Dear Family Members,
You are undoubtedly in an extraordinarily difficult situation right now. For years (or decades), you watched as your loved one spiraled into a cesspool of alcohol and/or drug abuse. This destructive process, indelibly painful to observe, left a massive wake of emotional turbulence. Now it is time for both you, as a concerned family member or friend, and the addicted and/or alcoholic person, to change.
One common misconception with an active alcoholic and/or drug addict's family and friends is that if he or she changes, "we will be okay." Nothing could be further from the truth. Years of addiction impose a heavy emotional tax on those close to someone in active substance abuse. To bring about the ideal conditions for an alcoholic and/or drug addict to get sober, certain family members and friends must stop engaging in certain behaviors.
Please know you are not alone. Recovery from addiction and alcoholism is possible, and recovery for family is attainable.
Here are some things you should know...
You didn’t cause addiction and/or alcoholism. No matter what your loved one says, you are not to blame.
You cannot control his/her behavior. Your willingness to do just about anything, with regards to preventative measures, won’t control how much or when a substance abuser drinks or uses.
As much as we'd like, this isn't a disease that of our own power, we can cure. But recovery is possible once an addict/alcoholic reaches a "bottom" or place of pain worse than the idea of giving up narcotics/alcohol. Addicts/alcoholics are responsible for making this decision and supporting that decision through participation in a program of recovery.
Your helpful, loving behavior may make it easier for a loved one to continue living a life of drug and alcohol addiction. It’s called "enabling." Enabling is usually defined as paying a substance abuser's bills, making excuses/lying for them, bailing them out of jail or legal situations and providing a residence or any form of financial assistance. Aside from support for a life of sobriety, these dangerous actions can prevent an addict/alcoholic from reaching a point where sobriety is desired.
Is it easy to quit that behavior?
No. Not without support.
Discovery Place offers support for the family through our staff, guides and special guests who facilitate workshops, offered at no cost during your loved one’s stay in our program. Nourishing, healthy family support through the addiction recovery process can make the difference between success and failure.
Here are some suggestions that may be helpful:
- Attend an Al-Anon meeting as soon as possible. Go to at least 6 different meetings before you decide whether you like it. Al-Anon is free, and meetings are held everywhere. For meeting information you can check the yellow pages in your hometown, or go to http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/meetings/meeting.html. You can also call 1.888.4AL.ANON (1.888.425.2666), Monday thru Friday, 8 am – 6 pm EST, for meeting information in Canada and the US.
- If you have teenagers in the family, check to see if there is an Alateen meeting near you. It is a great resource for adolescents.
- Read some Al-Anon literature. Pick up free pamphlets at a meeting, or buy one of the many excellent Al-Anon books, including How Al-Anon Works and Pathways to Recovery.
- Go to an open AA meeting. It may assist you in developing a better understanding of the disease of alcoholism and addiction. Visit this link for meeting information in your geographic area.
- There are many other resources available to you. Give us a call if you’d like. You may have questions about Discovery Place and whether it could help bring about the miracle of recovery for your loved one. Our sole mission is to help men live sober, fulfilling lives. And our admissions staff possesses thousands of hours of experience working with families with addicted/alcoholic loved ones. Our toll-free admissions number is 800.725.0922. Our caring staff is happy to offer assistance, day or night. And don't just call because you're interested in one of our programs. We're here to answer any substance use disorder questions you may have too.
In the meantime, please know you are not alone. We can all recover from the devastating effects of alcoholism and drug addiction.
Discovery Place Staff