a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Simply Gail, the Creative Cheapskate, Signs Off

I don't know if any of you have ever noticed the simple background of my blog --- and/or have given it any thought.

I love dandelions. They brighten a lawn --- if you choose to look at them in that way. 

Maybe it's because I love the memories of our children, throughout their young years, picking one and happily bringing it to me.

Maybe it's because of how special it is when you are able to pick a mature one,  intact, to  gently blow its contents on its way to continue anew somewhere else.

Maybe it's simply because they are simple, like me.  

It seems fitting to end the blog the way it began. A tiny seed 
that somehow developed and is somehow spreading itself, 
all by itself without help from me, all across the globe.

While this is my last post on what was my first blog and will most likely be my only blog ---- if I understand how the internet works (which I definitely don't) my postings will be out there somewhere, for someone to happen upon, for a very long time.

It has been a special experience, allowing me into your homes time after time to share the simple things I have learned over time. I hope it has been worth your time.

Thank you.

Simply, Gail

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Yellow Book aka The Best Help is No Help: An update and a wrap up . . .

sunrise winter sunrise skies
The mantra of recovering addicts/alcoholics is
"One day at a time."
And that must also be the mantra of the loved ones.

Over the last few weeks Gail has been serializing this little book based on our experiences with our addicted son. The title of the series was "Help for the Loved Ones of Addicts and Alcoholics."

She ask that I add a few observations on what has transpired since the book was first printed.

Our son, Brin, began his recovery about eight years ago. Approximately the same time I gave the talk in church, which was the genesis of the book.  Gail's inspiration and effort transformed the words into The Best Help --- with his  permission.

He was in complete recovery for about seven years. Then he relapsed and was in that state of relapse for a few months. He is in recovery once again and has been for several months.

We had learned relapse is often a part of the process of most addicts as they are in recovery. Consequently we were not complete surprised but we were, of course, terribly disappointed. However, as a result of the tools we had acquired we were once again able to leave our son's decisions in his own hands, and of course in the hands of the Lord.

The mantra of recovering addicts/alcoholics is "One day at a time."

We realized just how true this was when we were in an AA meeting with Brin a few years ago when one of the visitors shared the following:

"I have been clean and sober for 53 years; give me another day."

This must also be the mantra of the loved ones.

The yellow book is obviously about addicts and loved ones, but ultimately about agency and accountability. That is the agency and accountability of everyone, each of us and all of our loved ones. Here is that redundancy again. . .We must not, we can not take that away.

Not surprisingly, not everyone agrees with the "no help" concept and we've had some interesting discussions with others. We still attend a family support group. We still learn and hopefully we are also able to help others from our experience.


It is very easy to become addicted to your addict!

What these groups teach us is that we must take care of ourselves and not get caught up in the madness that is addiction. We have learned we can't cure our loved ones addiction, we can only control ourselves.

One subject which recurs from time to time is the story of the "prodigal son" in The New Testament. The conclusion we draw from that parable is that the son made the decision to change his life. In Luke 15:71-18 "And when he came to himself he said, I will arise and go to my father..."  

Read Luke 15:11-32 to get the entire context of the parable. You will note the father did not go after his son; he had to wait until the son was prepared to make the change in his life.

What a hard decision that was for him and what a hard decision that was for us.

But it was the decision we had to make for our son.  His life. His agency.

A couple of other things we have learned which I will share.

When we first watched our son begin his recovery process we expected that as soon as he quit using drugs, the son we knew before would immediately and miraculously reappear.

It didn't happen!

We discovered that years of addictive thought and behavior  becomes a part of their persona.  And it takes a long time, even years, for those traits to change to a more rational thought process.

The good news is it can happen!

Another major issue to be addressed is the loss of trust that has taken place. We have often been asked, "Will I ever regain trust in my loved one? or "How long before I will trust my Loved one?" The answer to those questions is "Yes. It can happen. But it will take a long time."  I will tell you when we knew he had regained our trust.  One day he had to use a credit card to make a purchase and, not having a card himself, he called and asked if he could use ours.  And we could say, yes!

