There are stages of development in life and in recovery.
I have been the kid, the addict, and the parent. I have run this pattern from every angle. Here is what I know for sure:
1. Understand that there is no excuse for bad behavior. When someone breaks the law, abuses a child, or threatens to harm another individual – it doesn’t matter why they drink, how many pills they took, or what happened to them as a child. They are responsible. I don’t care if they just got out of jail, just got back from war, just lost their job, or just got kicked out of rehab. There is no excuse for bad behavior. Hold that line!
2. Focus on the problem, not the excuses for the problem. Any addict is capable of turning the tables when they’re caught. It’s an old strategy. The best defense is a good offense. By the time they’re through with you, you’ll be sure it is your fault and what they did is your responsibility. There’s an old AlAnon saying – “You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it.” Don’t even try.
3. Don’t throw money at it. If a person wants to get well, they can do that regardless of their financial condition, where they live or don’t live, who they live with or don’t live with. And giving cash to a practicing addict is often more damaging and deadly than leaving them in the dire conditions (often consequences they have created for themselves.)
Saying ‘No’ without feeling guilty is an art you can learn, with practice.
Kim Halsey is a human resource professional and executive coach who helps people overcome life damaging habits, restore important relationships, and live their dreams without drama.