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Old 12-16-2007, 09:05 AM
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A Question

I have been talking to my daughter lately. Sometimes on the phone and sometimes by text messages. Sometimes I initiate contact and sometimes she does. When we talk I do not bring up her addiction. If she does, I listen but don't offer solutions. My reasons are because it does no good and also because I know she is more than just her addiction. But recently I have thought of whether this is enabling behavior on my part. There is still that elephant in the room. The one that stands between us and makes any kind of a meaningful relationship impossible. She knows that I want her to get clean. She is not ready. So what do you guys think. Is it a form or enabling to have conversations with my daughter and not mention addiction (thus maybe letting her believe that her addiction is not so serious)? She asks for nothing and I give nothing. I just try to love her. Opinions, please Marle
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Old 12-16-2007, 09:09 AM
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I really should keep my opinions to myself but being the codependent human that I am I can't ...I think you should at least let her know where you stand while also letting her know that you're there for her if she ever decides to seek support for change...JMHO


Let her know also that love is unconditional...
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Old 12-16-2007, 09:22 AM
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My opinion, Marle, is that she know how you feel. How her addiction affects everyone. Especially you.
I don't think it's enabling just to let her know, as swmnkdinthervr said, (that's a finger full. lol)that your there for her when she's ready but,
how you still feel about it. This may bring her closer. Or it may distance her. You know her better than I. So, it's your call. Just don't be afraid. Say what you need to say, even though your voice shakes.
We're behind ya 100%.
Your in my thoughts and prayers today.
Love ya,
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Old 12-16-2007, 09:28 AM
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I have told her where I stand on her addiction. And I have made the offer to help her find a rehab when she is ready. It is just that for a long time I practiced no contact with her. I did it to help me, not her. Now I don't feel the same way about her addiction. I know that whether I have contact with her or not is not going to change what she does. I know that nothing I say to her will make a difference in whether she gets clean or not. I know that if I do not make at least minimal contact with her, she could die of her addiction and then I would have regrets. But in the back of my mind there is still that thought that I am prolonging her addiction by providing someone for her to have contact with and someone she can still call when she has the need. Really confusing sometimes. Hugs, Marle
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Old 12-16-2007, 09:49 AM
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Marle...

My thoughts are...that your daughter is communicating with you while respecting your boundaries, right? She doesn't call to ask for money or other acts of enabling...she just calls to talk, right? I think this is wonderful. I think it shows so much strength and growth in recovery for BOTH of you.

If you can maintain communication and keep your boundaries in place, you are at the height of your game, in my opinion. And you have contact with your daughter ! What a blessing that you two have evolved so much that you can do this !

I says its all good, mama bear !!
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:01 AM
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I am with ((((OOL)))) on this one just relax and enjoy what it is.

I know I want everyone of the As in my life to come to me and say please take me to rehab right now and it is the one thing I have yet to hear...I just have to let it go...
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:12 AM
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Hi Marle,

I have a son and brother that are like that. My son tried suicide when he was 32 and failed and is a quadraplegic now.

I tried to help him as much as he would let me get counseling & going into treatment several times but he just wasn't ready to take a look at himself yet. He preferred drinking probably to self medicate his Bipoar behaviors.

He is 38 years now and gaining more insight to his energy and what he is still able to do. He does admit to being alcoholic and unable to manage any kind of alcohol use. He sees a counselor at the Behavorial Health Clinic where his doc also is.

My brother just turned 66 and is still out there drinking and using some drugs if he can afford them. He is living on his Social Security and rent he gets for renting out a bedroom in our big five bedroom family home which needs to be sold this year or will go into foreclosure and will be lost. We are co-owners and I am sure my Dad didn't know that my brother would be so unreasonable about getting it sold..he can't afford to keep up the utilities and property taxes which were expected of him if he lived their rent free. He let the household insurance go and hasn't paid taxes in seven years. I paid them three years in a row and since he isn't cooperating...have hired a lawyer to help me down there. Now my brother isn't speaking to me so I feel sad about that.

