Addiction: Willingness and Family Support
It is no different with drug/alcohol addiction. Once the person is willing to seek out treatment and then follows the prescribed treatment regimen, they almost invariably get well. And like the person afflicted with cancer, if the treatment is stopped, the disease comes back, ever growing and getting worse.
The default thinking of the suffering addict is that they do not have the condition – using is not the problem, everything wrong is someone else’s fault – and the obsession to use continuously grows. Suffering addicts in the depths of their disease cannot differentiate the truth from the false. The area of the brain where judgment takes place is not accessed in the thought development process. The resulting behavior is that of someone who appears quite often insane.
I understand that it may be very difficult for family members and friends to accept this. The addict’s untreated disease has not only destroyed his or her life, but it often has had tremendously negative and devastating impact on those he or she loves the most. It is easy for family and friends to attack and blame because of this. When one has cancer, rarely are the loved ones hurt in this manner. This is because addiction is a chronic disease of the brain and the side effects of use are often extremely negative and dangerous behaviors. I can assure you, attacking the suffering addict will only make things worse.
I am not suggesting that family and friends of the addict have no cause for being hurt, upset or vengeful. What I am suggesting is that not addressing these feelings can only do the person feeling this way as well as the suffering addict more harm. I am also not suggesting that you enable the addict. It could very well be that you need to separate yourself and other loved ones from the addict for a time. This happens quite often. The family member, friend or spouse may have to tell the suffering addict that they love them so much that they can’t watch this happen any longer, and if they want to seek help, they will be there to support them. But at no time should they verbally or physically abuse the suffering addict unless their true intention is to make them worse.
The suffering addict’s best chance at recovery is when the those supporting him continuously express hope, optimism and positivity. This is critical since most effective recovery is self-directed, strengths based, and empowerment based. Recovery is not possible without meaning, purpose, goals, housing, work and personal development.