You’ve heard it said, “They must hit bottom before they will be ready to get help.” Do you have to wait until they hit bottom? Or is there something you can do to help “raise the bottom” so your loved one can get help sooner? Here are three great ways that you can help raise the bottom for your loved one!
1. Stop rescuing your loved one
All too often we have covered up their irresponsible decisions— paid bail so they could get out of jail—paid delinquent bills, or the rent. We’ve believed their heart-stopping stories of tragedy. “I cashed my check, and put the cash in my pocket. When I got home, the money was gone! I must have dropped it.” They played the part so well—the tears, the frustration—“I was trying so hard to be responsible, and now I have nothing!”
Your heart of compassion goes out to them and you generously give to help them through to the next paycheck. You failed to see their story was a very convincing con job to get extra cash for drugs. You “raise the bottom” for your loved one when you say, “No,” and allow them to face the painful consequences of their irresponsible actions.
2. Tell them the truth
You help “raise the bottom” for your loved one by being truthful about their problems. We often have perfect insight in seeing the problems in strangers and other casual acquaintances. But when it is your own family member—you want to believe the best—and you deceive yourself by saying, “Things really aren’t all that bad. I’m sure things will get better soon.”
You need to speak the truth— not in a torrent of frustration and rage—but firmly so the message is unmistakable. “You have a problem—you need to change—you need help. I can’t change you. I won’t make any more excuses for you. Help is available, but you must choose to get help.” Saying it one time usually won’t break through the fog of confusion and delusion. Those who work in the field of addictions often see that it takes 30 or more such messages of truth before the person is ready to admit their need to get help.
3. Don’t make decisions for them
One family had a son who dropped out of college as a freshman. He came back home, bringing his drug addiction with him. He didn’t get a job, so Mom and Dad made his car payments for him, so he wouldn’t lose the car. So how do you find the balance between doing nothing or making decisions for your loved one who has a problem?
There is no simple ABC plan to let you know how to best help your loved one. If the person with the problem is living in your home, then you have a greater opportunity to impact them with your decisions. You can place requirements on them, which force them to choose in a responsible way. If they continue to be irresponsible, you can put painful consequences in place. Some family members have forced their loved one into a program. Sometimes it works— after a few days in the program, the addicted one realizes s/he needs to change and stay with this new path to healing and restoration. But often people forced into programs leave prematurely.
Do you have a loved one on a path of destruction that has not yet “hit bottom”?
A. What, if anything, have you said or done to try to rescue this person?
B. How hard is it for you to let go of this person and let God do whatever it takes to bring your loved one to a place of change?
C. What can you do to “raise the bottom” for your loved one?
Enabling is rescuing your loved ones so that they do not experience the painful consequences of their irresponsible decisions. Enabling is anything that stands in the way of persons experiencing the natural consequences of their own behavior.
Here are six common characteristics of an enabler:
1. Works for self-improvement.
“If I were a better parent/grandparent/friend, my loved one wouldn’t be doing this.”
2. Changes the environment to accommodate the person with the problem.
“Let’s change schools and get our child away from those troublemakers.”
3. Takes on the whole world in defense of a loved one.
“The whole legal system is corrupt, and my child/grandchild/friend is getting unjust treatment.”
4. Their pain increases.
Because the loved one is still acting irresponsibly, the enabler’s pain and frustration deepens.
5. Communications deteriorate.
Because the issues are unresolved, defenses are high. Both the enabler and the loved one are often deluded about reality.
6. Enabling is habit-forming.
The enabler keeps offering the same kind of help. Sometimes the enabler derives such deep satisfaction from “rescuing” someone that he or she never assesses whether the assistance is helping or hurting the loved one..
Have you ever struggled with ENABLING? If so, how have you overcome that issue?
Drug abusers often try to conceal their symptoms and downplay their problem. If you’re worried that a friend or family member might be abusing drugs, look for the following warning signs:
Physical warning signs of drug abuse
- Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain
- Deterioration of physical appearance, personal grooming habits
- Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing
- Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination
Behavioral signs of drug abuse
- Drop in attendance and performance at work or school
- Unexplained need for money or financial problems. May borrow or steal to get it.
- Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors
- Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies
- Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities)
Psychological warning signs of drug abuse
- Unexplained change in personality or attitude
- Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts
- Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness
- Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or “spaced out”
- Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason
Taken From: http://helpguide.org/mental/alcohol_abuse_alcoholism_signs_effects_treatment.htm ©Helpguide.org. All rights reserved. Helpguide.org is an ad-free non-profit resource for supporting better mental health and lifestyle choices for adults and children.
- Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual