Addiction is a disease afflicting the entire family. No one asks to become addicted to a substance whether alcohol or drugs when they start using it , the substance controls the person when it reaches a stage of addiction and not the other way round as assumed by people around. Hence, they need to be treated with as much compassion and love as those afflicted by any other disease and require the right treatment for the same.
Countless people suffering from the throes of addiction to alcohol and drugs continue to do so, due to lack of awareness of existing help, ignorance about the nature of the condition by the person suffering and the loved ones around them[ co-dependent] . Add to that the denial in the person addicted and in the co dependent , and the suffering is only prolonged.
The fights between the family and the person addicted ; The advices given to stop drinking/using when the person is intoxicated falls in deaf ears. Doctors are approached, psychiatrists, psychiatric medications are started , all to no avail. The condition progresses and worsens physically and psychologically. The family cushions the person from consequences of addictive behaviors and actions after using. Thus the family running around the person act as enablers to the addict.
A co dependent can under the guidance of a therapist enable a person addicted to substances to come into treatment
The co-dependent first has to begin undergoing counseling from the therapist themselves– they require as much or more treatment as the person addicted to drugs or alcohol. Thus they regain their individuality and take their own assertive stand and stop enabling the dependent .
Once the co dependent comes into treatment and experiences change within themselves, the dependent eventually comes into treatment [ the wife of one of our clients underwent counseling for herself for nearly a year before he finally came into treatment . He is today nearly four years sober.]
Never speak to the dependent when he/she is intoxicated . Step out or keep quiet however provoking the person can get. Under the influence of the substance the person anyways is unable to register what is spoken nor is there any receptiveness.
The next morning – when the person is sober , in remorse or in a hangover is the right time to approach the person . Even then what can be said is something to the effect that if you feel the need to stop living and drinking or using the way you are and are sick and tired of it , help is available at so and so place .
(i) You can share what you go through when you see the person intoxicated and inebriated and what you have done to yourself psychologically as a person living with him/her. There must be no blame here but a responsibility assumed.
(ii) The person addicted to alcohol/drugs must be made to assume responsibility for the consequences of actions done under intoxication.
(iii) Remember that you are not responsible for his/her using , nor are you responsible for his/her recovery.