New here and looking for support

It seems the more I read on the internet, the less I know about what to do in our situation. Every time I think the answer is clear, I second guess and start again.

We have a 19-yr-old daughter living at home. Typical story -- good kid, good grades, nice friends, not much trouble. Actually, she was a very bright high school honors student, AP classes, liked by all the teachers, popular with friends, responsible with her things, fun to be around. She always had an independent streak, began when she was little. And a stubborn, determined side that could be both a blessing and a curse. Her teachers thought she could do anything she set her mind to. We were very proud parents. But, we were also concerned parents as she had a pattern of random tests of our authority via poor decision-making on her part. These tests would take place many months apart, sometimes even a year, but they were there... buying pot at school in middle school, staying out all night and lying about it in 9th grade, things like that. Each incident resulted in harsh consequences, lots of open communication, and a hope that the next time wouldn't bring something worse. We made it clear when she was young that drug use and drinking was not tolerated, but that by the same token we would always be there for a ride if needed, no questions asked. We did everything we could to be understanding to the pressures of today's teen while restricting phone/tablet/etc use and keeping the lines of communication open. Each time something happened, we'd question why she made such poor decisions when everything else in her life seemed so healthy and balanced, but we chalked it up to teen rebelliousness and were always thankful she was a very good student and did not get into any kind of trouble at school.

Just a few days after dropping her off at her private, liberal arts college she was arrested for selling pot on campus and dismissed from the school.

Thus began a downward spiral of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, hanging out with sketchy people, and experimentation with drugs well beyond pot (LSD, ecstasy, shrooms, and maybe others). We paid for classes at a local university within a commutable distance, but grades were not good as her motivation to be a good student slipped away further and further each day.

There are court programs to complete which require a drug education class, service hours and staying out of trouble (no arrests), and we hold our breath as the days go by, counting the days and months until the programs are completed.

It is hard to see someone like this, someone who had literally everything going for them, throw their lives away for a high. A high that is clearly self-medicating in some way, a way to mask the pain inside. She insists therapy is not an option -- we tried that with a negotiation, but she decided she'd had enough, insisted there was nothing wrong with her. My husband and I are in therapy, though, to talk through both the big picture and the day-to-day dealings, especially as we work hard to stay on the same page (not always easy with one traveling & working long hours while the other is at home with the kids).

We have two other children, a younger teenager, and a tween. They see very clearly the changes in their sister -- one look at her and you see she is not the healthy, vibrant young lady she once was. She doesn't eat well, sleep regularly, take care of herself, clean up her room (she used to be VERY tidy), or spend any time with the family, even when we are hosting extended family gatherings at our home. We try hard to keep things as normal as possible for the other two kids because they do not deserve anything less. We also hope that they will think twice before trying drugs themselves after seeing what they have done to someone who had every reason to succeed in life. We are fairly open, in an age-appropriate way, with them about what has been happening.

We do fear that she hangs out with so many drug-using people now she is not only putting herself in danger, but potentially the rest of us.

We are reaching a crossroads where we will have to decide how to proceed. She has no job, but says she has been looking. She has not begun her service hours. She does nothing around the house. We have told her what she needs to do to be part of our household (tell us when she comes & goes, do not do drugs or drink on our property, and be productive), but she is scoring about a 70% on those so far.

She has talked about quitting a few times. The last time she begged me to help her and I said I would. But of course, two days later that was the end of it. Sometimes I think she actually wants us to force her hand and give her a good reason to quit. But other times I think she is hell-bent on pot being a part of her life because it fits into the "badass" image she is working so hard to cultivate (along with too much make-up and odd piercings, which in an otherwise well-adjusted kid is okay with me because it's just individual expression).

The big thing is the ultimatum... whether to tell her she's got to choose between quitting or moving out on her own. I realize it needs to be her choice because you can't force someone to quit. And maybe she does need to be out on her own for awhile to realize how good she has it here. (Not bragging here, but her own room, nice clothes, a car to drive, loving parents, college paid for, good food, great extended family, etc.) But as someone who never stops worrying, I don't know if I can handle that part. Every day I get stronger and think I am ready for it, but then I doubt myself again.

Quitting would give her back her driving privileges (which are currently suspended indefinitely because we've caught her driving high or with intentions to), college, a whole slew of her own earned spending money that she used to waste on pot (literally half of what she made last year was spent on drugs), and our support in her sport which I can't name to protect our privacy, but let's just say that it's expensive and we've been fully invested in it for 12 years and it used to make her very happy in many ways.

Not quitting would mean working to save enough to move out on her own, for a period of time determined by us, assuming she follows the rules of the household (if not, she'd need to leave sooner). Driving would be heavily restricted. Moving out would mean paying for almost everything on her own.

I see a very strong-willed, fiercely independent, intelligent person who is also very naive, sweet-hearted, scared, and stupid/clueless about the real world. How long will she last out there without us? And will she come back? That is what I ask myself every day...
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I forgot to mention that as of yet, she has not stolen anything from us, acted violently or completely inappropriately, and has many periods of "normalcy". Sometimes it's like she is two different people. I feel strongly that now is the time to get tough with her, though, before things get worse.


Well-Known Member
I'm sorry you're in this situation. I know it's very tough to see them have so many opportunities and then flush them all down the toilet to get high and hang out with low lifes. My own kids did the same. The only thing I can offer is be kind to yourself, keep going to therapy, don't waste money trying to rescue her with lawyers or bail, focus on the other kids, don't let her drama tornado suck up all your energy and attention. Also, make sure to keep your interests alive - don't give up things you love trying to deal with her problems. That includes your marriage.

