New...... Glad to hear 'Detachment' is not a bad word

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by onlyone, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. onlyone

    onlyone New Member

    so glad to have found this forum- and that there are other parents that have issues like mine. My ghg will be 28 years old in a week. She has had alcohol problems for the past 10 years. Two DUI's at age 19, and thankfully, had her license revoked. She has not had a license nor a car since. That is a blessing as she no doubt would have injured/killed herself or others if she had had access to a car. She has never had a healthy relationship, never had a 'real' job, never been self supporting. She started college, flunked out due to alcohol, has had maybe 20 jobs- none lasting more than a few weeks as she drinks after work, often before work- just to get through the day. When she drinks too much, she is unable to make it to work so she is a 'no call, no show'. As you can imagine, then she gets fired. Her only jobs have been fast food, or entry level restaurant or retail jobs. She is intelligent, attractive- but alcohol consumers her life. We helped her out initially by hiring an attorney on the DUI's, and we have had her move in with us on a few occasions to get healthy and get a 'fresh start'. What happens is that she quits drinking while living here, manages to get a job (after weeks of trying), saves money, moves out and IMMEDIATELY- meaning the SAME DAY- starts drinking and within days loses her job. Most times, she has moved out with some boyfriend who is always also either an alcoholic or some other enabler. This past year, she lived with us for 5 months. Was sober, got a job at McDonalds, and I saw signs of my daughter emerging. Hope, joy, laughter, .... mostly hope. She saved $1500 and moved out into a studio apartment. Within the week, she was drunk and out of work again. It has been 3 months since then. She called me saying she had a warrant out for her for shoplifting liquor and would I help her. I told her no. I told her she needed to go to rehab. She refuses.
    Over the years, we have payed for her to go to college 3 different times- every time she dropped out due to alcohol abuse and failure to go to class. We have fixed totaled cars twice. Paid for rehab which she walked out of after 4 days. Paid for an attorney for 2 DUI's (within 2 weeks of each other. Offered to get her psychological help many, many times- always refused. Offered to take her to an MD for medication- depression? Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? bi-polar? who knows? Antibuse? - always refused. We have provided her a safe haven to get healthy and get a fresh start- maybe 5 times? Paid her phone bill so that she could look for work and have a call back number- countless times, but no more. Picked her up from the city park or other random place in the middle of the night- several times. Driven her to and from work when she lived with us and had a job. Paid her court ordered DUI fines when she could not make the payments- several times. Bailed her out of jail - only for her to not make her court appearance. Tried to get her to go to AA, rehab, sober living- refused.
    She has repaid us: nothing
    We have not ever: paid her rent, given her cash
    She has had these consequences: been with physically and mentally abusive boyfriends, she has been raped- at least once, she has had seizures from alcohol withdrawal- three times that I know of, she has gotten money and/or alcohol for providing sex, she has been a stripper at a local club. She has been in jail for 2 weeks for failure to make court appearances DUI payments, she has been stalked by a 56 year old weirdo who gave her liquor and thought he had a 'relationship' with her, evidently now she is wanted for shoplifting liquor. I suspect she is being evicted from her apartment as she has not had a job since July. I do not know- but suspect- how she has paid her rent the past few months. She gets food stamps (have no idea how) but has no other source of cash.
    So...... my husband blocked her phone calls last month after we could not contact her for days and asked the apartment manager to check on her. We feared she had had yet another seizure and died. Our daughter called him after that and told her if he ever did that again, she would call the police and report him as a stalker. He says he is 'done' and does not want to think or talk about her.
    I have been somewhat detached for a couple of years now- I feel dead inside when I think about her. We have tried for so long- been disappointed, manipulated, lied to, used- without any real acknowledgement or thanks from our ghg. I think she has actually forgotten many things as she is so damaged from alcohol abuse. She drinks all day every day. Vodka.
    People do ask about our kids. We tell them our son is doing great, we have a beautiful grand daughter. Then they ask about our ghg. We say she is struggling. I have been feeling guilty because I am almost numb now. I think about her many, many times daily, but then I try not to think about her. I am glad when I don't hear from her- every phone call is some kind of manipulation or drunken conversation about how she misses her family. She lives 15 miles away but can't come her- or won't allow us to pick her up- as she is always, always intoxicated or sick from temporary alcohol withdrawal.
    I thought I was the only one with such a dysfunctional child. I know I am not- but I don't know anyone personally with a child this deep in misery. What a waste. I feel guilt- but my daughter has told me many times it is not our fault. I don't know what I could have done differently. She was always a strong willed and somewhat defiant child- but good grades, social, mostly 'normal'.
    I also thought I was the only mother who actively worked on detachment. This has been going on for 10 years. She is an adult. I am 60- but my life is far from over. I want to be happy with my son, grand daughter, husband. We deserve to move on.
    Don't we?
  2. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome, onlyone. No, you are not alone. You and I are in almost identical circumstances. My difficult child is 28 and has a long history of alcohol and drug abuse. She is currently living in a halfway house in Florida and working full time. However, we know that at any given time, she might relapse.

