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I Feel Like I’ve Failed Her

I feel like I've failed her

teachpavlock has been through it all. She’s dedicated years of her life to helping her daughter battle her addiction and to supporting her grandchildren. She writes in from the ICU, where her daughter is hospitalized with two aneurysms. She reflects on the past years and wonders how to help her Loved One, or if she even wants to be helped. Could CRAFT be this family’s way through?

© Marissa Price via Unsplash

“Hello. I am a mother of a 39-year-old drug addict. I hear from her monthly on Facebook messenger. She has had 4 children and has raised none for 13 years. I am now sitting in ICU because she has 2 aneurysms. I have had a history of bailing her out of jail and paying for a rehab program. She comes to stay for a week and leaves because our life is boring and has “someone” pick her up while I am at work. I work hard to keep spending time and keep relationships with her sons, my grandchildren. I am so tired of this vicious cycle and I feel like I have failed her. I feel like the system has failed her. Now I do not have the financial means to help her to get help. I’m not sure she really wants help – she says she does but she always has. Help from Texas!”


Teachpavlock, I light a candle every time someone on our site needs more good energy for the day. We are thinking about your daughter, her kids, and you. We’re glad to have you write in from Texas, and hope you’re holding up ok.

Being the wisest one in the room

Before digging into your question, let me first relay my friend Emily’s story, which I believe is a close fit to yours:

Emily would say she had no choice but to take care of her family. It’s like she always had to be the wisest one in the room.

While she drank through her son’s rearing, she’s now been sober for over 20 years. Over these many years in recovery, she has repeatedly had to step in to help her son and his young family. Emily has felt torn, angry, overwhelmed, sometimes at odds with the mother of her three granddaughters. Emily was also pivotal for those grandchildren, as a reliable, caring force. I spent time with Emily and her granddaughters throughout those years. Those kids were so incredibly lucky to have Emily as their Nanna.

She may not be in touch with all of her grandchildren currently. But my friend knows her grandchildren. And they know to call her in times of need. They still rely on her for granny’s love and support, when their lives, filled with inherited and chronic stress-related turmoil, strike a bad patch.

I know in years past, she could only help some of them, some of the time. Emily lived on a teacher’s salary. Their lives sometimes remind me of the Horatio Alger stories. There is so much complexity to being poor, of color, without a high school diploma or a dad and brought up in a western Massachusetts ex-mill town, known for its gangs, drugs, and crime.

Emily’s son, the kids’ dad, spent 10 years in prison for a gang-related murder. He was addicted to opioids. In prison, he met with a pastor who told him God did for him what he could not do for himself: stopped him cold turkey from gangs and drugs by putting him in prison where he could not ignore the message of recovery. Emily’s son blossomed in jail and fully embraced recovery.  

Your presence, teachpavlock, has likely been critical to the lives of your grandsons. Like Emily, you do what you can. It doesn’t seem fair and the help feels like a drop in the ocean. Over the years, it has been a tremendous burden to care for and protect your grandkids. Thank you for being there.

Your Loved One’s stay in the hospital: a potential turning point

At 39, your daughter must be very tired of herself. She is in ICU, at risk of losing her life. Today, there is not much you can do.

Is there a social worker on her case in the hospital? Can you help make sure there is a plan for your daughter when she gets well and leaves the hospital? I hear you. No more private pay treatment. What else? There must be a social worker who has, or can find, some answers.

Your daughter’s stay in ICU is forcing abstinence, which could help her meet the criteria for a sober house upon discharge. Is she homeless? Can she start medication assisted treatment (MAT) once the danger has passed and before she leaves the hospital?

Today, I want to acknowledge what you have done for your daughter and your grandchildren. You are courageous, selfless, and committed. You may not feel like you get it right all the time, you may not feel hopeful and positive all the time. Nevertheless, just like all of our members, you are a hero.

Despite everything that didn’t work, there is still hope

CRAFT can make a difference

There are many grandparents out there in a similar situation, with responsibility for grandkids and substance active children. You are not alone. There can be a way through for your family.

You have done a lot for your family. Your faith in both the treatment system and your daughter’s motivation for change have been shaken. I understand how discouraged you feel. We can help you going forward. We have you.

Allies in Recovery is designed to partner with you in your efforts to help your daughter. CRAFT and this site are here to provide you a new set of skills to use on a daily basis as well as the relief of having a place where you can share, learn and be inspired.

So, next steps for you over the next few weeks:

  • Make the most of the resources on this site and most importantly, get a head start on the eLearning program

​The learning Modules are the core of your practice, they tackle topics like communication, safety, self-care, and talking about treatment. They teach you about CRAFT and may answer some of your questions. We have said it multiple times, and can never emphasize this enough: watching the Modules is key. I even encourage you to watch them over and over again – as you start practicing CRAFT, your perspective and mindset will certainly shift and you may grasp more every time you dive back in.

  • Read up on our blogs

The Discussion Blog tells the stories, struggles and successes of our members. It is a place to learn from others ‘experiences and see CRAFT in action.

The Sanctuary is meant to lift you up and warm your heart. It is a place for you to go when you feel like you may need some positive vibes for the day. Be it a yoga class to do at home, inspiring music, or tips on how to better care for your soul, the Sanctuary is here to get you through your day.

  •  Make time for yourself and focus on your own needs for a while

Self-care is a recurring topic on our site. You’ll read about it on our blogs and will learn more about it in Module 7 of our eLearning program.

You have a lot on your plate, caring for your grandchildren and trying to figure out ways to help your daughter. You have now set out to learn and implement CRAFT, which many of our members report to be a game changer. Of course, like with any new skill set you learn, there is a learning curve. And you can’t be running on empty.

Being physically and emotionally available for your family requires you to find ways to focus on yourself too. In our book, self-care is what keeps you going. It is what keeps you sane and what keeps you calm. Can you see yourself implementing a new simple self-care routine that works for you? Can you find some time, each day, to focus on your needs and on nurturing your inner fire? How about starting your day with a positive intention, a gratitude ritual, or a daily visit to the Sanctuary?


Teachpavlock, welcome to Allies. We are holding you and your daughter in our hearts and sending her healing thoughts. Please take full advantage of what this site has to offer and know that we are here to support you.



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"...)