I Loved My Daughter to Death

Coping with the loss of a loved one.
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I Loved My Daughter to Death

Post by dtosh » Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:46 pm

It has been 16 months since my daughter’s death from heroin and I have been able to look back with much more objectivity than I ever could before. It has become painfully obvious to me that, in some ways, I loved my daughter to death – literally.

In the beginning of her full addiction, I dealt with it alone (for 4 years) and followed my head and heart when trying to rescue her from her addiction. So many things I did trying to help her only helped her continue taking drugs and face no consequences. What, then, was the incentive to stop using drugs? There was none. In the beginning, most addicts “want” to keep taking drugs no matter the consequences, so all I did was make it easier for my daughter to do that. Had I followed my gut rather than my heart, it is a certainty that things would have been different. I have no reason to believe that the end result would have been different, but my life, my family’s life, and her life would certainly have taken a different course that just may have been better. I highly doubt it would have made things worse.

I don’t feel guilt over this because guilt comes with intent, and I never intended to hurt my daughter – ever. I do, however, have regrets – which is normal. Following my gut would have been very painful, both for her and for me, so it was not something that was attractive at the time. It is often very hard, and very painful, to do the right thing and I was confused and very, very scared. I let that fear push me to do things I now know I should have resisted. It was an opportunity lost, and it helped my daughter condition herself to give in to the urge for drugs instead of fighting it. That went on much longer than it should have and her conditioning became too hard for her to change.

The only type of love that can help beat addiction is the addicts’ love for themselves. My love for my daughter was not only useless against her addiction; it also drove me to enable her. Trying to deal with this alone allowed my enabling to continue for far too long and it allowed her to escape serious consequences for far too long. It is painful to admit my part in all of this, but it is reality.

Our addicts do not take drugs in a vacuum, and our actions and reactions don’t occur in a vacuum. Our mistakes, as much as our addicts’ mistakes, can be a matter of life or death and we DO play a part in the addiction journey of our loved ones. The sooner one learns this, the sooner a change for the better can occur. I learned much too late.
Thank you for listening.

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Re: I Loved My Daughter to Death

Post by sharon » Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:52 pm



So glad you posted this. I know how hard it has been for you and Barb.

I'm actually glad in an ironic sort of way that we ran out of money. It helped me stop loving him to death.

You have been an integral part of MY recovery....and continue to be....

Who knew it was possible to love someone to death??????? We do now.

Again, when we KNOW better, we do better.

grateful member since 2004


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Linda (lsv)
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Re: I Loved My Daughter to Death

Post by Linda (lsv) » Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:53 pm

(((HUGS))) I never knew it was possible to love someone to death...literally...until my son became an addict. And, I was loving him to death right in our home. I was so overwhelmed, so scared, feeling sooo responsible for everything and everyone...especially him. I did anything and everything to keep him happy and calm. How stupid that sounds now...yet it was the best I could do at the time with what I knew...I only did better when I knew better. And, I do not deceive myself for one moment that ANYTHING can happen at any moment despite my input. I used to think I was the all powerful OZ; I am now just plain and simple me. Dave, you and Barb have experienced the worst outcome of addiction...and yet you are able to share and reach out and help others, myself included. This is the power of the program.

Love you both,

river rock

Re: I Loved My Daughter to Death

Post by river rock » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:04 pm

We have all done that to some degree, but the important
thing is, we DIDN"T do it with intent. Most of us didnt
even know we were enabling for a very long time. I can
appreciate you making us aware of what we are doing,
and you say you don't have guilt, but it sounds like you
do, and its soooo not your fault. Like Sharon says, when
we know better we do better, it could still happen to any
one of us. My son has watched so many of his friends be buried
from OD's, two or three in the last few months alone. We live in
a state where the top cause of accidental death is Drugs, and there
are maybe 3 Nar-anon meetings in the whole stae, if all those
are still open. So many parents dealing with addiction and OD's
with death. I have prayed for you and Barb, I hope time has
helped some , even in the smallest way. May you heart be
lighter soon, and Jennifer's memory kept alive forever.
Love River rock

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Re: I Loved My Daughter to Death

Post by simplemom » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:04 pm


I can remember the ES&H you gave me when I first joined this forum. I remember thinking that you might have been some kind of counselor because you were so knowledgeable. You shared with me and over the course of time what you and your family were experiencing with Jennifer.

