I raised my family with the best of intentions. I loved my kids to the moon—still do—but I also felt completely responsible for them. That’s understandable when they’re children and young adults. But at some point—and this place is different for all of us—I feel it’s important to relinquish our responsibility and allow our children to be responsible for themselves.
This gets so complicated because mental health issues so often accompany active substance use disorder. There is so much for our children to shoulder, and we want to help.
This understanding is never more critical than when our adult children struggle with this disease. If we are hampered by guilt—a truly crippling emotion—we might allow ourselves to feel overly responsible. We keep moving our own healthy boundaries to accommodate the substance abuser. This in turn puts us at risk of becoming enablers. And that downward spiral will continue—until we break free of it. It’s a hard journey we’re on, and we need help too.
”We didn’t cause it; we can’t control it; we can’t cure it.”