“WE WANT TO SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS”

Photo credit: Mikele Roselli-Cecconi

A dad wrote to me: We as parents want desperately to solve our children’s problems.  After all, that’s what we have been trained to do since their birth. I think we fear the worst and don’t want to be held responsible, even if it’s only in our own minds.  The blame we would place on ourselves would be unbearable. Then, after years of experience, we know that the decision to recover can only be decided by the addicted. 

My reflection: The realization that I couldn’t save my son from addiction was the hardest lesson I had to learn, yet it was also the most essential for my well-being, and his. For years I was enmeshed in every twist and turn of my son’s sickness. This only enabled the addiction and kept me from being available to my family and myself.

Today’s Promise to consider: Addiction happens. Blame, shame, stigma, and silence do nothing to help our loved ones or us. Today, I’ll stay close, but out of the chaos. As much as I want to stop the trauma, there is only room for one in the addiction.

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12 Comments on "“WE WANT TO SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS”"

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mary beth konesky
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What you believe the word enable means? To me it is a word that has been given too much power and control to everyone directly or indirectly involved in the journey out of the struggle of drug addiction. A person who is fighting the ravages of the disease of drug addiction needs a trusted ally to just hold the light for them as they try to find their way out of the wretched darkness. I can not imagine losing the one who is struggling to death and not to have been there for that person, just to hold the light.… Read more »
Renee Clark
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Wow. To say the words in this reply breaks my heart. Every parent of an addict has to fight through the heart wrenching pain of loving your child unconditionally but come to grips with the harsh reality that no act of love on the part of me as their parent can save them. Addiction wreaks havoc through the lives of not only the addict but their family and friends. I don’t think anyone can understand the links a parent goes to trying to “save their child” only to learn that you greatest attempts were never going to be enough. Addicts… Read more »
Mary Beth Konesky
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To say that addiction is terminal is giving up hope. How sad is that. I lost my son and the details you will never know You assume with your words without even understanding the intentions behind mine. I regret not one moment I walked along side my son and held the light. He didn’t deserve to die and he died knowing, without question or hesitation, that he was loved

Suzan McColl
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Mary Beth, your words “walk along side my son and hold the light” are so beautiful they have brought me to tears. I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your beloved son. ..An unimaginable grief. I understand the “enable” concept but have instead clung to Libby’s sharing of the phrase “stay close but out of the chaos”. Each of us has to define how to do that with our critically ill addicted loved ones. There is no single formula for all of us. My son’s severe iv methamphetamine addiction is destroying his brain, literally. He has had multiple… Read more »
Suzan McColl
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Sorry for my overly long woe-is-me rambling. I know this is a blog, not an online support group. I’m embarrassed! I’m just at a lonely despairing place of self pity this week.. Your book and blog are so helpful.