The day a daughter is born is often filled with emotion. For some women, it is an exuberant joy. For other women, it is fear, anxiety, worry about the days ahead and thinking about how to carry the burden of a child. They know the responsibility is going to be different now, to care for and bring this child into a world that requires lots of patience and persistence. When mothers bear their daughters, they never dream of a life for them where they are addicted to drugs or other substances. The hope is they never have pain or feel the sting of life that can come some days. One of the biggest challenges is knowing how to face an adult daughter who has an addiction, perhaps struggling for years, and needs help. Knowing how to help her in the best way possible can be a support for the long days ahead.
Mothers of adult daughters with addiction feel a heavy burden. They may recognize the ways their own challenges, addictions, and issues have led to this point. They may have guilt or shame they could not stop their daughter from experiencing this pain. They may go back and think about how they parented, wondering where it all went wrong. The truth is, there is nothing in a book written about addiction that says for sure how it happens one way or the other. Whether it is biology or psychology, or even physiology, there is a little bit of making good choices, and a lot of other factors that play into whether a person becomes addicted. When it comes to making good choices, it may seem like the person had a choice to use the drug at that party or not. In their heads, the biology, cells, and trauma stored from the past may have motivated them to be curious to know whether this would alleviate the pain they felt, help them deal with stress, or was a choice made under pressure from peers. Although it seems like making good choices is the reason people don’t use drugs, it is rarely about choice and more about the myriad other factors that play a role. Mothers cannot solely blame themselves for their daughter’s addiction but they can look at the ways they may be helpful in supporting their healing journey and move forward with hope.
Offer (Limited) Support
Mothers especially want to help their daughters, which can lead to enabling behaviors. To support them the best way possible, it helps to look at the bigger picture. Don’t give money that will help them continue the behavior they are doing now. If they are addicted, they will likely use that money for drugs. Instead of giving money to support her, offer a bag of groceries and homemade food if that helps her. Try not to enable further by paying bills, keeping her out of responsibility by owning what should be hers to do. When she feels the weight of her consequences is when she is more likely to back down and ask for help.
The best support a mother can find their daughter is one that helps her holistically. Mothers cannot help their daughters if they don’t want help, but interventions can be one way to support their journey to recovery. It may be also that mothers can offer to find rehab if they are ready and get them signed up so they can go. If they are not willing, no amount of pushing will get them into treatment. That is one of the hardest things as a mother to cope with, but it is the reality of addiction.
No matter what, a mother’s love endures. Mothers who never stop loving their daughters and offering support can help them see that they are still loved in spite of their choices. It means holding her accountable for her behavior, treating her like an adult child who needs help, but also refusing to overstep boundaries and enable the behavior to continue.
Protect the Family
The family is going to suffer as a result of this loved one’s behavior. Mothers often want to protect one child but forsake others in the family. It helps to look at the ways mothers can help the daughter find healing without pulling everyone else down. The whole family does not need to go down the same pathway. They can refuse to participate in the challenges of addiction with this daughter that include enabling or negative behaviors. They can, instead, focus on healthy, healing behaviors that promote family togetherness in helping her find the support she needs for long-term recovery. If the family is dysfunctional, this will be very difficult as one parent or caregiver may seek to help that person at all costs and not support the other people in the family. Siblings may be resentful as a result. Family counseling is often helpful in this regard to help guide the journey of healing.
Mothers often forsake their own care for their kids. With addiction, this can manifest tenfold, resulting in lots of pain and trauma for the family. Mothers need to practice good self-care if they are to help their loved ones heal from addiction. Parents can take care of themselves by shifting their role of caretaker to supporter and cheerleader. They cannot make choices for the loved one, but they can help them by setting limits, supporting with love, and encouraging them to seek help. This takes the burden of the mother and she is able to leave time for herself so she can focus on her own healing journey.
Casa Capri provides a healing space for mothers, daughters, and women of all walks of life who are seeking help for addiction. We provide a safe space to be vulnerable in an intimate setting that looks at addiction in a holistic manner. We help you navigate the journey of healing with holistic experiences like breathwork, yoga, mindfulness, and nutrition that helps women rebuild their bodies from the inside out. If you are ready to quit using drugs, or you support a loved one with addiction, call Casa Capri today: 844-593-8020
Melissa Holmes Goodmon is the founder and CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, a leading California addiction treatment center created just for women—by women. Melissa is a licensed clinician and has stayed on the cutting edge of women’s treatment since 2006. Because of her own beautiful recovery story, she is proud to be among a small group of trailblazers since founding Casa Capri Recovery for Women in 2011, leading the way for other women to join them in this otherwise male-dominated industry. She is considered an advocate for the recovery community in the truest sense, standing up to discrimination and legally fighting for the rights of sober people in recovery to live in peace. To learn more about advocacy or if you’ve experienced discrimination, you can reach her at email@example.com. Check out casacaprirecovery.com for more information on our program, or please give us a call at 844-207-4880.