The ways are numerous, but first – I think the most important thing is to ask your heart to have a little sit down with your conscience. Those two things need to come together in agreement to support YOU before you can comfortably offer support to your addict. Once you establish what you can and can’t do – what you will and won’t do for the addict in your life – you can then move forward with your supporting role while adjusting to the ‘Getting on with my own life’ role.
I read a lot about the role of the ‘Supporter” for addicts. Some addicts have no support, others have so much they tinker on the edge of being enabled, and the rest fall somewhere in the middle. That said – support does not always mean enabling – but it does sometimes. And this is why the discussion between one’s heart and one’s conscience is so important, because what one person is comfortable doing for their addict, another person isn’t.
That said – some kind of support is nothing short of vital to the wellbeing and health of an addict. Any support is better than none at all.
This brings up the role my dad played in my life. He has, in one way or another, always been my biggest fan – even when I was having to crawl to the bathroom during withdrawal because my legs had stopped working. Even when he was hanging up on me because I had drunk dialed him and was yelling at him. Even when he was refusing to help me, he was still helping me by directing me to my own resolve. With the authority of a Marine that he once was, he’d say something like “Jenny, you can do this.” And he was right. Because I could do it. I did do it. I crawled to the bathroom and then I crawled back to bed. And then I got sober.
I had to learn to walk again. I had to learn to walk down the stairs again. I had to learn how to sign my name again and how to speak coherent sentences again. It was embarrassing and time-consuming. But today – I’m back. And I’m stronger and clearer and wiser for it all. I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for my dad’s support. That’s all there is to it.
I don’t believe that most people want to lose a loved one to addiction. The nightmare of watching a loved one self-destruct while acknowledging their own powerlessness must be a nightmare. But unfortunately no amount of support can make an addict get clean and sober. We have to get there on our own.
I am incredibly fortunate and incredibly grateful.
My story is available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Saturation-Memoir-Jennifer-Place/dp/1461018129