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Dealing with Feelings: 5 Ways I Cope with My Young Adult’s Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

What feelings rise up in the hearts of parents when they discover that their beautiful, intelligent child is using drugs or drinking massive amounts of alcohol? What about when they get that first phone call from the police department saying they have your child down at the station…who you thought was in his room sleeping. Or when you find that empty vodka bottle under his bed, or the drugs and paraphernalia hidden in places he thought you would never look.

I know these feelings intimately: fear, anger, guilt, panic, sadness, confusion, disbelief… and that only names a few.

How do you manage these feelings? What do you do with them? Their intensity is huge and seems to take over, making you behave irrationally, illogically, hysterically — or maybe they completely immobilize you as you sink into despair, not knowing what on earth to do about your young adult’s drug and alcohol addiction.

This was so not a part of my plan back when I first carried that beautiful infant into our home. We watched her grow, taught her to ride a bike, read her stories, held her close and loved her freely.  How did we get here? What happened?

As the depth of my daughter Hallah’s drug and alcohol use became more and more apparent, my husband and I were devastated. I was riddled with feelings of guilt… How had I failed her?  I was so deeply afraid. How far would this go?  Why was this happening and what could I do to bring peace and healing to my family?

Over time I have gained some skills that have helped me manage my emotions better. I still have not “arrived” and probably never will, as this is an ever-changing journey. Given the right circumstances I can quickly fall back into old behaviors and habits.  The difference now is that I have a set of tools that I can pull out and use to get myself back on track. The life I was living in the beginning of this journey was ruled by anger, fear and frustration. I would throw my authority around as the mom to try to bring order where it felt like there was none. 

For the sake of myself, my daughter and the rest of my family I had to figure out how to navigate this rough terrain of drug and alcohol addiction and come out alive and well on the other side with a heart that knew how to give and receive forgiveness and love.

My 5 Best Tools for Coping With My Young Adult’s Drug and Alcohol Addiction:

1. Acceptance
By accepting that our family, our daughter, was in the throes of the disease of addiction and there was no other way out than through, I could get to the business of finding my way. Our life is what it is, filled with joy, skepticism, times of great hope, and also dark times filled with deep sorrow.  I had to learn to embrace the process that we had been thrust into.

2. My Support Network of Friends
If you don’t have a support system of even a few people who are familiar with addiction and the recovery process, begin to build one for yourself.  I sought the help of a counselor who has walked with me for several years now throughout this journey. Her help has been invaluable. I found new friends, parents like myself, in my local Alanon groups. There are also faith-centered recovery groups such as Celebrate Recovery that are available to those families who prefer a Christian approach. Not being alone and having someone I could call any time of the day or night when I needed a listening ear, was huge. These were trusted people I could be completely honest with without the fear of judgment or gossip. I kept phone numbers with me at all times so I knew that help was always only a phone call away.

3. Daily Readings
Every day I read about life in recovery on the topics of enabling, co-dependence and drug and alcohol addiction, from my daily readers. A daily reader is a small book that has a topic and page for each day of the year to encourage you for that day. I found that I was recovering too from the effects of the disease of addiction that had hit our family. A few of my favorite daily readers are:

•  The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie

• Courage to Change: One Day At a Time in Alanon II

• The Promise Of A New Day: A Book of Daily Meditations by Karen Casey and Martha Vanceburg

Each brings new hope for each new day. When I am wrestling with a particular emotion or feeling I can look in the back of the book in the index and find all of the pages on what I am feeling. I look those pages up and find new ideas and new ways of managing difficult situations and feelings.

4. “Letting Go and Letting God”
Understanding that there is truly only so much that I can do to save my daughter. Ultimately her recovery is between her and her Higher Power. The vast majority of parents I have spoken to over the years say that it was nothing that they did that saved their child. It was acknowledging that they were powerless over their child’s drug and alcohol addiction that set them free to be able to love their children with healthy boundaries in place.  That concept removed a lot of the weight of “finding the right answer, the key” that would save my daughter.

