Our family would be considered a typical family. My husband and I have been married for 31 years, we have a 29-year-old son who’s married with children and a 23-year-old daughter.

Our daughter was always the social butterfly. She included the kids who were not typically invited to other events to all of her events. She had a knack for seeing classmates who didn’t have a lot of friends and pulled them into her group. Our house always had a bunch of girls over on the weekends.  She enjoyed visiting nursing homes and elderly people. During one of these visits, she met an elderly lady with no family nearby. When our daughter found out about this lady’s birthday, she planned a day out that included me driving them to a restaurant and then dropping them off at a movie.

Our daughter wanted to experience everything and was an overachiever. She moved out of our home when she was 18-years-old. She held a job and was purchasing a house at age 21 when drugs became part of her wanting to experience it all. Since she wasn’t living with us, we didn’t know how bad her drug use had become. Her use got to a point where she could not work and could not live on her own. When she moved back home with us, we didn’t recognize the drug use immediately and found ourselves in denial for almost a year.

Our daughter became our nightmare. She yelled at us daily. She tore up our home. She broke items. She threatened us. She pulled a gun on me. We lived in constant fear that if we didn’t do what she wanted she would retaliate. Even with these behaviors we denied it was drug use.  We both questioned it, but it just didn’t make sense – we were focusing on the behaviors and not the cause.

It wasn’t until we found meth in our home that we had to face reality. She was not willing to seek any help and denied (and still denies) drugs are a problem. So, we tried to force help on her. We called the police to our home a few times. We got her an involuntary psych admission a couple times. During her first psych stay, she convinced us that she would not do drugs anymore, so we picked her up (she made it five days before she was using again). Forcing her into help didn’t work for her, but it worked for us. When she was in the hospital, we could finally get some sleep and not worry about what she was doing or if she was safe.

I didn’t find PAL as much as I found someone who had been on the same journey as me.  I met with him when I was just about at my lowest and he happened to be thinking about facilitating a PAL support group.  My sad state at the time was the encouragement he needed.  He went through the training and started a group – it really was my lifesaver. I started taking back control of my life. One of the most important things I have learned and have been supported in is that I can’t change my daughter, but I can change myself and how I approach, not only her, but my life in consideration of her. I can love her but can set boundaries. I can go on and enjoy things in life even though she continues in her addiction. My family and friends have all noticed a difference in me since I started going to PAL meetings. I’m not sinking with the weight of her addiction but am living my life again. There are still bad days, but I now have tools to get me through them.

-A PAL Mom