Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Freedom in Saying No (Part 2)

I can still clearly remember the night that Allison Bottke’s book was handed to me by a dear friend. The sting of her words sunk into my heart

“I bought this book for me, but I think you need it more than I do right

If she hadn’t been a trusted and dear friend I may have taken that as an insult, but I knew her heart and her struggle with her own wayward son, so I took the book home and tentatively opened it and I was met with a list of 20 questions that stopped me dead in my tracks.

I have copied the two pages from her book that encompass these questions and I will bravely post my answers:

1. Have you repeatedly loaned your adult child money, which seldom, if ever, has been repaid? (‘You had me at hello’ but I had to finish the list of questions)
2. Have you paid for education and/or job training in more than one field? (Yes)
3. Have you finished a job or project that he/she failed to complete himself because it was easier than arguing with him? (Yes)
4. Have you paid bills he was supposed to have paid himself? (yes)
5. Have you accepted part of the blame for his addictions or behavior? (yes)
6. Have you avoided talking about negative issues because you feared his response? (No, I had no problem confronting, I had a problem drawing the line in the sand, later that line would become concrete)
7. Have you bailed him out of jail or paid for his legal fees? (UGH yes and more than once)
8. Have you given him “one more chance” and then another, and another? (yes, yes and yes)
9. Have you wondered how he gets money to buy cigarettes, video games, new clothes, and such but can’t afford to pay his own bills? (No, I knew the answer to this one)
10. Have you ever returned home, at lunchtime (or called) and found him still in bed sleeping? (Yes)
11. Have you ever ‘called in sick’ for your child, lying about his symptoms to his boss? (No)
12. Have you threatened to throw him out but didn’t? (Yes, see the answer to #8)
13. Have you begun to feel you’ve reached the end of your rope? (Yes and was holding on for dear life)
14. Have you begun to hate your child and yourself for the state in which you live? (yes and it was causing me to slip into a depression)

15. Have you begun to worry that the financial burden is more then you can bear? (yes, and it was hurting our whole family)
16. Have you begun to feel that your marriage is in jeopardy because of this situation? (yes, I often asked my husband how he kept staying… he took the brunt of my son’s attacks)
17. Have you noticed growing resentment in other family members because of your adult child? (yes, it had caused numerous family problems with extended family and as gracious as my daughters are, they too were at the end of their rope in dealing with him)
18. Have you noticed others are uncomfortable around you when this issue arises? (Yes and No)
19. Have you noticed an increase in profanity, violence, and /or other unacceptable behavior from your adult child? (yes, and it was bringing out the same in me)
20. Have you noticed that things are missing from your home, including money, valuables, and other personal property. (YES, and the total of this is astounding)

“If you answered yes to most or all of these questions you have not only been an enabler, but you have probably become a major contributor to the problem."

"It’s time to stop”

The night I read that list for the first time, I can remember feeling a wave of nausea come over me. The final words on that page "Its time to stop" Hit me like a ton of bricks. I was deeply taken aback at how much of an enabler I was. It was as if Allison had written her book just for me, it so spoke to my life and what I had allowed myself to be apart of. It wasn’t until I got real with myself and could see what I was doing to him and to me that I could begin the road to freedom. I cried out to God to help me turn those 17 yes's into No’s.

In Part 3 we’ll go over the Steps to SANITY ~ the 'How To' in gaining Freedom.


  1. Thank you for your honesty and willingness to share this vital information! May God continue to meet you where you are and guide your steps so lovingly!

  2. My wife had stated she didnt know how I stayed. I often asked myself how she stayed. Some would have left, but he is her child, a mothers love is, was and always will be a bond that is extremely hard to break. I do not like what he has done, i do not like what he has become. but, he is our son. I can only pray that he will let GOD take control and guide him into a life that is full of faith and trust in what GOD has in-store for him. That he will learn to love himself and let others love him with out price tags or restrictions. understanding that you do not need to get respect before you show it. I will continue to be the man my wife has been getting to know and understand for the last 11 years and will always be there for here and all of our children. I love them all.

  3. Those questions were very challenging. Thank you for sharing your own answers to them!!