Why The Addict Family? – I refer to The Addict Family because although there may only be one addict in the family, it affects everyone and families need support as well as addicts, it truly is a Family Disease. Addict Families are families who are directly or indirectly affected by an addicts behaviours, they suffer abuse, loss of possessions and are essentially powerless over what the addict is doing. It’s a time of extreme stress and suffering for everyone. A time when the families need help and support and benefit from knowing that they are not alone. This subject is particularly poignant for me because after years of sobriety it still hurts to knowthe pain and suffering that I put my loved ones through over the years. In my future plans, I will be organising a support group for families of addicts and running groups to help the families and partners of addicts to understand they are not alone and to accept the powerlessness over their loved ones addiction and behaviours, just as addicts must accept their personal powerlessness over their addiction.
My son is an addict.
This is a real e-mail that I received and my response to it. The damaging effects that an addicts behaviour has on loved ones and family members often gets brushed over when the attention is on the addict. That’s why at CapeRecovery, once we have the addict settled in treatment and looked after, our attention turns to the continued support of those others affected by this crippling disease. The addict family has to be treated as such because the transition from an addict in active addiction to the recovering addict is a process and needs adjustments from all involved in order for everyone to move on in harmony, treating the addict family is just as important as treating the addict. I have some of my own tips on dealing with an addict and also have a brilliant counsellor on board who is trained in family intervention and accompanies me on interventions so we can do the complete process and rehab admission in one go, making it as comforting and straight forward as possible.
The e-mail sounded like a cry for help and that is exactly what it was and the reason I am posting it is because people need to know that they are not alone, they need to know that it is a family disease and that it is normal to feel helpless and hopeless particularly when the loved one has tried to get clean and not succeeded many times before. I am in the process of setting up a family support group where friends and families of addicts can help one another. I will also be directing people to support groups and offering our unique take from the eyes of an addict who has caused this pain and come out the other side, free of the anger and shame. The addict family can and does recover but it takes time to rebuild all that is broken.
(I’ve changed the names to keep anonymity but this could be any one of you, how do we offer hope in seemingly hopeless situations? The simple answer is by sharing our success stories, of which there are many and I’ll dig out a couple of those in due course, and educating families throughout the entire recovery process and beyond).
HOW DO I CONTINUE LIVING WITH 2 DRUG ADDICTS WHEN I AM SLOWLY DYING OF A BROKEN HEART?
I am just putting words on paper to empty what is overflowing inside. I see my two sons James 36 yrs and Steven 33yrs destroying themselves with heroin. I take care of James’s daughter Melanie who is 9 and she asks me ‘Ma will you be alive when I am 13’ and each time she asks (which is every week) she adds another year or two on to her age. I know she is thinking who will take care of her when I am not there anymore. I am 59. I ask her to pray to our heavenly Father, he will listen.
Is there anyone that you know that have overcome heroin addiction. Can it be done.
Let me know.
This is the response.
It’s so sad to hear about the effect that addiction has on people like you, kind of brings back the pain that I put my own mother through for years before I got clean and sober. It is possible for people to put down the drugs and lead a good and fulfilling life but they must really desire it, that is the key. Heroin does seem to be a particularly hard one to crack but I have friends in recovery who are long term ex-heroin addicts and are doing very well. Usually, the person themselves must realise the seriousness of their situation and be open and willing to do whatever it takes to get and stay clean. This could include losing the support of family, drastic but effective.
The way to get the best chance of recovery is to get the person when they are at that stage, the stage where they are ready to make changes and then get them into a quality rehab with a good and effective program. From then, integrate them into a community amongst other addicts in recovery, the effect is proven and works for me as I still have many friends who are in recovery and attend regular meetings two and a half years down the line.
I am here to help should you need assistance in anything.
This is such a big issue to me as I speak to lots of people whose lives are being torn apart and often the addict isn’t even aware of the impact that their lifestyle and behaviour is having on loved ones around them. Addiction really is a family disease.
Would you give me permission to put your e-mail on my website as I think many will relate to it and I am looking at setting up a family support group made up of family members of addicts? I would obviously keep it anonymous and change your name. It’s fine if not, I just think it needs highlighting more and that others would benefit just from the knowledge that they are not alone.
Thanks again and if you need any continued advice, just ask.
For more info about this family disease and how we can help your loved ones, then help you, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help. If you want to read more about my personal journey through this stuff then go to AlcoholFreeMe and see more.
So, if you are part of an addict family and are suffering from what is truly a family disease then get in touch, we will as ever, do all we can to help.