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Is It Safe To Walk Away?

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Loved One' started by crc3thebest, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. crc3thebest

    crc3thebest Community Champion

    When you have been through the highs and lows of addiction with a family member, is it okay to walk away? Sometimes, I fear going to their funeral and I would blame myself for not being there every second of the way to recovery. However, is it okay to agree that some do not want recovery? I have sacrificed so much to build them up to who they once were, I have began to lose hope when they turn back time by using over and over again. Would walking away from there sorrow help them or hurt them?
    aimeep80 likes this.
  2. DancingLady

    DancingLady Community Champion

    If they don't want recovery, they can't be forced to stay in it. There is definitely a point where you have to take care of yourself, even if that makes it seem like you are abandoning them. Addiction often affects more than just the addict, it can ruin the lives of every person in the household as well. If your addicted family member is not really willing to recover, but is seriously interfering with your ability to live a normal life, then it may be time to put some space between you. No matter what they say to you, they know you tried, but they refused to accept help.
    MrsJones likes this.
  3. MrsJones

    MrsJones Community Listener Community Listener

    crc3thebest, I agree with DancingLady. If you believe that you have given your best in support of that family member and they refuse to even try to turn their life around it's okay to step away. Keep them in your prayers and hopefully someone else will come along and continue where you left off.
  4. Peachdejour

    Peachdejour Member

    One of the toughest things I have had to come to terms with when dealing with self destructive persons is that you cannot always save them. You can try your hardest, but if they are set on destroying themselves, they will do it. It is okay to walk away and say that you do not want to watch them do that. There will be feelings of guilt, but you will work through them and come out on the other side a stronger person. Your loved one may surprise you in the end. Sometimes they have to do it on their own. However, you do not have to sacrifice yourself while they do themselves in.
  5. Zyni

    Zyni Community Champion

    It's probably one of the hardest things you'll ever do, but unfortunately, it sometimes comes down to that. Someone who doesn't want help isn't going to accept your help. There comes a point where there is literally nothing else you can do for them. Let them know that you will be around if they decide they do want change and help, but also let them know that you won't sit by and watch them commit slow suicide.
  6. hellonamesdana

    hellonamesdana Senior Contributor

    It is so hard to walk away from a family member who is dealing with an addiction. As many times I have wanted to completely cut off contact from my mother who is an alcoholic, every single time I go crawling back to her to give her more help and support. It's so hard because she doesn't deserve my help and my love and my support, but she gets it anyways, even when she doesn't give it to me when that's sort of her job as a mother to love and protect and support their children.
  7. Hey crc3thebest, I can relate to you because I'm actually going through the same thing with my parents. I have tried everything I could think of to get them help. They don't want help. When I confront them about it, it just turns into a screaming match. Sometimes, there is nothing you can do. I moved out of my parents home and it has been the best thing to happen to me. I don't have to see them every day and think about it as much. I know it hurts and it's scary to think they may die from their addiction, but sometimes you can help, you have to let them help themselves because they're just going to do what they want.
    I'm sorry that you have to go through this, I know how terrible it feels. It's heartbreaking. Just take care of yourself and remember not to go down that path.
  8. jbbarn

    jbbarn Active Contributor

    I've been through this as well. It's terrible! I had to turn a beloved family member away from my door, because I did not want him around my young children ,while he was in his usual drunken state. He was asking me for a place to stay, because his mother had finally, after enduring years of abuse, kicked him out. I had to tell him no. Then I went inside my warm house and cried for him. I felt so guilty! He is still alive, and he is still an alcoholic. There is nothing I can do, except pray. I will never stop doing that.
  9. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I think it depends on the situation and the individual involved but in general it's probably okay to walk away if you're feeling overwhelmed. Just make sure that you are completely sure about the decision and won't regret it later on, otherwise it might be better for your conscience to do more than your limits so in the end you'd be confident that you did everything you can.
  10. rcdpink

    rcdpink Active Contributor

    Walking away can be such a tragic thing, cause we never know if and at what exact point our addicted loved ones may make that decisive turn to sobriety.'s a hard one to respond to. I would say however, by virtue of experience, that walking away is a decision based on the circumstance. What I do is that I listen to my heart and if it's telling me that there is still a bit of hope, then I will follow it. Yea...
  11. rcdpink

    rcdpink Active Contributor

    It is true that where we fail to be able to provide support, the creator is able to do above and beyond. In fact, when I think about it, there are so many things that we are not able to manipulate or change in our surroundings, yet the one who made us keeps things in order. I think if we pray, then things can work to our benefit. Sometimes we have to walk away and pray, I guess. Sometimes it seems that our loved ones don't love us more than the drugs cause they won't listen to our good advise. It's sad, but after exerting all efforts to help, and they won't budge, what else can we do?
  12. JoshPosh

    JoshPosh Community Champion

    Every situation is different. Some people call it tough love others call it giving up. If all else fails then maybe tough love is what they really need. I was never a person to hold someones else's hand. That's just not the way I was raised. But sometimes that is what they need to realize that enough is enough.
  13. adfnio

    adfnio Community Champion

    True. It's a hard one. Do you constantly take them back and become their enabler, or do you shoe them tough love and not help them at all? I vote for tough love. You can't baby someone all the time. They need to learn eventually.
  14. aimeep80

    aimeep80 Senior Contributor

    It is very hard to simply walk away, and when my husband was at the height of his addiction, I could not do it. I threatened and tried to give him ultimatums but they do not work. I finally just stopped focusing on his addiction and started taking care of myself. I didn't walk away but I no longer gave in to his manipulations and things of that nature that addiction causes one to do. You did not cause their addiction and you certainly can not make them stop, so by you walking away, you are absolutely doing nothing wrong. In fact, by walking away you may even help them realize how bad they are. I understand your fears but if the person wants to continue to use and/or drink, then you wouldn't be able to help them if you were there either. Do not feel guilty and please take care of yourself.
    crc3thebest likes this.
  15. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    Walking away from someone like that might hurt them, it can help them realize all they have lost... and maybe make them want to quit, it can also make them want to consume more and suddenly hit rock bottom. But what you have to realize is that yo can do absolutely NOTHING to help someone who doesn't want to be helped.

    If they die is not going to be your fault! It's all on them, they make their own decisions and you can do nothing about it. It's sad, but once you accept you are completely powerless in this kind of situation things will get easier for you. It sounds like you have already done a lot to help your loved one, so don't feel bad if you feel like it's time to walk away. The burn out is normal and you have to take care of yourself as well. One should never lose himself or herself while trying to help an addicted loved one.
    crc3thebest likes this.
  16. Zyni

    Zyni Community Champion

    This is good advice. It's hard to take, but it's important. The problem seems to be that we feel guilty in the process. We need to learn to stop feeling guilty for other people's choices.
    crc3thebest likes this.
  17. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    @Zyni Yes, that's right. Most people feel a lot guilt, worry and anxiety, but that disappears once you start thinking about your own life, and how you are important as well, we are the most important person in our own lives in the end. We need to be a bit selfish in this kind of cases and think about us first, specially if we are experiencing burn out.
  18. crc3thebest

    crc3thebest Community Champion

    Thank you for your great advice!
  19. crc3thebest

    crc3thebest Community Champion

    Great point!
  20. Zyni

    Zyni Community Champion

    Ah, but this has been a constant struggle for me. I don't know if it's my maternal instinct adding to the sense that I need to take care of everyone. Sometimes, you have to let go. I have to give myself permission to not feel responsible for others. Thanks for the great insight.