There is hope for our addicted love one. When they are ready to change. And there is peace for us when we turn them over to our Heavenly Father and seek that peace.

There are many more things I could say, and probably will be sorry when they come to mind after I have wrapped this up. But here is one more very important thing:

When your loved one finally makes the decision to clean up and takes the necessary steps to successfully do so, it is important to remember that they own that success.  As we repeatedly stressed, they made their own choice to use.And then they made the choice, and put in the hard work,  to overcome it.

 They are accountable for the extraordinary effort it takes for them to succeed. And . . .
the success is theirs.

May the Lord bless you and your family.


1. If you missed the beginning of this series, or if you want to share it with someone, you can go back to the beginning.  "Help for Loved Ones of Addicts and Alcoholics" began on January 31, 2014. The first few posts were weekly but quickly went to Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays when we decided it wasn't  fair to "string" them out if they were helpful to you. 

Older posts on  April 20 and 24, 2012 also "introduce" the yellow book.

2. I, Gail, will say my final good-by to you  on Friday.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Help for the Loved Ones of Addicts and Alcoholics - 11

Onward. . .

Heavenly Father is in charge! 

He loves us! 

His plan is one of perfection. 

His perfect Son gave His life that we might live. He paid a tremendous price to allow us to have our agency.

The Gospel is true.

There is a perfectly laid out Plan of Salvation. And a road map to lead us successfully back to their presence when our earthly probation is through.

    Just as we have our agency to choose our path we must allow      our loved ones their agency to choose their path.

We know from the Lord's relationship with His chosen people that eventually, when they have repented and paid the price for their disobedience the Lord will then open his arms and receive them back. 

It is my hope that you will carefully consider the messages that are here---that for those with addictions the seemingly contradictory best help is no help. 

And, I hope that I have helped you understand and cherish the gift of agency. 

It is my prayer that you allow our Savior to help lighten your heavy heart as He has promised in the following Scriptures.

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Matthew 11:28-30
28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

"The eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth will save not
only themselves, but likewise their posterity. 

Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them. . . reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return.

They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father's heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain.

Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. 

Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God."
               Joseph Smith
                       First latter-day Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

This is the end of the book ---- but not the end of the story.

Stay "tuned" for the wrap-up, follow-up, and up-date that will be coming next week.

I sincerely hope that what I have offered is what you have needed. 

If you would like to make a comment or suggestion we would love to hear from you.  So they are not sent to spam, please e-mail to davengail@infowest.com with the subject line  Yellow Book Comment
If you have questions, or would like to know more about the LDS church please go to Mormon.org. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Help for Loved Ones of Addicts and Alcoholics - 10

I know I have repeated the same material over and over and over but at least you were warned at the very beginning.  

I hope that through this repetition I have been able to help you see that we are each accountable for our actions and our loved ones must be accountable for theirs.

Let's go through it . . .

One more time!

1. Our job is not to be our children's friends, we are their parents. The friendship part comes later as they grow and mature.

2. Boundaries, rules, responsibility, obedience and commandments are not bad words, and they need to be enforced and reinforced on a regular basis. And not only for problem kids. This is the way our children, from a very young age begin to learn to make decisions.

They need to learn to make good decisions. They need to learn to be responsible. And they need to continue to be taught about choices and the results of those choices --- agency and accountability. This is the best way to help keep them from becoming "problem kids."

3. We are doing our loved ones, young and old, a terrible disservice when we take from them their accountability --- the consequences of their actions.

What lesson are we teaching our children if we do not let them be accountable for the things they do, the choices they choose?

4. When we remove any part of agency, including accountability, we are endorsing Satan's plan of taking from us our agency.

5. Adversity is a necessity. We shouldn't try to take it away from our family. Life is about making mistakes and learning from them. We must learn from our mistakes and let our loved ones learn from theirs.

