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My Daughter is in Jail (She is an Alcoholic and Has Been Arrested for Theft), What Do I Say to Her?

My 21 year old daughter is in jail for 93 days. We did not find out until one week into her jail sentence. All of her friends are lying for her. She has 3 MIPs, one domestic assault, and she just violated again with a third degree theft from a local store.

Ever since high school she has had a problem with alcohol and has a high school sweetheart with a vicodin and alcohol addiction. There is no one on either side of our family that has ever gone to jail. We don't recognize this daughter. She seems like an alien in our family.

We know we enabled her for years. But the last two years we have given up. We don't want to enable her anymore. (but her friends still enable her) She has been in jail for a week and has not called us. What do we do? Should we ignore her. Should we try to contact her? Should I write her a letter?

My husband thinks it is all psychological and that she is not an alcoholic. He thinks a little therapy will help. She has had therapy weekly or monthly for the last 3 years. It has not helped. We are lost and I have been hunting on the internet for help.


I think all you can say to her is that you love her and want the best for her - and that if she's willing to turn her life around, you'll support her however you can. But if she's not prepared to do that, then there is nothing you can do and she'll have to figure things out for herself.

You know that enabling her will do more damage than good, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't visit her in jail and try and talk to her. Maybe this is the wake up call she needs and helps her realise that its time to change.

We know that your daughter has to want to change if she's ever going to turn her life around, so there isn't much you can do for her until she reaches that point. But letting her know that you do love her and will support her if she reaches that point is worth doing.

It will give you some peace of mind and leaves the door open for your daughter if she realises during her time in jail that she does actually need help, and needs to do something about her life.

Then getting her into a proper in-patient rehab program would be a good place to start because hopefully if she manages to overcome her addiction, the out of control associated behaviors like stealing etc. will also be eradicated.

Best of Luck and Take Care

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