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Old 06-23-2011, 02:02 PM   #1
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Default Al-anon, Nar-anon: when someone you love is practicing addiction.

My name is Drew and I am an alcoholic-addict. I have been clean for 25 years. But that's not what this thread is about.

My 17 year old daughter Jessica is abusing drugs and alcohol. She refuses to admit she has a problem although there are some tangible consequences happening as a result of her drug use. Her violent outbursts at her grandmother (my ex-wife's mother), whom she lives with, have her grandma in fear for her life. Jess hangs around adults who take drugs and are violent people, she has stopped going to high school altogether, and she has stolen her grandmother's ATM card and withdrawn $700 with no explanation about what she did with that money, and she is bringing her friends home to live with her even though her grandmother doesn't want them in her house. Jess simply threatens to get rid of her grandmother's dog and she caves.

I can't convince Jess's grandmother to kick her out or report the stolen money to the police. I can't convince her do anything about this. My ex-wife (who has legal custody of Jessica) doesn't want anything to do with Jess and won't get involved in any constructive way. She yells at her mother and at Jess and that's about it. Jessica's biological father is a practicing addict himself and has a history of being violent with her when she was younger. Basically I am the only parent in her life who believes she needs some tough love and treatment for her addiction, but I have no parental rights since I am not biologically her parent. I can't have Jess come live with me because I am on disability and living with my parents in a retirement community. What complicates this further is Jess will be 18 in 2 months. Then there will be nothing any parent can do as far as forcing her into treatment.

Are there any other people who have someone in their life who is on a crash course with jails, institutions and possibly death due to an addiction? Perhaps we can support each other here.
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:40 PM   #2
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Wow, my heart goes out to you, that must be one hard thing to deal with. I am not going through anything like that, but have had my share of family members and people I have loved, engage in addictions. The hardest thing in the world is to watch someone you love, self destruct, I've had to do that throughout my life. I had to walk away each time, the addiction is bigger than me.

I hope you find the answers you need, all I can do is offer my support. Not much but it's all I got. My heart goes out to Jess, these actions seem like a symptom of something much bigger.

The only thing that even comes to mind is an intervention, but it does not sound like the rest of her family is willing to do the hard work for her.
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:12 PM   #3
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I'm not sure who I feel worse for, Jess or poor Granny. Granny's heart is being broken over and over and this will ultimately kill Granny. Granny doesn't have many choices.

My brother struggled with addiction from the time we were 15. Then it was alcohol, then it was both. One thing I learned about from addiction, is, I didn't get to pick his bottom.

It's funny you said the word intervention Sassy. As I clearly remember watching an intervention show that started out with a scruffy looking guy
hanging out on the streets, drinking from a quart bottle, with the bag rolled down around it (like we don't know thats beer) and a voice starting the show off with these words *Everytime I see a homeless person on the street, I try to look at his face, I try to see if it's my brother* and I started to cry...because I did that for years. Constant heart ache. They steal from you (even if it's just your heart, it's still thievery) they lie and they are absolutely rutheless. ALL that matters is the next fix. I too, had to turn my back and walk away. Too many times, regretfully. My brother is no longer alive.

I would think, with Jess being a minor, you could have police intervention. People who are forced to under go rehabilitation, fail on average of 7 times......(just saying) The ex who wants to do all of the screaming, better start thinking in terms of what she's going to do when something awful happens to Granny, and the worst thing possible happens to Jess. De nial isn't just a river. Sorry, I have that soap box thing going again.
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:30 PM   #4
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Damn Drew that sucks. It's very very hard to help a person when they are not ready to be helped. I had an experience with a former friend of mine from Chicago. He was doing drugs and because of his habit he was missing work, being dishonest, stealing, sleeping with guys for money, giving his drug deal bj's for drugs and a bunch of other things. I tried so hard to understand why he didn't want to stop or he couldn't stop and I realized that he won't until he is ready to get himself out of darkness.

