Tag: family

Drug Addiction Is a Family Disease

Drug Addiction Impacts the Entire Family

There’s no way around the fact that drug addiction is a family disease. When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it affects more than just the addict alone. It’s often that people hear about what addiction does to the person abusing drugs or alcohol, such as how it affects their body, mind, and life. But how often does anyone really hear about just how much drug addiction impacts the people that are closest to that person?

Addiction is a family disease because it deeply affects all of the people closest to the person with the addiction. For this reason, it is incredibly important for parents, spouses, children, and anyone else who is close to get help and counseling for the addiction, and to be a part of the addict’s recovery treatment.

Understanding Drug Addiction as a Family Disease

Treating drug addiction as the family disease that it is plays a critical role in the recovery of the individual who is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. When an individual goes into treatment for drug addiction, they should be able to work on each of the underlying issues that pushed them to initially abuse drugs and alcohol in the first place.

Part of working on the underlying issues of addiction involves taking a look at the family. Did any trauma occur? Is there any tension between the family? How has addiction impacted the family and altered the family dynamic? These are the types of questions that will be discussed with the individual who is receiving treatment as well as the family during family sessions.

Family sessions are offered by the best drug rehab centers. Individuals receiving treatment for drug addiction are typically encouraged to share with their family about their treatment and invite them to a family session where they can work together on any underlying problems that may exist with a team of addiction professionals. Family members are also encouraged to be part of the recovery process and support their loved one – but not enable them.

Getting Involved in Your Loved One’s Addiction Treatment

Most rehabilitation facilities like Lighthouse offer these family programs. These programs are designed to help families cope with the trauma that comes along with addiction. We always encourage family members to be a part of the addicts drug addiction treatment. It is strongly recommended that the family participate on family days in-person or via skype if a personal visit isn’t possible and that they seek their own support system through programs like Al Anon or through a family psychologist.

It is important to be involved in your loved-one’s treatment so that you can keep tabs on their progress and know what issues are coming up while they are in rehab. You will have the opportunity to speak to their counselor individually and as a group with the patient. As difficult as it may be, it is important to listen to what is going on, be patient, and always be supportive of the addict’s progress.

Seeking Your Own Support

You will need to realize that you have a long path of healing and repair in front of you, so use the time that the addict is in treatment as a time to focus on you. Al Anon and Nar Anon meetings are a great way for loved ones of alcoholics and addicts to get support. These programs are similar to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings except that they cater strictly to the people dealing with loved ones who are alcoholics and addicts.

This may even be a great time for you to begin visiting a therapist as well. They will be able to give you tools to cope with any trauma from the past and anxiety for the future. Remember, the stronger you can make yourself, the stronger you can be for the addict, but you always need to take care of you.

Addiction is a Family Disease But Recovery Can Bring Families Together

When recovery is tackled as a team, it can bring families closer together than they ever were prior to addiction.

While no one wants to go through addiction and everything that goes along with it, if there is any silver lining its that with the right support, intervention, and a caring professional team, families can all walk away from treatment knowing much more about one another, and most importantly how they can all help each other live the best drug and alcohol free lives they can.

Do you have a loved one in need of treatment for drug addiction or alcoholism? Now is the time to advocate for your loved one and get them the help they need to recovery. Call Lighthouse today at 1-866-308-2090.


A Letter to My Addict

A Letter to My Addict

While I was active in my addiction, I was far too self-absorbed and singularly focused to notice or understand how deeply and significantly my actions were impacting my parents. My poor parents, who has watched me transform from a sweet, generous, fun-loving child into a cigarette-smoking, hateful, self-destructive young adult. I remember watching my mother cry, thinking that probably it was strange that I was so detached from my emotional self that no feelings of sadness or remorse were evoked. None whatsoever – I felt nothing. Causing others pain had become the norm, in fact. Watching my loved ones cry and beg and ask me “why” had become so run-of-the-mill that it didn’t even phase me. I was a calloused and unfeeling alcoholic, never caring to look behind me to see the vast destruction I was constantly leaving in my wake.

