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Albatross2008
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Old Oct 24, 2023 at 12:20 AM
  #1
 
TRIGGER WARNING. PLEASE PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

I've been holding onto this for a while. There's going to be trigger warnings all over the place, and I apologize in advance if anything I am about to say hurts, upsets, or offends anybody. It's just that I've been looking for a safe place to get it said, and if I don't get it out of me soon, it's going to eat me up from the inside out.

My daughter is an addict. I'm sure a lot of you here know the drill. When she says she's clean and sober, what she means is that she is not currently engaged in the act of using. It may still be in her system, but she's not using right now this minute, so she's clean and sober. She also will not stay in any kind of treatment program, because she finds fault with all of them, and of course she knows better than anybody else how these programs ought to be run.

If I bring this up in Nar-Anon setting, the only feedback I'm going to get is that I can't make her get clean and I have to work on my own program.

No $h!Ö Sherlock.

It's not that I'm trying to make her get clean, or trying to control her, or anything like that. I am trying to do the next right thing and live a sane life regardless of what she or anybody else does.

The problem is that I'm grieving the loss of the daughter I basically don't have anymore. The last time she called me, a few days ago, she wanted to do FaceTime, and all I could see was that case of meth mouth she's got going on. Her teeth are rotting out of her head, and her mouth is pulled back tight when she speaks. She'll be 38 soon. I know very well I can't do a darn thing about it, but how many of us here have ever watched a loved one self-destruct?

One thing I have been working on is setting boundaries. That only got me bawled out by a mutual friend, who lectured me about how I'm obligated to help (read that "enable") my daughter because these things are caused partly by biology, and partly by upbringing, and she got both of those from me. Of course, that strongly hints that she got those things from ONLY me, and no other factors. Not like her father was an addict too, or anything like that. Not like there aren't alcoholics and substance abusers all through our family. I am the one who gave birth to her, so everything she suffers from is all entirely my fault.

I do struggle with the concept of "it's a disease." Does that mean that when somebody lies to me and steals from me, and when I'm trying to live that sane life as I mentioned earlier, they come in and disrupt it, I'm supposed to just smile and have empathy because they can't help it? I'm supposed to cancel an out-of-town trip at the last minute and stand by in case somebody decides to go into treatment? And then when she doesn't, I'm supposed to think oh well? When this happens repeatedly, I'm supposed to just put my life on hold for hers, and be called a narcissist if I don't? I'm not allowed to have my own health issues, or a job, or anything that doesn't revolve around being there for somebody else?

Growing up in an alcoholic family, I heard enough of that "it's an illness" excuse. Again a trigger warning, but as a child, I was actually SAíd by an alcoholic stepfather, and my mother didn't do a dang thing about it because "he's sick, he can't help it, he didn't know what he was doing." Two years after they divorced, she even seriously considered getting back together with him even knowing what he had done to me.

But according to all feedback, I alone am the problem, and everybody else is just the victim of an illness. They can't help it, poor little diddy-iddums, and I just have to have compassion. No matter what they do or have done to me.

In the same vein, no matter what I do it's the wrong thing. I use sentences beginning with "I," and I'm self-centered and egotistical. Can I even hear myself? Everything is I, I, I. But if I begin my sentences with "you," then I'm controlling and blaming. I do something to help, I'm enabling. I don't help, then that brings me right back to the start. It's an illness, and I am a monster who has no compassion if I feel any kind of resentment at all.

I don't even know what to do anymore. I've probably p!$$ed off everybody reading this, but I just had to get it out of me.
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Old Oct 24, 2023 at 02:19 AM
  #2
 
It's about just not letting another person abuse you anymore. It doesn't matter who it is.
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Old Oct 24, 2023 at 04:28 AM
  #3
 
@Arbie I am so sorry that you are experiencing this challenge. This is certainly not your fault. The vulnerability to developing addiction problems is hereditary so itís not your fault that your daughter became an addict. One of the things I recently learned is that individuals that have dyslexia are very prone to developing addiction problems, same with ADHD. The individuals in my own life that developed problems had these brain wiring challenges. This in no way means all those with these type of brains will be or are addicts. It just means a person is susceptible and often can manage to function despite being an active addict.

When someone is an addict their life revolves around their addiction. It is very painful for others who love the addict be it a spouse or parent or child. The addict protects their addiction so they end up living a lie and develop all different ways of denying others and themselves that they have lost control of themselves.

The very first step with AA is admitting there is a problem and that the addict is powerless and chooses the engage using. Once a person admits they are an addict but want to stop using their journey is a life long journey of living their life sober. This takes time and involves learning how to live sober one day at a time knowing that you can become an addict and lose control even with one slip.

Yes, itís called a disease but that doesnít mean itís ok to be an addict and abuse family and friends through manipulation, denials and gaslighting.

Last edited by Open Eyes; Oct 24, 2023 at 05:56 AM..
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Old Oct 25, 2023 at 03:57 AM
  #4
 
Your anger is totally understandable. I'm an addict myself and even I'm pissed at the things I did. The stealing, lying, manipulation, etc. isn't the disease. The using and being unable to stop itself is the disorder. Only that takes over completely and the addict will do anything and everything to support the drug use because it is that powerful.

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Old Oct 25, 2023 at 10:31 PM
  #5
 
Thank you, everyone, for the support and love I'm receiving here.
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Old Oct 26, 2023 at 08:21 AM
  #6
 
@Arbie

You have every right to be hurt, upset, angry etc. having a family member who is an addict is incredibly challenging, and I'm saying that as an alcoholic.


Yes I believe that addiction is a disease, but I also believe that when I'm in active addiction I don't have control over my drinking, but I still have to be responsible for the damage I cause and hopefully take responsibility for my actions. That's why people who drive drunk are given criminal charges, because they broke the law and endangered other people the possibility that they may have a substance use disorder doesn't get them a free pass.

I think I kind of get what people are saying to you in Nar-Anon although I think it's not necessarily as helpful as it could be. Bottom line, we control our emotions, our reactions, and boundaries to name a few and I think by focusing on your program is meant at least in part to help you implement actions that keep you healthy. That could mean cutting off contact, refusing to support them, not dropping plans to take care of them. It's necessary for the addict to get to the point that consequences of using are sufficiently bad enough to outweigh the apparent benefit of using.

I belong to another forum which is a recovery site. it's not a super busy site but it has some good members and we have a few Moms of addicts on it and they get support for their attempts to set boundaries with their addicted children. If you'd like the name of the site feel free to pm me.

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