Stop Addiction From Destroying You're Family

The greatest illusions hindering families on the path to recovery...

Stop Addiction From Destroying You're Family

Addiction, alcoholism, and recovery are all very misunderstood and rarely discussed by most people in today's society. This fact can be disheartening considering the effect addiction has on such a large number of lives. Whether it be through personal experience or the affliction’s presence in the lives of someone we love, this malady touches the existence of almost every person on the planet in some way.

Addiction is real. But, so is recovery.

It's time to step up, talk about it and learn about it. Let us open our minds and kick our ego to the curb. It is obvious that the old ways are not working. More awareness will increase our chances in lowering the number of lives lost and destroyed every day by this insidious disease.

Remembering that this is a life or death matter, let's take our egos out of it. I would much rather swallow my pride and save lives than hang onto my need to be "right" while people die.

Let's shed light on some of the great illusions that shoot through society and greatly hinder families on the road to recovery. Notice I said families and am not focusing solely on the addict.

When the addict gets sick so does everyone who loves them, which is no more the families fault than the addiction is the addicts. I speak from experience as a person in long-term recovery, the adult child of an addict and someone who has worked in the field of addiction recovery myself. Often times the family needs just as much help. Failure to accept this may result in endless cycles of habituated behavior which greatly lower chances of success.

The addiction is not personal and has nothing to do with whether or not they love anything or anyone. This is one of the most important concepts for us to accept,  is that the behavior of someone who is addicted is not personal and has nothing to do with whether or not they love anything or anyone.

Willpower is not the answer. The illusion that willpower is the antidote to this disease could not be further from the truth.

You cannot cure, fix or control someone's addiction.

Let us dive into the ugly facts about addiction in order to gain a level of passion that may lead to open-mindedness. One of the most difficult concepts for most people to accept, using another saying that is well known among recovering people.

No amount of love coming out of or going into the addict is sufficient enough to result in abstinence.

"The first thing you put before you're recovery is the first thing you will loose." —  Unknown Author 

This quote is referring to the necessity of placing recovery first and reiterating the fact that no matter how much we love our families and even our children it is not enough to arrest the disease of addiction. If it was, the recovery rate would definitely not be so low.

Please don't take it personal if you are the loved one of an addict. It's not about you. These ugly facts that we never talk about are unfortunate but inevitable. We can't change them. It is my belief that a willingness to accept them is the only way to increase the recovery rate and decrease the death rate, which is about 25,000 a year and increasing.

Love has never been and never will be enough.

Trying to force it to be enough with comments like "If you loved me you would stop" only increases shame within the addict and, therefore, decreases their chance of ever getting better. If you consider the fact that we're slowly committing suicide by destroying our mind, body and spirit through the use of poisonous chemicals which goes against our innate instinct for survival, it's easy to see how no outside forces would be of any avail.

The only problem is a lack of willpower, is another misconception. The belief that somehow someday we will be able to control or moderate our using is the mental obsession that keeps many addicts using long after they have admitted to themselves that it is a problem and is, in fact, destroying their lives. Surrendering the use of the will in our effort to gain control of our using is the first and most important step to recovery.

"Pain is the touchstone of all spiritual progress." — Bill Wilson (Founder of A.A.)

This quote is found in one of the fundamental pieces of literature used my many members of Alcoholics Anonymous around the globe. The underlying principle, however, is not limited to those who choose the 12 step program as their pathway to recovery.

Although all change is not motivated by pain, most addicts require a great deal of it in order to obtain the gift of desperation necessary to result in continued recovery.

Most people have heard bits and pieces encouraging "tough love" and discouraging "enabling". Here, I would like to go a little deeper than the surface meaning of these concepts. Let us really consider this since it has proven to be true to legions of addicts and alcoholics. The harder I have to work for something the more likely I am to hang onto it and we are most successful in things we do for ourselves and not other people. These concepts spread much further than the common conception of buying drugs for the addict or helping them while they're in active addiction. It has been our experience that much more actually recover who have to do the work and get help for themselves. Making the decision to pick up again is much less frightening when I know Mommy and Daddy are going to pick me up and take me to rehab the moment I decide to stop again.

If your mind is snapping shut right now, I beg you, for the sake of addicts everywhere to open it back up and consider the experience of so many who have gone before you.

 It is important to remember that while the addict is still sick they desperately want you to succumb to the almost irresistible urge you have to make it better and ease their pain. During these times it is not them who is talking, it is the disease. It is highly suggested to let them make the decision themselves to get help because if they do it to please you it will likely have little or no permanent effect.

An underlying concept of recovery is that acceptance of responsibility is one of the addicts greatest assets. Therefore, any usurps of responsibility will hinder them on their journey. Accepting responsibility for my own life created worthwhile pride and increased my self-esteem which was necessary if I was going to do the work required to save myself. No One else can save us. We have to save ourselves. Don't be a band-aid that only covers the wound. It needs to heal and only we can heal ourselves.

There is much left to be said, but we have most definitely covered some of the crucial facts that underlie the misunderstandings of recovery which lead to endless loops of suffering.

With every ounce of love in my heart, I have told you the truth, while knowing you may not like it. I just have to ask myself two questions. Would I rather tell you what you want to hear or be silent and inadvertently sign death certificates? Or would I rather be honest to save lives?

I didn't get better as long as people cosigned by B.S. and told me what I wanted to hear. I got better when people loved me enough to tell me the truth.

Today I choose life, even if it means I have to be brave enough to break your heart. I would much rather break a heart so the truth can fall in than continue witnessing the great number of hearts that stop beating with lies.