The Disease of Addiction and the Impact on the Family.
“It’s not your fault”, “if you think it is your fault there is help available”, “you don’t need to carry this around for the rest of your life, there is always room for forgiveness however there must be willingness”. I am not sure how many times I say these phrases in a week to people, the people that care for, love, desperately fight with, fear, and even despise loved ones who suffer from the disease of addiction.
I received this information last week from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse “On January 27 and 28, 2015 individuals from across Canada representing recovery, treatment, continuing care, education, research and government came together to create a united vision for what Recovery means in Canada. This document is the result of that Summit, and an important step toward promoting Recovery in Canada”. In this document addiction is partially defined:
“…Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.”
Please read it again and as often as possible, due to this diseases ability to change the thoughts, attitudes and behaviors of your loved one you cannot possibly be at fault for the disease but you can be a part of the recovery process, even if your loved one is not ready. This is the difficult part and here is my question to you:
Are you willing to unhook from the disease of addiction?
If you notice, I wrote “the disease” not your loved one. The disease of addiction is insidious and takes over and the grieving and ensuing madness is because your loved one is not acting the way they normally have in the past, not to mention the guilt and frustration that you are feeling because you think somehow you might have been able to prevent this or fix it or even worse caused it. If you can answer “yes” or even “maybe” to the above question, then you are moving towards solutions instead of living in the problem. Addiction has a way of clouding your perception and you compromise your own values and beliefs until you don’t matter anymore. That is not fair and it doesn’t help you or your loved one get better.
In the same article from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse they define recovery as:
“A process of sustained action that addresses the biological, psychological, social and spiritual disturbances inherent in addiction. Recovery aims to improve the quality of life by seeking balance and healing in all aspects of health and wellness, …An individual’s recovery actions lead to reversal of negative, self-defeating internal processes and behaviors, allowing healing of relationships with self and others. The concepts of acceptance and surrender are also useful in this process…”
Recovery is available for everyone, not just your loved one. Everyone deserves healing, peace of mind, forgiveness, and hope. If you want help check your community for local Al-Anon/Nar-Anon meetings, inquire at your church for support groups, local counselling agencies that provide individual and group counselling, treatment centres that may run Family programs. You do not need to suffer in silence and for everything that you wish your addict would do for themselves you need to do the exact same thing for yourself. If you want things to change it really starts with you and you are worth it!