Back again

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by LeaMac, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. LeaMac

    LeaMac New Member

    Hi Everyone,

    I haven’t posted in a long while, but frequently turn here for a lift when things get rough. My daughter, almost 30 now, has been challenging since age 14, when she started cutting. She was diagnosed bipolar at 20, and for awhile seemed to be on the right path, taking her medications, going to school. In her early 20s though she dropped out and began a jagged life of short, tumultuous relationships, failed jobs, and (I realize now) drug use. She broke things in our home, stole from us, lied constantly, and after moving out, broke into our home to steal again. Fast forward five years- she has had two children with two different men. Both babies have been removed from her, and she failed to meet the custody requirements of the court: get a job, see a psychiatrist, show proof of residency. I have urged her to see a psychiatrist, go to AA, get a job! All suggestions are met with derision and cursing.

    We have laid down boundaries and, to protect ourselves, haven’t seen her in almost three years. She is our only child, and we feel terrible about not having her with us for the holidays, or picturing her homeless, hungry, etc. But, like all of you, we have spent $1000s to try to get her moving forward- a car, rent, court fees. Nothing has helped, and I’m sure much of our support went to pay for heroin and meth.

    I have her blocked, but she keeps getting new phone numbers and contacting me. So I recently replied, trying to get her to see that we are older, inching toward 70, with fixed incomes and medical bills. That we do not see her as our responsibility any longer. I was deluding myself into thinking that at almost 30, her thinking would change, some sense of responsibility would come with age, that she would learn from her dreadful mistakes. That we would be able to have a normal relationship.

    Today, it is cold and dreary here, with sleet and rain. She texted her dad asking for $50 to pay for heat. He refused and she reacted with foul language, accusing us of wanting her to fail. It occurred to me- she has been asking us for $50 every few weeks for over ten years now! and raging if we didn’t give it to her.

    So, like all of you, I read the posts here. I try to enjoy my retirement, (and I am). But I do feel guilty, and fearful, and work to ignore the sense of obligation that is always in the back of my mind. I really appreciate the honest sharing that goes on at this site, and wish you all the best with your struggles.
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear LeaMac

    I'm sorry for the pain that brings you here again. There was a member here long ago who used to say, "you have to be able to look yourself in the mirror." Cedar also used to say "what we do for our troubled adult child" we do for ourselves."

    Implicit in this for me is this: We no longer have the sense that anything we do or don't do will help or change our child. We think only in what would make us feel better about ourselves, and the relationship.

    I don't think anything you do or don't do will affect whether your daughter is cold, wet or safe. I don't think anything you do or don't do will affect her motivation to change. I don't think anything you do or don't do will stop or discourage her drug use.

    The key thing here is how you feel. What enables you to sleep each night. What allows you to pursue your own joy and contentment.

    If paying $50 a month or every 3 weeks allowed you to have peace, then do it, if you have the money. If by paying $50 a month you felt you were helping her kill herself, then no. Don't send it.

    Personally. Hearing your story and hers, I might want to continue sending the money every few weeks or once a month, if I had it. Why? First of all, something brought you here today. Not sending the money disturbed you or you wouldn't have come back. Maybe sending the money helps you to let go. Maybe it's guilt. Whatever. If it allows you to rest, to look yourself in the mirror, isn't it worth it? I think also that the money may be a way to stay connected. It gives your daughter a way to be connected to you, in the way that she can tolerate. This is not bad. She's not asking for thousands. Maybe it's symbolic to her. Maybe she feels abandoned, and therefore the anger is a cover story. Maybe it's not the cash after all. It's what the cash symbolizes to her. Maybe she uses the demand as a way to feel close to you. The money is also a way for you to stay connected to her.

    Of course, if you believe that the $50 will go to heroin or meth, and this would cause you distress, don't do it.

    The other way to look at this is that her phone call to you awoke the sleeping dragons that you had put to rest. While discomforting this is another opportunity to find in yourself the resources to face the reality of your daughter's life, to affirm your love for her, and to pray that she come to recover.

    And, of course, you have to work this out with your husband. But the first thing to do is to figure out what you need. Everything else, to me, is secondary. Take care.
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  3. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    You really are not obligated to pay anything for your daughter anymore. And you know that .It's the feeling of obligation that is tripping you up. See if you can change your thoughts around this which will then produce different feelings. Thoughts like "when I give daughter money, I enable her addiction", "when I don't give money, she has a chance of wanting to get help", "an addict has to come to the end of herself", "I need to let go and let God and get out of God's way" .

    I know it's hard. It is hard to focus on myself and take care of me first. In my case, I have to get my children off my health insurance by the next enrollment period , because I need to focus on saving that $200 for my retirement.

    Your daughter's addiction has taken so much from you already: she has lied to you, stolen from you, you have lost the sweet girl she used to be when she was little. She disrespects you, and is verbally abusive. Everyone in AA and NA would tell you to let her hit her bottom . You did not cause this, you can't control it , and you can't cure it. You can contribute to her disease by giving her money .
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    "You can contribute to her disease by giving her money." This for sure is so. To me, however, there is a difference between $500 a month, and $50 a month. To me, $50 a month will not stand in the way of hitting bottom. $500 might. $50, no, in my opinion.

    Our children are more than a disease. They are our children.

    There are other ways to look at addiction. The harm reduction model, for example, puts value on maintaining a connection, on the symbolic importance of support, even if it's through something material, when it can't be through direct contact.

