When we have people we love in addiction, it's hard to know where all the lines are of:
-How do we know how to treat them and best support them?
-How do we let them know we love them when we have to remove them from our lives?
-How do we maintain hope when things seem hopeless?
-How do we accept them, but not accept their behaviors?
Many people struggle with these questions. We don't want to feel like we are turning our backs on anyone. They may even yell at us saying things like:
-"YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT ME, IF YOU DID YOU WOULDN'T BE LETTING THIS HAPPEN TO ME."
-"SEE, I TOLD YOU YOU DIDN'T LOVE ME, WHAT PARENT COULD LET THEIR KID LIVE ON THE STREETS, YOUR HORRIBLE."
Those things can hit you in the gut. You may even question your decision because you don't want your child to feel like you are abandoning them, or that you don't love them.
Of course you love them. And of course you want them to know that. So, then what tends to happen is you go back on what you set out to do. Maybe you kicked them out of the house, and let them back in. Maybe you bailed them out of jail when you swore you wouldn't anymore. Maybe you gave them money or went out and got them drugs so they wouldn't have to be sick.
And there is nothing wrong necessarily with any of those things, unless they didn't seem to actually help or change anything and allowed them to just keep doing what they've always done.
When we have people we love in addiction, remember this one thing.
Tough love does not mean you have to be tough on them, it means you may have to make decision that are tough to do.
Which means not accepting their behaviors and DEFENDING the boundaries you have set. Setting boundaries is the easy part, defending those boundaries is the difficult part.
Just remember, you are not doing things to them, you are doing things for them even if they can't see it in their comatose drug/alcohol state of being.
Keep doing things FOR them.
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