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[ Personal Narratives ]

A Parent’s Take: The incredible pain and power of saying no

REAL EDITION PREFACE- We love this piece, it goes against every moral fiber of a mothers’ being to NOT help their offspring. But this is the one addiction, the one time, where you might just have to let go.

By: Susan Taylor

Parents, learn to say no to your babies, your toddlers, your teens, and your young adults. The sooner, the better.

I thought I did, and I thought I said no to the right things. And maybe I did, but if so, then why is it so hard to say no now to things I wish I could say yes to?

Perhaps addiction just brings its own brand of extreme difficulties for loved ones. All I know is it hurts to say no even if it is the best possible answer.

Thing is, by saying no to some urgent things, I am saying yes to other important things. But doing so requires me to trust that the urgent needs will get met some other way. The tension of being presented with an urgent need I choose not to meet is strong and I know the thing that most quickly eases the tension is to give into the desire to grant immediate gratification.

Yet, and yet, and yet. Granting the desire for immediate gratification strengthens the urge for immediate gratification and does nothing to strengthen the muscles of making the choice to do the next right thing.

A text asking me for gas money. 

There would have been immediate gratification for me the giver, and he, the receiver. Saying no is HARD. Saying no is the BEST answer to this request. But, wow, it’s not easy.

Reframing it means focusing on the yes of the situation. Saying no means I am setting a boundary, saying no when needed, and allowing the asker the dignity and respect to make his own choices and conduct his life as he sees fit. I am saying yes to allowing him this dignity and respect.

At Alanon this morning, they talked about worry. As usual, I still don’t feel like I “get” Alanon, but I do understand the reality of worry and how easy it is to let it take over my thinking processes. This process is a moment by moment choice to Be Here Now.

I’ve seen where my yes after yes after yes has gotten me — and his yes after yes after yes has gotten my addict. No is a huge word and a huge step. But I took it right here, right now.