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Old 06-28-2015, 01:08 PM
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Default Where is the line between understanding addiction and enabling?

I figured I'd open this since we all got off track on the other thread.
I have a lot of compassion/sympathy for people facing prison time. My son did 17+ for selling that horrible drug 'marijuana' so I understand wanting to run from stupid sentences. I'm also lucky i never killed someone or myself driving drunk.
There was some talk about enabling, condoning bad behavior because some are more understanding then the next person but where is the line for responsibility? I know when i was drinking i had pity parties. When joe was locked up i had real big pity parties of how unfair the laws were ... I was also a real bitch learning about BoP and dealing with his incarceration. That war on drugs law and being made an example almost did me in along with my son.
So I'm not trying to open up an argument here but we all suffer from somethingso when do you draw the line ? When do you tell someone you've put up with their addiction long enough and they need to figure it out on their own. Personally, it took everyone turning their back on me and me facing the question 'do I want to die?' for me to crawl back out of the bottle. If anyone had shown me sympathy I'd have continued. Most of us at the round table of AA agree on this. We're alcoholic's/addicts. We lie, we cheat, we manipulate to keep practicing in our addictions. I just wanted some other opinions to see if I'm to strong in my belief peoplehave to want help.
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Old 06-28-2015, 02:24 PM
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I come from a family of alcoholics/addicts. How I am not one myself is a blessing that I am thankful for every day. However, my mother's alcoholism nearly did me in. I pretty much mentally collapsed. To this day, I will always credit Al-Anon for saving my life and my sanity.

My mother did it all. She lied, she cheated, she stole from me and she was a master manipulator, all in order to keep drinking. Do I think she stole from me? No, I KNOW she stole from me having caught her in the act. The story could go on and on and on.

My wake up call was that I was feeling insane, but my bigger wake up call was knowing that my two children were also living through this. None of my other siblings wanted to have Mom move in with them either, and there are four of us.

Did I want her to stop drinking? Of COURSE I did. Was anything that I was doing helping her to stop? NO! Talking, begging,kindness and hiding things were not producing the desired results.

One day I sat her down at the dining table and stated, "Mom, I love you, but I can love you much better from a distance. You need to move out and get your own place."

Then came the tears. Then came the guilt tactics. Then came, "I'll move out when I find a place." No, Mom, you have 7 days to pack up and go.

I didn't get an flack from my own family, but boy, did her friends call me every name in the book. But for my own sanity, and for the sake of my children, I remained stoic and stuck to my guns. It was the best possible thing I could have done for myself AND for her.

In dealing with many alcoholics in my lifetime, I would venture to say that kindness and understanding don't work. I wasn't cruel to Mom when I asked her to move out. I was just factual, and I had to stick to it. It was only then that I began to heal. Her journey took a lot longer, but in the end, she finally stopped drinking.

She didn't speak to me for quite a few years after that, but long story short, after some years of sobriety on her part, we were able to talk like two humans and heal the rift between us. Was it easy? No Did it take a lot of work? Yes. In the end, I found peace, and she found sobriety.
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Old 06-28-2015, 04:57 PM
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I am not an enabler, I will not cover for you, lie for you, pass the blame or be the victim.
I know the addiction games and I know them well, If you try and play them on me I will shut you down in no time. I mastered the art of manipulation and blame shifting, I was the victim of all victims.

I will not keep your addiction a secret, I will not pretend that you are okay when you are not. I will not clean up your mess, I will not fix your mistakes, I will not shield you from the pain that you need to feel.

You are a human being, you are an addict, you make mistakes, your struggle is real, I will not lie to you and say that sobriety will be easy.

I will not condone your actions or mistakes, those are your burdens to carry and Im quite sure that burden is heavy enough. I will not support your effort to avoid answering for your crimes. I will understand your struggle, your confusion, and the fear you have.

I understand because I have been where you are, I remember the fear, the panic, and regret. I remember thinking that I was too far gone to save so why try, I remember feeling so completely lost and alone, I had nobody that I could open up to. I needed to be able to say I was an addict, I needed to own it and accept it so that I could begin to process it and ultimately end it.

My struggle is over, I made it.

