A Personal Note – My Grown Addicted Child Destroyed My Finances, and I’m Still Paying for It


A woman over tax return form and a stack of bills.

I’m late on this one this week, but for a personal note, I wanted to talk a bit about your finances, or rather, my finances, and how we let my grown addicted child destroy them. And, how I’m still struggling to get back to good and fix what went wrong.

Now, I know, you’re probably thinking that was a dumb thing to do. Who lets their grown kid dictate their financial situation, right? Well, I did, foolishly, but at the time, I didn’t see it as anything but absolutely necessary. Let me explain.

I’m a Freelancer. It Gives Me Flexibility, but…

For almost as long as I can remember, I have been a freelancer. These days, I stick with just one or two major clients and mostly consider them to be my employers, but this wasn’t always the case. In fact, when my daughter first started using, I had a lot of clients and really had to maintain a tight schedule to meet the needs of all of them. None of them paid extremely well, but all combined, I was doing okay.

For the first time in my adult life, I was actually doing work I wanted to do and making a name for myself. Then, we found out the troubles my daughter was having. I have a flexible schedule to a point, but let’s be real, nobody is going to pay me for work I don’t do.

Part of the reason I always wanted to be a freelancer was the ability to make my own schedule and be around for my family. Trying to help my oldest daughter through this rough patch and get her the help she needed not only pushed that flexibility but also put a serious strain on how well I was able to do my job.

Most of the time I can shut things out, but this was seriously traumatic to me. When she wasn’t in treatment, she was with me, and that was also a distraction. The arguments, dark moods, and potential violence weren’t exactly conducive to writing a whole lot. When you add that into the fact that my younger daughter needed to be cared for, loved, and made safe, I really had my plate full.

I struggled until it was my mom who finally told me that I needed to take a break from work. She pointed out that I was overwhelmed, stressed, and sinking into a depression fast. I wanted to put my family first, and simply couldn’t with the workload I was carrying. It was time to take a break, and she was right. I needed to have time to focus on my oldest daughter’s recovery and help to care for the rest of my family for a while.

With great regret, I encouraged my clients to find another writer and explained the situation. They all understood, and, I think, respected my honesty and appreciated my decision, but I lost the connection, and ultimately, the clients.

This was the first time. About eight years ago.

Yes, it Happened Again

When all this first happened, I didn’t give it a second thought. My daughter was a minor, in a tough situation. Her heart was hurting and I needed to help her. No question. It helped for a while until it turned out that she simply worked the system and things exploded from there.

After she moved out, I was able to turn my focus to establishing a calm routine and rebuilding my client list again. It was a really wonderful time. Of course, I worried about my grown addicted daughter, but I recognized the need for space and was grateful for the calm. Our youngest daughter got our full attention, and a break from the drama to which she was so sensitive, and we all got to settle into a calm, normal routine.

It provided me the opportunity to begin to start fixing the financial disaster that we were narrowly avoiding. Rebuilding our savings and taking care of all the things that had been broken during my hiatus were top on the list of priorities, and they were really happening. While my younger daughter went to school, my husband and I worked.

Things were looking up. We were rebuilding our resources, too, and that felt pretty good.

Then, disaster struck again. My grown addicted daughter wound up pregnant. Not only was she pregnant, but she wasn’t working and needed everything for the baby. Okay, we decided we could make this work. We bought a ton of things for the baby because that’s what grandparents do. At first, there was a true air of excitement, and it was a happy time.

Without warning, about three weeks before my granddaughter was born, my daughter had to come home. Without complaint, we readied her room for the baby and her and made things as cozy as possible. I admit I was somewhat excited about the prospect of my granddaughter coming to live here first.

At 19, my grown addicted daughter had a true flair for drama, and it reared its ugly head in the weeks before she had her daughter, but we held tight, knowing that the breakup with her boyfriend and all the stress of being about to have a baby was wearing on her.

Once again, I started slowing down on my productivity. It was okay because most of my clients had hit a bit of a lull, but things would pick up soon. When they did, I intended to be ready.

