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I’m All Out of Patience

Fishing Boat and Lighthouse

help4t laments a judge’s missed opportunity to get her Loved One into treatment. Her first night out of jail, she stayed out all night drinking. This family member is at a loss. Feeling she doesn’t have the patience to practice CRAFT right now, she reaches out for guidance.

My daughter was released on Friday and unfortunately the judge was extremely lenient with her. She does not need to fulfill the 2 week inpatient, nor do the 6 month out patient. She is on administrative probation, which means she can "mail" in her info to probation instead of appearing and no mandatory drug or alcohol testing. Although it states no alcohol, drugs, including medical marijuana. If she breaks probation (caught drinking, etc.) she goes back to Framingham for 6 months.

Her first night out, she went back to her apartment and went out with friends, stayed out all night and was drinking.

We had a deal with her that if she made appointments with intensive outpatient for her impulsive personality disorder etc. and made appointments with a new therapist for twice weekly etc. we would pay her Cobra and help with rent and food as she is now looking for work. She has not provided this, so we are not helping out financially. She is extremely overwhelmed as she has limited money saved and many bills etc. She is blaming everyone else for her problems. More of the same. I am going to her psychiatry appt with her on Wed night as he does not want to see her without me. He is going to tell her he no longer feels she needs the meds he had previously prescribed her (thank God) and that he may provide a mood stabilizer and recommendation for additional treatment elsewhere.

She is desperate for help in learning how to control the impulses that have gotten into this mess. Fortunately she will not have her prescribed meds any longer, but will abuse alcohol and what is to stop her from that or worse.

I am at a loss as to how to handle this. I am out of patience about right now and have told her she can not move home, that is not an option. Reading through the modules for guidance, but not in the mindset to accept them. I am also mad at the system for not enforcing more restrictions.

The criminal justice system is not designed to help people into treatment and recovery, though there’s a sputter of effort coming from drug courts. I don’t blame you for being angry. The system missed an opportunity to put some clear limits around your daughter, limits that would have pushed her in the right direction.

All of what you describe can be considered consequences of her use. Step back for now. Let her feel the overwhelming mess her life is in. You are correct not to help out financially. You have managed to get the psychiatrist to understand the situation and he will be pulling back his prescribing of drugs of abuse. This is a significant shift that is in the works.

Keep the list of treatments by your side. Doing nothing is an ACTION. Practice patience. Wait for her to ask for your help. Your daughter’s life is largely unmanageable and she doesn’t know where to turn right now. She will almost certainly ask you for help. The request will be for things other than treatment, but you have set up the leverage: Cobra, food and rent in exchange for attending therapy. Keep repeating this as a mantra. Reinforcing this mantra with calmness and compassion will provide meaningful direction when the time is right.

You’ve got the essence of the CRAFT approach. Even though you don’t feel the patience for it right now, you are doing CRAFT.

I know it doesn’t feel good but there is progress. Life is closing in on your daughter. Be as prepared as you can be for when she cries “uncle.”

As part of the treatment list, you may want to consider looking into the paperwork in your state for a civil commitment. This could be something else you have at the ready, if your daughter doesn’t choose help and it seems like the danger is growing. If you are unable to remain patient and/or you remain terrified, this is a resource for you to add to your list.

This is a difficult part of the cycle we always refer to. She is in free fall of sorts, yet she has some understanding that abusing drugs and alcohol plays a huge role in the mess around her. Your daughter is probably using to forget the mess that is her life, and to take away the very bad feelings of anxiety and worry. Drugs do that. They put you in a little artificial bubble, they pull up the bottom, and make you feel okay, even great, for the moment. If only it could last – but it doesn’t. She is waking to hangovers, her life strewn all around. Let her feel it. Let it sink in.

Jail is not rehab. You daughter was forced into abstinence by being locked up without any intensive support for that abstinence. AA would call this white knuckling or being a “dry drunk.” It makes sense she would run, not walk, to a bottle of booze upon being released. It’s what we like to call a pit stop. She was given a pit stop between the door of jail and that of treatment, and she went through it. It takes only days to return to the same level of drug and alcohol use, the same problems.

