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4 Bumps

Should I Try To Take Control of My Adult Daughter's Life?

I have a 24 year old daughter who recently moved back home with us.. she has been homeless (by choice, hopping trains, camping with other homeless people, etc) for over 5 years now and a severe alcoholic for 2 years. She stayed with us 5 months ago and we found out later that when she would go out for walks she was buying/drinking booze. A week ago she called from a motel in TN, hysterical, drunk beyond belief, begging us to come get her before she drank herself to death. We took time & resources we can scarcely afford & went and got her. After a brief hospital stay for detoxing she is now living here. Due to her having no insurance and having been homeless we can't get her into a treatment center for a while, maybe as long as a month. Because the last time she was here she drank when she went out, I've told her she can't leave the house without someone being with her. Here is my question: Should I just let her wander around on her own, even though I know she will drink again if she does, or am I right to insist she not be alone when she goes out? Please help, I don't know where to turn for advice....

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Asked by Lorithehun at 5:03 AM on Apr. 8, 2011 in Adult Children (18+)

Level 4 (32 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • I know some won't agree with my opinion here but I'm going to throw it out there anyways.  I think that you have the RIGHT to protect your child even if it means from themselves.  I would follow her around everywhere until she got into treatment. 


    Answer by MrsHouston47302 at 5:06 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • I would look into alanon meetings if I were you. And maybe watching that show on TLC called Intervention. You can't control what she does. And by picking her up in a motel in TN, is enabling her. She knows that when she falls you will be there to catch her or pick her up and dust her off.

    If she wants to drink, fine! But you have to have some rules. Don't come home under the influence, don't call me to bail you out (911 is always there for a true emergency) you need to clean up your act you have until such and such a day to start a recovery program either a facility or AA meetings followed with sobriety or you will not house her anymore. You are making her problems your problems. I have an Alcoholic mother, I know how it is. Its sad to say these things but its what has to be done.

    Answer by myownhappiness at 5:11 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • I have 2 grown DD of my own. I know how hard it it to see your child mees up her life. But it is her life not yours. If sne does not want to fix her problem. You can not fix it for her. She knows what she needs to do. If she starts drinking again. That is her own fault not yours.
    If I where you I would sit her down and tell her this is the lat time we are bailing you out. If you mess up this time, you will be on your own.

    Answer by louise2 at 5:39 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • Your house, your rules... I lived with my parents until I was 21 (in college), and I still had to check in, tell them when I was going out, do chores, etc...However, the most you could do is tell her she can't live with you if she doesn't abide. There's no way to actually control her.

    Answer by laird6372 at 5:41 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • My mom was an alcoholic and so was my dad...there is really nothing you can do....My advice would be for you to try it this way, get her into AA and see if there are any free programs around your area that may be able to help. There is only so much you can do before you have to walk away and know that if she doesn't hit rock bottom on her own she'll never be able to crawl to the top and stay there. It's hard seeing your child suffer and knowing there is nothing you can do about it... If this way is working for you and she truly wants to change then I say keep doing what you are doing....but she has to have someone to fall back on, someone to talk to when she wants that drink....she needs a sponsor or/and a counselor....and she needs something else to do that helps her handle the times she wants to get blitzed....Good Luck and Blessed Be it is a very long and hard road to travel down.

    Answer by kitchenwitch78 at 7:00 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • I agree with kitchenwitch78, there is only so much you can do to stop her she really has to want to stop on her own. I would start looking for a free program even if it isn't exactly where you are, if you can get her in it might help her. The only thing is you can guide her and give her the information but you can't force her to go. If she doesn't want to go then forcing her won't make her better. I understand how hard this must be because she is you child and it is so hard to watch them go through something like this.  I think if you tell her she can't leave the house she is just going to find a way to drink.  I agree that AA would be a great way to start and getting a sponsor so she has someone to talk to when she feels the need to drink.

    Good Luck!


    Answer by cornflakegirl3 at 7:28 AM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • I don't know how to respond to individual comments so I will try to cover all the suggestions in one comment: I see the majority feel that I am trying to force her to stop, and I agree, you can't make someone quit using drugs or alcohol, no matter how hard you try. HOWEVER, I CAN make her quit using alcohol while she is being supported by my husband and I and living in our house. Of course she doesn't HAVE to adhere to our rules, she has the right, as an adult, to leave at any time. It was her own actions, the last time she was here, that led to our enforcing the "no outings without a chaperone" rule. Laird6372, sounds like you know the drill... My daughter seems to think she can use this house like a free motel, and that she has every right to... She had an opportunity to get into a treatment center yesterday and she "accidentally" ruined that chance. Thanks to everyone who answered, great ideas!

    Comment by Lorithehun (original poster) at 10:43 AM on Apr. 9, 2011

  • I'm sorry to hear this....I have a similar situation. I understand you want to help your daughter...However, you can't enable her. You really need to use tough love and let her know that you are giving her a chance to redeem herself and get help. If she violates this by using, you will not allow her to stay at your home. It is that simple. Make her sign a contract agreeing to whichever terms you feel are valid. I know it sounds harsh, but substance abusers are clever and manipulating. Don't give in. Good luck!

    Answer by twinkletoes0408 at 7:03 PM on Apr. 9, 2011

  • man...i feel sorry for you. I know you don't want to turn ur back on ur daughter but sometimes by doing those things ur are enabling her. Ummm I wont ttry n give advice since I never been in that situation (and I'm only 27 lol) but your daughter is trying to cover some pain in her life. Maybe intense counsling could help her deal with whatever happen to her. Now for ya...I would make it clear I am not giving you money or bailing you out everytime you CHOSE to go do this. I will always love you but not support this disease. ur going to be homeless if you don't watch it. For real God Bless.

    Answer by Jazmineamomma at 11:41 AM on Apr. 10, 2011

  • Jazmineamomma, you hit the nail on the head... My daughter is definitely medicating some pain.. she grew up with an alcoholic mom (me).. She was the oldest and too often she had to play "mom" to her younger siblings. I have 12 years of sobriety now, but nothing can ever make up for how her early childhood was full of chaos. I have done my best to make amends for my past behavior, and I look at this as another chance to right my wrongs... However, I have to make sure my guilt doesn't turn me into an enabler, because that won't do her any good. Twinkletoes: This is the fourth time we've bailed her out of trouble, and I know that it isn't helping her, but I keep thinking that THIS TIME I am going to find the right combination of love and wisdom & lead her in the right direction. If I didn't go get her, and something really bad happened to her... not sure I could live with myself. Thanks for all the input, it's been helpful :)

    Comment by Lorithehun (original poster) at 6:22 AM on Apr. 11, 2011

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