Parents of addicts have a very difficult time because so often they feel hopeless frustrated afraid and angry. As parents there is a natural inclination to try to remain in control of the child that is a drug abuser or alcoholic. All these feelings are complicated by a parent’s tendency to place blame on themselves. Blaming oneself dilutes the opportunity not only to help one’s child but also to help and heal themselves and the family.
Many addicts are skilled manipulators which frequently drives the family to continue their behavior. It is challenging and imperative to gather one’s inner strength and not allow guilt to become the primary motivating force to help the recovering addict. Family members unwilling to accept that addiction is a disease tend to hold onto an illusion of power. That is they believe they caused the addiction and must strive to control it so the addict ultimately will be cured.
When mind-altering addiction controls any member of a family life for that family cannot be normal. Dependence upon drugs and alcohol cause users to behave in ways that hurt the people with whom they are closest. Unless experienced firsthand it is almost impossible to imagine the pain suffered by the family members of the addict. Their lives become filled with anger guilt shame hurt fear and loneliness. They live with constant unpredictability. The family revolves around the addict who in turn revolves around addiction. Brief periods of sobriety do little to lessen the tension. The family has learned not to rely on the addict’s promises. The family suffers a lack of trust; they lose the ability to communicate in healthy ways; they have lost the ability to deal with emotions in a healthy way; their feelings of love become confounded by feelings of hatred; they find themselves unable to separate the person from the problem. The family becomes filled with anger fear resentment and despair.
There is help for the family. There is a way out. Families can recover and get well when they seek help for themselves with the same intensity they sought help for the addict.
- Through counseling the family will learn:
- How to create and maintain boundaries with the addict.
- Effective communication styles within the family and with the addict.
- To identify and deal with their emotions on a more timely and effective basis.
- To forgive themselves.
- There is nothing they do that causes the addict to use.
- There is nothing they can do to prevent the addict from using.
- As their attitudes and behaviors change likewise the addict’s attitude and behavior will change.
- They can become well productive and serene in their own lives.
Does your loved one need help for addiction?