How many chances do you give someone?

Barbara from the blog Recovery Happens recently asked this question in the new forum at 

“When do you stop hoping that an addict will stop for good?  How many rehabs?  How many broken promises or lies?  How many incarcerations?”

Here’s my response:

My first instinct is to say, “you give people as many chances as they need!”  And I do believe this.  But I should also add that this doesn’t mean that people (including parents) shouldn’t set appropriate boundaries to protect themselves or others (other children in the home, for example).

By this, I mean that people should be able to try treatment/recovery as many times as they are willing.

For those who love them and are capable of sustaining hope -keep hoping.  That hope is realistic!

At the same time, we need to extend understanding and compassion to the spouses, children, parents and others who have difficulty getting past “broken promises and lies” even when these relate to addictive illness.  We have to recognize that it may be healthy for a parent to choose not to permit an adult child to live with them if the adult child is unable to control destructive behaviors that harm others in the household.

I feel very strongly that as a society we should never wash our hands of people who are living with and seeking to overcome opiate dependence since I witness how many people have never been given a realistic chance at recovery.

Instead of a realistic recovery plan, we offer people:

advice to “just say no” or “just stop”
shaming and blaming
the opportunity to struggle unaided until they “hit bottom”
threats of incarceration
incarceration with no treatment and no plan upon release
detox with no effective aftercare
rehab with no effective aftercare
more shaming and blaming

People really benefit from having people in their lives who love them and support them in a healthy way “no matter what.”

Leave a comment here with your answer to Barbara’s question, or go to  to leave a comment on the forum and read how other people affected by addiction answered this question.  You can even start your own topic!

is a new free social networking site for people living with and seeking to overcome opiate dependence, their families and friends.

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