Addiction not only damages the addict emotionally, spiritually and physically, it also turns the family against each other because there is always enough blame and guilt to go around.
The most difficult hurdle to overcome for families and the addict is the inability to communicate to each other; it’s as if they were all talking to each other in different languages.
Most families would like to believe that once their loved one stopped using drugs-alcohol then everything would be OK. They believe that the drugs and the drinking are the problem. This could not be further from the truth. To an addict the drugs and the drinking is the solution to their problem. Both the addict and the family have to get healthy at the same time, it doesn’t work if the addict gets clean & sober and the family stays the same.
I have seen too many times an addict relapse from the triggers that the family installed. The family must accept their responsibility and learn the language of recovery. They must forgive themselves and each other; they must look at their own behavior and be willing to change.
There are times when the addict is not ready to change, no matter what. The family must then learn how to accept this and take care of themselves and each other so when the addict has had enough they have a healthy family to return to.
I work with families so they can stop blaming themselves and each other. I help them get their lives back, set boundaries that are based on their values and principles.
I like to use the analogy of the addict dancing bare footed on a floor of broken glass and every time they hold out their hand to a family member and say; “one more time”. The family member who is also bare footed takes their hand and begins once again to dance on a floor of broken glass. Both the addict and the family member suffer, dancing over and over again.
The addict will never have a chance at changing until all family members and loved ones refuse to come out on the dance floor any longer.
Families need to heal and get their life back as well as the addict.
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