This…is difficult to say. There are people within our veteran community that have been enabled by our support to continue making poor decisions. We’ve held them aloft and kept them from hitting rock bottom because we’re too afraid of one more being added to those who’ve committed suicide. We’re afraid to hold these men and women that we say we love like family, accountable. All out of fear that they’ll be the next name added to the statistics, so instead we enable them and the self-destructive path they are on only gets worse.
Many of us have seen it. We’ve loaned money or opened our homes to brothers or sisters in arms only to have them act a fool, get violent in front of our families, and take advantage of every kindness offered to them.
We’re not doing them any favors.
It’s scary. It’s not a position any of us want to be in. Watching our friend, our brother/sister self destruct before our very eyes while we sit back and do nothing. But truthfully, if we don’t stop allowing this behavior or temporarily halting their descent to rock bottom, their self-destructive behavior will not only destroy their lives but the lives of the benevolent helpers as well.
The big question here is how do we know when to help and when enough is enough? Can’t tell you. You know your friends better than any of us do and you know if they are true to their word or not. You know when to be suspicious of their actions and you and only you know where you want to set your boundaries.
For some, this piece may fall on deaf ears and you may feel that as long as they are above ground, you can justify enabling and helping them. We won’t be so bold as to tell you that you’re wrong. It’s a choice each individual has to make for themselves and there is no shame in setting boundaries or not setting boundaries. Some people are more equipped to handle the onslaught than others. Maybe, that’s their role in life.
But truly sometimes, the best thing we can do to help our brothers and sisters out is to stop letting them live in a fantasy land where nothing is wrong, at least in their eyes. Maybe the best thing for them is the harsh and brutal reality of hitting rock bottom.