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Welcome to my blog. I hope we can help each other endure the pain of the addiction of a daughter or son.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Please tell me your experiences with trying to keep a roof over your addict's head. I am seriously contemplating putting my addict up in a rooming house. I do not think that it will cure her but I am not convinced that it will make her worse.

It might make me feel a little better to know where to look for her when I think she is dead. Years ago I thought that she would get better if I just took the hard line of no enabling. I did that and not just for a few days but for months and even years. After  5 or 6 rehabs she is no better. IN fact, she is much worse.

She will not pay her rent instead of taking drugs. She will definitely get her drugs first. Years ago, I decided that I would give the tough love, no enabling thing a chance but that if it did not work i would by her a trailer somewhere and let her just live her choices after that. Isn't that what we do when our loved ones are dying? Don't we make them as comfortable as possible? Anyhow, I am not suggesting the taj majal. Just shelter.
I would find a month to month lease in a very small, next to public transportation and work kind of place.It looks like it would cost about 5000 per year. I would never give her money. I would only pay the land lord.

Tell me how this went for you if you tried it. How was it better?  How was it worse?

Please do not judge me too harshly. I am tired. I want some of my own life back.

The parents group for the National Alliance for the Mentally ill believes in choices and boundaries but they caution against putting a mentally ill person on the street if there is any way around it. They say that this leads to death, victimization of the mentally ill, attacks on others by the mentally ill and much sufferring on the families of the mentally ill.  My daughter is mentally ill. She was born that way. I saw it long before she got into drugs. Now she is a drug addict as well. It looks hopeless to me and I am pretty much ready to take the harm reduction path.

If putting your kid out would scare them into behaving in the course of  six months to a year then they are not as far gone or crazy as my kid. I live in fear. She loves to take risks. It is part of her bipolar disorder. I just want to lessen the drama even though it will cost me financially. I would rather work another 5 years than endure her homelessness. I would not even consider this if I thought she had any chance of recovery other than a miracle.


  1. WOW! I haven't felt compelled to comment ANY where in quite a while, but this jumped out at me and I just have to say what I feel. I am the former addict. I work hard to put myself into your loving words, pretending you were my parent, because I had none, and unfortunately I see every single opportunity that you are giving as another easy way to keep using.

    I am actively, rapid cycling, bipolar. I am a former addict.

    I feel you are very early in the denial game. You have already decided she is not capable of doing this and you are doing everything you can to "fix it."

    "WE" LOVE people who will fix it, it helps us succeed.

    Homelessness was the BEST thing that happened to me. Doing without normal daily luxuries while on drugs is COMMON! Its when you don't have the drugs AND you don't have normal luxuries that you begin to reevaluate.

    You are going to LOVE her to death. Literally.

  2. As I read your post, I thought...yes...I can see why she wants to help...expecially after all of these years and given her mental illness. Then, I read midnitefyrfly's comment and was swaying to her way of thinking.

    It is so difficult, because we want to do what's best for our child, even if that means we are tortured...and we get different messages from the "experts" and from others. Do we trust ourselves, God or take a vote! I continue to pray for your family!

  3. the addict in me was like, i wish you were my mom when i was using..

    by the way,

    a car and gift cards for groceries would be cool..

    (stems and screens on christmas would make a great stocking stuffer... as well as one of those lil butane torches, i always wanted one because those dang bic lighters would explode when the top gets melted...

    also, i wanted cable to watch porn on.. ya know with the crack hoes and stuff. and i missed shows like intervention and dr drew///

    u r loved


    (sorry if i offended and hurt, but i pray i did no harm..)

  4. I totally understand your agony. But you would be doing this for yourself, to buy yourself some peace of mind for $5,000.00 a year. More money for drugs if you don't have to pay rent! I believe that anything you do to suppport your addict is enabling, because they have more money for drugs. I'll pray that you do what you think is right.

