Focus on what you have control over, not what you do not have control over. We try to have an effect on our loved one's thought process by appealing to their "common sense" and we think, "how can you not see what you are doing to yourself." We don't understand that we are not dealing with "just" bad choices. We are dealing with a disease process, a brain disease that does not respond to logic or argument. The disease is not logical and exists independent of our thought process. The addicted person can only respond to consequences.
So, what do we have control over? We have control over our environment and we have control over our response to the addiction in our family. What have we been doing? We have been trying to control the addicted person's attitude, behavior, friends, habits, and becoming more and more frustrated and feeling more and more powerless. While we are doing these things our environment is falling apart and how we react to the situation becomes based more on fear and anxiety than understanding.
How do I begin to control my environment and my response? In order to do this we need to begin to develop boundaries between ourselves and the addicted person. we have to begin to understand what our problems are and what their problems are. For example, your loved one's addiction is not your problem. It effects you and is painful for you, but, your problem is how well you respond to the addicted person's issues. No matter how hard you try you will never be able to solve their problem, only they can do that. This does not mean that you don't love them, want the best for them, nor does it mean you abandon them. It mean that you are developing a clear understanding on what the issues are and who is responsible for solving what problems. Remember the three C's; You didn't Cause it, You can't Control it, and You can't Cure it.
Family members need support to deal with these issues. It is very important to find an Alanon or Alateen group so you can be around other going through similar experience. In Hawaii there are also family education classes for the family members of the addicted person. These classes are held at Hina Mauka and are on Thursday nights. One is held at the Waipahu office and the other is held at the Kaneohe facility. Call 236-2600 for information.