Parents/Spouses/Children - YOU CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE. LET ME SHOW YOU HOW!
The actions of the individuals in the family surrounding the addict/alcoholic are far more instrumental to your loved one's recovery than you know. There are certain guidelines which promise success. I will show you some of these on this page. Because I need to get to know you and your family's situation, I will introduce you to some of these concepts now. For more direction, buy my book, Know Relief for the Family.
Treatment involves family, twelve-step, individual and group participation. Work in Al-Anon can rid the family of the pent up anger and fear. The disease breeds it and it does not disappear when you enter treatment. If you are nagging or parenting out of fear and anger, there is something wrong with you and you risk pushing your loved one back to using'. This happens frequently. We help you to become redirected and find peace after recovery. I would love to tell you that this comes instantly or even soon. However, it takes a year or two to find balance. Treatment at My Freedom Quest helps you arrive in the least amount of time and in the least restrictive environment. You all stay home, work and participate in daily life while you're being treated.
Although this is a very painful process for all, it is the path to success. There is much work to be done and it is much less painful than the consequences of the disease. He or she will stay sober and clean if they adapt to our way of getting sober and clean. I promise you that this will work if you and your loved ones do it my way.
This involves all learning and doing recovery in a way that we teach. Thank you for your willingness to grow and develop. Recovery is the term we use to describe entry into the world of abstinence and eventual success in all areas. We don't just put down the drug and/or alcohol. We learn how to progress from using others to helping others. There is no magic bullet that makes one sober and clean. It takes one to two years to learn the basics of recovery. Then it takes another two to three years to practice these new behaviors so that they are applied effectively.
Here are some things you can do that will help the family enter recovery:
1. Do not reward him or acknowledge him for doing things that he should be doing.
2. Please make no decisions about car, school, living arrangements, vacations or job or other major changes without negotiating them with the treatment staff. We are responsible for guiding your treatment. This problem is fatal and, therefore, we must have control of the treatment plan even thought we try to be flexible by developing a mutual plan.
3. Do not give him alcohol or drugs. If you feel bad for him because he cannot have his anesthesia, please talk about this in group.
4. Go to Al-Anon You are putting us in handcuffs if you do not. If you do go, we have an exponentially better chance for success.
5. Self-diagnose yourself for addiction. Usually one of the parents or children or relatives or the spouse needs to rule this problem out.
6. Work on your feelings of anger, hurt, fear and guilt during family night and ongoing.
7. When he violates your rule (s), enforce the consequence.
Do not settle for:
a) using a lesser drug or a less potent form of alcohol. This always leads back to the progression. His tolerance has built and he will not be satisfied with less for long.
b) his version of recovery, e.g., "I'm working and that's my recovery," or "Now I'm in recovery for a few months, functional and can control my using."
c) Old behaviors, e.g., coming home late, sleeping in, being unemployed... set boundaries; do not nag or lecture or try other forms of control.
d) Believe him when he says he'll never use again. This overconfidence is a relapse sign. It also means that he has little recovery knowledge.
Trust me, abide by these guidelines and we will be successful.
Dr. Peter A. Butkins, LCAP, LMT
Enabling - Unintentionally helping the addict and/or alcoholic to continue "using." It means that you are "helping" him with anything he can do for himself. He will then expect you to take care of him as before. An example is when he asks you to do his laundry after he has procrastinated.
Do not help him strengthen his character defects. You will be strengthening your need to take care of him when he should be taking care of himself in areas where he is capable. The guideline is to never do what he can do for himself.
Recovery takes much work. He needs to get used to doing his own work or else he'll develop an angry dependence on you. When he tests you out on the rules and you give in, you are hurting him.
WHOEVER YOU TAKE CARE OF, YOU WEAKEN!
Why do I ask the parents and spouses to attend and participate in Al-Anon?
When you suffer from the consequences of the drug and/or alcohol abuse, it's a lose/lose. Work in Al-Anon to rid yourself of anger and fear. The disease breeds it. If you are nagging or parenting out of fear and anger, there is something wrong with you.
When you are out of control with anger or fear, you are what is called flooded. You are powerless over your emotional state. This is how the disease has impacted you. Your treatment is to gain control over self.
The Co-addicts' Strategy
Let him know that he has to earn his way by adhering to your boundaries.
a) He is in charge. He earns a bed at your house by being in recovery. You set boundaries. If these are violated, he cannot stay with you. This is the same situation that occurs at most places of employment. The job is available as long as the employee adheres to work rules.
b) Do whatever you can to aid his recovery. For example, take him to meetings or treatment if he has no car. Let him stay after the meeting if he is talking to recovering people...
As above, make him accountable to your rules/boundaries.