Finding help for your daughter
Your daughter is the apple of your eye, the princess with the irrepressible smile. She has always made you proud and you have watched her grow and develop into a young confident woman. She is able to tackle life’s obstacles in her own indomitable way but now the disease of addiction is raging inside her.
The change is like the lifecycle of a butterfly but in reverse. Your daughter beautiful on the inside, as well as the out, has woven herself a cocoon of drugs and/or alcohol. The transformation is shocking. Once highly motivated your daughter has started to not care and has lost interest in hobbies and activities she once found enjoyable and stimulating. Always communicative she has now become highly secretive and evasive. She has out-of-character mood swings, never gives a satisfactory answer to a direct question and arguments have now become commonplace.
She is always pointing the finger
This volatility only compounds the tension creating an atmosphere where everyone is constantly walking on eggshells. Addicts are adept at turning the tables, especially during arguments and she may even shame you for a perceived lack of support.
Physically she looks tired often with bloodshot eyes and pale skin. She may also have lost weight despite having stopped exercising and even looks emaciated. Internally her body is also suffering. Drugs and alcohol have detrimental effects on all of the bodies major organ systems. With weakened bones, your daughter could become more susceptible to osteoporosis. She could also be at risk of kidney damage and ultimately kidney failure.
Alcohol and drugs will place excessive strain on your daughter’s heart, which could lead to chronic heart conditions such as high blood pressure, one of the main causes of strokes. If after recovery your daughter wants to start a family she may have ruined her chances of conceiving as substance abuse can lead to infertility. The respiratory system of addicts is also affected. Your daughter may experience a shortness of breath as the abused substance interferes with the delivery of oxygen to her body. This can lead to respiratory failure, brain damage or death.
I am worried she will die
Ever present is the fear the addiction could take your daughters life. Drugs and alcohol often cause irreparable damage. The body of the addict can no longer cope with the sustained abuse and simply shuts down. This is a destroyed life. Up until this point, an addict is broken but anything broken can be mended with the right treatment, action and motivation. She will need to learn how to give up alcohol and to do this a residential rehab will help her detox so she does not withdraw from alcohol addiction.
The main obstacle in this process for the parent is overcoming the fear of what may happen if you refuse to enable them. Your daughter must be allowed to experience and confront the consequences of her actions.
Does she need to ask for help?
At some point, we all need a helping hand but the addict must be the first one to signal they need assistance. There can be no compromise in this. Without your daughter’s desire to rid herself of her addiction she will fail all attempts at recovery. Even a rehabilitation programme will prove ineffectual and ultimately lead to a relapse if the desire for change does not come from you her.
You may feel you have failed your daughter but this is a misconception, one most parent’s of addicts will experience. Parents will invariably misplace responsibility. Self -blame is highly toxic and can at anytime destabilize the precarious relationship with your daughter even further.
Your daughter’s path to addiction is a process of choices and it is now up to her to make better choices that will help her recover from the stranglehold of addiction.