Setting boundaries with my addicted 29 year old daughter
by Debbie M
Hi, I am sharing my story for several reasons. First, to help myself. Second, to help my daughter. And third to offer hope to others.
I have a 29 year old daughter. She is currently in jail. She will be released March 2015. Her addiction started in 2003. She has been living on the streets, in jail, detox or treatment for over 11 years now. She had three children. The first in 2009, second in 2011 and the third in 2012. The two oldest children are with their Dad and me, their maternal grandmother. The third child was put up for adoption at 10 days old as my daughter went back to drugs and the streets.
I am an adult child of an alcoholic, as I grew up with an abusive step-father. We have generations of dysfunction in our family.
I raised my daughter as a single parent since she was 2 months old. She is an only child. She was a difficult child, very destructive and not affectionate and harmful to animals.
She experimented with alcohol and marijuana from about age 11. Serious addictions started when she was 19, 2003. Cocaine, crack, meth and finally heroin. She smoked and then came the needle.
I am an enabler. I do not set good boundaries. My dilemma is the same as probably many parents of addicted children. WHERE DO I DRAW THE LINE? It pains me to think about what I know I need to do. She has stolen from me (car, crushed for money, laptops, TVs, etc). My gut tells me to write her a letter. Tell her that she cannot live with me when she gets out. Actually, I don't want to have any communication with her for the first 6 months or first year after she is released from jail. I am willing to go to counseling with her and see her there.
My reasons for having these boundaries are:
-To take care of myself
-to break our unhealthy codependent ways of relating to one another
-to get out of my daughter's way
I feel like there needs to be some exceptions to these boundaries like:
-she can stay at my house if she is clean and her only alternative is living on the streets
-I will give her food if she is hungry
-I will give her a ride to 'recovery related' appointments
THE PROBLEM IS, I HAVE DONE THE EXCEPTION THING IN THE PAST AND I ALLOW MANIPULATION AND ALLOW HER TO WEASEL HER WAY IN. BIG GUILT THING GOING ON FOR ME. SO, REALLY THIS IS NOT A GOOD PLAN FOR ME. GOOD FOR HER MAYBE, BUT NOT ME, FOR SURE!
So, I go through life with an ache in my heart and an underlying level of concern and worry. Do I let go completely? Are there truly any exceptions where I would step in? It seems I have tried and done 'everything' already. This is what play's in my mind,
I tell my daughter I am detaching. I will have no contact with her while she is in jail this time, and I want no contact for at least one year after she gets out. I am willing to go to counseling with her for that first year, and that's it.
My daughter tells me, "See, I knew you wouldn't support me. Go ahead a leave! Have a good life! You never cared about me anyway! I hate you! You don't care what happens to me! I'll just go overdose and then we'll see how much you like that!
This is the real deal folks. Any words of wisdom are appreciated. I love my daughter with all my heart, but I don't trust her and I can't say that I like her very much right now. I am in counseling myself and am working 12 steps in ACA and attend Naranon and Alanon meetings regularly. I work a recovery program myself. Thank you for letting me share. My prayers to all family members and the alcoholics/addicts themselves. This is a terrible disease. With hope, Debbie