Al-Anon - Drug Addiction Help Now
The Critical Role of Al-Anon in Family Addiction Recovery
For over 55 years, Al-Anon (which includes Alateen for younger members) has been offering
strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers. It is estimated that each
alcoholic affects the lives of at least four other people… alcoholism is truly a family disease. No
matter what relationship you have with an alcoholic, whether they are still drinking or not, all
who have been affected by someone else’s drinking can find solutions that lead to serenity in
the Al-Anon/Alateen fellowship.
Please visit http://www.drug-addiction-help-now.org/al-anon/the-critical-role-of-al-anon-in-family-addiction-recovery for more on this article.
Caring for Yourself in Order to Care for Someone Else
By Cindy Brody, Director of Intensive Services at Center for Motivation & Change
Many parents who have a child struggling with substance abuse notice that these concerns start to consume huge amounts of time and energy. As you’ve probably experienced, under the best of circumstances with kids, it’s hard to carve out space to focus on yourself. When your child and your family is dealing with something as complicated and anxiety-provoking as substance abuse, it can feel impossible to have room for anything other than trying to help, reacting to the latest crisis, and dealing with all the “have tos” minute to minute, day to day.
In this environment, taking care of yourself falls to the bottom of the list, if it makes the list at all! However, even though it might be the furthest thing from your mind (e.g. how can I go to the movies when I’m worried my child might be out getting high again?), finding some room to focus on self-care is really vital if you are going to be and remain helpful to your child and the rest of your family. This is about resisting your instincts to put your life aside by going into emergency/panic mode.
This is a long-term project; a marathon, not a sprint. Similar to running a marathon, you need to keep your energy reserves up and pace yourself for the long and sometimes bumpy road ahead. We are not being touchy-feely psychologists when we say this. We are trying to help you be tactical in the midst of a difficult struggle, and it matters. Try to keep in mind what they say on planes before takeoff: if the oxygen masks are needed, resist the urge to put it on others before you put it on yourself. Many people have the impulse to help their loved ones BEFORE they help themselves. But the oxygen recommendation is not that you alone use it; it’s to make sure you are getting at least some oxygen, and don’t entirely ignore yourself. Without attention to this, the “helpers” (that’s you) get lost along the way (”lack of oxygen”), and can’t guide, direct, think, and help anymore.
We also realize that no one wants to hear that the problem they are facing is likely to be a long haul as opposed to a short crisis. We do know, however, that taking care of YOU will help YOU ALL stay healthy as you navigate this, and will also help you be as effective as possible in working on all the challenges involved in trying to help your child.
We recommend that you spend some time each week doing something that makes you feel good, relaxed, content, soothed…something that’s a WANT, not a SHOULD. We recommend that each week, you take a few minutes to review how your self-care is going and to set reasonable, SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) for taking care of yourself in the week ahead. You might find yourself wondering how in the world you can make this a priority when you have so many other, more urgent demands to attend to. We ask you to try, because the oxygen mask metaphor is true: you won’t be any good to anyone else if you are not taking care of you.
What’s your SMART self-care goal for this week?
The Center for Motivation & Change (CMC) is a unique, NYC-based private group practice of dedicated clinicians and researchers providing non-ideological, evidence-based, effective treatment of addictive disorders and other compulsive behaviors. CMC’s treatment approach is informed by a strong commitment to both the humanity and the science of change, providing a unique, compelling, and inspiring environment in which to begin the process of change. Staffed by a group of experienced psychologists, CMC takes pride in their collective record of clinical research and administrative experience but most of all are driven by an optimism about people’s capacity to change and a commitment to the science of change.
Learn more about Center for Motivation & Change and read about our unique and effective approach to treating addictive disorders, and meet CMC’s directorial staff and clinical staff. To find more resources for families, please see our Parent’s 20 Minute Guide, and our Family Blog. And to learn more about CRAFT, see our CRAFT Family Services page. Find us on Facebook and Twitter for additional content and the latest updates.
The Partnership at Drugfree.org’s Time To Get Help website offers a Taking Care of Yourself checklist (pdf) — how many items can you check off the list?
- See more at: http://intervene.drugfree.org/tag/family-history/#sthash.FB771s0m.dpuf
Share your story...share your thoughts...etc
Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps, copyright 1996 by
Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. Reprinted with permission
of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Al-Anon’s Twelve Traditions, copyright 1996 by
Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. Reprinted with permission
of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.
The following link can help you find a support group in your area!
The effects live on....
I try so hard still to explain to my boys who are both young men that what they call normal behavior for their age group is such a slippery slope. One that at any moment can take their life by taking one step to close to the edge. I see their father in them so often, sometimes in very subtle good ways and other times I see the young man I knew who was just partaking in "Normal Behavior".
I try to educate them with what I have learned but careful not to go to far. As a parent I know I have to let them live their lives but I will not stand by in denial or "behind a curtain" and just let them believe that this time of their lives, where they are "hanging" with their friends is in any way NORMAL! It is my responsibility no matter what their age to impart my wisdom on them and hope and pray that just a little seed gets planted!! ?NORMAL BEHAVIOR OR THE EFFECTS LIVING ON?
HOW THE FAMILY CAN SUPPORT A RECOVERING ADDICT
Get educated and get involved
Stay sober with the recovering addict
Help to reduce stress in the recovering addict's life
Don't let a relapse happen
The family needs to care of itself as it takes care of the addict
I was married for almost 20 years, we have 2 boys together that are now young adults and trying to start their lives. They are my heart they always have been and they always will be. When I see the struggles they are having and the way they view the world I can only wonder how much is due to the life they endured as children. Their father had a very loving side, a fun side and I do believe he loved his boys to the best of his ability. ( As much as that can be when you are constantly high on drugs or alcohol.) I don't think he ever realized that he had so much more to offer them but because of his addiction they never got to experience that love. I did the best job I could to show them love and fill in where I believed their father was absent. I know that it just wasn't enough in some areas. I remember sitting in church one day and our Pastor gave us statistics about the home. It was how important a fathers role is in the lives of his children. He told us that if a mother is faithful and attends church (when the father does not attend) then her children are only 28 percent likely to become regular attenders. If the father attends and the mother doesn't that percentage jumps from 28 percent to 73 percent. ( I can not remember where he pulled this information from but I have found some information myself through the web). If this influence on our children is that great when concerning our church attendance how much more influence does the father have on the tools we give/teach our children when coping with life, be it bad or good. I was overwhelmed by these numbers and even a little discouraged. So now my children are living with constant addiction, arguments and all the craziness that addiction brings and they are also learning all of these behaviors and somehow it is in their human "makeup" to model the father even when they know the difference between right and wrong. Of course I did not give up trying to influence my children to help them find the right road and to have peace and joy but now I have that statement ringing in my head...."DON'T STAY FOR THE CHILDREN!" I always felt that it was better for them to have their father in their life rather than not at all. He always threatened that he would move out of state and back to where he was born and they would never see him. Guess what, after about a year of separation and then divorce, he did just that, moved so far away they only get to speak to him on the phone. Although that was probably a good thing for many reasons, I know that it hurts them that he just left. They have both expressed this absence to me in one way or another. Then guilt sets in for me again wondering if I was stronger and left when they were young maybe they wouldn't be having such a hard time now. Maybe there would have been a male family member that influenced them in all the right ways. Hind sight right?