A mother wrote an email message to me. This is part of it: We have tried to stay close to our addicted son, but I think instead I have been enabling him. We hired a lawyer the first time, but my son did something worse and ended up in jail anyway. The last time, we got an attorney again, but with similar results. I know my son needs long-term rehab, but how does he leave everything and go away for a year or more? I don’t know what to do to save our son.
My personal reflection on the passage above offering my thoughts today: As parents, we want to save our children. But addiction is a confounding disease and we find that we are oftentimes powerless. Dr. MacAfee writes, “Family members repeatedly blame themselves and try to straighten out the addict. This is a mission filled with good intention, but unless the addict is ready to stop, good intentions are exploited. Addicts will do anything in their power to keep using, and family will do anything in their power to stop them.”
Our addicted children have to make the choice to get and stay clean. We can love them through it, but in our attempt to save them we often enable. This vicious cycle must be broken.
Today’s Promise to consider for all of us who love addicts: I will stay close and allow my loved one to choose a life of sobriety. I must stop denying him the consequences of his addiction. He must make the decision for himself and I must respect my boundaries.373