For those with loved ones struggling with substance abuse:
Covering for them, making excuses, giving them money/cars, providing them shelter & economic support, bailing them out of jail and paying their fines is NOT HELPING THEM.
You are providing the tools for them to continue to use. They are NO WORSE OFF without your support than they are with it. You have to learn to love them by saying “NO” and stepping away.
I hear excuses such as “Something BAD will happen to them and it will be my fault.” I’ve got news for you—SOMETHING BAD IS HAPPENING TO THEM when you provide them the luxury of your continued excuses & economic support. You can find them dead in their comfy bed at home just as easily as they can be found dead on the street. If you think differently, you’re in serious denial & you’re WRONG.
Yes it’s hard, yes you have to do it. Yes I know what I’m talking about–both personally & professionally. Ask my adult children about Mom & her tough-love philosophy. I made them
this promise–I will always love you & I will help you as long as you’re helping yourself. I will NOT work harder to keep you well than you are.
Here’s a great blog about a family in recovery:
Kudos for having the bravery to step onto the recovery path & for sharing it with those following behind.
TIPS FOR PARENTS: A.K.A. THINGS I LEARNED THE HARD WAY BECAUSE I WAS STUPID AND IGNORED THEM:
1. If you suspect your family member is using drugs, they probably are–even if they say they aren’t.
2. If you see signs, they will try to convince you that you don’t. Don’t allow them to convince you you’re being paranoid. Addicts are keen manipulators.
3. If you see garbage or bits of debris you don’t recognize, question it. After they tell you what it is, take it to someone else and find out what it REALLY is.
4. If money or medication comes up missing, put the household on alert. They will say they didn’t take it–but they did. Not sure? Set them up & see if they take the bait.
5. As long as they live in your house, you can search their bedroom. The more indignant they are, the more they’re hiding. With that being said–be reasonable. This is not a popular concept, because society seems to think we have to be friends with our kids. Use your own judgement. TRUST YOUR GUT
6. Periodically check the calls on their cell phone bill. Yes, seriously.
7. If they are friends with “bad” kids, they are doing bad things.
8. Question odd, seemingly non-drug situations such as missing light bulbs, asking for aerosol body sprays frequently, a crazy whipped cream craving, batteries disappearing from around the house. No, I’m not crazy–listen to me.
9. In case you missed it earlier, TRUST YOUR GUT!! They will rant, scream and say they hate you, but your persistence will go a long way toward helping them live long enough to to say THANKS (and they will).