Families that are deep in the throes of addiction often feel helpless and hopeless. They have tried nearly every tactic to convince their addicted loved one to quit drinking and/or using, yet nothing seems to work. Feelings of anger, loneliness, sadness, guilt, shame, disappointment and fear consume families affected by addiction. As a result, they lose themselves somewhere along the way.
When we work with family members — whether their loved ones are in treatment at MARR or not — we are often faced with individuals who are hurting and unsure what to do next. Many of them wonder things like, “Where did I go wrong?” “Did I do enough?” and “If I don’t care for the addict, who will?” The most important step in family recovery is similar to addiction recovery: emerging from denial and seeking help. When families take charge of their own recovery, their relationships and lives begin to change.
Recovery is a journey, not a destination. As time passes, more is revealed. Learning to detach with love may not always be easy or comfortable, but it is the best way to maintain healthy relationships when addiction is present. Al-Anon offers members the three Cs of family recovery and how to apply them in everyday situations. At MARR, we encourage families to use these tools, and to open their hearts and their minds to receive the gifts of recovery.
1. “I didn’t CAUSE it.” We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable. Step One in Al-Anon not only brings the family member out of denial, but also requires the individual to accept his or her powerlessness over the addict. It’s not simple for someone to admit not having control, but the result can be liberating and truly gratifying. There is nothing the family member may have said, did or thought that caused his or her loved one to become an addict/alcoholic. Similar to diabetes or cancer, addiction is a disease.
2. “I can’t CONTROL it.” Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Step Two in Al-Anon turns the need to control over to a Higher Power. “I can’t control it; God can help.” This step takes families from a place of fear to reassurance. They might be powerless over people, places and things; however, they are in control of themselves. It is possible to set healthy boundaries and still love the addict/alcoholic.
3. “I can’t CURE it.” Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. Step Three in Al-Anon is all about surrender. When family members give in to the fact that addiction is incurable, their focus starts to shift. Instead of trying to save the day by saving the addict/alcoholic, they allow God to take the reins. The outcome? Serenity even in the midst of chaos.More... The Recovery of Codependency