Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Comment On Manipulation and Addiction

On November 5, 2007 I posted a blog entry on "Manipulation and Addiction". It can easily be located on this blog in "Blog Archive". Located in lower right side of blog.

I have received many important and meaningful comments related to the post on manipulation and addiction as well as comments on many other.  I am not sure if people have been reading the comments so I believe it is important to highlight some of them. this was a recent comment about the November 5, 2007 post.  I will highlight comments on other posts in the future.

"I have a daughter who has been on drugs for two years. She did two times in rehab and was successful during rehab but relapsed when she came out. She now lives away from home and is homeless. I am addicted to her every move and her every lie. I can't sleep at night and worry through the day. Today I am making a change and putting the focus back on me. I have been to AlaNon and used the program when I was living with my ex-husband. Somehow it was easier to put up boundaries and detach with love with my spouse than with my daughter. The result is that I am sicker because of it and all my controlling ways have not helped her one bit. Let it begin with me...I can't control it, cure it nor did I cause it. These are hard words for a parent to accept but I am powerless over her choices. So, for all you struggling with an addict, my heart goes out to you. Thank you for the reminder that addicts lie and manipulate and not to take it personally. Words to live by and I hope to do so".

Please read Manipulation and Addiction... November 5, 2007.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Is Addiction A Disease?

This question about whether addiction is a disease or not is an old and ongoing issue. For families it can get in the way of them responding to this condition effectively. The bottom line for family members is this, whether one chooses to label addiction as a disease or a bad habit, the addict must take responsibility for their treatment/recovery in order to be able to make positive changes in their life.

This issue always came up in the family class. My response to them was that I chose to view addiction as a disease but that was not a requirement for them. What the family members needed to learn was that the addicted family member's behavior was the important thing to observe and respond to.  The question of whether addiction is a disease or not disease becomes a distraction.  It is more important for family members to learn what their own issues and strengths are so they are able to respond effectively to the addicted person's behavior for their own wellbeing.

If I were gong to use an analogy to show how addiction is a disease I would use diabetes, hypertension or some cancers. These conditions all have both lifestyle and/or genetic roots similar to addiction.

It is important for families to not feel they must label this condition.  Family members and addicts are ultimately responsible for acknowledging their condition and taking responsibility for their own recovery.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Creating A Healthier Relationship With The Addicted Person In Your Family (Part 2)

If you are so busy trying to manage your loved ones life your life will suffer. If your life suffers you will be less prepared to be of help to your loved one when they seriously seek help.

Over focusing on the addicted person can lead to resentment, hurt, anger, loss of your own identity, stress, guilt and physical illness. It is important to avoid this situation by getting support to help you with the skills needed to learn to have as much of a healthy relationship with your loved one as possible.

As you learn about addiction you are going to need support to be able to implement some of the new behaviors that you will learn about. Having support gives you the opportunity to talk with others who have been dealing with this issue and have practical skills in this area.

One of the most important skills you will learn about in having a healthy relationship with an addicted loved one is building boundaries. Building boundaries is not easy and feels abnormal but will begin to feel normal over time. Remember the goal of building boundaries is to take back your life and allow your loved one to experience the natural consequences of their addiction. Your part in this is to not to do many of the things that you may have previously done. Don't do for them what they should be doing for themselves, don't rescue them from the natural problems that occur as a result of their addiction, don't try to solve their financial, legal, or other problems or crisis's that occur in their life. You will need help with this and getting the support to do this is very important for you to be successful with building boundaries.

The importance of building boundaries with the addicted person in your life is that it gives you breathing room to put together the pieces of your own life. Remember the instructions for safety when you are on an airplane. If the oxygen mask drops down you put it on yourself first before you help anyone else. You are not abandoning your loved one but you are learning the difference between what their issues are and what your issues are. Without boundaries those lines get blurred and we take on there issues and neglect our own. Ultimately the addict must take responsibility for their addiction to be successful in recovery. You can't do it for them but you can start taking responsibility for your issues.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Creating A Healthier Relationship With The Addicted Person In Your Family (Part1)

Because of the ways your loved ones addiction is effecting their brain they are totally focused on their drug of choice and they do not think in the same way they did before they became addicted or that you do now.
It is important to learn how to be very consistent in your communication with the addicted person. Avoid arguments and manipulation like the plague. It's fine to be honest with your loved one about their need for treatment or help of some kind. Trying to manipulate them with guilt, anger, threats or money doesn't work and is destructive to the relationship.
When we are trying to fix them or rescue them or manipulate them anxiety becomes the major force in driving the relationship with the addicted person and all the interactions with the addicted person become about trying to gain control. The relationship becomes a power struggle marked by confrontations or fearful avoidance.
The main problem is that family members know their loved one is addicted to drugs but they don't accept this fact and they try to fight it.
By accepting your loved ones addiction doesn't mean that you like it, or support it, or don't work toward alternatives, but if you want to have a relationship with your loved one that offers some hope you need to accept the reality of the situation. When you wind up in power struggles the main issue actually gets shoved to the background and the addicted person can focus on their resentment toward you and you can struggle with trying to manage their addiction. It is quite a dance and needs at least two or more people to coordinate the steps.
If you want to have some control in the relationship you need to give your loved one a large field in which to roam.
The more effort you put into trying to control the details of their life the more they will fight against you. You will become increasingly frustrated and feel increasingly powerless.
Addicted people ask for help when they experience serious enough consequences because of their addiction that break through their denial. These are generally the natural consequences of their addict lifestyle. Sometimes this  change comes on gradually and sometimes if is sudden.