I was speaking with an old friend the other day and I casually mentioned I was helping out Kid 2 with some phone calls to potential rental homes for he and his friends. Admittedly, I made a joke out of it. Something along the lines of "my grown ass Naval nuclear engineer needs his mommy's help".
My friend said, "you know you're an enabler."
My response was fuck off. Well that was my response in my head. What I wrote was "well duh."
This friend was around during the worst of my marriage to an alcoholic. He saw the damage it did. He saw the hell I was put through.
Or rather, he chose not to see all that. It was all right out there for the world to see, but funny, how "friends" who, after the fact, tell you how sorry they are, don't step up during the bad times and say anything or offer to help.
But, that was then.
As I thought more about it, I thought no, this really isn't enabling. Any of us who have lived with a loved ones addiction get real good at enabling. We might not recognize it or admit it right away. But we know it and we do it.
Until we know it and we don't do it.
Enabling = a young man who sleeps all day, plays video games, gets drunk/ high and can't find the time to make calls on his own so you do it for him.
Helping = a young man who is about to graduate nuclear engineer school is studying for final exams and doesn't have access to his phone until later in the day when most rental agencies are closed so I make a few simple phone calls for him
But that enabling term gets thrown around, not in a helpful way, but in a way to let us know we are being judged. We're wrong. We are weak.
To that I say, fuck you.
Walk a mile in my shoes. Spend years living with an alcoholic husband and then fighting for a drug addicted son. Get to the point you will do anything, anything at all, to make the addiction go away. Finally find a place of peace in your life, your child is healthy, you - dare you say it - are finally happy.
Imply I'm weak and I'll remind you how strong I have had to be.
I can't promise I'll never enable anyone again. But I can promise I'll never not help my children when they need it.