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She Wants Another Round of Rehab. Should I Open My Wallet Yet Again?

Photo credit: Arina Krasnikova

Member Klmaiuri’s daughter struggles with alcohol and cocaine use. She’s also been through rehab seven times. The cycle—use, treatment, partial recovery, return to use—can feel like a cycle that never ends. Is there a way to be supportive while put a (loving) wrench in the gears? Allies’ writer Laurie MacDougall says absolutely yes. But it takes a commitment to learning new skills, trying a new approach, and lots of practice.

My 33-year-old daughter is an alcoholic. She has been through seven rehab programs and has been in Denver since March 2023. She went through the program in Denver and moved to sober living, and in December was removed due to use. Now she is in an apartment, living alone and using heavily. I just learned from her brother that she is also using cocaine and obtaining it from an ex-sober house male who is trading the drug for sex. I honestly don’t know what to do. Today she expressed that she wants to go to another rehab. Should I aid her financially, or is this still just another way for her to get housing and sober for a short period?

Hi Klmaiuri,

You have some really great positives to focus on in your story with your daughter. She clearly knows that her alcohol use is troubling for her. She has agreed to treatment programs seven times (am I right in assuming that have all been inpatient?). She also moved to the next step, a recovery home, sometime last year. These are all beginning steps as she learns what can help her on her recovery journey.

Another promising point is that she has expressed that she wants to go back to an inpatient program. This is half the battle and a huge positive in your family situation! Take the time to step back and acknowledge and appreciate these positives. Doing so may help you minimize some of your own internal (and external) catastrophizing and better manage your own runaway thoughts and feelings.

Your daughter’s expression that she wants to go back to treatment is what the CRAFT approach calls a “wish” or a “dip.” Hearing a wish or dip from a Loved One presents an opportunity to encourage and support steps they are willing to take towards recovery.

Thoughts of catastrophe, thoughts of hope

I understand how difficult your thoughts could well be at this moment: She’s just looking for a respite. She’s not serious. We’ve been down this road before. I’m being manipulated. She plans to use as soon as she gets out. While it’s natural to entertain concerned and skeptical thoughts, it’s crucial to avoid making assumptions about her intentions and instead reassess the narrative you might be telling yourself.

Add in thoughts like these: She is looking for a respite from drinking. This a good thing. These can be moments of clarity for her, and even short moments of clarity can lead to change. She uses quickly after leaving treatment, so maintaining her recovery must be incredibly difficult. And maybe she is stuck in a cycle, and I can find a way to put a wrench in that cycle.

Remember, the less she engages with some form of treatment, the slower the process and the less opportunity she will have to move in a positive direction. The question is, how do you financially support treatment while stopping the cycle of treatment>use>return to treatment?

Supporting her recovery means learning new skills

Well, the first step is to go to Module 4 on the Allies website and make sure you are strengthening your communications skills. How you present options to your daughter is vital to whether she will be more accepting of what you say or closed off. “More accepting” doesn’t mean she will jump right on board, of course. But it does mean that she will be more open to thinking about possibilities, and consider things she might not have thought about before.

The second step is to understand that when you support and reinforce any positive behavior in your daughter, you encourage her to repeat that behavior. Conversely, when she is using, you can best influence this negative behavior by removing any immediate rewards for doing so and allowing natural consequences to take place. This is essential CRAFT strategy, as outlined in Modules 5 & 6. While our modules focus on a typical instance of substance use, these are well-proven psychological principles that can be used with any behavior you are looking to strengthen or reduce.

What you say to her matters. So does what she says to you.

Here is a suggested conversation you might have with your daughter that addresses all of the points above:

Wow, I know it’s difficult to stop drinking, and I can see that you’re diligent and putting effort in. It cannot be easy. I’m wondering what your thoughts are as to what’s going to be different this time? Is something different about the process that might help with maintaining your recovery?

After you say some version of this, listen to what she has to say. Listen without judgment but with curiosity, and then just validate her thoughts and ideas. Just take the stance of an observer right now. A safe space for her to be open.

She may or may not have ideas. When she’s spoken, ask her permission to share ideas of your own: “I have a couple of thoughts I’m hoping to share with you. Would you be open to listening to them?” If she says no, back off until next time. If she says yes, present your options.

So, these are just thoughts I am throwing out into the universe, and you do not have to follow them. Just ideas to think about. I read an article the other day about the Vivitrol shot. Have you heard of it? It’s something that can reduce cravings—maybe the inpatient provider could set you up before you leave? From what I read, it’s helpful to commit to a year or so on the shot. You could research and learn a little more. Or, after your next inpatient treatment, you could consider a commitment to staying with an intensive outpatient program (IOP). I’ve heard that some IOPs offer a relapse prevention plan. What do you think? Anything you might consider?

Hear your daughter out on these ideas. Allow for disagreement and make it clear to her that you’re not coming at this with expectations. Again, you’re just throwing out ideas to think about. You can then let her know what you’re willing to support financially:

“I looked up a couple of treatment programs. These are some that I’d be willing to help out with.” And what sort of programs should they be? For starters, could you look for that next inpatient treatment away from where she’s currently living, and away from that boyfriend (without saying that that’s your goal, of course)? Can you find a place with options for a recovery home afterwards, and an IOP? If there is pushback, hold your line without drama: “Nevertheless, these are the programs we’re willing to fund.” You may have to repeat this statement or something like it. Stay firm.

Give her the space and time to consider what you talked about. Then check in again: “Hey, just checking back. Were you able to give it some thought? What have you decided to do?” And when she does share:

Listen, listen, listen

This is just the start of breaking the pattern that has been leading her back to use. By not telling her what to do but giving her support, safety, and encouragement to think and share in your presence, you’re empowering your daughter to make positive changes. Strengthening your CRAFT skills and strategies and practicing, practicing, practicing, will also help empower you to influence and affect change in your daughter’s journey with addiction. I know none of this is easy—which is a reason why starting sooner rather than later is best.

What I have written here are just solid suggestions. Get creative and find ways to tailor them to your situation and your family. And please keep us updated on your progress! We are rooting for you and your daughter as you take steps towards breaking this cycle.

Laurie MacDougall


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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"...)