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Warning, this is gonna be long. Having a very hard day...after several very hard years. I've been lurking around this website for a while now, thankful to have found it about a week ago.
Our 19 year old daughter is once again, home "visiting" after her stay downtown at the park (or possibly with friends - hopefully) for a couple weeks.
There's so much backstory here - not sure how to condense it all. She is, like many of those on here, unbalanced emotionally, uses alcohol and pot (not sure if anything else). There's been a diagnosis of depression and anxiety disorder at 15 - was on antidepressants until about 17. She abruptly went off - was hanging out in this park with her friends - stopped going to school - did not graduate. I signed her up for the CHSPE test twice (high school diploma equivalent) - she missed by 3 points the first time, second time did not show up. I decided not to pay for any more attempts. She uses pot and drinks heavily - from what I know. She hangs around with people who also have either decided to not grow up or have serious mental health issues or are addicts.
She was living with her boyfriend - 24 yo - for almost all of last year until they had and altercation and she stumbled and her front tooth got knocked out. He also has mental health issues but from what I understand, he is not an abuser. He is in jail awaiting his trial. She will be there to be truthful with the judge...that she was at least part of the problem. He did not "push" her down, but was guiding her away from the door of his apartment and I think she was so drunk that she stumbled on some cracks. I don't know and she said she doesn't remember. I don't think he should have been physically guiding her away from his door but I don't think she should have been pushing her way in either. We will let the jury decide. I've seen how she gets - actually have called the police on her four times in the last 4 years.
But now, she's "homeless" back and forth between the park, friends, and here, our home that she considers her home.

We don't give her money -stopped giving her lunch money back in her junior year of HS when I smelled alcohol all the time. She had her backpack stolen a couple weeks ago and all her stuff was in it. Previously, a few months ago, I helped her get her ID (she doesn't have a driver's license), her EBT card, and an Obamaphone. It was at a convenient time for me, so it was okay. Here is the problem - I feel such a pressure to do the "right" thing. I read about enabling and I don't want to do that, although I am torn as to what exactly is okay to do out of love. Well, today I helped her again. I did pay for her ID. I am so sick of the guilt I feel that I am "enabling" her. I'm sick of society's expectations and condemnations of parents who help a "little too much".

Today as she was griping about having her laptop stolen (which was given to her by her younger brother when he got a new one) and then started asking in a whining tone about the upstairs computer (the monitor is in my son's room - he does a lot of video stuff and loves to have two monitors). She was hardly ever here last year and so we figured she would never use it again. I decided to tell her (while were driving back from getting her ID, EBT card, and phone) that she will need to think about moving out. We have offered to pay for school at a community college or even trade school or whatever. She has a college fund. She doesn't want to do school. So I said she needs to start looking for a job - part time or full time...she said she won't do that. She will hitch hike with friends to another country???? If it wasn't so scary, I would laugh.

Anyway, it goes on and on and I know you have all been here where you are feeling like you are either enabling or abandoning your kids - where is the middle ground? I absolutely love this girl and keep having flashbacks of when she was a sweet little child. This is breaking my heart and my spirit because I feel hopeless at this point. I have been on and off depressed for about 5 years. Periods of contentedness in between these bad times. And I'm going through the beginnings of "the change" too which makes everything amplified. I am consumed by guilt. And here's why. I feel better when she's not in the house. Even knowing she's up to no good probably drinking heavily and smoking pot. At least she's not yelling and screaming at me. And I feel guilt that we might have contributed to her inability to launch. I feel guilty that I didn't stop her from meeting these friends of hers...letting the rope out too soon maybe. I am sick of bashing myself with guilt. No one is a perfect parent. I get that intellectually, but not emotionally.

I feel guilty that I don't feel the same way about her that I used to. I feel like she's a stranger. But this is my daughter - my first born. I love her deeply and every once in a while I see that kid come back into her eyes, but then it's gone in a flash. It' s been a few years of on and off verbal abuse by her and I feel like I was so weak at times that I just couldn't deal and I shut down. She blames me and my husband for our "high expectations" of her (yes, we did have high expectations because she is brilliant and she knows it). She flunked a class, then a couple more and still has the nerve to say it's our fault because we expected more??? She blames us for not letting her get her license but at the time she didn't want to get it...then the drinking started. I feel guilty because I was an alcoholic and quit drinking permanently when she as one year old. Our family on both sides has a lot of drug/alcohol abuse. WE never had alcohol in the house except for the last two Christmas holidays - some wine and a 6 pack of beer for our guests. Somehow I thought we "saved" her from this awful disease by not having it in the house. But we let the string out too far and then peers came into the picture.