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Old 06-28-2015, 11:25 PM
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I appreciate the replies. I'm sorry that addiction has touched all of us in so many different ways. Some tell me in meetings that I am harsh. I have no patience with the little smartass people who come in court ordered or have been placed in rehabilitation but really don't want to be there. We all struggle at times to not pick up the demon that we are powerless over and it just seems to make it harder for me to behave properly when I see the manipulation/ pity party and they/even myself won't own where I went wrong and try to justify it.
I've grabbed the attention of a few younger people telling them my story and it really wakes them up when I talk about my deceased son. He had no addiction, he was a punk ass kid when he lost his freedom for bad choices. I don't want anyone to lose anything anymore. Maybe thats why I asked where the line is because I only know where mine is.
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Old 06-29-2015, 01:10 AM
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Mary,
It is truly heartbreaking to see how many people are touched by addictions in one way or another. It is no longer just the homeless drunk in town, it is the athlete treating his injuries, the doctor working long hours, or the soccer mom just trying to make it through another lonely day. It doesn't discriminate or skip generations, it will grab ahold of many members of the same family.

Addiction cannot truly be understood except by those that have experienced it and even then there are different degrees. What one person responds to maybe too harsh for another. Your experience wasn't meant to reach everyone it will get to the ones that need it.
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Old 06-29-2015, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Taralynn214 View Post
I am not an enabler, I will not cover for you, lie for you, pass the blame or be the victim.
I know the addiction games and I know them well, If you try and play them on me I will shut you down in no time. I mastered the art of manipulation and blame shifting, I was the victim of all victims.

I will not keep your addiction a secret, I will not pretend that you are okay when you are not. I will not clean up your mess, I will not fix your mistakes, I will not shield you from the pain that you need to feel.

You are a human being, you are an addict, you make mistakes, your struggle is real, I will not lie to you and say that sobriety will be easy.

I will not condone your actions or mistakes, those are your burdens to carry and Im quite sure that burden is heavy enough. I will not support your effort to avoid answering for your crimes. I will understand your struggle, your confusion, and the fear you have.

I understand because I have been where you are, I remember the fear, the panic, and regret. I remember thinking that I was too far gone to save so why try, I remember feeling so completely lost and alone, I had nobody that I could open up to. I needed to be able to say I was an addict, I needed to own it and accept it so that I could begin to process it and ultimately end it.

My struggle is over, I made it.
Thank you. This is such a great message and really hits home with me and what I have been through with my son. Would you consider posting it on the parent's forum? I think there are a lot of parents there who need to hear this message as well, but they often don't stray from that forum and may not see your post.

Congratulations on making it. I don't know you, but I'm very proud of you!
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Old 06-29-2015, 08:34 PM
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Thank you. This is such a great message and really hits home with me and what I have been through with my son. Would you consider posting it on the parent's forum? I think there are a lot of parents there who need to hear this message as well, but they often don't stray from that forum and may not see your post.

Congratulations on making it. I don't know you, but I'm very proud of you!
I will absolutely post it there. I didn't realize there was a parents forum

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Old 06-30-2015, 08:57 PM
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So lets take it to another level.
When do you feel it as good time to back away from the addict or alcoholic? I mean addiction is sad, it also manipulate's the people who love us to sometimes believe the love, the thought of losing them will make us stop. That scenario usually is just reason/excuse to slam whatevera little harder .
How does it make the sober/ non drinker or non addict feel when we don't stop? That always bothered me because it really wasn't about who was trying to stop me. It was more about I didn't like the sickness I had if I stopped.
Parents, siblings, significant others, friends and all loved ones- does it feel like you're depriving your drunk or addict when you cut off money sources, living areas, phone and or anything else that helps them continue? And does it piss you off if someone calls you 'enabler' if you keep the communication, wallet or living area open ti them?

Sorry about typos, im using a phone...
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:22 PM
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So lets take it to another level.
When do you feel it as good time to back away from the addict or alcoholic?
When you become as sick as they are, actually before that really, but sometimes we don't realize that we can become as ill as the addict or alcoholic.
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How does it make the sober/ non drinker or non addict feel when we don't stop?
First I felt worried. Then as the BS continued and got worse, I would get pissed off. Then I would get sad. Then I'd feel resentful. It was a vicious cycle.


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Parents, siblings, significant others, friends and all loved ones- does it feel like you're depriving your drunk or addict when you cut off money sources, living areas, phone and or anything else that helps them continue? And does it piss you off if someone calls you 'enabler' if you keep the communication, wallet or living area open ti them?
Once I got into Al-Anon and learned more about the disease, AND myself, I didn't feel one bit guilty when I cut off the money source. For four years my mother lived with me and was perfectly capable of working, but then, a job would interfere with her drinking. I didn't tell her to divorce my father because it interfered with her drinking. I didn't hold a gun to her head to make her quit jobs.