She will either get worse or she will learn her lessons young. I hope the latter happens. I have a young friend that went through a similar situation and she is now in school and doing pretty well for herself. I hope she comes out of her darkness soon and gets to the root of why she needs to hurt herself. It must be hard being a parent and watching a child go through this.
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Old 06-23-2011, 07:47 PM   #5
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I would think, with Jess being a minor, you could have police intervention.
Well I am not the one who can do that, since I am not a direct witness to any crimes. Had Jess stolen money from me, I would report her. If Jess was living with me and pulling this garbage, I would ask her to go live somewhere else until she is ready to get help. But my hands are tied and every time I talk to her grandmother we have the same conversation:

Me: Jess needs to have some consequences for her behavior or it will get worse!

Her grandmother: But I just can't turn her into the police, she is my granddaughter! I can't do that to her and I'm not going to do it. I won't put her on the street either.

Me: Then she will just continue with this behavior and the next crime she commits may not be against you and she could get into much bigger trouble. Yes, we love her but we have to think about what's best for her. Letting this behavior continue isn't what is best for her.

Her grandmother: Well there has to be another way. I don't think she is really doing drugs a lot like you say anyway (this from a woman who told me she found a pot pipe and numerous bottles of heavy liquor in Jess's room).


Jessica has told me she uses and I have told her grandmother this, to no avail. So really, there is literally nothing I can do here. Jess lies to her grandmother and tries to lie to me (although I see right through it.) I can't get through to Jess or anyone else who has any power to help her. *sigh*
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:26 PM   #6
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Note I said my brother was 15. I've heard it all, both sides. I suspect you and I are around the same age.

He *huffed* model glue.....he'd huff the gasoline out of the garden tractor,and that wasn't a briggs straton 3hp engine,...so there was alot of gasoline to huff! And every lie in the world as to where that gasoline could have possibly gone, and then my father (at first) scratching his head and also making excuses for where that gasoline could have possibly gone.....then huffing wasn't a good enough buzz, onto other things....maybe it was the mescaline (sp) when he ate those rubber grapes that my mother had as an ornamnet in her fake fruit bowl.....I remember her watching in horror as he did this BUT SHE DIDN'T SAY A WORD!......one night, middle of the night, maybe early morning, we were awakened to an awful noise and the house was shaking. Lovely brother misjudged the garage and the side of the house and drove his car right into the side of the house, got out of the car and came into the house to pass out. (there was no garage on that side of the house) more excuses, more excuse for him.......blah blah blah...he admitted he used, he admitted he drank....they let him still drive, it was easier than fighting with him all the time.......the list was endless.

I'm sure this is why I have little patience for co dependent people or enablers.

I wish I wasn't so tired, I'd look for this story. Some one I went to high school with, I actually stubled on it looking up something from intervention.
Anyhow, her name is Roberta and she is a nurse. She had a teenager daughter who was a straight A student......from straight A's to getting a notice from the high school she wasn't going to graduate. Roberta went to the school and find out her daughter hardly came to school and her grades were in the gutter. EYE opener for Roberta. Roberta checked her daughters bank account and it was zero balance. She had a part time job and was pretty good about saving. She requested a copy of her daughter's cell phone bill......two months in a row , one over a hundred dollars and the second one close to two hundred dollars, next she got a mac card print out from the bank, cash advances and gasoline purchases. Armed with all this evidence she confronted her daughter.......in fact, she thought when she confronted her daughter, she was high. She checked her arms, track marks! searched her car and found empty stamp bags and burnt spoons and all the proof she needed. She took her daughter immediately to the hospital she worked at and had them help her get her admitted to a drug rehab center. They released her in two weeks. Released her to out patient therapy, Roberta wanted her in for 90 days. she was 17. She was home 2 days, and Roberta didn't let her out of her sight, (or so she thought) and on the third morning, went to wake her up, and found her (her daughter) in bed, dead. She was blue. She ODed. I don't know where I am going with this except to say professional people have to handle this.
I'm tired i'll write more tomorrow.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:28 PM   #7
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Sometimes you just have to recognize when something is out of your hands and walk away. I know, NOT what you want to do, but really Drew, if you have no power or authority, and no one else is willing to do anything, what are you left with. Sometimes people have to find they're own "bottom" and wallow in it a bit before they figure out that they need to do something about it. I walked away from a 30+ year friendship with someone once for this very reason. It was incredibly difficult and painful, but something that I had to do. There was nothing else to do except remove myself from the situation that I had no control in. I couldn't watch one more second of it.

Hang in there bud!!!

