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She Refuses to Discuss Treatment

in the dark-girl only

Allies member mother3 is at her wits' end. Her daughter accepted treatment in the past but has been spiraling downward and refusing to talk about treatment. What does CRAFT recommend in this case?


"please help! My 32 year old daughter has been in and out of treatment for the past 3 years, although she has had a substance abuse problem for much longer. She was doing very good until she got involved with a boyfriend and things have gone downhill quickly. They broke up and she is now involved with another man who has just left her. She has a job and they had an apt together. She is still drinking not sure how much or how often, but there has been a significant change in her attitude. She is depressed and having mood swings but refusing treatment. I am at my wits end, I want to help her but don't know how. I was paying for her uber rides to work and helping financially but now I really don't know what to do. I would appreciate any suggestions, her behavior has really affected me negatively and I am having trouble coping. Thanks!"

Your daughter has been in and out of treatment for the past 3 years. I’d like to know more about the treatment. Is it for alcohol problems? Mental health? Peer groups or professional treatment?

The fact that she has been willing over these last 3 years to go to treatment tells us she acknowledges a problem and is willing to accept help for it.

She can accept help again. This is what you can push for and support, financially, logistically, and emotionally. Multiple treatment episodes are common with substance problems. Treatment is the best defense we have for addiction. Perhaps she would be more willing to be seen for the depression. The hope is that the treater identifies and quickly refers to additional substance treatment.

Her moodiness may be signaling a change in her use and/or the loss of another relationship. Anxiety and Depression are very common with addiction. In any case, low moods can be a motivator to seek help.

As the family member, you’ll want to think strategically. A statement by her about how depressed she is can be seen as a dip (read related posts here; See section in Learning Module 8 on wishes & dips): a moment to talk about treatment. You’ll want to have some treatment options written down and ready to present to her. Those options could include treatments or peer support that have helped before, new ones that may not have occurred to either of you before (see the section in the Resource Supplement on Levels of Treatment Providers), and treatment for depression.

You are going to need more support to be helpful to your daughter. Your ability to see the situation clearly without it destroying you is key: key for you and for your daughter. Your daughter has struggled with alcohol for many years. This means you, too, have struggled for many years. Perhaps it’s time for your own list of treatments and supports: a family group, some therapy. Go to Learning Module 7 for a basic review of cognitive therapy. Learning to catch the distortions in our mind can bring relief.

Take a look at Learning Modules, especially 8 and 7 right now. We are here.



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. I’ve come to the conclusion that if he doesn’t think he has a problem so he doesn’t need treatment, then I give up. I have no relationship w him. He lives in my house but has the mind of a 10 yr old. He has a job but doesn’t think he should pay room and board. He’s 25 yrs old and living off me. He will never be anything but what he is. It’s so sad that he will be like this all his life, but I’ll be damned if he’s going to ruin the rest of my life that I have left. I’m putting an application in for the YMCA. He can rent a room. I need him OUT. my life is a living hell with him here. I give up.

    1. Hi jezabelle,
      Sorry I’m just reading your comment now. It is AND is not a comfort to know there are SO MANY of us dealing with this bad stuff.
      I’ve also learned I am not to expect a thanks for the meal mom….I am crazy most days of the week no matter how busy I am, how often I get myself around friends, how often I see my therapist and no matter how much I pray and try to keep my head focused. My son gets in my head and it’s just a sick thought in my stomach.
      My thoughts for all us is that we will persevere, find some laughter and just keep going!!!

  2. Another good response for me to read….I’m still waiting….waiting for him to make another move for his life. Still think he’s sober. Still no visit lined up for assessment/mental health check. Still working uber over night and sleeping all day. We talked a bit about that today. Reminded him to try to set a bit of schedule for sleeping so he can get a few things done. He’s got so many things to fix. Taxes, debt, getting health insurance, finding job (he says he has been in talks, working with a recruiter), eating better for t1d.
    So much has been destroyed from addiction. He’s not been angry, and I’m talking a lot less. God just flat out answered a prayer for me yesterday. I needed that to remind me of the power of prayer. Son’s probably not thinking rehab after being sober for a very short time. I will just keep praying….
    God Bless all of us –

    1. Thank you for the update, 1delapisa, We send you our encouragements, “talking less” sounds like a move in the right direction! I’m sure your Loved One is appreciating the respite and the space. Keep up the good work!