  5. what they all said. x 100

    with the addition of this.

    facilitate adulthood by insisting on it. no bail outs emotionally, financially, couch to sleep on etc.

    if she is forced to be an adult, she will either succeed or fail. but it is her road to walk. not yours anymore.

    and yes, i do realize that one of the outcomes is that she gets overwhelmed, shoots up and overdoses and dies. and as sad as that will be, it is a possible outcome. are you prepared for that? I know you have thought about it.

    the thing is, you can't stop it if that is a possible outcome. you cannot control whether or not she relapses again and overdoses. neither can God. only she can. and she may not have it in her. she may succumb to the idea. she could just as easily overdose in her bedroom in your house, with all the support in the world. or on the couch of the minimalist place you are thinking of providing her with.

    scenario. i live with my parents. they help me do everything and i am still a fuck up. they feed me and love me and let me be part of the family and i still use behind their backs because i am such a loser. they tell me i am not a loser but they don't really know me. all i do is disappoint my parents and hurt them. i am such a loser i have nothing to live for.

    scenario. i was kicked out of my parents house. they abandoned me. nobody likes me, nobody will help me....i have nothing to live for.

    scenario. i have this place to sleep cuz my mom thinks i am so pitiful and helpless that i can't even keep a roof over my head and hey, she's totally right cuz i have been homeless before too. God, i am such a loser. i have nothing to live for.

    the outcome is the same. bottom line again. it's up to her. not you. not me. not God. she will either win or lose. and you are simply NOT responsible either way.

  6. I have had the same thoughts about providing a place for my daughter. I went to the NAMI classes and got told the same things you mentioned, that for the mentally ill, leaving them out there is not at all the best thing for patient or family. And the NAMI instructors readily admitted that a huge percentage of mentally ill were also addicts. Yet they still said those things.

    The differences in professional advice about how to handle the mentally ill and how to handle an addict are so far apart. This is what causes me so much personal agony about the whole thing.

    At this point, my thinking and actions align very much with those already mentioned above and especially Fractal Mom's (her three scenarios). It appears to me, at this time, that the outcome is out of my hands.

    That said, I will not give up Hope. And prayers continue, for my daughter, and yours (and so many others!). Take care of yourself and be at peace with whatever you decide. ((hug))

  7. I so hear your agony and I can understand that. Someone above said "you would be doing this for yourself." yeah, she is right. This would make YOU feel better and understandably so. But would it help your daughter in the long run? I don't know. My gut says probably not.

    An Alanon old timer whose son is mentally ill and homeless and an alcoholic says she now "waits for the question." She doesn't offer help unless he asks for something specific and then she evaluates if its something that is willing to do. "Can I come home and do a load of laundry?" Yes. "Can you add some money to my phone card?" Yes. "Can I live here?" No "can you pay my rent?" No.

    That simplified a lot for me. What are our addicts asking us to do? Anything?

  8. Thanks for the comments. No one has told me if they ever did this and what happened.

    Thanks to Her Big Sad for confirming what the alliance for the mentally ill says on this point. You all should know that there is a different viewpoint out there.

    The psychiatrists and neurobiologists say protect them. The 12 step people say either kick them out or decide for yourself.

    I wonder what the shrinks would say if they actually had a loved one addict. That would be an interesting thing to know.

  9. Anna, what I have done so far, is offer her the first two weeks in a sober home, each time she has gotten out of jail. Usually, that has resulted in her actively pounding the pavement, getting a job and resuming the cost of her own care. This last time, she got out and got loaded immediately. She detoxed and then got loaded again that first evening she was released. Now she's just "out there."

    Something seems very different about her this time. She seems much "sicker" than I've ever known her to be.

    I don't know what we will do next time she gets out of jail.

    The dual diagnosis dilemma deserves more attention, in my opinion. Several years ago, we went around the table introducing ourselves (at a table of significant others/famly members that represented 20+ different bipolar or schizophrenic patients) at my NAMI class. All but one of the patients represented was also an addict. That one? She was also an alcoholic. (To me that difference was insignificant.)

    We completed the class having become more educated in mental illness, and even more confused about how to best help our mentally ill/addicted family members!

  10. I am prepared for everyone to tell me how wrong I am, but that's okay. I still have to speak my truth and my reality so far. I also go to NAMI meetings and have been to Al-Anon, they have opposite viewpoints. I personally have chosen the supportive love rather than tough love for my son because I know him. I know how he would respond to tough love and I am afraid I would lose him for years or maybe forever.