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Old 06-23-2011, 09:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by atomiczombie View Post
My name is Drew and I am an alcoholic-addict. I have been clean for 25 years. But that's not what this thread is about.

My 17 year old daughter Jessica is abusing drugs and alcohol. She refuses to admit she has a problem although there are some tangible consequences happening as a result of her drug use. Her violent outbursts at her grandmother (my ex-wife's mother), whom she lives with, have her grandma in fear for her life. Jess hangs around adults who take drugs and are violent people, she has stopped going to high school altogether, and she has stolen her grandmother's ATM card and withdrawn $700 with no explanation about what she did with that money, and she is bringing her friends home to live with her even though her grandmother doesn't want them in her house. Jess simply threatens to get rid of her grandmother's dog and she caves.

I can't convince Jess's grandmother to kick her out or report the stolen money to the police. I can't convince her do anything about this. My ex-wife (who has legal custody of Jessica) doesn't want anything to do with Jess and won't get involved in any constructive way. She yells at her mother and at Jess and that's about it. Jessica's biological father is a practicing addict himself and has a history of being violent with her when she was younger. Basically I am the only parent in her life who believes she needs some tough love and treatment for her addiction, but I have no parental rights since I am not biologically her parent. I can't have Jess come live with me because I am on disability and living with my parents in a retirement community. What complicates this further is Jess will be 18 in 2 months. Then there will be nothing any parent can do as far as forcing her into treatment.

Are there any other people who have someone in their life who is on a crash course with jails, institutions and possibly death due to an addiction? Perhaps we can support each other here.
I am sorry to hear about your daughter. I am a recovering addict myself...3 years clean in august. My younger brother is currently in the grips of addiction. He has lost his drivers license after getting 2 DUI's within weeks of each other. He also had to move back in with my parents after he was beaten badly by his roommate because of an argument over drugs. I have had a few serious talks with him about his addiction and I have offered support to help him stop. He denies that he has a problem. I did the same thing for years. I was arrested once for possession, lost a girlfriend, made bad choices, damaged my relationship with my family, and overdosed a few times. The last time that I used spent 6 days in an ICU...recovering from a near fatal overdose. My brother was in highschool during most of my using years. He stayed away from drugs because my downward spiral scared him. He started using when he went to college. He lasted 2 years there before being expelled for selling drugs out of his dorm room. He had a string of dead end jobs. He had an offer for a really good job...but couldn't pass a drug test. A few years ago he made an effort to quit using and attempted to change his life for the better. He joined the air national guard. He made through 6 weeks of training before leaving for bootcamp. 2 days before leaving he went out and got high. He failed the pre-bootcamp drug test and was discharged. It makes me sad and angry that he can't get clean. He knows how bad things got for me...but still uses. I have come to realize, in the past year, that I can't get him to stop. He is the only one that can do that. I was the same way. I needed to experience something that would make me see how bad my addiction had gotten. I hope my brother has that experience as well. It is hard to accept that I can't do anything to help him. It is hard...but I have let him go. I have come to understand and live with the fact that he might die because of his addiction. I have made it clear to him that if he does want to stop...I will be there for him...that is all that I can do.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:14 PM   #9
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Well I am not the one who can do that, since I am not a direct witness to any crimes. Had Jess stolen money from me, I would report her. If Jess was living with me and pulling this garbage, I would ask her to go live somewhere else until she is ready to get help. But my hands are tied and every time I talk to her grandmother we have the same conversation:

Me: Jess needs to have some consequences for her behavior or it will get worse!

Her grandmother: But I just can't turn her into the police, she is my granddaughter! I can't do that to her and I'm not going to do it. I won't put her on the street either.

Me: Then she will just continue with this behavior and the next crime she commits may not be against you and she could get into much bigger trouble. Yes, we love her but we have to think about what's best for her. Letting this behavior continue isn't what is best for her.

Her grandmother: Well there has to be another way. I don't think she is really doing drugs a lot like you say anyway (this from a woman who told me she found a pot pipe and numerous bottles of heavy liquor in Jess's room).