5. Good Self Care
Eating food that is healthy for my body, exercising regularly, seeing the doctor and the dentist when I need to, allowing myself times of solitude when I need them, and making time to continue to do things that I love, things that nourish my soul.

Beginning to understand that my feelings simply are what they are, was a good first step for me. How I manage them is another thing altogether. I have choices and options and resources that can help me to keep my feelings from dominating my life while still fully acknowledging them. I can be gentle with myself and admit that dealing with my daughter’s drug and alcohol addiction is a rough road and I won’t walk it perfectly…but I will most certainly do the best I am capable of, and that is good enough.

Posted by  |  Filed under Addiction, Alcohol, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Recovery, Taking Care of Yourself



27 Comments on “Dealing with Feelings: 5 Ways I Cope with My Young Adult’s Drug and Alcohol Addiction”

Lou says:
November 20th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Thanks for this excellent article. “It is what it is” is probably the hardest concept to internalize. Taking care of yourself is a multi pronged effort as you pointed out.



Barbara says:
November 21st, 2009 at 4:12 am

Excellent points that all of us need to remember and learn. Thanks.



Richard Harrison says:
November 24th, 2009 at 7:46 pm

I have a son (16) using and selling pot. it is devastating to me and the rest of the family and when confronted there is nothing but anger i need help.



Lucia says:
November 30th, 2009 at 12:03 am

I wonder just how many parents you saved today? The guilt and torment that we go through each and every day sometimes becomes unbearable. I forget that I have a husband, two normal wonderful children, and grandhildren to live for.

I heard of Alanon a few weeks ago and attended my first two meetings. One in my new home state and one in the state I grew up in. Two very different meetings but a place that I felt safe to share my story and acquire the tools to survive living with the monster of addiction. I will continue to attend Alanon so that one day I can too feel normal and start to enjoy life again. Thank you for sharing.



Annette says:
December 3rd, 2009 at 4:14 pm

Thank you all for your comments. Hi Lou and Barb…thanks for visiting me over here.

Richard I would encourage you to find an Alanon meeting near you and go to at least 6 meetings to give it a fair try. You can find a meeting in your area by going to http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/english.html and clicking their “find a meeting” link. You will find other parents in similar situations and tools to help you navigate this new territory. I pray for courage and good faith to sustain you as you begin your journey.

Lucia, I’m glad that you are going to meetings and learning new ways to live through your heartbreak. Its a tough journey but there did come a point where I realized that I was grateful for the process and all that I was learning along the way. Today despite life not being perfect….I have hope and joy…most of the time. :o )



Mike says:
December 4th, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Thanks for the post.
I love the whole Letting Go and Letting God…and of course my absolute favorite, It is what it is. The second of the two seem to frustrate a number of people I come into contact with, but I remember what is was like when I first started coming around. I was so into trying to control and change things…once i got a handle on why I acted that way it was easier for me to say…it is what it is.



Carey says:
December 7th, 2009 at 8:15 pm

So True.
Learning to understand and accept what one can control, and acceptance of what one cant is essential to getting healthy!



Jody says:
February 16th, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Thank you for taking the time to write this wonderful article. Our family has been dealing with a self-destructive child for many years and over time I have tried to control what I clearly cannot. As difficult a decision as it was my husband and I had to ask our daughter to leave our home as I was beginning to see myself as an enabler. I had once hoped that by giving her a safe, secure environment she would want to become part of it, that never happenend. So now she must navigate her own life her way. We have told her we are here for her when she is ready to admit she has a problem. Now, is a time when I must take care of myself and my 30 year marriage as well as my younger child.

Thank you for the book suggestions. It always helps to have affirmations when one is feeling down.



Carol says:
March 15th, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Thanks so much for the feedback. I have ten years living with my daughter’s addiction. I have attended education meetings for parents at rehabs and Alanon for a few years.
Every now and then, I get into a funk and find myself back to Alanon until it passes. My one biggest fear is that she will not survive this. I just pray that I can handle it.



