I have been struggling with a whole new problem within myself as it relates to my son and his recovery efforts. What is the role of a loved one when an addict is working on their recovery?
Just like all of this when dealing with an addicted child, when you finally think you are getting a grasp on the new learning you have experienced; there in front of you is a whole new world that must be experienced and digested.
Enabling addiction is what we all seem to do in the beginning. Then as this disease progresses in our child we begin to learn that what we are doing is helping the disease to progress, so we struggle with changing our paradigm concerning addiction and the progression of this disease.
Now we are facing a new change, what is the role of parents to support recovery?
I’m a simple guy without a formal education so in my deliberations about everything concerning addiction I have to break down very complex issues dealing with this disease into simple examples as they related to the learning I have based on my personal experiences. (some of you have been exposed to my examples before.)
My son, just as I am sure many other recovering addicts have done has dug himself a very deep hole in which he stands at the bottom. When you are actively using I am sure the bottom of that hole may actually provide a measure of security and insulation. But after a profound experience an addict stares at the walls and the light that seems so far up. All of us are standing at the top staring down. What do we do to help?
Somebody at the bottom of a hole, I got lots of options to provide and assist a rescue. We can fly a helicopter over and lower a basket on a winch they can climb in and be lifted out. We can drop a long ladder slowly into the hole and they can climb out. We can throw a rope over the edge and they can pull themselves up and out. We can pitch a shovel into the hole and they can dig themselves out. And, I could just stand at the side of the hole and holler down, “Looks like you are in a world of shit, good luck.” And wash my hands of the whole mess.
I have helicopters, ladders, ropes and shovels and sometimes I can yell real well too. I’m sure each of these tools have a place in recovery but the struggle for me as a parent is; when you have all of these tools at your disposal, what tool do you use and when?
The dichotomy in all of this is most of the time the answer is we probably should do the minimum. But I am conditioned just as most people in our nation and society are conditioned to help those that are in trouble and need help. This involves helping people afflicted with diseases and even people in conditions in which they may even have had a hand in creating. For example; people were told to evacuate New Orleans before hurricane Katrina. Many people did not evacuate for a variety of reasons that made sense to them at the time. As a nation we flew in helicopters, provided food and housing and money, in the final analysis even our national efforts at help were woefully inadequate. During floods we provide help to people we do not know, but with a little effort it is easy to determine where flood plains are located and we all know not to live in a flood plain or drive into rushing water, right?
Speaking the truth from inside of me, what do I do? I am lucky, I have the resources to help him but what is the right thing to do in helping my son?