Jessica has told me she uses and I have told her grandmother this, to no avail. So really, there is literally nothing I can do here. Jess lies to her grandmother and tries to lie to me (although I see right through it.) I can't get through to Jess or anyone else who has any power to help her. *sigh*


I am so very sorry for your situation. i understand it is painful to be the other parent with out any legal or custodial rights when you know the others are't doing the right thing. Drew I believe that the tough love is almost always the right love when there is any trouble.

i think you might be able to call the police because it is child endangerment, or contributing to the delinquency of the minor, but you might not like that because it would cause trouble for the grandmother and well that's understandable. You can try to explain that you daughter is threatening and abusing the grandmother emotionally, even if she doesn't report sometimes they can intervene enough for her grandmother to catch a breath, and maybe clear her thinking? call the police and ask them, generally they will help when they can. tell them that you know there is drugs and paraphernalia in the house, if the search and find it they have more options with that information.

i think you should if you have to trick the grandmother into attending al anon and she may stop feeling so at fault, i believe that it the biggest reason parent and such choose not to admit the truth. you know she know's but she needs to know she is not alone and there is support.

i actually went to my first meeting tonight, and it was the kindest group of women i have ever met. that might be another bonus for her to continue to go if you can find an all women's meeting.

other than that all you can do for any addict is realize you love them not there choices, and live your own life and let them learn they way they insist. it's an awful lesson to learn, and give heart ache and sorrow. It's rough when no one else is doing anything but enabling her addictions.


i whish you the verry best of luck in your endeavor. You will be in my thoughts tonight.

and it may not be mine or any one else's business but i hope you will keep us informed or for more support?
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Old 06-24-2011, 04:49 AM   #10
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The first thing I thought of this morning was Jess. That is how addiction works on you. I was tired last night and not getting to any points. I'd like you to try to keep in mind (and it was nice to hear from some people who are fighting this monster) while the drug itself is addictive, addiction and alcoholism is a sickness. I know I didn't believe that for years!

I'm hoping you can get the right people to do the right things, and you are going to be the big evil villian until that ball starts rolling

I was telling you the story about Roberta, Her and 3 other mom's, all nurses from others hospitals, have formed a *road show* for lack of a better word that travels to the high schools and even middle schools and speaks to parents to alert them that this is happening in their homes. All 4 have lost a child. (three to death, and one to incarceration).

My own anger surfaces when I try to engage in conversation about this, one, because my parents chose to ignore my brothers addictions and even more so because I could not help him. I appologize to you if my tone came across as angry. In a perfect world, I don't want anyone to endure the heart ache that comes with loving an addict.
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:02 AM   #11
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You can report this as elder abuse. Every city has a hotline. Your grandma's bank is also obligated to report it, if they have been made aware.

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Well I am not the one who can do that, since I am not a direct witness to any crimes. Had Jess stolen money from me, I would report her. If Jess was living with me and pulling this garbage, I would ask her to go live somewhere else until she is ready to get help. But my hands are tied and every time I talk to her grandmother we have the same conversation:

Me: Jess needs to have some consequences for her behavior or it will get worse!

Her grandmother: But I just can't turn her into the police, she is my granddaughter! I can't do that to her and I'm not going to do it. I won't put her on the street either.

Me: Then she will just continue with this behavior and the next crime she commits may not be against you and she could get into much bigger trouble. Yes, we love her but we have to think about what's best for her. Letting this behavior continue isn't what is best for her.

Her grandmother: Well there has to be another way. I don't think she is really doing drugs a lot like you say anyway (this from a woman who told me she found a pot pipe and numerous bottles of heavy liquor in Jess's room).


Jessica has told me she uses and I have told her grandmother this, to no avail. So really, there is literally nothing I can do here. Jess lies to her grandmother and tries to lie to me (although I see right through it.) I can't get through to Jess or anyone else who has any power to help her. *sigh*
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:34 AM   #12
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The one thing that comes to mind as I read your story is the Serenity Prayer. I totally understand not having any say in the matter... like you I am not a biological parent and have no say in my sons life. Therefore I personally have to rely on the Serenity Prayer.

It's a tough situation for everyone involved. But to stand by and watch someone kill themselves is a personal choice. I would have to walk away. And I have.

My godson went thru a similar situation and I had no say in his life... so I chose to eliminate him from my life until he straightened out his. Not because I didn't care and didn't love him, but because watching him was just to painful.