6. Sometimes, even when it is not their fault they need to fix it; work it out for themselves. To get through the adversity; to grow from the experience. We deprive them when we fix it for them. 

7. We know that the most important responsibility we can have is to raise our children in the way of the Lord. And again, when they go astray our natural tendency is to blame ourselves. Where did we go wrong? we ask. What could we have done differently? None of us are perfect and we have all made mistakes, but if we have taught them the best we could we have done all we can.

It may seem contrary to our responsibility when I say we must not help them. But, again, if we have done our job in teaching them as we've raised them, then we have done our job. Now it is up to them to use that agency they have been given by our Heavenly Father, and then be accountable for their actions. Then, the decisions they make are their own, they are not ours.

8. Agency/accountability have not ceased to be a factor in the Lord's eternal plan. 

Life is about choices and consequences. God's plan of happiness is about choices and consequences.

9. We are living in a society that makes no demands and expects no accountability. In the same family some children choose well and some choose evil. We came to this earth with our agency.

10. We have the power to teach correct principles but we do not have the power to redeem our children from their poor choices.  

No matter how much we'd like to we cannot save people from themselves!

Tomorrow we will move Onward with Hope. 

Please hang in there with us.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Help for the Loved Ones of Addicts and Alcoholics - 9

Are you old enough to remember the television show Dragnet?

Sgt. Joe Friday always said "Just the Facts (sir or ma'am)"
when asking for the information
Here are Two Facts

We are living in a society that makes no demands and expects no accountability. Enabling generates a feeling of entitlement which evolves into expectations and demands.

Until they are made to do it for themselves addicts/alcoholics will not do it for themselves!

If we don't enable them, if we do not remove their accountability, does it mean we love them any less? 


The opposite is true.

We do not help them because we DO love them!

They won't see this at the time, but at some future time they will understand.

Young adult children and teenagers are responsible for their decisions and the consequences. It is difficult for us, the parents or in some cases the spouse, to let the consequences take effect. We want to step up and make it easier on our child or spouse, hoping that they have learned their lesson and are ready to turn their life around. Overwhelming statistics tell us that this isn't going to happen. Until they are held accountable for their decisions they will continue on the same path.

But What If We Feel . . .

1. Those of us who have been taught that our families are our most important responsibility, feel we are abdicating that responsibility when we seemingly turn our back on our child in need.

I suggest we are performing a greater disservice when we take away their agency by removing the consequence for their actions.

2. We as parents have a tendency to blame ourselves for the actions of our children. Wrong! If we have done our job as a parent, if we have taught our kids right from wrong, if we have done our best to teach them the right way --- then we have done our job.

Our children have, and must be permitted to use their agency. We are essentially taking on Satan's plan when we remove any part of the agency process.

These are "just the facts."

Friday, March 7, 2014

Help for Loved Ones of Addicts and Alcoholics - 8

You give, they take . . .

Sometimes they demand and you give

We were shocked to learn that when we help someone do something they should be doing for themselves there 
is resentment.

What's the shock? Of course we resent it!

Actually the shock is --- there is also resentment on the part of the receiver, not that they would ever admit it, because they will take whatever they can get.

How is That?

From our perspective it doesn't make sense that there is also resentment on their part. But, you know what,  we have learned that there is little about the workings of an addicted brain that makes sense.

They take --- and they resent you for giving --- for the implication is that they can't do it themselves.

Isn't that what we are saying when we take on their accountability, that the individual can't do it on their own?

Does it mean they can't make it on their own,
OR we think they can't make it on their own,
OR they perceive we think they can't make it on their own?

Resent on both sides.

That is how!

Just This One More Time!

(and again, you know that we are not talking about the responsible family member who may have an occasional emergency arise.)

Maybe I have said this before ... There is a very real tendency for us to say, at least to ourselves, "If I help them just this one time, or one more time, this will be what they need to get them over the hump, started in the right direction."

