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My Daughter is a Drug Addict. Now What?

Learn the truth about what a "drug addict" is, what "addiction means", and what your options are.

My Daughter Is A Drug Addict

If you feel your daughter is a drug addict, we understand why you would want to help her stop. As her parent, you've always tried to protect her from unnecessary risks, and substance use can lead to a variety of serious legal, financial, psychological and physical consequences. If you feel your daughter suffering from drug addiction — or to stop making poor choices while under the influence — then you have a few options to consider.

Your daughter's life might be better without substance use but that doesn't mean she's a drug addict. It does mean you need to ask yourself a few questions before taking any measures to help her.

What Does "Drug Addict" Mean to You?

"Drug addiction" and "drug addict" are loaded terms that we don't use because they have come to represent the theory of a lifelong disease that's supposedly more powerful than anyone affected by it. Every individual has the power to choose a substance-free life. No matter how drastic your daughter's behavior, addiction doesn't have a life or power of its own. Your daughter chooses to use substances for a variety of reasons. She has to decide if she's ready to change. To choose to stop will be for just as personal reasons.

If you're sure that your daughter is a "drug addict", what does that theory gain you?

  • Is it a relief to have a "diagnosis" that explains her behavior?
  • Do you feel better believing that drugs control her mind and she would never chose this life except when using them?
  • Do you want her to accept this helpless "addict" identity for now? A lifetime? How long?
  • Do you think she doesn't realize the severity of her drug use or the effects of her "disease" on those around her?

Instead of leaning on the disease definition of addiction, it might be helpful to understand that her situation is very complex and unique, and there's no inevitable outcome. Her thoughts, decisions, and behaviors, not drugs or addiction, will determine the path she takes in the future.

What Role Are You Playing?

If you're raising a teenager, your situation is quite different from the parents who live states away from their adult daughters. However, your level of responsibility and participation should be very similar: as minimal as possible. Your daughter has to realize for herself that she's in full control of her choices, so that she knows she can choose to stop using permanently.

Difficult as it may be as a parent, the option that will be most successful for your daughter and ultimately you as well is to have her commit to change. When your daughter does not just want to change but is in charge of that change, her willingness to put the necessary effort to sustain it is far greater than if it happens temporarily because of an ultimatum or some outside influence.

Does She Really Want to Stop Using Drugs?

Your daughter really wanting to stop isn't just important - it's essential. You cannot persuade her to stop using. Unless your daughter wants to stop or limit her substance use, she won't get anything out of any program. The only way to stop using substances is to start choosing more productive solutions to life's problems. Until she's ready to understand and take responsibility for her choices and explore other solutions, she'll continue to choose to use.

Saint Jude Retreats doesn't believe in a "one size fits all" approach to substance use. If your daughter is ready to change her substance use habits, we welcome the opportunity to help her explore her options in our self-directed transformational Cognitive Behavioral Learning (CBL) program. Permanent change is a phone call away. Call us today.

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Thank you all for giving me an opportunity to dream again.Karla Sober & In Control Since 2010
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