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She Does Great in a Structured Setting. Now She’s Headed Home.

girl backpack night city from behind

hopefaithlove fears her daughter's return from court-mandated treatment. It has never gone well in the past. How can she handle things differently this time? What can be put in place now, before her daughter is even released?

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"My (adult) daughter is currently in treatment (4th time) court ordered. I’m happy she’s safe. She’s not using and is doing good. However, I am struggling to show support because I have been disappointed time and again. She does great in a structured setting. It’s when she comes back home. She’s good for couple weeks then she gets “stressed” and before long she’s back at it. I’m not sure how to handle her time at home and to help her with her recovery in the real world."

What a relief it must be to know your daughter is safe.

What the using-withdrawing cycle looks like for stimulant users

Just to help educate folks on the site. The use of stimulants (cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, amphetamines) causes a psychological “withdrawal cliff” from which the user plunges into a black, hollow mood that won’t leave, because a nervous anxiety then prevents you from sleeping. This treasonous free-fall (every 20 minutes for cocaine) sends the person back for the next line or hit, and around and around it goes. This is why users binge, sometimes for days on end. (Check out our what’s news piece: about methamphetamine).

She has always relapsed when she came home, will this time be any different?

You’re concerned because your daughter can’t stay abstinent very long when back home living with you. She does well in treatment only to leave your home and relapse after a couple weeks, as her stress levels rise.

You are ready to be disappointed again as your daughter is soon coming home from mandated treatment. You fear a new episode of the cycle where your daughter returns home only to leave after a couple weeks, to use drugs.

I wonder if you can open your mind to the possibility that this time might be different and she could succeed. Being let down and pessimistic before she is home doesn’t improve your outlook and willingness to try again to move your daughter towards a sustainable recovery. Every new episode has a chance for success. See Module 7 for help with the difficult frame of mind you describe.

You’ve now found us; with CRAFT, we can guide you to a better outcome.

You mention in your public profile that your husband is also tired. The first thing is to engage your husband to look at the e-Learning modules on this site, which hopefully will encourage him to try again with his stepdaughter. Perhaps you both watch a module a night, for a week?

A game plan for your Loved One's release from mandated treatment

Your daughter has had some terrible consequences to her use, including criminal justice involvement and giving up her son for adoption. She is likely tired of it all, and more aware now of the cycle in which she is caught. The psychological pull of stimulants is very strong.

So, what if we start with the idea that she doesn’t come home? Use CRAFT to help engage your daughter into a long-term residential program that helps her get a solid footing.

Options, options, options!

You have identified a working farm in another state where she can stay for a year. Good.

We encourage families to include as many options as they can come up with. We have our own personal ideas about what would be the best type of treatment for our Loved Ones, and they have their own ideas.

So, in addition to the farm, research and include on the list you share with her some options for continued residential care, a sober house, etc.

Perhaps she doesn't come home this time

Can you tell your daughter she can’t come home? Can you ask the current treatment center to be helpful with navigating this aftercare plan?

She may say no to the farm or other treatment options. You would need to also produce a list of shelters in your area as the alternative.

Seek out the assistance and support of the treatment center where she currently is. It is part of their work to help work out aftercare options. You will need to be clear and let them know your daughter is homeless, that coming to your home is not an option. This does mean more work for them but persevere and find someone who can work with you to get things lined up.

Anticipate her barriers: what may be in the way of more treatment?

Our Loved Ones have their own hurdles and barriers that may (mentally, or concretely) be in the way of their accepting treatment, or in this case, further treatment.

You know them well. What may be in the way? And how many of these can you find solutions to, if they go into more treatment? Brainstorm on the barriers and the solutions. Make it as easy as you can for your Loved One to say "Yes" to treatment.

  • Is there a pet that needs care? Can you do it, or find someone?

  • Is there rent that will need to be taken care of? Can you commit to paying the first month and then reevaluate depending on success in treatment?

  • Are there children who will need to be taken care of?

  • A job that they'll need to return to, at least partially…?

Speak to your daughter and give her a heads-up about what to expect

Follow the suggestions in Module 8 and have a talk with your daughter. Here is a sample of what it might sound like:

"I'm so proud of what you've been achieving in treatment. I cannot have you home this time. We are both exhausted and scared. I can’t keep you safe in our home.

I have arranged for a spot at XYZ for you. Here is the information. There are other options on this list as well if this doesn't feel like a match.

You are at a crossroads. You are drug-free and can make the choice to really address your emotional needs once and for all right now. I love you so much.

Come on, let’s get this behind us once and for all. You are always welcome in our home once you’ve got some drug-free time (6 months?).

Please consider the farm. I'd love you to give it a try for one month, and if you hate it at that point, we look for other options? I’ve also made a list of shelters you can go to when you leave this treatment, if you don’t want to go to the farm or the other treatment options I've identified.

I am here. I love you. I’m not going anywhere, but I need for us to do this differently this time. Thank you for listening."

Thanks so much for writing in and sharing about your situation, hopefaithlove. We hope you will take this time before your daughter is released to get a better handle on the painful emotions that are understandably there, coloring how you see the future unfolding. It can only help improve your outlook and the way you feel each day. The more you can cultivate hope and optimism about your daughter's innate ability to hold on this time, the more positivity she will receive from you, which can only be a boon to the challenges she will soon face.



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"...)