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Addiction Hits Families in All the Wrong Places


Soft love. Soft parenting. Soft hearts. None of those will elicit well-being in your addicted loved one.


But oh how normal it feels to try and diminish a loved one's negative consequences. And how normal it feels in the beginning to take personally all those broken promises. It hurts to listen to all the excuses and justifications. It hurts to see consequences mount in all those important life areas: mental, physical, financial, mental. But it's vital to gather the information you need to make choices based on what is REAL. As you make your way up and out of denial, as you slip and slide away from blaming the one addicted, you will sense your need to step away.


Stepping away will mean different things to different family members. It does not mean you are divorcing your mate or reporting to your local police department that your laptop or 48 inch Vizio tv was stolen by your 26 year old drug addicted son, (although you may be at those points). Stepping away means coming to grips with the reality that you cannot stop someone's illness from progressing. Stepping away means you finally see the illness for what it is.


Know that an addict/alcoholic's choice to use drugs or alcohol has absolutely and totally nothing to do with you. It is an internal, physiological process. The addict's choice to continue use of meth, cocaine, heroin, or opiates, despite all evidence that use is creating harm all around, is about the addict's own abnormal and exaggerated response to substances. The same goes for an alcoholic who continues to drink despite the crushing blows it brings to self and family. It's that positive reinforcement in their brain's pleasure center, the dopamine rush that helps them kick the can of consequences on down the road: "I'll stop tomorrow."


If you don't step aside, you'll experience yourself as part of the kick. Leave the dynamic long enough to talk to a professional who knows the dynamics of addiction. Grab a self-help book. Attend an education group. Go to an Al-Anon meeting. You stepping out of the way creates a higher potential for your own growth, allowing the addicted one to

hear the truth from you, ("I love you but cannot remain in the middle of this mess...if and when you want treatment, I'll stand with you to find the help you want and need."