When my daughter moved back in with her baby’s father about three weeks after her baby was born, I was sad,

worried, and frustrated. But, we stayed very connected and took the tiny piece of heaven as much as we could, and went back to life before baby. A short amount of time, a very little impact to our finances, right?

Not so fast, Lady Karma said. She had something else in mind, and before we knew it, my grown addicted daughter was losing my granddaughter because she was high, passed out, and the baby was left awake, hungry and crying. The very thought of it hurts me – even now. It causes a rush of hot anger toward my daughter, and at that moment, I would have adopted my granddaughter if I thought I could to save her from a life with this terrible addiction.

My granddaughter came home with me, and she lived with us for a beautiful six months. However, having a baby when you’re not expecting it is absolutely exhausting. Add to that the many meetings and check-ins we had to do with the state, and once again, I had to let my clients go.

This time, though, with little to no resources, things got really bad financially, and it happened pretty fast. My husband tried to work more, but if it’s not offered, you simply cannot do it. But we both agreed that our granddaughter had to be the most important thing right then. So, we muddled through.

Years Go By, And Still, She Tries

Now, I’m not looking for a pity party. It is what it is. These days, both my husband and I are good, and while we haven’t rebuilt our resources to the point that they used to be, we are working on it. We consider it a late start. It’s okay.

After I finally put my foot down, and my daughter got my granddaughter back, we had a few more stints of her coming back to live for no less than three months at a time. The difference was that I was determined to stick to my work schedule, even if it meant that I would have to work when my granddaughter napped if I babysat.

We have spent a few more times sinking money into my grown addicted daughter, too, but each time, we force more independence and make her work to make money on her own. These days, since we don’t see my granddaughter as much as I would like, I don’t really spend as much money on her as I might if she lived here, and I’ve gotten smart about things like how much money I spend on things like clothes that my daughter will just take home with her and lose.

Don’t get me wrong, my granddaughter is four now. She’s not deprived in any way. She has tons of brand new toys and gets dozens of adorable outfits from us and the rest of my family. Brand new gifts come on occasions like Christmas, birthdays, un-birthdays, Easter, and other times, so she never feels like the only clothes she gets come from resale shops, but she also has a healthy dose of high-end resale shop finds in her wardrobe.

It works for us, but it’s been a challenge getting to this. It’s also a challenge keeping us here. We have said and will stick to the policy of not allowing my grown addicted daughter to live with us ever again. Unfortunately, she creates too much upheaval, doesn’t work much or contribute anything while she’s here, and is generally an energy suck. We love her but feel that she makes the most progress when she’s not living here, and she sees it, too.

Our granddaughter can stay with us until the end of time. Like any other child we have, we will raise her and care for her as life dictates. We will and would give her all that any of our children enjoy, and, while she isn’t living with us now, if the time comes, we will welcome it with open arms.

What’s the Point?

By now, you’re probably wondering what my point is. I ramble, I’m sorry. So, I’ll get to it. The point is that first of all, I’m pretty sure that we aren’t the only family out there that has burned every single resource we have in an effort to help our grown addicted child. I’m also fairly certain that we aren’t the only ones who are struggling to make a decent life for ourselves and stay strong enough to tell our addicted family member no.

We’re trying to reach a balance, but my husband and I have sworn that from now on, there will be no handouts, and no moving back in. There will be no financial help. She is old enough, and her decisions are her own. Our granddaughter is different, and the money we spend on her is done so with love. But with my oldest daughter, things are different.

Of course, if she ever decided that she wanted to go to rehab, we would probably find a way to help pay for it. There would probably be some kind of justification to that, but we haven’t gotten there yet. When we do, I pray that she is still on our insurance, and then I’ll call Elite Rehab Placement to help her get into the best treatment program possible. Until then, we’re working on rebuilding – again – and this time, she’s not allowed to derail it.

Until next week, be well, keep hope, and stay strong.