My daughter Is refusing help/relapses almost immediately


New Member
Hello, I am new here and looking for your advise. My daughter is 19 now, with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety and diagnosed bipolar II two years ago. She started drinking and smoking weed during last two years of HS. It all got worse during the Covid and she went into rehab for 8 month (alcohol and weed use), got out and and relapsed in less than a week. In a month time that we have had here at our house she confessed she started using cocaine and other drugs. We helped her to get back into the inpatient program for 30 days. She was released from there three days ago and was referred to the Sober living housing but after one day didn’t come there on the second night and relapsed. She can’t go back until
She is clean and I think she is using now . She also told me she does not want us to go to pick her up and wants to stay with some x Rehab program people in Chicago area. What can we do to help her to be safe. Do we let her stay on her own or try some other options! I did send her a list of three 24 hour shelters in the area. I am refusing to send her money via Venmo (she asked) but provided her with the credit card to be used in Uber app so she can get around and offered to order food online to be picked up locally. Please advise what would be the advisable way to proceed now? Thank you!


Well-Known Member
It sounds li,like, you have tried to set some boundaries. Have you ever attended AlAnon meetings? They helped me learn that I can't help someone that isn't ready for change.


Well-Known Member
Hi. I go to Narcotics Anonymous and after 10 years of trying to get my daughter to change and of neglecting all my other loved ones and of being tortured every day... I know I can't control a 30 + year old adult. It almost killed me, my marriage and the whole family was upset over her disrupting our family life. Addicts will change only when/if they want to. We have NO control over them or over anybody in this world but us. Waste of time to try in my opinion. But you will try at first.

in my opinion it is worse to help their bad behavior with money and rent...we did all that. Kay is now homeless and blames us for everything ...long story. We no longer help at all.

I am tired now but may add more later. Read the advice already here and you will get tons of knowledge and support and help from seasoned mom's with addicted grown children.

Prayers, hugs and love.
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Well-Known Member
There are as many possible responses as there are parents and children. It really depends upon your needs and your temperament. For example, there was one mother here who would not accept her son's addiction and did whatever it took to get him to residential treatment, and to stay there. He became sober and a few years down the line he's still sober, working, and in college, living with his parents. There are others like this mother.

But the thing is, these parents who do this know their children, and there are less likely to be other variables like adoption or mental illness or even divorce. These things greatly complicate matters for the child and the parents. My son is adopted and mentally ill. I have been trying to "help" him for many years (he is now 32.) Not one thing has worked, because he is not motivated in any way to achieve what I want for him. Even when I "protect" him, it is only temporary (until he gets more money and then he goes where he wants and does what he wants.) Bottom line from my experience, is that you can't protect somebody who doesn't want to be kept safe.

So the answer as I see it, has to do as much with you, as with your daughter. Your daughter seems to be very much in the throes of addiction and to be managing that lifestyle pretty well. How can you oppose that, if she is hellbent to continue? I don't see how you can. But that is my view only.

If your daughter is not even lasting 24 hours in a supervised setting, how in the world can you have any control over her in the big wide world, unless there is some buy in from her?

Of course all of this is easier for me to say, about you and your situation, than in my own life.

Welcome. I am glad you've found us.

There is an organization called NAMI. For family members of mentally ill people, which might be of some help. They have meetings in communities throughout the country.


New Member
Thank you very much for your input. It’s really heartbreaking to see how she is going down so fast. It almost feels like she is enjoying this freedom being out from rehab and I am not sure if she started using something new. she keeps asking for small amounts like $5-10. We are also coming to Chicago tomorrow and hope she can meet with us for a Father’s Day lunch and perhaps we can take her home,


Well-Known Member

Read this article on detachment, located in the Parent Emeritus forum. Read it daily when you are stressing and worried. It has helped me immensely. Best thing I ever read!


Roll With It
I am so sorry that you have to deal with all of this. You need to figure out a way to stop giving her things. Every penny that you give her is another penny of her own that is available for drugs. Addicts don't usually get better until they hit bottom and are so sick of the druggie life that they want to change. Until her life gets so uncomfortable that she wants to get better, she will continue to use. I strongly encourage you to do 30 in 30 with AlAnon Family Meetings or NarcAnon Family Meetings. 30 in 30 means going to 30 meetings in 30 days. You are encouraged to check out meetings in different locations and at different times so that you find a place and time and group that really clicks with you.

