Q: My 30 year old daughter and her 11 year old daughter have came to live with my husband and I. She supposedly attempted to recover from severe drug abuse but she left the treatment center after just one week. We know for certain that she is still using drugs and in contact with other users, even though she denies it. I don’t want to enable her and/or allow her to use us.
The problem is my granddaughter. I don’t think my daughter is capable of caring for her, but we don’t want to get stuck raising her either. The father is not in the picture.
How do you stop enabling while protecting a child and yet keep from disrupting your entire life?
A: You really have a lot of hope that a few words can help!
I think you need very clear priorities, and you need to work with professionals who know a lot more about drug addiction and your daughter in particular than I do.
Here are the priorities I would have in this situation.
1) Making sure the child is SAFE comes first… (but read on…)
2) You are the most important person in your own life! (As obvious as that sounds, don’t lose sight of it while you deal with all of this…)
3) Your life with your husband comes next. (If you generally treat each other well.)
4) The Quality of your granddaughter’s life probably comes next. (What I mean here is that after you are sure she is Safe, you don’t have to make sure she has a warm and satisfying life unless you really want to do this. If you don’t really want to do it, you won’t succeed in helping her in this way anyway.)
Notice that I haven’t mentioned your daughter at all in these priorities. That’s because she is an adult who must learn to take care of herself and you can’t help her to change if she doesn’t want to change… and neither can the drug treatment program or anyone else.
She needs to get excellent help When She’s Ready… and the path she’s on will probably bring her to some moment when she is fed up with her lifestyle and very willing to change it with the help of professionals. But if she’s not there yet, there’s nothing anyone can do.
You might want to use what I’ve said here as you discuss this with your husband and maybe use it also as you discuss all of this with the drug treatment staff your daughter has been working with recently.
Don’t wait to get more help about all of this. Read the topic at my site that talks about getting help now: Are You Considering Therapy? This is Very important.
I wish you and your family the very best!