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For the parents of addicts/alcoholics...

Old 03-07-2008, 05:30 PM
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For the parents of addicts/alcoholics...

Can you please share your story about how it is that you came to realize that your enabling was harming your son or daughter and how you reached the point of no longer enabling? I don't think my mom will ever change and it drives me crazy to see her enabling my brother. I would just like to better understand what a parent goes through in the process to stop enabling.
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Old 03-07-2008, 05:53 PM
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Same thing an alcoholic goes through when they make a choice to stop.

You get sick and tired of being sick and tired.
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Old 03-07-2008, 10:34 PM
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It is a very hard thing to do...You have to learn how to let you child be a man or woman and fall on their own...Parents are so use to taking care of their children and making things better for them. So, when they make horrible decisions...we try to fix them...When you see them keep making the same mistake over and over...Everything you do is not helping....You learn to step back...Some parents never surrender...I see that often...I had a HUGE problem with it...But you just have too. I just surrendered to the Good Lord above and told him to take care of it...I just didn't have it in me anymore!
From that day forward...The Blessing of God fell upon my family...My son went to rehab and started the recovery process. Through God all things are possible.

This site has been God Sent...I think your mom would benifit by getting on here and reading and educating herself about your brothers problem.

I will be praying for you and your family,
God Bless,
Machele
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Old 03-07-2008, 11:13 PM
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I asked my therapist to explain the importance of surrendering to a HP for the addict. The Reader's Digest answer was, their will and thinking got them into this mess and they need something bigger and better to get them out.

Two days later I was praying and was about to ask for strength and courage when I remembered not to do that. I learned a long time ago that if I ask for that, God will give me opportunities to develop it. So instead, I asked God for His strength because mine wasn't cutting it and I couldn't handle any more challenges.

That's when it hit me... I had surrendered. That's also when I realized I had developed my own addiction to my daughter. She had her drug of choice and I had made her mine. Co-dependency stinks and it's an addiction. I told my daughter she had to own her issues and I had to own mine.

You could try telling your mom the truth, that she has an addiction and she and your brother are feeding off each other. She'll probably go straight into denial but at least she will have heard the truth. Sometimes we need a jolt.
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:56 AM
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I drove over an hour to the city my son was living in, to drag him out of a crack house. They said he wasn't there and I threatened to kick down the door if he didn't come out....so he did. (I am not a door kicking kind of person, it was insanity that led me). We went to his apartment, where I spent the night on the couch and as I left to drive home in the morning, he left to go back to the crackhouse.

I had to pull my car off the highway on my drive home because the tears were blinding me, and I remember saying a prayer telling God that I just could not do another day of this and I gave my son to God to take care of.

That's when I knew I was powerless. My meetings gave me enough courage to take a look at my actions and that's when I saw how enabling I had been, thinking I could save him, thinking I knew best.

All the love in the world cannot save our addicts, if it could, not one of us would be here. Only they can save themselves and they won't do that until the pain of using becomes greater than the fear of stopping.

Hugs
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Old 03-08-2008, 07:13 AM
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Thank you so much to all of you who have responded so far... you have already helped me to understand what a parent goes through in this situation.

I tried to get my mom to come to this site about a year ago... maybe it's time that I mention it again. She doesn't like to do much online since she works at a computer 40-50+ hours per week... but I really think this site would help her. I think sometimes it's easier to be able to be completely anonymous vs. worrying about running into someone in person at a meeting... might be a good start at least.
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Old 03-08-2008, 08:46 AM
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My AD's problem didn't start until she went off to college. I thought she was just "adjusting". Checks began to bounce, she withdrew from classes, cell phone bill very much overextended, she didn't "sound right" when I would talk with her. My mama's gut told me something wasn't right, but oh no.....she was just "adjusting".

I paid the overdraft charges. I excused the withdrawal from classes (that cost ME money). I paid the overextended cell phone bill. I overlooked her not "sounding right" when I talked with her.

Eating disorder developed and she had to come home. I was scared to death. All I could think of was to get her help. Home for a while, things improved a little and my focus was totally on getting her well.

She went back to school, another college 2 hrs from home, and I thought we were on a new road. Well, didn't take long for the same things to happen...bounced checks, blah, blah, blah. I STILL wanted to believe nothing was wrong, so I convinced myself that she really didn't have a drug or drinking problem, she was just having trouble settling down.

And the beat went on until some crises happened. And nothing I did...the saving, the rescuing, the denying worked. I could NOT save her or fix her.

Crises continued to happen until one night I was scared out of my mind. I KNEW things had to change for me or else I wasn't going to make it. Of course, I wanted things to change for my AD, but I saw I was fighting a losing battle trying to do that for her.

Bottom line...I rescued, I saved, I fixed, I made excuses, I ENABLED my daughter to stay in her addiction because I thought:

(1) As a mama I could fix it. It was my job, wasn't it?
(2) I thought I should save her. Isn't that what mama's do, protect and save their children?

It was after MY bottom that I got into recovery through this board and attending Al Anon meetings. I saw where I was in DEEP DENIAL about my AD's problem. I knew if I admitted it, then I had face the fear that came with that. I was scared to death.

