Struggling with your loved one’s problems? Maybe reconsider your choices.
James Clear, a writer who focuses on how we can create better habits, make better decisions, and live better lives, writes a newsletter that I find informative. A recent one listed a number of real wealth observations. I believe they address the struggles we encounter dealing with a loved one who abuses substances, alcohol, or drugs.
Foremost is his observation that real wealth isn’t about money. Rather, it’s about freedom. So how do we free ourselves from our worries and fears? How do we stop stepping in to rescue a loved one in trouble? How do we free our minds from obsessing over what might happen in the future? How do we handle the possibility that our loved one might become homeless? Or commit a criminal act? Or be rushed to an ER? Or die from cirrhosis of the liver or a drug overdose?
Admittedly we can’t stop any of the above tragedies from happening if our loved one refuses to seek help and commit to recovery. No matter the outcome, good or bad, it’s best to remember the three Cs: we didn’t cause it, can’t control it, and can’t cure it. We achieve a measure of freedom when we let go of our fears and live in the present.
Whose problem is it?
James Clear goes on to say, “Don’t make someone else’s problem, your problem.” Easier said than done. A cousin’s grandson is addicted to opioids. He’s pale, thin, and in poor health. Lives in his beat-up truck for the most part.
Many times, Grandpa has stepped in to pay for clothes, groceries, car repairs, etc. (He learned early on not to give him cash.) During a recent cold spell, he offered to pay for a few nights at a hotel so his grandson wouldn’t freeze in his truck. The grandson declined the offer and instead asked his grandfather to fill his truck’s tank (which he did).
This recent encounter was heartbreaking. Both had choices. Grandpa chose to help. His grandson refused that help. My cousin recognizes that his grandson’s problem wasn’t his problem unless he makes it so. He works hard to free himself from his grandson’s problem.
Saying yes or not?
Often, our loved ones ask for help, particularly when they’re in a financial jam. When money goes to drugs, there’s little left for routine living expenses. So we receive many requests to help out. Can you pay my cell phone bill this month? Can you handle my car insurance this one time? Can you help with my speeding ticket? If not, I’ll lose my driver’s license. Can you handle some of my child care expenses? Can you pick up the kids up from school, because I’m not feeling well?
A friend’s niece called and requested that her aunt use her credit card to pay for a pizza because she didn’t have any food. The niece lives out of state. Often when my adult son was abusing drugs, he’d asked for financial help. Often I gave in because I hoped that if I just helped out this one time, he wouldn’t ask again. Of course, I was deluding myself and continued to enable for a long time until I realized that I didn’t always have to rush in and say yes. SOURCE