Having to live with the dreaded experience of having an addicted child, I didn’t understand many things about addiction. I thought I had educated myself on addiction but in reality I am loving my son to death.

I have responded to several posts recently…I am relapsing…my addicted son is breaking my heart. But the God of my choosing is showing me the way AND I continue to resist…my gut is telling me I must let go my end of the rope. I push aside all the God Wink’s I am getting. As a result I am in a very bad neighborhood spiritually and mentally and all alone. I want out.

Your words are true: my son has escaped consequences due to parental love. The slogan Let It Begin With Me has made me stop and take inventory as to how I am reacting to him. I am confused and scared…I am not thinking clearly. I want my baby back, my firstborn, gave birth to him on my birthday. I only find ‘the addict’.

Know that this post is a very big AH-HAH moment for me. Know that your post has truly gotten to me, it has energized me, for one day at a time, to continue to work my program no matter how hard it hurts to tell my son ‘You made the choice, you made the decision, there is nothing more I can do for you. You must learn to love yourself”. I will practice patience. I will be grateful for all the many wonderful things I do have in my life. I will accept what will happen in my life.

Thank you for being my angel today. Your post made me realize that it is time for me to change and turn a corner. You and Barbara have been an inspiration as a result of a horrific tragedy. I learned a valuable lesson today.

Karen (simplemom)
"I am not afraid of storms, I am learning to sail my own ship."
Louise May Alcott

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Re: I Loved My Daughter to Death

Post by judyg » Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:44 pm

Thank you for having the courage to post this. I loved my husband to death. Except by the end I didn't love him or like him, so when he died of an OD 2 years after our divorce it didn't really hurt. I've made my amends the best I could since then by vowing not to love my sons to death. It's gotten close several times with each of them. My youngest is in jail right now..almost two weeks. He knows he'll have to take care of it himself. He has my love and my prayers but no bail money, no influence will be expended. No "ideas" about what he should do, or lectures or advice or research. No pep talks or minimizing.

You have said it before..addiction sucks. It takes good people. But there is hope. For them and for us. Your share could save a life. Thank you.


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Re: I Loved My Daughter to Death

Post by coinman_4 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:26 am

This was an extremely brave and insightful thing to post.

Thank you Dave.


You're either on the bus or you're off the bus.

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Re: I Loved My Daughter to Death

Post by Melanie40 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:40 am

Your ES&H speaks volumes. It ispires my Courage to Change. Thank you for sharing.

Formerly, Life In Limbo

"The Serenity Prayer is the handrail to grab until you can work the Steps."

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Re: I Loved My Daughter to Death

Post by Tako » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:44 am

This is a very insightful message for all of us to heed, thanks for sharing your pain and wisdom. - Tako

The 4 C's

I didn't cause it,
I can't control it,
I can't cure it, but
I can contribute to it.

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Re: I Loved My Daughter to Death

Post by linda.f » Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:17 pm


Thank you for sharing.

I let that fear push me to do things I now know I should have resisted. It was an opportunity lost, and it helped my daughter condition herself to give in to the urge for drugs instead of fighting it.
I struggle with this all the time. Although, I have not endured the ultimate pain that you have. I have
consistently led my journey with always trying to "force the outcome" with my son. I think it is because of
the fear factor that motivated me to act this way with my son.

Addiction is such a hard road to be on. No template to follow, no two rules apply for the same addict and
all of us have to keep searching to find our own way.

Again, thanks for sharing.


Donna S
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Re: I Loved My Daughter to Death

Post by Donna S » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:25 pm

Thank You for sharing your story, I can only imagine the pain your are going through. It is amazing how we think we are helping but we are not. Not only is our love for our addicts killing them it is also killing us.