In our family group meeting, we were shown a segment of an episode of "The Simpsons."

Bart, as usual, has caused problems, and has been sent to bed without supper. He isn't worried. 

Time passes and he is getting hungry.

More time passes and all the lights go out.

Now he is worried. His parents have always relented before.

He is hungry!

And he is very worried, realizing that the time appears to have finally come that he is going to have to shape up.

The very next instant, his door opens and his dad sneaks in with a plate of pizza and an admonition of love and "I know you will try to do better..."

Bart thanks his dad profusely and, after the door closes, adds---


We are down to just a couple more "sessions."   I hope we are giving you a little insight and a little help.  

Until next time please remember, we have been there and we have done that.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Help for Loved Ones of Addicts or Alcoholics - 7

Do we agree that our family is our greatest responsibility?

Then, this is the time we must again ask the hard questions:
What is, in the long run, the very best thing for my child?

Is it better to bail them out of jail or let them do their time?

Is it better to pay their debt or let them be responsible for it?

Is it better to pay their rent or buy them food because they choose to spend their money on drugs or alcohol, or just overspend on frivolous stuff, or lose their job because of irresponsibility, or because they are in no condition to hold down a job or-----

let them find their own way out of their own problem?

Which of these choices best teach them? 

What do we tend to do?

How often do we start trying to solve their problem for them?

The hard answer to the hard questions is one of compassion and concern. It is the answer of unconditional love: When our loved one comes to us with a situation they have gotten themselves into we need to respond (and this can be stated simply,  calmly and kindly):

"That is a problem. . .what are you going to do about it?" or ". . . How are you going to handle it?" or ". . . I know you will be able to figure out what to do."

It is not the easy thing to do but it is the right thing to do, the necessary thing to do.

Trust me when I say that my tongue has been very sore from biting it so hard to keep from stepping in or stepping up. 

Before you say, "But my case is special. We are not like that. My child is going to turn their life around when I help them this one more time," let me say, Don't bet the farm on it!

So, where is the caring and loving parent in this? Where is the Christianity in this?

Again, the question we need to ask is, 

"What is the best thing I can do for my loved one?" 


"What is the best thing for me as well?"

Our next post will address the surprising  truths about resentment "How is That?"

Until then, I want to leave you four things to think about:

1. If our addicted loved one asks us to go to their dealer to buy them some drugs would we do it?

2. If our addicted loved one asks us to drive them to their dealer so they could buy some drugs would we do it?

3. If our addicted loved one asks us to loan or give them money so they could go and buy some drugs would we do it?

4. If they ask us to bail them out of jail so they could go use drugs would we do it?

When we provide them with a place to live, food to eat, a car to drive, or make payments for them, aren't we, in fact, freeing up their money so they can go buy drugs?

"Tune in" tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Help for Loved Ones of Addicts and Alcoholics - 6

It is common for those suffering from alcohol and other addictions 
         to claim that they are hurting no one but themselves.


Gail and I attend a support group made up of the family members of addicts and alcoholics, most of which are clients of Drug Court. In this group we learn coping skills and the correct actions and reactions to the many situations we face. Al-Anon and Alateen are similar groups, also offering help and support for family members of addicts.

Almost universally, the reaction after attending the first meeting or two is, "No, this is not for me." "My situation is different." "These are not my kind of people." If they keep coming, it doesn't take very long to see all that is offered---support, understanding, education, strength, help and love.  Again, addiction is no respecter of persons, and we really are those kind of people.

Just as addicts cannot heal themselves on their own; these various groups are available to help family members heal themselves. We strongly encourage you to seek them out.

The Learning Curve

The most often heard laments we hear from newcomers at the family group we attend go like this, "It's my baby." "It's my  child." "I have to help them."

And the most common way the parent chooses to help is---to remove some or all of the consequences from their child. This is not helping! Again, removing consequences, "rescuing" our loved ones from the consequences of their actions, is not helping them!

It is ENABLING them!

