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.