How do you do it?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by NervousNelly, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. NervousNelly

    NervousNelly New Member

    Hello everyone. This is my first post here. I've only been reading this forum for a few days, but everything is so relatable to me! I have a question for those that have been thru it, but let me give you a little background first.

    My adult daughter is dual diagnosed-bi polar and drug addict. Her drug of choice at the moment is meth. I have only known about her meth use for a few months and just learned 2 days ago that her drug use spans the course of about 17 years. I'm still trying to absorb that and it hasn't completely sunk in yet. She has done many of the same things many of you have gone through; the lying, stealing, getting in your face yelling, etc etc. She can get violent when coming off the drug and we've had to call the police once because she was so out of control. She is currently unemployed, living at home and living off of unemployment. She had 2 arrests recently (her only 2) for possession, her license is suspended over unpaid tickets and her registration on her car has expired. She has been living at home since about Feb of this year. So far, she has made no attempt to pay the tickets to get her license back, no attempt to get the car registered so she can drive without being stopped, no real attempt to find work. She currently attends PC1000 classes (court ordered) and takes public transportation for that, however yesterday she started driving her car after having not driven it since her 1st arrest in May. She had a loser boyfriend who manipulated and stole from her and from my husband and I, tried to kill her at one point, got her hooked on meth and so on and so on.

    Ok, I'm getting to my point.....:)....I hear alot of you talking about making your kid leave the house for a variety of reasons. I am currently struggling with this tremendously. So much has happened, that it would be so much better if she found someplace else to live. However, she has one friend (literally...all the rest ran away) but she can't live with that friend. She has no place else to go but home but things just keep getting worse. How do I ask her to leave when she has no place to go? I will not have her homeless...I just can't do it. Can some of you share your experiences around this? It might help me. I haven't decided yet whether or not I will ask her to leave, but I am afraid it may come down to it sooner rather than later.

    Any advice/suggestions/stories you can share would be much appreciated. Thanks so much.
  2. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    Hi NN :eek:),

    you didn't say how old your daughter actually is - but you refer to drug use for the last 17 years, so I am assuming she is at least in her 30ies?

    While I personally have no experience with drug users, I have had more than my share of alcoholics in my life - and looking at any addiction [no matter what type] it always comes down to the one thing - if they are not willing to battle the addiction on their own behalf, no matter what you are going to do for them, it is simply a bandaid slapped on a festering sore that will not improve at all. You are just delaying the unavoidable - for her to get better, to make better choices and to get on her own feet rather than having someone else sacrificing their own money, space, freedom, trust etc to put her up and to put up with her - she must make the decision to get better, to get sober, to deal with her addiction and to get help. Prior to her getting to this point - you are just throwing good money after bad. This may be harsh as your first response here, but it is what it is.

    Look at where you are right now - she is again living with you, fortunate enough to be drawing unemployment, probably not sharing your household expenses, and chances are she is not doing much house work, garden/yard work or working for free in your business to help offset the expenses you are occuring on her behalf. She is having her cake and eating it too as long as she can live with you. She is still making "comfort zone choices" and not taking the opportunity you have given her to recoup and start over. Furthermore you are probably feeling very uncomfortable, not relaxed, and not safe or trusting with her in your home. I think you been there and done that, and it still is the same as it was before, right?

    There are women's shelters, homeless shelters, rehab clinics which she probably would qualify for, paid by the state [well maybe not right now until they get their budget woes out of the way]. If she draws unemployment, it might be enough to afford a room mate situation or efficiency apartment. Get her up and going and looking for a job and charge her rent and upkeep if she is staying with you. At least you will get some of that money [which you can set aside for helping her later on if you wish] - instead of a drug dealer. Give her your lawn mower and send her off to cut somebodies grass - there are always some folks who need that. Make her volunteer somewhere to keep her busy if all she does is sit around and watch Tv, be on the computer or mope. Make it uncomfortable and get her activity level up. it's kind of late for spring cleaning - but hey! Get her to turn the entire house upside down, wash the walls, paint, clean out kitchen cabinets, trim the bushes, etc etc - I am sure you will be able to find something. Volunteer her help to your friends [only if she is trustworthy enough not to steal!]. Either she will leave on her own, or will eventually get tired of you pushing her and it will come to a head that way - at least you will hear from her directly how she feels about you then, though it probably won't be pretty! Seriously - are you really ready to sacrifice your life all over again to take care of her?
  3. keista

    keista New Member

    Welcome. I just wanted to offer a friendly welcome and some support.

