Johann Hari, author of Chasing The Scream, writes: When I returned from my long journey, I looked at my ex-boyfriend, in withdrawal, trembling on my spare bed, and I thought about him differently. For a century now, we have been singing war songs about addicts. It occurred to me as I wiped his brow, we should have been singing love songs to them all along.

My reflection: Tough love was the mantra-of-the-day when my son was in the deepest throes of his heroin addiction. People told me to kick him out of the house, cancel him from our lives, and to have an imaginary funeral for him.

Today’s Promise to consider: Shame, neglect, and ridicule often drive the addict deeper into his addiction. None of these negative behaviors ever helped my son get closer to health. Stay Close became our mantra, and this worked for us. War or Compassion? I choose compassion.

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Thank you for this very important reminder and confirmation of what I also believe to be true. A family member told me to drop our son off at a homeless shelter. I replied that he was our son and it was our responsibility to help him and that we wouldn’t drop off a child with a different disability at a hospital or institution and just walk away.

We so relate to this week’s post. The tough love approach did not make sense to us then or now. We chose keeping open to hope. And love. Such a hard thing to do when often people mistake any other approach as “enabling” behaviour. The judgement of others -this is something we learned to navigate as well. But when you choose the way of love and compassion, an amazing thing happens — you see clearly– and you do not enable, you support a way forward and conditions for healing. You take care of yourself. We used to use the term… Read more »
I struggle with choosing between “War or Compassion” My son is 19 an addict which started when he was 13 years old. When he turned 18 we had to kick him out of the house because he was destructive, basically a ticking time bomb, and we never new when he would explode and when he did it would take the police to end it. We were unable to leave the house because you didn’t know what would be left when you returned. I love my child more than life itself but for many reason we can’t have him at home,… Read more »
How do you stay close but out of the chaos? I gave my daughter a 2 choices, get help and we will help you and you can stay with us and your 18 month old daughter, not get help and you cannot stay with us or come to stay and recouperate after a binge. She chose to leave but blames me and tells people I kicked her out. I want to stay close and help but not quite sure how to do this. We have been getting 2-3 days a week of her being “normal” and then she is lost… Read more »