Susan Lea says:
March 28th, 2010 at 5:42 pm

To Carol, When I read your comments I felt a jolt of pain. I can sooo relate to the fear of my daughter not surviving. I feel helpless at times and I know my daughter is also feeling helpless.

Sometimes I am angry and I have to be careful to not direct that anger at my daughter. I feel afraid that any outburst on my part will just make her addiction worse. This is so ridiculous, but these thoughts go through my head regardless of whether they make any sense.

I no longer feel like it’s something I did wrong. And I no longer feel like it’s my responsibility to fix her. But the fear is very real and never seems to go away.



troubled teenagers says:
October 15th, 2010 at 7:53 am

Thanks for sharing this informative points. As dealing with today’s teenagers is not an easiest things for parents these days, it is always helpful to educate ourselves with latest information on various teens issues.



Genie says:
January 7th, 2011 at 10:41 pm

I have been married for 30 years, have 4 young adult children. 3 out of 4 are doing great. The youngest son of 3 boys, he is turning 23 now has been a struggle all his teenage years. We have tried everything I could possible think of over the years. Therapists, rehab, we lovingly lecture him, never look the other way, we confront him with everything. I followed the advise of his therapist to the letter and that was over 5 years ago and I still am following! The problem only escalates. From pot to alcohol and now to drugs. His prize possessions have disappeared. Anything with any value. His brand new laptop. He works and makes good money and nothing to show for it. He is unreliable when it comes to work though. He skips out out of nowhere. Sometimes he is gone for days. He had ADHD as a child, probably still does but there is not much one can do about that. This is becoming a huge liability in so many ways. I have tried to force him out of the house but he’ll hang around outside like a stray cat. Cops can’t make him leave unless I get a restraining order but that would only bring the police to my house. It’s hard for me to volunteer dramas! But here I am again, I need to get him out. I have to be firm. I love him so much, he was the cutest kid ever. Even now he is smart, funny, handsome. But deviant. My husband and I are so lost it isn’t funny. I have braced myself for anything. I don’t talk to any of my friends anymore because I hate to even talk about this thing. It’s like a plague that I have. I don’t want to share it! I feel so lonely, so isolated. yes I should go to Al anon. I guess I have all the answers. Everything but the one I am really looking for. Oh, did I mention I even tried a hypno therapist for him? That’s the most recent thing. I really have tried everything!



Annette says:
January 8th, 2011 at 12:25 am

Genia, Welcome. I am so glad that you stopped in and posted. The only way I found help was by seeking it out for myself, by allowing others in. Alanon was a safe place to do that. My “regular” friends often did not understand what I was dealing with.

It sounds like YOU have done everything. In Alanon they taught me the three C’s….I didn’t *cause* it, I can’t *cure* it, and I can’t *control* it…but the fourth C is that I can *contribute* to it.

The missing link for so many parents is the understanding that they can not fix this for their child. If and when their child finds sobriety it will be on their own terms when they are ready. In the mean time begin to take care of yourself. I hope that you would please try Alanon. Make a commitment to go to 6 meetings to give it a fair try before you make a decision if its right for you or not. Once the 6 meetings are up, you never have to go back if you don’t want to. The Alanon journey is all about restoring you to sanity and creating a life with some serenity in it….despite whatever choices your son continues to make. Alanon is not about your son. It is about YOU and saving your own life. Your son will be responsible to save his.

I am praying for you Genia. My heart really goes out to you. I know all of those feelings of desperation very intimately.



gerry says:
May 2nd, 2011 at 8:42 pm

I have a 27 year old daughter who is not currently living with me and had drank during college probably more than we were aware, she has a job and her drinking has been getting out of control, four years ago she went in to therapy and that seemed to help but lately the drinking has escalated and around the holidays we had a discussion and she was going to get help and start therapy again well that never happened and now it is getting worse. My husband and I don’t know how to handle this. When we try to talk to her she shuts us out.



