How can families find peace?

As a therapist one of the most difficult things is to see family members in pain. the most frustrating thing of all for the families is that they have absolutely no control over the situation. I will have families worried sick about the whereabouts of their loved ones and the addict is out using and not the least bit concerned that the family is worried about whether they are dead or alive.

The truth is when the addict is using they are extremely selfish and self-absorbed. Once they resurface the family is so relieved that they are alright that they will give into the requests and demands of the addict (i.e. money, a place to stay, etc.).

This cycle of ups and downs is debilitating to the family. I will often hear how families become alienated from friends and family die to the number of times they canceled plans or make excuses as to why they cannot commit to plans. Families will say, “How can I possibly go out and enjoy myself under these circumstances?” The truth is that the more you life is changed and affected the more control and power the addict has over your life.

It is extremely important to go to Naranon. Get support and meet other families that can relate to what you are going through. At the same time, it is important to try and keep your life as normal as possible. It is important not to become too enmeshed with your loved one. Although it is extremely difficult it is important not to have the attitude that if they are not happy you can’t be happy. You are not the addict and you should not be making poor choices just because they are. The more the addict controls your life the more resentful you will become.

I will often tell families that yo can be there for your loved one when they are doing the right thing, however, when they are not they are not welcome. When I say not welcome I mean not welcome to create chaos; the disruption and the pain that goes with having the addict in your life.

Are you a family that is trying to cope with having an addict in your life? What have you done to maintain your happiness and sanity?

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