Yesterday my godson, who has a relatively mild (most of the time) addiction to crack, called me to ask my advice and help. He and his wife (who is now clean) want to move about 4 hours away from where they now live in order to be near her mother, a convicted embezzler who served her time. I think her sister and husband also live there, and she loves her sister but used to be frustrated with her inability to think clearly and her usage of alcohol and her husband usage of drugs.
What a question? How do they do that? If all they took was their clothes, would I take them there?
For the past two years, I have done nothing for them except pay for their storage spot. I did not speak with them for almost a year. I could not handle the drug usage and the irresponsibility that goes along with that. But, I love them both dearly. She is very bright and a schemer. He is less than normal bright but loving and intuitive. I recently sent birthday gift checks to them as we have been talking by phone every couple of months this year.
The pain of seeing them jumping from the frying pan into the fire is tough. It's a cost I've been willing to pay because everyone should have someone who loves them. The cost of friendship, like the cost of discipleship, is often high. Sometimes we must do things with which we disagree because we do love the person and we do believe in their right to make their own decisions (sometimes called free will - God granted this, I can do no less). I don't have to put up with the consequences of their poor decisions, but ....
And, there I hit a sticking point. What is enabling? What is the cost this time? Am I willing to pay it? Don't they still need that unconditional love? Will this move make things different for them? Somewhat since they will be closer to family. Will getting away from their round of addicted friends help their situation? Probably not since sister and husband also use.
It will not cost me much to move them. We have a truck; I love to drive; they are pleasant company.
The long term cost may be having to say "no" a lot more often. And, if they were out of my life, would I be better off? What if I simply said, "I cannot be your friend any longer; the cost to my serenity and sanity is too high." Would that be friendship, discipleship, self-preservation? I have had to do that once with someone that I love dearly. It hurt and it still hurts.
And, I know that for some people, I am not the easiest person with whom to maintain a friendship. Is it that way with them? Are they just using me?
I have friends who do not drain me - other friends who have great needs - other friends who do not have great needs. How do I determine the cost of friendship? How do I know when the cost is too high for my well-being?