The Mother-Daughter Addiction

Mother daughter on a bench

“…She flipped the truck into a ditch and just left the scene. Nikki…we can’t find her.”
I hung up. My momma: the adult, the child, my everything.
I slid to the floor and smacked my head with my fist.

“God, help me!” I thought. I desperately wanted the pain to end, and for our lives to be normal, but life had been chaotic for so long, perhaps this was our normal.

…I let the cold water wash over my blistered knuckles and stared into the mirror. The only face I recognized was Momma’s; she was all I wanted. Her reflection blended into mine and brought me face-to-face with some disturbing truths. Why was I incapable of taking care of myself? Why couldn’t I take care of her? “God, where are you? Don’t you love us?” I thought.

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

For most of my life, I never wanted to come to terms with the fact that I was an addict to pretty much everything. Addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, money, fame, success, love, food, on and on. Basically, I just wanted anything to simultaneously temper the sting of loneliness and boost my low self-esteem.

Mental Health and Addiction Challenges in Relationships

The rollercoaster relationship with my mother left me hungry for love and kept me full; full of delusions and obsessions that she would eventually be present in my life. Both of us were addicts; she was an alcoholic, and it was a way for her to cope with the pain of being adopted, surviving a violent marriage, and having bipolar and dissociative identity disorder.

Many times, I felt as though my mom was me, and vise versa. I held a lot of rage inside for years and years as a result of being sexually abused by her as a child, but couldn’t come to terms with that anger, which fueled my addictions.

As I grew older, I couldn’t differentiate from this identity I had created, one that looked and behaved like her. The more time that went by, the more it became apparent that we were mirroring each other’s addictions, only in different ways. The common thread that bonded us was that we were both on the brink of death, and neither one of us could see that in ourselves, only in each other.

Healing Oneself to Mend Relationships

Addicts never realize that they are addicts, until something extreme happens to wake them up, or until they die. Sometimes, they never realize at all. Really it’s that simple. For me, it was my mother’s death in the fall of 2012 that changed the course of my life.

I had looked in the mirror thousands of times to scrutinize my skeletal frame as the result of anorexia nervosa, but could only see her reflection because I felt powerless to mend our relationship and deeply out of control in my own life.

Mother and her daugthersWhen she died, I made the decision to get help, and finally began to see myself in the mirror, but it took a long time before I could accurately interpret what I was seeing.

Today when I look at photos of my mother, I don’t see an addict or someone with mental illness, but a woman that I love and miss. I don’t think about the sexual abuse, but instead, I usually kiss the photos and tell her that I think she’s a great mother. Just as my mom had her issues, I’ve had mine, and I find that the best way to live life to the fullest is to live in forgiveness, one day at a time.


Nikki_Dubose_2015 Web-6About the Author: Nikki DuBose is a former model turned author, advocate, and ambassador. Her debut memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, details her recovery from trauma, severe mental illnesses and the dark side of the modeling industry. Nikki has been featured on television shows and networks such as The Doctors, The TD Jakes Show, CBS Los Angeles, and the Oprah Winfrey Network, and profiled in publications such as People, LA Times, Vogue UK, Esquire, India Times, and Inquisitr. To find out more about Nikki, visit

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 19, 2017.
Published on

About Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Jacquelyn Ekern founded Addiction Hope in January, 2013, after experiencing years of inquiries for addiction help by visitors to our well regarded sister site, Eating Disorder Hope. Many of the eating disorder sufferers that contact Eating Disorder Hope also had a co-occurring issue of addiction to alcohol, drugs, and process addictions.