If you are the family member of an addict and are struggling with the idea of getting your loved one help, especially during this holiday season when so much is going on, I hope this message finds you.
It’s the time of year when families across the country attempt to take a step back and find the things in which they are thankful. Gratitude is given for things like food on the table, family, friends, health, our freedom and so on.
Addiction affected every aspect of my life, and there was nothing about my life that didn’t feel stained while I was using drugs. As an addict, I knew that I was consumed by using drugs, but it’s taken me getting clean to realize just how much I sacrificed to live a life I hated living.
The holidays I remember as an addict are very different. There is no nostalgia when thinking about the tensions my addiction brought to Thanksgiving dinner, or the pain I saw in my parents’ eyes when I would see them for Christmas.
As an addict, I was completely haunted by my past.
Anybody who has lived with addiction, whether as an addict or with an addict, likely understands what I mean when referring to the word of an addict. Promises are made, then guarantees, then more promises, then more guarantees: “I will do better.” “I will stop during the week.
Addiction robs a person of so much in life. The joys of simple pleasures and hobbies; the warmth that comes from healthy relationships; the fulfillment that comes from being successful in life; the peace that comes from having high character and aiming to do the right thing.
Through all my years as an addict, I’ve heard more terminologies and catchphrases associated with addiction and what’s needed for an addict to get clean than I care to count. Perhaps there is no theory or phrase more prevalent than the idea an addict must hit rock bottom to have the willingness necessary to get clean.
Confronting a person when suspicion of drug or alcohol abuse arises is usually a pretty daunting task. How does a person know for sure if their loved one has a problem with addiction?
I heard the same phrase for years when I was in and out of treatment facilities hoping to turn my life around and get clean: ‘The only thing you have to change is everything’. I’ll be honest, that sounds great on paper and all, but that never seemed like a realistic approach to getting clean for me.