Surely, the parents of young addicts and alcoholics will be able to relate to the letter below – a letter written by the father of a young man who had been overwhelmed by addiction at the age of 14.

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A Letter to My Addicted Son

Dear Matt,

You, my addict, have been using drugs since you were 14, one third of your life. My addict was supremely confident, you could do drugs and function in your daily life, no one was going to tell you different.

My addict never thought about what he was doing to the rest of us, you were oblivious to who you hurt along the way because my addict was deaf and blind. Your mom and I spent countless hours worried about you, our addict. We spent immeasurable time trying to support you in any way and every way we could possibly think of, stupidly we were really just supporting our addict and not our son, he was already gone. I had the best son in the world – loving, caring, good student, great athlete, and then the addict took him. My addict, he was the best quitter in the world, he quit school, quit his friends, quit his job, quit lacrosse, quit his family and quit life. My addict was the best of all liars, he was equal opportunity, he lied to one and all, but without a doubt my most painful memories were watching my addict tell lie after lie to my son. My boy believed everything the addict told him, none of us could do anything to counter the logic of my addict, he was “Oz”, all knowledgeable and all powerful, we were helpless against him and I stood by as my addict gutted the life of my son, my family, and everyone connected to him. My addict was a thief, he stole from those who loved him, he stole from those who gave to him willingly, he stole from the innocent, he stole from the family and worst of all he stole from my son.

I know where the addict lives, I know he lives through intentions and not actions. I will always remember the look and feel of his lifeless soul and empty heart, I know this thief who stole my son and what he looks like. He cannot hide from me, I know him, he is not welcome in my world.

How to Cope With an Addicted Son or Daughter

Coping with an addicted child can be overwhelming. Fortunately, we at Lighthouse Recovery Institute have developed a program of addiction recovery that deals closely with the family members of the afflicted. For more information on our family program, please call one of our trained representatives today.

My Uncle, The Christmas Miracle

By: Tim Myers

Never Give Up Hope

watching family get sober

For years I watched from the sidelines as my uncle struggled with alcoholism. I never did or said anything. I just watched. He never hurt me or harmed me in any way, but watching him made me sad.

During this time, I was also struggling with my own demons. I was in and out of rehab and always in some sort of trouble. I know we both suffered from the same disease, but it was never acknowledged.

After about twenty years of suffering, I finally found a solution. I found hope, guidance, and a place to belong in AA. As my sobriety grew from one day, to six months, to three years, I thought of my uncle daily. I wondered if he’d ever find this new way of life.

Would he ever get to be as happy as I am?

Is addiction genetic?

A Lifetime of Drinking

Over those three years, I’d seen many people flourish in AA. I’d watched people overcome far greater odds than the ones facing my sweet uncle. Yet, I lost hope for him. It seemed that as I got better, he fell deeper and deeper into the bottle.

I’d thought about talking to him many times, but always chose to remain silent. After one particularly embarrassing Thanksgiving, I walked over to his house and found him sober, yet a bit hung-over, in the garage.

“Hey I noticed you had a rough one last night and I just want you to know I’ve had some rough ones too and if you ever want to talk about it, I’m here,” I said.

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I’d never seen my uncle angry. Never. Not even when he was wasted. That day, I saw his face become bright red, the skin on his forehead tighten up, and his fists clench. He simply said, “Okay” and walked back in the house.

I felt awful, but I knew I did the right thing. Not long after that, my aunt, his wife, began asking me where to send him to rehab. I didn’t hear much after that. He did go to a treatment center and came out changed, but something didn’t seem right.

When someone in recovery gets it, I mean truly 100% gets it, you know right away. You can see it, feel it, and smell it. This wasn’t the case with my uncle.

I wanted to be hopeful, but I knew something was wrong. About a month after he was released from treatment, he began drinking again. A couple of weeks later he returned to treatment, this time for three months.

Hope started to return, but I feared he would follow in my path and struggle with surrendering to the disease. I only had about a decade of drinking under my belt, but he had a lifetime to overcome.

I wanted him to do it, do the deal, and find what I was given. If I could have done anything I would have done it, but I knew it was in God’s hands.