I know you will tell me to see a therapist (I have been to a couple and am going to go to another one probably soon if I can't get a grip). And I have been to Al-anon several times. It's helpful but the times of the meetings is not good for me except for one day a week. I am going to try to make an effort to go a couple times a week. I don't know of any support groups in my town (I asked therapists and they don't know of any either). My husband is more of a tough love person and I feel like it's going to come down to sink or swim for her. I can't help but feel like it would be throwing her to the wolves. I know none of her friends (other than one I briefly met when she was couch surfing at his place with a couple others). How do you let go when it goes against every fiber of your being? As mothers we are built to protect our kids and we do that all the way up to when they start spitting in our faces and then we are told to "detach", "let go and let God", etc. I am absolutely devastated with this situation because my kid is struggling and I can't help her other than let her have a safe place to stay and a warm meal at times. How many days a week? How often do you ask that they check in if they are on the streets? Is this OKAY? Even if they are not TRYING to move forward? Am I not allowed to give to her without expectations of contribution of some sort in return? I just want to have a bit of a relationship with my daughter. I feel trapped. She has already become a "homie", a "townie" and I was spying on her at her hangout the other day - on her birthday. It makes me sick and sad and I just want to have some sort of peace of mind.

I don't want to pay for a therapist to just blah blah blah blah. It's costly and even though I can afford it, it just seems to be a venting session and I temporarily feel better but I KNOW what I have to do deep down if things don't change. Cut her off. I just can't do that right now and I feel like it's either my sanity or I'm sacrificing my daughter's chance to grow up. Isn't there a middle grey area? Baby steps I guess...but it's so hard living in this uncertain phase of life.

These forums help me a lot- even if it's just to calm me down in the moment. Thanks for reading, especially if you made it to the end!!!


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I am glad you found us.

I confess to not reading the whole is so similar to most of us here. A rose is a rose. An addict is an addict.

First of all, stop seeing your adult daughter as that sweet, cute little girl she once was. She is gone. Your daughter is taller with a lower voice and breasts. She is grown up and deliberately not getting help and mooching off you. I felt i had to make my drug using daughter leave at 19. She got no money, no car, etc. She begged her straight arrow brother to let her live with him and he reluctantly agreed, with rules attached that were stricter than ours. If she so much as lit up a cigarette in his house, he would have easily with no guilt put her out on the cold winter streets of Chicago. He made her get a job, walk both ways, pay rent, clean and cook for him and his roomies. His house/his rules...and she knew he meant it.

This is a girl who smoked pot, drank, did meth, cocaine and even smoked heroin a few times.

She quit. Even cigarettes.

Today she is 34, paid her own way through a two year school, bought a house with her boyfriend and takes darn good care of my grandchild. She has a profession.

I felt very guilty and sad making her leave, but I had two other kids, young, and they were afraid of her when she came home high although she never hurt anyone.

For me, I like tough love. Always told my kids I had a zero tolerance policies towarx breaking the law and if they did, i would not bail, pay for lawyers or let them live at home. None of my other kids took drugs. Hub and I dont drink at all. I have nevet been drunk in my life. We have no alcohol in the house. Nobody is allowed to smoke cigarettes in our house. But she did what she did anyway. I took action early. I was afraid that if I enabled her, we would still be here when she was thirty. You dont outgrow addiction.

Your daughter is 19, you cant cotrol her. I tried to stop my daughter from seeing her high school druggie friends. She would climb out her window when we slept. You can not stop your daughter.

We are not obligated to give money that they will lie about and use for substances to self destructive adult children. That in my opinion hurts them rather than helping them. Love never cured addiction and awful behavior or none of us would be here.