I pray you are granted the strength to do what YOU need to do for You.
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Old 06-24-2011, 10:58 AM   #13
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my friend.....

Operate from your heart and your love.

You can certainly have clear boundaries about how Jess behaves with you. You can also sit down and ask Jess to treat the grandmother with more respect. Maybe grandmother needs to sit with you when you have this conversation about behavior. I know it's tough for grandmother, however having a confrontation will only make matters worse. You have a much better chance establishing boundaries with a conversation. I would frame the conversation in terms of boundaries. No shaming, no guilting, no telling her she is a fuck up and an addict. Conversation about boundaries. You can also make a boundary for her living situation with grandmother. When she turns 18 she is an adult. If she cannot be respectful of grandmother, then she cannot live there. Do not have this conversation if she is loaded. It will not do any good at all.

I'm not a fan of interventions and forced treatment. A Native American elder once told me: If you think someone needs an intervention, that someone is probably you.
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Old 07-22-2011, 09:24 AM   #14
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i really feel for you, and my heart goes out to both you & Jess..
Difficult situation, and one i can relate with in some ways..

my father, is an alcoholic and has been for 45 years, so something i've known my entire life.. he has never been what you call a violent addict, but definitely a self destructive one - taking us all down with him our entire lives, and continues to if we let him..

i have just recently let go & walk away - and it's the hardest thing i've ever had to do - i have tried everything i could think possible these last 3 years in ways to help him, encourage him to get help, ANYthing... his health is deteriorating and fast. i've always been very passive of his drinking over the years, it's all i've ever known and i learned at a very young age that i had to take care of him, because he couldn't take care of me.

for the last few years, i knew i've been an enabler all these years, but knew i had to stop, this just wasn't healthy - but i felt an extreme guilt to let go because i would think what if something terrible happened to him, and i wasnt there to make sure he was okay - it took some therapy sessions to help shake me free from that stinkin' thinkin' of mine..

He has no desire to help himself, i took over his next of kin, set him up with help, to intervene and have someone visit him during one of his many hospital stays to get through withdrawal symptoms - he refuses everything.. It took a lot for me to swallow the fact that there is really nothing i can do, except stop enabling him - move forward and take care of me now.. i have a lot of issues myself from growing up - and an eating disorder and addiction of my own to food, for which i made the decision to step up and get help.

It's difficult when they don't want to get help for themselves - and to sit by and watch it happen.. i wish i could suggest something that would help - i can also relate to other people not being on board with you about help for your daughter, it's the same with my father.. Though i've stopped enabling, they all still enable him, and right now he really needs some tough love or to hit rock bottom.. My stepmother continues to stand by him, buy him alcohol even - she's the only one who works, he hasnt worked since i was a little girl.. She lets him have credit cards which he maxes out, he steals (not from me anymore but..he'll do everything in his power to get that alcohol when he wants it).. so its frustrating for me to sit by now and watch what everyone does for him, while he is digging his own grave... i'm now angry, frustrated, stressed and worried about his health, but i refuse to let it run my life anymore.. i'm still working on the guilt, that damn guilt..

i'm his only child, i have 2 of his grandchildren, and i love my father..
i don't want anything bad to happen to him, and i definitely do not want to lose him.. he's only 61 years old, and has more life ahead if he wanted it.
i know none of this has been helpful, only to say that i understand..
i've had to walk away, it's all i could do - and wish and hope with all my might that one day, he'll want to change..
and i am wishing the same for you too, sincerely am!
if ever you need an ear, i'm around - sending positive thoughts your way in the meantime
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:53 PM   #15
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My daughter Jess is now homeless. I am struggling to find help for her, but she won't accept it or admit that she has a problem with her drug and alcohol use. Her grandmother finally kicked her out after Jess stole her grandma's car for a night. There have been a lot of things leading up to this but that was the final straw. Now Jess is mad at me for telling her she can only stay with us if she goes to a meeting (youth narcotics anonymous) once a day. I can't support her if she isn't willing to address her drug and alcohol abuse. Everything about this situation sucks.

