Love will not stop an addiction

A mother wrote to me: My son got arrested, and we hired a lawyer and bailed him out, but he kept using and stealing. He got arrested again and bailed himself out. We knew he was dying—his behavior was dangerous and reckless—so we asked the attorney to have the judge put him back in jail. We told our son we would not bail him out again. We explained that we loved him, but we could no longer let his addiction destroy our family. All the love in the world was not enough to make him stop. 

Libby Cataldi with son, JeffMy reflection: I once asked my son, who suffered a fourteen-year heroin addiction, “Why didn’t you stop? Couldn’t you see all the damage you were doing to our family?” He looked at me with eyes filled with tears and said, “I love you and never wanted to hurt you. I tried to keep you to the side and out of the addiction, but I’m an addict, Mom. I’m an addict.” 

Today’s promise: Our addicted loved ones are trapped in their disease and, although it doesn’t always look like it, they loathe the life they are living. Today, we will not feel betrayed. We will not feel self-blame. We will continue to love them through it all, by staying close, but out of the chaos.

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2 Comments

  1. This is the point I am trying to get to with my son. Just this morni9 tears and the apologize for him blaming me for his addiction. Heartbreaking for me. I know he’s miserable, I know he never wanted to be an addict. It’s been 13 yrs of this
    I want to be at the point where he knows I’m for here for him without being in the chaos. Do I drive him to the meetings do I trust him to go? I lost my identical twin to a herion od…I can’t lose another

    • Dearest Joy,

      Addiction suffocates us. You’ve already lost your identical twin to a heroin overdose, and the possibility of losing your son fuels your feelings of powerlessness and fear. I’m so sorry. For my son, a fourteen-year heroin addict, HE had to make the decision to change his life. I tried everything possible to ‘force’ him to stop, but all my efforts were fruitless. At the end, I told him, “When I had breast cancer, I had to choose to fight. No one can force you to cut two breasts off your body. I could have died, but I chose to live. YOU need to choose to live. I can’t do it for you. Fight, son, fight.” I had to surrender the battle; I couldn’t win it for him. He says that when the consequences of his addiction became so overpowering, he had to choose to live or die. I’m grateful every day that he’s alive, and I know it’s one day at a time.

      We each need to make our own decisions about what to do and when. It took for fourteen years to stop fixing things, driving him, and giving him money. When I stopped, he picked up his cross and did what he needed to do. BUT – only you can decide what you’ll do for your son.

      My love to you. I’ll stay close in love and prayer.

      Libby


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