    What MuM said sounds right on the money. I'm sure others with similar experiences will be by to share their "harsh" opinions. Yes, it's in quotes intentionally because it seems harsh, just like it seems harsh to kick your own child to the curb, but that is really the only way to save her life as well as yours.

    One way to put it into perspective is to think of what she is going to do with herself if you were to die today. She still has not learned to take care of herself, she'll end up homeless anyway. Hmmmmm You have a small but sizeable estate? Yeah, OK. I'll give it 2 years before she smokes, snorts, or shoots it away, and then what? She still hasn't learned to take care of herself and is homeless again.

  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    This is not my usual response but...have you gone to Dr. Phil's webiste about drug addicts? Truthfully I haven't. on the other hand, I have dealt with pot and booze plus some unusual circumstances but evem our addict knows people who are on meth and see's them as in major danger. He even avoids being around them and with his issues he usually is everybody's friend. I think you are in a different league now and frankly her life is in danger. Knowing that your difficult child's life is in jeopardy can and should change the way you think about her safety. I'm sorry. This response is harsher than almost all I've posted in the past eleven years but I don't think you realize that by allowing her to could lose her. I do sincerely send caring and supportive thoughts your way but this situation requires your action. DDD
  5. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    Actually - not only is her life probably in danger [both from the meth use plus potential dealer issues] - have you given any thought that yours might be too? That your home, car, property, identity and everything you own and are has just been potentially be put on the market for the highest bidder? If you thought I sounded mean in my first post below, pls give some thought about the hideous things and crimes some kids [adults] do when seriously hardcore addicted and in serious need of more of their choice of poison.

    Please protect yourself, regardless of what you decide to do. If she is truly meth addicted, that is much more serious than just dope, or pot/weed. I very much doubt that she'll be able to climb out of that type of addiction without institutionalized rehab and long term recovery plans. Do you suspect she is using right now, while in the house with you? Please think about your own safety [and anyone elses who lives with you too] first!
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board, NN

    Suddenly discovering your child has been an addict for 17 yrs is quite an enormous thing to absorb. The best peice of advice I can think to give you is to find an al anon meeting and attend. (there may be ones specifically for addicts but where I live it was for both) Educating yourself is the best thing you can do.

    Next thing I have to say may sound odd. The thing with addicts is, you can't diagnosis them with a mental disorder while they're using. Too many "addiction" behaviors mimic mental disorders to get an accurate diagnosis. Most of the time there is no mental disorder. It's just all addictive behavior. This was something that frustrated me no end with my best friend, who was addicted to heroine......and probably a few other things and was an alcoholic. She was also diagnosed with bipolar and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and medicated for them. BUT her docs never knew she was an alcoholic nor addict. Finally when I went with her during her visits, I made sure they knew, but then she'd lie to them and tell them she was clean when she wasn't. A popular thing with addicts is to seek out mental health "treatment" to have access to prescription medication to either sell or use for reasons other than stability. Which is most reputable docs refuse to diagnosis an addict with a mental disorder until they've been clean and sober for several months. My bff literally got "drunk" off her medication.....the ones she couldn't use for this she sold to pay for her heroine.

    No parent wants to see their child homeless. But being homeless isn't the end of the world. Nor does it mean you have to just put her on the street. You can contact local homeless shelters and have her taken there.

    The problem with addicts and alcoholics is that they have to feel the consequences of their choices in order to eventually reach the point of seeking treatment. For many, this includes living on the street or much worse. The drug is their world, their universe. Regardless of what they say, it means more to them than anything else in the world. Their entire life is focused on getting that drug, and even when they do get it, on getting the next high. Nothing else matters. Not food, not clothing, not shelter, not family or friends. Nothing. It's all about the drug. Period.

    I'm so very sorry you're having to deal with this. Addiction is a nightmare for everyone involved.

  7. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Welcome NN.... it is awful dealing with addiction and especially something like meth. I feel for you. I second the advice of going to Alanon... if you can find a parents meeting that is great. I have found it so incredibly helpful to meet other parents who truly understand what we are going through... it just lifted a weight off my shoulders.

    And then really think is what you are doing really helping her? Is it allowing to continue with her drug use? If it is then you are not helping her and in fact probably can't help her until she wants to help herself. There are homeless shelters out there. I would not let her drive the car at all if you suspect at all that she is using any sort of drug... too dangerous for her and for everyone else.

    And even if you do tell her she can't live there it does not mean that you have to stop loving her or letting her know you love her.... you may have to do this because you love her so much.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome to the board Nelly. You have really hit a difficult milestone with your daughter. Like the others, I think it makes a bit of difference in the age of your daughter. If the adult child is a very young adult, you might have a bit more influence but I have a feeling your adult child is at least 30 given the drug of choice and the number of years she has been using. 17 years is a long time. I doubt she started as a toddler.

