16 Year Old Daughter In Love With a Drug Addict. What do I do?
I am not sure how to approach this scenario as a parent. My beautiful, bright sixteen year old daughter has been seeing a boy her age who has been known throughout the community to be a heavy drug user. His best friend is a known dealer.
When I outwardly told my daughter that she could not see him ... she rebelled and began to sneak out at night to be with him. His friend would pick her up in his car.
I have been recently dealing with her own drug use which began before her relationship with this boy. She is seeing counselors on an outpatient basis and I have set some pretty strict limitations to assist in her staying clean. She refuses, however, to leave her peer group (people she used with) behind and it is through that group that the relationship with her boyfriend began.
Even though, she admits to his being high during all their interactions, she says she really loves him and if I refuse to allow her to see him ... she will run away to be with him. She tells me that she has given up drugs completely and that she is trying to get him clean and keep him in school.
As far as the tests show, she has been reasonably clean. Part of me believes that she is telling the truth ... the other part is concerned about her own vulnerable state when it comes to drug use. How can she be with someone who uses so heavily and not be tempted to use again?
Most importantly, how do I protect her without pushing her away? She is 16 and in Canada she has the right to leave. I presently allow her boyfriend to come over on occasion while I am here. She has also visited his home while the mother was present. (His mother welcomes the relationship because she feels my daughter is a good influence on her son).
I try not to lecture or judge but I do openly express my concerns regarding the drug use, especially her indirect involvement with the dealer friend. It would be so easy for them to use while they are here or there even with parental supervision.
I feel I have to be hyper-vigilant without appearing so. I have a zero tolerance for drug use in my home and both he and she are aware of it. I have set my bottom line ... if I find any drugs (even Marijuana which is the milder of drugs of choice amongst her boyfriend and his friend) within my home all individuals involved will have to leave (even her). I will even call the police. I have three other children at home.
She is a bright girl and I am hoping that she is telling me the truth about not using (even though it could explain her attraction to this particular boy ... supply ... and how would I would ever know besides the frequent testing I do if she is using?). I am also hoping she will see for herself that she can not have a healthy relationship with someone who is high all the time.
I do feel for her boyfriend, I think he
is a good soul ... just lost ... and I have offered to do whatever I can to help him. She tells me he does not realize, at this point, that he has a problem and sees no need for intervention. She genuinely seems quite upset about this. I think she realizes that he has to be willing to fix his problem. We have talked in great length about addiction and codependency. She insists that she loves him and that is all that matters.
The last question is, do I risk losing my daughter by insisting that she can not see him out of fear that she may be using now or be tempted to use again in the future ... or do I stand back, with limited trust (as I continue to test) and wait for her to figure out for herself ... that this can not be a healthy relationship? Please advise.
You've handled the situation as well as you possibly can thus far and are doing all the right things. Because it's a fine line - if you're overly strict and forbid your daughter from seeing this guy, she'll simply rebel, do so anyway, and you'll alienate her completely.
So you want to keep her in your confidence and keep an eye on her, while giving her the freedom to learn from her mistakes. Because I think she will eventually learn for herself and come to realise (if her boyfriend doesn't get help and change), that this relationship isn't for her.
Keep doing what you're doing - have those clear boundaries in place, let it be known that you'll help where you can, and most critically keep the channels of communication open between the both of you. Because if there is no communication, you won't have any idea what's going on, and that will be ten times worse for you than what you're experiencing now.
You'll never know everything going on with your daughter and will never be entirely sure whether she's using drugs or not, so on one level you need to trust your instincts, and on another level hope she's telling you the truth. But if she's going for counseling regularly and genuinely seems like she wants to quit using drugs, those are positive signs.
So keep doing what you're doing. You seem to be handling this as best you can considering the circumstances and therefore you really shouldn't change anything. You've got to trust that at some point your daughter will come to realise she needs to start making healthier choices for herself, and will choose a different path.
It might take more heart-ache and pain before she reaches that point, but as long as you're close by and she knows she can come to you, you're in a better place than if she's rebelled entirely and your relationship has broken down to the point that you're not communicating at all.
There are pros and cons to both approaches and there isn't really a right or wrong way to go about this, so trust yourself first and foremost and go with your instincts. I know this isn't easy, but hopefully given time she'll have moved through this phase.
Take Care and Good Luck