JN asks: How do I know if my daughter is using? I think she is but she tells me she’s not. She lives with me so we go through this with each other fairly often.
Thanks for your question, JN.
It will depend on whether she’s using mind-altering substances or mood-altering behaviours (like gambling, shopping, etc.). And sometimes it’s harder to tell with drugs than with alcohol, because there is little or no smell with most of them. But if you’ve been in this situation for a while with your daughter, then you likely know her personality and her moods very well – and you may even have a gut reaction when you think that she’s using.
As loved ones of addicts, we need to learn to trust ourselves around this. One boundary you can set with her when she tells you she’s not high, and you know she is, could be something like “If I even THINK you’re using….” then setting the consequence, i.e. “You’ll have to spend the night elsewhere” or “I may be asking you to move out – because I love you and I don’t want to see you in active addiction anymore. And because I don’t want to live this way anymore and keep going through this with you.”
It’s best to not set a boundary until you’re ready to maintain it and follow through with it. But if your gut is telling you that she’s using, even if she says she’s not, please allow yourself to trust those instincts.
All my best,