Throughout my life, I have had a lot of experience dealing with people who struggle with addictions. My best friend is a member of AA and used to have issues with alcohol and drugs. One of the biggest lessons we have both learned, is that change only comes after serious consequences and after the person struggling has felt enough pain that THEY want to change. Nothing I have ever said or done has compelled someone else to behave differently, and I think this is an important message.
Talking Won’t Get It Done
Recently, a grandmother I know got furious at her grandson about something he did or did not do and she went on a rampage yelling at him. She was sure her words “hit the mark.” The sad part is, words have no impact on most people. Everyone does what they want, no matter what you do or say. It is pointless to waste your time lecturing someone. I have learned this lesson well as a mother and trying to force my daughter to behave differently. It never worked. You can’t “talk it out of them.” Words have no value, especially with people who struggle with addictions or even mental illness.
It’s Not About Him
After the incident with the grandmother, it dawned on me, that perhaps the young man’s behaviors were not about him at all. Maybe he was put into his grandmother’s life to help her find a way to stop involving herself in a situation that she could not control. Then this idea started manifesting in my own life in a variety of ways to hammer the point home.
Esther Knows to Stay Out of Everyone’s Business
Today an Abraham Hicks video popped up on my phone, and although I haven’t listened to one in a long time, I pushed play. It was amazing because it talked about this very issue. Abraham relayed a situation where Esther wanted to help a woman who was stopped by the police. It’s in her nature to always want to help. But she refrained, and then the next day the police stopped her. She had gotten so emotionally involved in that woman’s situation that she herself attracted the same trouble. Esther laughed and realized that the woman had everything she needed to handle her own affairs. She, too, was attracting exactly what she needed in her life and who was Esther to get involved? It is Esther’s natural inclination to jump in and save everyone, but she knows that it robs them of the experience they need to have. She understood this because she has been working hard on trying to stay out of other people’s business.
It is easy to get caught up in wanting to help someone or save them, but in reality, we are hurting them even more because their experience is what will allow them to grow and change. We cannot see beyond this moment, but God/The Universe and their own higher power can see what they need, so if we remove every obstacle from their path we are actually negatively altering their outcome and delaying their recovery.
Don’t Steal Someone’s Experience
The AA community knows very well that every addict must reach a bottom before they get better. If people enable them or help them in any way, it robs them of getting to that dark place; they need to get to before they want to get better. All we do by involving ourselves is delay their recovery and rob them of the experience they need to have.
Ask Yourself, Are You Helping or Hurting?
So before you jump in to help someone, ask yourself, is it really going to benefit them or are you just enabling and stopping them from experiencing the negative consequences that they need to move forward? It is not easy to watch someone in pain or struggling, but you cannot live their life for them. Perhaps they chose to go through these issues so that they could develop strength or resilience and overcome them. You wouldn’t want to steal that from someone, would you?