Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Trust the addict you love?

Trust- We all want to trust the people we love. Love sometimes blinds us to the reality of some situations. We think if we love someone we should trust them. But trust and love are two very different things. You can not particularly like someone but trust them because they follow through. You can also love someone but don't trust them. Many people might think that loving someone but not trusting them is horrible, but if you understand addiction you will see that it is not only a good idea but necessary for the family members emotional survival.

Addiction is a medical condition that neither the addicted person nor the family member can "cure". The addicted person can learn to manage their condition and live a healthy and happy life. In order to do this the addicted person must take responsibility for their condition, their past behavior, their present behavior, learn strategies to deal with uncomfortable feelings without using, and maintain a support system of other people in recovery.

Loved ones can be supportive but they must allow the addicted person to work their program of recovery on their own terms. Family and friends of addicted people usually have their own issues that need to be worked on but these issues generally get neglected because they want to focus on the addicted persons issues, family members may even mistake the addicted persons issues for their own.

It is important for family members to understand that the addicted persons issues are not your issues. Of course they effect you but they aren't yours.

Trusting your loved one will not help them in recovery. Allowing them to earn your trust will. So observe behavior, see if it matches up with the addicted persons talk, observe if there is follow through. Over time the person you love may even become trustworthy, but they don't deserve it until they earn it.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Manipulation and Addiction

People have been writing and asking about addiction and manipulation.

The first thing to understand is that all addicted people manipulate. It isn't personal but it is what addicts do

The second thing to understand is that all family members and friends get manipulated by the addicted they care about. This is the normal dance that occurs with the disease of addiction

The third thing to know is that family members will continue to be manipulated until they make a decision to stop allowing this to happen.

As long as the addicted person is using they will not stop trying to manipulate. Don't expect the addicted person to change their behavior. This is normal behavior for the addicted person.

Family members and friends need to understand the nature of addiction. Addiction is a condition that alters the brain of the addicted person and causes a shift in perception. Because of the changes in the brain the addicted person believes that their drug of choice is what make life worth living, not family, friends, relationships, jobs, hobbies etc.

Compulsive drug use, lying and manipulation are the normal compulsive behaviors associated with addiction. Family members have no control over these behaviors although they spend tremendous amounts of energy attempting to control them.

Family members can control their response to these behaviors and that is the important skill to learn.

In their book "Love First" Jeff and Debra Jay have a chapter titled "Good Intentions Can Take You Down The Wrong Road." This chapter is about how family and friends get manipulated and inadvertently contribute to the addiction problems by helping the addicted person in inappropriate ways.

Family and friends need to learn the skill of allowing the addicted person they care about to experience the consequences of their addiction. If the addicted person isn't allowed to feel the pain they cause themselves they won't understand they have a problem or be motivated to change.

The addicted person can't see your pain. They can't see past their own needs. Anything that gets in their way is a problem that they must overcome, manipulate, get around so they can continue to use their drug of choice.

All addicted people manipulate, that's part of addiction. Don't take it personally, it's just how addicted people behave as a result of their condition.

The family needs to come together and talk about what is going on. Don't struggle alone. Check out Families Anonymous or Al Anon.

"If their lips are moving they are lying."