Help: my 23 year old daughter is stealing


New Member
Atheist. This is a small town where almost all the social networking here goes through the church and I inadvertently offended everyone within the first week and put a big black spot on us. But another reason I wanted to find something other than al anon because they often have a large emphasis on God and religion and she would never take it seriously from the get go.

Then again, maybe if she can by some miracle find something to believe in other than the bottle then maybe I might convert myself!


Well-Known Member
Your higher power can be a doorknob. AlANON is for you. AAA is for the alcoholic. I do understand that the higher power thing is off putting to some. You need to find something for you. Find a CODA meeting. It is for codependents and you are very much mired in that scenero....most of us have been.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Butterfly, you may find some solace in the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here.

You may also find info and guidance in the book, Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie.

It may be prudent for you and your husband to find a therapist well versed in addictions and codependency, this path is extremely difficult and most of us require professional help. You can search for therapists on Psychology Today and

You are enmeshed in a broken system where the alcoholic calls the shots. You didn't cause this and you can't fix it. Our kids go off the rails for many reasons, you are not responsible for her. Your guilt will keep you stuck. Remember the adage, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results."

Get yourself support, learn how to set strong boundaries, stop the enabling and continue posting. I'm so sorry you are going through this. The only way it will stop is if you stop it.


Well-Known Member
Would she not have insurance coverage for rehab?

Police would not, could not search for other crimes unless these were voluntarily disclosed or there was evidence of such. As far as I know.

As long as this stays hidden, you all of us me--will be governed by fear, shame, guilt.

Drain the swamp. (I am not talking politics here.)

The truth may set me free.

I am so sorry you are suffering. You are not alone.


Well-Known Member
Some people don't have insurance. Rehab would be a waste of money if she does not want to go. An arrest might get her attention and perhaps a court ordered substance abuse program in lieu of jail time might give her food for thought.


Well-Known Member
The thing is this. I tell my son: I am not a treatment program. I am not a homeless shelter.

BG. What the posters imply is that the changes come from us. Whether or not she wants or accepts treatment does not mean we as parents can hold it as our requirement. Whether or not there is insurance there is somewhere support to change.

It is wrong for one adult to destroy another. Even if we volunteer ourselves as victims. To save them.

One part of parenting is setting boundaries. We have had to do it millions of times, when they were younger. It is so much harder to do it when we feel it is us or them.

But why should it be?

But also it is this: it is not us or them.

There is a learning here on this site. It is this: to choose for them and ourselves is the same thing. To set a limit for her is to protect yourself. And vice versa. From this she may step up.

PS. What we learn here is that we count. We are worth standing up for. They are the ones who must find it in themselves to do the same for themselves.

For me this learning is very hard. I am still at the point where emotionally I would step in front of a train if it helped.

I am so sorry for the pain of it. For you. Me. Each of us.
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Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
Atheist. This is a small town where almost all the social networking here goes through the church and I inadvertently offended everyone within the first week and put a big black spot on us. But another reason I wanted to find something other than al anon because they often have a large emphasis on God and religion and she would never take it seriously from the get go.

Then again, maybe if she can by some miracle find something to believe in other than the bottle then maybe I might convert myself!
Higher power is in old terms God it can be anything they are mostly non denominational non religious. I do not believe in God per se. I do go to Naranon.
I am a very spiritual person. I m just not much for organized religion. I take no offense to anyone's beliefs. I just believe we don't know what we don't know. The mystery shall be unraveled at some point for me. I pray to the universe at large. I certainly know there is a higher power. Just not sure why it is.
I am sorry that people don't have more an open heart.


New Member
Your higher power can be a doorknob. AlANON is for you. AAA is for the alcoholic. I do understand that the higher power thing is off putting to some. You need to find something for you. Find a CODA meeting. It is for codependents and you are very much mired in that scenero....most of us have been.

I have just realised what you're talking about - I thought AlAnon was just short for Alcoholics Anonymous. I've just been reading about the family support - I'd never come across it till now.

As for trouble, she's had a bad day. We've had to shut off the water because she fell in the bathroom and pulled the sink away from the wall. Hubby has been doing man things with wrenches and hammers for the last hour. I'm exhausted. She's asleep in her bed, she'll probably go straight through now till morning, then start again, and so begins the next day. I can't begin to thank you all for being so understanding, I'm so glad I found this site.


Active Member
I'm so sorry for you and your family.

I don't mean to state the obvious here but something has to give. And unfortunately you are the only ones that can force the issue because you support her. Are there people in her life who would make her rethink things who might help with an intervention?

Not everyone believes in the rock bottom theory of change, but she certainly won't make any effort if she has no incentive. There are alternatives to cold turkey 12-step program, like CRAFT or SMART recovery (also called harm reduction). There are medications to help her handle alcohol cravings.

And perhaps you can pull some supports initially to leverage some movement. Off the top of my head, she shouldn't have a lock in YOUR house. You would also be well within your rights to press charges for theft and perhaps she would get court ordered treatment. At the end of the day, though, you have to be prepared to stop being party to her self destruction and that may mean you put her out unless she is in treatment.

