Photo Credit: Davood Madadpoor

A mom wrote to me, I worked harder for my son’s recovery than he did and I always came up empty. When I finally let go and allowed him to feel the dignity of his triumphs and pain of his failures, things changed. Just for today he chooses recovery. So do I.

My reflection: This mom’s words resonated strongly with me because for many years I, too, worked harder for my son’s recovery than he did. When he was living on the streets and brushing his teeth at the Seven Eleven, I thought, “He has hit his bottom,” so I rushed in to get him into rehab. When he got arrested for the umpteenth time, I bailed him out and forced him into yet another rehab. Nothing changed.

Today’s Promise to consider: As much as I wanted to save my son, to rescue him from the consequences of his addiction, and to pick him up when he fell, none of my attempts helped. In the end, HE had to make the choice to change his life, and I had to make mine. There was only room for one person in his addiction and that didn’t include me.

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13 Comments on "“I WORKED HARDER THAN HE DID”"

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I get confused because some people say not to kick them out and then others say to do so…I just don’t know what’s the right thing to do.


It is a challenge to find the boundary between staying close and enabling. I learned that I have choices just as my son has choices. If my son chose to leave the rehab center in the mountains of Georgia that was his choice…and I had a choice as to whether I would pay for a plane/bus/train ticket home. I chose to do nothing and he gave rehab a chance. It was not his last rehab but it was very empowering to me — to know I have choices.

Pat Nichols

What is enabling vs helping? It is very difficult for parents of addicted children to understand the difference. I decided after many years of making the same mistakes over and over again to put together what I called my “Mastermind Group.” This consisted of my 12 step sponsor, alcohol drug counselor and a man with over 20 yrs of sobriety I met in my church. When I was confused I would contact them for their experience, strength and guidance. This worked out well for my family. You just can’t do this alone!


I needed this today. Both my boys are facing felony charges in court on March 16th and they are living out of their trucks and are still not looking in to recovery. If one of my boys does not go in to recovery, when March 16th comes along he knows he will be facing jail time for 6 months. I keep encouraging them both, still nothing. Thank you.


It is not natural for us as parents to watch our children suffer and not react to their pain. It took me a long time to understand what was happening in the first place and even longer to understand the difference between enabling and letting go with love. Its such a fine line and each situation brings about its own challenges.
Its so unfortunate that we as parents are so ill prepared for a journey like this. We need to be patient and kind with ourselves.