Do I really kick out my 21 year old Daughter?

Do I really kick out my 21 year old Daughter?

Torey's picture
3 answers

We have put up with so much hoping things would get better with love, attention,& support.This never worked.The more supportive we were the more she took advantage of all we were willing to give her, she lied to us, did drugs, trashed her room, stold pain medication from myself & her 85 year old Grandmother,stold our money,gave away our food to her friends,all the while smiling & telling us how much she loves us,or if caught, how very very sorry she was & would never ever do it again.This has been constant for years.She is not in school, She never seems to find a job not even at McDonalds,nothing! I put her in a trade school to be a dental assistant which she did complete,yet no job. I helped get her registered to a local which she somehow screwed up by not signing up for classes on time. Too much to write about but hopefully you see that its been one disipointment after another.The latest chapter is last month she managed to get arrested twice, first felony shopplifting,then twoweeks later, three felony charges regarding drugs. She already has been to rehab for drugs that again due to an arrest as a minor,& court ordered to rehab.Now shes an adult still making the same mistakes. We once again bailed her out got an attorney which again has cost us a lot of money we have cant afford to spend.Most would wonder why were so stupid after all these years, well as I write I wonder the same.Now she is checked into a sober living home. Its been almost two weeks.She complains about wanting to come home everyday & begs us to at least give back her cell phone, car, computer, and then she would be able to handle things better. I have not given in & wont but Im so worried if she walks out of there {because she is 21} not only will she try to come home, but continue using drugs & even with an attorney, most likly end up serving 90 days in a county Jail. Personally I feel jail might be the best place for her to realize how serious her problems are. People say Im wrong to want this because my daughter is a five foot eight gorgeous skinny long haired blonde. She does not have any piercings no tatoos, basiclly she looks so sweet an innocent. She is a sweet nice friendly person but Iv'e learned in jail her saftey could be an issue. I need opinions on what to do regarding one or all my fears regarding my cluless daughter. Please keep in mind I have done tough love to a point, If I should refuse her backin our home, then what? Do we help her find an appartment? Do we pay for it? Do we give her food money? Her car. phone, anything? Do I help at all? Please someone tell me in detail if possible, WHAT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO??? Thank you!


Songbird's picture

"We have put up with so much hoping things would get better with love, attention,& support" Time to look at the potential of trying some different support approaches.

Just fyi… it's important to recognize that a single rehab experience will not necessarily move a substance dependent person into sustainable recovery, especially if the rehab structure was not a good fit in fostering your daughters’ innate problem solving and coping abilities. One size treatment approach does not fit all. And, many people need more than one rehab experience...inpatient and or outpatient… before they can develop the tools they need to become increasingly and consistently self-managing. There is no magic number. Relapse is very common in recovery.

You have done, and are continuing to do, the things you know how to do. There are no easy answers. You're justified; it's valid to ponder how she will do in jail. Sometimes jail offers a drug dependent person motivation/an opportunity to make different choices. It can up the odds for keeping them more physically safe when the effects of drug use has flat-lined their life management drive and ability to care for themselves in a reasonable capacity, and/or when they are in extreme danger of self-harm via self-medicating. Sometimes jail can increase problems if there is a mental health issue like major depression, bipolar disorder or other mood disorder that has not been diagnosed and treated - Many, many people with a substance dependency also have at least one other mental health issue. Those potential issues need to be ruled out by a vetted mental health professional.

"Most would wonder why were so stupid". You are not stupid. And, your daughter is not "clueless". Her judgment has been severely compromised by her dependency on substances. You are a human parent. You are experiencing the effects of long-term extreme stress associated with your daughters' drug dependency and associated issues. You're exhausted. You have reason to be. But, if you're choosing to listen to people who are inferring that you are stupid, or who are otherwise causing you to feel badly about your efforts to help your daughter, then you're choosing to listen to the wrong people. Seek out support resources that support your sense of "I can do this". Stop engaging in self-deprecation. It will guarantee stalled, negative results.

Don’t give your daughter cash. Don't give your daughter money or credit cards…ever. I don’t know what the individual details/circumstances are. Advising on cell phone, car and computers really isn’t something anyone can do with any guarantee that there advising is 100% appropriate for your circumstances. It is, though, reasonable for you to find out if the sober living home allows privileges associated with these things based on her progress. But, if you decide to help her with food, purchase the food from the food source. You can’t control whether she shares the food with others. If her sharing the food is a deal breaker then communicate that clearly. If she shares the food regardless of the agreement then you will need to decide whether you’re going to continue to supply food. That’s your decision to make. Remove ALL mood altering substances and medications from your home if and when she is spending any time in it. Or, lock them up in a hidden spot at the very least.

