"I'm only hurting myself” is a lie many addicts tell themselves to justify their insane behavior. In reality, everyone in the life of the addict suffers when addiction is active. Family members often compensate for the addict's neglect of multiple responsibilities. Lies and betrayal roar through the home, tearing apart precious affections. Bitterness and anger begin to sow themselves into the lives of the family, and the longer recovery is evaded, the more those toxic feelings begin to bloom. In time, the entire family is consumed with the addict’s behavior and the bitterness it brings about. In many ways, it is a cancer on the family’s ability to survive.
Addiction is a family illness, and unfortunately, restoration of family life does not arrive when a loved one is discharged from treatment. The family’s capacity to understand the disease of addiction is paramount to the addict’s recovery. But more than that, having a safe, therapeutic opportunity to release the bitterness and resentment that has consumed the family structure is an integral part of recovery for the loved one who has braved the lashing of active addiction.
“Nothing much grows in the dark” is a line from a 12 Step text. Families of addicts who are provided with the chance to shed light on the darkness they’ve carried are able to process their pain in an effective, healthy way, giving both themselves and their addicted loved one a better chance at thriving in recovery.
Millions of families have found a way to discard the debris that has covered their former happiness, and have gained new strength to restore former bonds into even stronger ones.
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