Perhaps the biggest tragedy in our lives is that freedom is possible yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns -Tara Brach
Alcoholism and/or Chemical Dependency is a disease which progressively worsens over time if left untreated. Alcoholics (whose drug is alcohol) or those that are Chemically Dependent (whose drugs include full range of narcotics) use their drug of choice to ease their own emotional pain but the disease is never an isolated condition and always affects all family members. Alcoholism or Addiction is a “Family Disease” and presents lifelong effects on all family members who have loved and cared for those inflicted. Denial is the hallmark of Alcoholism and Addiction and it negatively affects the entire family system.
Most adult children of alcoholics want to forget their past. They assume that they can move on and let it go without ever speaking about it. However, the shadow of these troubling and unresolved childhood issues follows them until they have the courage to face how their lives were significantly affected by their parent’s alcoholism or chemical dependency. Not all alcoholic families are the same and shouldn’t be treated as such. Psychotherapy with a trained specialist in addiction treatment & recovery can help you work through the conflicting feelings of loving a family member and being hurt, angry and disappointed with them all at the same time. Therapy can help you learn more about your family of origin dynamics & how the effects of growing up with alcoholism or addiction have led to present unhealthy patterns in your life. Examining the ways that you have adapted to a dysfunctional family environment and how those behaviors show up in your life today can significantly improve the quality of your life. Therapy can help you leave old patterns behind and eliminate blind spots that have influenced your choices in life. Therapy can also help you understand the natural tendency to be an enabler when you love someone in disease and how that exact enabling behavior becomes counterproductive and actually makes the family dynamics of addiction worse.
In the earlier stages of “family alcoholism or addiction” family members usually rationalize the behavior and invent excuses. As the drinking or drugging increases over the years rationalization become their normal coping dysfunction. Family members focus on problems but never connect them directly to the family member who is drinking. They deny their loved one is an alcoholic or addict because they believe that their family member loves them and cannot understand that both can be true at the same time; as if “love” dismisses the alcoholism or somehow doesn’t make it real. The “Don’t Talk Rule” becomes the family’s code because everyone learns early on that it is not safe to openly discuss or address the alcoholism or addiction. Growing up they learn never to “rock the boat” by sharing any feelings, concerns, fears, worries, or hurt and are made to feel that if they talk honestly about their loved one’s alcoholism or addiction that they have betrayed their parents and the rest of the family. This denial process leads to altered perceptions and distorted reality. The family continues to deny, discount, rationalize and minimize which allows them to continue to tolerate inappropriate behavior from the alcoholic or chemically family member who is inflicted.
- Are you more concerned over everyone else’s needs than your own?
- Have difficulty following through a project from beginning to end?
- Have a tendency to think in rigid “All or Nothing” terms?
- Have difficulty being able to enjoy a sense of carefree fun & relax?
- Have a tendency to judge yourself harshly?
- Always seeking your self-worth from approval of others?
- Always presenting an image that everything is fine even when your world is falling apart?
- Feel different from everyone else?
- Always find yourself in relationships with people that need rescuing?
- Feel guilty for standing up for yourself and always give in to others?
- Find yourself in unhealthy relationships because you feel obligated to remain “loyal”?
THE ONLY PERSON YOU CAN EVER CHANGE IS YOURSELF. IF YOU ARE READY TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP AND BREAK FREE FROM THESE DESTRUCTIVE PATTERNS… GET STARTED & REACH OUT TODAY!