Kathy says:
July 4th, 2011 at 3:10 am

I am a single Mother of 3 grown children, my boys are basically fine, but lazy but my youngest, my daughter who is 22 and has an almost 2 year old son, lives with me. She has had alchohol and drug addiction problems since she was 15. Arrested a couple times, DUI, totalled my car but never seems to learn from her mistakes and just doesnt seem to care. I fear telling her to leave because she will take my grandson with her and I fear for his safety. I am at wits end. I know I should Let go and Let God take care of it all. I just feel so much guilt. Her father has no contact with her either, lives far away with a new family of his own.



Carol says:
September 21st, 2011 at 10:23 pm

My beautiful 23 year old daughter is a heroin addict. I tried everything within my power to help her but nothing worked. I finally asked her to leave my home and she is currently in rehab. I am a recovering alcholic so I know what she is going through all too well. I am past the guilt and the shame and accept my powerlessness but the sadness, the all consuming sadness never leaves me. I wanted so much more for her and I’m afraid she will not live to have all the good things in life. I pray, meditate and work my program but somehow I cannot accept the reality of her possible death from her disease. God help me.



Kathy says:
October 15th, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Thank you….



Sylvia says:
February 16th, 2012 at 8:58 pm

If you know someone addicted to those horrible pills please share this poem !!!
I don’t know who wrote this but I found it on facebook. This is so true! It has destoyed so many lifes.
Roxys ; I destroy homes, tear families apart, take your children, & that’s just the start. I’m more costly than diamonds, more costly than gold, the sorrow I bring is a sight to behold, & if you need me, remember I’m easily found. I live all around you, in schools & in town. I live with the rich, I live with the poor, I live down the street, & maybe next door. My power is awesome; try me, you’ll……… see, but if you do, you may never break free. Just try me once & I might let you go, but try me twice, & I’ll own your soul. When I possess you, you’ll steal & you’ll lie. You do what you have to just to get high. The crimes you’ll commit, for my narcotic charms will be worth the pleasure you’ll feel in my arms. You’ll lie to your mother; you’ll steal from your dad. When you see their tears, you should feel sad. But you’ll forget your morals & how you were raised, I’ll be your conscience, I’ll teach you my ways. I take kids from parents, & parents from kids, I turn people from god, & separate from friends. I’ll take everything from you, your looks & your pride, I’ll be with you always, right by your side. You’ll give up everything your family, your home, your friends, your money, then you’ll be alone. I’ll take & take, till you have nothing more to give. When I’m finished with you you’ll be lucky to live. If you try me be warned this is no game. If given the chance, I’ll drive you insane. I’ll ravish your body; I’ll control your mind. I’ll own you completely; your soul will be mine. The nightmares I’ll give you while lying in bed, the voices you’ll hear from inside your head, the sweats, the shakes, the visions you’ll see; I want you to know, these are all gifts from me, But then it’s too late, & you’ll know in your heart, that you are mine, & we shall not part. You’ll regret that you tried me, they always do, but you came to me, not I to you. You knew this would happen. Many times you were told, but you challenged my power, & chose to be bold. You could have said no, & just walked away, If you could live that day over, now what would you say? I’ll be your master; you will be my slave, I’ll even go with you, when you go to your grave. Now that you have met me , what will you do? Will you try me or not? Its all up to you. I can bring you more misery than words can tell. Come take my hand, let me lead you to hell…… They have lead so many young lives to the grave wish there was some way to wake them up !!!! My Daughter has an addiction to the little blue pills and they are surely killing her … I pray to God to please help her to see the problem for what it is … she lost her husband 2 years ago to the very same drug !!! She cleaned up with thru withdrawals was clean for a short time and when right back to using !! She claims she is clean but I know better I know when she is high I can see it I can hear it in her voice…. I feel helpless but when I try to talk to her she just screams at me that she is not using that she is clean… just another of her million lies she tells everyone including herself…I want to get her help but she wont admit she has a problem its always I had a problem I am clean ….. BS I know she is using I want to stop worrying about her but she is single mom now with 3 little boys that really need me because of her condition…. at my wits end with her …. tears in my keyboard….



