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She’s About to Be Back on the Streets

Gray skies and open field

tinasananes feels like it’s time to just walk away. Her Loved One is in rehab now but from her Facebook posts it looks like she’s reaching out to all the shady old characters and planning to bail. Her life on the streets is rough and dangerous, but she’s too unstable to have back in the house. What should they do when she winds up calling for help again?

Hi I'm new here, but not new to the trials and tribulations of addiction. My daughter will be 25 in November. She has been in and out of rehabs since she was 18. Her addiction has only gotten worse and worse. I tried having her home recently, but she relapsed almost right away; lost her job and spent her entire paychecks on drugs. I wound up picking her up off of the streets after she was gone for about a week. She looked horrible and was very high, emotional and violent. I was able to get her Baker Acted for a week. While in the psych unit she was not being cooperative with an aftercare plan (to rehab) so I filed a Marchman Act here in FL. She wound up going willingly (somewhat) to a rehab which she chose about an hour away from our home. She has already left once, but came back right away (did not relapse). Now she is looking to take off once again, but this time I believe there will be serious relapse. Read tinasananes' full comment here.

It is so hard to stay in your lane, as you say, but you’re doing it. Welcome to the Allies family. 

First off, looking at your daughter’s postings on facebook is fair game. As a family member, you need information to know how to respond. It’s not about sharing that information with your daughter so much as it is about knowing what is going on. There will be a grey zone always, but if the information is locatable, locate it.

You are in the thick of it. Your daughter is not well, and has mental illness along with the substance issues.

You are using civil commitment laws in Florida to get her treated. Use commitments as often as you need to get her off the streets.

Your daughter is scheming to leave treatment. But she is in treatment, so some part of her realizes that help is needed – that life in the streets is dangerous and rough.

There are some posts on this site that you might find helpful. Here’s one. Other parents have been in devastating situations with their daughters, such as this one. Reading their posts and even reaching out to them via our site’s private messaging might help anchor you as you face what comes next.

Your house is not an option for now because your daughter is too unstable and quickly relapses.

Treatment is the best answer we have. Inpatient/residential is the best answer for your daughter because she cannot be held in safety right now by community treatments or while living at home. This is the case now, but this could certainly change. If she could get some traction in sobriety with recovery work through a rehab, perhaps then you could have her back home, plugged in to an array of activities and care.

For now, keep that door of detox/inpatient/residential treatment open to her as best you can. For now, your insurance is paying. When she turns 26, it may be state funded public services. As you say, these are not nearly so cushy, and they are much harder to navigate and to keep that door open.

Many people require multiple treatment episodes. If your daughter leaves against medical advice (AMA) then the cycle begins again, with her on the streets, quickly getting roughed up and calling for help in desperation.

Your energy is best spent doing what you have been doing: getting her back into treatment. When she calls from the streets, the door of detox/inpatient/rehab is ideally open and ready to admit her. Behind the scenes, you try as best you can to make this happen. “I’m sorry honey. I am sick with worry. You have the list of places you can go to get help. Let me know where you want to go, and I will do everything I can to get you admitted.”

Make sure to round out the list with formal treatment as well as some peer supported help like NA, refuge recovery, recovery centers, etc. There is a growing number of low threshold places opening up around the country, where a person can walk in, have a cup of coffee and talk to someone. These recovery centers can also help with accessing treatment. Can you look around for additional places like this that can be added to that list?

Your daughter is an adult. You are frankly limited in what you can do. From what you wrote, it sounds like you are doing all that you can. It is very hard to live with this danger in your family. But don’t give up on treatment and prepare yourself for more cycling. Multiple treatment episodes is the norm.

That your daughter is willing (albeit half-heartedly) to go to treatment is a very important positive sign. Hang on and help her cycle into treatment whenever she is ready. When she is on the streets, hold strong with the message “we can help you get back into treatment, period.” Repeating this message as a mantra can help ground you in accepting what you are able to do and not do. And it helps her to hear this consistent message from you that highlights the one and only goal right now.

The rest is on you to manage: your emotions, your fear, and the spinning worry that takes hold. Our site takes this part very seriously. This can so quickly overwhelm and bring you down. See Learning Module 7 for help with this very important piece of the puzzle. I’m sure I’m not saying anything you haven’t heard before but know that you must address your own well-being for your own sake and that of your daughter.

You are struggling with wanting to walk away while being painfully aware of the dangers she is putting herself in. The angst this is causing you is indescribable. We feel for you – for your whole family – and thank you for taking the time to share this with us, for taking the time to write this out and assess what you can and can’t do right now.

