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Email of the Day

Tough Love Saved Me

Dr. Laura:

I am ten and a half years clean and sober, and would not be so had my parents not practiced "tough love."  I don't say I was an addict - I say I AM an addict and always will be an addict even if I'm not using.  Ten and a half years ago, my parents said to me "Get clean or get out and never speak to us again."  I thought it over, got good and wasted, and the next day decided that I was tired of paying the high price of low living, so I went to a 12 step meeting and surrendered.  I've not picked up a wet or dry drug since.

I now have a beautiful life.  I'm married to the man of my dreams, have two children, and I started a company that has now grown to a hugely successful franchise, and I work around the time I'm with my children.  From the outside looking in, you'd never know that I struggled.  But I was the kind of addict who overdosed multiple times.  During the last six months of my using, I had multiple drug-related seizures and overdosed to the point that I flatlined, and the paramedics had to intubate me and bring me back with Narcan.  Neither of these occurrences nor my multiple arrests were enough to make me get help.  The only thing that did it was when my parents finally put their joined and united feet down and said "ENOUGH!"  

Thank you for sharing your wisdom with families who need to hear about tough love (and it IS love - in action!).  It works.  Love and boundaries are not comfortable all of the time, but they may save an addict's life.  Giving them money, telling lies for them, enabling them, or letting them live in your basement so they're not on the street - NONE of that is love.  It's all based in fear and control, and those are the OPPOSITE of love.  

Tags: Addiction, Adult Child-Parent, Attitude, Behavior, Relatives, Values
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