Your daughter is not ready to go to even community college. She is wasted all the time. She cant think right. That may or may not be in her future, but she needs to get clean first. Or not. Its up to her. Only her. Your daughter may have a high IQ. But she has a low EQ (emotional intelligence). All drug addicts do. I read in several places that a high EQ is more important to success than IQ.

in my opinion you still need therapy and as much of Al Anon as you can get. Al Anon groups are online if you cant go. I grabbed onto therapy and Al Anon or I could not have stayed strong.

I know others will chime in. I am glad you are here. Take what resonates and leave the rest.

Prayers to you.
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I think this wolf analogy is better.

Your daughter wasn't raised by wolves, right? So maybe she is a sheep, on the inside. But right now, she's undeniably choosing wolf's clothing.

You're not throwing her to anything. At the moment, that is her pack of choice. Of course we can look back at what happened before the troubles started -- the friends she started running with -- and blame that. But if she didn't keep herself from that bad decision then, there are no guarantees she wouldn't make the wrong choice at a later fork in the road.

Maybe there's a reason why she's making those choices that you would be empathetic to. I think every parents wish here would be that our kids would work on those reasons instead of what they're doing.

What you know for sure is that she was raised with love by humans, imperfect as we are, and was not raised by wolves.

And that you still love her and want the best for her. I think being a mom means you wish you could keep them from suffering. But it doesn't mean you can or even that you should, at least for difficult kids.

She is lucky to have you wishing for her.


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Staff member
Google Families Anonymous. Of the support groups I tried, I liked that one the best. However, I found private therapy the most helpful for me. I sounded a lot like you when my daughter was 19. Unfortunately, I waited until she was 27 before I started seeing a therapist and got help with setting boundaries. It is more than just blah, blah, blah. Yes, I got to vent which was very helpful but my therapist also helped me see that letting my daughter manipulate me was not helping either one of us. She helped me set boundaries and stick to them. Just seeing the therapist every week helped hold me accountable although she was never judgmental when I took steps backwards. We would just move forward from there.

So I said she needs to start looking for a job - part time or full time...she said she won't do that. She will hitch hike with friends to another country???? If it wasn't so scary, I would laugh.

I actually smiled when I read that. It sounded so much like my daughter at that age. Saying outlandish things just to scare you and get what she wants from you.

Your daughter very much feels like she is calling the shots right now. You told her that she needed to find a job and she told you that she won't do that.

Okay, then. Call her on it. Tell her that she is an adult now and that you are sure she will figure out a way to eat and have a roof on her head without working. It is no longer your concern.

I know that this is harder said then done. I said on another thread, though, that I often wonder if I had been able to set boundaries and be strong when my daughter was 19, then maybe we could have saved her a lost ten years.

I am glad that you found us. Keep posting and let us support and help you. Take what advice works for you and leave the rest.



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

I agree with the others' advice.

You have to stop enabling her or she will continue to drink. I know that you don't mean to but we all do it and it just "enables" them to not grow up, accept responsibility for their choices/life and get help for their addictions.

We cannot fix our children.

When I finally realized that, it helped me tremendously. A good therapist will help you create healthy boundaries for her. If she doesn't get help then she should not be allowed to live in your home. YOU deserve happiness and peace. Your younger son should not have to live in this dysfunction either.

Our home is our shelter from the storm and should not BE the storm. I remember not wanting to come home after work because I didn't want to deal with our son.

He wouldn't change so WE had to. Nothing changes if nothing changes. I didn't want to love my son to death.



I am sorry for all of this you are going through.

The thing is for all of us is there is no control, we don't have it because our 'kids' are grown up and supposed to be able to make their own decisions. It is all crap of cause because they are not able. I don't think that's my fault, I don't think it's yours either. I wish I had magic words but I don't.

