Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Letter of Resignation

This was brought to me by one of the family members in the class. You may use it as a guide or at some point fill it out as you are able and submit it to the addict in your family. As a reminder, don't resign from anything you aren't ready to follow through on. This is a process that takes time and support.

Letter of Resignation

I, ____________________________, do hereby resign from the following:

___ Being preoccupied with your problem.
___ Being Controlling.
___ Being a Caretaker.
___ Worrying.
___ Getting in the way of you being responsible for yourself.
___ Protecting you from the consequences of your actions.
___ Snoopervising.
___ Shaming, blaming and being an all around pain.
___ Walking on eggshells.
___ Taking your inventory.
___ Being responsible for your recovery.
___ Enabling you with money, or the type of support which keeps you dependent on me.
___ Being a martyr.
___ Being miserable.
___ Supporting you if you leave treatment before the recommended discharge date.
___ Other __________________________________________________

I submit this letter of resignation to you, _____________________________ as my gift to you
       and to myself as a sign of my wish for a full life for you and me.

Signed by ______________________________________________   Date __________________

Monday, August 26, 2013

What is Important to Understand?

Addiction is a condition that neither the family member nor the addicted person have control over. The behaviors that the addicted person displays are not the disease. They are the result of the disease acting on the brain/central nervous system. Addiction creates changes in the brain that effect how people think and perceive their world. Their drug of choice becomes what makes life worth living and replaces relationships, career and family.

The Three C's represent the following concepts. You did not cause the addiction. You can not control the addiction and You can not cure it. Family members spend an enormous amount of time and energy struggling with these issues.

Addiction is not logical. Addiction does not respond to logical thought. Addicted people can be very intelligent in every aspect of their lives but blind to the destruction they are causing in their own lives and the lives of their family. Remember, addiction effects the central nervous system and addicted people see reality differently. What makes life worth living for them is their drug of choice. When addicted people make bad and hurtful choices as a result of their addiction there are no surprises here. That is what addicted people do.

Addiction is not personal. Addiction in your family affects you deeply because it is hard to see someone you love possibly destroying themselves. The addicted person is not doing this to you on purpose. They are just doing what addicted people do and you happen to be a witness. Your family member didn't suddenly decide to become an addict, destroy their life and cause you misery because they thought it was a good idea. The more you can learn to remove the personal aspects of your response to the addiction in your family the better able you will be to respond to the reality of the situation.

Loss of Trust. This is an important issue. Many family members struggle with this and they trust what the addicted person say because they want them to be trustworthy or they think they should or they believe if they don't they are abandoning them. It is important for family members to understand that not trusting the addicted family member is in their own best interest. If an addicts lips are moving they are lying. If you want to trust the addict then watch their behavior. the only thing you can trust is what they do. You can only learn to trust their words again if they earn it. When what they say matches up with what they do over time, on a consistent basis. Until such time the best response is to just observe.

Create a Team. Family members need to work together on finding the issues they all can agree on and build on that. Respect each other. Learn to accept each others different emotional styles and support each other. Addiction will destroy the family unless the family members make an effort to prevent that from happening.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Some Thoughts About Your Comments

I am very humbled by the people who have made comments on this blog. You remind me of how hard it is to care for someone and at the same time not be able to make it all better for them.

A person wrote recently about how everyone in their family of origin is a non functioning alcoholic. they find that they have lost their family but their family members are still alive. This actually reminds me of my own experience. As a result I also found out I didn't have the skills needed to reach out for help. When you grow up with addicts "silence is golden" reaching out is not encouraged. I found that I actually needed to find a way to re-parent myself. I needed mentors that I could trust. By the way you are never too old for a good mentor. As a matter of fact some of the people I have learned from have been younger than me. Reach out, reach out, reach out. Develop positive resources in your life.

Other people wrote about trying very hard to do the "right things" such as cutting off money, not allowing the use of the car, or any number of things to not "enable" the substance use. Then the question becomes "is there anything else we can do". If the goal is to somehow stop your loved one from using I have no answer. If the goal is to reduce the possibility that you are assisting in their use you are already doing the right thing. Do not forget...The first goal of an addict is to get and use their drug of choice, not to do well in school, or pay the bills or take the garbage out. This is just what addicts do. What you can do is remind them, in a non judgmental way, that you know they love their drug and you think they need help. Don't pay to much attention to the rejection. that's normal.  You must seek out help for yourself and find a place where you can talk with members of other families who are going through similar experiences.

What I found in teaching the family class is that repetition is good. People come to the class or this blog and they are stressed. People needed to be reminded of what to do a number of times before it begins to sink in. In Malcolm Gladwell's book "The
Tipping Point" he said that to make learning "sticky" meaning that the message sticks. The message must be connected with what the learner already knew. For the message to stick it has to have meaning for the learner. When you tell your loved one that you know they "love their drug of choice" You are acknowledging reality and prefacing the message they don't like "they need help" with the truth.