It seems like I always have a stressor trying to bring out my depression but am fighting it. This is my brother's problem now and he is living in the house and not working anymore..hasn't worked a regular job other than remodling jobs. I did not ever in my wildest imagination, realize my brother would never go back to work. He said that he was too far into drinking to work anymore. His mill he worked at closed so he was working for a contactor building houses until Mom died and he moved in to take care of Dad. He sold his house and a big inheritance from our Dad but spent it all in about three months...bought a convertable older Corvet when he didn't have a license to drive due to DUI's.


My son has Caregivers come get him up and do housework washing laundry, and grocery shopping. He goes on the Senior bus to his doctor appointments and counseling appointments. Then a caregiver puts him down in the afternoon and one comes back to fix his supper and put him to bed.

This has been very hard for us being our son's Mom & Dad and when it first happend, I chose to go back for more counseling to help my grief issues and acceptance of his being a quadraplegic. He isn't drinking anymore due to the fact he can get out of it enough with his pain meds if he gets too many onboard.

kelsh

Last edited by kelsh; 12-16-2007 at 10:32 AM.
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:29 AM
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Marle,
Like you, I do not bring up the subject of addiction, or recovery. To me, it just doesn't make any sense, since you can't TALK them into recovery..(heaven knows I sure tried to do that enough times LOL)

If my oldest son brings the subject up, I'm glad to listen and hear him out about his feelings, and convictions. Sometimes, I'll insert a slogan here and there...(my bad) and I sure try to give encouragement....

And IMHO, I think a true mother daughter meaningful relationship will come when she decides to go the sober route. Right now you're both on the edges of that relationship.

Let's say for example you do bring up the subject of her using everytime you talk, or meet, I think she may distant herself farther from you, do you think so?

Just my input, take what you like and....

Hugs to you Marle, from one mom to another....
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:34 AM
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I've recently quit talking to my AS about his addiction. From something I read here, I came to see that our relationship was becoming all about his addiction. He knows how I feel and he knows what I'm willing to do to help. No need to keep harping on it. It's almost like Mom has a life that's not completely focused on him. I could be imagining it, but I feel like he's a little disappointed that everything isn't about him.
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:19 AM
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I agree with OOL. as long as your boundries are in place I think it is Ok to talk to her. Does it make you feel better when you talk?? thats the key.
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Old 12-16-2007, 12:03 PM
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Marle, I think if you are comfortable talking then it is okay. I can tell you from an addicts point of view. When my daughter was deep in her addiction I did maintain contact. Granted there were the times that it was impossible to do that but for the most point we kept in touch. Now that she is sober she tells me that it meant so much to her that I never completely turned my back on her. She said she knew when she had lost everyone and everything that I would always be there to love her no matter what. She said that is what made life worth living. She said if she would have lost me then the little life that she had left in her would not have been worth saving. Her brothers on the other hand cut off contact. To this day she said she just wishes they would not have given up hope on her because that is the way she felt. Kind of like they kicked her when she was down. She said I know I created my own problems but I still needed and wanted the love of my family.

I would have never cut off contact with her because I needed for her to know that I loved her and I will never give up hope that one day she will once again be the daughter that I knew and loved. She also told me that it meant so much to her that I never gave up on her. She said if everyone gives up on you then what is left.

I know we are told to let go and when they lose everyone and everything then that is the only way that they will see the light and pull themselves up.
With that being said I think letting go is different for everyone. For me, I would do what is comfortable for me and what I as her mother know what her needs are as well. I would not enable her, but I would keep the lines open. I personally think that would help her. I would probably talk about her addiction because I don't think it is something that should be made invisible.
She needs to know where you stand on that, and to me that is not enabling.

Please Marle, consider this JMO. Take what is enlightening to you and leave the rest.

Mom hugs...............Lo
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Old 12-16-2007, 12:50 PM
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marle,
I agree with the others who have replied, but I also understand what you are saying about the 'elephant' in the room. In my experience I need to understand my feelings and motives for not speaking my mind. Is it some sort of emotional blackmail that keeps me from bringing something up or is it just fine that I leave it alone?

