A prominent professional - whom I've known for several years - calls to talk about his heroin addict daughter who’s relapsed after more than a year.
His voice trembles as he tells me about her changes of behavior. Not showing up for work. Avoiding his phone calls. Sudden calls for financial help for “emergencies” like car repairs or overdue bills. Her pattern has changed. Things are missing from the house. He tries to ignore the gnawing feeling in his gut that says things aren't right. Then the paraphernalia in the bathroom, the burnt spoon, and the cotton balls. There’s no longer doubt.
A call to me and a question: what to do?
And because he’s a friend it’s hard to tell him what works. Don’t enable her. Make her leave your house. Get her to detox.
He agrees these are good ideas. But in the forefront of his mind is the specter of fear that if he gets tough he might not see her again. That she might be found somewhere dead from an overdose.
There’s no easy way to give him advice because these are hard choices for a parent to make. So I share with him that when everyone stopped helping me, enabling me, I started seeing the guy in the mirror as the problem.
Only then did I start on the path to recovery.