Why We Enable our Addicted Children

Addiction Knows No Bounds, and Neither Does Parental Love and Our Need to Enable and be Codependent!

The parental love we have for our children truly starts before birth. It starts when we learn they are coming.  By the time of birth we know that we are given this child to love protect and teach them the ways of the world.  We have hopes that they will be happy healthy and successful. I knew when my daughter  was born she  would become the center of my life. How much the center of my life, I could not even begin to understand. As I looked at her, I knew she would do great things in life. She  would be the perfect child, and would become, as we all say about our children, the President of the United States someday. Aspirations of her going to an Ivy League school, being musically talented and brilliant, were going through my head. My aspirations for her were even greater than my own. I would never let her make the same mistakes I made. I will love her, protect her at all cost, and make sure she reaches her potential.

Then the unspeakable happened my child  became addicted to drugs and alcohol and my world began to crumble…  I didn’t see it at first and then when I did see it, I still didn’t want to see it!  I ignored it; at first thinking it was a “phase” she was going through. Didn’t we all do a bit of underage drinking? Some friends  smoked some weed in high school and they seemed to grow up o?. I never knew any real addicts in high school or college.

I enabled her and enabled her and enabled her sometimes knowingly and sometimes unknowingly. Sometimes thinking I could  “buy ” her out of addiction.  My thinking was simple, too simple…. if she wanted something and would promise to not buy  or use drugs, then every thing would go back to “Normal”. That plan just did not work. In fact I might be able to make the case that every time she wanted something she would promise not to “use” just  to get it. When she got what she wanted. she would simply continue to use …maybe not immediately, but shortly thereafter and also lie about it. Even when I knew this was happening I would continue BECAUSE maybe, just maybe this time it would work and she would stop.  I was deluding myself every time  thinking this time would be the time it would end. I lost track of how many times I believed that.

I enabled her as much for her as for myself. I wanted this to stop for her as much as myself. MY sleepless nights, MY worry. MY anxiety, MY frustration, My arguing with my spouse on how to deal with the problems, My arguments among all of the family members. I was consumed with her using drugs and alcohol. Especially as I had a brother who at the ripe age of 13 started his downward spiral that lasted 30 years in addiction. i would try anything to make her stop. i enabled her knowingly in the hopes it would stop and it never did.. why would it? …I gave her what she wanted , when she wanted it . I was the penultimate Enabler! I continued for years even when i knew it wasn’t working all in the hopes that it would. We so want to believe them we would do anything to get them to stop using

Unknowing, I would enable her by doing normal things you would do for any child to love. protect and help them  navigate the world we live in as would any parents. She would, as any addict would, steal from me, lie to me, not to mention use drugs and I would still feel the need to give her Food, shelter, love, attention a car spending money etc.etc.etc.  Isn’t that what we should be doing ? Isn’t that our job as parents? Essentially enabling them to navigate life?

That depends on your definition of being a parent and in many cases circumstances change what defines our parental role. Let me explain. the world my addict was navigating was not the world I was helping her to learn to navigate. The food shelter clothing etc. was used to navigate HER world, the underworld of addiction, not the world that I as a parent was supposed to help her in on the contrary, I wanted her out of this world. Anything that i gave her for our normal world was being used to navigate her underworld.  An underworld  I knew nothing about navigating, and as any normal parent, did not approve of this world. Yet  everything i gave her went knowlingly to support her lifestyole in her underworld.  A world that would eventually kill her.

How could I support that lifestyle? Would I support her decision to be a bank robber? No. Would I support her decision to be a murderer?  Of course not. Yet, I am supporting her in a lifestyle of stealing from her family, and probably others,  and in essence murdering herself with Heroin. Why would I ever entertain helping a thief and or murderer execute their plan ?  That is exactly what I was doing. Helping her with her plan in fact was helping a thief and a murderer.

I made a decision to stop helping her in her plan, and trying to get her on a new plan. The only way to do that was to stop giving her the necessities she needed to fulfill her mission, in her world. I needed to cut off her resources from my world and stop paying for her world..No more enabling….,, no more codependency…

That was the beginning of changes in my and my families life



An Addict Within Book Cover


3 Replies to “Why We Enable our Addicted Children”

  1. I have a 27year old daughter who have been a cat and crystal meth addict for 10years now. i thought she was clean untill i neigbour phoned me from a complex 9:30pm to please come fetch her because her boyfriend is beating her. Like the fool i am i fetched her .. again .. as usualy she is promising high and low that she wants to change her life. Shes been clean now for two weeks again and she’s already back to her old tricks .. asking to go out to drug”sober” friends but then comes home drunk saying well at least its not drugs. I dont want to deal with this anymore .. but i dont feel strong enough to put her out on the streets again .. when i did it the first time 3years ago something in me died and i dont even know if ive completely recovered yet .. please send me some advice if you will. I dont even know if i even want to help her anymore .. i just dont have the strength for her anymore

    1. Danye,
      Let me applaud you for first recognizing and not blinding yourself that there is a huge problem . It is always a balancing act of emotions for us parents. We all feel , from the time they are born we are here to protect them, help them mature and grow into productive adults. I have also faced the same predicament that you are in. Ultimately we want them clean even if they don’t want it for themselves and we will do virtually anything to get them clean. Before I can help you and it would be my honor to help you I have a few questions. Please feel free to call me at 714-887-4015 which is my cell phone. I live in Los Angeles. There is no charge for this so do not be afraid. I do this only as my giving back to the community of parents like myself who suffer in quiet pain and emotional turmoil . There is no catch and no cost…..

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