I keep paying out for my heroin-addict daughter and I am tired. What can I do?
It’s time to stop enabling her, says our elder. You cannot make her choices for her.
My daughter is a 10-year heroin addict. She is 28. For the last year, she has been on suboxone and clean to my knowledge. She is afraid to get off the suboxone. She and her boyfriend have terrible credit and an eviction. Because of this, she lives in a motel paying $55 a day. Of course, you can see they barely pay rent, let alone have much for anything else. She lives 70 miles away from home. I am constantly helping her financially and it is getting her nowhere. I am paying $45/month for her storage unit and soon will probably pay more than her items are worth. She will not leave her boyfriend. I have paid probably $4,000 this year and I am done. But when she calls, I know she will be kicked out and living on the street if she can’t pay her bill. I pay the motel directly. I am 60 and my husband is 74. We are tired. Please give me some sage advice. I love my daughter and want her back in my life and want to be more than an ATM to her.
Thank you for writing to Elder Wisdom Circle regarding the distressing situation with your daughter. I completely understand that you want to have your daughter in your life. It would be really sad if you didn’t but there comes a time when serious, life-changing decisions need to be made.
In my opinion, it is time for you to stop paying for your daughter and enabling her irresponsible behavior. She needs to take responsibility for herself. She will never do that if you keep paying her bills. My mother did the same thing for my brother until the day she died. On her deathbed, she stated, “Now he’ll have to get a job.” And he did just that. He got a job and started taking responsibility for himself and his son.
I know you love your daughter and want her to live a good and healthy life. You cannot make her choices. She has made the choice to use drugs and stay in an unhealthy and destructive relationship. She could be staying in this relationship because she is just as addicted to her boyfriend as she is to the drugs.
Keep in mind that you are not only enabling your daughter, you are also enabling her boyfriend as well. You are basically supporting them both. It seems quite clear that your daughter is choosing her boyfriend and her addiction over you. I know it is hurtful and I know you are suffering over her decision. I know how painful it is to worry about her “ending up on the street” as my mother used to say.
I think you wrote to us because you need support in making this tough decision. You know in your heart that this situation cannot go on and it has to stop, today. Tell your daughter that you will no longer pay the bills incurred by your daughter and her boyfriend. The boyfriend may just pack up and leave when he realizes the “gravy train” is over. Then, maybe, your daughter will come home and make the necessary changes in her life. If she does come home, make sure she gets a job so she can live on her own. Living with you is not an option. You would only be trading one difficulty for another.
As a parent myself, I know the hardest decisions I have ever made were in regards to my children. I have heard the saying as parents we need to give our children both “roots and wings”. It is time for your daughter to get her life together and fly on her own. She can’t do that if you keep her tied to you. Also, keep in mind that you will not live forever. She will be on her own eventually and you won’t be able to protect her from herself.
Letter #: 440746