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member

It seems that your daughter loves the bottle more than anything else in life. Her brain is so doused with alcohol that she cannot think clearly. It is horrible to watch someone we love destroy themselves. Oh, check the toilet tank. Alcoholics like to hide bottles in there.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
I'm so sorry you are going through this.

Our son, who we love very much, has put us through hell to with his abuse of drugs and alcohol.

I do hope you make some immediate changes. You could be loving your daughter to death and I know you don't want that. You found us for a reason.

I know when I came to this site I was DESPERATE for change. I had NO idea what to do.

My son is still struggling but my home is peaceful and safe. I know in my heart I have done everything I can to help him and guide him. The rest is up to him. Until you stop enabling your daughter to drink, she will never stop and it will eventually kill her. You have to face reality and it is hard.

Coming here is a good first step. I also recommend therapy with someone that has experience with addiction. They can help guide you but you must do what they say no matter how hard it is. I know because we had to do it too. Al-anon is good for many but Al-anon is not the same as seeing a therapist who really focuses on YOUR situation and guides YOU through it if you let them. Get as much support as you can.

Good luck and hugs. WE GET IT.


New Member
You are not responsible for her actions and you can't protect her from them. She knows full well what she's done. She knows the potential consequences too , she just has no respect for you or herself. She has no incentive to change. I'll echo everyone else and say please find a therapist for yourself. You can only control how you deal with this situation, and it's clear you need help finding a new way to deal with it.


Active Member
Change your card numbers, sleep with your wallet and keys, you go to shower, bathrm, you take it with you. We lived with a thief too. If she continues kick her out, as we did.


Roll With It
I am the blunt one here. I do know your pain to some degree. My brother is an alcoholic. He started drinking at age 12 at the neighbors and the dad over their helped him cover it up. He had a real problem well before age 14. He crashed and burned in his 30s. Somehow my mother blamed ME!!! Because I should have told her about it. She forgot all the times she grounded me or took things away or used other consequences when I told her he had a problem with drinking or that he was drunk or high.

So I really DO understand how hard this is. I just think you are doing more harm than good. You NEED to get to some Al-Anon meetings. You are watching your daughter die before your eyes. I know you think you are protecting her by not exposing her drinking. You think the criminal charges are the worst thing that could happen.

They. Are. Not.

Her drinking is killing her liver. Make sure she gets checked out by a doctor in the near future. If I were you I would tell her that she is to put you on ALL of her HIPPA forms at all of her doctors or else you will do the worst thing you can think of. Then I would tell her doctor that she drinks until she passes out each day and her liver MUST be checked. Don't EVER let her just stop cold turkey because that can be life threatening. She needs medical help to stop drinking at this point. It really is that bad. You need to know what shape her body is in.

Don't expect finding out her liver is in bad shape to shock her into any desire for sobriety. It almost never does. There was a young man at my brother's rehab who was taken to the hospital because his liver failed. He was 22. He had only started to drink at age 17. My brother told me it was the scariest thing he had ever seen, and it still didn't take away his desire to keep drinking. It barely even dented it. That was in his first couple of days at rehab, and it truly terrified him. He hadn't realized how out of control he was until then.

Your daughter will NEED consequences. Something to force her to stop drinking. It took some time in jail where he couldn't get alcohol, seeing a lot of guys he thought of as losers, guys he thought he was better than. Then going through alcohol withdrawal around those guys as he faced the prospect of years in a cell to make him realize how bad his problem is. I say IS because it didn't go away even though he has been sober for almost 2 decades. My brother was facing 3 felonies at the time. He was able to get a deal to go to rehab and stay sober for 5 years, stay out of trouble, and have his record expunged.

I know you are worried about her future with felonies on it, but if you don't do something, she won't have a future. A future with felonies, even a future in jail is better than no future at all, isn't it? Given that you are the injured party, if you first go to a lawyer, you should be able to work out a deal for your daughter. I would get a lawyer to represent YOU, not her. Let the lawyer know that you are wanting a deal for her that pushes her into rehab and will expunge her record IF she gets clean and stays clean and out of trouble for a certain number of years. He will know if the DA and judges will go for that.

You and your husband will NEED therapy and Al-Anon first (family therapy, not AA). You have to work on your codependence issues. Read the recommended books also. Really work HARD on those issues. Your daughter is 30% more likely to achieve long term sobriety if you and your husband go to AlAnon and work on codependence. If she was in school and could go from an F (58%) to a B(88%) on her report card just by having you attend a meeting once a week, would you have gone? If you knew that this grade change would have a huge impact on her life and her health, would you have gone? I bet you would have. So look at AlAnon this way.

I know several athiests in my community who attend AlAnon and two who go to AA. I have not asked them how they cope with the Higher power reference, mostly because it isn't my business. I do know that my brother was violently against any mention of God for any reason at any time. Then he realized he really needed sobriety in his life. He is now mostly against any type of organized Christianity. I think that is mostly because we attended a Catholic school as kids. He really enjoys the Mosque in our community and I know he goes to some Buddhist ceremonies also.

