I have a habit of not answering calls if I don't recognize the caller's name. Because 90% of the time it's a telemarketer peddling some crap that I'm not interested in.
And that happened again this morning and I didn't answer the phone. Later, though, when I checked my voice mail I found a message from a mother whose son was to be released from jail this morning. However, she hadn't heard from him so far today, but was wondering if we had a place for him in case he contacted her.
I told her we did and to send him here once she heard from him. She said that she'd had the police remove him from her house several years ago because he was drunk and refused to leave. And ever since then he'd been resentful at her because she had him removed from her home.
I told her she'd done exactly the right thing. When people have a place to stay where they can drink and do drugs why stop?
Apparently the mother was disabled and lived on a limited income. He didn't seem to understand that she could't afford to buy him booze, cigarettes, clothing and feed him. And why should she? After all, he was a healthy middleaged man who was capable of working but preferred to pursue his addictions.
Her situation is not uncommon. I have many parents and family members call. But seldom does the addict call until life becomes totally intolerable.
My recommendation to them may sound cruel, but I always suggest that they not do anything for an addict or alcoholic other than give them a ride to a local detox. Don't feed them. Don't let them spend the night on the couch. Don't loan them your car. Don't loan them money.
In other words, let them suffer the consequences of their habit. And when they suffer enough pain, then they will seek help.
Pain is the great teacher.