Hope for Your Daughter
My daughter is in her 30’s and has a drug addiction. She has been to rehab many times. She is addicted to drugs. Been in jail at least twice. My ex allows her to live with her for the last several years, supporting her etc….my daughter can be so sweet, but she continues to use drugs.
Thanks for reaching out for help. Dealing with someone you love in active addiction is indeed heart-wrenching. Not feeling safe to talk about her addiction to alcohol or other drugs can often compound this grief. It is important for you to have someone who will listen to you without passing judgment, or giving advice you don’t ask for.
Based on what is known about being addicted to drugs, the reason your daughter is an addict, is because she is an addict. That may sound silly, but there is an important point here. Her addiction is Not because of your life circumstance, anything you did or didn’t do, or your wife’s caretaking. There is always a tendency to look backwards to find ‘reasons’, and there is always something we can pick out as causal. Or a tendancy to want to blame. While some of these factors may contribute to or perpetuate the problem in some way, they are mainly fictional ways of assigning blame. This blame then helps people to focus on something other than the issue at hand. We encourage you to stay in the present, and just deal with what is presenting.
You are as powerless over your ex-wife as you are your daughter. If your ex-wife wants to enable, pay for, care-take, and feel dangerously distraught, that is her choice. If you want peace of mind – you will need to accept that that is your ex-wife’s journey. You cannot save, control or manipulate her any more than you can save, control or manipulate your daughter. The best gift you can offer your family is your example of living life on life’s terms, practicing healthy behaviours, and not getting caught up in drama.
The sad truth is that there is a good chance that your daughter will die of this disease if she does not get help. If she is not willing to get the help she needs, then your acceptance of this stark fact will be the only way you will find peace. In Al-Anon, we talk about the Three C’s: I didn’t cause it. I can’t control it. I can’t cure it. We advocate the concept of ‘detaching with love’. Not “tough love”, but a loving DETACHMENT.
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotic Anonymous are free, and they are everywhere. 100’s of 1000’s of people get and stay clean and sober in their 12 Step Programs without rehab, every day. If she desires to get clean and sober, then there is nothing in the world to stop her from getting clean.
People do find ways to pay for good rehab, if that is what they want. Our blog article, How To Pay For Rehab, reviews some ways people use to finance their recovery through treatment. Likewise, if she wants to keep using, there is nothing short of incarceration or death that will stop her from using. And even being incarcerated, most people addicted to drugs find a way to keep using.
If she was still a young teenager, our council to you would likely be different, but she is an adult, over 30 years of age. Our advice for you is to love her – but detach from her. And to detach from the antics of your ex-wife.
The 12 Step program of Al-Anon is far and away the VERY BEST way to deal with your emotions and behaviours regarding a loved one in active addiction, or active codependency. This program would be for YOU. Not for you to suggest to your ex-wife, but for YOU. The experts in healing from codependency are Melody Beattie and Darlene Lancer. They both have excellent literature and websites. There are many other experts as well.
I hope this is helpful. You, your daughter, and your ex-wife are in our prayers today, for healing and peace of mind. My hope for you is that you can find the acceptance that God is looking after everything, even though it doesn’t seem to make any sense. Please don’t hesitate to engage with us in conversation about this. There is help. You don’t have to do it alone.
If this letter resonates with what’s going on in your family, contact us today to explore your options.
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