This is what is hardest: to close the open hand because one loves. –Friedrich Nietzsche
To protect our own integrity and peace of mind, we may have to redefine the word love. Sometimes no is the kindest word we can say to a family member or close friend who’s in serious trouble with alcohol, drugs, food, sex, or any other ravaging obsession. Their suffering pushes all our “rescue” buttons. What we feel like doing is straightening out their messes and protecting them from further harm. If we could, we would banish all their miseries with the touch of a magic wand! But we can’t. Often the only thing we can do to help our self-destructive loved ones is to stop helping completely. As hard as it is, as unnatural as it feels, we may have to make some or all of the following declarations of love if we want to shorten our loved one’s path to the recovery turnoff.
· I love you, so I won’t buy your groceries or pay your rent.
· I love you, so I won’t loan you money or the use of my credit.
· I love you, so I won’t call in sick for you at work.
· I love you, so I won’t cover your bounced check.
· I love you. So I won’t let you move in with me.
· I love you, so I won’t listen to your excuses or accept your lies.
· I love you, so I won’t make your bail.
If we know down deep that these words need to be spoken, we need to practice them until we can get them out. Many recovering people only got turned around because someone loved them enough to give them a cold shoulder instead of a helping hand.
Whoever said that love was easy?