Until our children learn that they must be accountable for thier own actions, that someone else is not going to pick up the pieces for them, they will continue to make poor choices. (Poor is a euphemism for dumb or stupid.)

Another often heard explanation for bailing their child out of a jam is this. "If I help them just this one more time, if I get them out of just one more jam, they'll learn their lesson and their life will turn around." We truly want to believe that but . . .

overwhelming statistics tell us that is not going to happen.

Until they have to pay the price for their own actions they'll continue in their way---an almost 100% guarantee.

A recovering addict, who is also part of our family group in support of his fiancee' said, "I would not face my own problems as long as there was someone else to take care of them for me. It was not until I ran out of options, not until I was literally sleeping in the alley and diving in the dumpster for food, that I became responsible to find my own solution."

The mother of this same young man finally (after many years of bailing him out) told him, "I'm sorry I never let you have the privilege of failing."

Think of the significance of that statement. It is profound.

"I'm sorry I never let you have the privilege of failing."

These important principles apply not just to the addicted but to all those who, through their own poor decisions, have put themselves in a jam.

This does not mean that we can't help our kids while they need our help on occasion. We are referring to those who seem to habitually get themselves in a spot and we, the parents keep bailing them out.
For them the cord needs to be cut, for their good as well as ours.

The Dilemma*

We, as well-meaning parents seem to have a dilemma. It is strongly stressed over and over that our family is the greatest responsibility we will ever have. 

And that we are to love unconditionally. 

Both are true. 

So how do these equate to letting our child go to jail? Or letting them pay their own debts, or letting them go homeless.

Try dropping off your child at a homeless shelter some day. We did. And boy, did it hurt! (But we couldn't let him know that.)

*Dilemma: any situation in which one must choose between unpleasant alternatives

The next post will address this dilemma.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Help for Loved Ones of Addicts and Alcoholics - 5

Paramount in our lives are our children!
We know that one of the most important responsibilities we have is to raise our children in the way of the Lord. We are living in a society that makes no demands and expects no accountability. Please do not let that extend into your families.

We must teach agency and accountability. Then, though it may seem contrary to our responsibility, after we have taught them we must let them apply those teachings in their lives. If we have done our job in teaching them as we've raised them, then we have done our job. Now it is up to them to use that agency they have been given by our Heavenly Father, and then be accountable for their actions.

Addiction, no matter what kind of addiction, is no respecter of persons, nor respecter of positions in a family.

If it's the oldest child we say "We were too hard on him."
If is the youngest child we say "We were too easy on him."
If it is the middle child we say "It was because he is the ---- well, the middle child!"

Just as the words addict and alcoholic are used interchangeably, when we are speaking about children the word is also interchangeable to include spouses, parents or siblings or other adults with abuse and accountability problems.

Position in the family is never the issue. Agency always is.

Boundaries = Rules = Commandments

Is there no other way to learn about choices/agency and accountability?

Our son had been addicted for many years before we realized it.
Next, once we realized it, we had to admit it. Over time things didn't improve. 

Troubles increased.

For several months the three of us went to psychologist to try to learn how we could all cope and work through this situation. We learned a lot, but no significant change took place in his behavior. After six months of weekly visits the therapist told our son that everyone was working hard at his recovery, except our son. 

Things continued downhill.

Finally he was arrested----again. This time he applied to Drug Court, a tough but fantastic opportunity available here in Southern Utah.

This step was probably the most important decision he could have made. It was his admission that he needed help. Drug Court gives tools to learn to be accountable, and gives him the incentive to stay the course, because if he fails to do so there are unavoidable results.

His agency is not removed. Each day he must make the choice if he is going to continue to choose well and make the wise decisions. And if he chooses not to, the consequence is fixed. Similar to the Lord's plan of agency.

