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Is it love or is it fear?

You care. I care. We all care.

We don't want to see people hurting. I think as humans we are all naturally-born helpers.

Do you love someone struggling with addiction that is stuck at home right now?

What are you worried about? Maybe:

- My loved one (LO) lost his job. I'll help him with paying his rent and buying some groceries.

- My "LO" has too much time on her hands. What if she is drinking with all this free time?

- My "LO" sits around all day. How can I keep him busy?

We think we are helping by buying groceries and paying a month of rent to get our loved ones by.

We think we are helping by sharing job openings with our LO.

We think we are helping by giving our LO lots of chores to stay busy.

This isn't love. This is fear disguised as love.

Boundaries are hard. We don't want to see our LO hurting and we certainly don't want to see them drink or use because they are bored. How are we helping them if we are constantly interfering with their life? How are we helping ourselves? Besides feeding our ego, we are causing a bunch of damage - to both our LO and ourselves.

Instead, try leading with love - love for yourself and love for your LO.

We can support, but not enable. We can support and love. It starts with allowing our LO to feel uncomfortable. If we are constantly stepping in and making sure they are taking care of, when will they learn to feel pain and care for themselves? They won't. They will continue to call and ask for money or groceries. They will continue to depend on you to find their next job or their next place to live.

Fear tells us to fix it - to step in like Bob the Builder. "Can we fix it?" A: "NO, we can't." Fear tells us that if our family, friends, or neighbors find out we are doomed. "What will Suzy from church think if she knows that my son is an alcoholic?". Who cares what Suzy thinks?! Life is fricking hard. Really hard. But, it can be beautiful and amazing too. All the hard stuff leads us to the good stuff. But, you need to walk that path and pretend that Suzy from church's opinion doesn't matter - even if it does right now.

The best thing we can give our Loved One is the word "No". It is only two letters but it carries incredible strength. It also requires incredible strength to be used.

It'll take some practice. Lots of practice. And that's okay. Next time you find yourself wanting to "help", stand back and ask yourself if you are doing it out of fear or love. What would REALLY help your LO? It is a "no"? Most likely, yes.

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