Let that whole situation sink in for her. Hang on and be patient right now. Know that you are doing the right things. You are wise to reflect on your own state of mind and name the frustration, anger and resistance you are feeling as you go through the modules. This makes it clear that you need to replenish your own energies, pull back from the chaos and negative thoughts, and recharge. Focus on your own well-being. Take a time out in whatever way you can. Make it a few minutes or an hour or whatever works for you. Try to do this every day.

If you’ve hit a wall and your receptivity to the modules, etc is at a low, you can’t force your way through. Rest, digest your feelings, find a way to make peace with them and let them go. Then come back to things fresh and know that you are doing a great job. Know that you can find your way back in with compassion for yourself and an open heart. Let the pressure off yourself. You are doing a great job.

Your description makes the situation you find yourself in palpable. We are here with 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"...)

  1. Update on my daughter. About 3 months ago she met a very active H addict at the casino and spent the last 3 months hanging/living with him. She used any and all drugs (meth as well) and was picked up on a warrant for violation of probation. Thank God. He had been arrested many times for shoplifting etc. so he is now held for 60 days and will surely serve time again after that. She is mourning this relationship and I am trying to have patience with it. She has no one else, she has burned out all her healthy friends.
    I was at court for her last week as she had no phone, or money. I was able to talk to probation and they agreed to new terms of probation. she now has to report twice monthly and is subject to testing. Thank God. She has minimal income and no longer able to stay at his apartment so she is home, via the “locker rules”. She is seeing a counselor a couple times a week, but no additional help. She is hoping to work part time to get back into some sort of a schedule. I am shocked that she is here again, but trying desperately to have an open mind and follow CRAFT guidelines. I will help her find a job as I need for her to be doing more than sleeping. She is desperately trying to get another Adderall prescription, now I am thinking that is not a bad thing as it may stop the Meth and Coke addiction, but not sure. Any guidance or words of wisdom would be appreciated.

    1. As your Loved One cycles through active addiction and efforts (incomplete as they may be) to hang on to early recovery, you have CRAFT to lean on. It provides you with lots of detail about the stance to take as a parent or partner amidst the roller coaster of your Loved One’s addiction.

      Finding yourself here, again, you are wise to stay open and follow CRAFT. This alone speaks volumes about how you are willing to show up for your daughter, and the understanding you are bringing to the situation. I know I speak for everyone here in saying that we applaud your continuing to find a way forward, even as you experience the disbelief that you are back in this spot again.

      Read Dominique Simon-Levine’s full response to help4t here:

  2. It’s been awhile since I have updated, so I thought I would, and also ask for additional guidance. My daughter has been having many more good days than bad. The good news is that her alcohol use has reduced greatly in the past month. She has applied for many jobs and taken a couple of part time jobs until she can find the right full time job. Best news is that she found out that the court is requiring her to attend a 6 month outpatient for her 2nd DUI at the Eliot Center which also provides mental health and addictions services and is one mile from her apartment. We are still waiting to hear back on her insurance acceptance. The not so good news is that her primary care dr. has give her prescriptions for Adderal and klonopins (although smaller qty and strength than she had been prescribed from her psychiatrist). I am at a loss as to how she can continue to obtain these drugs, especially when she has a cocaine addiction as well. She did give them to her roommate to hold for her and only dole them out as prescribed. The not so good news is that she is unable to get herself up in the morning, it takes a village to get her out of bed. This has been an issue for awhile and I thought it was due to the alcohol. Her roommate says she is home most times and very limited alcohol and thinks it’s the lack of adderall that her body is used to?…

    So to my question – her lease is up and her roommate is concerned with renewing with her. She is behind in rent, but has jobs and is catching up. He is happy to see her doing much better and does not want to put her out. He has asked me to cosign for her for 3 months to see if she continues to improve. If not, he will get a new roommate and she will need to move out. I am not sure how to handle. She is unable to get an apartment on her own I imagine due to lack of income. she comes up fine in a Cori, but if someone were to google her, not so much. should I agree to this 3 month, with stipulations that she needs to be fully enrolled in the Eliot Center programs and continue to have her meds doled out, or should I let her find her own place to live as home is not an option. Her lease is up in 2 weeks. Thank you.

    1. It is very good to hear your daughter has reduced her drinking and is finding work. While she is doing better, her roommate is unsure whether to renew the lease on their apartment together. He has asked you to cosign for three months.

