Dear readers • I received a number of thoughtful responses this past week to the letter from a woman who has chosen to cut a drug-addicted friend out of her life. Because they offer additional insights into such a complicated issue, I’m including them here.
Dear Ann Cannon • You recently responded to a woman who was being guilted by her ex-BFF’s mother for cutting ties with her addicted daughter. I think you missed some important perspective. Yes, the addicted woman’s mother is in a rough place, but enabling an addicted individual and guilting others who have taken a stand do a disservice to the woman with the addiction problem. Addiction affects the entire family, as well as friends and co-workers, but it does not start or flourish in a vacuum. The mother’s dysfunctional behavior in the situation described in the original letter provides a glimpse into what the addicted woman is living with. There may well be many other areas of dysfunction in the family and in other close relationships. In this situation, family therapy would probably be helpful. As for the friend who severed ties, she should not feel guilty in the least. As she said, her own family is her highest priority, and her actions may have been one of the few examples of healthy boundaries the ex-BFF has seen in a while. Probably time to set that example for the ex-BFF’s mom, as well.
Here’s another letter from another reader …
Dear Ann Cannon • As the mother of a child in long-term recovery, your advice to “Former BFF” was spot on. She is doing the right thing by drawing healthy boundaries to protect her family from her old friend’s mess. The 3-Cs of Al-Anon apply: “You didn’t cause it; you can’t control it; and you can’t cure it.” You don’t have to condone it either.
If an addict isn’t ready to take responsibility for their own recovery, no one — not you, not Mom — can do it for her. Perhaps the best way for Former BFF to get across to Mom is by encouraging her to seek out Nar-Anon or Al-Anon.
And another …
Dear Ann Cannon • I read the letter and your response to “Former BFF.” I hear you when you say you feel the sorriest for the mother — it IS incredibly difficult to watch a child go through the trials of addiction. Perhaps Former BFF could refer the mother to a Parents of Addicted Loved (PAL) ones meeting. It’s a fabulous, very welcoming, and free support group for parents learning to navigate the raging waters of having a loved one addicted to drugs.
Here is the information for the Salt Lake City chapter of PAL: Mount Olympus Presbyterian Church (3280 E. 3900 South), Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 8 p.m. More information at (602) 810-5335.
One more. But this one is about annoying dogs …
Dear Ann Cannon • I am writing to offer an additional option for “Sleepless,” the person with the barking dog belonging to the HOA board neighbor. The law is on Sleepless’s side. Most communities have ordinances against noise nuisances. If the dog barks persistently after a certain time, she can call her local police department or animal control. They will talk to the neighbor. The neighbor need not know who complained. I am sure other neighbors are equally annoyed and equally afraid to directly deal with this. We had a similar situation that plagued us for years until we involved the authorities. Sleep is too vital to be ruined by an inconsiderate dog owner!