ENTRY: A Parent’s Perspective

My Daughter’s Addiction Has Made Me Stronger’ ~

When you hear about someone with an addiction overdosing and dying, you might think of how depressing it is that this person was willing to do these things to themselves for so long, and so hard that it kills them. If you don’t have an addicted loved one, you probably don’t understand it, and that’s okay.

When I hear about someone with an addiction overdosing and dying, I think of that person’s parents. I think of their heartache, mingled with the sweet relief of knowing that a war has ended, and it’s possible to breathe again. I think about the children that this person might have had, and wonder if they will be okay, or maybe even better off.

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I want to explain. I have a daughter who has an addiction. We’ve been living this battle since she was 15. In October, it will be 10 years that we have been struggling with her ever-changing addiction. I have run the gauntlet of emotions. From sadness, anger, and despair, to guilt, and acceptance. I’ve gone through the process of grieving my daughter’s life, and no matter what happens, I know that she will never be the little girl that I chased rainbows and jumped in puddles with again. Then again, we all grow up, so without a doubt, she wouldn’t necessarily be that woman anyway.

‘Building Strength through Self-Forgiveness and Love’ ~

So, when I say that I think of the parents when I hear of a person that overdoses, it’s not that I don’t think of the person who was caught in this terrible web, I do. I get the pain and suffering that someone who is addicted to something like heroin goes through.

At some point in my daughter’s addiction, I began to see that her life is not mine anymore. I have two younger children that do not deserve to be bogged down in the murk and ugliness of addiction. They need my love, attention and devotion. I have a job, and a husband that has stood by me through the very worst, so we could get to the best. I have me.

During this time, I began to learn how to let go of my guilt over maybe not being a good enough mom.  Not every parent is perfect. Most of us aren’t. It turns out, my best efforts were, in fact, good enough. Better than that. I loved her and cared for her. I supported her, expected she do her best, and cheered her on even through the tough times. I gave her all I had and more, even when I had nothing to give.

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I learned that I don’t deserve to beat myself up for the rest of my life for the decisions she makes as an adult. I can care for myself and still be there for her and being there doesn’t have to mean torturing myself.

‘Letting My Daughter Live Life’ ~

I cannot control all that my daughter does. She is an adult. This knowledge has helped me to detach a bit from her addiction, so I can continue to live my life. She is still, and always will be, my daughter, and I will always love and be there for her. These days, though, I don’t sacrifice senselessly. I don’t spend money I don’t have to make my daughter happy. I don’t contribute to her living expenses, and I don’t do anything to enable her.

My approach is that it’s her life and I can’t tell her what to do. I don’t approve, and it hurts me that she doesn’t seek treatment, but it’s her decision, and I can’t change that.
Maybe it’s working, too. Recently, she has been considering all her rehab options. She’s not sure if she wants to go to a treatment facility with all kinds of options, like a rehab that allows cell phones and offers massages, or if she wants to go to an intensive outpatient rehab, but she’s looking, and that’s encouraging. It’s not an ending, but a ray of hope. I’ll hold onto it.

No matter how you choose to cope with your grown child’s addiction, I feel like it’s important to care for yourself, and the rest of your family. You can stay connected and be there for your grown addicted child without losing yourself. Most of us who fight this battle are probably stronger than we know, and through communicating and connecting, we can help each other to see that we are not alone in our fight.


~ from Charlie

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