When it comes down to the wire, mothers often struggle with the best way to open lines of communication with a daughter who has come to the end of herself in addiction. There may be many false starts and ways that attempts were made to open up about the beloved daughter’s addiction, but it did not end well. Maybe an intervention was tried that ended in what felt like failure or relapse. Learning how to navigate this conversation with a daughter can make the difference between feeling hope for her recovery and feeling lost in the maze of addiction. Try these tips to create a different pathway forward.
Kindness is not always easy when addiction takes hold of a loved daughter who has acted with anything but kindness it seems for quite some time. Maintaining a sense that the daughter is still who she was, but deeply affected by addiction, requires patience and persistence. Acting with kindness means accepting that daughter as she is while not accepting nor condoning her behavior. Building bridges of forgiveness starts with making the daughter feel loved with kindness.
Even when it seems this is the last thing a mother has the energy to do, it is one of the most important elements of opening lines of communication. A loved daughter with addiction likely feels she is not heard in the right way, which can lead to lots of conflict and avoidance. The other issue is she may be lying, stealing, and going behind the mother’s back and causing harm to the family with her actions. This makes it hard to listen to her, but it is important for her to feel heard. Listening empathically entails not interrupting, not criticizing, and also not agreeing with the behavior.
Demonstrate Unconditional Love and Support
This usually means that no matter what, this daughter will believe she is loved. The daughter needs to know her needs matter but she has boundaries around what is acceptable. Enabling her behavior causes more harm and creates a loop of behavior that will continue until she hits rock bottom. Some tips to help set the foundation for unconditional love:
- Let go of the fear of setting limits
- Follow through on what is said
- Don’t make empty threats
- Don’t punish them psychologically for behavior
- Accept they have an illness and need more help than a mother can offer but limits are a good start
Help Find Support
Whether it is looking for support groups, recovery and rehab places, or other means of building community, a daughter who believes her mother is on her side will help her feel loved. Although a mother’s motivation for change may be higher than the person with addiction’s ability or motivation to change, counseling can help shift dynamics. Good therapeutic support for the family (and individuals) can help everyone realize the need for help. If the mother is willing to work on herself, maybe the daughter can work on herself, too. In the end, an intervention may be helpful to get everyone on the same page to help create the possibility for change to occur. As long as the daughter knows they have the family behind them, they are more likely to step forward with suggested changes than a daughter who feels the family so not on their side.
The final straw can be drawing a line in the sane. Although it is hard to be clear and firm about what is acceptable, there is still open lines of communication about how to offer the help they might need. Without dictating what the daughter has to do, it is possible to stand firm on the boundaries set with the daughter and create space for her to adapt to those. When she doesn’t, stand firm on what the boundary was and follow through on the consequence.
The hardest thing a mother can do is love a daughter through addiction. The hope is always that she will get recovery principles that help her navigate the journey towards healing. The more difficult journey is one where she starts and stops and does not seem to gain traction. With the right therapeutic approach and treatment center, she is likely to get all her needs met with mental, physical, and spiritual help while working towards sobriety and recovery that does not include drugs or alcohol. When a mother reaches her limit with her daughter, she can sit down and talk to her about how to manage the next phase of her journey, rehab, so she can receive the help she needs. With the right support, unconditional love, and family behind her, the daughter is likely to feel loved no matter what, even if it takes her some time to seek help. Eventually, she may turn the corner and realizes what needs to happen so she can get the healing she needs to recover.
Casa Capri loves every woman who comes through our doors. We approach them with compassion and a firm focus on helping her recover from addiction. Our goal is to provide therapy, holistic approaches, and healing practices that support a woman in recovery. If you are looking for community and connection in rehab, call Casa Capri today: 844-593-8020
Melissa Holmes Goodmon, Founder & CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, obtained her BA in Psychology and is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor (LAADC) specializing in women’s core issues. She is recognized as a leader in the field of mental health and substance abuse recovery where she has been an advocate since 2006.