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Stick to Your Guns!

bottle & phone

Help4t posted the following comment about her daughter’s relapse:

"As of 2 weeks ago my daughter has not been home. She was out after work drinking and doing Coke. Up all night, sleeps all day. Then I found out she was seeing her ex-boyfriend. Which I have stated my concerns for in an earlier post.

She lost her job for being late. Now she is unemployed and staying at random friends as well as her ex's. We have talked a bit – I try to keep it light and ask that she only call or come by when she is sober. She is stubborn and I am sure will not come home to help get her life back on track. Do I do nothing?

It is nice to not have her coming in all hours. We are getting much better sleeps. But other than that pretty down about her situation. Should I stick to my guns and not let her stay here if she's seeing him? It is peaceful here without all her drama. But I worry constantly. I really thought she had turned a corner. How quickly they can self destruct."


Drug and alcohol abuse do create these fast-moving sagas.  As a parent it is so hard to stand by and watch your daughter make very bad decisions. I’m sure other members on this site have been where you are.

It can be hard to accept that your daughter is an adult and free to make these bad decisions. These young adults can be so immature that we often find it hard to accept them as adults.

In the two weeks since you last wrote in, your daughter lost her job and is now couch hopping. Her ex-boyfriend, a drug user, is back in her life. Your home life is quieter and you are sleeping better.


Continue to “Do Nothing”?

The question is do you “stick to your guns,” and continue to do nothing or do you let her come home.

We’ve written elsewhere on this blog about letting a Loved One come home (see this post). In our opinion, the decision to let a Loved One come home should be based on their motivation to try to stay clean and sober and to accept help. Allowing your daughter home while she is still using invites chaos into your home, and may actually extend her “run” by providing her with free and comfortable room and board.

You’ve created a boundary, which I actually see as working. Life is calmer, you’re sleeping. Your daughter’s options are shrinking. She’s lost her job. Her use is out of control and this will be picked up by her probation officer. When that happens, you’ll be able to step in and argue for treatment.


Beware of Pointing the Finger

You mention the possibility of allowing your daughter to come home if she is willing to ditch the boyfriend. It is extremely hard to watch our Loved Ones choose to be with people who are a bad influence, especially when they are romantically linked to that bad influence.

It can be appealing to focus on the boyfriend: get rid of the boyfriend and your daughter will clean up her act.  Unfortunately, it rarely works in this order. More likely the boyfriend will stay in the picture until your daughter takes the step to stop using. As she works to recover, she will assess her network and make choices to be with people who are healthy for her to be around.

There is a tendency on the part of parents to blame the intimate partner for their child’s behavior, which too often is not useful. Remember, there is only one key question: are they or are they not using? The answer determines how you respond and the decisions you make. Focusing on the boyfriend confuses the situation. Your daughter will sense you are butting into her affairs and this can cause a rift between you. Your messaging to your daughter can become muddled when you focus on the boyfriend. Ideally: you are available to help with the substance abuse. Period.


Inaction can be Action

I’ve said before that inaction, in certain cases, can be action. You are holding an important line with your stance. I see this as the opposite of doing nothing. You have treatment figured out for her, you continue to maintain communication and to offer your help with treatment, you’re getting some sleep. There is movement. Look into the pros and cons of section 35. It is not a panacea but it’s something you can do.

You simply cannot chase her around trying to protect her from herself. Allowing her home wouldn’t make things any safer for her if she’s continuing to use. You are doing what you can. 



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 have read that sending kids out of the home, increases their drug usage by 30%. I am worried that my son will go from adderall addiction to something worse. How do I live with the decision to stick to my boundaries ( of no drugs in my home) when I know that usage could become much worse?

  2. Hello, I would like to share on my now 24 year old daughter.

    By following the CRAFT modules and blogs on this site, along with help from Dominique and her team I am happy to say that my family is flourishing. My daughter had been involved with drugs for 2 years. In that time She had OD’d twice from Heroin,(although this was not her drug of choice) Cocaine was her drug. She became addicted to Cocaine most recently by injecting. I followed CRAFT, paid out of pocket (there were no in network providers available for months) for addiction therapist and psychiatrist whom she sees monthly now. She was diagnosed with ADD, put on meds for that, which greatly helped her get through her Cocaine withdrawal at home with us. She has been in recovery for 4 plus months. My daughter is back. She is the loving, caring child we raised. Back in school, working 30 plus hours and attending family functions. She is super excited for the holidays and tells us every day how thankful she is for us (her parents) for sticking by her and not giving up on her. Her therapist told us that my daughter had felt so bad for all she had been putting us through, and that is something she rarely hears from her addicted patients. She said our continued love and support was what helped my daughter the most. Thank you Dominique and CRAFT. We are so so blessed.