    I have only known a few meth users. That is not a pretty drug. Your daughter needs extreme help now but unless she wants it, you cant want it for her. The only thing you can do is to make your rules in your home and life to be strong and strict and if she refuses to follow them, she has to go. Where is really not your problem with a grown adult. It truly isnt. I know you dont want to put her out on the streets...especially with a daughter but it may be the one thing that saves her life. In most places there are shelters but I wont say all because there arent shelters here that I know least none for men...maybe for women. Maybe for drug abusers.

    I know you think you could never ask her to leave. You need to rethink that position. If she keeps being allowed to stay in your home, you are actually providing her the funds to continue to use meth. Is that what you want to do?
  9. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    I will be back for a much longer reply as I know too well the shoes you stand in and I am at work at the moment...

    My difficult child will be 18 in two months. We did not kick her out, but after I found the last meth pipe in my home back in February, I told her she had to go to rehab if she wanted to continue living at home. She made the choice to not live at home and we have stuck by that. How else are they ever going to change?? What motivation do they have to change? They have a roof over their head, food in their belly, etc. Why change a thing?? Now I continue to offer rehab and three months paid of sober living and I will always offer that. Is it hard? You bet!!! Do I cry? All the time!!! But this is the ONLY thing I can do to help save her from herself.

    I'll be back - (((HUGS)))
  10. NervousNelly

    NervousNelly New Member

    Oh all have said some powerful things and it's really made me sit up and listen. Thank you for your honesty and concern.

    My daugher is 29...will be 30 in a couple of months. And a correction...she's been addicted 12, not 17, years (I was never very good at math!). Not that that matters. And you are correct; she does not share household expenses and doesn't help around the house much unless I ask her to. If I ask her, she is more than willing to do it. Her 2nd arrest I bailed her out on the condition she paid me back immediately. Of course it never happened. I have made it clear to her now if she's arrested again, no bail from me (the 1st arrest her boyfriend bailed her out, but he's out of the picture now thank God!) and I will stand by that no matter how painful.

    I am realizing more and more that I am such an enabler. I never realized that before; always thought I was protecting or taking care of her; helping her. I am seeing that I am doing no such thing and probably only hurting her chances of getting sober. We do not trust her in our home anymore, but feel that we have no choice since we have to work and she has no place to go. We have been fortunate in that nothing has been stolen other than some credit cards her boyfriend stole while we were on vacation. So far, she hasn't resorted to stealing from us.

    She doesn't seem to be using while at home. It's only when she leaves for a few days to "stay with friends" that she uses, so she's only using about once or twice a week. I use the word "only" very lightly. I have gone thru her room a couple of times since the last arrest and find nothing to hint she's using at home. No pipes, no little baggies, no other paraphenalia. I have made it clear she is not to have that stuff in our house. Don't know if she'll continue to honor that or not. Probably not at some point.

    I will be attending an alanon meeting next week. husband and I discussed it, and he's not comfortable with the alanon group thing, but I have no problem with it so I will be attending. I've also purchased a couple of books "At Wit's End" and "Enabler". I've heard those are powerful books and will be reading them.

    I never considered her bipolar diagnoses possibly being the result of drug use. I'm going to speak with her about that and ask if she was using during the time she was diagnosed. She seems to be honest with me lately, so I'm going to take advantage of that. Her current therapist does know that she uses.

    I am getting more and more uncomfortable and more and more paniced as this progresses. It keeps going thru my head "she's my daughter...I can't abandon her. I can't kick her out" while at the same time I'm wondering if I'm doing more harm than good. I guess in other words, I don't know what the frack to do. I think in my head I know, but I'm just not strong enough yet to do it.

    PatriotGirl, I look forward to hearing back from you. Again, thank you all so much. You have really helped to give me things to think about that I hadn't considered before.

    I'm so sad :(
  11. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    As I understand Meth - there is no 'once a week'. How did you learn she has been on Meth for 12 years?
  12. NervousNelly

    NervousNelly New Member

    We found out because she was arrested for possession; twice in two weeks!
  13. Ellenm0m

    Ellenm0m New Member

    Okay, finally something I can actually weigh in on....I am a drug addict, and my drug of choice was Meth...I have been clean for 16 years last may. I was an occassional user, in that I only used on weekends and only when i was with my friends..never used at home or by myself. I used for 4 years and never went beyond that "weekend user" phase, although I watched boyfriend at time and a couple of friends go well beyond that.

