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Managing an Additcted Parent

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I’ve been raising my younger sister since I was 11 years old.  She just turned four years old.  

I never met my father and my sister’s father wasn’t around very long.  My mother is drug addicted.  I’m 15, a junior in high school.  I have been fortunate to test out of many of my classes, and I expect to graduate next year. I earn my own money running an on-line business and helping other people set up businesses too.  That pays our bills.  I know that my mother uses me, and I don’t mind taking care of her. It’s the drama that she brings that I am tired of and I don’t want my sister to have to be around it anymore.

I want to take my sister and be free of her and the drama she brings into our lives.  We deserve a chance.  I started the process of becoming emancipated.  I also want to become my sister's legal guardian.  My mother may fight me for her custody.  How do I reason with her and let her know it’s for my sister's best interest?

Dear Guardian,

You sound like an old soul.  You mother and sister are fortunate to have you as part of their lives.

Young people have been taking responsibility for their sibling for ages.  I am sure everyone knows someone who raised or helped raise their family members.  Family courts are set up and manage these types of cases daily.  You’re not alone, but you probably already know that. 

As far as having a reasonable conversation with your mother about guardianship, there is nothing I can provide you that will be a quick sense of direction.    

Addiction prevents addicts from considering anything or anyone other than themselves and their drug of choice first.  Their behavior affects you and those who love them.  You’re powerless to reason, persuade, guilt or otherwise convince your mother to do anything that she doesn’t want to do. 

You know that she has times when she is present and available to you and it’s those times that offer hope. That said, it is a treacherous journey to pin your hopes on a conversation that you may have had during her periods of loving lucidness, although it doesn’t hurt to try.

My recommendation does not include reasoning with your mother.  It’s about you.  You taking care of you.  Take as much time as you can to ensure you will be secure, financially, physically and emotionally. 

Getting your education, keeping your business running, taking care of your mother and sister is a feat of which you can be proud.  Statistically, 50% of emancipated youth will be homeless within six months of emancipation.  And more than 50% of emancipated youth have no job and no way of supporting themselves.  I site this to remind you that it is a tough world you are entering so please, please, please find help.

There are support groups for children of addicts.  Al anon and Alateen to mention a couple.  You deserve a good life. 

Read 771 times Last modified on Friday, 19 April 2019 10:51
Ask AC

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AC is an East Coast transplant who became rooted in the SFV.  “Yup”, AC said “I found a place in North Hollywood years ago, and though I’ve traveled the world over this is the place I call home.  Well, also Massachusetts because that’s where I was born.  I think of  Hawaii as my second home, but I don’t own property there so maybe I can’t count that.  I was going to say Paris, at first cause I am very comfortable there, but then, you know I’m American and I don’t want to be too pompous.  So, yeah, I guess the San Fernando Valley is home.”

A street scholar, majoring in hard knocks and common sense, AC, attended night school receiving a high school diploma.  With a thirst for knowledge, AC continued education included many, many on line courses and seminars from selling beets at your local farmers market and how to shuck clams to Introduction to wine.

AC has been offering advice to everyone, whether they ask for it or not.  At times AC’s advice has been met with animosity and physical threats.  None the less AC preservers.   “It’s my calling” says AC, who urges readers to send in their confounding queries; “If you want advice (in the words of the 45th President), ‘what do you have to lose’, Ask AC?”

What makes AC’s columns unique is that it feels like you are getting advice from a friend, a person you can rely on for lively, no-nonsense feedback.  Ask AC is the best advice columnist by a Los Angeles mile."

AC resides in North Hollywood has two children, is an animal lover and has an active social life.  An adventure sport enthusiast, writer, performer, corporate baby, and community volunteer.  AC devotes time to family, community and in the service of others.  

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