Thanks to everyone who has been supportive.
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:13 PM   #16
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Nice to here from you again. I hate that you didn't get the outcome you expected. What are you going to do for you? (You will need help too) I'd suggest you start watching intervention (if you don't already) it's available for free on HULU on the internet if you don't have it on cable. You will need to be smarter than the user. UUgh, I hate sounding like Dora downer, but it often gets worse, before it gets better. Be strong Atomiczombie.
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:01 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by atomiczombie View Post
My daughter Jess is now homeless. I am struggling to find help for her, but she won't accept it or admit that she has a problem with her drug and alcohol use. Her grandmother finally kicked her out after Jess stole her grandma's car for a night. There have been a lot of things leading up to this but that was the final straw. Now Jess is mad at me for telling her she can only stay with us if she goes to a meeting (youth narcotics anonymous) once a day. I can't support her if she isn't willing to address her drug and alcohol abuse. Everything about this situation sucks.

Thanks to everyone who has been supportive.
I would remind you that there are other recovery programs besides 12-Step faith-based programs. LifeRing Secular Recovery (www.lifering.org) and SMART Recovery (www.smartrecovery.org) are two of the better known secular groups. There is also a secular group called Women for Sobriety (www.womenforsobriety.org) that is the first and perhaps only program that is specifically about the needs of women.

Check them out.......12 Step is not always a good fit for some folks. She can certainly go to any one or all of these different program meetings. The more tools in the toolbox, the better chance of recovery.

Hang in there........you are doing fine.

(edoted to add: (personally I extremely dislike all, yes all, of the reality tv programs that are focused people with addiction issues....it's reality tv and scripted and edited so who knows what actually happens)
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:53 PM   #18
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My daughter Jess is now homeless. I am struggling to find help for her, but she won't accept it or admit that she has a problem with her drug and alcohol use. Her grandmother finally kicked her out after Jess stole her grandma's car for a night. There have been a lot of things leading up to this but that was the final straw. Now Jess is mad at me for telling her she can only stay with us if she goes to a meeting (youth narcotics anonymous) once a day. I can't support her if she isn't willing to address her drug and alcohol abuse. Everything about this situation sucks.

Thanks to everyone who has been supportive.
I come to you from a place where I have dealt with alcoholic/addicts in my own life.

This is where the 3 C's come into play.
This embodies the concept of powerlessness.

"I didn't CAUSE it" ( "relieves you of any lingering guilt you may feel" )

"I can't control it" ( "gives you permission to live your life and to take care of yourself" )

"I can't cure it' ( "reminds you that you don't have to repeat your insane behavior(s) over and over again, hoping for different results, you don't have to keep giving one last exhausting effort hoping this time it will all work out

ME ~ One can not focus all their energy on another - thinking you can change or even help them. Find the balance as best as you can and leave the rest until they're ready.

My heart goes out to you and yours.
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:57 PM   #19
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I would remind you that there are other recovery programs besides 12-Step faith-based programs. LifeRing Secular Recovery (www.lifering.org) and SMART Recovery (www.smartrecovery.org) are two of the better known secular groups. There is also a secular group called Women for Sobriety (www.womenforsobriety.org) that is the first and perhaps only program that is specifically about the needs of women.

Check them out.......12 Step is not always a good fit for some folks. She can certainly go to any one or all of these different program meetings. The more tools in the toolbox, the better chance of recovery.

Hang in there........you are doing fine.

(edoted to add: (personally I extremely dislike all, yes all, of the reality tv programs that are focused people with addiction issues....it's reality tv and scripted and edited so who knows what actually happens)
Great info Toughenough.

I do feel some of those shows are not depicting some accuracies, however they do show some boundaries or guidelines on how to some enabling an addict.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:27 PM   #20
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Well I do know a bit about addiction since I have been in recovery since age 15. My own addiction gives me a good idea of what she is going though, although I went through it at a younger age than Jess. Thanks for the info Toughy, I will check those other programs out.

I ended up taking Jess to her mother's place. It's not the best place, as her mom (my ex-wife) is a verbal abuser. However, Jessica is mad at me for telling her she has a drug and alcohol problem and says I betrayed her by telling her she needs to go to a meeting if she is going to stay with us. But if I didn't do that, and just let her stay with us, I would be an enabler and I would cushion her from the consequences of the choices she made that caused her grandmother to throw her out. Now Jess says I am not her family and she will never talk to me again.
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