Dr. Cali Estes - The Addictions Academy ®

Student Spotlight: Kelly Hatcher Discusses Enabling vs. Loving


Enabling vs. Loving

Do You Know The Difference?


I think I should have gotten an award for being the “Queen Enabler.”

Seriously, this started when my boys were just toddlers.

I never wanted them to stress or have to deal with anything unpleasant. I “fixed” everything. You don’t like a teacher? Here’s a new teacher. You don’t like your school? Here’s a new school. You didn’t do all your chores, or you didn’t do them correctly, I’ll fix it.
The list went on and on. I really did love the way it felt. I showed them how much I loved them in my head. I bragged that my boys never had cold cereal, I was PTA president, coached or was team mom for all sports…are you ready to throw up yet?

My enabling went on for years. When my oldest started smoking weed in middle school, I once again thought I could “fix” it. Shoot, I had a Masters degree in school counseling. I didn’t “fix” it at all, but I thought if I kept showing him my love and how hurt I was, he’d stop. Weed
turned to pills, which turned to theft, getting kicked out of various schools, and then rehab while still in high school.
When he returned home, things were going to be different; we had a contract from the rehab, which meant it would work.

Wrong! It only got worse. The agreement meant nothing to him.

Looking back at my 17 year old son, the contract meant nothing to me, which in turn meant nothing to anyone. I didn’t keep my end of the contract. “One more chance Jake,” “I mean it this time,” “Do you want to go live with your dad?” “Okay you can come home at 11:00”…Ugh! What was I doing? I believed I could love him so much that he’d stop. What was I thinking? Addiction is a disease! People can’t love cancer or diabetes away either.

I have been on this addiction journey for ten years, 13 detox/rehabs, and what I have learned is that I don’t have control over my son’s disease. I do have control over how I handle it, though.

Becoming a Family Recovery Coach has helped me grow into a confident, loving, non-enabling mother of two young men.
Today is a new day and a fresh start on creating those boundaries to help your loved one’s substance use.


Kelly Hatcher is a single mother who has been dealing with her oldest son’s substance abuse for the past ten years. After 14 rehabs and all the pain and challenges of this family disease, Kelly became a Nationally Certified Family Recovery Coach and Interventionist. She has spent the last 28 years working in education and counseling. As a motivational speaker, Kelly helps families understand the challenges and signs of addiction and drug use.  Learn more about Kelly and her services at New Day Family Recovery

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