From all your posts and knowing your story, it's clear to me that you are very up front and clear with your daughter and you keep good boundaries.

The question is....jmho...as your relationship with her has changed for the better recently, is it now okay to ask her "How do you feel about recovery?" or other more vague open ended questions like:"What is going on with you these days and how are you feeling about it?"

I've had some good recovery chats with my son when he was active. We shared about generalities of the program, sponsors and people we know in recovery. Those times were rare but he responded and also initiated some of our conversations.

It's a huge risk but maybe it's fine to let her know, from her side of things that you are open to talk...that is if you are open for that conversation in the first place.

All that aside, only you will know what is best. After waiting so long to have the kind of contact you do now....maybe it's not worth the risk of bringing up a 'hot topic.'

One of my personal rules I try to follow is 'when in doubt, don't' until or unless you are certain. I have no solid answer, but am just tossing out my thoughts as a sounding board to you and sharing how I have handled this.

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Old 12-16-2007, 12:51 PM
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Marle, Just my view, but I do not see your actions as in anyway enabling. I have found looking to my motivation is always the best barometer for me to determine if my actions are healthy or not. I agree that your no contact boundary before was for you, not to control her (which is all good) Now that you are able to have contact with her, again it is for you. She benefits, I'm sure, because she loves you and can speak with you. Talking about her addiction would be pointless and could destroy the relationship you have. If she brings it up or if you just want to say something once, no problem...But again to me motivation is the key.
If the time comes again where it hurts too much to maintain contact, I know you will do what you need to do. But for now, treasure each moment, each communication and know that the bond between you is unbreakable. Hugs and prayers.
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:46 AM
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There is nothing new to tell her bec she know exactly what you would like her to do. She knows your "you should...."
For a long time I talked about recovery + treatment every time I talked to my son until he just avoided me bec he didn't want to hear it and didn't want to do it. Once I stopped talking about it he eventually called and came around to see me. I want a relationship with him no matter his condition. I don't see having communication + relationship as enabling.
Now we can talk about it bec he started weekly sessions with a therapist and I agreed to pay for it.
Marle, I think that it is wonderful that you are communicating once again with your daughter.
For me I am learning to talk to him w/o trying to control him or the outcome of the conversation. Beyond his addiction he is a smart, funny young man who is fun to be with. I am trying real hard to see some of his positive traits.
I truly believe our children will seek recovery. Because I am in recovery I am trying real hard to show him with attraction not promotion.
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Old 12-17-2007, 04:47 AM
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(((Marle))))

Just my experience....I wouldn't talk to my dad for months at a time. Basically because I was too ashamed of what I was doing and how it was hurting him. He would drive the 1-1/2 hrs to the town I lived in, track me down on the streets, and we'd get something for lunch and go to the park and eat.

He did tell me how he hated seeing me do this to myself and how I was deserved a better life, but mostly we just talked about what was going on with my family. Although it was really hard seeing how bad I was hurting him, I truly treasure the fact that he never gave up on me.

As long as you are comfortable talking to her, you're not doing anything for her that she could do for herself (which is what enabling is to me), then I think it's fine. My talks with my dad did absolutely nothing to prolong or stop my active use....it was a total inside job for me. Personally, I think it's great that you 2 talk and I see it as a positive thing.

No matter how bad we A's are into our addiction, we need to know our parents still love us because we sure don't love ourselves.


Hugs and prayers!

