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She’s on the Street With a No-Good Boyfriend

homeless girl
This Allies member and mother has been removing rewards right and left as her daughter has been descending into a spiral of use with a potentially abusive boyfriend…but with her daughter farther and farther out of the family sphere, Mom wonders how and when she can/should intervene.

This post originally appeared on our Member Site blog, where experts respond to members’ questions and concerns. To take advantage of our current special offer and get access to the Allies in Recovery eLearning program for families and professionals, click here.

“Things were moving in the right direction. Then she met someone on the bus. In late summer, my 19-year-old daughter approached me to seek help for addiction to marijuana. The diagnoses were unsettling — substance use disorder for marijuana and stimulants (cocaine), with some use of alcohol and opioids (Percocet). My insurance enrolled her in outpatient treatment that consisted of 1x/month individual therapy and 1x/week group therapy.

Somewhere between intake and her first appointment with therapist, she met a guy on the bus who told her he was in recovery. One month later, she is head over heels in love with him. I told her he could not visit my home/property, yet she began to sneak him into the converted detached garage (ADU). Seemingly overnight, it went from being a clean and quiet space to one filled with trash, dirty clothes/dishes, and drugs. After watching the two of them leave the ADU together one evening, I decided to lock the door to the ADU so he would no longer crash there without my permission. Now she is on the street with him.”

Dominique Simon-Levine helps this mother find the right tools to reach her daughter on the street

Your daughter’s decline appears to have happened at lightening speed, though I’m sure there was more being hidden from you earlier on. Still, it sounds awful…to see your daughter dragging her suitcase along a freeway.

At 19, your daughter is free to act as she wants. The boyfriend, the homelessness, the drugs are all her call. You have very limited power over all of this. You are scared out of your mind and wonder what else you can do.

First off, you have done a lot. I agree with you that her housing and your credit card, when used to help continue the drug run, must be taken away. You’ve pulled back as much as you can and are wondering what else to do.

Try to get her off the street

There are so many dangers out there, especially for a young woman, it is indeed very hard to find any calm when thinking about her. Is there a woman’s shelter in your town? Anything that would just provide her an inexpensive room? Would you pay for it for one or two months. This is a situation where danger outweighs removing rewards and the real need not to enable her drug use. If you can’t find this and can’t tolerate her on the streets, perhaps you work a compromise that gives her back her room when she is sober and when she is alone. This will be tough on you.

Perhaps you offer to pick her up and bring her home for the night. Tell her you will try and trust (you aren’t asking, guessing, or testing her) that she’s sober. You will drop her back on the streets if she needs to use.

You are doing so much right

The texts offering to meet for a coffee, treatment options, and reminders that you are there and that you love her. The treatment option needs to be very simple, go to X between X and X and they will help. This isn’t easy to find but perhaps a walk-in center of some kind. Get the name of someone to ask for. Our Resource Supplement (available on our member site) describes our special experience locating hard-to-find treatment.

It’s complicated

We’ve written before about boyfriends and girlfriends…it does complicate things quite a bit. If it weren’t the guy she did find, then there’d be another, probably. You daughter is choosing people who are at her level of health. Many of us do this.

Keep your focus on your daughter. Leave the boyfriend out of it when talking to her. You will create a wedge between you if she believes you are against the boyfriend. It’s hard to not want to blame the boyfriend, but doing so creates more obsessive thoughts for you, and doesn’t solve your daughter’s situation.

We are here.

A membership at Allies in Recovery brings you into contact with experts in the fields of recovery and treatment for drug and alcohol issues. Our learning platform introduces you to CRAFT and guides you through the best techniques for unblocking the situation. Together we will move your loved one towards recovery. Learn more here.

image © arty smokes