Thursday, December 28, 2006

What to do??

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday season. This is a stressful time of the year even without the intensity of having someone you care about struggling with addiction. We all see things through our owns lense and have a certain perspective about what our responsibilities are or what our moods are. Brain chemistry influences everyone in good way and not so good ways.

Addiction changes the brain chemistry and fools the brain into thinking something very important and meaningful happened when nothing happened. The physical changes that addiction causes in the chemistry of the brain rob the person of having a choice. Addicts don't have a choice but think they do. Family members do have a choice but think they don't.

Addicts can learn to have a choice once they buy into a recovery program and follow that program of recovery over a long period of time. The choice addicts have is how are they going to respond to their addiction, not whether they are addicts or not.

Family members can learn to exercise the choices they have all along but either didn't realize these choices were appropriate or were not emotionally ready to implement some of these choices. The family members must get help. they must get support.

The first step in recovery for the family member is to understand that they cannot be responsible for the recovery program of the addicted person in their lives. They need to learn to give up managing other peoples lives and focus on managing their own. In order to do this we need the support of others who are also dealing with these issues.

What to do: Step one find a support group were you can be yourself with people who won't judge you. The links on this blog can help you find this support in your area.

Have a good new year, take care of yourself.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What's Going On

Addiction is a disease process. This disease effects every member of your family. Managing this disease can be successful. To manage addiction successfully requires family members to take responsibility for their own recovery process.
The Goal of every addict is to use their drug of choice successfully. They can never succeed at this and their struggle to accomplish this results in the creation of a tremendous level of chaos for both themselves and their loved ones.
Nagging, preaching, threatening, lecturing or pleading is a waste of your time. the addict does not have anymore control over their disease process than you do. Which is none. The process of denial prevents them from knowing the truth.
Back Off !! The more energy you spend on trying to "force" a specific outcome the more helpless you make yourself feel. If you are preventing the addicted person from feeling the consequences of their addiction you must learn to stop this. Addiction does not respond to logic it only responds to experience.
Pain is the addicted person's best friend. Learn to allow the addict to feel the natural consequences of their behavior. When we "rescue" our loved one we are not helping them. We are soothing our own anxiety related to addiction in the family. In order to recover everyone in the family will experience uncomfortable feelings, learn to handle them in ways beside enabling behaviors.
What do I do? Get the facts, develop a support system with others who are "in the same boat." Practice new behaviors, not to try to create an outcome in the addict but to make your life better. Addiction thrives in an environment based on isolation, secrects, lies and shame.
It's a brain disease. Addiction causes distortion in both perception, thinking and behavior. Treatment for the addict is about learning how to think, feel and behave drug free. For the family members it is learning how to think, feel and behave without being dominated by anxiety, fear, and shame.