Compassion and Boundaries with Addiction
A mom wrote to me: Compassion is the ability to hold both pain and love in your heart. As truly hard as it is, reacting with love and not anger is always the best choice. I didn’t have good boundaries in the beginning of the disease. I tried to fix and find solutions. I cried and pleaded. I got angry. I had to distance myself when my son was in active addiction, but I never stopped loving or praying.
How to feel true compassion and not enable? Even though I lost my son, he told me that saying no to him often saved his life. Most importantly, he never felt he wasn’t loved. So as hard as it might be in the throes of active addition, I want to say please, please, parents, just keep loving the soul, praying for the spirit, and hoping for their life. I got to see my son as healthy as I had ever seen him as an adult before he died.
So I come here to say that I cherish the good memories—the ones that outweigh the darkness. And I am not sure I could ever cope with the loss of my son if I did not have good memories. What is needed in each moment is love. That is what staying close means. Loving through it all.
Today’s Promise to Consider: Addiction challenges us to continue loving our suffering loved ones and hoping for their health and sobriety. It also requires us to say no, establish strong boundaries, and protect ourselves and our families. I almost loved my son to death by giving in to his demands, thereby enabling him and strengthening the addiction. Clear boundaries were critical. Today, let us stay close, but out of the chaos . . . loving our children through it all.