You can’t fix it. But you can make it worse

Watching your child or loved one self destruct with addiction is the hardest thing to watch. It’s like watching a person implode.

At first, we think we can fix it. We are sure we can. If we just want it enough, we can almost do it for them. We just need to know what to do. What directions to follow. Where to drop them off to be fixed. How much to pay.

But we can’t fix it.

We try, agonize, project, cry, pray, beg and lose ourselves in the process. We make their problem ours. After all, this is your child, husband, brother, sister, mother, father. Maybe if we are more vigilant. Invested ourselves more. Asked more questions.

If it’s your child, maybe if you separated them from the “bad” crowd. Threw enough money at it. Shamed them out of it. Took the phone or the car keys more often. (Like that ever worked.)

It’s not like other diseases.

It has that awful behavior that comes with it. The lying, manipulation and stealing. And your loved one is lost in there somewhere. The good person is deep down inside. You want to see that person again. You miss that person. Crave it.

You can prevent a relapse, too, right? If you tiptoe enough. Hold your breath long enough. Pray enough.

Here’s the thing. You can’t change them but you can change how you react. That’s what you can change. And you have to find out how.

If you don’t, it can make things worse.

So working on you is worth it. Getting educated. Understanding it. Not making the problem your own. Letting them know you are there when they want help. And that you love them even if you can’t live with them.

This is their journey. Not yours.

Saturday Charles

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked mental health speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational mental health keynotes, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, anxiety, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

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