While Not Curable - Definitely Controllable (but not by us)

His acceptance into Drug Court has provided us with the opportunity to learn more of what our son is going through; to come to grips with the facts that:

1. Addiction is a hideous disease, very often with genetic predisposition.

2. That while it is not curable, it is controllable. Just like many other diseases or illnesses.

3. It is extremely hard to control, even when the intentions are the very best. Addicts cannot overcome it on their own. God, the higher power, is there to help them when they are ready for that help.

4. But it will not happen one minute before they are ready, no matter how hard we try nor how badly we want it.

He attends a number of and a variety of meetings weekly, including group sessions, private sessions, reporting to the judge, LDS 12-step programs, and a variety of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, as well as those geared to various other addictions.

There are many rules and responsibilities. They are required to become accountable in all aspects of their daily lives. 

Recovery is a life-style change. 

Recovery is a full-time, life-time effort.

It is important to note here, the addict must be ready to begin recovery and the one that must do the work. 

No matter how much we want to help, we cannot do it for them. 

We want to make it easier, but we must not. 

As stated in a previous post, we must memorize the following truth:

WE didn't causes it,
WE can't control it,
WE can't cure it.

It is also important to note that when recovery is taking place, the changes are not limited to the "recover-er."

We, as parents have spent years dealing with our child's situation. Years putting up with mental and emotional abuse, if not physical. Years being manipulated and lied to. Years of worry and sleepless nights. Years suffering guilt and anxiety. Years feeling that somehow, someway, we must be at fault.

As awful as it has been, we have become used to this way of life and this type of individual. People in recovery, although it is good, are people we don't know and are reaching levels we don't know how to relate to. As strange as it seems, we must adjust to the changes that are taking place in the life of our loved ones.

Next Post: Almost universally, when first coming together in a support group for loved ones of addicts and alcoholics, the reaction is "No, this is not for me." "My situation is different." "These are not my kind of people."

Keep Coming Back because you quickly learn ---

"We are all in this together."

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Help for Loved Ones of Addicts and Alcoholics - 4

          Hard Questions and Hard Answers

"If we do not adequately discipline our children, 
society will discipline them in a way we may not like"
                                                       David O. McKay
Although they will probably never voice it, children want and need discipline.

We discipline our children because we love them and want them to succeed. Wise discipline reinforces the dimensions of eternal love. This reinforcement brings greater security into their lives.

We do our family members a terrible disservice when we do not hold them accountable for their own behavior. 

Or when things don't go the way they would like and we try to make things better. In fact we are taking from our loved one the opportunity to grow from their adversity.


Perhaps we should ask ourselves a few questions when we consider withholding accountability

Why am I doing this?

Am I doing it for my loved one or am I doing it for me?

Am I doing it to save my pride, image or reputation?  Or the family's?

Am I doing it because it is the easy way out, rather than confronting them with their behavior and its consequences?

What good am I doing for them?

What harm am I ultimately doing to them?

What should I be doing in this situation?

Whose fault is it that they are in this situation?

Who is responsible for getting them out of it?

What harm is it doing to you to be in this situation?

What is it doing to or for your relationship with them?

What are we teaching them about agency when we try to ease or remove their accountability?

And ask yourself this question,
"Who is going to help them when I am no longer able to, and they haven't learned to do it for themselves?"

When will they learn to grow? If we enable them now, when will they learn to be accountable for their choices? When will it be too late for them to learn? 

The VERY BEST HELP you can give your loved one is: 

let them be responsible for their actions ---let them be accountable.

  • We must let our loved one learn to be accountable by letting them be accountable.
  • We stifle them, we inhibit their growth when we try to ease them through the tough times they have created for themselves.
  • We cripple them by trying to or by removing the results of their actions.
Ordinarily, positive change will not occur until parents allow their children to experience the consequences of bad decisions.

The following is an excerpt from an Ensign magazine article.  The young man's name was changed.


Who are we helping when we enable, remove the accountability, of      our loved ones?
How is it a help?
How are we harming them?
Are we really doing it for ourselves?
What is the good we may do by constantly helping?
What is the harm?

