain sad. I feel so helpless and that does not feel good. Thank you so much Ned for your input, it really means a lot.

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