Moral Dilemma

Over the weekend, I had a long conversation with a friend whose son is battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol. It was heartbreaking listening to her story and knowing how little there is that she or I, for that matter, can do to help him.

She is trapped in a position of loving her son, willing to do anything to help him and yet unable to stop his addictive behaviour for him. She is forced to sit on the sideline, watching the train crash unfold as his life spirals out of control.

I feel her pain so deeply, having spent many years battling my addictions to gambling and alcohol. This year is the 20th anniversary of me stopping, but I can still remember like it was yesterday those self-destructive times.

For her, the difficulty lies in how best to help her son, and this is an almost impossible moral dilemma. He is the only person who can make a change in his life. Any help she gives before he has decided and committed to stop is likely to facilitate his continued addiction.

If she gives him money, he will use it to feed his habits, if she provides a roof over his head in the family home he brings chaos and destruction to her own home, if she gives accommodation then he turns it into a squalid den of addiction.

For him, the change will only come when he hits rock bottom. Until then, the fear and hardship of breaking his addiction are outweighed by the emotional comfort that it brings. Addiction will continue until he decides that living clean is the best option. It is a choice that only he can make.

So the moral dilemma for his mother is this. Do you continue to facilitate his addiction and at the same time slow or stop his descent to rock bottom, or do you withdraw help and watch him crash rapidly to the floor in the hope that there he can find the self-awareness needed to seek help in living a sober, clean life.

It is an impossible choice, and my thoughts and prayers are with her. The best advice I can give is to offer love and non-judgement to her son. Be there when he is ready to seek help and throughout the process, remind him that you love him warts and all.

If you are suffering on either side of this situation, then please know that you are not alone. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Seek help, find someone to talk too. Share the problem with others and believe in a brighter future. You have the power within you to change and improve your life. Be brave. You can do it.

Remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.

13 thoughts on “Moral Dilemma”

  1. Well done to everyone who has battled against addiction and succeeded and is fighting everyday. And keep going to everyone whom is struggling with addiction. You can do it! Absolutely love the fact that you are talking about it so openly on your blog/website. Thanks for sharing and giving inspiration to those whom are struggling.

  2. Good Morning Luke, wow what a flash from the past for me personally.
    I too am a recovering alcoholic, haven’t had a drink for a long time now but like you can remember vividly the chaos and hurt and destruction that me and my drinking caused.
    I’ve actually got the biggest lump in my throat reading your post, my mum and family tried everything, from loving me better to shunning me to make me better, none of it worked!
    I wanted to be a normal drinker and didn’t think I was doing anything wrong!
    I was so very very wrong, and my rock bottom came (a few actually) but then I finally accepted my life was out of control and with help I managed to get back on track.
    I am now a normal sober daughter sister and mum and now a nanny ?
    I really feel for your friend and son.
    I love reading your posts and love your products ?
    Hopefully I will carry on as I am and catch you up with 20 years sobriety Luke well done x
    A day at a time

  3. Hi Luke,
    I just wanted to say that I can relate to your friend who has the son with the problems that you described in moral dilemma. I have raised 2 sons and a daughter who all went through a lot of the same things and worse and all I could do was try and talk to them about it and they all denied it at first but after they admitted to it they were all determined that it wasn’t effecting their lives or anything that they were doing or their behavior or anything at all. The 2 boys are still in and out of prison for any number of reasons and they are still doing drugs when they are out but my daughter has finally started to slow down and she is only using marijuana now occasionally because she has a baby girl that she is raising and she is trying not to lose her to CPS, because she has already had 4 kids taken away from her for no reason. The CPS workers took the kids on false allegations and BS, lies, and dirty insinuations. They even used me for an excuse, and they had nothing on me. I was not and do not do anything that has to do with drugs or alcohol. But I have paid the price for my children’s actions because my children and the system blamed me for the way they were /are. I am here to tell you that a parent can not always help what their children do and can’t always stop them from doing what they know is wrong. All you can do is try your best to let them know that you love them and you will be there for them but you don’t like what they are doing and keep praying for them and reaching out to people who are supportive to you and get all the help you can get praying for them. God bless.

  4. Thank you for posting this, I am currently trying to support my partner through a gambling/money addiction and it’s tough. Tough for him, tough for everyone. Trying to find the balance between not enabling the behaviour but showing enough love and support to know I’m here when he needs me. The worst part is the lies but I know, as you said, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

  5. Wise words…. such strength is needed by the giver and the receiver in many situations. Heart wrenching at times. Be strong, be kind, be supportive, and don’t judge. Thanks for your honesty and ongoing blogs.

  6. Very well said!!! I am a compulsive overeater and have been in relapse for several months. THANKFULLY I believe I have hit my bottom and I am prepared to do what I need to, to be back in recovery. It is a scary place to be and Yes fear of the unknown, what it would be like to live without your drug of choice can he scarier, we think. But recovery is possible I know. Feeling for the mum too ?

  7. Very well said. I have a lump in my throat… As I read this I’m struggling with my partner who was an addict several years ago, and literally in the last couple of days he has relapsed into drug use (having the same happen last year until we went on a planned holiday where he was unable to to get his “fix” from his contacts).
    I am at a loss as to what to do each time he relapses and how to help him, except to stand by and watch it happen, and be there to support him when he decides to stop again. I can only hope and pray that one day he (and others like him) chooses to push these cravings/addictions aside for the last time

  8. Hello Luke,
    I dont know if it was you? but a parcel was sent out to me, via DPD, unfortunately; a note was left saying a Richard had signed for it but no address. When I rang them up to enquire, they said they could not give me the address for “Data protection reasons. Also to make matters worse, they said the sender had to make the request to trace the package. I find that very sad if it was for me, from you as I was really looking forward to receive my candles, If by some miracle you wish to make a pensioner very happy, my address is:
    29 Penman Place, North Shields, Tyne & Wear. NE29 6SY.

    Also if my wish is granted a very big THANK YOU, in advance.
    I have a Richard either side of me, but it was not them, as I asked.

  9. Hi Luke
    Thank you for this blog. I think this must have touched many hearts, including mine.
    I love reading your blogs, I like your honesty and insight.
    I have a small yoga studio and wondered about stocking some of your products. I have your diffuser and candles and clients have asked about them. Would it be something that would work for you? Thank you for your enthusiasm. Anne

  10. Luke, thank you for sharing this on your blog. As a mother, my heart goes out to this lady and her son. I hope and pray that, like you, he will come to a point where he wants to stop and that he gets the help that he needs. Well done on your 20th year of being a conqueror. What an amazing achievement. Those one by one steps have brought you so far.


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