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Drug addiction

A Xt3 Member asked at 12:47am on December 4th 2017
My niece is addicted to drugs. I tried to help her in all ways including money for about 15 years now. She is into some dangerous stuff and I don't want her bringing any of this on my family. I want to completely cut her out of my life but it makes me feel guilty like I am a bad person.

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Hi Diane, I think there's two different things here. Firstly, there's your duty to protect your family from the bad effect your niece could have on them. From anything I've ever heard, money is never a help to an addict, it's generally only a means to getting more drugs. What's often called 'tough love' would say that love for the addict shouldn't fuel their addiction.

That gets me to the second thing, which you know a lot better than me. That is that your niece is one of those Jesus called the 'least' of his brothers and sisters. You've already been loving Jesus in her for all those 15 years, and I think you're not going to stop loving her, even when you take whatever steps you must take to protect yourself and your family.

It takes two to tango in any relationship, and she's almost certainly not able to enter into a mature relationship with you - just using you as a backup isn't an adequate way to relate to another person. If you keep in your heart all the kindness and love you've shown her all these years, you'll remember that whatever steps you have to take to bring about that necessary separation doesn't mean you're loving her less.

Rather, it's not just helping your family, you're also helping her - by not allowing her to take advantage of others. And because you're doing that out of love, who knows that later she'll remember that, and it'll be at least one beacon of hope for her in the future. I remember a man speaking to thousands of people at a meeting years ago - he'd been an addict, and because of him, some of his children had become addicts too. But somehow he'd overcome his addiction, and was telling the audience, never to give up hope on us addicts. So you'll keep on praying for her recovery and put her in the heart of Jesus and Mary. Very best, Fr Brendan
Xt3's Ask a Priest answered at 11:19pm on December 13th 2017 reply
 

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