|How hard is it for you to turn and walk away?|
Can you do it if you have to?
When do you let them go?
I think that for every family (and every addict, for that matter) it's different.
One of my mantra's in life is from Winston Churchill: "Never, never, never give up." But, when it comes to dealing with addicts, I understand how and why people do. I even understand why they should.
I've had to do it myself, I hate to say...
Look, the thing about addiction is... Some people don't make it out alive. They just don't.
They say in the rooms of AA, "Some are sicker than others." And it's 100% true.
There are actually some people out there who you just can't help. And the worst part is that recovery requires that the addict want to stop. Not their family... Not their friends... the addict.
No matter what you do, who you are, what you believe... you cannot make someone else want to stop using.
The pull of the addiction is completely overwhelming.
It's stronger than love. It's stronger than hate. It's stronger than the will to live. It is even stronger than the survival instinct that's part of our genetic makeup.
Don't believe me if you don't want to, but I'm telling you the truth.
Saying, "If you love me (or 'your parents' or 'your children' or anything else that you can think of), you'd stop" doesn't work. Not ever.
I promise you the addict that you're talking to already knows that. Better than you may ever understand. They use it as a billy club against their own skull all the time trying to beat the Committee out of there.
They can't stop.
Somewhere deep down in there is the person you love. I assure you, from the bottom of my heart, that they still love you too.
But they can't stop.
To an addict, addiction is like a tumor that wraps itself around your brain... It integrates itself into the brain itself like a cancer to the point where you believe that trying to remove it might actually kill you faster.
Most of the time it doesn't, of course (though sometimes it does)...
But you can't teach an active addict that. And they wouldn't believe you if you could. They have to want to stop. And sometimes, even that is not enough.
So, as a family member, what do you do?
I didn't have children when I was using, but I do now. And sometimes, I think, "How far would I go to save them? What length would I go to?"
It's an easy answer. Any length. Any length at all.
And then there's a harder question. "What if, to save them, I had to walk away and risk that they might kill themselves? Could I do it?"
I'm a very strong woman. But just I don't know the answer. I hope I never have to find out. I know how hard it was to walk away from friends. But my kids? It's a different story...
So, how can I tell you what to do?
Truthfully? I can't.
Here's what I can tell you though...
If you are in a situation where you're thinking about when to walk away... If you're in pain watching a loved one go through this and can't keep providing a means for them to continue... If you've reached your end....
Please, go get help from an addictions counselor. Someone who has lots of experience with addicts and can help you work through some of the issues. Who can tell you when it might be time to let go. Who can tell you what to expect.
Find an Al-Anon group near you.
Because cutting someone off gets ugly. Not all the time, but most....
Take a deep breath and just do the next right thing. That's all you can do.
Just Keep Coming Back
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