    2. This week has been back to sons sick world. Knew it as soon as I saw suboxone pharmacy bag. The problem is he can only afford a few at a time?? He left the box in plain sight in his car. Of course I got the “loud angry you know nothing about me” routine..Then off to his room to sleep the days away. Maybe 1 or 2 nights of work.
      He is not facing the fact that if he does not take suboxs correctly then he is in a constant stage of withdrawal. No mention of “his plan” to get mental and medical eval.When he sleeps so long it also messes up his t1d, no fresh air, no cleaning up. He had one phone interview Friday. No the room is absolutely not down to one bed and foot locker. The addict symptoms win again. W/o treatment I dont see how he can win at this. His brother and father never reach out to ask about him or me.

      God Bless All of Us

  3. Relapse. Just as I enjoyed sharing news of my daughters early “recovery” I learned from her boyfriend that she has been drinking for the past month. I told him it would have been better to hear about this back then…. it is what it is.
    So we begin again but we are not back to the early days where she didn’t have a taste of what recovery feels like.
    I have texted her and told her I heard she was “having trouble again.”
    I said it was very important that she get back on the road to recovery. The spot at her IOP is almost certainly open for her if she can get herself back there.
    I will go back to my daily emails of support and encouragement and hope they sink in.
    Initially I had that really anxious feeling that comes with bad news. I took a tranquilizer, spoke with her boyfriend, wrote this message, and will sadly (but still with a bit of hope) do what I can using CRAFT. Module 7 – here I come.

    1. gptraveler, here you go again. I am sorry to hear your daughter has started to drink again. As a family member, your reach is limited: CRAFT to settle things down and shepherd a Loved One to treatment 2) Treatment. Treatment can be uneven. It can be the wrong level of treatment. It can also be the right level of treatment but not the right time for your daughter. She has to want to listen and learn. Perhaps she needs something more intensive than IOP; a partial hospitalization program or an inpatient program.

      The IOP should help you determine what is next. IOP tends to be what is paid for by insurance. Talk with her insurance about what should be next.

      Don’t give up. Your daughter went into treatment, she will do it again. Give yourself a needed break and then start again. You have been successful getting your daughter to treatment, you will again.

      So, yes, dust yourself and try again. I’m sorry that this is hard.

  4. @mother3 I hear you. My daughter is 39 and she has struggled with alcohol and probably some drugs since her teen years. It has been a constant source of worry for me. It also created a barrier between us since she doesn’t want me seeing her drink and passing judgments. Sorry but I have seen the disasters she has brewed up when she’s drinking.
    She also has depression, diagnosed in elementary school. The drinking was making her mental state much more complex than simple depression.
    This year she was losing everything. She was fired from her job, nearly lost her boyfriend of 11 years, and was on the brink of losing her home. Her destructive, angry, and abusive behavior was off the charts. She borrowed thousands from us to pay her bills so that debt to us is hanging over her head. Conversations with her showed me she had given up. When her boyfriend let us know how dire things had become, we nearly panicked.
    That brings me around to my new foundation surrounding addiction. I contacted SAMSHA and they directed me to Allies In Recovery. CRAFT has been a life saver for me and through it my daughter. In the first day of the modules, my husband and I learned how to position ourselves and how to have conversations with her. No more dramatic pleas with reminders of how bad things had become. I listened then spoke calmly and offered information on services she could reach out to. The first thing that changed was her hopeless attitude. She went to her primary care doctor and got a script for Wellbutrin, the med she had taken in the past. Medication for her is absolutely necessary. Depression runs deep in our family.
    She started to get more positive but alas kept drinking and her boyfriend was arguing with her all the time. He never dug into CRAFT as we had recommended.
    She found a sober friend and did a couple of non-AA meetings. Still she didn’t commit.
    I had been sending daily emails of support with recommendations. She read them but didn’t act enough. One email I said, “If I had control over this, I would drive you over to the hospital with the IOP program and walk right in begging for help.” Later that day, she did that and got into and IOP which started her road to recovery. She is taking oral Naltrexone. She has done about half of the initial IOP and is now in orientation for her new job. She will finish the IOP once her schedule opens up again. My head is still fully aware that she may relapse, after all she has had too many failures in the past to be overly optimistic with her first real stretch of sobriety. If she relapses, I promise (myself) I will not get all dramatic about it, but will just step back and remind her of the resources available to her so she can get back to being successful in life. I love an image I found on this site. It’s the trajectory of sobriety. It shows relapse as being part of recovery. Two steps forward, one step back.
    Don’t give up. (( ))

    1. Thank you GPtraveler. We love hearing when things go well !!!! Positive reinforcement. I was just telling someone last week, there is the fantastic pay (not) we receive for working on AiR and then there is the reward of stories like this. Here’s to none of us giving up.