Addiction is a painful process of living day and night in the clutches of the substance. The family goes through a loss of identity and an emotional rollercoaster ride with the addicted person trying to control his/her using.
Finally, the dependent decides to seek help. He goes to an alcohol/drug rehabilitation program for treatment for a certain duration of time. The family or co-dependent can be under the impression that he will come out of the rehab as though he has been dry cleaned and all will be perfect.
In actuality, the real issues surface after the return from the rehab.
The family, unlike the addict in a residential rehab program, has not had the benefit of living away from emotional triggers and takes time to understand the process the addict has gone through and help him continue to not find the need to drink/use.
If the family has not undergone co-dependency counseling, they will look at him with ‘old eyes’ and emotions of fear, apprehensions, mistrust, and judgment.
Earlier, the substance was the buffer to escape from the realities of life for the alcoholic/drug addict. Life was going on around him but he was only with the substance.
He is now just starting to get comfortable in his own skin living day to day without any substance. The crutch/substance that made him become oblivious of emotions is no longer present, and emotions are felt in their entirety and depth.
The person has to deal with them with the new tools learned in rehab, without using a substance and is finding his/her footing. The person has changed.
However, the spouse and family look at him as if, since he has become ‘rehabilitated’, he can now handle family responsibilities and a job and businesses. The spouse thinks.”Now my world is finally in place. He will take care of my emotional and other needs.” This is the illusion of the co-dependent.
The person who has undergone treatment also wants to take on work and take the financial reins into his own hands. However, trust is difficult to get by. The emotional rollercoaster ride comes back with a vengeance in the family. Surprisingly most separations and divorces happen after the dependent returns home from a rehabilitation centre. The co-dependent who, until this point, was ‘right’ about a lot of issues only because of the other person’s drinking/using, begins to realize that the person has now changed and does not indulge in emotional conversations and does not allow himself to get mood altered.
This entire conflict is the result of the myth that the suffering addict is not just clean but, because he has undergone treatment, should be ‘perfect’.
At AH we provide a luxury rehab facility with an Alternate life therapy program wherein the alcoholic/drug addict finds life and living beyond addiction to alcohol and drugs using various tools like counseling, meditation and writing, along with movies, meals out, hiking, etc; in short, living a complete life, not finding the need to drink or use. The family too undergoes a similar process simultaneously so that both grow at an individual capacity and are able to then meet at a common platform of understanding.