“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our image. Otherwise, we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”
~ Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
When your life has been made unmanageable due to the actions of a loved one who has become physically dependent on a mood altering chemical, you need the best family addiction treatment San Diego has to offer. Experienced professionals understand that addiction affects more than the person suffering from the addiction – it affects all of their loved ones as well.
In the last installment, the discussion was about the importance of letting go with love and stepping away from the addicted person and their actions.
When You Change Your Position, the person ingesting the Alcohol and or Drugs HAS To Change Theirs
When you stop trying to cover or fix all of their problems– when you start focusing on yourself and your life – then you have made a radical shift in the accustomed paradigm of Denial and pulled yourself out of the active disease process.
The best way to effectively make this positive change in your life is by staging an intervention. One Way is where you and other friends and family members get together to let the addicted person know that until they seek treatment for their substance abuse problem, you will be withdrawing active support – and in some cases, even contact. Another type of intervention is following through on threats to separate from the relationship or marriage until help is sought. An employer may refer an employee to the EAP (Employee Assistance Program) for intervention, assessment and referral to a treatment facility.
You are letting them know clearly that you will no longer allow their disease to negatively impact your lives.
When the person with the addictive disorder has a relapse– and they will – and tries to lean on you, they will not find the unconditional support that they have been used to up till now.
It’s just like it is elsewhere in your life. When you reach out for support – a handrail, for example – and it isn’t there, you are forced into movement, because you are temporarily off-balance.
That is exactly what you want to happen. You want the addicted person to be off-balance and compelled to make some sort of change. Usually, one of two things happens:
- They will immediately take a step towards you (and recovery) – Moved from their previously-comfortable position that was always enabled by you, and therefore both of you are stuck in the powerful dynamics, the addicted person will want to know why you’ve changed your position. When you inform them that you can no longer help them until they are willing to start helping themself, some will be so uncomfortable with the idea of having to fend for themselves, they will grudgingly agree to seek some sort of treatment.
- This chemically dependent person will rebel and (temporarily) walk away – This is the more likely scenario, at least at the beginning. They will beg you, curse you, they will threaten you, and they will walk away, loudly exclaiming how much they don’t need you.
Until they do.
Almost invariably, things will start to fall apart for the previously-enabled addicted person at some point. When they have to start taking care of themselves while still actively addicted, they will begin to realize number of situations they must handle for themselves.
Their rent may go unpaid. Their job may be on the line or they may lose it. They may miss court dates or fine schedules. They may spend time in jail when there’s nobody there to make their bail. They may lose the ability to see their children.
They may actually be faced with the proverbial “rock bottom”.
When they are faced – perhaps for the first time ever – with the natural consequences of their own actions, many addicts find that some of those consequences are unbearable. They will admit that the price of continued active addiction is more than they’re willing to pay. Thus you will have begun the emotional breaking through of the main characteristic of active addiction, psychological denial. Denial of the negative consequences of the disease is characterized by minimizing, rationalizing, avoiding, lying, justifying, and has kept the sick person, addicted.
Of course, there is always the chance that they will stay actively addicted. That is an unfortunate but realistic possibility. If that happens, you have to stay firm with the boundaries you set during the intervention – you have to follow through.
This may sound harsh, but you cannot help someone who is not ready for that help. You have to “let go and let God” or you – and perhaps your entire family – won’t survive the addiction.
It is important to remember the goal of an intervention. It is not to make the person with the disease comfortable or to stroke their feelings. It’s not even to keep them out of jail or to save their marriage. The primary goal of an intervention is to save the their life, and barring that, to prevent their disease from ruining the lives of everyone around them.
Dependence on a mood altering chemical, a disease process, can destroy entire families. If you love someone struggling with dependence on a mood altering chemical, it is imperative that you contact a San Diego drug addiction rehab program that can meet the needs of everyone in your family. Contact Lasting Recovery today and learn how to break the destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction.