YOUR QUESTION: My daughter is an addict. She is 25 years old. She has been in detoxes twice for heroin addiction. The last one was 3 years ago. She was clean and sober for 9 months and doing very well living in a half way house for women, attending meetings and seeing her professional.
While in rehab she met a man 11 years her senior. She announced to me that after knowing him for 6 weeks that they were going to move in together. I did not agree with this for obvious reasons but there was no big argument….She totally cut me out of her life which is totally uncharacteristic for her.
Around two years ago, she slowly started to reconnect with me and told me that she started to drink again. I was not allowed in her apartment, and her boyfriend did not want to see me or speak to me. She became pregnant with the same man she met in rehab. She visited me on my birthday this August. We had a nice visit until her boyfriend demanded she come home immediately, and she fell to pieces. They fought on the phone… she left the next morning and I never saw or heard from her again. She has cut all of her family and friends out of her life. I am not sure if this is her doing because of her addiction and mental illness or if this is his taking control of her.
I have tried everything in my power to connect to her and she refuses. Out of desperation I have called the police the house they live in looks very unkempt on the outside and has all the shades drawn …with no baby furniture or sign of a baby.. (I have been by 3 times in a year; she lives 30 minutes from me) so this freaked me out. The police did a wellness check and all seemed to be fine. I called child protective services because I am worried that they may be doing drugs and that the baby maybe neglected….. There is not much they can do without evidence. I have no facts… I have no evidence…. and this is killing me… to the point of a nervous breakdown a few months ago….
I have a daughter and a granddaughter (whom I have never seen) and they are out there out there. I have never been an abusive parent and am not an addict myself. I just do not know what to do anymore…. the anxiety is terrible…. I do say the serenity prayer and have excellent professional help…. I used to go to Al-Anon but I found that it made me more depressed and that I cried even more….
I just feel so stuck in this horrible place…… I just want to reach out and grab the two of them but I can not… I feel just terrible…. the anxiety and the sadness is always there although I do have really good friends and am a lover of life…. a teacher, a student and a musician…. but some days I cannot love life cause what I love the most is cut off… out there somewhere…
How can I weather this? Some days I just cry……and miss her sooo much.
EXPERT RICKI TOWNSEND: What I saw in your email was largely a mom who is driven by grief. When we live with loved ones in addiction, it is so important for us to feel grief in a healthy way. I suggest you think about doing some work around your sorrow and the loss of dreams that you had for your daughter. The weddings, the grandchildren…whoever prepared us for this? Each day it seems as though our hearts are being rubbed with sandpaper. A grief counselor can help you deal with your deep pain.
You mentioned Al-Anon made you cry even more; possibly again this is a sign of deep grief. Did you have a sponsor? I hope you will try this again for at least 6 months, really going deep within the steps with a sponsor. We must honor those 3 c’s, they talk about in Al-Anon: You didn’t cause her behavior; you can’t control her life and decisions; you can’t cure her. Only she can make herself better, and only you can make yourself better.
In your email, again, all I see is a mom wanting the best for her daughter and herself. From your email, it sounds like you have done everything a mom could possibly do. Honestly, every one of my clients is simply doing what they feel will help the children and grandchildren. They say the just want the “best” for them. Sometimes, the “best” can just be sitting back and letting things unfold.
You mentioned you are seeing a therapist. Please continue this and possibly consider working with a grief counselor. I have some very good referrals I could email to you. I also work with families on a monthly basis over the phone. If you would like to email me, I would be glad to share how this is done. In your email, you stated your love of life. You now have some new steps to take in order to live every day with some joy and peace, and deepen your love of life. Work the twelve steps, work with a therapist or sponsor or a grief counselor like me…Just keep moving forward, one day at a time. You are welcome to email or call me to discuss this further at email@example.com, 916 539 4535.
Ricki Townsend, Board Certified Interventionist, Grief Counselor, Drug/Alcohol Counselor NCAC1, CAS, RAS, Bri-1