July 30, 2008

Sylvia Rimm On Raising Kids: Addiction Recovery Takes Time

Sylvia Rimm Q. I've been divorced for 10 years. My daughter was caught intoxicated and smoking pot. She was living with her mother and stepfather, but in the past she had asked to live with me. I said yes with the condition that she go into a program called Eckerd Youth Alternatives for six months.

After 10 years, my daughter has come home to me. This newfound fatherhood and full-time parenting brought out new feelings within me that were waiting to feel something very special.

When I visited her in November, she pleaded with me to let her come home for Thanksgiving. I said yes and then realized I had made an emotional decision and told her she could not come home yet. I then agreed to February, but Eckerd suggested that she finish the program. When I got home, I felt alone and scared with my decision. I thought if it took longer to finish the program and helped her stay away from what she had been doing and put her life in a better and safer direction, there was no contest. So, I told her the news.

I seem to be stuck. I want to trust my daughter, believe her, and bring her home. My fear is if she comes home, she'll start up where she left off. Have you ever heard anything about Eckerd Youth programs? Knowing she's in one of the best youth programs would make me feel better.

A. I can tell you that drug addiction is serious and needs to be treated seriously. I don't know the Eckerd Youth Alternatives program, but you can find out more information by asking about its success rate and contacting your local social services agency for references on the program. If your daughter truly learns to live soberly, she will thank you eventually for insisting she complete the program. If you find corroboration for the quality of the program, I recommend you follow the program's guidelines for when your daughter graduates and lives at home with you again.

For free newsletters about growing up too fast for either tweens or teens, send a large, self-addressed, stamped envelope to P.O. Box 32, Watertown, WI 53094, or go to www.sylviarimm.com for more parenting information.

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