One of my loved ones who I met on the streets of Kensington decided to walk away from the care that they were receiving. While his family and I did what we could to encourage him to stay and continue his care, he was absolutely determined to do otherwise. We did all that we knew to do and said all that we knew to say to convince him to stay and keep working toward renewed health. In the end, he walked away.
As I was leaving the situation, I started reminiscing about my own childhood and the day I decided to run away from home when I was about five years of age. My home at that point in life was a 15-acre property, that of an Episcopal church with a large parking lot. My dad was an Episcopal priest and my mom was a teacher specializing in private tutoring.
I made it known that I was planning on running away from home. This was a storyline I had seen in a recent TV show and I related to it for some weird childhood reason. I told my parents what I was doing. They spoke to me briefly and said that since I wasn't happy I could do so. I packed my bag and walked down the sidewalk and into the parking lot. I remember looking back and waiting for them to come running after me.
No one did.
I sat at the far end of the parking lot for a little while hoping that someone would come out and get me. After some amount of time, I walked back to the house and continued on with my day back with my family.
As I compared these two storylines, I started wondering if the better approach to take when someone in the throes of addiction demanding to be fed should just be allowed to leave and not put up any fight at all. The difference, of course, is that the addiction demanding to be fed could easily kill the person whose rational side of thinking would actually prefer to be healed even though the addiction side of thinking is screaming louder at that moment.
The little child choosing to run away from home typically doesn't go far. They walk down the sidewalk, sit for a bit and come home. The person in addiction running away from their healing may or may not ever come home and that's frightening.
Loved ones of the person running away from their healing are put in a terrible bind. If they simply let their loved one walk away without putting up any debate or argument and their loved one dies, they are left wondering what more they should have done. If they debate or argue to encourage them to stay and their loved one still leaves and dies, they're left wondering if they debated and argued the point too much.
The Civil War that goes on in the mind of the addicted person in this sense ends up being shared or transferred to the loved one. The loved one ends up having a Civil War in their own mind about what they should or should not have done. It’s a really tough place in which loved ones often find themselves…
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