I am very humbled by the people who have made comments on this blog. You remind me of how hard it is to care for someone and at the same time not be able to make it all better for them.
A person wrote recently about how everyone in their family of origin is a non functioning alcoholic. they find that they have lost their family but their family members are still alive. This actually reminds me of my own experience. As a result I also found out I didn't have the skills needed to reach out for help. When you grow up with addicts "silence is golden" reaching out is not encouraged. I found that I actually needed to find a way to re-parent myself. I needed mentors that I could trust. By the way you are never too old for a good mentor. As a matter of fact some of the people I have learned from have been younger than me. Reach out, reach out, reach out. Develop positive resources in your life.
Other people wrote about trying very hard to do the "right things" such as cutting off money, not allowing the use of the car, or any number of things to not "enable" the substance use. Then the question becomes "is there anything else we can do". If the goal is to somehow stop your loved one from using I have no answer. If the goal is to reduce the possibility that you are assisting in their use you are already doing the right thing. Do not forget...The first goal of an addict is to get and use their drug of choice, not to do well in school, or pay the bills or take the garbage out. This is just what addicts do. What you can do is remind them, in a non judgmental way, that you know they love their drug and you think they need help. Don't pay to much attention to the rejection. that's normal. You must seek out help for yourself and find a place where you can talk with members of other families who are going through similar experiences.
What I found in teaching the family class is that repetition is good. People come to the class or this blog and they are stressed. People needed to be reminded of what to do a number of times before it begins to sink in. In Malcolm Gladwell's book "The
Tipping Point" he said that to make learning "sticky" meaning that the message sticks. The message must be connected with what the learner already knew. For the message to stick it has to have meaning for the learner. When you tell your loved one that you know they "love their drug of choice" You are acknowledging reality and prefacing the message they don't like "they need help" with the truth.