I often saw this while facilitating the family group at a treatment center. Many looked bewildered when I explained that denial and addiction are family issues where everyone has a part in the healing. Some even glared at me.
The more family members with unresolved issues try to help, the more the person with the addiction resists; the result is more pain for everyone. For instance, if a mother or father has not dealt with their substance abuse or their issues from growing up with an alcoholic parent, the parent will be of little help.
We can’t give what we don’t have. Family members must realize that enabling includes dispensing money, chastising, consoling, guilting, or shaming. Enabling can be dangerous and may prolong addiction.
The best advice to family members or friends of someone with an addiction is to love them right where they are, without judgment or a complete understanding, while enforcing clear boundaries, accountability, and consequences. If you genuinely want to help a loved one with an addiction, begin your own healing. Be the change you wish to see in the relationship. Your healing can produce a profound impact from the resulting energy of love.
𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐯𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐥 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫:
I cannot stress enough the importance of parents doing the vital work of letting go of guilt and shame for what they did or didn’t do. Why? Because nobody wants to be somebody else’s failure. As long as parents carry guilt or shame about their kids, they see their failures every time they look at them. Who wants to be somebody else’s failure?