jer and jeffThe sister of a brother, who died of addiction, wrote to me: We lost our brother to a drug overdose at the age of 50. We went though a lot and we always thought he was better and clean. Our parents died years ago and they did everything possible to help him. They lived a frugal existence because they could never deny him help. Do you call that enabling? I don’t know anymore. It was a long, long struggle and now my brother is at peace.

My reflection: What is enabling and what does it look like in a family? We parents see things one way and the siblings see things differently. I don’t believe there are definitive answers, but I think communication and learning are critical. We need to work to keep communication open among all family members and try to understand genuinely their pain. In the end, we must make the decisions that we think are best for our child. As Terry Gorski says, “Society gives us no rules when dealing with addiction.”

Today’s Promise to consider: I will respect the feelings of all the members of my family and try to recognize their points of view. Today, I will listen to their concerns calmly and not become defensive. I will admit that I don’t have all the answers and will explain that I am trying to do what I think is right.




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Pat Nichols
6 years ago

I eventually learned that the only points of view I would listen to would be that of my 12 step sponsor and my alcohol drug counselor. When my actions or inaction’s were confronted by well meaning extended family members and/or friends I would simply respond, we are seeing a professional counselor and working a 12 step program. We would love it if you would join us! That usually shut them up!!!! Once I was in recovery and had educated myself on the disease I understood why others acted toward me as they did, why they felt their ideas would solve all my problems. I have great compassion for all those who refuse to understand this disease. I never wanted to understand this disease either! The key to fighting this disease and being in the best position to help your addicted loved one and returning yourself to your own peace and serenity is to understand the power of hope. Hope fuels your addicted loved one’s long term recovery as well as your own. Hope is found in books like “Stay Close” by Libby. Hope is found in support groups and 12 step programs like Families Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery, Al-Anon etc. Hope is found in your Creator. Hope is the foundation of life.

6 years ago

This story speaks of society has no rules for the families for addicted persons. This woman is wrong, and I will say why she is wrong. I am a parent of a addicted person. I go through this with my partner all the time. She is an enabler, knows it, can’t listen to any reasoning because of her love for her son, and because each and every time she “hopes” that this will be the last time. Parents, you can’t hope for them to get it by hoping they do. So here’s the rule and will back it up with stories that can be looked up if you really want to help the addicted. This is also by knowing many addicted people. So here is the rule. It’s hard, it hurts, but in the end, it will be for the best. STOP enabling them to keep the addiction going. That means after the first occurrence of addiction, you help them through it, rehab, counseling, meetings, to learn about what they are really dealing with. Then it’s over. Let them know from this point on if they go back, there will be no more help. PERIOD! No ifs ands or buts! They can’t call you, can’t ask for nothing but a ride to next rehab! That is it. Because every dollar you give is another shot in their arm, or whatever drug use it is. This is only way. It hurts, it’s hard, but you have your choice like the addicted does. You help them kill themselves, help them rob everyone in family and friends, or you stop it right away. If they are going to die, then God will take them either way, but do you want to help them get there? Look it up, the ones that got it, was the ones that got cut off by family and they either went to jail, or was homeless until they said he’ll with this, they want their family back and then did the right thing, or as I have had friends, they go to prison and either come out better or they don’t come out. BUT, this is their choice! Don’t help them die, do not help them ruin your marriage, your life because it is their choice. If they ask for help, sure do it, right to rehab! My woman’s son finally said he was coming home, after two months of torturing his mom, and knowing he was that bad, and before he could withdrawal I had him in rehab within 14 hours. Please understand I’m not being a hardass, I’m talking from my heart, it’s the only way to stop it from the beginning.

6 years ago

I need to find the answer to this question? I felt that the devotees to this website founded by someone who illustrates her piety through books, websites, her daily messages using her divine insight, scholarly achievements, conversant could answer my paradoxical question. After the sudden death of our daughter last mothers day our granddaughters biological father and parents took the 6 year old child away banning us from communicating with her at all. We have had that child since the day she was born, they lived with us, had their own rooms, spent every summer with us as well as every holiday. So not only did we loss our child but we lost our grandchild as well. The only response to our incessant attempts was by a certified letter from their attorney stating that if we continue we will be sued for defamation of character. Now here’s another question if there is documentation, criminal records, texts and eyewitnesses tangible proof how is that deformation of character?
How can someone benefit off the intolerable, overwhelming grief/pain of others? How could multiple hard copies of the depraved actions of a son be celebrated by a mother? It is a struggle just to breathe anymore, the daily sometimes moment by moment yearning for her and our granddaughter is constant daily.

5 years ago

I will respect the feelings of all the members of my family and try to recognize their points of view. Today, I will listen to their concerns calmly and not become defensive. I will admit that I don’t have all the answers and will explain that I am trying to do what I think is right.
You may respect the feelings of all the members of your family except for one Iysabella our Granddaughter to. Your family never sent any condolences to Iysabella’s other half of her family. She lost her mother and you explain that you are trying to do what you think is right? The day her mother passed away you and your son took that baby away blocking any communication what so ever with her, her mothers family not only grieved the sudden loss of a daughter but the sudden loss of the piece of her left living our granddaughter. You know what you are doing and doing with malice but remember Iysa is only half Bratton the other half is our daughter and even you cannot change that fact. We have had Iysa from the day she was born over the past 6 years we had/lived with her more than your family did so someday Iysa will come home to us I know this for a fact. And when she does come home she will have what her mother left for her and the documents about what is the real truth.