When my son was struggling with substance use and my family needed help supporting him, I was told I was enabling
When families are supporting a loved one struggling with substance use, they’re often given uninformed advice rooted in stigma. There are effective strategies for actively supporting a loved one with addiction, but they aren’t widely available.
So often I was told by well-meaning people, including professionals, that I had to get out of his way. Let go. Detach. Watch him tumble into the abyss to find his rock bottom. To me, that felt like telling me, “Your family hasn’t suffered enough, and neither has your loved one.”
“Stop enabling him,” they would say. “Stop being codependent. You’re as sick as he is.” While there were some times when I believed this, and even did my best to follow these “recommendations,” most of the time it felt like I was abdicating my responsibilities as a parent and abandoning my child when he needed me most.