Here’s a generalization with legs. Addiction hurts everyone. Addiction has broken literally billions of hearts. It is an equal opportunity ravager of individuals and families everywhere that seems as if it just can’t be stopped. Addiction of all kinds, not just substance abuse, is a complicated disease that is just beginning to be deeply studied.
Yet most of us know what addiction looks and feels like. When we have a heart broken by fear, stress, financial worry because of our own, or someone else’s, addiction, we know how catastrophic and painful it is. Yet we often don’t do the things that will relieve that pain. As individuals, families and groups, we don’t talk about it enough, do the research to help ourselves, or think about changing our own ways of coping. Traditional medicines and old ideas will not fix this.
Can recovery mend those broken hearts even if a loved one has passed away, or has lost all reason?
Examining and understanding how addiction takes everyone hostage is the first step to getting free. As a mom, I can remember what it was like to be out of control and in conflict over what to do about a loved one’s addiction. To feel that anything bad could happen at any time and often did. I remember the rollercoaster of feelings that went from bad to worse and never stopped. Self-esteem was out the window, and I just couldn’t cheer up or be effective in many ways. I was scared and angry and hurt. And my face showed my stress. I also was working and hid my concerns from my colleagues because I didn’t want anyone to know what was happening in our family. That’s how it often is.
Breaking the chains
Recovery begins by opening your mind. You think you can’t walk into a room full of strangers and tell your story. You may think those strangers can’t help you. You think your lover/child/sibling/parent is not a real addict. You do everything you can think of to help that person instead of helping yourself. I know many parents who know they are dying along with their active children but are afraid to save themselves. How can they live, enjoy life, even thrive if their loved one can’t. It’s a tough situation.
Can recovery restore the lives of people who seem beyond hope and help?
It happens all the time. You think your loved one can’t or won’t get bet better and you can’t ever feel better or get better, either. And then one day, someone says something that inspires an active addict to take the first step. By the same token something inspires you to move on, too. You tell your story, begin to talk to other people who have experienced what you’re experiencing. You read articles that help you to let go of the pain and start living again. And slowly, if you can listen, and look beyond yourself, and accept the brand new idea that while your loved one matters, you matter too. Amazing as it seems, you do start living again.
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Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By Leslie Glass
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