I need to vent.
In case you missed it, there is strong sarcasm in the title of my first blog post. (I think this is a blog). Anyway, my name is Bryan and I’m an addict in Recovery, and for just over a decade I used as many drugs (including the drug Alcohol) as I possibly could have. In 2008 at the age of 28 that life ended and I’ll tell you how.
But first, let’s review the current state of addiction and suffering in the United States. Today, whatever day you read this, over 100 people will die from addiction in the United States of America. Today.
And then tomorrow…
And the next day…
And so forth. It’s tragic. And, unless attention is given from the ignorant majority the number will continue to rise.
House wives in million dollar homes, single mothers, single fathers, “successful” businessmen (yes even you guys that are pridefully and stubbornly scoffing and will probably stop reading here), business women, “street junkies”, college students, high school students, Jr. high students, non-students, athletes, celebrities, every race, and every demographic is being plagued by addiction. And to our credit, society is starting to take notice. For those of you that are, and that are making a difference I salute you. There are exceptional community support groups, gyms, treatment centers, clinics, educators, doctors, therapists, social workers, and many more that are making a massive difference in the world of treating addiction and helping families heal.
However, there is one demographic in particular that really, REALLY, has a hard time helping their loved ones get into recovery. If you haven’t been able to cure your loved one yet this blog post is for you, and I understand that 90% of you will be offended by this. I’m good with that, because 10% of you may pay attention and gain a new perspective, or at least be bothered enough to start researching and learning for yourself. That would be incredible!
I work in the field of substance abuse, which one or where is not important. This is my best effort to reach someone and not a sales pitch. On a near daily basis I talk to families in person or on the phone that just “can’t seem to figure out why their addict loved one can’t stop.” Or, “if they’d just do something productive,”or, “I have them locked in the house so they won’t use,” or, “do you guys encourage them to pray,” or, “they just don’t get it.”
I could give hundreds of examples but I won’t. You get it. Trying to cure your loved one struggling with addiction without education or knowledge of what addiction really is, (a disease, I know that one stings), is impossible. You can’t do it. You won’t do it. Even if they do what you think they should because that’s what works in your life…just stop it. You’re not helping. Recovery for your loved one is being delayed with each new bright idea you get. Enable more, shame more, accuse and judge, throw some guilt in, “love” more, try harder, start them in school, help them get a job, quit a job, dump a boyfriend, get a girlfriend, stay in denial, etc.
I met with a family last night. After hearing their 19-year old daughter share significant levels of drug abuse, blackouts, severe trauma, and continued use through negative consequences. Here was our exchange following her recap:
Father: “She doesn’t have a substance abuse problem. She just snaps every once in a while.”
Me to the Daughter: “Do you think you have a substance abuse problem?”
Father to daughter: “No you don’t.”
Me to Father: “Can you step out of the room for the remainder of this assessment?”
Please educate and look into community support groups for YOU, not your loved one that is addicted. Start learning about enabling and boundaries and things you’re doing to increase and drive the addiction deeper. There are so many helpful resources for you. I have loved ones suffering, and loved ones in Recovery. I understand the frustration and seemingly endless tunnel without light. I know I’m on a soap box right now. It feels weird for me to write this at times, but we have to start talking about addiction in new light. If the addict is asking for help, get them professional help. You can be the loved one and support them, let the professionals help. With any other disease it would be silly and dangerous to keep the disease from the professionals and try to cure it within the home right? It seems obvious and ridiculous but that’s how the majority of families are trying to “cure” the addiction in house, and it CAN’T BE CURED. Addiction needs the same type of medical and clinical attention. Period.
So how did my life change in July of 2008? I asked for help and my family found help. Without trying to fix me themselves or hiding it from anybody. I’m grateful every morning for that when I wake up to my wife and 2 boys. Sober. Happy. Full of light.
Recovery is possible. Let go, let God, reach out, and watch your loved one start healing.
End of Blog.