Trying to control it
As family members of addicts, we often try everything we can think of to get our loved one to stop drinking or using drugs. We feel responsible for making sure they are okay and that they have everything we feel they need. This usually leaves us feeling frustrated. We tell ourselves that surely there is something we can do, but the reality is, the addicts themselves can’t even control it.
So how in the world are WE going to get them to?
If the addict is not ready to reach out for help, guess what? Our efforts to try and force them to admit they need help usually cause more issues. Only when the consequences of their addiction become painful enough will they reach out for help. Unfortunately, we can’t force them to get help and there is not much we can do until they realize they have a problem and reach out for that help. We can however step back and hand the controls back to the one who CAN control it. By doing that, we relieve so much pressure that we have put on ourselves from trying to control what only God can control—the heart of the addict.
Unwanted behaviors and attitudes are a reflection of what is in our heart. (Luke 6:45b)" ... his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart"
We need to look at the heart because repentance that is real happens because of changes in their heart.
(lsa 16:7) “...God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”.
(l Thessalonians 4:4)
“That each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable.”
Someone does not always become an alcoholic or addict because they were raised in a dysfunctional family. Addiction is not necessarily caused by emotional wounds. It also has nothing to do with will power, strength of character, or intelligence.
Addiction is a physiological genetic allergy- hereditary predisposition involving brain chemistry. There is now ample scientific proof and research data to support these facts.
Addiction is a disease.
Alcoholics/Addicts try to blame their drinking or using drugs on circumstances or others around them—including their family. Don’t buy into it! If they are truly an addict, they are going to drink or use drugs no matter what we say or do. It’s not our fault. How we deal with it though is our fault!
We must start recognizing how powerless we are over this disease.
We were powerless to do anything any different than we did. We were doing the best that we knew how with the tools that we had. We can't go back and change anything so worrying about it doesn’t help!
As long as we are holding onto the guilt and shame, it means that on some level we think we had the power to stop it. We didn't! Only God can change the heart of an addict. Blaming yourself only prolongs you from seeking the help that you need to get. Coming to terms with the fact that your loved one is an addict and recognizing that you are an enabler, allows for you to move forward and get the help you need. Just like the saying goes you must put your oxygen mask on first before you can assist anyone else with theirs.
(1 Peter 4: 12 ) - “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”
(John 3: 17 ) - “For God did not send his son into the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
***Notes from Ashley***
I am a control freak in every aspect of my life, including the life of my addict. I tried everything under the sun to wrestle the control addiction had over my loved one.
You will too.
The battle isn't ours to fight. Those of us who love an addict are relegated to the sidelines, yet that doesn't mean we can only helplessly watch with our hands tied. This is the time for fervent prayer.
The blame game is another disturbing aspect of addiction. We look back over the places we could have done things differently. You know what I mean--the "If I would have just done" or the ever-popular "If I could just go back and change this..."
Blaming choices someone else makes for their lives on yourself is a complete and total waste of time. It festers like a tainted boil inside our hearts and minds. It won't help your addict ONE BIT, and it certainly won't help YOU. Of course, saying (or typing) the words is much easier than actually putting them into action in your life. I know because the blame game tape STILL pops up on occasion. Like an old song you hate that randomly plays on the radio, the lyrics "It's all your fault" replay over and over.
Will it ever end? The continual pangs of regret, remorse, anger, guilt, sadness and fear? Doubtful. Even if your addict has been clean and sober for years, the old scars still ache sometimes. Just as our addict must learn to live with their piles of mental baggage, we must too.
Stay strong, keep loving your addict in healthy ways, and make sure to take care of your mind, body and soul!