ASK ABDI: HOW DO I DEAL WITH AN INTIMATES’ ADDICTION?
QUESTION: A family member (who suffers from alcoholism) may have to do outpatient at a rehab. I’ve decided not to pay for his rehab, so he is going through the local hospital, as he has no insurance and no money. If he goes outpatient, he would need to stay at a shelter, as my family has made it clear - he can’t stay with any of us (he lies, drinks, etc., and we are trying to take a hard line, so he takes this seriously). Do you think this stance (and the shelter, etc.) is a mistake? I know you have decades of experience with addiction, and I want to get it right for him.
ANSWER: You are doing the BEST thing for him. He has to hit bottom. This is the only way and chance that he will have to recover, before being destroyed by his addiction. It is obviously very painful to watch a loved one have to go through this, but as you have found out, the soft glove approach does not go far with an addict. We are helpless in the face of addiction, and the person suffering from it has to face the consequences of their behavior. That is their only hope.
Stay strong, and remember that it is out of love that you are having to step back. Allow him the opportunity to choose his path in this incarnation.