Saturday, February 24, 2007

Healing Involves Suffering

What am I suppose to do just let him use? Just let her ruin her life? Just let him be an addict? This dilemma is front an center many times in the family program each week.

Family members are struggling with loss of control, struggling to make something good happen. It takes time for family members to understand what it is they have control over and what they don't. Family members and friends can learn to exercise control over their own environment and how they personally respond to the addiction in their lives.

What they don't have control over is whether or not their loved one has the disease of addiction and what the addicted persons behavior is as a result of this condition. BUT that is what they want to have control over and unfortunately many continually struggle with trying to force control over the addicted person and this causes tremendous emotional pain.

Like the addicted person when family members have had enough suffering they may become open to a different way of looking at things that might help them move toward healing.

Creating boundaries is one of the most important skills family members and friends of addicted people can learn. It is very important to clearly learn the difference between what are their issues and what are your issues.

Number one is that their addiction is not your issue. It effects you deeply and causes you pain but you can't solve this issue for them. So what are your issues? They are all the emotional turmoil going on within you as a result of your reactions to the addiction and the addicted person.

It is very empowering to understand this and understand there are skills and new behaviors to learn that will help you and as a result allow the addicted person a chance to experience the consequences of their addiction.

Remember addicts need to suffer so they can figure out there is a problem that they need help with. And one more thing the addict can't do it alone!! AND the family members can't do it alone either. Family members need support within a safe and supportive environment where they can check out new ideas, see how others have been successful or have repeated the same unproductive behaviors over and over again. Just like the addicted person.

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