MACAFEE’S WORDS OF WISDOM: STOP TRYING TO MANAGE THE CHAOS

img_3931This is part of a series of monthly posts that reference many conversations with Dr. MacAfee. Thanks, Doc.  

A dear friend of mine and Dr MacAfee’s, a mother of a recovering addict, wrote to me: I used to think that if I could just work harder and do more for my addicted loved one, I could fix the problem. Dr. MacAfee taught me that my attempts to manage the chaos enabled my son to continue his self-destruction. Don’t get me wrong…things were still deteriorating, but at a much slower pace. Once I stopped managing his chaos, he lasted three days. It was shocking. It still is.

My reflection: I used to think my job as a mom was to fix my children’s problems. With addiction, most of what I thought I knew wasn’t right or didn’t work. Like my friend, I finally learned that I had to get out of the way of my son’s consequences.

Today’s Promise to consider: As parents, we can’t manage the chaos in our addicted loved one’s life. Our impulse to make things better for him is a good one, but in the face of addiction it becomes counterproductive. Moreover, when I put myself in charge of my son’s addiction, this gave him the time and opportunity to continue his destructive way of life. When I finally learned to stay close but out of the chaos, he took control.

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LeAnn
LeAnn
4 years ago

These words are so true…unfortunately I learned it too late to save my son from his addiction. Now I am working a 12 Step program (NARANON) for myself. My husband has had problems and instead of repeating my same insane behavior, I have learned to only focus on myself and it is so much easier on both of us. He is responsible for his recover….I am in charge of MINE! Thank God!

sharon
sharon
4 years ago

I am not sure what is meant by “he lasted 3 days. It was shocking. It still is”. Does it mean that this young addicted person did not survive after the mother stepped back from the chaos?