AiR member Millicent wrote in to share news of her daughter's recent relapse. She is concerned about her daughter being unable to stay away from her heroin-using boyfriend. Meanwhile, Dad is planning to visit their daughter at the inpatient facility where she just began treatment. Dominique Simon-Levine provides some guidelines for the talk he is planning to have.
Hello again– Thanks for your response, Dominique. My daughter, in fact, did relapse, as you suggested in your answer to my recent post. Last week, she went to her therapist, who realized what was happening and in the midst of their session, brought my daughter back to the rehab. I had to empty out her possessions from the sober house and dropped them off to her there. The rehab took her phone away. I asked that they not allow the heroin-using boyfriend to visit and they complied with my request. She is (of course) upset that she can't see him, but believes it's the rehab who is not allowing him to the visit. Part of me believes that she is going to find a way to see him one way or another. Meanwhile, my husband is planning to visit over the weekend. He has a very strong relationship with her and believes she may be more open to talk if he is alone (I agree). He wants to be tough with her for the first time. Her relapse occurred a few days after he suffered a mild heart attack (now he is recovered) and right after her birthday. He has done everything possible to help her and plans to say that he views her relapse as a "slap in his face." I'm scared that will put a huge wedge between her and us–I know that part of her is humiliated etc., about failing to stay sober. At the same time, I feel like she has really crossed a line and is heading for a continued downward spiral. This relapse was in connection with much heavier drugs than in the past (snorted heroin for the first time and smoked crack cocaine.) Any observations, suggestions would be so welcome. Thank you.
I am sorry your daughter relapsed. It sounds like her therapist did an excellent job of moving her quickly to inpatient.
Being in touch with bad-news people, trying harder drugs ….. unfortunately, these can be part of testing the limits of sobriety/relapse. Hopefully the feedback she will get back from these actions will echo what folks in AA are fond of saying:
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.
We are glad your husband is okay. Here is the stance I might suggest your husband take when he sees her. What follows are some generic guidelines, which he will want to personalize. There are several key areas to touch on:
Thanks and pride that Loved One is trying & Recognition that it's hard
- I appreciate your efforts at sobriety and the difficulty of staying sober.
- Thank you for making these efforts.
- I feel proud that you keep trying and are making a serious effort.
What your continued use is doing to me: health, feelings, "I" statements
(Perhaps it's not so much a "slap in the face" as it is a deeper concern and a huge amount of fear that her relapse caused him….)
- I feel deeply concerned about your situation.
- I've been experiencing a huge amount of fear and upset around your relapse.
- I need to think of myself. My health is fragile. Your choices are causing me consternation.
- I feel hurt by your inability to focus on much else. It feels selfish and unloving.
What you are going to do in the future that is different if this continues
- I will continue to do everything I can to help you get the treatment you need.
- I will need to distance myself from you when/if you begin to use drugs again.
- I love you very much but your drug use comes at a high price for everyone in the family.
- Our family is at a crossroads. We love you but cannot continue to support your drug use in any way. Please think of your future and ours while you are here in rehab. Please listen to what is said and consider a gentler, more loving life for yourself and us as you move through these next couple weeks.