Did you know that going to AlAnon meetings can significantly improve the chances of long term sobriety for the substance abuser in your life? If someone told you that going to 1 hour meetings a couple of times a week would improve your child's grades in school by 30%, would you go to the meetings? That could move his grades from 60% to 90%. All it takes is an hour a day at first and then an hour once or twice a week after that. Would you do it for your child? Guess what?

If family members work the 12 step program for families, it increases the likelihood that your loved one will achieve long term sobriety. Isn't saving your child's life worth that? Most parents I know would jump at the chance to get help for their own enabling and codependent behavior.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Welcome and glad you found us.

I agree with everyone here. I believe I am the first mom that Copa is talking about. After many years of our son being addicted at home and raising holy hell on an almost daily basis, stealing from us etc. etc., getting clean then starting it all over again (wash, rinse, repeat) I knew we had to get him out of our home as we didn't know what to do and he was not getting any better. And dear old mom was losing her mind!!!

You personally CANNOT FIX THIS. When I heard that for the first time, I was like "what??? what do you mean I can't fix this? Mom's fix everything"!! I agree not to give her a dime and not having her live at home is probably what is best for your other family member and yourself as well as for your daughter.

I would highly recommend finding a therapist for yourself that specializes in addiction. That is what I did and she was very knowledgeable and compassionate but helped me to create firm boundaries and stick to them. If not for this therapy, my son may not be alive right now.

A good friend of mine lost her son to a heroin addiction shortly after my son was no longer out of control and getting his life back on track. I tried to school her on what I had learned and continued to learn about addiction but it was not something she could handle. To learn how to cope you have to accept what is really going on and that is very difficult for us to do.

Of course the main reason we pulled through this horrible time in our life is because of my faith and at last resort placing my son in a Christian program in Memphis. We lived in Chicago at the time and moved for my job but will be returning to Chicago when we retire in a few years. If you pray, then I would turn your daughter over to God and pray for your own peace.

Stay with us and let us know how you are doing.



Well-Known Member
I would like to add that although I am thrilled for RN, not all addicts respond to the same things, and some sadly never get clean. It is up to them.

Your daughter is still quite young. That is always good. The longer they do this in my opinion the harder it is for them. So hopefully she decides that this is not the life she wants.

Rehab only works if the addict wants to change, is ready to stop. We have no way to force it. RN was blessed with a son who cared about his family, spending time with them, and their approval (RN please correct me if I am wrong). If it's true, as I believe, this helped motivate her son. It is wonderful for the family. Her son sounds awesome!

My daughter is not attached to our family and had/has no desire to please us. She blames her being adopted on her crappy life, although she had tons of love and support, but adopted kids tend to get into troubled circumstances more often. Why? Not 100 percent sure. Maybe due to the loss of the first mom. My daughter has ALWAYS wanted to know her and can't find her as she is from another country. The agency can't find her either. It eats her up. Our other kids are not she says she feels like an outsider and not a part of our family although she admits we do love her....(sigh). Adoption is hard.

Also a lot of addiction is in the DNA. Most adopted kids these days are products of two very troubled and addicted parents and mental illness and a tendency toward mental illness AND addiction are both inherited. But....

I have been in Nar Anon for several years and many who come to meetings have addicted children. I've seen 50 come and go at least and ten are solid members who stay. Except for me and one other mom, the kids are all biological so adoption alone is not the main issue maybe. But most of the kids come from families where addiction is a part of it. It seems to me that it's in the DNA. Am I right? I don't know. I think so ...

Fighting addiction is hard. I send prayers to all our kids who are addicted. Most also seem to have mental illnesses too. May they all hit bottom and find their ways. They all have a chance to turn things around. Wish there were magic words.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

You're right, our son wanted to be in good graces with his family and that ended up being the driving force in him bettering himself. Also, unlike my friend's son, he did not get into injecting himself with anything which was a good thing naturally. I think that is because WE did NOT stick our heads in the sand about his drug use while in our HOME. Once he really truly felt the consequences of his actions, it helped, but it took years which I could not believe. He has a very strong personality (like his dad/my husband). He wanted his own way. Nope. Not in MY house!!! Getting angry for me was the best thing I could do. It helped me not to be manipulated by him any longer and see the addiction for what it was.

