Addiction: Living with an Addict Community
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Tough love is tough!

Our 29 yo daughter has been using heroin for at least 6 years. She's never been to rehab but has attended iop and na meetungs. She's been on and off subs for 4 years or so. Her boyfriend also has a heroin addiction. She mostly stays at his house now he's been released from jail but comes here to shower, laundry and food cuz they spend all their cash in drugs. The final showdown was yesterday, rehab or out of our lives. She stole a jar of change last week while my husband was asleep, we keep our bedroom door locked when we are out, so she'll wait for him to call asleep. Anyway I saw her on Friday and my God she looks terrible. I texted her later on and said she needed to get help. Of course it turned into a firefight, we don't care about her, we lie,stealing change is no big deal, blah, blah blah. I put her things in bags, took the house key from her and she left. I texted her info about the help available in nj, also info about vivitrol. Her answer was she's starting subs today, the bf told me the same bs last week. It's a tough thing to do but we have no choice, as long as she has a safe haven here, it'll never end. I've lurked here for years and read so many posts from families in this situation. It's odd, $5.00 in change broke the camels back!
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3060903 tn?1398568723
Love being the operative word. You've done the only thing a loving caring family can do, to let her know you can't enable her to kill herself. You've let her know that there's a line drawn in the sand and that only action on her part will reunite your family. Your family deserves to live your lives, in the place you fought for, free from the constant association with drugs.  If you continue to enable drug use, what you are saying is... "It's true, it's too hard to walk away from the drugs,  we're all in the same boat, we can't just walk away, the drugs will continue to control us all."  However, by you walking away once and for all you are showing your daughter in action that you will not back down from your final decision; by walking away, you are her proof, her example, of how to "just say no". How to take the advice from the vast Substance Abuse Community; how to save your lives. By taking the steps you have taken, you are sending your daughter a message of HOPE that there IS LIFE WITHOUT DRUGS. By standing your ground, you're proving to her that there is life without substance abuse, and all you have to do is make a decision to make it happen.

I'd like to also say from my own experience as a recovering addict, an addict will never thank you for enabling them. An adult child , when waking up and counting their immense losses, will judge how their family dealt with their addiction. I can remember when i was in my prescription pill phase, and wonder to this day how my mother could stand and watch me take a fist full of pills from up to 5 different prescriptions, and watch while i passed out and fell off the kitchen counter and then put me to bed. Now i have a grown son and wonder in what world would I watch that , and not call an ambulance for my son, as a first hand witness to an obvious overdose? The only thing that i can think of is that my mother thought i would be better off, or she would be better off if i died.  The reality is that the disease of addiction makes the whole family sick.

Please face this time believing that your daughter will seek treatment when it is her time, now that she is no longer being enabled. Have faith that there's a good chance.

As this is a family disease, this time since you've make your stand, is your start to a new life after 6 years of living hell. Just like rehab for an addict, it is now time for you too to rehab. I suggest both you and your husband take a yoga class if you've not already gotten into it.  During the poses, and stretching it takes all your concentration and really allows you to become mindful of the here and now. An aquafit class will help you get exercise with no pressure to sweat and perform on exercise equipment. I spoke to a women i was getting some sand off from kjiji and she mentioned that at any given time, the pool is empty as are the saunas. Sauna's will remove toxins from your body and shed excess fat.  i'm joining LA Fitness (which you have if you're int the States) and it's very reasonable. The above classes plus many more are offered for about $30 per month. It's really important that you recognize that the stress you've been under needs to be addressed, Body mind and spirit , just as your daughter's health will be addressed  WHEN she opts to receive care for her substance abuse.

Notice i said "when".? There is no value of you conjuring up images of addicts and wearing yourself out with the stress. This will keep you sick. It would be far better for you to keep a picture of your daughter in a place where you can pray, and pray to God, and to your Spirit Guides to keep you strong and pray to God and to your daughter's  Spirit Guides to get through to her that she must come home to discuss getting help getting into rehab. If you arrange a time of the day where you pray for your daughter, and keep it positive, and compartmentalized, you will have an easier time being mindful in your own quest to regain your own equilibrium in your own lives. Being able to compartmentalize your lives and take out the negative thoughts regarding addiction can help you tremendously. So that is the body portion.
3060903 tn?1398568723
You also have your mind to heal. It might help you to attend an "open" meeting of NA or CA. There you will see addicts going to the podium to receive their first 30 day sober coin, or their 30th year sober coin. By going to a meeting here or there, it might help you to keep a positive outlook about training your mind to think positively and that it is only a matter of time before your girl finds the courage or the circumstances to join the wonderful recovering addicts in the rooms of NA or Narcotics Anonymous / AA Alcoholics Anonymous (For me it was my partner dying for me to truly and finally want and need the drug lifestyle to end- but unfortunately that's when i was told by my family to leave with no intervention and no talk of helping me to get help so sadly i got worse rather than better but that was just me).

Having conscious contact with your higher power is as important for the family of addicts, as it is for the recovering addict.  Please remind yourself that what you see on this earth is not the only side of life. There is afterlife, and regardless of how things turn out in this life, your family and your daughter will be reunited in heaven. And heaven is everlasting. No matter the result of our time on this earth, your family will outlast and win over addiction. Sooner rather than later, we pray.

All of these things are often left out of our lives when dealing with active addiction. And all of these things will be what has you and your daughter need to come back to , however so far as you've left it behind, you must work to retrieve the balance of your lives.

As far as any contact with your daughter goes, while you cannot be drawn into the sickness and enabling, both yourself and your husband could meet with your daughter outside of the home,, at a restaurant perhaps, and have lunch with her,  It would be a good time to maybe give her the couple of text books from NA , If it were me, I would read them myself, and let her know that you did. Giving her these books for her to read might be a game changer. Regularly, say once a month, meeting for lunch and talking about how you're living your lives , the gym, the sauna, the classes, the hobbies, etc that YOU HAVE STARTED SINCE YOU'VE GONE INTO RECOVERY. It's important for your daughter to understand that this is not "tough love" this is what RECOVERY looks like for your family.

