Use your creativity in saying “when”
June 16, 2017
Grace was the single parent of a seventeen-year-old son— Shawn. Shawn was charismatic, powerful, strong-willed, intelligent, and chemically dependent.
Grace loved Shawn deeply. But she also felt trapped by his rebellious teenage years, coupled with his drug and alcohol usage. Shawn had been through treatment once, did well for a while, then had relapsed. Shawn had a driver’s license and a car. In his sober times, Shawn handled the responsibility of the car well. And the agreement was, if Shawn relapsed, he would relinquish the keys.
The problem with chemical dependency is that denial and lying go hand in hand with the disease. When Shawn began using again, he also began lying to his mother. It didn’t take long for Grace to see and understand what was going on. She knew what her boundary was. Take away the car.
Grace was clear about what she could and couldn’t do. She couldn’t make Shawn stay sober, but she could refuse to allow him to drive.
Grace took action. She grabbed a screwdriver, went outside, removed both license plates from Shawn’s car, and drove directly to the post office. She then mailed the license plates to a friend of the family and asked that friend to keep the plates until Shawn sobered up.
Shawn knew a boundary had just been clearly set. Six months later, when his plates were returned to him, he was sober and ready to respect the responsibility involved with driving an automobile.
Sometimes, it’s not enough just to say when. We need to get creative in how we say it, too.
God, help me know that you will always be there to guide me in setting limits, when it is my responsibility and in my best interests to enforce a particular boundary.
From the book: More Language of Letting Go
About the author
In addiction and recovery circles, Melody Beattie is a household name. She is the best-selling author of numerous books.
One of Melody's more recent titles is The Grief Club, which was published in 2006. This inspirational book gives the reader an inside look at the miraculous phenomenon that occurs after loss--the being welcomed into a new "club" of sorts, a circle of people who have lived through similar grief and pain, whether it be the loss of a child, a spouse, a career, or even one's youth.