Posted by: addictionstinks | May 20, 2010

Should We or Shouldn’t We?

This post might get kinda long, so grab a cup of coffee. I’ll wait…..

Oh, your back – good!

The question of the day is: Should we let J’s girlfriend move in after she graduates high school at the end of the month?

There’s a lot of backstory here in our decision, so this is where this gets long.

J and P have been together for almost 4 years. She was 14 years old when they started dating, J was 17. The first time P came to my house, I had no idea who she was. She was this tiny little dirty-haired waif with a bad mouth. The first words I ever spoke to her were, “We don’t talk that way in my house” after her using the F word a few times.

This is all P had ever known up to that point. P’s mother is a drug addict. She loves her Vicodin/Muscle Relaxers concoction that she takes on a very regular basis, to the point of slurring her words and sometimes passing out. P doesn’t even know who her father is. She has 2 brothers and 1 sister. All 4 kids come from 3 different fathers. P has never met her real father.

P’s mom, despite her addiction, has been in a committed relationship for about 10 years now. Her “dad” (as she calls him) is a pretty decent guy. Not an addict, not a drinker. In fact, he’s a pretty hard worker, who has seen some hard times in his life. He used to be a drinker who got into some trouble with the law. He is uneducated, as they all are. In fact, P will be the FIRST in her family to graduate high school next week.

Despite all of his troubles, “Dad” is a hard worker, who at this time is unemployed. The plant that he worked at has closed down for good, so he won’t be getting called back to there. He has been looking for a job, but nothing has come up. This is complicated by the fact that he does not have a driver’s license, or a car. Nobody in their house does. The car got repo’ed about a year ago.

They live pretty much in the middle of nowhere. There is no “downtown” area in their small town. There isn’t even a McDonalds. There’s pretty much a bunch of nothing! Well, except some cornfields.

About 2 weeks ago, their electricity got turned off. They owe the electric company about $1000 that they haven’t been able to pay, and likely won’t be able to pay for a very very long time.

P’s older brother is also in prison. Her older sister is a mooch. She hasn’t worked a day in her life, and just mooches off of whoever will let her for as long as they’ll let her, and then moves back home to mooch off her parents some more. Her younger brother is only in 5th grade.

Long story short, she comes from a very rough background. Over the years, we have taken her under our wing and shown her what a real family is like. She has responded awesomely!

She’s polite, she’s motivated, she’s a sweet young lady. She wants to go on to college to learn animal caretaking of some sort – probably Vet-tech. This too has complications, as she has been in Learning Disabled classes her whole school career. I’m not exactly sure how deep her disability runs. She says its mostly with math and reading, although I ALWAYS see her with a book in her hand when she is here – she’s a voracious reader.

If she stays in her home, there will be no opportunities. She likely won’t be able to go to college (she wants to just attend our community college for now), because she won’t have a way to get there. She likely won’t find a job because there is literally NOTHING within walking distance of her home, and again, no car.

My husband has always been very supportive of P and her dreams, saying that we will give her a leg up when the time comes. But now the time has come.

I asked him last night if he would want her to move in here, and his response was, “Hmmmm, isn’t there some other person she could live with.” In other words, when it comes right down to it, he’s not so sure.

If she moved here, she would likely be able to find a job – a whole lot easier. I live in a fairly decent sized area – not huge, but at least there are plenty of stores/restaurants/retail establishments. She could also possibly carpool to the college with my middle son, who is also graduating this year, and wants to attend the same community college to get his gen-eds out of the way.

What she would get here would be OPPORTUNITY.

What she would get at home is NOTHING.

What I don’t want, if she moves here, is her sister visiting (can’t stand her!) or some of her friends visiting (lets just say “birds of a feather flock together” and leave it at that).

I’m torn. This is a big step for us, and a big decision. Over the years, I’ve really come to like P. I think she’s grown into a fine young lady. Its the rest of her crowd that bothers me. I don’t need anymore drama (they are really good at drama).

What should we do????



  1. Wow, what to do?!?!? I don’t feel qualified to give anyone any kind of advise since my one & only experience with taking in another kid was with an 18 year old recovering meth addict (I used to joke and say that apparently one addict wasn’t enough so I brought home another one!). My head says “don’t”, my heart says “go ahead”….. So, I’ll go with middle ground and say that if you and your husband decide to take P in, I would make sure that there are boundaries in place and that you all discuss what the expectations are going to be and then stick to your guns. You didn’t mention in your post, so I’m assuming that P is not an addict and doesn’t use? This would be a deal breaker for sure…in my mind! If I believed that I could fix all these kids I’d take every single one of them in….that’s just how I’m wired, I’m a fixer, a saver, ie, codependant! I’ve made pretty good strides in this department through the years, but we’re all works in progress, aren’t we? So, since I’ve come to the realization that I can’t save these kids from themselves, I’ve decided that my days of rescuing lost kids & animals is a thing of the past….I’m passing the torch!!! I wish I could be more help…

    • No, she is not an addict. In fact, she does not use any drugs at all. Tried pot briefly and didn’t like it. She’s a good kid. A student.

  2. I would talk this over with a sponsor and really inventory it. I realize that I need to focus on my own recovery. I’ve had a tendency to give up a lot of myself over the years to help others. It led me down a dark path. I work with others in Al-Anon as a sponsor and do a lot of service work. But I also know how to have boundaries and detach with love. Good luck in your decision. When my head and my heart are in alignment, then I know that the course I am on is true.

  3. I would think a little further into the future…when J gets out of prison/jail…if he’s living with you and she’s living there…they would be having sex there…some how…some where.

    If you had clear boundaries and were ready to enforce them…kicking her out…even if she’s in college doing well…?

    None of us have the insight/intuition like you do from knowing the situation first hand…so it’s hard to give advice. I like what Syd said, “When my head and my heart are in alignment, then I know that the course I am on is true.”

  4. I can see your heart wants to help this young lady. It seems your family is the only real family she has known. Think about it from all angles…its a big decision. What do your other kids think? What about when J gets back? What if something goes wrong? Is she 17 or 18?

    Either way, P is fortunate to have you in her life, someone who sees her potential and her growth and encourages her.

    Let us know!

  5. hmmmm.

    1. Two week limit on finding a job.

    2. half her paycheck has to go into savings.

    3. she has to fill out her fafsa and find a junior college close by and enroll for fall.

    4. no drinking, no friends visiting for now.

    5. must attend all family meals unless at work.

    6. list of chores expected and written out.

    7. any money loaned out for bus fare or whatever must be paid back with first paycheck, or at least begun to be paid back.

    we have done this before, can you tell?

    • I think you’re right on with this list!!! 🙂

    • I really really want to read your blog Dawn. Sounds like great boundaries I might even use them in the future…wise words.

  6. The most important thing I can say is “check your motives.” Is this decision for her…or for you? I find that when my codependent tendencies are really kicking in, and I can’t help (read control the outcome) my own, I reach out to help/control others. That is the wrong motive.

    I can’t tell you what to do, but if you are going forward with this, I agree with Dawn’s specific list about what has to happen.

    Your heart is in the right place, there is no doubt, but sometimes taking on other’s problems are not in our best interest, or even theirs.

  7. dawn, did you steel my rules? i have been taking strays in for years and you nailed it. except ya left out the pee tests whenever i wanted to give one..


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