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My daughter has AIDS & doesn't care

Jul 17, 1997

My daughter, who has been abusing drugs, sleeping around, etc finally got AIDS. I mean her whole life has been one thing after another. I can't believe that she got herself in this situation. No I can. But to be honest I have not too much sympathy. I just am overwhelmed. Couldn't convince her to stop taking crack. Couldn't convince her to finish high school. Couldn't convince her to move out from her drug dealer boyfriend. Couldn't convince her to stop getting abortions. She's 19. Do all the people you know just turn soft when the AIDS verdict comes in? I mean her life is still the same. How can I help someone who doesn't want to be helped? She says she doesn't want to take any of these treatments.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

I think two things (at least) are going on here. While you are certainly trying to be a good mother if she is 19 and still doing all of these things her behavior and choices are beyond your control. I strongly suggest that you find a local meeting of Al-ANON and begin to go. Those meetings can help you learn how to detach with love from your daughter's drug problems and put the focus on yourself. If she still lives at home, perhaps that is something you may wish to reconsider. It is not unreasonable to ask her to go into a serious drug treatment program at this time. Many people do learn how to live drug and alcohol free after an AIDS diagnosis. It is by no means easy, but it is one important way that they learn to face the innumerable challenges that HIV will pose for them. You sound in so much pain about your daughter, I also wonder if you have spoken with a counselor or mental health professional in order to get support for what you are going through? The most difficult thing will be to accept that if your daughter is not ready to help herself with her drug problem or with HIV treatments then, no matter of arguing or persuasion from you will convince her.

-- Michael Shernoff, MSW

Is This the Behavior of Someone with AIDS?
How do I deal with a friend who has AIDS?

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