Sunday, January 16, 2011

Family Matters

enable (verb): to provide (someone) with adequate power, means, opportunity, or authority (to do something)

I want to talk about this, and get my feelings on this subject out in the open. My family has dealt with members suffering from substance addiction for years. Some members of my family feel that to not help out family members who are addicts and to not put up with their bullshit is an act of outright hatred towards them, and therefore throwing them by the waste side. By helping out, I mean providing them monetary support, continuing to let them reside in their home even after having their personal space violated numerous times, things like that.

First off, if their lives are being endangered in front of you and you wish to do something about it, that's fine. No way in hell I could stand by and watch a family member get beat up. That's understandable. But that other stuff I mentioned? That is not showing love. That is ENABLING the addict to continue living how they are. No matter how much they say they want to change, if they continue to stay in the element that is the source of their problems, continue to buy drugs from and borrow money from pushers with no way of paying it back....*sigh* Addiction is something that no person can defeat alone. That I can understand. But if there is anything I've learned over the years, is that love alone cannot cure addiction. It CAN'T. The addict HAS to get to their breaking point, or their BOTTOM. For some addicts, that happens quickly. For others, it takes years and years before hitting a bottom, if they're not dead.

I wonder if my fam would have limited my uncle's options sooner. Before more things were stolen from us, before he got beaten badly a couple months ago by people he owed money to, before those same pushers put glue into the locks of my apartment building and the top lock of my and my grandmother's apartment, which co-incided with his going to detox and not being around when this bullshit happened...I wonder if this all could have been averted a long time ago. But no matter. I hope he gets his shit together, but after being a victim and witness to his bullshit as an addict, I'm not waiting around for it.

There's something else that offends me as well. The subject of forgiveness. I understand why it is necessary. I feel that family forces it on you without allowing you to work through your pain, just for the sake of having everyone get along. This is something that I cannot abide by. I will not and cannot pretend that I am on good terms with someone when I'm not. I will not and cannot pretend that everything is cool btw myself and someone when I haven't forgiven them yet, and having it talked about around me gives me the idea that the idea is being crammed into my throat, and I don't take well to others' ideas being forced on me.

Family needs to deal with their shit, not brush it under a rug and think that love will make everything better and the bad times will just go away. Nothing ever "goes away", and to not resolve it weak and does nothing but breed resentment and contempt for fellow members. No matter how much you love someone, you cannot love their addiction away. In the end, the addict has to decide whether they want to get clean or spend the rest of their lives strung out. Now, if you want to really help the person, get them in a program. Do not enable the addict. Any type of support that doesn't help them to end their addiction does them no good. Sure, you prove your love, but you're telling the addict in the end that you will continue to accept them as they are, when what they are is not only affects them mentally, physically and emotionally, it affect YOU as well.