Sunday, January 2, 2011

Addiction's affect upon relationships

I was just about to e-mail someone in my extended family, and thought about how our son's addiction has affected my relationship with that person. Although this family member very much loves D and us, over the past year's of D's addiction and what we've all gone through, our relationship has changed, ..more recently, into a more shallow one, I'd say. This person has been consistently supportive and has prayed for D and us throughout this painful journey. However, as with many people that aren't the addict's parents, or the ones "on site" and seeing the addict regularly, there's so much that's not apparent or known by them, that is to me, too much to necessarily explain, detail wise,...event wise, ..that changes the understanding of it all. After all, they're hearing what's happening from me, colored by my emotions and not necessarily often seeing the addict,...if they don't live locally, as with my family member. As much as my husband and I have so often been very angry, resentful, and fed up, even detached from our son due to his behavior and choices from his addiction, .....I can also feel frustrated by others that are close to me that don't understand it all better, especially from some aspects that I've shared with them. I guess I'd like them to also know how much D was predisposed to this from the get go, he's always been more affected biologically than my other kids,....that he'd never thought he would end up this way and has great shame about it. I KNOW he made numerous wrong choices....I KNOW that he's been selfish and a liar and hurtful and all the other negative things that addicts do, but I also know that it's not black and white and that D himself isn't like others who also experimented with marijuana and drinking as teenagers, including myself. It affected him differently from the beginning. This family member and I had a tough conversation when he kept suggesting that D go to Teen Challenge, a wonderful program,...which I'd have loved that D go to. But at that time, was extremely iffy that D would go to any treatment program,...never mind commit to a program that's over 1 yr. long. My relative got angry on the phone, and since then, doesn't mention D at all, and if I mention him, he quickly talks about something else. He knows that he's out of state in treatment right now. I just realize that it's another facet of addiction,...for those that love them.....there are so many things that are affected by it. However, it does hurt and I am working on having better perspective on it. I know my relationships with others have been affected too,...friends I haven't seen or talked to for a long time, that I'd normally have been in touch with, etc., but I'd let D's addiction shut them out as I tried to cope with it. I look forward to working more on having those relationships come back in touch again this year, whether or not D is in recovery,...for I certainly don't know what will happen in the future. I'm thinking that my experience is pretty common and really, I wish that society in general understood more about addiction and how it happens. I hope that more and more is made clear in the future in our country and others.


  1. I agree so much with your last statement here. Unfortunately addiction is one of those things that few people will understand unless they have been directly affected about it. Its unfair to you and D (and me and K and all the others that can relate to what you wrote).

    I am going to be writing something soon about some things I learned last Thursday night about addiction being a disease. It IS a disease and the American Medical Assoiation recognizes that but because of the symptoms of the disease (criminal acts, rudeness to family...the list goes on) people see the affects and have no empathy for the disease. If D had cancer they would see the affects and feel sorry for him. I get a lot of flak for comparing the two things, and I don't think they are the same but my point is: a disease is a disease.

    I don't know the person who suggested Teen Challenge but I can guess that they are a very conservative Christian that thinks if D had enough "spiritual discipline" maybe he'd get better. TC has an 70& success rate for THOSE WHO FINISH THE PROGRAM. How many finish? Also, after some research I found out only 4% of the people there have an opiate problem! No wonder their stats are so high.

    Sorry, I don't want to knock TC, just want to defend you and your choices. I have friends who have said behind my back and to my face that Keven is an addict because I "gave in to him too much" as a child. I have others that think I am crazy to support his efforts to get clean, that I should just kick him to the curb and hope for the best. I am not opposed to doing that but only I know my son well enough to understand why that would not work well for him.

    Ok I will stop here but it bothers me when people who have NO IDEA what they are talking about make judgements.

  2. Boy can I relate. You gave him too much, not enough consequences for bad behavior, babied him too much, gave him too much freedom and on and on. All might be true, but that makes it my fault he is a drug addict? I was spoiled had a lot of freedom and I was babied and I didn't use drugs with the exception of a few times experimenting. Very few at that. People can think they know better and judge everything I have done and think what they want but in my heart I know I loved my son with all of my heart and did my best to provide a good home for him. He made his choices and we all had to suffer with him as we continue to do so. I am happy your son is in recovery and pray he will go to sober living. I think that is all we can do, hope and pray. My son just turned 20 and every year that goes by makes me feel less and less hope for him.

  3. Your post mirrors just about all of us. We all share in this process, this unwilling transformation created by the disease. But as one mom who posted on my blog said, "Where there is life, there is hope."

    In prayer for all our children.

  4. I'm glad you posted this! Co-Addiction affects many people who don't deserve it and it's very difficult to deal with. I've recently found a book by Lisa Espich called Soaring Above Co-Addiction that is a self-help book for those who know someone suffering from addiction and need help to overcome codependency. She uses personal references and insights to guide the reader through the recovery process. Highly recommend it!