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Am I Doing Enough?

mom with platter of pancakes

AiR member help4t asks, “…am I doing enough?”

“So, my daughter had a plan for heroin use and has followed through. Has not tested positive for it and has always said it is not her drug of choice. Cocaine is. It seems she has started injecting it. I do not know what to do with this. I am not sure if there is Detox for it, I have heard there is not. We had a long talk today and she knows she has a problem and wants to stop. She said it is more of an addiction with the needle, than the drug. She likes to see the whole process, etc. She seems to think she can do it on her own, I am doubtful.

Tomorrow she sees her Addiction Therapist (part of her "Deal"). She said she would talk to her about this problem and see if she can point her in the right direction. I told her to pick out a few rehabs that she would like to go to in the event that she is unable to stop on her own. I am concerned in that I do not know anything about the dangers of injecting cocaine. She is still working her 40 hour job and doing very well there. She has made quite a few new friends who are not drug users. She does continue to drink, which I think is a big problem as well, but she does not. I guess my concern is, am I doing enough? I am trying to follow the program and implement what I have learned here. The other big thing, is that my daughter is never violent, has never stolen anything from us, is paying her bills for the most part and working hard. She told me today she just wants to be normal.”

Your daughter admits that injecting cocaine is her drug of choice. There are at least four problems with injecting cocaine worth mentioning:

  1.  The danger of blood-borne disease and infection at the injection site;
  2.  The more rapid progression of addiction with injection;
  3.  The greater possibility of overdose from the cocaine, and
  4.  The dangers of injecting unknown materials used in cutting the cocaine. 

Injecting cocaine is indeed quite serious. I can understand the obsession with the ritual of using a needle. For injection drug users, the process of preparing the spoon and so on becomes a heightened experience, almost certainly boosted by the high that quickly follows from the drug itself.

Medical detoxification from cocaine is typically not paid for by insurance as the drug is only psychologically addictive. It is still very difficult to withdraw from cocaine. Your daughter also uses alcohol, for which a medical detoxification can be lifesaving. If she mentions the alcohol, they will more likely admit.

I am glad to hear your daughter is busy, working full time and making new non-using friends.  Her continued drinking is disconcerting, especially with cocaine and opiates in the background. When you drink, your desire for other drugs goes up and your inhibition, which might normally keep you from using the drugs, goes down.  Looking into Vivitrol is still a good idea. It would reduce her cravings for alcohol and block the effects of any opiates.

This situation must be very hard on you and the rest of your family. I heard a parent speak this week about her “recovery” from her son’s addiction issues.  She spoke of how she and her husband have come to believe their lives matter just as much, and that focusing on their son who was struggling was in fact destroying any pleasure they could manifest in their own lives. They found a way to move on, in essence, and to stay connected with their son should he decide he wanted help.  Module 7 provides some ideas on how to do this.

As far as what more you can do, it sounds like you are being clear with her.  She is seeing someone who will help her figure out additional supports. She can stay in your house as long as this happens. See this post on Using Home as a Reward.

An occasional therapy session is not enough. You are drug testing her. There is intensive outpatient, AA young peoples meetings, to name two options paid for by insurance or free. Smart Recovery has an online meeting and probably several in your area.  It is unlikely your daughter can drink in safety. Follow Modules 5 and 6 on what to say and do when you see she is drinking and what to say and do when she is not drinking

Sit down with your partner and help each other remember what brings you delight. Getting past addiction is often bumpy and long. Hang on to yourselves.



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)