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Cutting distances

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Loved One' started by Peninha, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    Sometimes it's common that some family relations are broken due to addiction. I'd say that even if we keep our distances at a given moment we should not break completely and we need to face it, the initiative needs to come from our side because drugs addicts sometimes have their emotional development stagnated... Do you agree on this?
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  2. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    Peninha, it's easy to shift the responsibility to someone else and addicts always seek someone to blame for being unable to fight their addiction. If my wife hadn't left me . . .

    But supposing a relationship is too broken to mend? Take the example of an abusive alcoholic. He comes homes, beats up the kids, fights with his wife. How long will even the most forgiving person put up with such behavior?

    Addicts IMO must [or should] take the initiative to bridge rifts they've created.
    MrsJones likes this.
  3. Fern

    Fern Active Contributor

    I think part of recovery is about making amends to those harmed by the addict's actions and renewing old relationships. That doesn't make it an easy thing to do but one of the signs of a recovery in progress is the emotional maturity to reach out.

    With that in mind though, I think sometimes you don't necessarily want to cut the addict out completely but you need to limit their contact with you and their ability to harm you. In that case, no matter how young you are or how old the addict is, remember that an addict still on their substance of choice is very much not in control and more like a child. With my mother, I don't want to cut her off but I do set boundaries to make myself feel safe interacting with her and I enforce them. For example, if she yells or becomes verbally abusive on a phone call, I hang up the phone. She knows I'll do it. I'm very consistent about it. But sometimes she can't control herself. I hate to make the comparison but it's the same reason I leash my dog; He's well behaved most of the time but when he isn't, he could get hurt. Mom will hurt me if I let her so I keep her from doing that. Hanging up immediately is a lot easier on both of us than letting her shred me emotionally. Then when she's more sober and more in control of herself, our relationship is mostly still intact.
  4. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    I think it's probably 50/50 really. Some relationships have been damaged by addiction, and can maybe be saved with amends and a change in behavior. However, there are toxic relationships that sometimes need to go. If someone is an enabler, or current user, no matter how much you might want to save that relationship, it just seems like it might be a bad idea for a persons on sobriety.
    MrsJones and Rainman like this.
  5. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    Sure, somethings are better left in the past and each case is a case, but when we are talking about a parents-kids relationship is something to consider. Not in the case if some parents are monsters of course.
    MrsJones likes this.
  6. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    Some children may not be very forgiving especially if they are abused by their parents. So even when it's a parents-kid relationship we are talking about, there's a line which once crossed, there's no going back.

    Addicts need to keep this in mind: "No one chooses their family and for that reason have no reason to stay around if they aren't getting as much [love] as they give."
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
  7. pintbean

    pintbean Active Contributor

    I think this quote sums things up for me. I don't have anything else left to say because it expresses everything I've thought about this topic so succinctly.
  8. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    Yep, we don't choose family and if we were abused we certainly don't want to see them ever again. It's pretty much about love, if we weren't loved, there's nothing left to love.
    Rainman likes this.
  9. LostmySis

    LostmySis Senior Contributor

    In my experience, I was pushed to a point where I could not take it anymore. I could only deal with offering reconciliation for so long until I finally walked out. Years later, when he was on his way to recovery, he tried to get back together with me, but in my mind it was too little too late. A brief conversation made me realize that he still had no idea how badly he treated me or how intensely he affected me. This made me more angry and more resolved not to fall into the old patterns.

    Love is a two way street. He was not loving when he did/acted the way he did.
  10. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    Pretty much. I was 16 more or less when my dad talked to me for the first time. The reason for that? He caught me with drugs. LOL. Couldn't he have talked to me before that?
  11. 003

    003 Community Champion

    I agree that we should not break completely, but it would be really hard to do. I mean what if it takes so much to keep a family connection. What if you already have your own family and your sister or brother is an addict and trying to keep her or him makes it only worse for your own family which by your doing you put them at risk. I think that it'd really come to the point that we have to choose to whom we'd give our attention.