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She’s Headed Home, Now What?

father on front steps talking to daughter
Illustration © Eleanor Davis

AiR member help4t posted a comment on the Treatment Expert Blog… 

“My daughter will be coming home on the 22nd of December after 35 days in detox/inpatient. She is deep in debt due to court issues and DUI. I am not sure how to handle her when she comes home. I am hoping that she can find a sober living home here in MA (she is in FL now but needs to come back to MA for probation). I do not want to give her cash as I fear she will buy alcohol or drugs. She has a job at a very nice restaurant waiting for her, but I am unsure if this is the best environment and that the cash earned nightly is not the best. Please help here. I love the approach of this site by rewarding good behavior. So different from the tough love I have been told to give. My daughter has never been violent or stolen from us.”


Ambivalence is Understandable

From the sound of it, you’re ambivalent about your daughter coming home to live with you when she leaves inpatient.  Which is quite understandable. She will have a little over a month sobriety, which is a huge success but only a short time to have developed the skills needed to stay sober.  So, she will be fragile.


After Inpatient Treatment, Consider a Recovery Home

The inpatient treatment place in Florida should be working on an aftercare plan and they should be involving you in those discussions.

A recovery home is a good next step when leaving inpatient.  Spending six months to a year in a structured environment can help establish the daily life skills needed to maintain long-term recovery.  It also relieves you from trying to create that structure in your home.

Recovery homes range in price from under $1000 to over $20,000 a month. They often have wait lists.  AiR’s treatment provider directory provides a description of recovery homes and has a list of questions to help evaluate them. 

The Massachusetts Helpline can provide you with up-to-date information on those that are less costly.  1-800-327-5050  (M – F 8 AM – 10 PM; SAT/SUN 9 AM – 5 PM).

Right Turn, McLean Hospital, and Gosnold’s Miller House are three organizations among others in Massachusetts that have private pay extended stay homes.


You May Have to Do the Legwork

Now here’s the rub.  If the inpatient place isn’t helping with this, you are going to have to find a home or two and present this to your daughter.  You can’t expect her to do the legwork of finding the place. Finding a bed in a home is complicated and tedious. It takes time so start looking today and try hard not to give up.

You will need to work out how to pay for it, at least for that first month, until your daughter can pay her own way with her wages. If it is higher priced, you must be willing to pay a substantial piece of it. Insurance does not cover housing, which is what they consider recovery homes to be. Ask the home about services that are covered by insurance, such as group therapy or urine testing.  

Ideally, your daughter flies home and goes directly to her new house. That will be hard to make work, but that’s the goal. If this can’t be orchestrated, then she spends as few as possible days with you, and then she’s off to her house. 

Again, you should be getting help from the treatment center in Florida to convince your daughter to live in a recovery home.  A recovery home can be a hard sell.  Module 8 will help you prepare yourselves for a talk with her.


Cash? Provide the Minimum

Now, about giving your daughter cash and her job in the restaurant. You’ll want to limit the cash you give her. We’ve written about that in another post (are we enabling…), but she will need some cash to get started.  Provide the minimum and give it to her weekly, when you see her.  Money is only offered for a short time to help her transition to self-sufficiency through work. 


She Needs to Find Her Own Balance

Restaurants sometimes have a drinking and drugging culture among staff and owners. As you point out, most of what is earned is in cash.  Let the house and hopefully a therapist work through this with her. Your daughter needs to make her own decisions and her own mistakes.  Guidance from professionals on this will be better received than if you try to jump in.

Probation can be your friend. They will drug test your daughter and provide an incentive for making good decisions.


Take this Opportunity to Give Her a Big Pat on the Back

Your daughter is coming home to a new life. I’m sure you’re nervous, but let her know she has taken a huge first step and that you are proud of her. I feel hopeful for her!



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. It has been awhile since I wrote in. My daughter came home from Rehab in December. She has completed her IOP program and has/is attending DUI classes. She is working as a server at a local high end restaurant and is doing well there. She is struggling with her alcohol use and has dabbled with coke a few times (I drug test her now that her IOP is complete). She has said she would like to continue with IOP but the program she was in said she had completed. (I think because she had called out a couple of days in one week (due to partying the night before) and one day in another,(due to a work conflict) they felt she was not 100% committed.)so they completed her after 8 sessions.

    She just admitted to me that she knows she has a problem with alcohol and it scares her to think it could get worse. She said when she gets her license back she will stop because she will never want another DUI. I think she may believe this but not be able to follow through.

    I feel she is asking for help in her own way by wanting another IOP and telling me her feelings on alcohol. I just need to know how to guide her from here. She lives with us (her dad and I) and we are driving her to most of her appointments and work which is nice because we are able to keep a closer eye. She has dropped the couple of friends who were heroin addicts and has found new friends and reacquainted with old friends who had dropped her due to drug use. All in all I feel she is moving forward and what I have learned and put into play from AIR is working great for us. I just need guidance in how to proceed from here. Thank you.

  2. My daughter is supposed to be coming home on the 22nd but she will be to the short of her 30 day program. The rehab is telling me that now she needs more time and should stay there for 45 days and not come home continue there in an intensive outpatient. I have not been able to talk to her alone without a therapist and she’s telling me she wants to come home for Christmas but because of her legal issues needs to complete the program . She also needs to come back to Massachusetts for legal issues. Her attorney is saying as long as she can use back with the completion it won’t be a problem. I just want to make sure I’m doing right for my daughter and not having her come home because it’s Christmas and or because there’s legal issues. And it’s hard to know what she’s really ready for because I haven’t talk to her personally by herself. I can’t imagine two days make a difference especially we are one of them is Christmas eve and I’ve been told nothings going on there Christmas eve and Christmas day. Also the other issue is the insurance company will not pay after 30 days in due to her probation she can not be anywhere else other then the rehab then she needs to get on the flight home. So I am torn as to how to handle this any suggestions? My thought is she comes home and I get here. The rehab in Florida is saying they will send her home with a completion of 28 days with the understanding that she’s going to come back to their facility and go to an intensive outpatient and then sober living there her attorney doesn’t understand why he can’t be down here Massachusetts because that’s where her probation is. I’m thinking if she wants to get better she can do it anywhere?

    1. You raise two issues that we can address. One is to carefully consider what the treatment center is recommending. They are professionals who know your daughter best. Your daughter can attend an intensive outpatient treatment program and a recovery home in either state, Florida or Massachusetts. The provider in Florida is clear that your daughter needs more treatment. The issue is how to pay for inpatient treatment going forward. Is the provider in Florida willing to continue pushing the insurance company for more coverage? If not, then you would have to pay out of pocket for a longer inpatient stay extending 45 days. If we are understanding your comment correctly, if your daughter is not in inpatient then she has to be back in Massachusetts due to her ongoing legal issues. Insurance will almost certainly pay for an intensive outpatient program in Massachusetts. Your daughter can attend an intensive outpatient program while living in a recovery home…. This post provides some points about recovery homes.
      Lastly, there will be other holidays. More important than a holiday is continued progress in treatment and recovery.

      1. Thank you so much for your response. I have since learned that my daughter has completed the intense inpatient program and has leveled up to the next step which is less intense. They said she would be ready for IOP by the weekend but they will keep her until her flight home to fulfill her court obligations of being inpatient.

        I now know she needs an IOP and they are searching the list I sent her from your site. I will then have her look for a recovery home that is close enough to her probation and DUI classes.

        I appreciate your site so much. It’s brought me such piece of mind and guidance.