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The Medical Drug Addiction Step Daughter

by Donald
(Deland, Florida, USA)

Nearly 16 years ago my long time (church related) good friend and I were married. She was 57 and I was 50. About six months prior to this occurance her husband of 38 years was killed by a drunk driver. Her adult son had contacted me shortly after the police had notified the family of the accident and had asked if I would assist his mother due to unfortunate and untimely death of her husband. I had been a close friend to the known family and I wanted to do what could be done at the time.

About three months after her husband's death, I had asked my friend if she would like to go on a friendship one day outing to Washington, DC since she had never been there and it would be a change of pace for her. We had a wonderful time together and as a result we were married about three months later in a small wedding with close friends at our pastor's home. We had invited her two children coupled with about five close church friends. At that time I met her single adult daughter age 32 for the first time at the wedding. Karen was pleasant but we both could tell something was bothering her....especially about us getting married so quickly after her father was killed six months before. Karen had been out doing her thing and was not close to the family except when it came to having her mother in particular keep her out of financial troubles.

After a short but wonderful honeymoon, we both learned that we had cancer. First I was informed by my doctor I had stage two prostate cancer and a month later my wife was told she had stage three breast cancer. A month later my wife and I both went through surgery and then chemo & then radiation therapy together. Although it was a tramatic experience for both of us it brought us closer together. On the other hand, Karen kept her contact with her mother typically via phone letting her know of her financial issues and consistent need for cash to keep her out of trouble.

About the fifth month of our marriage Karen contacted her mother via phone informing her she had a fight with her roommate and needed to come to live with us since she had no place to go. Karen also was having trouble with her job as a medical tech due various issues and subsequently didn't have a steady income or any savings. So Karen moved in with us... which I had hoped would be a short visit until she could get on with her life.

However, almost from day one, Karen let us both know how displeased she was that her mother could marry someone so quick after her father was killed. Karen kept up the badgering day after day especially to her mother when I was at work or out of the house. At the same time Karen got completely comfortable about not having to go to work or do anything to help herself get on with her life. The finanical difficulties only got worse as we found out she had numerious credit cards with overdue amounts.

Of course her Mother not wanting her daughter to have to meet the consequences of bankruptcy and creditors lined up at the door she continually paid the invoices when due for her daughter. Then one day, I was at the same dentist that Karen had gone been going to on a regular basis. After he found out I was Karen's step dad, he said, I want to help Karen by telling me that she had medical drug dependency problem. Karen would often use pliers to loosen or take out a tooth so that dentist would have to provide her pain pills with follow-up appointments her mother also paid. Up to this point Karen was missing nearly a mouth full of teeth and the dentist thought best to inform the family through me. But when we confronted Karen about the medical drug problem she got extremely angry and aggressive to both her Mother and I.

Also about the second month Karen lived with us, she got into a self inflicted accident with the truck her mother bought for her. Subsequently she hit her head on the windshield and then a few months later had surgery on her neck. The very next day, she developed seizures. Although we wanted to pursue a malpractice suit against the doctor, Karen would not allow us (her mother and I) the right to speak to her doctor or see the medical records. Moreover, we have never been allowed to speak or see any of Karen's medical or dental records or doctors. She is of age and we have no rights. So although she has seizures from time to time, and thus, she has a new method to control her mother and of course do absolutely nothing with her life... to help herself. Karen's normal expression or saying, I have a seizure disorder that prevents me from doing anything to help myself or get on with my life.

As you can imagine Karen has not been a daughter who would help her mother with the house work, cook a meal now and then or part take in normal activities unless it was her benefit. Karen would bad mouth her mother often and in defiance would verbally define her role in our new family as a blood relative whereas her mother was bound to take care of her the rest of her natural life. Moreover, Karen would often steal money and household things to sell to keep her habit going. She also stole my valuable coin collection and denied she did it...saying someone must have gotten into the house while everyone was out at church or something. Karen also went to several doctors complaining about this problem or another on a regular basis. Every week there was a new problem and that of course created the need for pain pills or something similar which again and again cost her mother and I the bigger and bigger bucks.