Other people would enable. I didn't.
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Old 07-02-2015, 03:09 AM
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So lets take it to another level.
When do you feel it as good time to back away from the addict or alcoholic?
When it is starting to take its toll on you mentally and physically. When the other persons problem is consuming your life it is time to step away

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How does it make the sober/ non drinker or non addict feel when we don't stop?
Sad, angry, bitter... I could go on but won't. Even though you know it isn't about you Im sure Im not the only one who has felt a little hurt they aren't enough to make someone stop.

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Parents, siblings, significant others, friends and all loved ones- does it feel like you're depriving your drunk or addict when you cut off money sources, living areas, phone and or anything else that helps them continue? And does it piss you off if someone calls you 'enabler' if you keep the communication, wallet or living area open ti them?
Im going to answer this from 2 different perspectives.
The only time it would bother me to withhold something from an addict is in the case of an opiate withdrawal, but I know better then to do that. So nope I don't care because the more they struggle and are made uncomfortable the quicker (hopefully ) they come around.

I am not an enabler but I have a front row seat to the show. Yes it pisses me off, It makes me so angry that they would rather give in then save a life. In my case the enabler knows but for some reason that I have yet to understand chooses to continue.

The blame goes on the messenger. In this case the enabler is no longer a victim of the addict. They are a willing participant. Sad
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:20 PM
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Yeah i struggled the 4th in my own misery mourning my son but I also knew no one would accept me picking up a gallon of captain morgan and crying into the bottle. Alk my understanding/ enablers would walk away...Gawd sometimes I wish it wwasn't so hard.
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Old 07-08-2015, 08:14 AM
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I figured I'd open this since we all got off track on the other thread.
I have a lot of compassion/sympathy for people facing prison time. My son did 17+ for selling that horrible drug 'marijuana' so I understand wanting to run from stupid sentences. I'm also lucky i never killed someone or myself driving drunk.
There was some talk about enabling, condoning bad behavior because some are more understanding then the next person but where is the line for responsibility? I know when i was drinking i had pity parties. When joe was locked up i had real big pity parties of how unfair the laws were ... I was also a real bitch learning about BoP and dealing with his incarceration. That war on drugs law and being made an example almost did me in along with my son.
So I'm not trying to open up an argument here but we all suffer from somethingso when do you draw the line ? When do you tell someone you've put up with their addiction long enough and they need to figure it out on their own. Personally, it took everyone turning their back on me and me facing the question 'do I want to die?' for me to crawl back out of the bottle. If anyone had shown me sympathy I'd have continued. Most of us at the round table of AA agree on this. We're alcoholic's/addicts. We lie, we cheat, we manipulate to keep practicing in our addictions. I just wanted some other opinions to see if I'm to strong in my belief peoplehave to want help.
Powerful post Bumblebee37. Curious, how is your son now and how long will he be in or is he out?
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Old 07-08-2015, 08:57 AM
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Enabling is tricky. It's allowing anyone who has a behavior with negative consequences to continue that behavior and creating excuses or even assisting in that behavior. You may have sympathy for individuals but if you were to know someone had an addiction to a drug and continued to give them money, is enabling. If you knew someone loved to eat food and was gaining an unnatural amount of weight and you knew about the health risks but continued to buy the food they asked for, that's enabling.

You can enable individuals with poor personality traits as well Making excuses for their behavior instead of making them take accountability. That is what enabling is.

I was once a heroin addict and through my experiences I have seen many forms of enabling. You can feel empathy or even sympathy for a person and not enable them to use. There were people I generally cared about that I could no longer be friends with because it jeopardized my sobriety. You tell someone that you can no longer help them when you see that your "help" is actually killing them. You let them know that the help you are willing to give is for them to seek counseling/therapy, or some level of a treatment program. Sometimes it does cause an issue for example:

