Good afternoon, everyone. Audra Simovitch is our guardianship lawyer. She’s fabulous. We just had lunch with a colleague of ours who is also a mutual friend. He explained that he talked to someone who lost their child. He said, “How do you address the conversation with a set of parents when one parent wants to be the enabler and the other wants to practice tough love?” When he says, “tough love,” they’re wondering if they should kick their child out of the house. Should they cut them off?
Enabling means, “Should I give the kid money when he wants money? Should I let him go out when he wants to?” I’m using the word “he” but this is for boys and girls. The choice is not between enabling and tough love. Those aren’t the choices.
I tell parents every day that the diseases of addiction and mental health only get worse over time. They do not get better. That’s a fact. When you know that you’re dealing with a disease that only gets worse with time, then the choices are simple. That individual is going to the morgue, to prison or to treatment. Those are the choices. It’s not a choice of, “Should I enable or practice tough love?” It’s a choice of where that person is going to end up.
If you don’t want your child going to the morgue or prison, then you have to make the decision to get them into treatment. That’s the decision that has to be made. Treatment or no treatment. I think that part of the problem is that I’ve sugar coated things in the past. I was uncomfortable telling families that, if they don’t get their kid into treatment, they will either end up dead or in prison. I’m done with sugar coating things. If you do not get your kids into treatment, they will either end up dead or in prison. You have to get these kids into treatment. I realize that the 800-pound gorilla in the room is that treatment is not available to everyone. I appreciate that. I’ll be the first to agree with that statement.
The issue is, are we going to send these people to treatment or not? Expecting a child who has been dealing with addiction and has had a mental health issue for a long time to magically make the decision to stop using and put themselves into treatment is not realistic. As a parent, spouse or friend, you have to make that rational decision for them. They are not capable of making it for themselves. If they could, they would have done it already.
Stop worrying about whether you should enable or practice tough love. Decide that you’re going to get that person into treatment. If you don’t get them into treatment, they will either end up dead or in prison. That’s the choice that you have to make. We’re in the business of trying to save lives and make a difference. I hope that this has registered with you. Every day, I try to help more people, save more lives and make a difference. If you know someone who is dealing with this issue, whether they are a parent, spouse, brother or sister, say something to them or share this video with them. I appreciate you listening as well as the comments.