How Do You Do This? - Part 2 of Addiction is a Family Disease
Part 2 of the series is below, taken from the literature handed out by Families in Addiction (Hot Springs, Arkansas - with their permission).
Just like my addict, I thought I could handle things on my own.
It will break you to the point you can't think straight.
Take a minute, breathe, and realize you are just as addicted as your addict. Your drug of choice is them.
God bless all of you reading this and remember: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
HOW DO I DO THIS?
This is the #1 question we all ask, followed by:
1. How do I get through this mess?
2. How do I stop enabling?
3. Am I loving the addict to death?
4. How do I just “WAIT”?
5. Am I alienating my other children or the rest of my family?
6. Where do I go to get help for myself?
In order to navigate through the landmines of addiction, we have to take massive action to honestly evaluate where we are in this crisis and commit to strengthen ourselves and our families.
Priority #1 - YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD - Facing addiction requires us to do a complete spiritual inventory. We don't want to admit our problems any more than our addict does. Addiction is a spiritual problem both for the addict and those who love the addict. Shifting your focus from your addict to God will give you the powerful, spiritual connection you need to strengthen your faith to be able to walk through this time. This is not a cake walk you're on - it is a FAITH walk! You will never be the same; life will never be the same. You, just as your addict, will never get through this without a strong relationship with God!
Priority #2 - YOUR MARRIAGE AND YOUR SPOUSE - Addiction wraps its tentacles tightly around those closest to the addict. Addiction can drive a wedge between husband and wife like no other problem. If you are the spouse of an addict you will need tremendous support to make wise decisions that not only affect you but also your family. Seek out those individuals you trust for counsel and advice. Make your decisions prayerfully. If you are the parents of an addict most likely one of you is more of an enabler than the other parent. Addiction can put you at odds and cause your communication to go underground. Anger, resentment, bitterness and depression can wreck a relationship in a short time. Just as we have to take our eyes off our addict to strengthen our relationship with God, we have to take our eyes off our addict to save our marriage. From this point forward you must work to understand one another, accept one another and courageously love one another as you've just entered a chapter of life no couple ever plans on their wedding day.
Priority #3 - CLOSE COMMUNICATION AND RELATIONSHIP TO OTHERS WHO CAN LOVE AND SUPPORT YOU - Addiction thrives in darkness, is rooted in emptiness, disconnection, discontentment and not belonging. Addiction is confusing and suffocating. It is comforting and inspiring to connect with others who understand our pain, heartache and powerlessness. Traveling down the road of active addiction with our loved one is like walking through hell but there are hundreds of thousands of people who are suffering just as we are. It is important NOT to isolate yourself during this traumatic time but reach out and accept help from others that have traveled this path and understand you, who will lovingly encourage you and pray for you, who will walk beside you along the way.
Priority #4 - TAKE EXTRA GOOD CARE OF YOU - Anytime we are given a serious health diagnosis we know life has suddenly changed and we must follow the doctor's orders in order to recover and get healthy once again. Where you find yourself at this time is no different. As you may be just facing the reality of the addiction of your loved one or have been dealing with it for years, you MUST take extra good care of yourself during this time. Most of us are accustomed to pushing ourselves in times that require it, not eating properly, not getting enough rest. Facing the addiction of a loved one will take its toll on your mental, physical and emotional health. t is extremely important to pay very close attention to warning signs that your body gives you. Grief and deep sadness will wear on immune system. The anger and emotional roller-coaster the addict can take you on can give you signs of stress on your heart and blood pressure. Intense worry and mind chatter can create insomnia and fatigue making it very hard to do what you have always able to do before the discovery of addiction. In whatever HEALTHY way you can relieve the mental, physical and emotional stress you may be experiencing give yourself permission to take extra good care of yourself on a daily basis.
Priority #5 - CREATE A NEW NORMAL - At the discovery of addiction normal life as you've known or hoped for you and your family no longer exists. Denial of the facts about the addiction of our loved one causes us to force ourselves to continue life as it “was supposed to be” not face the reality of how it really is. We become like a caged hamster on a wheel going around and around unable to call our loved an “addict”, refuse to believe they are lying to us or we fool ourselves by thinking this is just a phase. Part of recovery is creating a new normal. The sooner we face the reality of addiction and accept that this is part of our journey in life, though we did not choose it, the faster we can begin to create a NEW normal way of life for ourselves and the other members of our family. We can once again find joy, peace and most of all a healthy love for ourselves, our addict and other family members.