The Best Christmas Present

One morning, as my fiancé and I were headed to an AA meeting at seven a.m., he pulled up in front of our house. “Hey guys, hop in,” he said, “I’m going too!”

drunk uncle

We jumped in his car, grabbed coffee, and went to the meeting. This particular meeting was on the porch of a lighthouse, overlooking the water in my uncle’s hometown. I’d been going off and on since I was eighteen and always wondered if he would some day join me.

That morning, as the sun lit my heart, I sat next to my fiancé and my uncle. He had tears in his eyes. He raised his hand and said, “I’m here today with my nephew and his fiancé. I spent years avoiding them when they would come up here because I knew they were doing the right thing and I wasn’t. Now I’m here with them and I get to be an uncle and it means the world to me.”

That day was the day my uncle became one of my best friends.

He will celebrate one year of sobriety next month. I will celebrate one year of having the best uncle a guy could ask for. My uncle is my hero not because he got sober, but because of all he has taught me about, life, love, and recovery on his journey.

This Christmas I’m going to get presents and gifts and have memories I’ll never forget. The best gift I’m going to receive is being sober with my uncle around the tree.

Never give up hope. Never stop believing in someone because if Uncle Marty and I can find recovery, God, and each other – than so can you.

How do family dynamics factor into sobriety?

A Sober Thanksgiving? Yeah Right

A Recovering Alcoholic’s 5 Tips on How to Survive Thanksgiving with Your Family

BY: Tim Myers

how to survive thanksgiving

It’s time to pack the entire family around the table and saddle up for the biggest feast of the year.

Relatives you haven’t talked to in years are ready to chat. Uncle Richard has inappropriate pictures on his phone he thinks you’ll think are funny, Aunt Dot can’t wait to tell you that story she told you fifteen times. Grandpa is already snoring at 11 am.

Thanksgiving – the Native Americans survived it and so can you. Here’s how.

Learn how to regain your family’s trust after addiction!

5) Make Sure You Have a Means of Transportation

I don’t care if you have to rent a car, borrow Grandma Donna’s mini van, take your cousins bike, or suck it up and roller blade around town – make sure you have a way to get out.

Thanksgiving can be stressful. You’ve got family members sitting face to face for the first time in years. It’s only a matter of time before Uncle Mike hits the bottle too hard and starts crying about how no one one loves him.

You have to be able to get out in a hurry, even if it’s just for five minutes. Make sure you have a way to get some air or get some alone time. When you have that much family drama all compressed in one container, at some point it’s going explode.

Just make sure you don’t.

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4) Avoid “Serious” Conversations

Thanksgiving is not the time to ask, “WHY AM I NOT IN THE WILL?” It’s not the time to bring up the fact that Jimmy still owes you $20,000 from the internet company he tried to start ten years ago.

If someone corners you and says something along the lines of, “Do you remember last fall when you called me a ________?” Say this, “I really think we should just enjoy each others company today, but I would be willing to discuss this with you tomorrow.”

That will work 50% of the time. If they persist, let’s hope you took my advice on tip number one. Start strapping on your blade runners.

Have a recovering alcoholic in your family? Don’t get them any of these gifts for the holidays!

3) Use The Buddy System

“Uncle Richard, this is my friend Brian. I bet he hasn’t seen those special pictures on your phone.”

“Oh Aunt Dot, you have any stories from the nursing home you want to tell Brian?”

See, it works perfectly. Having your buddy around will also deter the family from completely launching the family nukes across the table. Most families won’t spread the drama butter all over the floor if there’s an outsider present.

Plus, if the storm does start to get nasty, you and your buddy can retreat to safety together.

2) Listen

One by one your relatives are going to be telling you stories. If you’re anything like me, you spent a good portion of your life not giving a care in the world about other peoples’ problems or successes.

Now’s a good time, no, now is the perfect time to actually be there for people. You don’t have to give advice or take sides. You just have to listen, be supportive, and be the person that your family came to spend time with.

Many years from now you may wish you had a little extra time with these people.

1) Don’t Drink


Find out how to deal with family in sobriety!

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