I was recently talking with the parent of an addict who is still in active addiction and didn’t appear to be stopping any time soon. This father was concerned about his daughter, who was in her mid-twenties and had been using drugs for a number of years. Some of the many mind-altering substances his child was abusing, at various times, included alcohol, weed, cocaine, meth, heroin and other opioids she was buying on the street.
Lisa (names have been changed) was still living at home, with her own private bedroom in the basement of the family home. She was allowed to come and go as she pleased—with a private entrance that led directly to her living space. Unable to hold a job for very long because of her addiction, Lisa was on disability income assistance and was not being asked to pay rent or to contribute to food, hydro or any other expenses in the home. Her mother and father both had outside jobs, yet along with Lisa’s siblings they took care of all the household chores such as the shopping and cooking, the laundry and the cleaning, and the yard work—while Lisa ‘partied’ at night and slept most of the day. All of the money she received from the government went to satisfying her own needs—including her need and desire for drugs.
Lisa’s behaviour was erratic—some days she was loving and warm—great to be around. At other times, she could be moody and cranky—not only verbally abusive with her parents and siblings, but also physically threatening by throwing things at others around her. She talked about killing herself frequently, especially when she was about to hear a No when she wanted to hear a Yes.