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How To Stop Enabling When To Say When

20 November 2015 Written by 

Can You Support A Substance User Without Enabling: This is a common question with no one size fits all answer. The heartache of watching a family member or friend take a dive feels unbearable at times. Here's the problem loved ones face. They often care desperately about saving a person who doesn't want to be resuced. The active user doesn't see a problem even when their lives and yours are turned upside down. If you are more invested in your loved one's sobriety than he or she is, you can't sustain your support without hurting yourself. The lives of family members matter a great deal. Your life is important. Sometimes it doesn't feel that way. It takes courage to tell someone you cherish that he or she have to be responsible for the choices they make that impact their lives, and yours as well. Here's what happened Jessica finally took a stand with her daughter, Marty.

Jessica Tried So Hard To Rescue Her 20-Year Old Daughter 

Jessica took Marty back many times, even after she stole money and jewelry to support her habit. Jessica finally went to a therapist who asked her when the enabling would end. Her answer was "When you're a parent the decision isn't so easy." She didn't want Marty to take the consequences for stealing, and go to jail. Jessica attended Nar-Anon meetings that assisted her in coping with the pain of watching her daughter self-destruct, as well as remaining determined to detach with love. She decided to stop the enabling. 

Therapy Helped Jessica Decide To Press Charges

It wasn't easy to detach or to send an adult child to jail, but jail time turned out to be the catalyst that bounced Marty into recovery. She had had enough, too. For the next 30 years, 12 step meetings and treatment were part of Marty's life. She married a man whom she met in the program and they supported each other in remaining clean. 

What Worked For Jessica and Marty

Throughout the years many tears were shed, promises made and broken multiple times. The relationship issues that played out in addiction went beyond substance use. Jessica and Marty engaged in therapy together. There they could safely face family of origin issues, and they were able to improve their communication. Sometimes all you can do is really all you can do. The rest is out of your hands.

Reach Out Recovery Exclusive by Edie Weinstein

Read 1396 times Last modified on Tuesday, 01 November 2016 16:14
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Edie Weinstien

Rev. Edie Weinstein, LSW  is an ‘opti-mystic who views life through the eyes of possibility. Her creative, career and spiritual paths have led her to become a writer, speaker, interfaith minister, reiki master, clown, greeting card text writer and social worker. She engages in life fully, inviting others to join her. As a guide, she holds a mirror up to those with whom she works, so that they may see their own beauty and discover their own answers.
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