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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.

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Directions

I made the decision to help my daughter with shelter. This is after about 5 rehabs and more than a year of her being off and on the street.

Being off and on the street has not helped her. I almost went crazy when she last disappeared for three weeks. I reported her missing and called the morgue.

 We have never been enablers. We let my daughter loose her car. We did not bail her out of legal problems. We do not allow her to live at home.  But after all that we have been through and she has been through we still can not tell how much is the addiction and how much is her bipolar disorder or post traumatic stress disorder from a gang rape.

All this tough love has not changed a thing. She was often willing to go to rehab. She really tried but simply could not keep clean out of rehab. I now see my refusal to help in any way as a punishment. I was trying to punish her into choosing a clean life. What if she can't?  What if she is too far gone?

An interesting thing happened. I called her ready and willing to pay for her to get into an apt. in Florida. She said for me not to worry she was going to live with and clean for a spiritual family. She said that they wanted nothing from her, just to help her get well.

The next call I got was from Beth's attorney. Her hearing for social security disability has been scheduled for May 10. The attorney gets nothing if she does not win so she must think it is a good case.  If she wins and gets total mental disability she will get 674 dollars per month. That and a little help from Mom will provide shelter.

I felt like God was talking to me for this to be scheduled at this time. I had been grappling with the question as you know. The phone rings and the hearing that we have been waiting for more than 2 years is scheduled.

I will tell you the truth of weather it is better or worse. Do I think that this will cure her?  NO

Do I think it will hurt her?  NO 

Society is much better off with her in shelter. It is cheaper and safer for society.

I function better without the extreme guilt I lived with for 3 years doing what was completely and totally unnatural for me to do. Throwing a sick person out never felt right. I did it for my own protection. I also believed the party line that she would improve if I stopped enabling her. I am here to say that it got a lot worse not a bit better for her. 

Tom, over at recoveryhelpdesk wrote a great post about this. He could not get it to post on this site and neither could I. I do not know why. He is a former addict with an MD. He practices medically assisted recovery treatment. They believe in harm reduction as does the National Alliance for the mentally ill.

Canada and most European countries also follow this approach. It might not work. Very little works in this field. But, there again I think it is worth a try.

Andy Reeves was greatly criticized for both supporting and for turning out his sons. He also tried both. He and his wife did a great interview about it. 

I would have disagreed with myself a few months ago. But, I have come to believe that since witholding supports from her has not cured her that I am now part of the problem. I am her mother and I will keep a roof over her head from now on if and when she accepts it.

I hope that you all do not reject me even if many of you disagree. I have come to rely on your support. You have helped me and I hope that I have helped you through some long nights of the soul.



  1. Anna,

    I do not fault you. I am not sure about all of the "conventional wisdom" especially as it concerns "hitting bottom".

    I'm a dad with a 22 year old opiate addict son. We've tried all the methods with rehab, clean living, throwing him out. taking him in and only sporadic success, because we finally learned it was up to him. Until he has a profound experience about his using and his life then he will not get better. No matter how much or what I do.

    This is something we must do for ourselves. I have told my son I'll move a mountain to help him with his recovery but not even roll over on the couch to enable his using. Judging between the two is ultimately up to us.

  2. I applaud you for doing what you feel is right! I've always believed that no one knows our child better than we do and when we don't know where to turn, our gut instincts or inner voice or God (or all three) will help us figure it out.

  3. I also believe you should do what you feel is right in your situation! I will continue to pray for you and your daughter!

  4. Thanks for your support. I do not judge anyone harshly for their decisions trying to save the addict or save themselves. I hope no one thinks that I condem their choices. I know this is a terribly confusing road.


  5. You need to follow what you feel is right, you're the only one walking in your shoes. I have a friend who says, (I think it might actually be a quote from someone famous???) "If you come to a fork in the road, pick one. Because whichever you choose you'll have to trust God from there."
    Always praying for you and Beth.

  6. I don't think that anyone has the answers and certainly I don't. I'm glad that you made a decision that feels right for you. That is important. I also hope that your daughter understands how much you love her. I don't think that anyone would ever judge you for loving your child.

