Almost every family who has brought a loved one to Narconon has been guilty of one thing – being too nice, or in other words, enabling. Drug addiction takes hold of a person so strongly that they do things they would not ordinarily do, like steal and lie. Often they take advantage of the fact that their families love them and are willing to help. The “help” given is frequently help only to maintain the addiction.
It’s hard to face the fact that acts done out of love can actually hurt, and that is why it is hard to face if one has indeed become an enabler. Here is a story of one such family. Only after they got help, did their son stop his shenanigans and checked into rehab:
“ ‘I was about 19 to 20 years old. I started messing around with pain medication and I hurt my back when I was around 21-year- old and I started having severe problems out of my back. Or, my mind told me I was having severe problems,” said Knox County native Steven Cooper during an interview last November.
Cooper’s past drug addiction not only hurt him, it hurt his father and mother as well.
“We’re just drained,” said Steven’s father, William Cooper. “It drains every aspect of you. Your friends, your companionship. You withdraw. All day long you’re chasing what they’ve done and what they’re going to do and that night when you go to bed your brain is just worn out because that’s all you’re thinking about.”
Steven’s past addiction slowly became his parent’s life.
“We were doing everything wrong. Six years I went at it every possible way that I could to change him. You cannot change someone who’s on drugs. They have to change themselves,” William Cooper added.
William and his wife heard about a program called Families Anonymous. They meet at a West Knoxville facility once a week. The class teaches family members to take care of themselves first, not the addict.
The group believes in total anonymity. Last names aren’t used either. Barbara and Kim are two Knox County parents who attend.
“By helping ourselves, amazingly, it helps the one we care about so much,” Barbara said.”
Narconon knows that it is not easy for families who have an addicted member. There is not really a rule book and not many well versed people to talk to about the situation.
Part of Narconon drug rehab is dealing with families so they know exactly what they can do to support sobriety in a loved one.