      The housing for a LO is so tricky as a reinforcement/reward. You daughter is doing better, and you want to reinforce that. Having the turmoil of being put out and needing to search for another place to live is stressful. You can look at the posts we’ve written about housing by going to the tab on the right.

      Read Dominique Simon-Levine’s full response to help4t here:

  3. Dear Hope4t

    I am sorry your daughter is struggling right now and you are not getting the support from the criminal justice system. This has helped my D be accountable in the past and gave her incentive to work a program.

    One thing you said that made me think of my own LO is that the Doc is going to change meds…I urge you to do this very slowly. One doc took my D off all her meds quick and she relapsed…we saw some pretty scary behavior. Stopping meds has always been a real trigger.

    Take care…I think you are doing well…when the chaos is too much rest…some times doing nothing in the middle of the storm is allowing your daughter to feel the weight of her choices. With my daughter if I just wait a bit things and her choices seem to change. My daughter like to get into power struggles so I really try to look at the root of the problem and look to see if I am trying to take control of something that really isn’t mine to control.

    1. Hi Shelleybobelly,
      Thank you so much for your advice. As far as the meds go, I understood that but she had been off of meds for 30 days while she was detained. So I think she was OK there. Although she did fuss and scream at her appointment to try to get them. But he did not give in. Since she’s been out three weeks now, she’s had a couple of nights where she drank, but not to the extent that I’ve seen in the past. This past week she was very good, she got a job, went to her college and took incomplete in her classes. But the one thing she’s been unable to do is get help. She’s reached out or so she says to a few therapists and either because of her insurance situation she couldn’t get an appointment or they did not respond back. I think that’s the key she needs to work some sort of a program with therapy for her dual diagnosis. Until she does that she will continue to struggle. I have concerns with the new job she is a waitress at a high-end restaurant. This is a restaurant she had worked at when she first started college and although it’s strict as far as drinking on the premises etc. I’m not sure of the late hours etc. But she felt this was best for her now instead of having to learn a new business and putting herself in a situation that she wasn’t so familiar. She also indicated it would free up her morning so that she could get treatment. But that has yet to happen. She did also go back to the internship she had at a law office and they took her back as well. It is also a paid internship which is good for her. And ironically they are going to have her while working on a 2nd DUI case.
      Yesterday she did tell me that she was having impulses to do destructive things because she was feeling very impulsive and felt she was invincible. She said these are the urges she gets but she felt that by telling me and her best friend she could help control it. I told her I can’t help her with that. I never have been able to and that’s why she needs a therapist. I am not sure if I should go out and obtain her insurance for her mass health or cobra? And then find her a therapist and take her? Or is this enabling? I’m at a loss here. Will she follow through if she does it as opposed to if I do it?

      1. Dear Help4t

        It does seem like she is trying to put her life back together. I know my daughter does so much better when she is working. It gives her structure and fills time and it sound like your D will be busy too. It really does sound promising.

        As far as the health insurance I would go ahead and get it for her. The way I look at it is that I would not want to prevent her getting the medical care she needs. Two summers ago my D was on life support for 10 weeks…the bill was over 3 millions dollars and if she didn’t have insurance that bill would have been impossible to pay.

        I think she should find her own therapist but I would offer help if needed.

        Take care…I really am hopeful for you and your D…

      2. Your daughter is working hard to pull her life back together. It’s good to hear your account. CRAFT never considers it to be enabling when family members help get their Loved One into treatment. Let it rip!

        Don’t enable her use. But do enable her non-use and her efforts to get into treatment. So yes, it would be a great idea to figure out her insurance, find out who in your area is good with substances and mental illness… See who has space for new clients now, etc. Call and find out what she needs to make an appointment, who she would talk to, how to get around the dreaded phone tree. This is doing your part in removing the obstacles to treatment. Offer to drive her, and to take her out for ice cream afterwards. Go Go Go. Look into naltrexone and its monthly shot, Vivitrol, to discourage the drinking. Read Dominique Simon-Levine’s full response to help4t here:

  4. Thank you Thank you Thank you!.. I feel better reading your reply. It helped me relax just knowing I am doing the right things. I posted that she was a bit better today, but I am taking it one day at a time. Thank you again for your continued support.