Recovery taught me that I could deny her addiction all day long, but that wasn't helping me or her. Somehow in my stinkin' thinkin' I thought if I didn't admit her problem, then we just wouldn't have to deal with it and I wouldn't have to hurt. You see, as concerned as I was about my daughter and her behavior (it never entered my mind she could die from her addiction), I was concerned about me and my hurting. You see, my family looked very "normal". Our family history was very normal, not covered up with addiction, so I knew nothing about it. I just didn't want my daughter to hurt so I wouldn't have to hurt. And that sounds so self centered and it was. But it's where I was and I have to admit it.

I love my girls more than anything (I have 2...one addicted, the other a huge codie like me who refuses to get into recovery, so I pray for her) and now realize that I DID enable both of them. I took over their responsibilties when I should have let them suffer the consequences of their choices. I couldn't see it then, but I was actually preventing my daughters from growing into the responsible women I wanted them to become. I robbed them of learning valuable lessons.

Today thank God I know these things. Today I no longer will cheat my daughters out of learning what they need to learn. Today I will let them be responsible for their choices. If they are good ones, they will reap the benefits. If they are bad choices, then they will suffer the consequences and hopefully learn from them.

Good gosh, I could go on and on, and I think I did. . I guess you just asked a question about which I am an expert. How about that. Never felt I was an expert on much of anything. But you mention enabling...well, there's an area in which I have lots of experience.

Hope some of what I said helps. Sure hope you can encourage your mom to find a meeting and read on this board. My life is a million times better today due to my recovery. I am so thankful for meetings and this board.

Hugs,
Hangin' In
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:13 AM
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I'll tell you what it took for me. I had become so enmeshed in my oldest daughter's addictions that I was standing on the cliff getting ready to relapse myself.

I also remembered that my parents almost loved me to death in my addictions, and I was not going to do that to my daughter. I wasn't going to stand in the way of her hitting a bottom.

It was at that moment that I realized that no one, not even my daughter, was worth throwing my recovery away over.

Yes, I did have some struggles with denial after that, but nothing like before.

Today I have completely let go and let God have her
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:16 AM
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My daughter relapsed and I was ready to kill myself. That was when I decided to let go. Hope your mom finds a way to let go. Holding on just destroys the person who is doing it. Hugs, Marle
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:33 AM
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I'm a slow learner, (LOL)so, it took me quite a while to realize that I wasn't "helping" my sons, I actually was hurting them. Every time I gave them money, I was really buying their drugs! Everytime I paid their bills, bail, or rent, I was buying their drugs!


And the worst part is I couldn't stop myself.

When my second son went off the deep end, I finally said, enough is enough. I returned to Alanon, and found this wonderful, supportive website, and was kicked a few times with Ann's bunny slippers....and began MY recovery.


I still slip now and then, but heaven knows I am so happy and content with my life now. And I realize God has a plan for each of my sons and I have to stay out of the way for it to proceed.

Good luck to you, and your mom,
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Old 03-09-2008, 02:13 PM
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I really admire you parents who have come so far in no longer enabling your kids. It must be one of the most difficult things in the world... especially since all of their lives, your job has been to help them... and now to have to realize that you can no longer fix this particular problem.

My mom doesn't see the connection between her giving my brother money and him drinking or using drugs. She only gives him change because somehow in her mind, that won't buy anything... yet he does use it to buy beer. I'm not sure how he affords drugs. She allows him to have beer in the house because she would rather him drink that than hard liquor. He is a manipulator and says things like "if you don't drive me down to the convenience store to buy beer, I'm going to get in the car and drive myself" after already having drank a few. She even lets him smoke pot on the back porch because she says "it's not that bad of a drug". She seems to rationalize everything.

He lives with her and she pays all of the bills.. including his cell phone bill which he ran up for the last 2 months after she told him to stop texting people. Instead of having it cut off, she told him to get unlimited text messaging so that the bill wouldn't be high from him texting his friends... I guess she believes he is not responsible for his actions. It upsets me because I've always been held accountable for mine... I'm sure the double standard is commonly hard on siblings in similar situations.

I feel for her. I pray that she will see how she is enabling him. But I also feel like I have to back off a bit because she keeps getting angry with me whenever I try to point it out. She becomes defensive of my brother. That doesn't get us anywhere.

Thanks again... your stories have really helped me to understand.
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Old 03-09-2008, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Hangin' In View Post
My AD's problem didn't start until she went off to college. I thought she was just "adjusting". Checks began to bounce, she withdrew from classes, cell phone bill very much overextended, she didn't "sound right" when I would talk with her. My mama's gut told me something wasn't right, but oh no.....she was just "adjusting".

I paid the overdraft charges. I excused the withdrawal from classes (that cost ME money). I paid the overextended cell phone bill. I overlooked her not "sounding right" when I talked with her.

Eating disorder developed and she had to come home. I was scared to death. All I could think of was to get her help. Home for a while, things improved a little and my focus was totally on getting her well.
That is such a perfect description of the situation with my step-daughter.
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