Encourage her to stay where she is at her sober living home as long as is possible, if that is possible… and if you are confident that the sober living home is a safe, structured, licensed environment that teaches tools for recovery by experienced staff. Two weeks is a very short amount of time. Her response to her environment is to be expected right now. Keep your communications with your daughter recovery-purposed by not participating in escalations into arguments. Stick with your boundaries if you are confident that they are reasonable ones. Your expectations of what she is capable of in terms of life management skill set should match her level of ability to choose, stick with and increase those recovery purposed strategies. That’s where the support of experienced professionals can help devise strategies that will best suit your circumstances.

She is capable of making improvements in her circumstances. Keep interactions as calm as possible. Communicate that you believe her temporary environment will serve her in making permanent change. It’s beyond hard. It’s uncomfortable to make changes. It can get better, for everyone, though.

Ask someone at her sober living home if they can recommend support resources for you and if they might offer family counseling. Get help for yourself as you work to help make decisions that will support your daughter in helping herself.

Try a support group in your area. Use the internet search engine to locate groups in your area that you can visit. The supports should offer you a sense of increasing confidence that you are heading in a positive direction. You know her and your circumstances better than anyone else. Your supports should, in a reasonable amount of time, help you cope better with the issues that are and will be a part of the journey. If they don't, try something else.

I know my response to your post does not provide instant relief. Nothing will do that. It’s a process that takes time. If I can be of support to you feel free to email me. I would be happy to help you search for resources in your area. I have been where you are, Torey. You're a good mom. You have a daughter that wants to figure out how to make changes. She doesn’t want to, or have to, keep living the way she has been. Keep letting her know you love her. Let her know you believe she can make changes… and believe it when you say it.

All real love is of the "tough" variety. Hang in there. Take care of yourself.

patti [dot] herndon [at] gmail [dot] com

Zaibness234's picture

Sometimes it is so hard to find good and useful posts out there when doing research. Now I will send it to my colleagues as well. Thank you for being one of them.

Songbird's picture

You know? I revisit this thread today. I re-read the original post by a stressed mom Torey. And once again I can relate to so much of her worry/resentment/fear. I think to myself: "I have talked to, listened to, shared with countless moms/parents feeling similarly to this mom due to similar circumstances with regard to the traumatic, beyond challenging road we must travel as parents when our children develop a serious substance use disorder and/or co-occurring mental health disorder.

And....After 15 years of intense, dedicated advocating for my own son, (who is doing well now after so many years of indescribable challenge, including near-death experiences due to his substance use disorder and multiple admissions over the years in both in patient and out patient treatment programs),..After investing myself in years of intense research, education/classes related to mental health, addiction, family systems theory, and even advocacy efforts on a broad scale- partnering with multiple addiction and mental health advocacy organizations- something sticks out in the post written by an understandably frustrated mom, here in this forum:

We notice that there is so much 'disappointing' being done by this daughter...So much disappointment in her choices. Then, I take that thought a little further...l I think, "Does Torey's daughter do 'EVERYTHING' wrong? I mean...Are there not some (even one) really cool things about this daughter...things that she does that are pleasing and creative and positive and representative of someone with drive and talent and desire to succeed? Cuz.....I'm bettin' there are.

Ya ever notice how we as parents of substance use disordered kids (some prefer the label "addict"- I don't) manage to get together and for the most part we seem to structure/focus the lions share of our conversations around venting about all the shit 'they' cause 'us' -because of their addiction?

Maybe this is an important thing to bring into our conscious awareness -this focus on all they have caused us, 'all their disappointing choices have cost us emotionally, physically, mentally, financially etc.' And no doubt the challenges, the resulting stress and burdens are of mind boggling proportion, and seemingly never-ending "at times".

I'm just thinkin'... Maybe if we reminded ourselves (AND ONE ANOTHER) that our kids issues/challenges/problems associated with substance use disorder are not the entire scope of the who that they are....that they are not finished yet...that there is much about them that is healthy and good and worthy that brings us, and others who care about them, infinite joy...then maybe in interacting with them in more hope and belief we transfer to "them" an inspiration-born antidote to their life-stall that serves as fuel, or as some kind of catalyst allowing them to systematically access their innate ability to problem solve for themselves in a hope-driven, purpose-driven way...little by little.

What if we did that? And...we did it consistently. What if we just took some of the energy we find our self expending in ruminations/focus on all the stuff they are doing that causes us problems, and we transferred that energy into reflections about the other realities about our kids that evidence how resilient and caring and strong they are?

They don't stop being the incredible child you know (and have always known) by heart just because they are addicted to substances and that addiction causes their life management skill set to diminish and/or even crater. We need to remember that they are still the person we know by heart. We need to remind ourselves and one another of that reality, too...