Actions and inaction(s) really do affect others

When there is an addict or an alcoholic in your family you definitely know there is an effect. When there is a law breaker in the family you know you are affected. When a child, teenager or adult in the home chooses to be disobedient you know there is an effect on those around. 

But if there is not an immediate, personal effect, is there no accountability?

Another problem with having an addicted loved one in the home is the damaging creation of a "wedge." Whether done purposely (which is often the case) or inadvertently by the addict, their behavior often causes parents to become at odds on the best way to help their child. One may want to offer as much help as possible while the other may want to take a "hard line."Contention often is the outcome, driving the couple apart.


It needs to be understood that I am not saying you shouldn't be helping your children and one another with legitimate needs. Obviously not. That is always appropriate. I am talking about enabling in harmful, habitual decisions.

It is when they are misbehaving they need to be disciplined. They need to be held responsible for their actions/behavior.

The value of the word NO!
What is wrong with NO? We, our society, went through a time when parents didn't want to say the "N" word to their children. I never did figure that one out. I wonder if we are experiencing the fallout from that misguided time period. Many of us  indulge ourselves regardless of our ability to meet the consequences and then indulge our children. And then we or they don't know how to face the results of the decisions that were made.

The value of consequences.
Until they come to understand that there really are consequences for actions they will continue to choose to do wrong or make wrong decisions.

Good Choices = Good Results
Bad Choices = Bad Results

The Scriptures teach us about agency and accountability: When the Children of Israel proved to the Lord that they were going to continue to make stupid decisions he was done with them. They were on their own to face the consequences.

I think there is a parallel here. I think we would be terribly remiss to "carry" our children once they have shown they won't get it together until we make (or try to make)  them get it together.

We are not our children's friend, we are their parent. We must be a friendly authoritarian. While we need to be accessible, lovable, merciful and fair, we must be the authority. The friendship part comes later.

Sometimes, even when it is not their fault they need to fix it, and work it out for themselves. To get through the adversity, to grow from the experience. We deprive them when we fix it for them.

Adversity is a necessity. We must not try to take that away from our family.

No one will learn if we don't let them. What lesson are we teaching when we take away our loved one's accountability?

We do not have the power to redeem our children from their poor choices.

People want to make choices and then they also want to choose the consequences, that is human nature.

We do a terrible disservice to our children, both young and old, when we take from them their accountability, the consequences of their actions.

When we remove any part of agency, including accountability, we are endorsing Satan's plan of taking from us our agency.

Addiction, no matter what kind of addiction, is no respecter of persons, nor respecter of position in a family. I will address that, and our efforts with our son, next Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Help for Loved Ones of Addicts and Alcoholics - 3


even when we have done our best to teach our children to choose wisely, when they are old enough to follow a path, 
even when it is the wrong path, 
they are old enough and know enough to make that choice.

They were, and are, responsible beings, responsible for the course THEY pursue, the lives THEY live and the deeds THEY do.

This is how THEY CHOOSE to use their agency.

THE CONSEQUENCES of their choice.

Before we get in to today's post we are repeating the warning from a previous post

What have we learned so far?

We have learned that agency is the Lord’s eternal plan.

We have learned that accountability is an integral part of that plan. There cannot exist choices without consequences. To try to separate them is Satan’s plan, not God’s plan.

So what is our responsibility in the agency/accountability aspect of the Lord’s plan?  I see it as two-fold:

First and obviously, we must make this concept live in our own lives.

Second, we must teach our children accountability.

There are four words which may be interchangeable in this discussion and I’ll use each of them:
Accountability (obviously)

We must teach our children from a young age that they must be responsible for their actions. From the breaking of family rules to the breaking of family standards to the breaking of laws to the breaking of the commandments.

We must begin to teach them at an early age. In fact the teaching should begin as soon as they are able to understand. Thus it becomes a part of them. I realize that our expectation of a two-year-old is not the same as a six-year-old or a twelve-year old, but each is capable of learning at their own level of understanding.

