This series will be the story of my Daughter and how addiction has impacted all of our lives:

The Beginning:

My Daughter is a gifted, bright girl. She was always ahead development-wise, walking at eight months, potty trained at a year old, did exceptionally well in school, she made me so proud.

When my daughter was around 17 years old, she wanted to move out. She asked if she could move to Washington State to do a dual program where she could finish high school while earning college credits. We didn’t offer anything like that here in California, and she had always missed Washington State when we moved away from it.

Now don’t get me wrong; she was far from perfect. She is exceptionally hard-headed, and it was quite probable that she was our most demanding of our five children, with her level of stubbornness.

Things went very well when she first moved back to Washington. She got into a charming apartment and got a management job at a local pizza place. I visited her every couple of months, and she graduated from the dual program.

My Daughter and I had always been very close. She was very open with me, and we could share almost anything.

Looking back now, I noticed some red flags that I had missed before. To start with, she didn’t want to participate in her graduation ceremony. Shortly after that, she told me about this amazing person she had met.

You see, my Daughter is bi-racial, and maybe some of her struggles with that fact had eluded me. I raised her, a white woman without the influence of her biological father, and her step-father was also a whitey.

This gal that she had met is also bi-racial, and she said for the first time in her life, she had found someone with a very similar experience as her own. She felt a real kinship with this gal and announced that she was now a lesbian.

As parents, we are always cautiously watching our children for signs or signals on how things are going for them, once they have left the nest. We also are always looking to show support of our children while they grow into mature adults.

It was some cross between wanting to be supportive and not wanting to overreact that misguided me on the signs that were presenting themselves. I am not going to lie; the prospect of my Daughter being a lesbian did not thrill me, not due to the lesbian factor but because in society, she was already a black woman, and that had its disadvantages, add lesbian, and you were doubling down. In my mind, my Daughter was so thrilled to meet this person with so many similarities, I felt that she was misconstruing that kinship as romantic. It didn’t matter anyway, because she had my full support until I met her new partner.

When I met my Daughter’s partner for the first time, they came out together for a visit. She seemed kind enough, at first. Their relationship seemed a bit more of an obsession than a real relationship, however. My Daughter in past relationships had always been the more dominant person, but this time there was a total role reversal. I took stock, but mostly just wanted to get to know her new girlfriend. Her family was very similar to ours; Mother and father divorced, and the mother remarried, a white man. She had siblings, and her uncle was adopted, just like my brother was. The visit ended, and they went home, and I figured ok, so this is how it is now.

I started hearing less from my Daughter, or when I did hear from her, it was when they had had a massive argument, and she needed consoling. About six months later, her and Donna (we will call her Donna) had decided to join our extended family and me at our family cabin. Things had changed, my Daughter appeared about 30 pounds lighter, and their relationship had gotten very volatile, they were fighting all of the time, and my daughter seemed to be the instigator. They created so much drama on this trip that it ruined everyone’s time together.

I wouldn’t know in hindsight if there was anything that I could have done to change things. However, I do know this: I didn’t listen to that inner voice, and it was there, I dismissed it, and I wish I hadn’t.

Bad To Worse:

By the time things had gotten worse, my daughter was 18 years old. As a parent, there is a lot less that you can do for your child once they are an adult; that is something I learned the hard way.

I received a phone call from my daughter’s girlfriend, stating that my daughter had locked herself in her apartment and had taken a lot of different prescription pills trying to commit suicide. I asked her what had caused this and she said that they had broken up.

They were now living together and had a new apartment together, that wasn’t charming at all (I found out later). My daughter had somehow barricaded the door. Donna did not know what to do, so she called me. I was infuriated that she called me instead of 911, but I made the call and then called my daughter. The long story short, the paramedics had to break down the door, and the only person my daughter wanted to talk to was Donna.

Once my daughter was in the ER, she refused to have her stomach pumped and declined to speak to me or allow her doctors to talk to me. She would only talk to Donna.

Luckily, a close cousin of mine lived in the area and went to the ER for me to try to get some information. It turned out after blood work was done, they found heroin, cocaine, and meth in her system. I was in total shock. They couldn’t tell me anything without my daughter’s permission because she was an adult, but my cousin’s stink eye did the trick.

I had just started a new job and had only been there for three weeks. I called my boss and was on a plane to Washington at 5 am the next morning.

By the time I arrived at my daughter’s front door, she had already been released from the hospital and was home with Donna. When she came to the door, she was shocked to see me and seemed to have no recollection of any conversations we had had the day prior. She seemed very happy to see me and shaken. I asked Donna to leave and give me time with my daughter, which she did.

I let my daughter know that I would be packing her up and taking her back home so that she could get the help she needed. She seemed fine with the idea, I mean even though they were still living together, they were also again broken up.

That night I stayed the night and shared a bed with my daughter, and she hugged me over and over, expressing she couldn’t believe that I was there.