  7. Anna, I have a bipolar friend in her late twenties. She was sexually abused as a child, and wasn't diagnosed until her early twenties. I have been a mentor to her since she was 22. Just recently, after the last few manic episodes in which she had sex with three strangers, got a tatoo (she hates tatoos), smoked marijuana with a client in hospice care, I decided that enough was enough. She has lived on her own for the last several years, sees a great psychologist and psychiatrist, but even with that, and being med compliant, she still needs more supervision honestly that she thinks she does, because by the time she realizes she is very manic and out of control, the damage is done. She has come so close to losing her job and career as a result of her actions, that I asked our church to step up to the plate and help me care for her on a much more intentional basis, like daily contact with her, and to convince her that living by herself is not working well. We formed a group to actively care for her with her permission. I am not saying that every bipolar person can't live alone, but the ones that I know who are successful in life have either a roommate or a spouse who knows them well enough to spot the early signs up a big swing. I hope that our Caroline will live with us through college, because of the stress, and then I would be open to her living with us early in her career, unless she found a wonderful roommate. After seeing the mess this other young lady creates every few months, I see that I will be parenting Caroline much longer than my other children. I guess it goes with the territory.

    I think you are being very noble. This may be a good solution for now, for you to help, but it may be that later you will have to back off again. You need so much wisdom. I am praying for God to give you wisdom and discernment to know the best way to love your daughter, which, as you know, means different things according to their real needs. Your daughter needs to see that life as she has lived it is worthless, and that she can have hope for real change, but the support system she will need will probably be bigger than just a rehab group. Has she ever been involved in a church? I just know that many people finally find real and lasting change when they allow God into their lives and admit to their complete inability to make life work on their own. Hang in there. I am praying for you!!

  8. Thanks Megan,

    And your bipolar friend did all of this without major drugs involved. That is my point exactly!

    Thanks for your encouragement and suggestions. Let's pray for her to get involved in a church. I go to a great methodist church but if she were to become a fundamentalist I would sit in the front row and shout praise the lord!


  9. Anna, I could never reject you for doing what you feel in your heart is right. I just would like to make one suggestion if I may: Protect your belongings and your valuables. My ex let my daughter move back in and she stole check books, money, jewelry, etc. She said it was the drugs, not her. Time will tell if your arrangement works out. I hope that it will bring you peace. I think you are a very courageous lady. Best of luck and God bless.

  10. I am new to blogging, but I support any decision a parent makes in these situations. There is no roadmap, set of hard and fast rules, or even logic, in all of this parenting addiction. Only you can make this call. Anything we do as parents can backfire with addiction. I try not to enable my daughter, but the lines get very blurry. Take care of yourself.

  11. Anna, I'm so glad you found a solution that gives YOU at least some peace. And I would never judge or reject any of us in this group. When mental illness is added to the mix, the divergent advice from the mental health groups and the drug treatment experts is enough to put me over the edge. I keep you and your daughter in my prayers. Bless you both!

  12. Your comment to mine made me laugh. Whatever it takes, right? I am so proud of you for hanging in there and trying to make good decisions in the midst of such confusion and despair. We second guess ourselves a lot, I know I do, but in the end we have to trust that God is bigger than we are!

  13. It is so easy for others to suggest how we handle our children in this situation but I agree only WE know our children. If it were up to my husband my daughter would be on the street or in jail. He was under the impression we had 'Drug court' in our county & she would get the help needed at no cost. We do not have that here & all that would happen is she would sit in jail with no help. I agreed to help my daughter get onto Subox 6 weeks ago & regardless of the opinions it is working for her & for that I am thankful.Her dads opinion has changed as well on the use of this. He has told me that he hs seen how mothers truly will fight for the life of their children no matter what --don't stop fighting for her life-even when it seems she isn't.

  14. My mother and father have helped me with keeping a roof over my head while I've been in and out of alcoholism, rehab, and psychiatric treatment (for BPD) for the past 3 1/2 years and i am so very grateful. I am now reaching 90 days sober and I don't think there's any way I could have gotten close to that if I didn't have somewhere clean and dry and safe to live (I live in my own apartment, not with them).