May 24, 2005

Drug Addiction : Shattered Dreams, Wasted Lives Part 3

Empty Promises
One of the things the addict offers his loved one when they urge him to stop using drugs is promises.

If you are the spouse or loved one of an addict, chances are you are only too familiar with the promises he makes you. Most of the time the addict knows full well that he doesn't intend to keep the promises he makes to you of stopping his addiction but he makes those promises nonetheless. He knows that promises, empty though they may be, will buy him TIME. He needs this TIME in order to get you and everyone else that nags and hassles him off his back.

If you call this manipulation, you are on the right track. *more on manipulation later*

In order to continue his chosen lifestyle he will promise you the moon, only don't hold him to it. You will find out later the promise he made to you was nothing more than a passing gesture meant to pacify you at the time he made it. The promise is one with ZERO substance.
The next time he disappears from home or is seen by you under the influence of his drug of choice, the cold reality of his empty promise will be evident to you.

At this time, when you are once again faced with his lies, this infuriates you and annoys him. You are infuriated because he lied to you, He is annoyed because you're on his back again!

Now notice what I just said: He is only annoyed because you are on his back again, not necessarily annoyed at himself for having lied to you! Why would he not primarily be bothered by having lied to you? Because an addicts chief concern is NEVER about you or your feelings, nor is it their dishonest conduct towards anyone else, their main concern is always FEEDING THEIR ADDICTION.
This is not to say that they have no conscience. I believe that addicts have random, yet seldom times in which they reflect on their actions and are sorry for them, but as I said, these are few and far between for most addicts in my experience. You may have thought that those crocodile tears meant something every time you saw them fall. I wish that were the case, but most times it is not.

Even if the addict regrets having lied to you once again, it does not overpower his desire for drugs - his first love.
It would be better if you stopped the addict in his tracks while he is in the process of making his latest promise to you and tell him, "Don't make me any promises because they mean
nothing to me." You always break them". When the addict comes to the end of himself by plunging himself far enough down in the gutter by his own hand, then and only then will you see positive actions on his part that will confirm any promise he could make to you and will as well confirm that he has changed. Until that time, any promises are empty and worthless.
Think of it this way: The drug addict wants something - To continue to use. You want something - Him to stop.

He will continue to use until his use causes him to suffer great hardship and sorrow!

You will continue wanting him to stop until he does stop.

You are saying NO while he is saying YES.

This is opposition that will continue until one of you gives in or gives out! In this dance of desperation, what if I told you of the only way to win this struggle?


Listen carefully because this is a surefire way for you to win this battle:

1. Just as the addict must get sick and tired of the life he leads and must suffer pain and loss before he gets clean, you, the loved one of the addict must get sick and tired of issuing ultimatums, threats and having empty promises tossed at you.

2. You must get sick and tired of leading a life that is engulfed and wrapped up in the addict and his selfish actions.

3. You must see that to continue enabling his addiction in any way is going to lead to his ultimate ruin.

If you are still thinking/ believing there is something YOU can do to control HIM, you are wrong. You might have great intentions, but those won't get the job done, they won't free your loved one either. Enabling shows that you believe that you somehow hold the key to his freedom-- But I assure you that's not true.

Have you been told that you're the problem?

One reason why you refuse to remove yourself from the situation is because the addict has told you that you are the problem! This may make you doubt yourself and wonder if he is right. So you may be attempting to change yourself and your actions in order to make HIM happy with you. This is often the case. He may tell you that your depression is causing him to use drugs. It is most likely true that you are depressed, who would not be living with the likes of an addict such as him, but your depression and actions are NOT the reason why his is using! The truth is: You only become a problem in the life of an addict from God's perspective if you are enabling his lifestyle and bad behavior.
The danger of enabling

You must realize that God has plans for you as well as your addicted loved one. He has a will for your life and his. The thing is, if you are enabling his drug use, you are standing in God's way and shutting down any plan he has for your loved one's freedom. The first step toward his freedom is taking yourself OUT of the situation and making sure the enabling stops.

Those who are loved ones of addicts will bail them out of jail, give them money and do other things which BLOCKS the addict from taking responsibility for his own bad choices and dangerous lifestyle. This is enabling. The drug addict, MUST SUFFER CONSEQUENCES before he will even desire to change his ways and his life. It is these consequences that the enabler is shielding their addicted loved one from and that is why the devastation of drug addiction seems like a roller coaster ride. Those who enable drug addicts should realize this.

Enabling the lifestyle of the addict is dangerous to him. In fact, enabling the addict is many times more dangerous than allowing him or her to own up to their own destructive lifestyle and take responsibility for their own actions.

If you enable the addict, they will stay trapped in their addiction and many times with your help, (if you enable them by giving them money, paying their bills and generally doing for them what they should be doing for themselves) their addictions usually escalate. I have experience with the addicts drug use escalating and spirally out of control due to a spouse or parent's enabling. Though these loved ones intentions are always well meaning, the addict takes advantage of their "Help" and his use will escalate almost every time. Tell an addict NO after he has only known you to tell him YES and you will quickly see him turn on you. This is why many spouses and parents of addicts choose to deny them nothing.

Those who enable: Tools of the addict

The addict uses those he or she loves. It is very hard to accept, but it is this very truth that many of us must realize. Just as tools are used to "fix" an inanimate object, their loved ones are tools that the addict will use to "fix" them. In other words, to help them maintain their addictive lifestyle. If you refuse to be used by them any longer and are not being their tool, you will most likely be left alone by them, but it will not be an easy adjustment. Most times, the addict will go on to find others who will enable him, but that is not your problem. You are not responsible for the actions of others, only yourself. Perhaps given enough time in the pit of despair, your loved one will emerge a changed person, having beaten their addiction through a prodigal son experience that has humbled him greatly and left him with the chance, the only chance at a fulfilling and real life.

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