Many families will continue to struggle with co-dependency long after their loved one has completed treatment. For example, families will try to take on the role of “fixing” someone without realizing that it is in the addict’s best interest to maintain personal responsibility for their own recovery. Transference and co-dependency often create stressors that are distractions to recovery.
Families may also confuse their reason for offering to help someone. They believe they are making a sincere effort to help someone “get better”, but what they are really doing is something to help them feel better. Understanding the difference between helping and enabling is vital to their own healing, and aids in their loved one’s recovery. Families are well served by taking advantage of support groups as well as seeking counseling from trained clinicians who understand the disease of addiction. Most drug rehab centers will offer family supports, even family programming to support loved ones through the journey of recovery. ALANON, the 12 step support group for loved ones of addicts, has a saying “You didn’t Cause it, You can’t Cure, and you can’t Control it”. This method is called the three C’s.
Family members, understandably, want to give their loved one the benefit of the doubt, but due to the illogical nature of addiction, are vulnerable to manipulation, resulting in a loss of quality of life and peace of mind. Addiction is a disease that affects the entire family; therefore, the entire family needs to learn how to heal. In short, people tend to do better when they know better.
Individuals with family members battling the addiction process have a role to play. If you are a family member or have a loved one that is suffering from addiction, seek help. If not for the loved one, for yourself.
GLENN J. FUGE – CAC, AS/DARC