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Should I Stand Back and Let Her Get Evicted?

sunset woman looking from behind

klmaiuri's daughter had agreed to go to inpatient treatment, then a positive COVID result prevented her from being admitted. Now she's hiding out in her apartment, using and ignoring an imminent eviction. Mom worries about her daughter's declining health but wonders if letting her be evicted is the right thing to do.

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"I have a 30 year old daughter who is an active alcoholic. She has been an alcoholic for close to 10 years and it became severe use upon the suicide death of her father, when she was in the home. In the last four years, since his death, she has been in 5 treatment facilities and the only extended period of sobriety has been when she is in treatment. She lives by herself and lost her job in March. In July her consumption was so bad I used an interventionist and she agreed to go to a detox center and then to a treatment facility that focused on trauma (she also suffered sexual assault by a boyfriend). Unfortunately, she tested positive for Covid and was not able to be admitted and has been alone in her apartment for close to a month. There have been periodic periods of use from what I can tell but she is currently resistant to any discussion of treatment. When she returned home after the positive test she was very clear that she wanted to attend an inpatient facility. I know she is facing eviction. She has either been too ill or too drunk to get re-tested to determine if she can be admitted. I am at a real loss as to next steps. Should I just wait out the eviction process and see if she asks for treatment? She is extremely stubborn and every treatment she has attended has been initiated by myself, usually following a crisis. She does live close by (45 mins) and while I do not see her often she does daily keep in touch via phone. I really believe that she needs to make this decision on her own, but the possibility of her health seriously declining is very real."

Dear klmaiuri, your daughter is facing eviction from her apartment, and recently tested positive for COVID, which kept her from being admitted to inpatient treatment. You are doing what you can to push treatment and help your daughter with logistics. Like many families, you feel the pressure of time, and her declining health, as the drinking continues.

Since your daughter lost her job, I gather she is mostly home drinking. The apartment provides cover. She is not doing anything to pull herself out of this precarious situation. Your question is: what’s next, and what to do about the impending eviction.

You have done the work of finding her treatment, and she was willing to go until the COVID test came back positive and caused problems for her admission.

Will the treatment program hold her spot? Can you help her get that second COVID test? Break it down for her: “I can come Thursday morning and take you to XXX.”

She's likely to be evicted soon: If you let it happen is this "Natural Consequences"?

If your daughter is going to use her apartment as a place to hide and drink, thus maintaining the status quo, she will soon be evicted. So, a big natural consequence is coming.

It's hard to stand back and watch this, because you fear for your daughter’s health, but can you let it happen? Can you give her the name and details of a local homeless shelter? Can you explain that she cannot come home to you?

Your daughter has been through a lot. She is not functioning well. You are rightly concerned. She's very lucky to have you there, not giving up on her, continuing to think about new angles and approaches.

With her recent treatment experience, it's fair to think she will do well in treatment, but may have difficulty afterwards. If this episode ends like the others, and she goes home to an empty apartment, she will likely start to drink again.

Some do well in treatment but relapse almost immediately at home

Going from intense treatment to home alone, without good solid support, is not a plan that has worked for her. I’m sure you’ve thought about this. Your daughter will need community and a sober living environment for a good long period of time.

So, you may present it like this:

“I can help you get that second COVID test and I can be in touch with the inpatient treatment program to see if they can hold your place. Anytime you are ready, I will do everything I can to help.”

Let the impending eviction weigh on her. You will be in place, with the treatment at the ready. I agree with you: she needs to make the decision on her own. You've stepped in many times before, and she has agreed to treatment, but so far it isn't sticking. If she can "own it" more this time, it will certainly be a boon to her motivation to succeed.

Get prepared for a “yes, I will go to treatment.” Lay out the details/options for her, and then find the patience to wait for her to say "yes."

Focus your energies — and compassion — back on yourself for a while. You deserve to feel good, just as much as she does. And you have a better understanding of why it's so key for you to care for yourself.

If you present treatment options and keep getting a "No," what's next?

If and when it looks like she won’t go, provide her the names of a homeless shelter or two in her area. Can you do this? Can you let her go to a homeless shelter? At this point, the interventionist should also help.

You didn't mention her coming home to you. If she were stable and abstinent, this could be on offer. So could the apartment rent, if that is possible for you. But she is not at that point, and I worry that without a good community support plan that she is willing to follow, she will use the apartment again, as cover, to relapse.

So for today, here are the action items you can work on:

  • COVID test,

  • ascertain whether she still has a spot in the treatment program,

  • call the interventionist to see what else s(h)e is willing to do, and

  • dig deep for some patience to wait this out a little longer.

I am suggesting you do something that isn't easy for a parent to do: let her fall to the point of homelessness. This is what would happen if you weren’t there to pick her up (natural consequences).

In order to stand strong while things fall apart a bit more for her, it will be essential that you do what you can to stay centered:

  • What support do you have in place for your Self?

  • What are you able to do each day to encourage your own breathing, decompression, and expression of difficult emotions?

Check out Module 7 again for tips and strategy on self-care.

As for your stance towards your daughter, you'll remain close by yet in the wings, overseeing the plan, ready to step in with emergency responders if you get scared. As the loss of her apartment looms closer, add in the interventionist, but let the rest of it go as best you can.

Use the strongest cards in your hand

You mentioned that your daughter is in touch almost every day by phone. Many families on this site would give anything for this kind of regular communication, if only to be reassured that their Loved One is OK.

Could you take some time to think about how you could better take advantage of those mini windows each day? How you could infuse them with a little more CRAFT each time? (Maybe watching Modules 5 and 6 again would help spark your imagination.)

Remember to keep the subjects (be it a call or a text) as neutral and light as possible. It's OK to simply tell her you love her, and occasionally remind her you're there to help when she's ready.

Remember, too, that if you suspect she's using at all when she calls or texts, you should take that opportunity to disengage — let her feel, even at a distance, the loneliness that's a direct result of her choice to use.

We've put out a request to members to share with us some examples of texts that worked well, and ones that didn't. This is truly a huge topic for so many of our families. Applying CRAFT to virtual or at-a-distance communications is an art in itself.

Be well, klmaiuri. Keep us posted.



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"...)