"My adult daughter is an addict, and I just don't know what to do."
"This is something that could happen to anyone. Throughout high school, she was always on the high honor roll. She never got into any real trouble. She got married early and had three children. Somewhere along the line, something happened, and now, she uses drugs.
"My daughter could be just like your daughter. She's married with an adoring husband whose heart is breaking over this. She's a wife, a mother, a friend and a sister to my other children. I hate to see what she's doing to herself. I feel for her husband. I don't want to see her end up being a single mother, but I'm afraid that's what might happen.
"Something has to change in this situation. I need to figure out a way to help, but I don't even know where to begin."
If your adult daughter has a drug addiction, or is an alcoholic, you're probably feeling scared. You've never been in this situation before, and you don't know what to do.
You're not alone. Many adult children turn to drugs or alcohol as ways to cope when they get older. As a parent, you want to help your daughter get the assistance she needs. You want the addiction to go away. You want life to go back the way it used to be.
Unfortunately, too much has changed for that to happen. Even so, there are several things you can do in this situation.
At Northpoint Washington, we'd like to help you get through this. Our goal is to assist you with helping your addicted daughter as much we can.
Did you know that you could be enabling your daughter's addiction? Parents do this all the time for their adult children, without realizing it. If you are enabling her, you're making it much easier for her to stay in her addiction. This may be being done in a number of ways.
Some examples of enabling include:
It's not easy to stop enabling once it's started. However, it is possible. You just have to set strict boundaries. Let your daughter know what you will and will not do, and stay consistent in your decision.
Ever since you found out about your daughter's addiction, you've wanted to say something. Unfortunately, you felt paralyzed. You didn't want to say the wrong thing, so you just kept silent. It's time to speak up and share for your daughter's own good.
Before you talk with her, make sure you educate yourself on what addiction is. Learn about drugs and alcohol and the effects they have on people. The more you know, the better it will be.
When you're ready to talk, pick a time when your daughter is sober. Early in the morning seems to be a good time. Keep the conversation brief. Be firm, but loving with your words. Tell your daughter that you want her to get better, and that you're there to help her.
Your daughter may surprise you and agree to go to addiction treatment. If so, you need to know what to do next.
Here at Northpoint Washington, we can help you with that. Once you get in touch with us, we can do an assessment for your daughter over the phone. During the assessment, we'll talk with her about her addiction. We'll need to know what she's using and how often. We'll also need to know if she has any other issues going on.
Our goal is to provide treatment for co-occurring disorders alongside addiction treatment. Finally, we'll recommend treatment and verify her health insurance. Once that's done, we'll talk about admission. It's not hard to get started with addiction treatment, but it is helpful to know where to begin.
You may know that there is drug abuse or alcohol abuse happening in your daughter's home. What you're not sure of is whether or not it has become an addiction. This is important for you to know; otherwise, you can't offer much help.
You could try to take a family member addiction quiz. This quiz will ask you a lot of questions about your daughter's relationship to substances. Also, you can look for some of the following signs of addiction:
Have you noticed any of the above? If you have, then your daughter is probably addicted to either alcohol or drugs.
If you do talk with your daughter about her addiction, make sure you ask her to go to treatment. Drug treatment or alcohol treatment is vital for her recovery. She may insist to you that she doesn't need professional help. She may tell you that she's quite capable of quitting all on her own. Please don't believe this. Not only is it almost impossible, for many substances, it's dangerous.
Stopping the use of alcohol and prescription drugs abruptly can be deadly for some people. Let her know this, because she may not be aware of it. Tell her that you want to encourage her to get professional help. Offer to go with her when she's admitted to help put her at ease.
During drug and alcohol rehab, your daughter will be in very good hands. She'll be able to talk with you regularly, and she'll work with counselors who will help her. Professional treatment is so important for her.
Many parents live in fear of the day they make this phone call. They want to hold out hope because they pray their child will do the right thing. If you're waiting and hoping for your daughter to change your mind, it's probably time to do it now. Most of the time, addicts tend to stay safe inside their addictions. It's familiar to them there, and they don't want to change. Scheduling an intervention will help that change to begin.
Intervention services are offered through drug and alcohol rehab facilities. They will allow you to meet with the interventionist beforehand to talk about what will happen. The meeting usually takes place soon afterwards. You'll invite as many people as you think are necessary. They should be people your daughter loves and has a lot of respect for.
You'll have the opportunity to talk to your daughter and express how you feel. You may have never been this open with her before. This is the time to let it all out, set rules, set boundaries, and set expectations. Ask her to go to treatment, and explain to her what will happen if she doesn't.
This might seem very harsh, but tough love is needed in these situations. You may be surprised to see that she agrees to immediate treatment. Many addicts do during an intervention. If she does, she'll be able to go right away.
Parents often spend so much time taking care of their children that they forget to care for themselves. This is even true when their children are adults. It's possible that you've spent time worrying about your daughter. However, you haven't given a single thought to what you might need during this time. You need support as well. Without it, you won't be able to be strong for her, or for the rest of your family.
There are a lot of different ways that you can get the help you need. Al-Anon is a support group you may want to consider joining. They have meetings in every state, and you'll go on a weekly basis. There, you'll meet others whose family members are also addicts. It helps so much to have this type of support.
If you're looking for online support, you'll be happy to know that there are many online groups too. Learn to Cope is an organization that offers online support through forums and chats. You'll meet many other struggling families there, just like you.
More than anything, you just want to help your daughter get better. Addiction is a terrible thing, whether it's alcoholism or drug addiction. Drugs and alcohol have the power to strip your daughter of everything. Not only that, it's terrible for you to have to go through this difficult time.
At Northpoint Washington, we want to help you as much as we can. We know the challenges you're facing are difficult. However, we also know we have some great tools that can help you reach your goals.
Al-Anon.org. (2017). Al-Anon Family Groups. Retrieved from: www.al-anon.org
Our facilities currently open for services:
Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab and addiction counseling located in Boise, Idaho.
Our National Medical Detox and Inpatient Addiction Facility.
Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab and addiction counseling located in Washington State.