Belabor is a dangerous word intended to help people with chronic issues. Belabor was invented by a woman named Mary, who was having difficulty overcoming her husband’s abusive alcoholism and drug use. Mary knew she couldn’t get him sober on her own, so she decided to focus on teaching others how to be helpful and patient in the process of helping others get sober. Define belabor : to make unpleasantly detailed or lengthy; dwell on tediously. The effort to make this word a way to help others suffering from alcoholism and drug abuse is an attempt to describe what happens when someone is belaboring an issue.
It is difficult to watch someone you love struggle with a chronic disease of the mind, particularly if they aren’t ready or willing to accept recovery. It can feel so painful that you are constantly trying new things in hopes of getting them sober and recovering. Do not forget that the very nature of being human leaves us at risk for being impatient and wanting immediate results when we want something badly enough. The word “belabor” comes from “to beat constantly,” meaning that the person with addiction needs to be constantly supported as they’re trying to change their life for the better. Belaboring someone means never giving up on them, no matter how hard their addiction might seem or what difficulty they might face while fighting it off.
1. Slowing Down:
When we belabor someone, we are trying to convince them that recovery is totally possible and the cost of staying in addiction can be more than they can handle. We go through all the things people do when they’re trying to help them and it can become exhausting. We’ve all seen this happen. In fact, we’ve probably done it ourselves countless times.
It starts with an old friend or family member who comes to one of our kid’s games as soon as the activity is over and then proceeds to tell us what an awesome kid they have and how much harder life is for them because of their illness. You may want to cry for them and want to help in some way. Knowing how hard it is for them, you may even say, “You just need to stop” or “You need help” or “I know it’s hard.” None of these comments are helpful, but they can be said with the best of intentions and are meant to be heard as helpful. But they seriously jeopardize the point you’re trying to make because they actually stop the person who is belaboring the issue from getting a chance to change their mind. Belabor is a way of explaining what we do when we theoretically try to offer support, but we have good intentions that end up hurting our efforts.
When we belabor someone, we try to show them the consequences of their addiction. We tell you about the latest arrest or all the failed rehab attempts. Belabor is trying to say, “This is what you are living and these are the consequences of what you are doing.” We think that if we show them all of these things, it will force them to see it and then they will stop.
This can be helpful when there is a real consequence or risk of danger involved, but most often when people engage in addiction they have a different process going on in their mind. They aren’t really seeing (or don’t want to see) how their life has become unmanageable due to their particular issue. Belabor is a way of saying, “Look at this list. You don’t have to do this anymore. These are the consequences of not changing.”
Studies show that people who suffer from addiction are unable to see the consequences because they don’t want to. They’re hoping that if they just keep going, things will get better and everything will be okay. A person who has addicted would say, “I could stop now and it would be fine. I just need one more drink and I’ll be fine again.” Belabor is about the part where you think you can hold someone accountable for something when they can’t even see the consequences for themselves and their own issues.
3. Successful vs. Unsuccessful:
Belabor is like a scorecard in sports. The more successful you are, the more we belabor you. Belabor is thought to be a way of saying, “Just keep doing what you’re doing and then eventually you’ll get good enough to stop.” No, just stop. Everyone knows that it’s not enough to just keep trying or keep going; they have to change their mind. Belabor is a way of saying, “If you keep all the mistakes and problems in your life under control by staying here or getting here or doing this, everything will be okay.