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Brain Injured Daughter Tears Family apart

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My youngest daughter (19) and I just returned from visiting my 25 year old daughter in Rehab for alcohol. As part of her program the family spends a week learning how to deal with the addicted personality.

I'll start from the beginning. In May of 2006 my daughter was ejected in a single car rollover at 65 mph. She survived the accident with a fractured hip, a torn femoral artery, broken arm, some internal injuries, and a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage along with frontal bruising of the brain. She was in a vegetative state for 9 weeks. She started responding and came through her physical injuries pretty well. I spent 5 months with her first at the hospital, then Rehabilitation. The outward signs of her injury are in her voice, balance, and fine motor skills. She walks without aid after spending 8 months in a wheelchair. She re-learned to do most everything. She's attractive.

My daughter missed her high school graduation but had already earned her diploma. She was accepted at college for fall 2006. Instead, after more than a year of recovery she started junior college fall of 2007, with lots of help from Disabled Student Services and private tutors. She hates to read because her vision is off. Basically, I tried everything to get her back. All the vision programs, endless physical therapy, anything I found on the internet that might help. I prayed, along with friends and family for her recovery. She does not care to be involved with anyone who is brain injured or any program of that type.

In summer 2008 she drove off in her truck (unlicensed, she had the vehicle before her injury) while my husband and I were 2 hours away dealing with his father's death. My daughter hit a tree, totaling her vehicle. She was arrested for drunk driving.

Since then it has been one situation after another, compounding her injury with drinking.

I have isolated myself, lost interest in life. I used to be outgoing and socially active. I herniated a disc in my neck in 2010. Had it surgically repaired (ACDF) in February 2011. I am in constant physical pain and have sleep problems.

My other children have had all kinds of personal issues since my daughter's injury. Now I tell them they need to live their lives. My parents are elderly. Dad has Alzheimer's and mom is his main caregiver. My siblings do not live close and those that do are not helping. They all have their own lives and I am left to to handle many of the day to day issues that come up for my parents.

About 3 weeks ago my daughter got drunk and scared her small dog after falling with her. The poor dog ran away and was hit by a car. My husband and I took my daughter to Rehab the following day. The people at the rehab recommend Alanon and grief counseling.

How do I let go of my daughter? She has caused so many problems in our family and won't quit. She says she drinks because she's lonely but I say she's lonely because she drinks. She was away at school and was asked to leave the sorority. Then she was sent home from college because of drinking episodes. She's disrespectful towards me and her sisters. She cusses at me, embarrassing both of us publicly. There's no boundary. I cannot have her living in my home as she falls right into an extremely lazy lifestyle, including on-line dating (which no amount of talking about its dangers makes a difference. She's even discussed moving to a unknown town just to date a guy). She says she wants to be married and have a family but I'm not sure she could even take care of a child.

I would appreciate any ideas as I've about exhausted all avenues. We have to make decisions concerning her soon, as she will be released from the program. I will never give up on her. I need to be healthy.

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Wow, first congratulations on your daugters recovery. My brother has a traumatic brain injury but he didn't respond to rehab. It sounds like you are very educated about brain injury recovery and you need to remember that injuries of this kind are very unpredictable and not well understood. That being said if she is being a negative influence on you and your family you have to take some steps. Does she have a guardian? My father is my bro legal guardian and makes all decisions ffor him. Your daughters decision making can be skewed from her injuries. It is a pretty usual side effect. I find it surprisinng she doesn't want to move to one of the communities. I would make any decision based largely off the state she is in upon release and her commitment to staying. sober.

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Has your daughter seen a psychiatrist? Almost sounds like borderline personality disorder or bipolar. I am by no means an expert at all, just a suggestion. Traumatic brain injuries are so unpredictable and very difficult to treat. We never give up on our children, ever. It also would appear that you could use a good therapist or support group. You are dealing with a lot, and the lode seems heavy. You can do it. All parents can do it, except sometimes we need some help to get it done. We also need some time to refocus our energies.

I can tell you this. I lost my daughter, and wish to this day that she would have let me help her. I would go to the ends of the earth to help her. I know you can help your daughter, and I also know you will not quit trying, but sometimes you need to give yourself a break. Leave no stone unturned.

God Bless,


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Traumatic brain injury can lead to personality and mental health changes.  If you think she is at risk of harming herself or someone else, it may be beneficial for you to become her legal executer so you have more control over her finances and medical treatments.  It sounds like she has not only an addiction problem but likely depression.  It would be helpful if you could get her to see a psychiatrist to start some medication so that she can stop self-medicating with alcohol.

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