Addiction can be a family disease. The addict is narcissistic, and the friends and family members can be co-dependent, or enablers. Each is a natural magnet for the other, and feed on each other...
Back when you were young, before you discovered the dark side of life, things were better. You had a relationship with your friends and family, for some it was good. For others, it was the reason to find an escape. But regardless, once your addiction became who you were, you found your relationships could not withstand the stress your addiction brought to your friends and family. So slowly, over time, they learned they couldn't trust you, and didn't like the feeling of danger whenever you were around. So they pushed you away to save themselves, which, as you now know, was the right thing to do.
Now you walk on the right side of the line once more, finding sobriety and good choices a better way to live. You accomplished drug addiction treatment. And you know you are doing the right stuff, yet your friends and family still refuse to let you back in. They still don't trust you. And you're beginning to wonder, why did I do this anyway? Why did I bother to get sober, to find good recovery, when they haven't changed one iota?
The toughest part of being sober and knowing you want to live the rest of your life in good recovery is showing others that you're sincere. Credibility, I always told my children, was the one thing nobody could steal from you. To lose credibility, you have to choose to give it away. œThe first time you lie, I told them, œis the last time I can believe 100% of what you tell me. It is that first lie that steals the trust from others. But the trust one loses in oneself is gone long before the trust is lost with others. An addict knows they are lying, and do so with knowledge and awareness. They also know when they are in good recovery. So how do you build the bridge back home? After you no longer have to worry about relapse.
When words and actions are aligned, things begin to correct themselves. That means, in simple terms, saying and doing the same thing helps to reassure others that you are being honest, both with yourself and them. And when you are truthful, you've taken the first step to building a bridge home. It's as scary as taking the firs step toward rehabilitation.
For many addicts and families alike, they seek to have their old relationship back. The family wants their little boy back, they want their little princess to run and jump into their lap. They yearn to hold that young child and make it all better. And the addict might even love to be that little person. But the addict in good recovery doesn't seek that old relationship. In fact, that relationship is gone, because between their youth and now, a lot has happened. They haven't been that needy child, unable to take care of themselves, for a very long time, and never will be again. No, what you seek and will receive is a new relationship based on life's experiences, some of which include the days of addiction.
In good recovery, the addict will seek support for their sobriety from others who have walked in their shoes. They won't ask their family to do things for them, but will find ways to support themselves, emotionally and financially. Their relationship will be different, and unless the family continues to enable the addict, the relationship will grow. The bridge home continues to build.
Ultimately, everyone discovers the bridge home isn't the bridge they imagined. The family isn't welcoming home an old friend; the addict isn't coming back to the way things were. There are new dynamics, and new relationships. Trust may forever be questioned, but when recovery is a two-part event, it works best. What I'm talking about is the recognition that recovery of the addict isn't enough.
Addiction, as we know, is a family disease. The addict is narcissistic, and the friends and family members can be co-dependent, or enablers. Each is a natural magnet for the other, and feed on each other. If the addict works on their issues, including their narcissistic behaviors and attitudes, but the friends and family don't address their codependency, nobody should be surprised at the results when things don't work out as they had hoped. The stronger person in this scenario, of course, would have to be the addict, who, recognizing the weakness of the friend or family members, keeps their distance so as to not relapse into a destructive life.
With time, dedication, and commitment to a better future, the bridge back into their lives can be successfully built. Look for the ways to make it work in a healthy manner, and then make it happen. There is a path back¦ remain focused on your (respective) recovery, and the path will appear.
A Center for Addiction Recovery prepares each person for a successful recovery with an aftercare program that includes a support system, AA or NA meetings and personal accountability. Intensive Outpatient or Outpatient Treatment may be recommended upon successful completion of the program.
For more information on substance abuse and drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs and services, contact us at:
Center for Addiction Recovery “ Addiction Treatment Center: 1-800-570-4562
Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Recovery