From Anne Moss: I got this message from a mom that is part of our village here on Emotionally Naked. Figuring out the boundary between enabling and helping is so difficult. Given that so many of us struggle with one in active addiction or a loved one who has died, I thought I’d post this because coincidentally, the issue she had an issue with had a perfect answer in a comment someone posted a few days ago.
Diane’s regret after her son’s death:
by Diane Fielder-McCormick – My biggest regret during the seasons that my son Joshua was using drugs is when I acted in “tough love” ways. In the picture I posted today on Facebook of him on my front porch a year ago, I had kicked him out for stealing money from me. I took him to a homeless shelter/drug rehab place but he walked away. Before he even went in.
And he slept in the woods, literally, all winter. Looking back, I’m thinking that some of our behaviors add to their shame, compounding it. Multiplying it, sinking our loved ones even deeper into the abyss.
Yes, he did move back in and stayed with us until his suicide. Think twice before words are spoken or actions taken. Really hard balance on the other side of death.
The really good comment from a reader here:
(This comment was to another post but I sent this because it was so perfect for this issue.)
It’s an impossible line to navigate between support and enabling. It is an absolute tight rope, and the line is so thin, we are either enabling or supporting, and the distance between the two is about a centimeter. I learned a great deal from attending the AA meetings in rehab with my child.
The men who got up to speak, shared their past lives of deep manipulation, and hurting those closest to them. They were unable to feel regret, until they were clean of drugs. They all admitted, the more the family helped, the more advantage they took of their family members.
If they survived to rock bottom, that’s when they made the change. Drug addiction is a vicious cycle, often sweeping our most tender hearted and compassionate up in addiction. All of us can only hope and pray that our loved one is the one that hits rock-bottom, and survives it, to potentially live drug-free.
I was fortunate, my son has been clean over 6 years–and before Fentanyl hit. It had absolutely nothing to do with anything I did or didn’t do.
At any moment I could’ve lost him, there were dozens of those times I could’ve lost him. And if I didn’t lose him the one week, the next week was still dangling there, like a spider in the web.
The regret must be overwhelming about that final day, but we need to know, that there would’ve probably been many future potential final days to come, and there were probably many potentially previous final days that had come and the child miraculously survived.