Each month, our advice corner will feature advice given from our talented counselors to family members navigating through addiction.
This month’s question:
I am a mother of a 20-year-old daughter. My daughter has got out of a 30 day treatment a couple of weeks ago and is now in sober living. It’s her second treatment center but she seems to be doing really well. The counselor told me I shouldn’t give access to her car (well, the car we bought her) yet and that being able to drive around might be bad for her recovery right now. I told myself I would listen to everything the counselor says but I really don’t know if she’s is right about this. When I talk to my daughter she says she is afraid to get on the bus because there are people that offer her drugs and make her uncomfortable. She says it takes hours to get to work or a meeting on the bus system and is really stressed out. On the other hand, I’m scared that having a car is more freedom than she can handle and that she might get into trouble again. On the other hand, I am worried that all of that stress will make her relapse. I’m totally torn on what the right thing to do. I’ve gone and picked her up from work and given her rides to her sober house three times this week because I don’t want her to have the freedom of the car but also don’t want the atmosphere of the public transportation system to cause her to slip and lose everything she’s worked so hard for.
– Scared Mother
Dear Scared Mother,
This is certainly a tough decision to make! I think that there are some possible compromises that can occur in this situation. While I agree that having a car can be much less stressful, I would like to gently remind you of the depths that your daughter has been willing to go to in order to get her drugs. Please know that the lifestyle of an active addict is oftentimes sordid and dangerous and that the bus system is far gentler in comparison.
Learning to navigate the bus system is a really excellent method of developing life skills and watching these skills grow is a lesson in empowerment that cannot be beat for your daughter! Asking for rides from her peers reinforces the skill of asking for appropriate help and this, too, can only contribute to her growth into a young lady who can live a productive life, Remember that there are many individuals who are out there getting to and from work and raising families and are all doing this without the luxury of having a vehicle. I hope that you would not deprive your daughter of having this experience.
I would say that the compromise could be for your daughter to learn to provide for her own transportation and that the car issue can be reviewed when she achieves ninety days of continuous sobriety. Oh, and the times that you are driving her to work? May I suggest that you use that time and gas money to attend an Al-Anon meeting. You will be able to meet like-minded parents in the rooms of Al-Anon who can share solution with you regarding this issue… and many more. Best of luck to you!
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