I’ve spoken with many families who have a loved one that is struggling with a substance use disorder. I’m amazed by the countless number of families that are looking for advice about what to do, what to say, even how to bring up the subject when they suspect their child is using drugs. Many families have gotten suggestions and recommendations from friends, organizations, websites, books, pastors and peer groups. Some families have even created their own approaches by, “taking a little of this and adding a little of that.”
Whatever they decide to do, whatever direction they decide to take, I always remind them that addiction is a family disease and your choices and your decisions will impact every single family member in some way.
I believe that when a loved one hits bottom they take the entire family with them. I know. When my twin brother hit bottom, I spiritually, mentally and… in a manner of speaking…physically went there with him. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat. I felt his pain, anguish, rejection and shame… and I no longer had the strength or ability to help him fight for his life. I had hit my bottom too.
So the advice I give is to chose an approach that includes love and kindness. Yes, you can love your child, your spouse, your partner into sobriety. Yes, you can love your loved one through recovery. Reward them when they do something right. Acknowledge their achievements. Remind them that you love them unconditionally. It means more than you can imagine, because at times they don’t even love themselves.
The more I learn about this horrific disease the more I admire and respect my twin brother. He is my hero, my inspiration and I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing twin.
DID YOU KNOW?
Spending quality time together as a family can help your loved ones who are struggling with a substance use disorder.