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Coffee With Clare

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Hi Friends – I am glad you are here for Coffee With Clare – every Thursday!  

Dear Clare:

My daughter, Jenn, age 23, has had a drug problem since she was in her teens.  Jenn has been in and out of jail and rehab “programs” more times than I can count.  This last jail term, however, they put her in a work-jail program where she lived in a supervised facility while working for approximately six months.  Jenn really “seems” like she has had a true reformation and has been working steady, is being responsible and will be done with the program in one month.  She asked to come back home  temporarily “to get on her feet”.  My husband (her stepdad, Mark) is against this as he feels like we will be “enabling” her again.  What should we do?  I don’t want to throw her on the street.

Signed – Caught in the Middle in Minnesota


Woman Crying Into Hands


Dear Caught in the Middle:

That’s a tough one to walk through, and I have one or two close friends who have been in similar situations.  Ask yourself, “Am I enabling her?”   Is there any way financially you can help her out by putting her up for 3 – 6 months in a small apartment?  If you have the means, maybe help get her set up in her own place and offer some financial support. 

If that is not possible for you and your husband, ask your husband if he would agree to a 6 month period for her to temporarily move back in and help her get on her feet financially.  But for your own marriage, I would make sure both you and your husband are in agreement before you  discuss this with Jenn or try this method.  And before even letting Jenn back in, be very clear with her what your rules and restrictions will be (i.e. she must “stay clean”, be gainfully employed, be saving her money for her own apartment, help with the dishes and housework, etc.).

If your husband is not in agreement, you have to consider not letting your daughter come back into your home at this point in time.  You might research other sources of help for her such as half-way homes or group homes for people who are working to get back on their feet after serving time.

And please, be sure to get the help YOU need, too.  Are you involved with some support groups like Al-anon, Nar-Anon?  You could really use the support of these groups, and I hope you will consider getting involved in them if possible.

Wishing you the best. 




I would love to hear from you!  I invite you to email your questions, problems and “life challenges” directly to me at:   I would love to hear from you!


Clare is a 57-year-old fun loving Italian-American self-proclaimed “Jersey Girl” who believes, “Life ain’t easy street. Life is one of those crazy little city streets, complete with potholes that could swallow your car.” With one foot planted in fun and the other planted firmly in her Christian faith, Clare enjoys making people laugh while helping them navigate life’s “crazy little city streets”. Clare has raised two girls (now grown young adults) with her husband, Michial, Clare is ready to take on the challenges of making new friends through her blog, Life Ain’t Easy Street. With an aim to entertain while addressing topics important to women, Clare’s focus on the positive power of good stories, good friends, inspiring women, and strong faith will have you looking forward to reading the next post. Clare is a freelance writer who lives a real life in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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  • Andi says:

    Wow – a LOT of powerful advice – I pray that she takes it!

  • Shann Eva says:

    Such great advice, Claire, for such a tough situation. I really hope they come up with a plan that works for everyone.

    • Clare says:

      Thanks Shann, yes, a very, very difficult situation. I hope they formulate a plan that works, too. I appreciate your stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  • Bette Childress says:

    Great advise for a tough situation. Best of luck to her and her family.

  • Branson says:

    Definitely a tough situation, and one that I am familiar with through family struggles. It is so hard to want to help but not enable!

    • Clare says:

      Yes, Branson, so sorry you are familiar with this scenario and these struggles. It is hard to have to draw a line in the sand. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kate says:

    this is really interesting!

  • Karen Dowd-Hansen says:

    Good advice, Clare! You should put limits on your children in this case. Be supportive, but do not enable! A time limit is the thing to do whether or not you agree with your child. Your marriage is the most important thing, and you do need to support your child, but not to the exclusion of your spouse. Hopefully the child will mature and move on, but you want your relationship to survive.

    • Clare says:

      Time limits are good…. but it is so so hard! You have great advice with what you said – thanks so much for sharing! We appreciate it! 🙂

  • Jae Marie says:

    I decided to comment on this because I have been on the end of the daughter. I cannot say that my situation ever landed me in jail, or rehab for that matter but I have been in two mental health facilities and have had serious drug addiction issues.
    I have been clean for a long time but I have been an addict longer then clean in my 31 years of life.
    When I was addicted, there was nothing anyone could do to help me. I lived with my Mom, and I lived with friends, I even tried moving to my Dads none of it helped me get clean.
    The biggest thing that helped me was removing my association with the people I was getting high with. Even when I moved out of town and became clean and then tried moving back some how I kept making the wrong decisions on who I was spending my time with.
    It was not until I completely removed myself from those people that things started fully turning around.
    Some of the suggestions here are good ones, make sure that the guidelines are clear…don’t call them rules, but contingencies. No one that is an adult is going to take the word “rules” seriously, especially someone who has been locked up so much.
    If you are a churchgoer I suggest putting going to church on the list of contingencies and if you do not already go, then maybe you should go together. Not only is the Bible an important part of healing, but the congregation is a great replacement for the drug abusing friends.
    It is not easy letting go of an old habit for anyone. Actually we never really do. We have to create new ones to override the old ones. Letting go of so-called friends is hard too. As large of a support system as you can build around her, the better she will do.
    I am not sure if all churches are this way, but usually there are some people who will be willing to help find jobs. Also small bible studies (more importantly if it is available, women’s ministry groups) are a great way to fill a person up with hope, strength, courage, and a strong support system.
    Clare has some great advice. As I mentioned I just wanted to through this in because I have been there. I have lived on the streets because of my bad decision-making and it is no fun. I pray that you find the right answer for you and your family. My biggest thought here is that if it boiled down to it, it would almost be better to let her live with you then pay for her to live in an apartment, because then you can help be her rock. Be her shoulder, and teach her as much about God, if she already knows remind her. He loves us, and we all have a purpose. If she can get through this, he has great things in store for her. She can be a witness to God and help others that have gone through what she has been through. He does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called. <3

    • Clare says:

      Wow wow! Jan – I so so appreciate your sharing this…. nothing like someone sharing who HAS BEEN THERE LIKE YOU!!!!! And a lot of people who have had an addiction or any kind of addiction have clearly said they have to remove themselves from the people they were associated with!!!! I am delighted too that you shared that pressing in to the Lord and going to church and the Bible help! I feel like that is so so crucial in getting through any major addiction and getting through any crisis in life! Great advice – and I truly appreciate your sharing your heart – and you are helping so many other people by sharing your experience – and for that – my sincere appreciation and thanks! Blessings to you!

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