Recovery means that you will no longer enable your loved one to kill themselves with drugs. Recovery means that you will no longer allow Addiction to run and ruin your lives.

I think it really matters, to word it in a way that does not sound like you are giving her a time out like a child. The word "tough love" sounds like you are treating a child. And you're not. You're battling a disease that has affected your entire family unit. This is a life and death situation. As a recovering addict (heroin too) I can tell you that "tough love" sounds like a canned version of getting grounded and the addict is left wondering, "Yeah, but don't you know how dangerous it is for me - for you to give me a time out right now" If you can explain to her that you are not chastising her as one would a child and instead equate what you are doing with the very simple account that whatever you do for her, is allowing her not to do for herself. Enabling her, is treating her like a child and Addiction is not a child's disease. Enabling her is killing her and it only the disease that has affected the family that created the enabling. The reason why the enabling has stopped is because you're in RECOVERY. I guess what i'm saying in short is to speak in positive terms. Tough love sounds deadly. Recovery is and does sound positive.

If you would rather not meet with your daughter. then please consider writing her a letter and sending the books i' mentioned. NA Big Book and also NA 12 step book. If you could say in the letter that you've gone to an "Open Meeting" where you got the books, and was pleased to see a young lady her age go up and get her 3 year coin, or whomever you do see (you might have to go to a couple) it will only help her. It will allow her to see in terms of action, that her folks love and care for her. It will be worth more than lip service. If you can tell her you've talked to an Addictions Therapist about a Rehab program that would available to her, that would help her to see that there's a place for her to go to fight this addiction. If you could talk about your going to Alanon, and meeting some lovely people. there. This is a family disease, if you can write to her and tell her that her family is dealing with this as a family disease, it would help to motivate her into realizing that she is loved, and her actions are being looked at as part of the disease of addiction  and it's not that you think she's a bad person or that you love her any less.

I've gone on and one, because as a recovering addict, i wanted to share with you what i would have been impressed with enough to leave the drugs behind. I had no family, i never really did, it was just an illusion. Taking the time to work on this as a family disease and letting her know of your commitment to progress in Family Recovery, I think is your best bet.

ps. IF there are things that happened in your daughter's childhood that may have contributed to her finding oblivion in active addiction, you need to talk to an Addictions Therapist about it, so that you can get through to your daughter that you are willing and capable of addressing any issues.
3060903 tn?1398568723
In short, in your Recovery, live your best life. Consider getting your life moving in the right direction, and writing one letter a week, outlining the good things that you are doing now that 'Elvis has left the building, (and i mean addiction). You can write to her weekly like you would a friend, and talk about the positives that go with RECOVERY. As i said, in terms of addictions counseling , the family and the addict are dealt with in the same manner, (IF you get a good addictions therapist that is). if you can show her what recovery looks like, and how it feels, If you can show her what real life looks, like, you'll be giving her the chance to make a choice. When she's strung out etc. and if she can at least read what life should look like, if you are being good to yourself, it WiLL help her to envision her making the necessary changed. This would take the ability to multi task and compartmentalize your life. For one hour a week, you could practice the lost art of penmanship ( if you don't have email contact that is) and drop her a line.  In all it would take 15 minutes a day to pray and a half hour to write the letter. I think it would help her to finally see. Please think about it. This will put you back in her mind as your parent, and friend. rather than another family member suffering from the disease of addiction. You will show her that you are beating the addiction. What better way to teach a child than to reach out and never really let go spiritually. I'd be interested in what you think of these ideas.

Peace be with you.
This is Mom setting  the "reset" button and taking back your place as Matriarch of the Family. Teach her how to take control in your actions. Let her know that this is not about a $5.00 piggy bank, it doesn't matter what it was that had you take your back your role as leader and teacher. It's done. You'll fare better the more tools you have in your arsenal. I could also write a letter to her and her boyfriend, as a person who has gone through hard drug addiction. The more transparent you are, the more likely she'll want to come back home to you as your respectful, loving daughter. Unfortunately, "tough love" often takes all communication away. Some families are told, or think , hat's what they need to get away from addiction and look after themselves. I don't think it's necessary. I do think it's necessary that a parent tries to continue mutually respectful communication, in the right setting, with the right communication. I honestly DO think that it makes a difference to an addict who is not having a good time being addicted to heroin. A heroin addict is aware that their lifestyle has brought them to the brink of death and they can be talked down to the ledge. It might take more than one try at rehab for the healing to sink in. I also think it is worth the effort (by emotionally taking a step back) to work with the addict in question. That's my opinion and you'll hear others who have different opinions. It's up to you how you want to deal with this , moving forward. If you need a total no talk rule, it might be that your daughter is so cut off from you that she sees no way of her ever coming home. That the door firmly shut. Remember she's dealing with guilt ; possibly post traumatic shock from some of the things she may be doing, or has done to feed her habit. She has zero self confidence, hope or faith in anything. Many junkies die, in my opinion,  because instead of clear transparency and open communication, she suffocates in her own lack of faith in anything greater than herself. A greater power is what she needs to see at work. That can be done by showing love and holding back financial aid ; etc. IF you can stick to the plan (to hold back things that could help her stay stuck in addiction) while allowing her to see love, you may be able to have a greater effect upon your girl that you ever imagined (these days) that you could. Remember, she's still that sweet little girl you raised. and if she controls the urge to use, and snuffs out her addiction, she will be again.

I'm here to talk, or help in any way I can. Thanks for reading. L

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