Finally we got Karen to accept the need to go to an in patient clinic for drug addiction... of course since she had no insurance and was of age with no money we got to pay for the services which ripped deeply into our savings. On the way to the clinic she fought us both physically and verbally all the way was a struggle to say the least. But after the first three weeks she was starting to be a real person again. However, when she was let out to go into a halfway house so that she could get on with her life... she cried and cried to her mother that she could not do it and wanted to come home. Not wanting her daughter to suffer, her mother let her come home again. But within a week Karen was right back to where she left off before going to the drug addiction clinic and was even higher than she was before. Moreover, Karen thought it was really funny that we had tried to get her help and laughed at us repeatedly. She said, "You cannot do anything to me since I have a seizure disorder. Being disabled you cannot remove me from my home. But Karen pays nothing toward household expenses even though she now gets Medicaid due to her mother's and my efforts. There would be no way financially I could retire if we did not have medicaid for Karen's ongoing medical bills.

I should also like to say, I do love my wife and if wasn't for my love for my wife, we would not have made it almost 16 years later. But all this time Karen has done her absolute best day after day year after year to kill our happiness together. Moreover, Karen has gone to two more drug rehab places (at our expense) only to remain drug dependent even to this day. The years of ongoing grief has made me very angry and I cannot take much anymore. I truly hate my step daughter who has been a terrible person to live with these past 15+ years. The ongoing stealing, lying, etc. has made me bitter toward her. I am showing my anger more and more lately since I had retired a few months ago. I do not like to be home especially when I have to interface with Karen.

My wife wants me to go to anger management so as to control how I feel toward Karen and the ongoing situation. Today, I wanted to hit (strike) Karen and get her out of my life. Karen wanted me to hit her so that she could call the police and have me thrown out of my home and put in jail. Then Karen could have her Mommy all to herself. My wife crys about this situation but seems powerless to do anything about it. She loves her daughter so much and says I am the one needing help to control my anger even though Karen is now going to counseling.

I have told my wife I want a divorce from Karen. But my wife tells me she does not want to lose me. But I am struggling now to want to live and I have also thought of ending my life to get out of the situation. I have informed my pastor about the difficulties in our home. He prays with me and wants the situation to end but what can I do? Thank you!

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Donald, and thanks for telling your story here. You have to manage your anger, no matter what. Practice these anger management techniques, and follow all of the recommendations.

You and your wife will also benefit from learning about tough love. Enter "tough love" in the search box at the top of the home page to learn more. You have to believe in yourself, Donald, and do what is right for you.

Your situation is complex and challenging, and needs more guidance than I can provide here. If you are feeling suicidal, I suggest you call 911 or contact a crisis hotline in your area. I also recommend that you get some professional help right away. Your life is worth more than this situation with your step daughter. This page on self esteem will help you.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

Comments for The Medical Drug Addiction Step Daughter

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Jul 28, 2014
Adult Step Kids
by: Anonymous

Really tired of the on again and off again with the drug's. My husband has a son and daughter and a grandson, all are adults. If it isn't one it's the other, like a never ending cycle. I'm tired of the lying and stealing. The enabling and the drama. I never know from day to day what is going to happen. The grandson made his way to prison for 2 years so I don't have to worry but he wants to come here and live when he get's out. He told my husband if he can't he knows he will go back to drugs again. I don't want him and his troubles here. In fact I'm really tired of all the problems they create.

Jul 01, 2014
Adult step daughter
by: Anonymous

I'm also tired of the drugs, lying, stealing.
I feel the same as the top poster. If my kid did what my step daughter has done I would put her in her place. My husband is an enabler. I have had to go through this with 3 of his kids and I'm so fed up with it. She has court tomorrow, and I'm not going--he can. I'm done trying to help them. He helped create this, so he can fix it. I don't want any part of it.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello, and thanks for your comment. Your feelings make perfect sense, and I think it's wise for you to back away from trying to help your step daughter while your husband enables her. Many studies have shown that a step parent cannot succeed as the primary has to be the biological parent. So, you're right on target.

Dec 17, 2010
Resentments and personal boundaries
by: Anonymous

Thank you for the honesty in your story. I just happened to type in my search "I hate my addicted step-daughter" and your story came up. I almost want to start a support group for step parents because it is hard to find people that can relate to a step-parent of an addicted child. I'm really starting to have resentment toward my step-daugther too, but I've only been dealing with her BS for 2 years. Your story makes me afraid that it will be much longer... My husband also drops everything to bail her out of every scrape she gets into. I go to Naranon and a therapist to work on my sickness, but he doesn't seem to think he should behave differently and my step-daughter is having "fun" with meth but she is not an addict. I have learned that I can only set emotional boundaries around my own emotional well-being. But sometimes my emotional well-being has to do with my finances...

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