A ~ Assemble a Support Group

In order to do this we have to first get the words out of our mouth…

Help! I am the mother, father, brother, sister, husband, wife of an addict.  With that finally out in the open we can find the support, encouragement and even accountability we will need to walk the path of our Recovery.   

Allison Bottke says it best in her Book when she says:

(pg 111) “As the first step of stopping our enabling behavior is being implemented, enjoying the support of others is crucial. Parents in pain need support; understanding, encouragement and accountability from other swho have traveled this painful journey and come out on the other side – or those who are currently walking the journey with us… (pg 116) Many parents have grown accustomed to maintaining a kind of silent shame about the circumstances and issues surrounding their adult children. Assembling a support group is the last thing we want.  Yet is one of the first things we must do to gain strength in a season of life that will most certainly require every ounce of fortitude we can muster”

I think this is one of my favorite components of the Sanity principals.   If I had stayed alone in my pain over being the mother of an addict I don’t know where I’d be today.  I am blessed to have an amazing support group,and I strongly believe that each of us needs this more than we are willing to admit.
Mine consists of:
My husband; a man who loves me with every fiber of his being and has unselfishly loved my son (his step son) even though many times he was the target of the theft that occurred due to my son’s need for more drugs.  My man has held we when I have cried, cheered me on as I got stronger and never once stopped me from seeking other support and help.
I have some very dear girl friends that though they do not have an addict in the family, they have had my back.  We would meet once a week for dinner and it was at one of these dinner times that one of them handed me Allison’s book.  These women have directed me,encouraged me, asked some hard questions; like… “How long are going to keep doing that”.  My dearest and best friend Gayle (read her blog here)has helped me dig deep inside of myself and often has encouraged me to place it all in the hands of God.  The one who knows my son and loves him even more then I do.
And along the way I have met another parent of an addict, (read his blog here)  who is a few years ahead of me on this journey. His wisdom and forthrightness has helped push me forward, and has helped me believe in myself.  And has been a model of what this Journey can bring, with its twists, turns, valleys and joys.
I urge you, Assemble a group of people around you.  You will need them on your Journey to Recovery, put aside your fears and shame. Stop worrying about what other people will think of you when you tell them…
 “I need help, I’m the _________ of an addict.

S ~ Stop the Enabling

Getting hit with the reality of being an enabler was a pretty hefty blow to this mother’s heart. Never would I have put myself willingly into that category.  Being the mother of an addict is one of the most difficult things I have endeavored. Reading Allison’s book (and re-reading it) has literally brought me out the darkness of enabling.
I have met many parents and loved ones whose hearts have been ripped out by addiction, who also walk the path of enabling on the way to their own Recovery.  Each of us believes with all our heart that we will be the one to save our addict, to save them from drugs, from themselves and from the shunning of the family and their peers.  We believe what we are doing is keeping them safe, fed, a roof over their head.  When infact what it is doing is feeding the addiction. If we are truthful it’s feeding both ours (our addiction to our addict) and theirs
Leslie Vernick, author of “The Emotionally Destructive Relationship” says it best:
“Fear grabs us when we think that if we say no, our adult child will make a worse mess of his or her life, and we will have to live with the pain and/or shame of those consequences. Guilt motivates us because we often feel that somehow we failed our adult child because of something we did or didn’t do when they were younger.
I had to admit that one of the reasons I enabled was becauseI was afraid of what others thought about me as a parent.  I thought if I hid the fact that my son was an addict, if I helped him look like a regular adult child, I wouldn’t have to bare the shame.  It became about hiding the truth.  Somehow I believed that giving him money, a place to live, clothes etc. would help hide the fact that he was aheroin addict.
By enabling him, I was a dance partner in the mess and chaos of his addiction.  Every time I gave him money, allowed him to live in my home while he was doing drugs, I was joining him on the dance floor.  Both of us trying to lead the other in a different direction.
When we begin to recognize we are enabling and we find it in ourselves to STOP and start applying it to our addict’s life, know that it will get ugly for a while.  They will rebel against it; there will be chaos that will ensue. They will find themselves alone on the dance floor and will do all they can to manipulate you back out onto the floor.  But know this… our doing this,our stopping our enabling and our refusing to take part in the dance, it will force them to see they no longer have a dance partner; they will be in their addiction mess alone.
When we STOP enabling it begins to “raise the bottom”, n olonger will we have to wait for them to “hit bottom”, we can become part of what helps them get there quicker.  And that bottom will be where Recovery can begin.


As I have now walked this road of Recovery as a parent of an addict, I have held fast to the Sanity Principles in Allison Bottke’s Book; “SettingBoundaries with Your Adult Children”.
Last winter I did a four part series on her book. (this link will bring you to them). And I thought it was time to go back and write about each of the Sanity Principles and what they have looked like in my life.
Over the next two weeks I will put out 6 blogs, I hope you will join me.