My Drug Addicted 27 yr Old Step Daughter is Destroying My Marriage....
by Wife/Step Mom
Brief summary: We will call my step daughter Angel. Angel's birth mother died of AIDs when she was 3yrs old. I met her father soon after ... we joined families and raised 6 children. We had a lot of problems with a blended family, each child had experienced some type of abuse, my husband and I included.
But we all had stability, security, and religion. I found out recently Angel's drug problem started at 13 yrs old. Marijuana and pills & alcohol. I suspected such but my husband refused to believe it. We argued about this often, but she would convince him I was wrong and I only said such things because I wasn't her real mother.
She left home at 17 and went wild, became pregnant etc. Today, Angel has 2 children a husband. She is addicted to pain medications (percocet, oxycontin, lortab, methodone) and she also takes Zanax, Phenogen and other pills. Angel continues to smoke marijuana, this is all that I am aware of.
She lost the kids to foster care for 2 years, got them back but never actually kicked her addictions. She lies and connives people, including my husband are manipulated by her. Angel, her husband (also drug addicted) and the kids are repeatedly moving in and out of our home. They have not lived at the same address for more than a couple of months at a time.
The children are 8yrs and 6yrs old. I am tired, my health is bad, my husband's health is bad, we are in our 50's, he is not able to work and I am still working. Our other children have established their own homes and families ... what can I do to stop my husband from enabling Angel to live this way?
I have said everything I know to say ... I have talked to Angel a million times over, I will be there for her if she wants to get off the drugs.
My husband still sees a 3yr old baby that lost her mother when he looks at Angel. He is her provider & protector, one of the attributes that attracted me to him in the first place.
But, she is grown now and we are not responsible for her actions any longer. This is what he has a problem accepting. The kids are pitiful, it breaks my heart and she doesn't care enough about them to stop. She only wants them for the big Tax Refund they bring and Gov't benefits. I have refused to live with them again.
My husband does agree they will not move back in because it is so stressful, but if he relents this time I will be leaving, 22 years of marriage will be down the drain ... and I
do still Love Him ... Any advice?
You've done all you can and made it clear to your husband that you're no longer prepared to have Angel moving back home - and so he knows where the boundary lies and what the consequences will be if he allows her to.
Further than that you now just have to wait and see what happens. Hopefully he isn't put to the test, but if he is you have to make sure you're prepared to follow through so that your husband realises how serious you actually are. And if it comes to that, it may then lead to your husband putting his foot down if he actually sees he stands to lose you. Because actions are always far more powerful than words.
In the meantime though, what you can try and do is educate your husband. As a parent your natural instinct is to protect. But if you take that too far, a child is never given the opportunity to really learn from their mistakes and that if they make poor choices, the consequences that come with them are going to be unpleasant.
So in part your husband's reaction is understandable, but at the same time it's not healthy or helpful because all he's doing is further enabling Angel's addiction. That's why in terms of education, going to an Addictions Counselor together or attending Al-Anon/Nar-Anon meetings, will actually help him better understand the nature of addiction and that the best way to help someone is to let them fall.
And having that information come from a 3rd party always gives it more credibility. We're often more inclined to believe outsiders than we are those close to us - so if he can hear the kinds of things you've been telling him for years about not enabling Angel from another source, the penny may finally drop and he'll realise he can't keep on rescuing her.
But you've done the main thing in terms of clearly stating where you stand on the matter, and now it's a question of trying to do what you can so that hopefully your husband won't put your ultimatum to the test.
You're obviously caught in the middle here, so the best thing to do is to continue to educate and arm yourself with knowledge around addiction, which hopefully your husband will in turn eventually do as well. Dealing with addiction in children is a very specialised area and there isn't a lot of info out there that covers the topic, and that's why I put together Help! My Child Is An Addict
. Take a look because it really could provide invaluable information in helping you deal with the situation you're faced with. Whatever you decide though, take care and good luck.