You’re most probably at your wits end. You’re not sleeping and you worry all the time. You keep asking yourself, “Where did I go wrong? What should I have done differently?”
You most probably lock your valuables away and hide the keys to your car, house and cupboards. You neglect the others in the family that need your attention too. Your addict sucks all the energy out of you, taking up your time, your thinking and your ability to enjoy life.
All trust is gone. You don’t believe a thing your addict says. You’re suspicious to the point of paranoia. Your personal space is untidy and your appearance is not as sharp as it used to be. You don’t socialize anymore and you seem to have also lost touch with all your friends. You may be afraid of your addict – or for your addict.
You too, are the victim of addiction. You also need to recover!
Any good “Recovery Program” should be heavily weighted toward family re-integration and stay focused on the addict and his or her family and loved ones.
Addicts in recovery who are estranged (usually by their own choice) are very susceptible to relapse. This is particularly true when their “ecosystem of insanity” (people and places the addicts associate themselves with when using) is still in place.
A good program recognizes that a healthy family and clean friends are the biggest contributors to successful recovery.
However, past disappointments affect future behavior. It’s for this reason the mentor will frequently counsel the family members too. Over-zealousness and over-supervision by family will only cause stress and further re-enforce the addicts resolve to “escape” into his or her “twilight” world.
All members of the addicts “sane ecosystem” are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the addict’s program.
But remember – the “Golden Rule” is that the mentor is boss.
Recovery is a journey of discovery for the addict and the mentor is the guide.
Do families need a recovery program?
“Yes they do!.
Most family members are actively addicted to “self-denial” and “caretaking” of the primary sufferer and they too often suffer severe consequences from this “family disease”
Family members who are addicted to “fixing” and being “caretakers” can even hinder the chances of the addict finding recovery!
The need to feel wanted and necessary to others is in all of us but can be magnified to immense proportions in those who suffer from this “family disease”.
How do family members recover?
First, by recognizing the exact same addictive processes in themselves as in their addict. Family members change personalities to fall into any of a dozen “types” such as;
- The “pleaser” tries to placate the addict.
- The “caretaker” shields the addict.
- The “martyr” takes the addicts abuse.
- The “tap dancer” can’t commit to anything.
- The “withdrawer” isolates from family turmoil.
- The “enabler” pays for things and continually bails the addict out of trouble.
These behaviors and more, are their particular “drugs” and that they have no more control than their addict.
The addict’s bizarre behaviors cause these changes in family members. Some “withdraw” from all interactions, some become angry and bitter at all the attention the addict gets. Younger members also turn to alcohol and drugs to get the same attention as their addicted sibling. The affects are many as each family member’s denial system blinds them to the results of this “family disease” on themselves and the rest of the family.
Whether your addict is in recovery or not, it is VITAL that the family and other loved ones seek support for what lies ahead to minimize damage to all concerned.
Parents, spouses, children and even close friends are either going to be part of the solution or part of the problem.
Join a support group today. Don’t wait. Search the Internet for a list of organizations which specialize in supporting you and your family.
The biggest tragedy of addiction that I see is when the addict recovers but his family does not!