As a person in long term recovery, I know what it is like to live addicted. I know how my addiction hurt my family and I know the chaos that addiction can bring to a family. They say that addiction is a family disease. The person living in their addiction is not the only one suffering. The family often suffers both physically and emotionally. I remember my mother telling me that she could never sleep and she had constant anxiety. My mother was also diagnosed with a gastrointestinal issue because of the amount of stress my addiction caused her. My father lived in constant stress and worry as well. Neither of my parents could truly be at peace as they were constantly worried about where I was and if they were going to get a phone call that I had died.
by Lara Frazier
My family knew that I had been prescribed opiates because of a car accident. They also knew that I had been prescribed Adderall. When I told them about both of these prescriptions, they advised me to be careful. My parents questioned why I had been prescribed Adderall as I was never diagnosed with ADD. They knew that this was a drug I did not need, but because I kept insisting it was helping me, they did not force the issue. However, as time went on, their concern and their advice allowed me to seek the help I needed. Here are 5 ways my family helped me seek help for my addiction.
1. They told me my personality was changing.
I have always been outgoing and friendly. However, as my addiction progressed I started spending more time alone and isolating myself from the people who loved me. I was usually someone who would laugh and crack jokes, but I rarely smiled anymore. Because, I was so controlled by getting high, I didn’t take notice to the fact that I had changed. However, the more my parents brought it up, the more I began to question if I really was changing. Because, they were direct and brought up the ways in which my addiction was negatively affecting my personality, I started noticing it more. I started asking myself if the drugs I was taking were truly changing me.
2. They told me they loved me, but they would no longer enable my addiction.
When someone is heavily addicted, it is unlikely that they will seek help until there are consequences for their addiction. In the beginning of my addiction, I rarely had any consequences. I was able to maintain a job and if I didn’t have a job, I was able to collect unemployment. I had enough money to support my addiction. I also had enough money to pay rent, to eat, and to continue living independently. As my addiction progressed, my life became more chaotic and unmanageable. When I asked my parents for help with rent, they put their foot down and said they would not give me any more money. They would also not allow me to live with them if I was using drugs. Because I ran out of options in my living situation and because I eventually ran out of money, I decided to seek help and go to treatment. It’s not that I truly wanted to get help, but the fact that I had no home and no money to continue using, forced me to seek treatment.
3. They asked me what they could do to help me stop.
When I first truly admitted to myself that I had a problem with drugs and alcohol, I reached out for help from my family. I told them that I could not stop using on my own. Instead of becoming angry at me for being addicted, they asked me what they could do to help me. When I told them that I thought I needed treatment, they helped me find a place to go. Although, I did not get sober the first time I went to treatment they continued to ask what they could do to help me quit. It was important for me to have their support.
4. They went to family therapy and worked on their own health and wellness.
At my last treatment center, family therapy was offered every week. My family made the one hour drive every week to go to the support group. They say that you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you can help another. My parents finally decided to seek outside support and interacted with other families who were going through the same thing as them. When they allowed themselves to admit they needed help, they started to heal. As my parents healed, my addiction slowly started diminishing because I could no longer manipulate them into supporting my addiction.
5. They offered their forgiveness and compassion for the mistakes I made.
If I had come home from treatment to an angry family, I don’t think I would have been able to stay sober. Instead of bringing up the past and telling me all the ways I hurt them, my parents supported me. My parents told me they were proud of me and they praised me for how hard I was working to stay sober. They didn’t get upset when I told them I couldn’t attend a family event due to it being in conflict with one of my 12 step meetings. They always supported my recovery and forgave me when I made amends. The only thing they asked of me was to continue living in recovery.
Lara Frazier is a truth-teller, a sobriety warrior and a writer. She is a FIERCE believer in the power of owning our stories and is a strong advocate for addiction recovery. Lara shares a story of healing: in sobriety, through addiction, in life and love, and in all the other big huge moments of fear and magic that we rarely talk about, but we should. Find more of Lara’s work on her website at www.larafrazier.com or follow her on Instagram @sillylara.