I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. The holiday season is always a stressful time but when you add addiction to the mix and it can be heartbreaking. Family members need to be extra careful not to isolate and to seek out support from other family, friends, and/or a 12 step program such as al-anon.
We last talked about the role of enabler in the family. In actuality everyone plays this role from time to time. Remember we talked about taking on roles as a way of coping with the "craziness" in the family. Other behaviors roles that people tend to take on in order to survive emotionally are the overachiever, this person is sometimes called the family hero. Others may display acting out behavior, getting in trouble in school or not going to school, this is the scapegoat. Another behavior is staying out of the way, laying low, spending a lot of time alone, quiet, this person gets lost in the shuffle. Then there is the clown who uses humor to defuse tense situations. All these roles have an aspect of health attached to them. They also have a cost. The problem is that these behaviors become compulsive ways of handling stress in general and lead to serious problems for the person unless they understand what is going on with them. The overachiever uses work and accomplishment to deal with stress and could become a workaholic, the scapegoat faced with stressful situations in their life may compulsively act out as a way of dealing with the stress and never know why. Every time they are on the verge of success they seem to sabotage themselves. The lost one lays low, doesn't stick his neck out. This was one of the roles that I took on when going up in an alcoholic family. I tell people today that I would have made a great Vice President. Not standing out is the goal when stressed. Of course the comedian is not made aware of what they are doing can become depressed has a hard time with relationships as an adult and tends to be emotionally immature.
What can you do? Vern E. Johnson, of the Johnson Institute advises the following; you can become an Intervener. How do you do that? It takes two steps. If you are in the habit of inappropriately confronting the chemically dependent person, STOP. If you are accustomed to protecting the chemically dependent person, STOP.
Easier said than done you say and you are right. These are learned skills that you will acquire if you come to the family education class at Hina Mauka in Waipahu or Hina Mauka in Kaneohe on Thursday evenings.