Our parents love us to death and would do anything for us. Moms are especially connected to us for obvious reasons and when we break her heart, as we often do in addiction, she’s left with a million questions and no answers. Our moms want to see us happy, healthy and living a productive life. In addiction we are not happy, healthy or being productive. Our lives are in shambles and so are the lives of our families. Addiction is a family disease so everyone is affected by our actions. We are not the only ones feeling hurt, lost and neglected.
Here are 7 Questions Mothers of Addicts Ask:
1.) Why won’t they just stop?
One of the most common questions mothers of addicts ask is “Why won’t my child just stop using drugs and drinking?” It’s torturous to watch your child destroy his or her life. You can’t understand why they can’t just stop using and drinking when it is obviously hurting you. You may think they don’t love you. The truth is that it is possible for a person to be addicted and love you at the same time. The two are not related. When someone is addicted to a drug, they cannot just stop. It is a need, not a choice. Nothing, not even the risk of losing his or her family, is enough to stop them. They may really want to stop; they may hate themselves for the harm they are doing, but until they reach out for help, they will not be able to stop.
It is important to remember that drugs and alcohol are not the problem, they are the solution. Until your child has another solution, they will not be able to stop using drugs and alcohol. Taking away the drugs and the alcohol without another solution can actually make matters worse for the true addict. They do not know how to manage life on life’s terms. Until they learn a new way to live, they will not be able to stop using drugs and alcohol no matter how much they love you.
2. What can I do to help? How can I make them stop?
Unfortunately, you cannot force your child to stop. Until he or she is ready, you will not be able to force him or her. Usually an addict needs to “hit bottom” before they are ready to reach out for help.
What you can do is stop enabling your child to continue using drugs and drinking. Some mothers mistakenly think they are “helping” when they are actually making things worse.
What is the difference between helping and enabling?
Simply put, when you help an addict, you are doing something for them that they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling an addict is doing something for them that they could and should be doing themselves. Enabling creates an environment where the addict can continue his or her destructive behavior. Enabling is the worst thing you can do if you want to help an addict.
Enabling behaviors can include:
- Calling in sick for an addict because they were too hung-over or drunk to go to work or school…
- Making excuses for an addict’s drug use or behavior…
- Lying for an addict…
- Bailing them out of jail…
- Paying their legal fees…
- Paying an addict’s bills or loaning them money…
- Giving them several “second chances” to change their behavior.
Let your child know that you will be there if he or she decides they want help, but you will not continue to enable them to destroy their lives. Sometimes attending support groups like Al-anon and Family Anonymous can help you differentiate between helping and enabling.
Still not sure if you’re enabling your child? Check out this guide: Parents’ Guide to Drug Abuse: Signs You’re Enabling.
Stay tuned for 7 Questions Mothers of Addicts Ask Part 2.
If your loved one is in need of addiction treatment, please give us a call at 800-951-6135