I imagine one day this will end, they make the ending and we are just characters. My advice, for what it's worth, is to do what you can and if that is nothing then that is ok. I just tell my boy I love him but for now that's all I've got. I hope things improve❤️


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Thanks for your replies. It means a lot to hear your stories about your situations eventhough some of it stings becsuse I know I have allowed boundaries to be blurred.. And I'm sorry for the common thread that brings us here. Reading your replies gives me hope that things can change. Hope that these dark days won't last for ever. I'd like to know how to feel joy again. It's been so long that I've felt excited about anything because I don't know how. I feel content at times but then I feel grief for what once was. It's embarrassing to admit but I think I also became addicted to the drama. I told my husband the other night that I hope our conversations one day can be about how well she is doing or about something else completely. This downward spiral has been going on so long I lost myself and now am not sure I ever knew who I was to begin with. Such a cliche but it is real. We all have a breaking point and mine was in 2013 when I found out she was self injuring. She started therapy but then didn't follow through and I probably should have insisted (fail....guilt guilt guilt) This whole time was a living nightmare. Since then it's been an upstream swim for me to get any sense of groundedness. I had some derealization episodes and still can't go certain places because of association. A visceral reaction happens. This is anxiety and depression that comes and goes but it's much better than it was back in that god awful year I wish I could erase from memory. After that episode my knowlegde of depression changed. I knew what it was now and unless you've gone through it you will not be able to relate or truly understand how it makes someone feel. It distortes everything. This happened right when my kid needed me to be strong. I still went through the motions of mothering but something was different now. I think I softened and let her do her own thing because I couldn't deal anymore. And my husband is a practical, non sensitive guy who has put up walls over his life because he's been hurt too many times...too many deaths.
He's softened up over the years but still doesn't like "feelings".

She's not interested in growing up or taking responsibility for herself. She does not care becsuse she doesn't love herself or have self worth anymore. Who knows whay she has done in repayment of a place to stay....I can only hope this is my mind off in the abyss but it could be reality. Shame will kill some. So I guess all I can do is love her without giving her anything. Not sure how. Can't have expectations right now or ever really. It's her life not mine. But for a little while our lives were on the same path and it felt cozy and safe and wholesome. I felt loved and needed and like I meant something and I thought she did too. Parenting right now feels like a cruel joke. Even with the "golden child" still at home doing all the "right things". I try to be upbeat around him but over half the time it feels fake. He's so easy to get along with.

Well, I will try to stick to my boundaries and let my kid face reality. Hopefully she's capable enough. I spied again at the park. This new hobby of spying on her needs to stop and is part of the insanity alanon speaks of. :(


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You are very insightful SW which tells me that no matter what your daughter decides for her life, you are going to find peace and contentment regardless of what she does.

With that said I will pray that your daughter does see the light when she is ready.


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through all this madness and suffering i am learning one very important thing. in everything bad there is the potential for good if i find power, possibility, attention and compassion in me. for me. first. for me, this is very hard.

i know that must sound airy fairy.

i am trying to convey that there is hope. for you , first. by finding your way back to yourself. whatever it takes. baths. support. posting all day. books. prayer. dance. fill in the blanks.



Active Member
I appreciate all of your thoughts and thank you for listening to me. I've read some of your posts on other threads too and I see we are all here because we are all trying to figure out how to do this. I think I have a problem of wanting a quick fix and I realize I can't have it. In fact, it might not ever be fixed. Just came home from an al-anon meeting (haven't been in a while). Was good but felt my eyes welling up constantly listening to others.


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Ditto on the phone meetings. Due to my schedule the phone meetings work perfectly for me. I find them to be just as useful and valuable as face to face meetings. I highly recommend them.


Active Member
Hi Strangeworld - I read about how it was difficult to get to Alanon was the same for me so I went on their site and they have telephone meetings. They are run just like a regular meeting....everyday, all times day and has been a great help to me, I hope it will be for you too. Here's the link Find an Al-Anon Meeting Taking Place over the Internet scroll down to see the phone meeting lists with #.
Thank you. I have decided to do the two meetings a week that are convenient for me - Wed and Fri. Other than that they are in the evenings and due to a bit of a drive into town and my desire to be home in the evenings, phone meetings might work out well. How do the phone meetings work? Like is it a group conference call?
Exactly....I have been on meetings where there are anywhere from 12 to 90 + people in attendance. You can just listen to the shares or speak up...just like in the regular face to face meetings. I think its great that you're going to stick to the f2f meetings...real important to be seen as well as heard..but these mtgs are great in between. Keep showing up for yourself. In my experience, it's one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. Take good care.