Mary says:
March 4th, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Thanks. This website is still helping people.



Karen says:
August 17th, 2012 at 12:55 am

My son is 22 I am afraid he will not see 23. He is a herion addict. He has been in rehab twice. I really thought he was gonna make it the second time but had to have surgery and got back on the drugs. I will not allow him to live with me because of past things he has done. His girlfriend who is a herion addict also just moved back to her home town. She has family to help her get clean. They were both homeless. He thinks he can clean himself up if he goes to live on the streets where she lives. I met with him yesterday and he asked me to help with getting a bus ticket. He has been in trouble with the law here and I think he needs to turn himself in. He looks like walking death. If he stays here I fear he will be dead soon. I know let go let God. He is my baby and I cant just turn my back and let him die………….I feel that I am out of options.



Sheila says:
August 21st, 2012 at 10:48 pm

My son is 21 years old and is living back at home after living a year out of town for college with our financial help. He did okay managing his finances while there. He has been living back at home now for a year, working 20-30 hours a week at a night job, and taking one class a semester at Jr. College. His goal is to be accepted to the university in January. Here is the problem: he spends most of his money on pot, his bank account is always overdrawn, he spent his gift card money that was to go towards a new computer and we didn’t find out until after he had the computer. He is on a payment schedule, which he is not keeping up. I have walked into his room several times when he is not home to find his facebook account left open with marijuana ads and pages all over it. He was also assaulted last year by a close friend and now has 3 titanium plates holding his face together. The assailant and the 2 witnesses are lying , so the guy probably will get the charges dropped. This has affected my son emotionally, so now he is on anti-depressants. Oh, did I say he is also ADD/ADHD & on Adderal? The plan was to get him through this semester, get accepted to the university, by a small house for him to live in as an investment for us. But I’m afraid this is just setting him up to live his lifestyle.We have 3 months left to try to get him “together”. What suggestions do you have? Would a contract with him, that includes drug screening and counseling be appropriate? Help…



elisabeth says:
September 11th, 2012 at 7:56 am

My daughter is 21, and has been a heroin addict for 3 yrs. Before that it was alcohol, pills, whatever she could get her hands on. I am a recovering alcoholic. I also have a 3 yr old daughter. My heart is breaking. I want her back at home, but when she was with us, it was chotic, violent, on her part, not to mention difficult having drugs in the house with a young child present. I cannot seem to stop enebling her. I have a deeprooted sense of guilt, and feeling like I owe her. I want to desperately make her well, and at the same time still give her money. I feel like I’m going crazy. I would die if I lose her. This has taken over my life. It consumes me. I feel hopeless, and helpless. I don’t have the money. Or insurance to send her to a decent rehab. My husband, her stepfather,had a restraing order put out on her, and I just can’t accept this. The anger I have towards him is. Undescribable. She will manipulate me until she gets what she wants. Pawning my things, etc. The thing that gets me most is when she says, I CAN’T BE SICK. Then I give in. I want this nightmare to end. I want my beauiful girl back.



Sue says:
September 21st, 2012 at 12:08 pm

My daughter is 21 and was a heroin addict at 17. She was caught in the girls bathroom stealing money from other girls purses. We reeled her in and I put her on house arrest and got her a wonderful therapist. She was clean for three years. She dropped out of school this past fall, broke up with a wonderful boyfreind to start dating her supplier. I don’t know if it is heroin again or prescription meds. I have kicked her out of the house since some of our things were missing and I have two younger children to protect. When she was doing well I co-signed for a car…now I am stuck with car payments. She is sporatic with calling home and she has changed alot in the past 6 months. I always fear the knock on my door from the police, and I am always wondering about her. I have told her when she is ready to make a change in her life that I would do everything possible to help her get into rehab, but she or her “boyfriend supplier” were not welcomein our home unless we were there. It is the hardest thing you have to do as a parent. I have always beleived in one saying that “How do you know when an addict is lying?” “They open their mouths” The trust is gone. I want my child back to what she was. It is very painful for our family to see this happen to her.



