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How to love your child, without enabling them

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Child' started by singingintherain, Aug 30, 2015.

  1. singingintherain

    singingintherain Community Champion

    It is often a very fine line for people to walk - the difference between loving your child and being there for them, versus enabling their addiction.

    This article offers some advice on how to walk that fine line. Namely, by being available, being proud of, and loving them, being welcoming and reading, researching & seeking professional assistance.

    What are your experiences with walking that line? Do you employ the techniques listed in that article to good effect? I think one of the hardest parts is being welcoming. It's not that you don't want to be, it's just that separating them from the drugs, and keeping your home drug free, is such a challenge.
    Momma9, MrsJones and deanokat like this.
  2. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

  3. mscaver86

    mscaver86 Member

    It is a very fine line indeed. How can you say no to someone you gave life to? How hard is it to see them suffer because they want something so bad and they are begging you almost in tears and turn around and say no? I know we have to be strong but it is a lot easier said than done.
    Becks, Kamille6 and Momma9 like this.
  4. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    Awesome article, so now I got a very clear definition of loving an addict :) I hope I never need this with my own kids or anything like that, but it is indeed so useful to know. I think it is so hard to know whether you are helping them or just enabling them. I am going to apply those very same advice to my current situation with my fiance. I need to get on researching the topic more though, I sent him a site with all the info he needs in order to quit, but he didn't even open it. I guess I should act a bit more like his mom and sign up for him, see what options he has?
  5. Momma9

    Momma9 Community Champion

    It is sooo hard, but the article is right. My daughter is a meth addict at 24 and will be getting out of prison for the 3rd time in October. I so want her to stay clean, but am trying not to get my hopes up.

    I have been tough so far and refused to help except for buying her food and thrift store clothes when she is sober and we hang out. I keep remembering her as a baby - how did this happen?
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
    hope4usmn likes this.
  6. hope4usmn

    hope4usmn Member

    Let me start with I am the mother of a 34 yr old daughter addicted to meth. This all new to me, meaning drug addiction. I feel I am at my wits end, I have read, researched, read and researched more about this and feel like I do know alot more then I did. I have read the article, and I know I am an enabler, I have paid bills, paid rent, got money from my parents to help keep her car, bailed her out of jail, got her to go to treatment for 30 days only after she went to jail and got out, and someone called CPS on her, she is single and has 2 daughters. Before this started which I believe her heavy use began 2 years ago, she had a great job she loved for over 10 years, good relationship, nice home, car, all was good. Then after her 11 year relationship ended, her downward spiral began. My issue I fight with is my grandchildren, she is still dealing with CPS they do random drug tests, which she passes, I have no idea how, I know she is using again, I know she is using in her home with the children present, I battle with her losing her children, then I enable because them kids need it, thats my reasoning, she recently asked me to lie for her to CPS about where she was one night. I know I need to stop "helping is so hard, at this point she still has full custody, I feel put in a bad spot, not sure what to do, not sure who to talk to, fell very lost, yet keep trying to keep Hope for her. I wound up here looking for anyone, something to help me get thru some of these things. Should I call human services on her, let them know what i believe, will it do any good?? My daughter came home from treatment wasnt long she was back hanging with her old crowd, she denies using, says she is looking for a job, says she is doing good. Yet she is pushing me away, lying about things she thinks i need to hear, all the things she was doing before. Anyhows.. thank you for listening, any advice you have is appreciated 7/25/2016
  7. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @hope4usmn... Welcome to the community and thanks for sharing with us. I'm sorry that your daughter is struggling and that you are struggling, too. As the father of a child in recovery from heroin addiction, I know a lot of what you're feeling.

    As parents, we want to do everything we can to "fix" our children. When they're little kids and fall and scrape their knee, that's doable. We clean out the cut, put a Band-Aid on it, and send them on their way. But with addiction, it's another story. Addiction is a disease that parents cannot fix. It doesn't matter how much we want our child to change, or how hard we work at "fixing" them; if the addict doesn't want to change none of it will matter.

    Yes, you are a textbook enabler. But at least you recognize that fact. My wife and I enabled our son for a long time, too, until we realized that we were doing him more harm than good. By enabling, all we do is make it easier for the addict to continue on their road of destruction. Our son was comfortable in his addiction, compliments of me and my wife. When we finally got the courage up to tell him he either had to go to treatment or leave our house for good, that's when things started changing for the better.

    I totally get that enabling your daughter is probably much easier to do because of her two daughters. Not giving your daughter money for rent not only subjects your daughter to consequences, but it affects your grandchildren, too. That's a tough situation and I don't know how I would handle the same situations. But I'm definitely going to cut you some slack because of the grandkids. That said, you can't keep doing the same thing and expect things to change. Like they say, "If nothing changes, nothing changes." Or, if you prefer, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

    I saw that you liked a comment I made in another thread about someone who was dealing with their nephew's addiction. So you've likely read this already, but I'm going to copy and paste it here so it's in this comment, too, because it definitely applies to you as well:

    I'd like to recommend a fabulous book to you. It's called Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change. It's written specifically for partners and loved ones of addicts and it's full of great information. It teaches you how to communicate with your loved one, how to help motivate them to want to change, and how to take care of yourself while you're trying to help. I think you could really benefit from reading the book. I talk a little bit more about it in this blog post I wrote not too long ago:

    6 Essential Books for Those with an Addicted Loved One

    That book really is amazing and I highly recommend it.

