Growing up as a child in a household of addiction, I quickly learned the coping mechanisms required to endure in such an environment. For years, I repeated the same patterns of denial, shutting down, enabling and codependency in relationships with other substance use disorders. Ultimately, I turned inward and focused on recovery for myself, in order to find purpose and happiness once more.
Even with my vast personal experience, recovery did not come easily. I found myself filled with anger, resentment, and anxiety. Through my relationship with a partner suffering with substance use disorders, I came to see just how deeply affected I was by my loved one’s addiction. And through great introspection, I realized I could no longer blame others for my situation. The responsibility to create the life I envisioned belonged to me and me alone.
Living under the darkness of addiction led me down a path of immense stress and visceral emotions. My survival instincts remained hyperactive and in constant flux, manifesting itself as one of the basic self-defense modes of fight, flight or freeze. Fighting with an addict is useless, fleeing is just a geographic change and freezing is staying stuck and not progressing. None are healthy ways to nurture relationships.
The most important thing to remember is that the sooner the loved ones find their own path to recovery, the sooner the family member suffering from substance use disorder will come to face their addiction.
Addiction of a loved one often hijacks the life of those around them. As I have experienced firsthand, we too easily lose ourselves in the effort to take care of our loved one suffering from substance use disorder. Or conversely, we may reach a point when we abandon the addict as we run out of patience. Whichever the scenario, there needs to be balance and healing to restore a healthy life and healthy relationships. What I’ve come to learn, both through my own experiences and in working with families around the country, is that recovery is possible, relationships can be repaired, and happiness can be achieved.
As a certified family recovery coach and recovery coach, it is my mission to help family members begin healing by taking back their lives, rediscovering their own sense of self, implementing healthy boundaries, and stopping enabling behavior.
Only then can trust be restored, the groundwork for successful recovery laid, and our best lives lived. My wish for you is a life full of peace and contentment because I know firsthand how hard that can be when dealing with substance use.
In Life and Recovery,