When an addicted loved one is exhibiting increasingly alarming behavior, first of all, don't take it personally. Remember, it is not directed at you. This, unfortunately, the face of addiction.
Laurie and Annie dive deep into the role forgiveness plays when struggling with an addicted loved one. Why is it so much easier to forgive some and not others? And how do we go about forgiving? They also touch on issues of blame, shaming and resentment.
Laurie and Annie tell their own stories as mothers facing an addicted loved one. They discuss their backgrounds and family dynamics, speak about their lives leading up to and through their personal experiences with the national opiate crisis. Their compelling stories confirm that addiction is a disease and it’s a family disease that can happen to any family in any community.
In this next podcast, Annie and Laurie analyze the meaning of drama using examples drawn from an entertaining public poll. They also discuss drama within the family and friendships and how they learned not to get sucked in.
Through recovery work, I have learned to stop expecting people to be different and to reduce the frustration that comes from trying to cause a person to get better, or trying to mold them into how I think they should be (even if it’s reasonable). When I put these demands and expectations down, I can love people for who they actually are.
Positive reinforcement, as basic and childlike as that sounds, is a motivating force for progress. Speaking to someone’s goodness despite their wrong choices unlocks their worth. “You’re not a bad person, you’re just headed in a bad direction.” Or maybe “You shouldn’t be ashamed of yourself, maybe just aware of faulty patterns so you can choose different ones.” That’s a great way to start motivating someone. Versus, “I told you so, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.”
Vitriol can be described as a solution-less rant of hate-filled criticism. A brand of sulfuric acid was named Vitriol, reason being that the acid was strong enough to burn through anything, including steel and rock. Another permanent boundary I now have: I will not remain in the presence of vitriol.
Guest author Annie Highwater writes, "Through the worst of holiday seasons, I have found myself literally forcing a smile as people joyfully wish me season’s greetings in passing. All while my heart weighs a thousand pounds and my mind is a million miles away."
So you're mad or hurt or feeling hopeless? To be effective at helping your addicted family member, you must first get a handle on your negative feelings and learn to take extra good care of yourself.