    As far as what you should do about your daughter at this point...I'm not really sure. I've never been in your situation, so it's difficult to give advice. I will say this: Your granddaughters should not be living in a home where there is an active drug user present, even if it is their mother. That is a very dangerous situation for sure.

    You've probably done this already, but I would suggest sitting down with your daughter and having a heart-to-heart, mother-to-daughter talk. With love and compassion, tell her that you're concerned about her well-being; tell her you're concerned about your granddaughters' well-being; and tell her how her drug use makes you feel. No anger. No yelling. No confrontation. Just love and compassion. And maybe ask her if she'd be willing to go see an addiction specialist, who can assess her situation and recommend the best next steps.

    If your daughter shuts down the conversation, or if she refuses to seek any kind of help, then I would absolutely consider calling CPS. (I certainly wouldn't lie to CPS for her.) That's not a pleasant thing to have to do, but your daughter is an adult who can live her life however she chooses. If she chooses to keep using drugs, then so be it. But your grandchildren don't have a choice in this matter. If they're with your daughter, and she's using, then they are in a dangerous situation. And that's not right. Their safety should be the top priority in this matter, I think.

    I don't know what your situation is, but is there any way you could watch your granddaughters if your daughter went to treatment? If that's possible, maybe suggest that as an option. (Just thinking out loud.)

    I would also suggest that you consider seeking out a Nar-Anon or Al-Anon meeting and going to it. Being among people who know exactly what you're going through can be incredibly helpful.

    No matter what you choose to do, know this one thing: We are here to help and support you however we can. You are not alone, my friend, so feel free to reach out and lean on us anytime.

    I am sending you positive vibes and lots of hugs full of hope. I will also pray for your daughter and your granddaughters. I hope things get better. In order for that to happen, though, I think some things are going to have to change.

    Light and love to you.
    Donnchadh likes this.
  8. hope4usmn

    hope4usmn Member

    Thank you so much Dean for your words. I have read it several times and I am so glad your son found the strength to conquer his demons. I wish I had you to mentor my daughter, she has been to 12 step based 30day inpatient treatment, attends NA meetings, meets with a psychologist, all of these things required by the treatment center who is working with our human services to keep her children. All she does(what she says to me) is count the days its done, the random checks, the stupid meetings, listening to all these bullshit people who I am not even like. I have asked her if she has any sober friends, she says yes, I said why don't you hang out with them. She says, its boring, how people say they have fun being sober. Her rationales, how she convinces herself the only happy times she has is when she is high. Anyway, I did not call CPS, I just couldn't do it, trust me it still eats me up. I recently found out my other daughter, (I have 2 daughters) got high with her, I knew she had did drugs long ago, and really has been a big support through all this with her sister. So needless to say, at this very moment I would say I am just disappointed, angry, hurt, and I can say, I have said it many times in the last week, "I give up! Why Why why! I have not spoke to either one of them in just over a week, and in which neither of them has reached out to me either. Ya know I found it interesting when you said, have a heart to heart conversation with my daughter, I have not had that, you know she has never really even admitted to me she has used drugs, she says I drink, smoke marijuana, and done meth a couple times. Keep in mind the truth all came Out, cause someone turned into CPS they came and did a random drug test and she failed for meth, when she admitted she had did meth, and we got her to go to treatment then. So have I had a heart to heart? No . When she was in treatment, they had a family day and wanted her family there, and she begged us not to come, was just dumb, you wouldnt like it mom, all day thing, groups, people telling long stupid stories...I said I was going to come, it ended up I didn't, she got out the day after....Now I think I know why she didn't want me there, she did not want me to confront her. I have said things here and there, little things, nothing about how any of this has affected me, I just don't want to make her mad I guess, I don't know. She definitely has admitted nothing to me, she is a master liar, she can convince you or anyone of anything, she posts all these pictures on FB of herself , (she is a very beautiful woman) and all the comments she gets, I look at them and feel sad cause I see them eyes she is loaded. So anyways, today I feel there is no more I can do ...
  9. Donnchadh

    Donnchadh Active Contributor

    Take deanokat's advice I think it's the best advice your going to get. I once was where your daughter is now and to be brutally honest I really appreciated everyone who enabled my addiction and I actually played people like puppets I'm not proud to say but that's the disease we're dealing with we use or I did every trick in the book in order to get people to enable my addiction. I'd suggest that you seek a group that supports family members of addicts you should be able to get information about such groups at your medical or social center's. You might find it difficult approaching them but please do they will totally understand and listen and advise you.all my best to you and I sincerely hope your daughter manages to get to grips with her addiction Love and Hugs to you all.your in my prayers xx
    hope4usmn likes this.
  10. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @hope4usmn... I'm sorry you're feeling like there's no more you can do. I understand your frustration, anger, and hurt. If the addicted person doesn't want to get better, it's incredibly difficult to help them. But that Beyond Addiction book I recommended does have suggestions for helping motivate your loved one to want to change. It might be worth reading, if you feel up to it.

    My son went to four different rehabs before things finally "stuck." Recovery is not a straight line, and it can take lots of time for someone to finally get clean.

    Just know that I'm here for you for help and support anytime. Just reach out if you need to.

    Big hugs coming your way.

    hope4usmn and Donnchadh like this.
  11. Kamille6

    Kamille6 Member

  12. Kamille6

    Kamille6 Member