I have a friend whom I love dearly. This friend has a substance abuse problem that later turns into a full blown addiction...and her behavior turns for the worst. I always tell her when she gets to that point that she is always willing to call me for support, or assistance. Other than that she knows I will not give her money or anything else to support her habit or her behavior. It always ends up creating a conflict and we don't speak for a long time, this is my best friend. Which is sad to watch someone do a downward spiral like that, it's like you want to shake them, help them, but the individual has to be the one that makes the change. We can be there during to give them support to dust them off and give them a hug at the end. It's hard. Hugs to all those who have suffered through addiction or have a loved one suffering through one.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:15 AM
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Powerful post Bumblebee37. Curious, how is your son now and how long will he be in or is he out?
My son was released in 2012 on a compassionate release and died about 6 months later of pancreatic cancer. We fought hard for years waiting for him to come home. It was a long journey with BoP (I hate BoP) . My son was no saint but he was young going in. Most parents get a wall of accomplishments, my wall is full of him growing into a man in prison clothing.
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Old 07-10-2015, 01:14 AM
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My son was released in 2012 on a compassionate release and died about 6 months later of pancreatic cancer. We fought hard for years waiting for him to come home. It was a long journey with BoP (I hate BoP) . My son was no saint but he was young going in. Most parents get a wall of accomplishments, my wall is full of him growing into a man in prison clothing.
I am so sorry, I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child.

Sometimes I wonder what is it all about, why are some people born into a life of pain, struggle and torment and then taken away far too early? Is it a lesson and if so who is it for?

In one of my need to make sense of everything moods tonight...
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Old 07-10-2015, 01:34 AM
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Enabling is tricky. It's allowing anyone who has a behavior with negative consequences to continue that behavior and creating excuses or even assisting in that behavior. You may have sympathy for individuals but if you were to know someone had an addiction to a drug and continued to give them money, is enabling. If you knew someone loved to eat food and was gaining an unnatural amount of weight and you knew about the health risks but continued to buy the food they asked for, that's enabling.

You can enable individuals with poor personality traits as well Making excuses for their behavior instead of making them take accountability. That is what enabling is.

I was once a heroin addict and through my experiences I have seen many forms of enabling. You can feel empathy or even sympathy for a person and not enable them to use. There were people I generally cared about that I could no longer be friends with because it jeopardized my sobriety. You tell someone that you can no longer help them when you see that your "help" is actually killing them. You let them know that the help you are willing to give is for them to seek counseling/therapy, or some level of a treatment program. Sometimes it does cause an issue for example:

I have a friend whom I love dearly. This friend has a substance abuse problem that later turns into a full blown addiction...and her behavior turns for the worst. I always tell her when she gets to that point that she is always willing to call me for support, or assistance. Other than that she knows I will not give her money or anything else to support her habit or her behavior. It always ends up creating a conflict and we don't speak for a long time, this is my best friend. Which is sad to watch someone do a downward spiral like that, it's like you want to shake them, help them, but the individual has to be the one that makes the change. We can be there during to give them support to dust them off and give them a hug at the end. It's hard. Hugs to all those who have suffered through addiction or have a loved one suffering through one.
It sure is tricky. Usually before we are really aware there is a problem the addict has already begun the game playing. It is almost like they become master manipulators overnight and prey upon our emotions. When you see your child hurting and struggling and you just want to make it all better Nobody wants to see them suffer but they may need to if they want a real shot at sobriety
I try and explain it to people that yes that may look like your LO, same voice, same mannerisms but on the inside its not him anymore
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Old 07-21-2015, 10:08 PM
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It sure is tricky. Usually before we are really aware there is a problem the addict has already begun the game playing. It is almost like they become master manipulators overnight and prey upon our emotions. When you see your child hurting and struggling and you just want to make it all better Nobody wants to see them suffer but they may need to if they want a real shot at sobriety
I try and explain it to people that yes that may look like your LO, same voice, same mannerisms but on the inside its not him anymore
Yes addiction is hard on everyone involved.
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Old 07-24-2015, 08:44 AM
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My son was released in 2012 on a compassionate release and died about 6 months later of pancreatic cancer. We fought hard for years waiting for him to come home. It was a long journey with BoP (I hate BoP) . My son was no saint but he was young going in. Most parents get a wall of accomplishments, my wall is full of him growing into a man in prison clothing.
Wow bumblebee in that moment I heard a lot of pain. I am so sorry you are feeling that way. All walks of life are different and its best not to compare ours to others. Maybe what you can take out of his walk of life is something positive. Even though he is no longer here, I am sorry to hear of his loss, maybe you can consider that him being in prison prevented him from making choices that may have ended his life sooner? Or gave him a healthier appreciation for life? I don't know, it's hard in a situation like this to take a positive away. When everything is going wrong, I at least try to do that. So maybe the positive take away was that no matter what things you went through, you had a son that you at least got to know and who taught you many of things. HUGS! and bigger ones because what you just shared.
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