    Paraphernalia (sorry about my spelling)...I used an old compact that had a mirror, took the powder out and kept my baggie and my razor blade in it, and when mom looked through my stuff, she thought it was just makeup - she never found it.

    I actually quit when I saw a friend of mine OD, it scared the **** out of me......1 years later I quit smoking and drinking (I found out I was pregnant with difficult child).

    My mom never had to bail me out of jail, and I never got kicked out. Not sure if my using was only because I wanted to get along with my friends (whichin retrospect were not good friends) because I do not recall it being a happy time in my life. Also, now I have horrible tooth problems because of the meth - I am 39 and am scheduling appointments for all my teeth to be removed and dentures fitted because they are breaking and cracking and hurt all of the time! If I only knew then what i know now, right??

    Anyway, from an addict to a may have to do a more in depth checkof stuff to find paraphernalia, and it may be soemthing she keeps in her purse all of the compact was very easy to hide. Oh, and check any removable mirrors near her room for powder around the edges where the wood meets the glass....just remembered that one.
  14. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    Hi NN - good to hear back from you!

    We all love our kids and want to protect them - no matter what it is. It is really hard, to take a step back and detach a bit so one can see better what needs doing. I think you are doing great - you've taken first steps in reaching out for help and knowledge - and you are aware that there is a problem that is beyond your ability as a mom to fix. Alanon - I know there are also similar help groups for specifically the friends and families of drug addicts [do a search for Narkotics Addictions] - is great, I am glad you are going! You will meet many people there in real life who have gone or are going through the same issues you are, and they will share the tools with you how to deal better with it on your end.

    Talk to her about going to AA oor NA herself. Perhaps even make it a condition of her continued stay.

    Keep her busy - write her a honey-do list every day before you go to work and insist that she does the things [all of them]!

    Help her get motivated looking for a job. Scour the classifieds together, give her a ride to apply for jobs [don't let her use her own car until she gets a new tag and insurance reinstated!], make her walk into stores to pick up applications or drop off resumes [or whatever she needs to be doing in order to land a job]. Make sure she dresses appropriately.

    I would do another search for drug paraphernalia - now that you have a better idea of what to look for, and also where to look for. Insist on frequent drug testing while she is in the house, and make that part of your conditions for her to be able to stay, if that is what you are deciding to do.

    Write up a contract, put it on paper, and make her sign it and also make sure she does understand that you will hold her to it, no matter what happens. Line out the consequences for breach of contract, and most importantly - do be prepared to follow through. Do not put anything in writing which you know you will not be able to enforce. If you need to take her by the hand to [re]teach how to budget and be responsible, then do so.

    Put a time limit on the contract - 30 days to find a job; 3 months to save up enough for rent + utility deposits to get a place of her own. Get her car reactivated [make her pay for it]. Show her how you run your budget, teach her how to coupon or shop smart with a tight budget in mind. And all along make her do the housekeeping, yard work, car washing, cooking dinner, etc etc at your house. NA [AA] meetings once a day, min. 5 times or more a week. Get her up and moving - I truly believe that keeping active will help some and will also help her rest better. She should also go walking/running/exercising every day; getting fit, maybe slimming down some or building up muscle tone will help building her confidence and in the long run making her feel better about herself.

    I still think you are just prolonging the inevitable, but I also understand the need to "try just one more time"... Do have your rules laid down though, and be prepared to follow through once she breaks them.

    Wishing you the very best - both of you! Hugs!
  15. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    I don't have any experience but wanted to say "hi". I can only imagine how sad you must be to see your difficult child in such a dysfunctional state. I think you have gotten a great deal of good advice from those who have been there and done that.
    Putting her out isn't abandoning her. If she does what she needs to get healthy and productive, you will help and support her but if she chooses to go down the path of addiction and irresponsibility she must have consequences. Those consequences is no home and no help.
    Famous mantra in my house is "do to get". What is she willing to do to get the home and life she has with you?
  16. NervousNelly

    NervousNelly New Member

    Again, I thank you all so much. I am taking all of your advice and processing it. I need to make a decision sometime soon here if she's not willing to get help.

  17. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Sorry it took me so long to get back here. Work has been crazy!!! Forgive me, this is going to be long - I am trying to tell you my story in a post. :)

    My difficult child still has not learned that drugs have caused her to lose everything. She was expelled from school for selling pills (TWICE!!!!), she has lost every good friend she ever had and now she is homeless and has been for six months straight now. She has been on probation since being caught at school and currently has a warrant out for her arrest. She had to settle for getting her GED at 16. I tried pushing her into college, but she badly flubbed the entrance exams because she was crashing. I was so desperate to save her. I thought if I could only get her in to school she would be busy and not on drugs. Yeah. Right.