My dad lived in the same state and came the next morning to help me get the apartment packed up. We took only the items that would fit in her Honda Civic, and I made the drive back home to California. My daughter slept the entire car ride, due to all of the drugs still being in her system and not allowing them to pump her stomach, she was virtually worthless.

Again, looking back, I don’t know if this was the right decision, bringing her back home. I know that I felt like as her mother, I had to protect her and do something to get my girl back on track. I never had time to think about what I was doing or time to process any of the feelings I was experiencing; I was doing everything based on my instincts at the moment. It is only now that I am talking about what transpired and allowing myself to have some feelings because I have been in auto-pilot for a very long time.

There Is A Stranger In My House

Moving my daughter back home, moved drama into my home. We have four other children besides her, she is the oldest daughter of three, and we have two sons. I had teenagers watching us, too see how we handled this situation with our daughter. I had to lead by example and show them this was not the path that they wanted to go down.

I had zero experience with drugs, and I didn’t touch them growing up, except for the occasional hit of marijuana. My husband, on the other hand, had a clue. She was so tired, and she had been pretty submissive, but let me tell you when drugs they wore off, she turned into a bear. My husband informed me that she was going through withdrawal.

Then she became volatile because she wanted to be back with Donna and work things out with her. Every morning when I woke up, I was uncertain of what this day would bring with my daughter, we were all walking around on eggshells.

One weekend my husband and I decided to get away for the weekend, things had seemed to calm down, our daughter seemed to be in a better place. Day 2 into our trip, we found out our daughter had destroyed our home, beat up one of our daughters, lied to my father for money, and hopped a bus back to Washington to be with her girlfriend. After that, however, I have to say that my family learned a valuable lesson, and we didn’t enable my daughter anymore.

There was a lot of other drama mixed in there, like asking us to allow her and Donna to live in our home, which was a hard no. Donna drove to California from Washington, thinking we would change our minds. We didn’t, so my daughter and her girlfriend lived on the street together for a bit until they found another way back to Washington.

We wouldn’t allow any of our children to live in our home with their significant other. We also had to put her in a psych ward for a mandatory 72-hour hold during that time.

Inevitably it didn’t work out with her girlfriend in Washington, and she wanted to come back home. This time, I said to find your own way, I’m not coming to get you. She sat in Walla Walla not with Donna anymore for about nine months before I would even consider allowing her to go back home. She had to want it, and it couldn’t be forced by me, not this time.

When she did come home, things had shifted, and for the better. There were rules to living in our home, and if she didn’t follow them, she couldn’t live there, and she figured out that I meant what I said, and I would put her out if she didn’t follow the rules.

She followed the rules; she got a job and slowly earned our trust back. Things were looking good for the moment anyway…

Good News/Bad News

So the good news, the toxic relationship my daughter shared with Donna was over, and she was no longer using drugs. Bad news, she was in a new relationship with a fellow we will call Frank, and she was pregnant.

Some time had passed between the relationship with Donna and the relationship with Frank. She was working steadily and talking about returning to school for cosmetology. We liked Frank, but she was back to being dominant, and he lacked initiative and employment. He was also ten years older than her.

For more on this portion of the story, you can read another article I wrote:

https://medium.com/series/parents-of-addicted-loved-ones-1e9af6dff24a

Even though my daughter was doing significantly better, she was nowhere near ready to be a mother. There was no convincing her of that, so it was time to help her to get her place.

They couldn’t afford anything in our part of California, and Frank used to live in Sacramento and felt comfortable there.

Our daughter went to cosmetology school in San Jose until we moved them to Sacramento, and she continued her schooling there until the baby was born. After the baby was born, she went back and finished. Things were looking good. I also loved being a grandma, by the way. I was madly in love with my grandbaby, and she was just a precious little angel.

It didn’t last. They were very good parents for the first year of my granddaughter’s life, but then old habits crept in and the life of drugs prevailed. My granddaughter is now almost four and hasn’t seen her biological parents in over a year.

My Truth About Addiction:

As a parent of an addicted adult child, I have many emotions, healthy and unhealthy every day. You run through the gamut of these thoughts and feelings, and there is no right or wrong way to feel. Sometimes I feel like people are judging me, or they are looking at this through the eyes of misconception. A person turning to drugs can happen to anyone, from any walk of life.

The most challenging part of this whole equation is my grandchild and how to protect her in all of this crazy. She didn’t ask for this, and she deserves a quality life.

I love my daughter, even though I don’t recognize her right now. Even with all of the love I feel for her, I will protect my grandchild from her shortcomings no matter what.

My daughter may not come out of this, or maybe she will? All I know is that my granddaughter isn’t getting any younger, and she needs a happy life now, and we aren’t putting that on hold.

I will advocate on my granddaughter’s behalf until the day I die…PERIOD.

I genuinely hope that my daughter navigates through the dark addiction water and comes out on the other side. I hope that she and her daughter can mend all of the hurt that has come from her life choices, and that ultimately they find forgiveness for themselves.

I genuinely hope that I will get to see my daughter back at the top of her game and thriving in life because I miss her terribly.

Parent of an Addicted Adult Child
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