I assure you, the longer we wait to teach them the more difficult will be the task. We should not wait until they are eight-years-old or teenagers or, in way too many cases, until they are well into adulthood to teach them. If we do so we have given ourselves and our children an onerous task.

How will our children learn accountability if we do not teach them and if we do not hold them accountable for the things which they do or fail to do?

The Lord has given us that responsibility:

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Doctrine and Covenants 93:40
But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.

How do we teach our children this concept?

We teach them by setting boundaries, establishing rules, having expectations, and making our children adhere to these rules, etc. When they fail to comply, there must be consequences. We are not doing our children any favors when we fail to hold them responsible for their actions, or in many cases, in-actions.

Previously we gave you the alarming message from Dr. Ray Johnson, PhD, a clinical counselor and professor at North Texas State University: It is worth repeating.

“The most prevalent form of child abuse in this country is the failure of parents to discipline* their children.”

*Too often we think punish when we see or hear the word discipline. The Webster’s Dictionary defines discipline as training that develops self-control, character, orderliness, efficiency,obedience, and acceptance of authority.

And it is worthy of our consideration!  Have we unintentionally fallen into this category?

We must teach our families the accountability of agency and we must let them experience the consequences of improper choices or we are cheating them.

In fact, whose plan are we following when we remove or try to remove our loved one’s accountability?

Do we try avoid to it for ourselves by making someone else responsible for our actions?

To try to avoid accountability or to try and remove accountability for someone else is contrary to the Lord’s plan.

You know we cannot redeem or remove from our loved ones the consequences of their actions. That is not within our power.

If we don’t teach them and let them be accountable, all we are doing is postponing the inevitable. For they are learning habits and traits which they will some day have to pay for. Because ultimately, they cannot avoid the consequences for their actions.

It may seem to you that it is a hard thing to teach young children to be accountable for their actions.

It does require effort and time on our part.

I assure you, it is a much harder thing to try to teach them when they are  teenagers or adults.

Tomorrow* we will tackle the HARD QUESTIONS AND . . .THE HARD ANSWERS.

Please “hang in there” and keep coming back.

*Dave and I have made two important decisions.  

1. We feel that if this material is needed by you and helping you we need to bring it to you more than once a week. Beginning today we will post "Help" Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  

There will be 8 more posts, followed by a final wrap up with updates, insights, and final observations from Dave.

2. The end of the "Help" series will also signal the end of The Creative Cheapskate.   The time has come for me to move on to other "adventures" and responsibilities. 

I have written almost 400 posts on a wide variety of subjects. I hope they have been helpful, useful and, hopefully at times, even enjoyable. I have learned a lot as I have tried to help you.

Since the net is full of zillions of resources covering many of the same or similar subjects that I have covered  I know I am definitely not leaving anyone "hanging."  Whatever help you need on whatever subject you need help with, that help is there with just a few strokes in the search box. 

The Creative Cheapskate has had over 25,000 "hits."  I don't know exactly what that means or how it is determined but I am grateful for what I take it to mean---that my offerings have been beneficial to some of you, wherever you are throughout our wide, wonderful, world. 

Keep the faith. Keep up the good works that you are doing. Keep putting one step in front of the other, and most importantly, keep picking yourself up if you stumble. 

And please, 

Always Remember. . .

Each of you is a child of our Heavenly Father. He knows you. He loves you. He is with you every step of your way.  All you need to do is 
  • simply acknowledge Him, 
  • simply pray to Him,
  • simply seek Him, 
  • simply try to do your very best, taking one step at a time, even when it is hard and discouraging. 
  • simply turn your life and your burdens over to Him,  

It really is that simple, I promise.

You are doing a great work. 

Don't beat yourself up, don't let anyone else beat you up, and don't let the world beat you up. 

Thanks for "listening"  to me these past 33 months.

It has been fun.

I  am, and will continue to be, Simply, Gail