    A couple years ago when all this started out with his addiction my car mechanic (who I had no clue at the time was a former heroin addict) told me his life story, heroin, jail, heroin, rehab, heroin, jail...etc. He said something that stuck with me "It was the love and support of my mother that kept me going. Everyone else gave up on me but she never did. She gave me so many second chances that finally one day I was really done and here I am today." He cried and we hugged.
    This guy had no mental illness, he was a gang-banger, a drug dealing heroin addict, and he eventually stopped using.

    My son has panic disorder, OCD and bi-polar on top of his addiction. I do what I can to keep his life calm. I know it goes against what most parents do, but its working for us. He has a safe place to live. He is earning our trust back. He has obligations and responsibilities. He still thinks about heroin every day, he still wants to use, he is still fearful, anxious and depressed. But he knows we are here for him 24/7 and that he is "safe". And he's also in his 8th month of being clean.

    I don't take one hour of his sobriety for granted and know he could relapse at any second. But so far, so good.

  11. P.S. Last summer when he was using, stealing, lying and being difficult in every way possible I was told I absolutely had to kick him out. I just couldn't do it. He ended up going to jail instead. Would I have eventually have kicked him out? Probably, but I was not ready then and am glad I didn't. I was working at the time and several women in my office told me how wrong I was, but we know our children better than anyone and have to use the approach that feels right for our individual family.

  12. We all know in the end its up to you to decide if you will pay for her to have a roof over her head.
    I think it will give you some comfort to know she isn't on the streets, but that is only one part of it. A roof over her head is a good thing, of course, but she will still be using. you will still be worried about her. Do you think she will ever get clean? Do you think she even wants to quit?
    I would have LOVED to have my mom pay for a roof over my head while I was using.

    I don't think you should do it. It would be too much of a luxury for a addict.

  13. P.S. My daughter once had a paid for apartment and moved her drug dealer in in exchange for free drugs!

  14. i forgot to say..

    as an addict, i am sorry you are hurting. i know my addiction did not affect you or your life. but sometimes its nice to hear.

    truth is, your addict is sorry. deep down inside they are. as i am.

    i hurt so many people. i was good at being an addict. you would have never known i was an addict if ya met me. my loved ones were telling people all this crazy shit and i would be like, they are wrong, just trying to ruin me. other folks would say Frankie cant be an addict.. look, he pays his bills, he dresses well, has a great business..

    LOL not funny but i played it well. lived two seperate lives..

    either way, i am so sorry for all your pain. someone loved me enough to bury me..


  15. Hi Anna, this post sparked quite a lot of thoughts!!! Tom over at Recovery Helpdesk wrote about your blog post today:

  16. Anna, I always ask myself what my motives are when I do something. Maybe an inventory of what your feelings are about this and what you will get out of it is in order. I listen to parents in my meetings every week being sad because their child is still using/drinking even though they have provided shelter, money, cars, and much other support. They wonder what it will take to get them sober. And the answer always is that we can't get them sober. They have to want to do that and nothing I am going to do will make it happen.

  17. Dear Anna,

    I have considered the same thing for my daughter. That was BA, before Al-Anon.

    Now, I see that my attempts to help my daughter were just putting an obstacle between her and the consequences of her actions. Between her and God.

    I came to Al-Anon believing that my daughter was mentally ill. I had the support of a steady stream of psychiatric professionals, who gave her a long list of diagnoses. They gave me license to enable. They made me feel good about what I was doing for my daughter.

    During one of my first meetings, I explained that my daughter had a mental illness that rendered her emotionally retarded. She was years younger than her age.

    One woman said, "addiction arrests emotional development" during her share. I thought, "you just don't know my daughter."

    A few months into the program, it hit me like a ton of bricks that my daughter was behaving like an addict. The scales were ripped from my eyes. So now, I love my daughter. I try to keep the lines of communication open. But I don't help her.

    The last I heard from her, she had been accepted into a homeless shelter. She told me that she could see how people turn to prostitution. These words killed me. But I could also see how her actions had put her right where she was. She had a million choices, and so many people who loved her and wanted to help. She wore out each and every one. I had to turn it over to God.

    I'm not saying this is what is happening with your daughter. I've simply been taught to share my experience, strength and hope in case it might help someone else.

    Only you can decide what's right for you and your daughter. And with that, as we say, I will pass.

    Except to add that I feel for you, and will keep you both in my prayers. Love and hugs.