Please, for now, focus on reading those books and going to AlAnon. Go to 30 meetings in 30 days. Different times and places. This is just for the first month. It is designed so that you find out which meetings are most comfortable for you. Many people go to a meeting or two in one place and say "It isn't for me". They don't realize that each meeting has a different feel and dynamic. Even if the exact same words were spoken, having different people in the meeting would give it a different feel and a different energy. By going to different times and places, you find the meetings that are right for you and you meet different people in the AA/AlAnon community. Both of these are very valuable things.

I hope this helps. Please know that I understand how difficult the situation is. I understand how it can happen that suddenly you realize it is far worse than you thought and has gone on for far longer than you ever expected that it could go on. I know you would NEVER purposely harm your daughter and that you would give your life for hers if it would help. Sadly, this problem is one that only she can fix. It has infected the entire family though, and the entire family needs to be treated.

Oh, I suggest you cancel all of your credit cards and bank cards. Get a post office box and have new cards sent there. Put a lock on your bedroom door and keep it locked, and keep your cards either in your pocked or locked in the safe behind your locked bedroom door. Sadly, you are living with a thief and you need to lock up everything in the house. Don't let any financial papers be kept out of the safe or ever come to the mail at the house at any time. Make sure that you don't buy anything online so your daughter cannot use the computer to buy things with your credit card. Same for your phone. You will have to do this for as long as you allow her to live at home.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I am going to be blunt, too. You are contributing to your daughter's alcoholism. By giving her food to eat, a place to live, covering for her mistakes, you are making it possible to simply live to drink. A tenant of AlAnon is that the alcoholic has to face the consequences of their drinking. You are keeping her from having to face any consequences. Why would she change? What motivation does she have to get sober?

Won't stay in rehab? What is she had no where else to go? I bet she would stay then.

If you love your daughter, and I know that you do, you need to get help for yourself so you can learn to be strong for her. You need to learn how to set firm boundaries. There is no reason a 23-year-old shouldn't be holding down a job and supporting herself. If alcoholism is keeping her from being able to do that, she has to learn that for herself.

How do I know these things? Because I used to be you. I was an enabler and my daughter took advantage of that. It took two years of private therapy for my husband and I to learn how to set boundaries. Those included an intervention, a temporary restraining order to force her to leave our house, insistence that she go into an inpatient treatment, and refusal to ever let her come back and live in our home.

We learned that we had to be willing to let our daughter be homeless because we loved her. Letting her live with us just made it easy to use drugs. My husband came home from school to find her unconscious on our couch from a heroin overdose. The EMT's told him that if he had come home 2 minutes later she would have died. We thought we were protecting her but we were really just enabling her drug use.

I understand your reluctance to go to AlAnon. I personally never felt very comfortable in twelve-step support groups although many of our members find them invaluable. I felt more comfortable with a therapist and my husband started going with me after the first year.

One more thing about the religious aspect of AA/NA groups. That was an excuse my daughter used for years about why she didn't like twelve-step groups. When she finally really and truly got sober, she became very involved in NA. She is an atheist, too, so she says her higher power is an elephant. She just likes elephants. The real value to me in those groups is the support they provide. My daughter has a large group of friends in her NA group that support her recovery. They are the only people that truly understand what it is like to be in recovery. My daughter has even become a sponsor for others. I never thought I would live to see the day that happened.

I lived like you once. I had to lock away my purse because my daughter stole from me so she could buy drugs. I actually walked around the house with a key chain around my wrist so I could get in and out of my bedroom. When I look back at those days, I wonder why in the world was I willing to live like that.

We are here to listen and offer advice based on our experience. When I was living in the hell you are in now, someone here on this board offered something from AlAnon that changed my life.

The three C's: You didn't cause this, you can't control this, and you can't cure this.

Your daughter is responsible for her own life and you can't make her change. All you can do is change yourself and your behavior.

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New Member
It's been a tough week. We installed a lock on our bedroom door, and set up a security camera in the hall outside. She got in on Monday with a strange device which we think is something called a Snap Gun. I have $200 missing from my cabinet. Last night we had a sit down and told her on no uncertain terms that we will pay for therapy and she is to go to it or we will kick her out the house. She had a violent episode and threw pans, plates and knives at us. My husband has a fractured wrist where she threw a casserole dish. Someone walking by thought we were being robbed and called the police. We got out the house and he had his concealed carry out. I have never been so upset. It was so embarrassing to try and explain it was just our daughter in a temper while she was still smashing things inside. She had mostly calmed down when the police arrived, they took her away, we're waiting to find out when we can pick her up. I hope a night in jail has been a harsh reality check for her. Meanwhile this morning was spent getting XRays at the medical center. No cast thankfully, but a rigid wrist support for the next few weeks. If she won't go to therapy, it's the end of the line and she'll have to make her own way.