Your plan sounds good, discuss it in therapy and make sure your husband is on board.

Snow White

On the Mad Tea Party Ride
Welcome, Never. So sorry you find yourself here - but glad you have come for some support. I agree with DoneDad - we all are saddened when our children squander their opportunities all for the sake of getting high.

You and your husband/family will have to come to a mutual decision as to when/how you will deliver an ultimatum. It is a hard thing to do. Most definitely a good therapist could assist you.

You do have 2 younger children who are being affected by your eldest daughter's issues. Their safety and well-being should be considered, in addition to yours. If your daughter was caught/arrested for dealing once, chances are she might be doing it again....and right from your own home.

From experience (thousands of dollars worth), I would also offer that you stop enabling her with money or ways to rescue her. It won't work.

I hope that your daughter will quickly find her way back before she gets into more trouble.

Keep checking in here and posting. We're here for you!



New Member
Neverstopsworry~ The advice from DoneDad and mcdonna are good, sound approaches. Having experienced many similar scenarios, I can also agree that continuing to provide the endless stream of money, will come to no good end. I feel your pain and anguish, and understand your compelling need to 'worry' - but, do remember, there are others (husband and children) who will ultimately feel somewhat ignored, and or 'second fiddle' to your eldest daughter. None of us does this consciously or UNcosciously :unsure: And, of course, YOUR well being should be uppermost. If you 'collapse' and/or lose your grounding, then your entire household will feel the 'domino' effect. Please know that I am not preaching - just relying on my empathy to 'walk in your shoes'.

In the end, whatever decision you settle on, will be unquestionably hard!!! Our effort to "detach" and to stop "enabling" become gigantic hurdles. There is not a day that goes by that I don't remind myself (almost like a mantra) that I must continue to 'detach' from my Borderline (BPD) daughter (31-yrs old, single, with a 7-yr old darling little boy). It would be easy (although a genuine hardship) to just give her money whenever she asks for it. The truly hard choice is NOT giving her the money - and remaining steadfast in my decision. I've also continued to refuse for her and her son to live with me. This absolutely breaks my heart! And, I know that publicly, and to her so-called circle of 'friends', I may seem like the meanest person on earth, who, according to her, is "turning away her daughter and grandson".

Bottom line, we must make these very hard and painful decisions - and live by them. Projecting our expectations onto them only results in our feeling of failure. We cannot, and should not, try to 'control' them. Sadly, we need to stand by (not idly - but moving FORWARD with our own lives) and just be present when they are ready to acknowledge their challenges and act upon them. Try not to see into the future - that is beyond our ability, and will only cause you insurmountable stress.

I am so glad that you discovered this forum. It has been a Godsend for me. Through the very wise, compassionate and insightful words of others that I've experienced here, and along with my own therapist, I now feel much stronger and more at peace than I have in many, many years (of my 69!). Please stay in touch. We are here for you.
Warmest wishes,


Well-Known Member
And maybe she does need to be out on her own for awhile to realize how good she has it here.

I want to say, first, I am sorry. This is very hard and while there is the occasional family that is blessed and this turns around quickly it may not get easier soon. And that is what informs my answer.

You must do for YOU. For you to get through it. What you need to do to not be consumed by worry or guilt. What you need to do to breathe every day. What you need to do to live through this.

Because the thing is, I have tried every single thing. With the focus on my son. Do this, that, and that--and maybe he will change. The results you want cannot be located in your child. Because there is not one thing we can do to permanently influence another adult person, especially our grown children. She will not realize how good she has it until she is ready. That may be tomorrow. Or never.

Your other kids and your family as a whole (let alone you, your husband and your marriage) matter as much or more than does she. They cannot and should not be sacrificed. You have a duty to protect them from suffering from the depletion of your energy, hope and joy, and the sense that they have lost the loving attention of their parent, as well as the effects of your daughter's choices.

The thing we have to face (which is the hardest of all for me) is that while it may be it is the drug's fault, it may also be that our kids are choosing and want this lifestyle. Just because we may have given them everything we believed they should have or need, does not mean that they do not want something different.

That is why the sooner we can find a way to survive this, by putting the locus of control back in us--to live from ourselves, for our welfare, based upon who we are and what our values are--the better it is for everybody. Right now your daughter's misbehavior and problems are driving the car in which the whole family is riding. This is not good for her, you or anybody.

I do not know what you should do and nobody on the internet will know either--for you. But you know. I would say stop looking to have an effect on her and start thinking about what you need.

This is the time for spirituality, for friendships, for massage, hobbies, for time alone with your husband, and camping or fishing or bowling, for dancing, for music and gardening and hikes.

This is what I did not do. I should have.

She has said no to more therapy. What about drug treatment? What about Dual Diagnosis Residential Treatment? She should still be on your insurance. What about 12 step groups?

Bottom lines are hard. I had about 4 million. I have always had a hard time with my son doing nothing productive. So I forced it. That and treatment. But the thing is, eventually they will prevail. They will live the lives they can and want. No matter what we do.


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
I am new here too. It is a great sight with many wise people. I don't feel so alone in my struggles with CD Difficult Child any more. I have found the strength and knowledge to learn to detach, not engage him and if he does not obey the house rules he is on his last chance for that. We have decided enough is enough. I would have him out after taking my car driving high and coming home with drugs this week. My husband is not ready yet. I too struggle with a sweet loving boy who is a Mr Hyde. Allowing him to disrespect us and continue his drug use is not the answer. The many people on his sight have given me strength and courage to do the right thing.

Be strong take care of yourself and your other children. She is not taking accountability and hat is not acceptable.