25 May 2014

Don't Be An Enabler

This article is part of Kallan's wonderful Sunday Stew. Please hop on over and read all the different flavors added by each chef. I know that you will love it!

I know that I wrote a small blog about this subject earlier this week....but I didn't say everything that I was feeling. I feel like I left out quite a bit, because I was (and am) still processing my anger.

I lost a friend this past week. No, we were no longer speaking, but I still counted her as my friend. She was a drug user. She USED to be an RN. She still had her sweetness. She still would do anything to help anyone. But, she just couldn't help her own self. I want to tell this story, in hopes that it will help someone. I am not telling this to drag her through the dirt. I want people to know that ignoring things does not help people. That joining them in their lives will not save them. I won't be using her name, mainly for her children's sakes.

My friend was beautiful. She was caring. She was helpful. She spiraled in oblivion, like an angel with wings that she broke with self-hate. Two years ago, I tried to help her. I paid a huge price of losing her friendship, but I had to make a decision. 

At the time I knew that she was a past user. She had danced a death dance with cocaine, and had told everyone that she overcame the addiction. She stole script pads from her employment and lost her job. She was no longer a nurse. But, she said she overcame it. 

Then she scrambled to right herself. That's the picture she painted for everyone, that she was righting herself. This was the picture that I saw. That she had gotten an apartment, had settled down with her young daughter, and she was making it all work. We went sledding in the winter, we helped her put some things in storage, we made plans to spend Christmas together. 

However, she would visit people and just fall asleep. She was scatterbrained. She would be hopping one minute and sleeping the very next. She kept her 5 year old out til 2 in the morning, making runs to who knows where. The child was falling asleep in her classroom, grouchy. The child was waking up and feeding herself chocolate and water because there wasn't an adult that could woken from their drug stupor to feed her. There were other things that happened that helped me make a decision with what needed to be done.

I helped a sister get custody of the child. I had hopes that this would fuel her to get better. I wanted her to get better. I wanted her to be the mommy she was supposed to be. I wanted her to turn her life around. 

But, during the trial, she had convinced friends to stand up for her. She had told them that Benadryl, and not Opana, was her problem. How could she, the sweet girl that would help anyone, be using such hard drugs. Over and over and over she convinced people of these things, while vilifying the people that were trying to help her. We were horrible. We were mean. How could we do such things!? And that was fine with me, if I had to be the evil one, then I would wear that badge with pride. I finally decided that if she wanted to kill herself she could but she was not going to take an innocent child with her. 

Soon after this she was able to regain her unsupervised visitation with the child. On the way to take the child back to her aunt, she had to pull off the road to pass out. When she finally woke up after the child slapped her face and screamed repeatedly, she pulled back on the road and was quickly pulled over by the police. She only had a two hour visitation a week and she could not stay sober long enough for that. 

After that incident, her drug use spiraled out of complete control. She went full force with it. And people were still lying to themselves about her. They were still listening to her lies. She went to skin and bones, hollow eyes, but still how could she be doing this. After all, she is just so sweet. 

And still after her death, these same enablers, these same fellow drug users, they are oblivious. My friend that couldn't keep the needles that killed her out of her body, is now being made into a saint. Her body was so abused that she had to be cremated. They helped her to her death with denial and now they make her to be a saint. It sickens me. There are now children without a mother and these enablers are still just as purposefully oblivious as they always were. Some of them even did drugs with her, but yet they stand by and ask "What killed her?"

Another friend of mine said (loose quote) "Nothing brings saintdom and martyrdom quicker than death"  This is my third friend that I have lost in the past two years to drug use. Each one of them all have the same type of enablers standing around and scratching their heads asking what happened. They are oblivious. They stand around and say how wonderful this person was and still dance around the truth. That is the true sadness. That is what causes the death of these people. For every one person that wants to help, there are 3 standing in the shadows telling this person that they are doing just fine, that they aren't doing anything wrong. Then they stand back and watch this person commit a slow suicide.

So please, if you have a person like this in your life, don't enable them. Don't sit back and watch them commit suicide. Don't accept their excuses. Don't blow off the people helping them. 

I know these people can't be helped until they want to be helped. But, don't enable them. Don't stand back in willful ignorance. Don't make excuses for them. Don't help them vilify the ones that want them to have help. Remember: Enabling isn't just handing people money, it's also listening to their lies and helping to act like they are the truth.


fearless_fallen_angel said...

As a woman in recovery from addictions of all sorts, I can so relate to this, having felt and been on both sides of the story. I grew up in a home with addiction, became an addict and raised my children in a home with addiction, recovered and watched other people struggle horribly with addiction. Sometimes, we can only let people go with love, bear witness while they struggle and be available if they come back around. Sometimes, the kindest thing to do for us addicts is to let us have our consequences.

Sending you heart-felt sympathy on the loss of your friend. I sincerely hope it isn't forever.

Blessed Be.

Loren Morris said...

You are correct about letting them go on their way to deal with their own problems. When the entire situation developed with her daughter, she knew that I now knew how far gone she was. At first she asked for our help, said that she wanted it. I wanted to help her, I wanted her to go to a rehab, I researched for her, her sister and I discussed how she could get help and slowly get her daughter back. But by the next week she had convinced herself that she didn't have a problem and this was backed by her so called friends. She decided she didn't need rehab, that she was fine.....and we know the ending.

I am glad to know that you have overcome your addictions, that you are a survivor.

Alan S said...

I am both sorry for and sympathizing with your pain and anger, sweetie. If my sister hadn't been surrounded by enablers, or if I had lived close enough to see the problems she was hiding over the phone, she might still be alive. *hug*

Loren Morris said...

I am sorry for your loss as well, (((Alan))). I'm sorry that you were not able to see what was going on in your sister's life.

I think the problem with most enablers is denial. They don't want to believe that such a thing is going on. They tend to turn a blind eye the change in the person's appearance, their attitude, their actions. They don't want to disturb their relationship with the individual, so they turn a blind eye. I had suspected there was a problem, but my eyes weren't open to the severity until I got the call from someone on Christmas.

Then, of course, you have the ones that are also willing participants in the person's behavior and they wrongly believe the person has control over the situation and no intervention is needed, because they too are blinded by their own use.

Tara Smith said...

Dealing with a suicide , we tried. We knew what was going on and we tried. He refused help and refused our chances at getting an intervention. We live with the guilt every day. I know see this dark spiral with the hubs. I refuse to sit back and watch it happen again. Hugs to you Loren for standing up to what's right. Much love sista.

Loren Morris said...

Tara, some people just refuse the help that is offered, but do not ever blame yourself. It is their life, and their decision to do with it what they choose. I am sorry that happened to you. <3