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Support vs Enabling

  • Asks ...

    I have a 22 year old son who is a recovering Heroine/Blues (synthetic form of heroine?) addict. He was diagnosed with clinical depression in adolesence, was in juvenile detention from 14 to 17 and most recently in jail for the past 7 months for fraud ( he stole checks from his father.) My ex husband and my daughter (we are close) refuse to have contact with him at this point and I am the only family member he has contact with. He is living in a halfway house in the same town and attending meetings as required. I know he is having a difficult time as it is a horrible place with many homeless men living there. I am struggling with letting him stay with me for a defined period of time with a written agreement and requirements to offer support for him. I belive he has "hit bottom" this last time but not sure if I can know that for sure. He became a father 7 months ago and they live in another state. I would like to give him the support he needs to be successful but don"t want to fall back into the same patterns. I have not been the "Tough Love" one in the family ...

  • Rachel Starck Says ...
    Rachel Starck

    Very tough situation.  What is your support system like?  It sounds like you are seeing your son make effort, and follow through with commitments.  Not sure how long he has been in the halfway house or has been clean, but I would want to see a signficant amount of clean time (6 months to a year) before opening your home.  Of course it is your decision, but I recommend getting a solid support group (al-anon is a great resource) who will be honest and real about addiction and will let you know when you are rescuing or enabling him rather then helping.  Support for your son does not have to be in the form of a place to stay.  You can be supportive and loving while he gets himself back on his feet.  It may be important for him to experience the consequences of his choices in order to own his own recovery.  So, find a counselor who is familiar with addiction, and attend Al-anon meetings to help you make choices that are truely in his (and your) best interest! 

    Best Luck,

    Rachel Starck, LPC


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