Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Tangled Web of the Enabler

Today is the fifth day of the April Blogging Challenge. Today I have chosen the word Enabling (aka the co-dependent) this addiction as my word for the day. 

Trust me if you are on this side of this addition, you are here already. Some of you just don't know it yet. Others like me realized it a little too late. Many are still in denial.

Now to some of you, this word is not significant. To those of us who are greatly affected by this addiction, oh trust me you won't know how messed up life can get until you get caught up in this web.

Remember when I had to make that moral inventory of, WHO AM I while standing on Step Number Four?

No, It's okay! I don't live there anymore. The years in this addiction
have been learning experiences that have taught me so much.

There are so many ways we stand in the way of this addiction and our addicts. We often don't realize it at the time but we are killing our addicts because we give them the means of continuing in their addiction. We don't do it for spite. We do this out of love and because we care for them. In reality, our helping is only causing more harm than it will ever good. How can we expect them to get better?

Webster's definition of enabling says, "To give (someone or something) the authority or means to do something." We have come to realize that it is even if that something is harming them or giving the means that can continue them in addiction or could possibly take their life. The web and snares that we get caught up in are that of the enabler.

Providing Money and the Means: Giving them money is only one way we enable our addict. Also caught in the tangled web are other ways of enabling the addict. Other ways we act as enablers are denial, lying and covering up, trying to fix them and control them. Some we don't think about.

Maybe you have lots of money. Good for you. Now, stop handing it over to your addict. This is the hardest thing most of us can do. This is easier said than done unless you are like us then you give and you give until there is nothing else to give away.

If you really, really want them to stop instead of handing them money buy a really good book on addiction and hand them and a note When you are ready to stop using heroin (or whatever the drug of choice is) I am waiting here to help you. Or hand them a piece of paper providing all the names and numbers of the resources you have gathered. On the inside cover of the book write their names

Remember this, the next $40 or $60 you dish out to them could be their last high. 

Denial: Yes we do and we do it all of the time. How many of you can identify? That was me many years ago before I knew its name. At first. Not my son. Asking myself is he on drugs? And then explaining it away as he's young. He's just immature. This is just a phase. We can only stay there for a little while. It was not long before its name was out there. For us, its name is... Heroin.

Obsessed or otherwise known as Addicted to my Addict: Yep if you are here, then you can relate. We become so obsessed with our addict that we often become addicted to them. We become so obsessed with fixing them and this addiction that we don't see how much we are really harming them. We have to learn to back away and breathe.

Remember: You Didn't Cause this, You Cannot Fix This, and You Cannot Control the Addict.

Blame and Powerless: Blame? Yes, we do and, we do it all the time. We blame ourselves and question everything. Was it our parenting? Was I a bad mother? Was it that time when he was two and I smacked him on his butt for not listening? We will blame those who introduced this drug to our loved ones. We will blame the dealer who continues providing it to them. We constantly wonder, how did this happen? Was it my fault? Why us? How did we end up in this mess? Why God? We can do nothing but stand powerless watching as our loved ones continue to destroy themselves in their addiction to this powerful drug.

Control: This is a common obsession we have. Have you turned into a spy by looking at their Facebook or Social media to find out who they are talking to? Do you have to know where your addict is every minute of every day? Do you have to know everything about your addict if there is something you can fix? Do you have to be in charge of everything?  If I control him, then I can fix him, right? Wrong. We can never control the addict or this addiction. We can never control heroin. We are powerless over heroin and what this drug does to our addict and to ourselves. This addiction is not like a bandage on a boo-boo.

Now, it is okay to set boundaries. Trust me in their active addiction every addict needs boundaries. I had a few. The main one was that he was not to come to me or to my house if he was high or using that day. You know I hate this so please don't disrespect me or my house. Even in and after recovery, you need to set boundaries.

But saying or thinking, I got this is not a proper boundary to set. The one thing you will never have is, I got this, in fact to the outside it is a mess.

Lying and Cover-up: Have you ever found yourself lying for your addict? Maybe his boss why he can't come in today? We easily get lost in the covering up the addiction. I lied to my family and close friends for a long time. Why? Because I didn't want others to see my son as a failure. When I could no longer lie and told them what was going on, that is exactly what they see him as, a total failure.

I know people who can sit in church and pray for him on Sunday and through the week blast him for this. They just cannot see past this addiction even after he went away for help and is now living in Recovery. They are quick to shout the faults.

Preventing them from any harm: Have you ever tried to stop a speeding train with a piece of gauze? The same scenario plays out with an addict. I guess as a parent we try to prevent the bad things from happening. Sometimes we think paying the rent is okay. It is not. In this addiction, you'll only cause a bigger apocalypse. Even if you are financially set or have the means to do it STOP IT! You are in no way shape or form helping. You are providing them the means to carry on this whole affair with heroin and addiction.

Fixing Them: When the addiction spirals out of control you can try everything in your might. You'll never fix it so just Stop it. Your idea of fixing them is no doubt providing more harm than help. You go out of your way cleaning up every mess they make. Or maybe you think that in fixing them this problem will go away. The time comes that we need to stop fixing, stop providing them the means of staying in this addiction, back away and start healing yourselves.

Bailing Them Out of Trouble:  One of the hardest things as a parent is seeing one of our kids in handcuffs. What parent wants to see their child locked up? What parent wants to wait for an hour's visit behind a piece of Plexiglas once a week? What parent wants to see their child with a record and possibly unable to find a job, or get home? What parent wants their child's life ruined? None of us.

Another is the scariest things just letting them set in jail for their crimes. We on this side know that our loved one will detox in jail. One of the hardest things is allowing this. We know that if they are out we could lose them to the addiction. We also know that our loved one can die in jail detoxing from heroin.  What do we do?

If your loved one never got in any trouble with the law while they were using, they were either very lucky at not getting caught, great at lying and covering up, or maybe they were just very good at manipulating their way out of things. I don't know. These are the things that my addict has taught me. The thing is after knowing all of this information that I know now. I would have still done all of this because I thought that I was saving my son.

You may also wish to read When The Helping Hurts

Check out more stories I have written on this subject:
 Things I Learned From My Addict
We Need To Stop Making Excuses
Some Do's and Don'ts Dealing With An Addict

Two very good books about setting boundaries are:

Setting Boundaries With Adult Children

Sometimes in their addiction, we have to step away if only to save ourselves. It was only then I realized the damage that I had caused to my own son.

Tomorrow I am posting a very special post. A local photographer captures the lives of some remarkable local people who have recovered from this addiction and their stories captured through the lens of a camera. You won't want to miss 52 Addicts. 

Credits for this post:
Letter pic Blogging A-Z
pic found @ Wikimedia
Tyler Tabor: A Life Lost

© 2017 Gossip Girl

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