He finally realized that he was better than that and through many rehabs he met a lot of amazing people that had gotten sober. He didn't realize it at the time of course. I met some truly inspiring people during this time also that ran some of the programs he took part in and I don't get impressed easily.

My son does still drink alcohol, mainly beer, and while I cannot say he is 100% sober, he is no longer a puppet to his addictive personality. I am happy he has learned to do things in moderation and he realizes that pills are his downfall. He has been on track for 3 years at home and 1.5 years in his final program. He said he has made enough mistakes. Light bulb moment!!

As I've learned here, each and every thing they are exposed to in regards to getting sober/on track is a good thing. A seed is planted and nurtured each time. I think it was the cumulation of everything we did and all the experiences he had (both good and bad) that helped him along the way.

It is not a quick fix. That is why I always say to really take care of yourself during this time. You're worry will not help them at all. If it did, we'd all gladly do it in excess.



New Member
Thank you all for sharing your experience and support. We went to Chicago this weekend and met with her asking to come back home with us. She spent all last week with a new group of people she met at one of the city’s Skate parks sleeping overnight at their places. She was hungry with no money and looked like a homeless person BUT she didn’t want to come home with us..,, She said she liked it there being on her own. This week is suppose to be the freshman orientation for her college and I have feeling she does not want to do it (although when asked she says she wants to go college)) and will skip it.... I thought she could least try going to college (she is smart, her ACT score was in thirties)
She is choosing being on the street with drugs and alcohol over the college she can start in less than 2 month.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Well if she is drugging she won't do well in college. She won't be able to handle it.

My son had 2 false starts. Started off okay then dropped out due to being high. We lost money one semester and the other time I got a medical withdrawal so we got our money back. I thought college would "fix it" but he wasn't serious or ready.

Now he is doing very well in college - he's 25 and got a late start but will get his associates degree in December. It's never too late.

You need to let her know she has to get her head straight before she starts something like that. It takes commitment and hard work.

To me, it just added more failure on my son's shoulders. I remember the first day of college he was drunk. I was like really??? It was so heartbreaking for me as a mom.

We don't know why our kids make these horrible choices. Our son has 2 older brothers that never did this and this was the last thing I expected out of our youngest. I thought he had the best chance of all of our boys. I still don't get it and I don't think I ever will.

Just know you are NOT alone. Keep posting and reading here and it will help. Take what you need and leave the rest.


Well-Known Member
I am concerned along with you. If it was me, I would not give her one penny towards college if she is not doing her part. Her part as a prospective college student does not include drugging, and couch-surfing and living like a vagabond.

A person's capacity and potential are not only determined by IQ and other tests. My son is tri-lingual and very smart. He's homeless unless i help him. There seems to be something missing from his personality, so far at least, and as the years go by without change, it's looking more and more bleak.

I have been very resistant to seeing reality. It's much easier to see it in other people's situations. Your daughter is not ready for college, and she knows it. She doesn't want the structure. She doesn't want the responsibility. She wants other things right now. Which are bad for her.

All of our love and concern cannot avert this train if they decide to live this way. We only need to see the train coming, and get out of the way.

You have offered her help repeatedly. She refuses it. The change here needs to come from you. YOU are the one who is not accepting reality. You have no control here. She has to want a better life. Right now she doesn't. The best thing you can do is not only to SEE what is happening but ACCEPT it, too. That has been the hardest thing of all for me to do. And I still struggle with it. To the extent I have trouble even being with my child, as to have to see him how he really is.

I have the greatest compassion for you. It's not that I don't understand the fear and agony of this. I do. I live it. You can keep offering to help her, but accept that as she is she is incompatible with college. She is choosing a completely different lifestyle. She's not even ambivalent, it seems. She's in it with both feet. That's what is true, I fear.