Jerry Otero says:
September 21st, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Dear Sue,

Recognizing that your child needs substance abuse treatment can be emotional and overwhelming; and you may feel that the process of finding and getting your child into treatment has taken over your life.

Although you are probably not thinking about yourself right now, one of the smartest things you can do for your child in trouble and your family is to take care of yourself so that you remain strong, healthy and clear headed.

Here are some suggestions for ways to take care of yourself during this difficult time. After considering each step, you may find it rewarding to cross it off the list as you accomplish it.

1. Acknowledge what you are going through as a parent
You may be angry, scared, disappointed, ashamed and unsure what to do. All of these feelings are normal. Take a deep breath and recognize that this is a difficult time for you and your family — it is okay to be feeling a wide-range of emotions.

2. Seek professional counseling for yourself
While your child is battling an alcohol or other drug problem, you’re also struggling with serious issues. “The pain, blame, shame, helplessness, and worry that parents feel are huge,” Dr. Gayle Dakof, Ph.D. explains. “You need to feel that you are not alone, and I believe parents and caregivers need professional help to help them address feelings of blame and shame.”

3. Find a Support Group
Not all support groups are well-run or a good fit for you personally. You may have to shop around until you find a therapist or support group that is the best fit for you and your family.

Al-Anon is a free Twelve-Step program providing support and guidance to help family and friends of people with alcohol problems recover from the effects of living with a problem drinker — whether the person is still drinking or not. Meetings are readily available in most communities across the country.

Nar-Anon is a free Twelve-Step program providing support and guidance to help family members and friends of drug users. Meetings are available in communities across the country.
Additionally, I was wondering if you knew that each Monday night at 9PM Eastern/ 6PM Pacific, SMART Recovery® Volunteer Facilitators provide an online meeting to address specific issues encountered by friends or family members who have a loved one affected by addiction.

The meetings share SMART Recovery® tools that can be implemented by family members to help with emotional upsets, effective communication methods when dealing with loved ones, and more. Techniques employed within the CRAFT program are also shared for the benefit of meeting attendees.

To participate in the Family & Friends meetings, registration is required at the SMART Recovery® Online website: http://www.smartrecoveryforum.org. Meetings are reached via a pulldown menu at the top left corner of the forum pages.

4. Reach Out To Others — In Your Local Community
Think about family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and others in your community who have experiences raising a child with an alcohol or other drug problem.
Make a list of people to reach out to who you think could lend an ear and offer support.

Make an effort to meet up with each person one-on-one so you can share your fears, anger, and concerns with someone who understands and who has been there.

5. Reach Out To Others — Online
Connect with other parents who understand what you’re going through. Visit the online communities available at The Partnership at Drugfree.org to gain wisdom, find comfort and feel less alone.

Helping Hand is safe, non-judgmental place for parents to ask questions — and get answers from experts and parents who have been there.

Read stories of what others have been through — the emotions, the sacrifices and the challenges they have faced. Feel free to share your story too.

Read these parents’ journals where they chronicle the ups and downs of life with an addicted child.

Read brief — and inspiring — Words of Hope from other parents.

Continue to visit our Intervene blog, our community of parents concerned about their child’s alcohol and drug use: http://www.drugfree.org/intervene

6. Do Things That Makes You Feel Better
Whether it’s taking long walks, exercising, or having coffee with a friend, take time out for yourself to do the things you enjoy. Scheduling even a little bit of daily or weekly “me-time” can be healthy and ultimately help you be more focused on helping your child.

7. Some parents find it helpful to write a letter to their child. The simple act of putting words onto paper can be cathartic — allowing you to express your feelings to your child in a way you might be able to in person.

