A mom asks Dr. MacAfee: I understand what you write, “Recovery is always an individual endeavor and also requires a supportive community.” I also know how hard it has been to love my son unconditionally through all the rehabs, failed attempts, restarts, continued use and damage to relationships. My husband and I are trying hard to support his current attempt at recovery. I know the road is very difficult for the addict and my heart breaks for my son, but I also have a broken heart for the rest of us. So much healing is needed. How does healing happen?
Dr. MacAfee responds: We all want healing to be an end game, but it doesn’t happen that way. Healing comes a layer at a time. For some, healing is totally dependent on the sobriety of the addict and this highlights the difference between helping and enabling.
To the mom above, you might say to your child, “I have discovered that there is only room for one of us in your addiction. I have decided to leave you in charge of the consequences of your addiction. Ironically, I find this decision both terrifying and liberating, but also healing. I want you to be whole again and I fear all our help has stood in your way. It’s hard for me to face my getting out of your way, but I realize that it is healing for you, too.”
Today’s Promise to consider: I will stay close, love my child and not abandon him, but I will get out of the way of the chaos of his addiction. My peace will come from knowing that I’ve done everything I could have done. I will endure and pray.1228