Why do we care more than addicts?
It seems to be almost universally true. Parents, friends, therapists, and even administrators seem to care more about what happens to an addict or alcoholic than the person with the disease cares. Why is that? I think it is the nature of the disease.
If addicts had intact abilities to think clearly and rationally; to have appropriate insight; and to have good life skills, then for the most part they probably wouldn’t be sick. Unfortunately that is not the case. some would say that addicts make a conscious decision to be an addict and therefore they can make a conscious decision to stop being an addict. I am sure that they would if it were that simple. But it just isn’t that simple. The analogy would be telling a diabetic to stop being a diabetic. Tell them to lose weight and eat right and their life will be fine. A few can do it, but most cannot. It is the same way with addiction. Some can just do it. for some it was a conscious decision to start and it can be a conscious decision to stop. But for the overwhelming majority it is their disease; not of addiction, but their psychiatric disease, that makes them an addict and prevents their recovery.
So now we are left with an addict who can’t make a rational decision even when their life counts on it. So we try as family members and therapists to help them with the decision to get clean. We try to show them that we care enough about them they we won’t let them throw their lives away. But quite frankly until we are able to clean up the underlying pathology they will never follow the path to recovery. Care all you want, but until an addict has the tools in place to care as much as you do you are wasting your time, your breath, and your money. Parents spend thousand of dollars on kids who don’t want to get better. they are not ready because they don’t have the right tools.
For that reason all addicts must go the programs that understand the true pathology of the disease of addiction. A program founded strongly in dual diagnosis. It is only dual diagnosis programs that have a success rate in treating addiction that is even remotely respectable.
You must never stop caring, but you must care appropriately. Care enough to put your loved one in a program that will give them the opportunity to care as well.