It’s hard for the substance abuser to stop drinking or using drugs. It’s often as hard – or harder – for the family. Yet it seems so simple: Why don’t they just stop drinking or using drugs? People who aren’t familiar with the complexity of Substance Use Disorder seek a quick solution, just as the addict or alcoholic seeks a quick fix for whatever ails them: social isolation, woundedness, depression or other mental health issues, and more.
And hope springs eternal.
People who love addicts or alcoholics sincerely believe their loved ones don’t want or need treatment. These are some of the things they tell us:
• “He’s promised us this is the last time!”
• “The police just have it out for her. It’s not her problem!”
• “I can’t force her to go to treatment because I love her to death!” (See the irony here?)
• “He knows we are serious this time about cutting him off if he continues to use drugs.”
• “This DUI really scared her, so I think she’s really committed to stopping drinking.”
• She doesn’t want to lose her family, so this is really her bottom.”
Recovery from addiction or alcoholism is complicated. Managing it takes support and change on the physical, spiritual, social and psychological level. Just as people with diabetes might require insulin to treat their disease, they also need to modify their lifestyle. They need to avoid high-sugar foods. They need to exercise regularly. They need to have regular health screenings. Just as you wouldn’t expect to cure diabetes with prayers and crossed fingers, you can’t expect to put Substance Use Disorder into remission without a comprehensive plan that includes biological, physical, social and spiritual recovery.
Alcohol and drug abuse take down the entire family. As loved ones run into legal problems, families enlist lawyers for them, pay their bills, ferry them to court, and more. As loved ones develop medical problems, so do families, in the form of anxiety, high blood pressure and even heart attacks. As loved ones create financial disasters, so do families who pay their unpaid bills, bail them out of jail, and fix their financial mistakes. The price tag can get huge, and often the family pays the price.
But, time and time again, entire families find recovery and health – for all. Let’s celebrate National Recovery Month by seizing the hope of recovery and taking steps towards sobriety. CSRS can show you where to start. Call (916) 990-0190.
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