You don’t need me however, to tell you that there are no easy answers nor are there any quick-fix solutions to these problems. If you are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, I urge you to call me at the Parent Helpline at The Partnership at Drugfree.org. (number below). The call is free and anything we discuss will be held in the strictest of confidence.
Until then, I wish you and your family, all the best.

Jerry Otero MA
Parent Support Specialist
1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373)



Lynne says:
October 12th, 2012 at 1:14 am

Something happened to my daughter her senior year of high school. There was a dramatic personality change, violent outbursts and she she had been cutting herself. She was coming home drunk and not going to school. We have tried talking, taking everything away, taking her to counseling and nothing works. She has since moved out on her own. Just recently she got a ticket for illegal consumption of alcohol and got her license suspended for 3 months. She continues to go out partying and this last time did not show up for work or call for 3 days. She came came back with a black eye and a cracked rib saying she was in a car accident. I do not know whether to believe that because she has told so many lies. She has gotten in some fights because of drinking. I am so sad because before her senior year she was a totally different girl. Smart, athletic, beautiful, full of hope and promise. I am so depressed on how she is turning out. I am checking to see where some meetings are in my area. Maybe if I go, she will go with me? I continue to pray.



Julia says:
February 7th, 2013 at 2:36 am

My daughter went missing last October. She was 19 and addicted to heroin, injecting for about three months before we learned the truth. Before that it was ecstasy at raves, pot, and pill use. We got her into counseling and then two different treatment centers, but these attempts failed because although she admitted she had a problem, she was hostile to intervention on anyone else’s terms. She believed she could handle her addiction on her own. Over several years, we were told she had a mood disorder, possibly bipolar or borderline. She was often extremely angry and refused any psychiatric medication, bouncing from intense boyfriend relationships, school truancy, and never able to keep any friendships with other girls. After graduating early from an alternative school, her oppositionality continued in the workplace. She felt that once she turned 18, no one could tell her anything. Legally she was right. Since she did not want to move out of state to our new location, she chose to stay behind. We told her we would not support her if she lived away from home. That was the only boundary we felt able to do. Now she is gone, after having turned to degrading methods to support herself and her addiction. It breaks my heart, I blame myself for not being able to get through to her. I feel guilty that I was not loving enough to her during her emotional tsunamis of the past few years. Mostly I am just terribly sad that she is possibly dead. If I could do it over, I would have joined Al-Anon many years ago; I would have learned about addiction and the brain damage it causes; I would have tried relentlessly to find the right doctor or specialized school to reach her and save her. It is a terrible outrage that there’s so little addiction treatment that is available or effective. I find it impossible to accept that we’re left with “letting go”. To me, that is a passive way to accept the unacceptable place we’re in medically, where so many youth are lost to drugs. Instead I wish there were a way to fight for change, in the mental health/addiction field, health insurance, HIPPA laws, even the ability to commit someone over the age of 18 to the necessary long-term care that would allow the brain to heal from addiction so that the person could again make rational choices. Short term treatment doesn’t work in many cases. I am grief-stricken, bereft, and robbed of my daughter. Yes, boundaries are necessary, but never give up on your loved one who has the disease of addiction. I wish I had my daughter here today, but she is gone.



susan diane stokes says:
June 26th, 2013 at 6:28 am

I have a 19 year old grand daughter that is taking drugs drinking way to much fighting constantly her mom and I don’t have a clue what we can do to get her help she is all but homeless was working 2 jobs took college courses from 9th grade til she graduated with a 4.0 grade average liked one semester having her tech license to work in pharmacy got with wrong crowd and sinse jan hasn’t tried to do anything its drinking drugging partying and fighting all the time is there any thing out there that we can do to get help with very little money and her being 19 my health is bad had stroke and having heart probs to this is really getting me down she is such a smart beautiful girl killing us to see her throw it all away if anyone knows what I can do to help her my email is mclennandiane@yahoo.com would appreciate any sugestions thanks




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