CRAFT would have you focus on building that bridge with your communications, being ready and willing to help with treatment in any way that you can, and tend to your own well-being in the meantime.

She has the option of high quality rehabs right now, and she knows she can return to them. She cycles in and out of them, and you don’t see it helping. You don’t need to worry about whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. It’s treatment, and it’s what’s available now. It’s providing her with the experience of something other than the harsh harsh life on the streets. Having this alternative to refer to does have an impact.

Down the road, when she is no longer eligible for these rehabs she’s experienced, and the options are less plush as you say, this will be a part of her journey too. Hang on through these cycles and know that things can change on a dime. When she does reach out, be ready with a variety of suggestions including the peer-supported groups as well as formal inpatient/ residential treatment.

You talk of walking away and detaching. Your daughter’s suffering and the vicious cycles you’ve lived through with her have been unfathomable. But you’re here on this site, and you are in a supportive space to help talk through what you’re experiencing. We welcome you here with open arms.

Try to reframe your thoughts about walking away and detaching – what you’re really aiming to split from is the emotional roller coaster you yourself have been on. You can work on detaching from the fears that this cycle will spin round and round endlessly with no positive outcome – from the projections into the future.

Instead of walking away from your daughter, walk away from the notion that you can actually step in and stop what she is doing by the force of your own will. As much as you’d give to make that so, it doesn’t work this way, and you know first hand that it drains all of your energy to keep trying. You have done so much. What you have continued to set her up with is a gift. Keep offering this.

This post from Annie Highwater offers a beautiful reflection on resistance and acceptance. And this comment by Laurie MacDougall highlights how the practices and material on this site can be relevant no matter how desperate your situation. I hope this is helpful. We are all here for you. Sending you love and support. Please write back with anything else you need.



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. Thank you so much for re-enforcing the multiple treatments. We have been doing this dance for years and I actually have lost count – I would say pretty close to 30 treatments so far – But I do believe that when she is in a facility, at least she is off the streets. I have always felt this and getting this validation makes me feel better. Because I have gotten advice in the past to not help her get into treatment. That she needs to do it all herself. Unfortunately, once she gets to that point she literally cannot do anything at all. She can barely function. But even with all these “treatments” she still has progressed to such a low point I’m feeling hopeless as to whether she will ever come back. The last six months or so she has really gone down the prostitution road and that scares me even more than the drugs do. No safe sex. AIDS and all kinds of disease. Rape. Beatings. Its all happened to her yet she still goes back to do it again and again. I received a call yesterday from her. She was at an urgent care place. She asked me to get on the phone with them so I could pay the $100 co pay because she needed to “get checked out”. She was getting checked out for STDs. Whenever she comes back in from the streets and prostituting, she gets very paranoid about STDs. So she has to get checked out ASAP. Which is good right! I mean great, take care of yourself. HOWEVER, I am really upset that she does this. And expects ME to pay for it. I think this is a consequence she needs to figure out on her own. Go to Planned Parenthood or something. Don’t go to urgent care and then call me on the spot and expect me to just pay the copay. No questions asked. I am furious over this. Sooooo. . . I sent her a message about it. Now she is furious at me. I did not think the message was mean spirited, but I really wanted to let her know that I was not going to do this anymore. She responded pretty harshly. The message was this (word for word). . . . “Hi Carly. I’m glad you are taking care of your health issues. Please let me know ahead of time when you plan to go to dr because the $100 copay could have been avoided if you went to a doctor’s office instead of an urgent care. I will not be paying for any future dr visits for SDT issues. If you continue to choose a life of prostitution then you need to be responsible for whatever the consequences are. I am not going to be part of it anymore. Praying those days are over”. She responded . . . “You chuck shit at my face. Like prostitution. Don’t ever mention that. I’m still here at this joke of a place to complete it. Sorry I needed to go to the dr. Don’t you dare mention that shit . This is why I want to kill myself and do shit like that to myself. Bye. Don’t contact me ever”. I am definitely sure I have urged her NOT to do prostitution. Especially by providing a roof over her head. Rides to work. Food. Actually anything she wants when she is home and attempting recovery. I am still seeing her actively seeking to leave the treatment place and I know its just a matter of time that she is out of there. I wanted to let her know that she can’t go around having extremely unsafe sex and then expect her mom to pay for treatment for it. Its making me crazy! I am now just not going to communicate with her anymore at all. I don’t think anything good can come of it. I have been trying to get in contact with the treatment facility but they are not calling me back. And that tells me that she has not signed a release for them to speak with me. So there really is nothing I can do at this point. My rational brain knows that. I am going to have to really delve into the CBD module to try to get handle on my irrational and racing thoughts. And this is really the question I have . . . Do I make sure to let her know about what I will and will not do? Or do I just stay silent and wait until she feels the need to contact me for help. She does not have a phone so when she leaves it will be almost impossible to stay in any kind of touch with her. I had to unfriend her on FB because I cannot look at the posts she posts. It turns my stomach.

