Friday, February 19, 2010

After Conference Workshop

It has been two weeks since I presented the workshop, “Mothers and Others who Love an Addict.” I did not count attendance, but was told there were 52 people, mostly women. Three women left in the first couple of minutes, one left several minutes later. Lots of heads were nodding in agreement, many were dabbing at tears. Afterwards, several came to tell me how glad they were to hear my take on things, instead of the many excuses usually given.

So what did I say? Drug addict or not, he or she is accountable for his or her actions. No making excuses for their actions. No feeling so guilty one will go into financial ruin to “help” the addicted person. Speaking as a parent, we make many mistakes, both large and small, in trying to raise our children. We do not intend to hurt them, yet we often do as we try to make a living and keep an intact family life. Basically, we did the best we could with the knowledge we had at the time. We can make apologies to our adult children and ask forgiveness for the pain we caused them. We cannot change it, but we can try to make any amends for past actions and words.

That adult child is not owed a life of ease because the parent caused them pain as a child. They are not owed an expensive attorney every time they get into legal trouble. They must be accountable for their actions. At the same time, we as parents or other loved ones can not stop the love. We do not have to like the road they have followed even if it is one we taught them and no longer follow. We do not have to like what they do, but we can still love them. There is a difference!

In these two weeks I have talked to 43 people who love an addict. More than one has lost their homes trying to bail an addict out of trouble. Many are afraid of their adult children and with good cause since some have been beaten so badly they were in the hospital. Homes and vehicles have been destroyed, money stolen and all the while the “child” is yelling, “You did this to me.”

A parent’s pain is deep, but it does not help the “child” to bail them out of jail and just hope for the best. It won’t happen. Neither will putting them in rehab as they will look for drugs as soon as they are released…and they will find them whether they have money or not.

This is longer than intended so until next time.

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