Amy
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Old 12-17-2007, 05:02 AM
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I don't think thats enabling. I also don't think that your silence on the addiction matter makes a difference one way or the other. Your daughter knows you love her and she knows how you feel re:addiction. whats that old saying let a sleeping dog lie.
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Old 12-17-2007, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by marle View Post
I have told her where I stand on her addiction. And I have made the offer to help her find a rehab when she is ready. It is just that for a long time I practiced no contact with her. I did it to help me, not her. Now I don't feel the same way about her addiction. I know that whether I have contact with her or not is not going to change what she does. I know that nothing I say to her will make a difference in whether she gets clean or not. I know that if I do not make at least minimal contact with her, she could die of her addiction and then I would have regrets. But in the back of my mind there is still that thought that I am prolonging her addiction by providing someone for her to have contact with and someone she can still call when she has the need. Really confusing sometimes. Hugs, Marle
Marle, I could have written this myself. I also had no contact for damn near a year and now she knows she can call me at any time. she keeps in contact. I also found letting her suffer alone did not make her 'surrender' and 'hit bottom', and i also think knowing she can turn to me for help and keeping the lines of communication open can only be a good thing. I also struggle with being, lets say too accepting of her. For example, I am picking her up from the train station on Christmas day, and having lunch at a restaurant with her (she's not allowed home until she's clean), where she will get her Christmas stocking from me and my husband. then, I'll drive her back to Newark. Would it be more helpful for her 'hitting bottom' if she didn't get to see us at all? If she had no family to love her on Christmas? If she didn't get even these minimal presents (nothing she can easily resell or return)? If she took the train both ways? who knows. I do know I am much calmer having her in my life now, than when she wasn't. I do belive in the slogan (if that's what it is), "Always love". Yelling at her didn't help. Trying to convince her of why she should stop using didn't help. She always tells me I'm her best friend now (actually I'm her only friend now).

I did point out something to her a few weeks ago. She shared with me that she was mugged and pistol whipped while copping drugs on a stairway in a building in Newark. I said, "Yes, that's the kind of things that can happen when you are using. The only way to be safe from things like that is to get clean." her reaction was as follows: "Oh mom. that's not it at all. That particular cop-spot is just really bad. There are other places I can cop where that won't happen." so there you have it. Can you spell D-E-N-I-A-L?
But I do still point out how her addiction is effecting her life, whether she hears it or not. I just don't keep pushing it on her after it's apparant she won't hear it, like in the above example. I feel really, really strange if I don't at least say what I'm thinking when she tells me stuff like that.

we also joke sometimes, in a way, about her addiction. For example, she told me she was gonna save some amount of $ from her stripper job each night until she could pay me back for all the $ she stole from us. (Yeah, right!) She said she wondered if she should have her boyfriend hold the $ for her until she sees me, or if I thought he might not give it back. I said, "One thing I know for sure is that if you keep it and put it aside for me, that will last about 15 minutes. Then you'll by buying more crack with it, and telling yourself you'll save twice as much from your next night at work! Am I right?" I said this in a light kind of tone, like I would with a friend I knew very well. She said, "Yup, exactly!" and laughed. So she supposedly decided to let the boyfriend hold the $. So far, I haven't gotten a penny. No surprise. But my point is, I can tell her the truth without pissing her off on most days. And then I wonder, is telling her the truth about her addiction in this lighthearted manner, a form of enabling? Does my acceptance of her, the way she is, giving her permission to use for longer? Should i be pissed off as hell and talk to her angrily? I don't really think so - like, I don't think its going to help her see the truth any more easily.

I really am playing this by ear, as I guess you also are. I'll be reading the replies you get to see if I can learn anything myself.
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Old 12-17-2007, 08:49 AM
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I certainly don't know the answer! I know at times through my own hell it has been better not to have any contact as that was the only way she could "fall", however, as a mom, the not-knowing drives me crazy.

I think it's almost a day by day decision. I have learned if I can call and be sincere w/o sarcasm, I do. If I am hurt or angry, I leave her alone. Sometimes she calls, sometimes not. I still wonder and worry, and I will always be her mom, no matter how hard it is!

My point, I dont' know what is best and really don't think there is a concrete answer! I'm glad you two are talking....who knows, maybe she is seeing if she is still loved and cared for etc. I've learned from some here that even while in their addiciton, they had moments of clarity and wondered after all they'd done if they were still loved.

My best to and for you and Megan,
love,
susan
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