    1. Update … she did relapse and walk out of the treatment facility. She called me to come get her. She is about an hour away from me. So I did. She was supposed to be waiting for me at a Walmart. When I got there she was gone. I was able to speak to police and do a missing person. Very long story short by the grace of god they found her. She is now in another facility. I researched and believe I found one to address her mental health issues first and foremost. A true dual diagnosis place. The police took her to a hospital and she was discharged today. I went there to see her and take her to the new facility. It went smoother than expected. I think she finally understood me when I told her I could not keep enabling Carly the addict but wanted to help Carly my daughter and that having her back home only helps Carly the addict. She went rather willingly. I praised her for reaching out for help and told her I loved her more than anything and will always do anything and everything to help Carly my daughter. For now I am hopeful. Because there are many other roads she could have went down other than calling me last night.

      1. I am so glad they found her. What a nightmare. It sounds like you were a little more sure of yourself. It may well be your daughter heard it, saw it…. Yes, that bridge between you must remain in place. She called you!

        And you did your research and had a dual diagnosis program for her. I hope you sleep well tonight. best wishes.

        1. Your situation is very similar to mine. I have found the Wednesday night video chat with Kayla extremely helpful. You might sit in on one and see how it goes.

          Best of luck. Take care

        2. Thank you I will try it for sure. Unfortunately, she was back out there and doing very bad. She tried calling me to once again save her. But I did not. She wound up getting herself to the hospital. The entire day she was sending awful text messages to me and her father. Scathing messages. Very psychotic. I am glad she is in the hospital now, but I don’t know what to do anymore. She is refusing treatment. The Marchman Act doesn’t do much to help.

        3. It is very hard to handle the awful words and actions thrown at us by our Loved Ones. Shake them off as best you can. It is your daughter-with addiction doing the talking.

          What about the Marchman Act (civil commitment in Florida) is not helpful? Your daughter is building a case for it through repeated hospitalizations, police etc.

          Are there others here that know about Florida’s commitment law? I read that a judge can send the person to 60 or 90 days of treatment, after a 5-day assessment.

        4. I know about it (the Marchman Act). This is the third one I have done. The problem with it is “it has no teeth to it”. Meaning it cannot be enforced. Even if you get the treatment court ordered – which is not that hard to do when you have an obviously good case – they can still walk out of treatment if they so choose. There are no lock down facilities. When she leaves we have no idea where she is. The court gets notified and they will set a status hearing. Which will take at least a week. Then they can generate a “pick up order”. The problem is we don’t know where she is to get picked up. And even if she is found and brought back to treatment she is free to leave again ! So far my daughter has left three times under this current MA. There are no consequences for their leaving. The only positive side is if you have the MA order the police will be more willing to work with you. But they will not actively look for the person either. You have to know where they are to have them picked up. Unfortunately the court system is more concerned about protecting their “civil rights” than actually doing anything to get them the help they so desperately need.

        5. Thanks for your input on civil commitments in Florida. Much the same can happen in other states. it seems to depend whether the commitment is a program behind bars or not. The location determines the “locked” capacity.

          Are there more and different resources if your daughter is shown to be mentally ill? Rather than going through drug treatment, what is available through the mental health pathways?

          There is not much more to do than what you are doing: providing help when she asks for it; and bracing yourself to repeat the cycle.

          Any treatment episode can be the one that reaches her, and the one she chooses to listen to. Don’t stop what you are doing.

    2. Your daughter cannot plan ahead in her life. She operates from moment to moment when she’s in the streets. When she is in treatment, she is forced to slow down her impulsive mind as she figures out how to get help when she wants to bolt.

      Wow, that’s some language. You have taken the position that you are not payng for her reproductive or std care. I think she got that.

      She will call again, ah you see, your next comment explains what happened.

      I wonder where she can get free std care? It usually exists in not-for-profit organizations and clinics. You may want to look that up for her and give it to her for the next time she scares herself by having unsafe sex for drugs.

      Stay strong. This is tough tough stuff. Module 7 and Kayla on wednesday nights at 6:30 on a video conference line can really help. The CRAFT-infused support group is a benefit of being on this site. See the Mass Page for details.