Dr. Patrick MacAfee, who for over forty years has worked with addiction, told me, Addicts in active addiction are self-centered and self-obsessed. Because of this, there is room for only one person in the addiction – the addict. In order to maintain his addiction, the addict manipulates, lies and connives. They have to. Parents love them and want to help, but they often unwittingly foster the addiction. It is critical for parents to get out of the way of the consequence of use. When they short-circuit the consequences, they contribute to the addiction. Think of it this way: USING = CONSEQUENCES.
My reaction: I lived in denial for a long time, living in the trap of manipulation that things would get better for Jeff as long as I could fix the problems caused by his addiction. With the help of professionals like Dr. MacAfee, education and Al-Anon meetings, I learned to remove myself from the stickiness of Jeff’s addiction. I had to learn how to stay close in love, but out of the chaos.
Today’s Promise to consider: As parents, we want to help our children by fixing their problems. Sometimes this works, but not with addiction. I will love my child unconditionally, but I cannot control his addiction. I will support his recovery while allowing him to face the consequences of his actions.