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 wefeel
they need. This usually leaves us feeling frustrated. We tell ourselves that
surely there is somethingwecando,buttherealityis,theaddictsthemselvescan’tevencontrol
So how in the world are WE going to get themto?
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
Weneedtolookattheheartbecauserepentancethatisrealhappensbecauseof changes in theirheart.
(lsa 16:7)“...Godseesnotasmansees,formanlooksattheoutwardappearance, but the Lord looks at theheart”.
“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 ourfault!
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’thelp!
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!
“Ruined Wings is raw, real and a terrifying journey into addiction. A must read for every parent.” – Elaine Raco Chase, bestselling author
Seventeen-year-old Callie Novak is on the cusp of changing her life as she warms up for the final heat in the Women's 1600 meter track and field competition. While she sets a new state record, her family's worse nightmare is just beginning.
When tragedy strikes the Novak family every reader will feel the pain of grief, the perils of drug abuse, the despair that leads to a shocking downward spiral and the strength that’s needed to overcome addiction.
Addiction isn’t just about the voluminous issues experienced by the addict. Like ripples in a pond, addiction affects everything—and everyone—around the addict. Nothing remains untouched as the disease, like a virulent plague, destroys relationships, friendships,employment, childhood, parenthood and marriages. Don’t believe me? Take a few minutes to read this staggering piece from CNN.
According to the article (source figures provided by the CDC from number of deaths from drug poisoning vs. other causes, 1999-2014) “Drugs now kill more people than cars, guns. Drugs are the leading cause of accidental death in this country. Fatal overdoses surpassed shooting deaths and fatal traffic accidents years ago. For perspective on how fast drug deaths have risen, Anderson said, consider the sharp rise in heart disease in the early half of the 20th century. It took about 50 years for the rate of heart disease to double. It took drug deaths a fraction of that time.”
I wrote this novel from the perspective of the addict. Callie's heartbreaking journey into the ugly world of addiction is a fictional glimpse of how the disease rips apart lives and families. If you love someone struggling with addiction, as I do, I pray you'll find hope and strength while reading Callie's story.
Andrea Emmes has signed on to narrate the audio version and the amazing Sabrina Stewart (Executive Producer ofForeseen) has already optioned Ruined Wings for a film adaptation.
Ruined Wings releases December 12, 2016 and is available for preorder in ebook format on Amazon, B&N, Kobo and iBooks. The audio version will be on Audible and iTunes. The book will also be available in hardcover (link coming soon).
For those of you struggling with the intense emotions of loving an addict, I invite you to visit my blog. With the permission of Families in Addiction (Hot Springs, Arkansas) I post each weekly lesson geared toward helping the family members of addicts cope with the overwhelming heartbreak caused by the actions of our addicts.
Part 2 of the series is below, taken from the literature handed out by Families in Addiction (Hot Springs, Arkansas - with their permission).
Just like my addict, I thought I could handle things on my own.
It will break you to the point you can't think straight.
Take a minute, breathe, and realize you are just as addicted as your addict. Your drug of choice is them.
God bless all of you reading this and remember: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
HOW DO I DO THIS?
Thisisthe#1questionwe allask, followed by:
1.Howdo I getthroughthismess?
2.Howdo I stopenabling?
3.Am I lovingtheaddicttodeath?
4.Howdo I just “WAIT”?
5.Am I alienating myotherchildren orthe restofmyfamily?
do I gotogethelpformyself?
In order to navigate through the landmines of addiction, we have to take massive action to honestly evaluate where we are in this crisis and commit
to strengthen ourselves and our families.
Priority #1 - YOUR
RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD- Facing
addiction requires us to do a complete spiritual inventory. We don't want to
admit our problems any more than our addict does. Addiction is a spiritual
problem both for the addict and those who love the addict. Shifting your focus
from your addict to God will give you the powerful, spiritual connection you
need to strengthen your faith to be able to walk through this time. This is not
a cake walk you're on - it is
a FAITH walk! You will never be the same; life will never be the same. You,
just as your addict, will never get through this
without a strong relationship with God!
Priority #2 - YOUR MARRIAGE AND YOUR SPOUSE- Addiction
wraps its tentacles tightly
around those closest to the addict. Addiction can drive a wedge between husband
and wife like no other problem. If you are
the spouse of an addict
you will need tremendous support to make
wise decisionsthatnotonlyaffectyoubutalsoyourfamily.Seekoutthoseindividualsyou trustforcounselandadvice.Makeyourdecisionsprayerfully. If you are the parents of
an addict most likely one of
you is more of an enabler than
the other parent. Addiction can put you at odds and cause your communication
to go underground. Anger, resentment, bitterness and depression can wreck a
relationship in a short time. Just as we have to take our eyes off our addict
to strengthen our relationship with God, we have to take our eyes off our
addict to save our marriage. From this point forward you must work to
understand one another, accept one another and courageously love one another as
you've just entered a chapter of life no couple ever plans on their weddingday.
andnotbelonging.Addictionisconfusingandsuffocating.Itiscomfortingandinspiringto connectwithotherswhounderstandourpain,heartacheandpowerlessness.Traveling downtheroadofactiveaddictionwithourlovedoneislikewalkingthroughhellbutthere arehundredsofthousandsofpeoplewhoaresufferingjustasweare.
It is importantNOTtoisolateyourselfduringthistraumatictimebutreachoutandaccepthelp fromothersthathavetraveledthispathandunderstandyou,whowilllovinglyencourage youandprayforyou,whowillwalkbesideyoualongtheway.
Priority #4 - TAKE EXTRA GOOD
CARE OF YOU- Anytime
we are given a serious health diagnosis we know life has suddenly changed and
we must follow the doctor's orders in order to recover and get healthy once
again. Where you find yourself at this time is no different. As you may be just
facing the reality of the addiction of your loved one or have been dealing with
it for years, you MUST take extra good care of yourself during this time. Most
of us are accustomed to pushing ourselves in times that require it, not eating properly, not getting enough rest.
Facing the addiction of a loved one will take its toll on your mental, physical
and emotional health. t is
extremely important to pay very close attention to warning signs that your body
gives you. Grief and deep sadness will wear on immunesystem.Theangerandemotionalroller-coastertheaddictcantakeyouoncangive
you signs of stress on your heart and blood pressure. Intense
worry and mind chatter can create insomnia and fatigue making it very hard to do what you have
always able to do before the discovery
of addiction. In whatever HEALTHY way you
can relieve the mental, physical and emotional stress you may be
experiencing give yourself permission to take extragoodcareofyourselfonadaily basis.
Priority #5 - CREATE A NEW NORMAL- At the discovery of addiction normal life as you've known
or hoped for you and your family no longer exists. Denial of the facts about
the addictionofour lovedonecausesustoforceourselvestocontinuelifeasit“wassupposed to be” not face the reality of
how it really is. We become like a caged hamster on a wheel going around and
around unable to call our loved an “addict”, refuse to believe they are lying
to us or we fool ourselves by thinking this is just a phase. Part of recovery
is creating a new normal. The sooner we face the reality of addiction and
accept that this is part of our journey in life, though we did not choose it,
the faster we can begin to create a NEW normal way of life for ourselves and
the other members of our family. We can once again find joy, peace and most of
all a healthy love for ourselves, our addict and other family members.