    We ended up using an interventionist when we found out that our difficult child had progressed to heroin when she overdosed on our couch. My husband found her in the nick of time and we realized that we had to do something. We, too, had let her move in and out for "fresh starts" but all we were really doing was enabling her alcohol and drug use.

    I believe that it is time for you to tell your difficult child that you will only help her if she is in rehab or a halfway house. Otherwise, you have to let her go because she will use you and hurt your family relationships. I know how hard that is to do so you will probably need some help in doing that. Many of us on the board have turned to Al-anon or Families Anonymous or private counseling. I work with a therapist that specializes in personality disorders and she has helped me learn to deal with my borderline daughter and set boundaries.

    Others will come by with their experiences and advice. Keep posting . . . you will find support and unconditional acceptance here.

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. Your parenting obligations are over. I am also 60 and I am just starting to be able to do the stuff I really enjoy and I won't let my grown adult children's problems stop me from having fun. I feel very sorry for my 35 year old son, who is my problem, but in no way do I change my activities or stop myself from enjoying my other kids because he is a mess. Even though I know he has the ability to kill himself, there is nothing I can do to stop it. You and I have no control over our adult children's choices and we DESERVE to live wonderful lives, even though our children are making seriously dangerous choices that ruin their lives.

    Detachment is a good thing. We do our grown kids no good by saving them from consequences of their actions or allowing them a safe haven when they continue to be dysfunctional. Have you ever gone to Al-Anon? If not, I think you'd like the face-to-face support, although nobody will make you talk if you don't want to. As for your daughter...part of detachment is letting her face the consequences of her actions, including not giving her money even if she has none. There is no motivation to quit using alcohol and/or other drugs if you will let her come home when she runs out of money or gets into a mess or needs to pay the rent or a new boyfriend kicks her out.

    Do not feel guilty. At her age, even if you did a few things wrong as every parent has, she is the one who decides her destiny. Enjoy your son's family, your own hobbies, your activities, your job, your life. Being overly involved in this dysfunctional adult child's life will ruin yours and won't do her a bit of good. You can only control one person...yourself. I speak as somebody who has a son in crisis right now who yelled at me just an hour ago for not calling to check up on him today. When I told him I was out with his brother who is autistic, he started his abusive talk and I'm not calling him back. Like you, when I walked away from the phone I just felt numb.

    These grown kids think we should still parent them like they were ten years old (just because they act ten years old). I disagree. Our relationship changes as they become adults and it is not our obligation to parent them anymore. At our age, it's our turn to live our lives to the fullest. Most decent grown kids are starting to take care of US at our Not that we want them's just the way it usually goes as they start to worry about us :)

    My son is a prescription drug substance abuser and a functional alcoholic with mental illness and probably narcissism. He needs help and I can't force him to get any help. I can't make him better. You can't make your daughter better. Please be good to yourself. Detach. Do things that distract you from her problems and don't let her manipulate you. I am having a great day because I have not let son invade my space much today. I'm getting used to our short conversations in which he tells me to &%$@ off or I'm useless. I can just go back to what I was doing before he called me. I don't cry anymore over what he says and know it is the mental illness and/or drugs talking. I am still working on not thinking about his "I'm going to kill myself" threats and threats to others. Those things still give me the creeps and scare me. So I know how hard it can be.

    Recovering Enabler should be around soon and she has the best, most compassionate and soothing advice ever. Take care of yourself. Please.
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes you deserve to be happy. Remember the three C's: you didn't cause it, you can't control it and you can't cure it. If you haven't already found a support group I suggest you do. If you are not comfortable with al-anon try families anonymous.

    Your story is very much like many we have heard here. There comes a time when you do need to detach and allow yourself to heal. It doesn't sound like your daughter is going to get help anytie soon and that is a shame. Tell her that you are ready to support her recovery and that is all. And then go on with your life as much as you can. A support group is very helpful in that regard.