    My difficult child would take off for days at a time, using with her "friends" and then come back home to crash, eat everything in our kitchen, sleep for days and treat everyone like dirt because she was a you-know-what when she was crashing. I came to realize we were being used as a crash pad and that was it. My husband and I both have careers. My husband travels a lot. So if she stayed here, there was NO ONE here to police her activity. No one to make sure she was doing anything for her future. I believe she was also selling drugs out of my home, or at least arranging deals from my home. I actually witnessed her handing something to someone in a car in MY driveway. I have a younger son that I needed to think about. We tried everything. I had her committed - twice. Each time she was out in less than two weeks! I called rehabs - funny thing, well not really funny, pretty angering actually. You would think that if they are under 18, you can force them into rehab. Nope. Rehabs won't take them if they are not willing. We sent her far away to live with my mom. All she did was treat them all like dirt and take steps to destroy their lives. Had to ship her back here. Around Christmas last year, we allowed her to come back on the premise that she would not bring drugs into our home and she would receive treatment. She agreed and then fought it when I tried to find a place. But she seemed clean, though, and we had hope. husband and I both has substance issues at one point in our lives (when we were 18 - early 20's) and neither one of us had to go to rehab to quit. We thought maybe she would be the same. She was here a month and everything was going great but then she started taking off again and falling in to the same old patterns. I had suspicions but she kept passing the drug tests. One day when she was at a park finishing her community service hours, I had arranged for her to have a job interview. It would have been more than 40 hours a week waiving a sign in front of a store in the next town. I was thrilled! Here was an opportunity to save her! She would be busy almost every day! I texted her to let her know and told her I would go find an outfit for her to change into before the interview. I went upstairs, opened a drawer and saw a black bag with a drawstring on it. My heart sunk. I knew what it was. When I pulled it out, it was a glass pipe covered in white powder. When I called her on it, she was just mad that I went through her stuff. It was then I told her she HAD to go to rehab if she wanted to live here. She decided she wouldn't live here and has been homeless for six months straight now. But, I am holding firm. As HARD as it is, and believe me it is HARD, it is my only choice.

    I do still pay for her cellphone. It is the one thing I can check and know that she is alive. I do see her once in a while. She has gained weight and looks a lot better than she did before, but she has been honest with me and told me she still uses once in a while. :(

    They say the RIGHT thing to do is always the HARDEST thing to do. It would be so easy to save her. So easy to go pick her up and say she can come back home so that I would feel better. I wouldn't have to worry if she was cold, hot, hungry, etc. But what good does that actually do her? None. Not a dang thing. If anything, it would help KILL her. She would have NO reason to be clean. Why would she? She would be able to party and then come back to a nice house and have everything provided for.

    My honest advice for you? YES, you are definitely enabling. No, I don't think "contracts" or "honey do lists" or even random drug tests would do anything (meth only lasts in the system a couple of days). I have been there, done that. They need true motivation to quit. Do NOT prevent her from hitting bottom. You WANT her to hit bottom - THAT is the motivation to change. FOR HER, you need to let her know that she needs to go to treatment or she canot live her cushy life on your bill. If she refuses treatment, I am sure there is a Salvation Army that you could direct her to. DO not fear her being homeless. That may be what it takes to save her.

    (((HUGS))) and keep coming back here - the support from this board is what strengthened my resolve and keeps it strong!!

    - Michelle
  18. compassion

    compassion Member

    PG, Thanks for sharing!! compassion
  19. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Unfortunately, it is such a small snippet of all we have been through..... :(
  20. NervousNelly

    NervousNelly New Member


    Thank you so very much for sharing your story. Your difficult child sounds very much like mine except I don't think she's selling. Her patterns seem to follow the same as your difficult child's; gone for days, then comes back to crash. I'm just now realizing this is what is happening (denial is a terrible thing). She always seems so sincere when she is home, only to fall back into the using habit once again. With her also having bipolar disorder and not taking her medications, she is crashing right now and having a rough time. I will say though, that she has decided to stay at a friends house until she gets better so that she doesn't bring it around us. Just can't take the crying and wailing and self pity and suicidal threats any more so I'm glad she's staying away. The friend doesn't use so I'm hoping she won't while she's staying there. I don't know....anymore I can't tell what's a lie and what's the truth and I think almost everything she says is a lie but I'm not sure. Make sense? At some point, I think she will be given an ultimatum of rehab or out of the house. I just can't do it yet. But I do believe I'm getting there.

    Thanks again :)