    I think there is room for a variety of responses to our wayward and destructive children. Sometimes we want to maintain some connection with them for reasons other than the self-destructive, i.e. fear, obligation and guilt. For example, because we love them; because we want to maintain a tie, however tenuous, because we want to live in hope, even though there is no earthly reason that they have given us, that our hope makes sense. Or we want to stay connected just because; so that our lives make sense to us or we want to know they are still alive. Or because our beliefs about life, and who we are, mandate our giving, even a tiny amount. (After all, we send money in response to the sad and forlorn pictures of children in poverty in foreign lands, and homeless pets. Where we know not where that money goes. We only want to feel as we have done something. Why not with our kids?)

    But in the end there is no need to justify why. If you believe you are supporting addiction and that this is wrong, you have one way to understand what you choose. But you have a range of options.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  5. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    She is a heroin addict and every dime you give her will go to drugs. Twenty dollars will. One dollar. Anything. in my opinion don't do it. No cash.

    We stopped giving our daughter cash once she left our house. We bought her things but no cash. Cash of any amount in an addict's hand is dangerous. She may panhandle (common), steal and some even prostitute for drug money and the $50 is a motivating start to illicit activities. I weep knowing that my daughter did all these things. But I refused to give her a head start with my money.

    You have nothing to gain by giving your sick daughter cash. This is not the ticket to being healthier yourself or for encouraging her to get help. If you need to do so perhaps getting into therapy and Al Anon (one or the other or both) can teach you better coping skills. I know I needed both. Trust me, I know how it feels. I'm grateful to have found third party help. I could not have gotten better without. I think many people need therapy when faced with an addicted love one. I don't see how anyone can handle this big a problem with no outside support and guidance.

    You are a good person. You can feel better about yourself without handing money to your addicted daughter. And you and she will both be better off for it. We in my opinion need to find healthy ways to deal with our troubled loved ones. We can become just as troubled if we get no help. Jmo.

    As they say in Al Anon, take what you need and leave the rest. From all of our advice to you.

    Prayers and hugs.
  6. LeaMac

    LeaMac New Member

    Thanks you all for your supportive statements. They reinforce what my therapist tells me and what I already know, but hearing them again from all of you helps so much! Her asking for $50 is just like when she was actively using (but we didn’t realize it) , so I am not tempted to go down that road. Even when I bought her things like a warm winter coat, it disappeared- sold I guess for drug money. I have entertained the idea of taking her a meal, or meeting her at a restaurant. But anytime in the past that I made such a gesture, her demands skyrocketed. I am scared to relax the boundaries we have in place.

    Last evening we heard a car door slam outside and both of us froze, worried that she might show up at the door. She lives an hour away and has no car, but still we panicked briefly. My therapist has warned me that once she is inside our home, it could be difficult to remove her if she refuses to leave.

    I feel like a gulf is slowly opening between me and my friends, with their normal adult children and increasing numbers of grandchildren. They know my story up to a year ago, but I just can’t keep adding to it. No one knows what to say and it makes me feel even more estranged when they try to come up with supportive words.

    So thank you all for the much needed pep talk.i guess you all know how much it helps.
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 2
    • List
  7. skittles

    skittles Member

    Wow, I feel for you and your decisions. I too come here infrequently now and have done so for years. Again whenever I get overwhelmed or question my judgement. The wealth of experience on this forum is a life saver. It is also a safe place with no judgement. I understand the gulf you feel from others with healthy children. My son went to prison for armed robbery. I didnt tell anyone other than my husband for nearly 2 years of his sentence. I was ashamed and embarressed, I lied at holidays etc about why he wasnt there. I knew people would be uncomfortable. I was grieving the loss of every dream of a future i had for my son, but we no support in that grief because we didnt tell anyone. So I understand that gulf very well. As for your daughter asking for $50, although it doesn’t sound like much and you may be feeling guilty for not giving it to her, you in your heart know it’s not about that $50. it’s the boundary that $50 represents. she knows you’ve set boundaries and so she’s trying to set a lower bar to see if she can get you to cross it. And honestly $50 isn’t going to make her break her, she’ll survive without it. for some people the $50 is worth keeping that connection like another poster has said. I do give my son money just to stay connected now and then. I don’t give him a whole lot but he’s currently relatively stable for him and living with a girlfriend who has three children. honestly I’m afraid if I don’t give him a little money now and then so he can help contribute to the household she will kick him out and he’ll show up on my door step, And then I’ll have to send him away and it’s heartbreaking. that’s just my way of dealing with him everyone has their own. only you know what the consequences of giving into her could be. so for you you’ve made the right decision and I presume you just come here for that moral support that we all need so badly here. Stay strong.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  8. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I am just seeing FB groups for parents of addicted and estranged kids too.
    May have to go back on FB but would be use my real name. Check those out for extra support! For yourself.

    God bless us all!
  9. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    I will agree that giving the $50 infrequently isn’t a lot considering what most of us have spent in the past. The problem I see with that is it’s just opening up the door for more frequency and or larger amounts being requested. We have to remember they don’t think like normal people. They don’t receive our financial help and sit back and want to write us a thank you card and say to themselves. Wow this is really going to put me in the right direction. My oldest son has been known to say thank you but look out when I said no.
    This is hard and it’s stinks. I wish it could be different but most of our angst is acceptance of the situation.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List