It’s easy for me to project my own thought processes on others. I tend to believe that other people think the same way I do. I fool myself into thinking that everyone values people and relationships the same way I do. After about a year of sobriety, Laura sent me a Facebook post that made a significant impression on me. She sent it to me along with a little message from herself saying “Thank you for telling me no”. I wish I knew who the author was because I’d love to give them credit for what they wrote. The following is a link to the Facebook post she sent me explaining an addict’s thought process…
When Laura was actively in addiction, I was an enabler. I was so afraid for her! In addition to fearing for her safety, I was afraid she would think I didn’t love her if I wasn’t there to protect her. I thought, as a parent, I needed to protect her from pain and suffering but, by protecting her from the consequences of her behavior, I was just enabling the addiction to continue. If I told her “No, I won’t help you” she’d reply with stories of dangerous living conditions, prostitution, etc to manipulate me into providing for her. A good friend who was intimately acquainted with addiction told me to stop trying to explain my perspective to her because she was not capable of understanding it at that point in time. The drugs in her system were changing who she was and taking over. Torturing myself trying to explain or justify my “No” was pointless at that point in time. He told me “No is a complete sentence” and that is something that has stuck with me for years.
Today, David and I visited Matt in jail. I can honestly say that’s not an experience I wish upon anyone. It’s heartbreaking. Matt has asked us to bail him out. He’s tried multiple tactics to manipulate, trying to say what he thinks we want to hear. Seeing him there today, I know we are doing the right thing by telling him no. He’s suffering the consequences of his own actions and suffering the withdrawal of his favorite thing. It is because we truly love him that we choose to let him remain there. I would love the opportunity to get him into a great rehab facility but unfortunately, he’s not ready for that yet. I pray some day soon he will be! (Although I think it’s going to be quite a ways down the road) I pray some day he looks back and thanks God his parents loved him enough to tell him “No”.