a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Help for Loved Ones of Addicts and Alcoholics - 5

Paramount in our lives are our children!
We know that one of the most important responsibilities we have is to raise our children in the way of the Lord. We are living in a society that makes no demands and expects no accountability. Please do not let that extend into your families.

We must teach agency and accountability. Then, though it may seem contrary to our responsibility, after we have taught them we must let them apply those teachings in their lives. If we have done our job in teaching them as we've raised them, then we have done our job. Now it is up to them to use that agency they have been given by our Heavenly Father, and then be accountable for their actions.

Addiction, no matter what kind of addiction, is no respecter of persons, nor respecter of positions in a family.

If it's the oldest child we say "We were too hard on him."
If is the youngest child we say "We were too easy on him."
If it is the middle child we say "It was because he is the ---- well, the middle child!"

Just as the words addict and alcoholic are used interchangeably, when we are speaking about children the word is also interchangeable to include spouses, parents or siblings or other adults with abuse and accountability problems.

Position in the family is never the issue. Agency always is.

Boundaries = Rules = Commandments

Is there no other way to learn about choices/agency and accountability?

Our son had been addicted for many years before we realized it.
Next, once we realized it, we had to admit it. Over time things didn't improve. 

Troubles increased.

For several months the three of us went to psychologist to try to learn how we could all cope and work through this situation. We learned a lot, but no significant change took place in his behavior. After six months of weekly visits the therapist told our son that everyone was working hard at his recovery, except our son. 

Things continued downhill.

Finally he was arrested----again. This time he applied to Drug Court, a tough but fantastic opportunity available here in Southern Utah.

This step was probably the most important decision he could have made. It was his admission that he needed help. Drug Court gives tools to learn to be accountable, and gives him the incentive to stay the course, because if he fails to do so there are unavoidable results.

His agency is not removed. Each day he must make the choice if he is going to continue to choose well and make the wise decisions. And if he chooses not to, the consequence is fixed. Similar to the Lord's plan of agency.

While Not Curable - Definitely Controllable (but not by us)

His acceptance into Drug Court has provided us with the opportunity to learn more of what our son is going through; to come to grips with the facts that:

1. Addiction is a hideous disease, very often with genetic predisposition.

2. That while it is not curable, it is controllable. Just like many other diseases or illnesses.

3. It is extremely hard to control, even when the intentions are the very best. Addicts cannot overcome it on their own. God, the higher power, is there to help them when they are ready for that help.

4. But it will not happen one minute before they are ready, no matter how hard we try nor how badly we want it.

He attends a number of and a variety of meetings weekly, including group sessions, private sessions, reporting to the judge, LDS 12-step programs, and a variety of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, as well as those geared to various other addictions.

There are many rules and responsibilities. They are required to become accountable in all aspects of their daily lives. 

Recovery is a life-style change. 

Recovery is a full-time, life-time effort.

It is important to note here, the addict must be ready to begin recovery and the one that must do the work. 

No matter how much we want to help, we cannot do it for them. 

We want to make it easier, but we must not. 

As stated in a previous post, we must memorize the following truth:

WE didn't causes it,
WE can't control it,
WE can't cure it.

It is also important to note that when recovery is taking place, the changes are not limited to the "recover-er."

We, as parents have spent years dealing with our child's situation. Years putting up with mental and emotional abuse, if not physical. Years being manipulated and lied to. Years of worry and sleepless nights. Years suffering guilt and anxiety. Years feeling that somehow, someway, we must be at fault.

As awful as it has been, we have become used to this way of life and this type of individual. People in recovery, although it is good, are people we don't know and are reaching levels we don't know how to relate to. As strange as it seems, we must adjust to the changes that are taking place in the life of our loved ones.

Next Post: Almost universally, when first coming together in a support group for loved ones of addicts and alcoholics, the reaction is "No, this is not for me." "My situation is different." "These are not my kind of people."

Keep Coming Back because you quickly learn ---

"We are all in this together."

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