Last week’s meditation evoked responses about the word ‘enabling.’ This dad’s comment below represents the general feeling among many parents about the lack of clarity between enabling and loving.

A dad wrote to me: We enable because we love our children and then we turn around and blame ourselves for helping them. It’s not fair to us, so I have chosen to do one of the four. When the choices are enable, blame, shame or love, I will choose love and “Stay Close.”

My personal reaction: We parents love our children and want to make things better for them. For me, I wasn’t sure what to do to help Jeff and almost ‘loved’ him to death. In the end, I chose to follow the advice of an Italian recovering alcoholic, “Do not abandon your son, but don’t give him money. Stagli vicino: stay close to him.”

Today’s Promise to consider: Our grown children make their own choices: some good, some not good. We can’t live their lives or choose for them, but we will love them and stay close.

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Gina DeCosimo
Gina DeCosimo
10 years ago

Dear Libby,
I thank God that your book came along. Because I could have certainly loved my son to death as well. Instead I took your advice to “Stay Close”, but let him makes his own mistakes. From what I have learned the love turned into enabling because the addict in active addiction takes advantage of that love.
I forget where I read this but it is worth repeating. “The gift is given in the darkest moment. Never deny someone their own suffering, it is their greatest power”
I not only will consider today’s promise, I will put into practice!!
Forte Abbraccio

Lisa Anderson
10 years ago

This is the hardest part for me…..I never know what to believe anymore. I loved Gina’s comment above about the gift given….That one is going on my office wall. Thanks for sharing Libby. always, Lisa

Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Dear Gina, Yes, the addict takes advantage of our love. Jeff once told me something similar to what you wrote, “Never deny an addict his pain.” As you wrote, we learn through the tough times, through our own suffering.
Thanks for staying close and helping all of us! Un bacio!

Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Dear Lisa,

I agree! Going on my wall, too :).

Love to you!

Pat Nichols
10 years ago

There is so much truth to your words but parents need to be preapred for what the enemy (disease of addiction)has in store for them when they set their boundaries out of love.

The diseased mind of an addicted child will not be pleased nor will he/she understand what a parent intentions are by “staying close,” yet not “enabling.”

I remember well when I told my child that I loved him but could not bail him out of jail or provide an attorney. He responded in anger and tears that I couldn’t possibly love him or care anything about him. No father would allow their child to remain in such a dangerous enviroment and love their child and on and on and on.

My point, be prepared and “stay close” to God.

10 years ago

Helpful comments. Thank you all

10 years ago

Dear Pat, your comments really hit home with me. How I remember……I feel your pain.

Thank you all for your comments and being a part of Libby’s forum. You all help me so much.

Love and prayers for our children.