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“How do you help loved ones without enabling them?”

“Here’s what families of addicts need to know – They didn’t cause the disease, they can’t cure it, and they need to seek help.”

That advice comes from Rick Davila, ACS, PhD., Director of Recovery Support Services, for Clean Recovery Centers. He and Nick Cuneo, Clean’s Founder and President, shared their insights on families and addiction support during an interview on Morning Blend, a popular Tampa Bay television show.

“Families want to help, it’s a natural instinct,” said Cuneo. “But it is often misplaced, and the family ends up enabling the loved one back to wrong behavior.”

Enmeshed in a co-dependent relationship, families don’t realize how entangled they are in the addict’s whirlwind tornado. “Then It just gets bigger and bigger and eventually takes everybody with it,” he added.

In an often-repeated scenario, people get treated, get clean and are discharged back into the community from where they came. “It becomes a lot of the same old, same old,” Davila explained. “This is when families have to really be there to support the recovery process.”

“Is there light at the end of the tunnel for the addict?” host Carley Boyette asked. “Absolutely,” said Cuneo, an addict now 17 years clean. “We’ve seen magic happen in recovery. It’s not just about abstinence; it’s about fulfilling your life choices, bringing the family back together.”

Davila, himself clean for 50 years, noted that “Addiction is a sickness with a lot of stigma attached to it. The right kind of family support is very, very, important.”