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How to Detach with Love as a Mom

by | Last updated Sep 21, 2020 at 3:44PM | Published on Apr 18, 2020 | Finding Addiction Help For A Loved One, Health and Wellness

How to Detach with Love

Detaching implies neutrality. Detachment with love is an essential and vital tool used by the family members of an individual suffering from drug abuse. Detaching with love is a tool that can actually be applied to anyone whose behaviors have become detrimental to a loved one’s physical or mental health. However, many moms question how to detach with love, especially when they want to help their child get better. 

What is to Detach with Love?

The origins of detachment with love can be traced back to the Al-Anon program, the 12-step help group for family and friends of an alcoholic or individual engaging in drug abuse. 

At its core, detaching with love eliminates all forms of enabling, without cutting off all ties to the person you love. To those new to drug abuse and recovery, allowing may seem to be a purely financial gesture. Still, it is far more than that, and ending the enabling at all levels may force the addict to have their needs met through peers in recovery and at drug addiction help centers.

Dangerous Enabling Behaviors

There are three forms of enabling behaviors that could prevent the addict you care from seeking help. It is essential to look at each way of enabling so that as a parent, guardian, or friend, you know what exact behaviors to cease. Once you have stopped enabling, you can genuinely detach with love.

Passive Enabling (Providing Comfort)

Think of actions that make the addict’s life more comfortable to deal with. Most moms fall for passive enabling or providing comfort to their child without realizing the negative consequences it can have. Examples include:

  • Allowing the addict to stay in your home if they are using
  • Tolerating destructive behaviors
  • Denying, rationalizing, and or minimizing on their behalf
  • Avoiding confronting harmful behavior
  • Not calling the police when they have committed a crime

Active Enabling (Removing Consequences)

In most cases, consequences are the only thing that brings the person suffering from drug abuse to seek drug addiction help. Active enabling removes these consequences and makes it much more difficult for the addict to find recovery. Examples include:

  • Accepting their financial responsibilities
  • Blaming yourself or others for their behavior
  • Taking the negative consequences on yourself sparing the loved one
  • Giving the addict free rent, money, food, or clothes

Encourage Enabling (Encouraging Addiction)

This is anything that makes it possible for the person engaging in drug abuse to continue using, thus preventing them from finding drug addiction help. Examples include:

  • Giving money to support the addict’s drug abuse
  • Using with the person engaged in drug abuse
  • Putting yourself in jeopardy by allowing drug activities in the home
  • Providing transportation for the addict to the bar or to meet drug dealers

10 Steps to Detach

Detaching starts with understanding the benefits of doing so. It will take time, but with the right support, you’ll be able to detach with love successfully. Take these steps to start the process:

  1. Make sure you’re not in denial of your child’s addiction
  2. Examine whether your expectations are realistic
  3. Examine your motivations
  4. Practice allowing and accepting the reality
  5. Validate your feelings
  6. Practice meditation to become less reactive
  7. Practice compassion for others
  8. Be authentic
  9. Practice the tools for detaching
  10. Attend Al-Anon meetings or any support group for those living with an addict

How Detaching With Love Equals Helping

It can be challenging for parents to detach, especially when their child struggles with substance abuse. But detaching with love will give you peace, time for yourself, and become more resilient to lose. Surprisingly, learning all of these things will also encourage these same feelings in others. Not to mention, it will help your addicted loved one see the value in seeking addiction treatment and finding long-term recovery.

If they need money, they’ll need to get a job. If the addict needs a place to stay, they need to find one. A few nights on the street or eating at a soup kitchen will show them that these are the results of their addiction, and something needs to change. Sometimes an addict needs to hit rock bottom to realize they need help.

As a parent, when you comfort them and provide all the things they should be acquiring on their own, they have no incentive to stop abusing drugs.

Detaching with love can be very difficult, and you do not have to figure out this whole concept on your own. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our family therapy programs help moms just like you find the best way to practice detaching with love. 

If you are ready to find the best way to help your loved one win the battle against alcohol or drug addiction, contact our counselor team today. 

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.
Medical Disclaimer:

Lighthouse Recovery Institute aims to improve the quality of life for anyone struggling with substance use or mental health disorder. We provide fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their outcomes. The material we publish is researched, cited, edited, and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide in our posts is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.

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