I am new to this site but not new to a loved one being an addict.

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Re: I Loved My Daughter to Death

Post by Gerilyn » Sat Oct 29, 2011 9:18 am

Dear Dave, Thank you for this post and sharing to help others. I can relate to what you are saying. I, too, have fallen into this category. But, for the grace of God, she is still alive. Friends of hers have died. It could have been her. I have gotten her out of so many scrapes. I thought and believed it was what I had to do. That was long before I came here and found Nar-Anon. My daughter is not on street drugs for 17 months (although on Suboxone). She does not go to meetings, does not go to treatment, just shows up for 90 seconds once a month and they give her a script! When I called once to ask about it they told me it's better for us to do this than for her to go out and go back on heroin. Ok.... But, since finding this program my daughter understands (hopefully!) that I will no longer be there to fix any of her messes. She is an adult (24) and will have to suffer any and all consequences of her behavior. I even had her ABF living in my home for half a year thinking at least I know where she is. Like that would have saved her! All it did was allow them to use the money they had to buy drugs. I let them use my car. I was the queen of enabling and loving too much. Now, I know better.

I am so very sorry for your loss. And, again, thank you for this post. I do pray that when the time comes I am strong and able to use my lessons that you and many others are reaching out and sharing with us.

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Re: I Loved My Daughter to Death

Post by CIN1452 » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:00 pm

To all who have posted...I can relate to each and everyone of you with loving your son/daughter to death. Although my son is still alive, but the worry consumes me to the point I don't think of anything else. I've been going to meetings and I do a lot of reading. I worry does he have food? gas? toilet paper? For several days I will be super strong and avoid phone calls, emails, texts...but then he lays the guilt on me thru text or emails. Mind you he is 34 years old. He will tell me he has no one, (okay who's fault is that?) but me. He needs me to be supportive. One text was "so what am i to do? I have nothing at all. I'm gonna sit here and rot? I could be dead and no one would know it cuz i'm all alone and no one cares to call and check on me!!!!!! So as a mother, it makes you feel so darn guilty and I cave in to him. I know I have to let him hit bottom and I'm fine until he starts with the texts and emails and manipulation making me feel so blasted guilty and an unloving, nonsupporting, non caring mother. As a matter of fact he has accused me of being all these things. I have also allowed this madness to financially destroy me. It has become a situation of putting all your bills in a basket and pick one out to pay. Truth be told...I'm just so done. I'm sorry for rambling, but I've just got to vent.

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Re: I Loved My Daughter to Death

Post by DonnaMarie » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:01 pm

Your post brought tears to my eyes when I read it. That was several months ago.
I lost a nephew to addiction seven years ago. He struggled with addiction for
a long time and never suffered the consequences of his use, continuing to live at
home. Each morning my sister in-law would check on him before she left
for work. March 9 seven years ago was the last time she checked. He committed
suicide with an overdose. He left a note to his family by his bedside.

August 3 of this year we lost another loved one from addiction. My son and daughter
in-law are both recovering addicts with strong programs. Her 34 year old brother died
from an overdose. It came as a total shock to the family as they thought he had been
abstinent from drugs for many years.

My daughter in-laws words to me a few days after he died were, "My mother
loved my brother to death." He lived in her second home, never paying her the agreed
upon rent. She cosigned for a truck loan which he never made a payment on.

A deep sadness comes over me when I think of his death. I feel a sadness for my son
and my daughter in-law for the cause of his death. They both have good recovery and
programs. Virtually every member of my family is an addict but me. I think the blow
would have been less had he died from an illness other than addiction or an accident.

I pray that you and Barb are able to find some happiness and serenity during this holiday
season. I pray that your post and those of others helps other family members.
Love you,

Accept hardship as a path to recovery!

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Re: I Loved My Daughter to Death

Post by Texasnative » Thu May 03, 2012 12:19 pm

I am so sorry Dave. Your posts are wise and powerful. I can feel the pain in your heart and your still very palpable grief.Thank you for offering support as I grieve the recent loss of my 25 year old AS.


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