Worried Mom realized that in her efforts to "help," she was actually enabling her daughter's use. Now her daughter has put distance between them and Mom is trying to work on detaching…
I have been a member for several months and find the podcasts and articles on this site extremely helpful. They have also shown me that I was enabling my 31-year-old daughter and her husband for the past two years.
They are both heroin addicts and my daughter is also an alcoholic. Her husband was also a cocaine user. Her husband was not using when they were dating and were married and did not divulge this to her. My husband, I and our family had doubts about her marrying him due to his lack of ambition or holding down a job but we embraced her decision since he seemed to be a "nice" man and treated her well.
They purchased a home after their first year of marriage and everything seemed to be going well. Then her husband's father died and everything fell apart. Her husband was so despondent he started taking percocet on the weekends to "relax" and soon she was doing the same. During this time they isolated themselves and we hardly saw them. We were unaware of what was going on. After several months of that, they started snorting heroin and that progressed to injecting heroin. Things spiraled out of control, he was unemployed for 2 years and then when he finally got a job, he totaled two cars and a rental car that we got for him getting to get to work (in 4 weeks). He was arrested for possession of cocaine and spent time in jail (twice). My daughter fell at work and also got in a car accident at work (she travels for her job), since she worked in the same company as me, I covered for her a lot and also did most of her work (I was an executive at the company). She was hospitalized several times and was put on medical leave. During this time my husband I supported them financially, and emotionally and I was at their beck and call when they needed anything, they would call and I would run. I even drove her husband back and forth to work (2 hours each way) when he was without a car and lost his license.
My daughter agreed to inpatient rehab and I paid for 1 month of treatment, she was in two stints of outpatient rehab and one short inpatient (2 weeks), the day she got out she was picked up by the police for intoxication and held overnight. She told us she thought her husband was part of the problem and was talking divorce, she even went 4 weeks without wearing her wedding ring and was staying with us temporarily. The day I picked her up from jail, she cried that she wanted to go back home, her husband had started calling her daily. Her husband was on probation and was on a medically supervised Suboxone program as was my daughter but she continued to use on an off and when she wasn't using heroin she replaced it with alcohol. Finally, over the past two months, they both seem to be clean and sober for an extended period of time and are going to IOP programs and AA meetings. My son-in-law is forced to do this as part of his probation. My son-in-law's mother has moved in with them and updates me if I ask. My daughter has returned to work part time. Her husband is still jobless but is following the program the court has dictated.
My daughter has decided that she no longer wants to visit us or keep us up to date on her progress. She does not answer texts or phone messages and has no contact. She did however call me last week to ask for her credit card back from work since she would be traveling again. (I doubt this but told her to come get it). She told me she loved me and missed us but was not doing well emotionally and needed a "break". Her mother-in-law and husband are not giving me details on what is going on except to say things are "OK".
My husband and I are heartbroken we no longer have frequent contact with her. I am trying to detach and let her reach out to me when she feels she can but not knowing how she is really doing is hard! I have sent a card and texts just to let her know we are there for her if she needs us and that we love her but have stopped doing that over the past month and have decided to just wait it out until she is ready (if she ever is) to connect again with us. Is that the right thing to do?
Your daughter and son-in-law are still married yet are no longer using opioids. That is your hunch, anyway. His mother moved in with them but no longer provides you with the updates you depended upon about the couple. In fact, your daughter, her husband and his mother have essentially cut you off. You spent years helping the couple out, as they sank deeper and deeper into trouble with the drugs and probably also alcohol. You now realize that helping them wasn’t helpful.
They are both taking suboxone. This is very important because it means someone is following them clinically, testing them for drugs, and hopefully providing them with therapy. This should provide you both with some peace of mind. Your daughter is back at work. Your son-in-law is following the conditions of his probation. All good.
We don’t know why your daughter needs a break. It is very hard on you to not see her regularly and to not be told how she is doing. It is difficult to know which is harder on families: to have your Loved One under your nose or out of sight. Neither is easy.
In reading your account, I felt like you both came through a very long and bad period. The suboxone, the testing, the probation, the IOP, and the AA are all good signs. I wonder if you can let her go for now, knowing that things sound better. She won’t be gone long, I suspect. You’ve been there at every turn helping them out. She is programmed to come to you when things go wrong.
What if you took this time, let’s say the next 4 weeks, and worked on getting the tension and ringing out of your ears and the zinging out of your body. You must be exhausted. You, too, are programmed: to jump, to worry. Let her be for now. Turn the attention back on yourselves and on each other. There’s a lot to shake off.
I think the occasional text saying something loving, saying how you are taking care of yourselves, without expecting an answer is a nice idea. Please look at the Learning Modules. See how it looks and feels to push responsibility for your daughter’s life and her needs back onto her; to be supportive without stepping in when she’s in trouble.
Your daughter and her husband have come a long way. It may not be completely over. They may not be able to manage their addictions and be together. It’s tough to do both. But they are tied into treatment and self-help. Take solace in this. Thank you for writing in. One last thought. Annie Highwater and I recently recorded a podcast on attachment that might help (I have since bought a new microphone….sorry about the poor audio). You can listen to it here.