Personal development for loved ones
I am going to talk to you, the loved one, the relative, the spouse, the parent, the best friend, the one that cares more about our hero than they do themselves. In reality, about 90% of the clients are you. The people that care and are afraid to bury the person that drinks and does drugs into oblivion and is probably doing it at this very moment. Life is a gift and it is precious. It pains me because as I write this, someone will overdose and will become a vegetable for the rest of their lives. As I write this, someone will go into psychosis and will never be able to become employable or be able to drive a car ever again. As I write this, someone is taking care of their own death sentence.
On the night of October 12, 2006, my sister, Julia, was sitting beside my bed with my parents and girlfriend at Miami Cedars hospital. I was in a coma, struggling to survive, and the doctors told them to say farewell. At that moment my sister started praying, saying “spare his life. I don’t care if my brother will be paralyzed and have no consciousness, just spare his life.” Those words really shook me this Christmas when she told about that, and I felt and saw that for those closest to us, all we want is for our loved ones to be around and to be happy.
Every day I talk to the families and friends of addicts, and tell them to throw away the concept of waiting for a person to get ready because it will never happen. Just wait for them to hit rock bottom and ask for help, but keep in mind that this is mental health, your loved one really has no problems other than you trying to interfere. If the addict doesn’t see that there’s something wrong, why would they want to change anything, especially if someone is enabling them and allowing them to stay comfortable where they’re at? Are they in your house, living with you? Are they taking care of their room and board? Are they making payments for the insurance and other living expenses? Even though you would like to think they are not using, they are, even if you can’t see it. But you justify it by telling yourself that they are better off and safer here, rather than being homeless. Now ask yourself, how will you cope if one day you wake up and fine that friend or relative dead in your own home, but it’s too late to take action? How will you cope with the realization that because of your codependency and enabling, you also allowed them to die? You need to avoid becoming this person.
First of all you need to take care of yourself. It’s not selfish, it is necessary. You need to join a local Alanon or Narcanon group, it doesn’t matter which one of those you choose, whichever one you end up going to make sure you can relate to the meetings and can get the support you need. Through those meetings, you need to get a sponsor. Then, you need to sit down with your loved one and provide them with the outlined plan of action that you and your sponsor have come up with. It can include no more enabling, you are to stop feeding the disease and buying into the manipulative games. There will be no more money, no room, no food, nothing, absolutely nothing, until they take steps and go into detox and then residential treatment. You can also change the locks and show them to the door. They have a better chance of surviving on the street than overdosing and dying in your arms or in the room next to yours. You must understand that they know that they can always pick up the phone at any time and call when they’re ready to go get help. Remind them that you will always be there for them, but you love them so much that you won’t allow them to continue killing themselves, and you won’t participate in their suicide any longer.
And then comes the hard part. You must follow through with your promise, and every time they guilt you or try to play you and abuse you, you must stick to your guns. You need to remember that when you do this, you are saving their life. You have to push through all the doubts and fears that your enabling and codependency creates. You cannot underestimate this plan. As hard as it is, it works every single time. I am begging you to take this seriously, and to breakthrough your fears because you could be saving the life of your loved one.