A Mother Reflects on Her Daughter’s Addiction, Part 1

She was every parent's dream daughter - smart, funny, a good athlete, close friends - so how did she become involved with drugs?

A Mother Reflects on Her Daughter’s Addiction, Part 1
by Cathy Taughenbaugh, Parent Recovery and Life Coach and Founder of Treatment Talk

I clearly remember the day when I discovered that my daughter was using drugs. 

I was devastated.

I was also filled with shame and confusion.

My daughter started out life as a typical little girl growing up in a suburban neighborhood on the SF peninsula. She excelled in school especially during her elementary years.

She was a Brownie, a girl scout, played soccer and softball, and performed in theater productions. She had many wonderful friends, a quick wit and fun sense of humor.

It was during middle school that I noticed her grades had started to slip a bit.

The first two years of high school were smooth. She joined the water polo team, as well as the swim team and made some close friends. I felt that I knew her friends’ parents, since most of the girls had grown up together.

During the last two years of high school things started to get a bit rocky. Not dramatically, but we noticed. She kept her curfew, many of her friends remained the same, although there were a few new ones that made me a bit curious and concerned.

Her father and I prodded her onward and encouraged her to do better, monitored her whereabouts, and tried to be on top of all that was going on. Graduation came and went.

She was accepted to college in Colorado and I flew back with her one August morning, sending her off with the hopes and dreams of any parent.

Those hopes and dreams were dashed after her first semester, as she was soon on probation. After the second semester, she needed to attend CSM in order to return in the fall.

But after the dismal fall semester of her sophomore year, college was over. She took a part time job washing dogs. But that soon fell apart as well.

I flew back to see what I could do.

She finally admitted she was addicted to drugs. I should have known, and wondered why I didn’t know.

I know now. I was in denial.

In my next blog post, I will write about our family’s action plan and our journey towards recovery.

If you suspect substance abuse with your child, don’t be in denial, like I was. Take action to help your child avoid going down the path of dependence and addiction.


Cathy Taughinbaugh is one of three Bay Area moms writing Parent to Parent ~ a blog sharing concerns about substance abuse. Lisa Frederiksen, Author Speaker Consultant and Founder of BreakingTheCycles.com and Shelley Richanbach, Certified Addictions Specialist, Peer Facilitator and Founder of Next Steps for Women, round out the Parent to Parent team. Check back every Wednesday as one of these moms will share their expertise and personal experiences with substance use, abuse, addiction and recovery. And if you find yourself in any one of their stories, consider attending their March 3, 2013, Substance Abuse Workshop for Parents.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Bren December 11, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Jeni, it is wrong to assume that kids who skip school or get bad grades are bad decision makers and therefore not worthy of your child's friendship. I was unlucky enough to spend my grade school and junior high years at Cabrillo and Ortega school in Pacifica. Both schools were horribly abusive, neglectful environments where bullies ran amok and the teachers either didn't care, or were bullies themselves. Very little teaching or learning went on in those schools, and I was not a bad kid for not doing well there. It's very normal for junior high and high school kids to ditch school, and before you assume there's something wrong with the kid, it's wise to ask whether there's something wrong with the school.
Common Sense December 11, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Probably a good idea it sounds like. People kill people not guns.
Jaws 1977 December 12, 2012 at 06:13 AM
I am sorry for your daughter; keep us posted.
Cathy Taughinbaugh December 15, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Hi Chris - thanks so much for your interest. Part is now posted and here is the link. Not sure if it is in all the communities quite yet. (http://belmont-ca.patch.com/blog_posts/a-mother-reflects-on-her-daughters-addiction-part-2-53ec14b4) Thanks again for your support! Have a good weekend.
Cathy Taughinbaugh December 15, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Hi Joan, Thanks so much for your support. I agree with you completely!


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