They ended up getting a charge of drunk driving. Maybe their wife divorced them. Perhaps they ended up in prison or jail for a drug or alcohol offense. Perhaps they were fired from a job. Whatever bad or terrible thing happened to them, that's when they started paying attention to that little voice in their head that said it's time to make a choice about how I want to live the rest of my life.
That's why I sometimes get frustrated when parents contact me about what they should do about their child or other loved one when their drinking or drug use is totally out of control. Because the answer I give them seems so harsh that it falls on deaf ears.
My response requires them to be tougher than they want to be. And many parents of addicts or alcoholics feel that it is unloving to ask the child to leave the home because of drinking or drugs. Somehow, they think that therapists or counselors have some magic solution that will help their child recover with little or no sacrifice in the child's part.
They don't understand that it takes a degree of pain before their offspring or loved one will change. Most of the addicts and alcoholics that I encounter in meetings – and here at TLC – say that life had to be really miserable before they decided to change. Most of them had tried every possible way to maintain their habit, yet somehow there was never enough drugs or money to get them to the state of consciousness they were trying to achieve.
So if you have someone in your life who is addicted and out of control, help them to stop by doing absolutely nothing for them. Give them no money. Don't give them a ride, unless it's to a detoxification unit. Don't let them sleep on your couch. Don't listen to their tired old stories about why they're an addict. Taking an immediate position with them and tell them no more help is coming from you until they get clean and sober.
Once they do that, then you'll talk to them about how you can help them change their life.
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