Often an addict comes to rehab due to pressure from a loved one. Yet, if the addict does not make the choice for himself, sobriety will not persist outside rehab. What is worse, the loved one who forced rehab did so out of their own addiction. The addiction to controlling the addict.
When an addict goes into rehab, the recovery center will often recommend loved ones attend Al-Anon or CoDA. These programs are designed to helped the family recover from their own addiction of reacting to and trying to control the addict; while at other times co-dependently enabling the behavior.
Although the concepts of self-recovery are new to non-addict family members, these concepts mean freedom from the addiction that destroys the rest of the family.
Realizations of Family Recovery
When the family of an addict commits to their own recovery, several realizations become clear through working the 12-Step Program.
- There is nothing the family can say or do that will change the addict’s behaviors. He has to decide for himself to change or he will relapse. When the family comes to this realization, there is no more pressure to catch the addict using. The family can relax and live life once more.
- By sharing the compulsion to control the addict in a safe group, the family can remove that defect of character. There is an intense freedom when recognizing one’s powerlessness over another human.
- By sharing experiences of dealing with the addict, the group can help the family look past his criticism to see the family’s value. The family can begin to let go of guilt and shame. When these defects of character are exposed, the family will feel freedom from the addictions of their loved one.
Example of Families Working the Program
Spouses and children of addicts suffer from enabling the addict. Wives may stay silent when the husband is on a binge and yells or hits the children. A husband of an addicted wife may allow her to spend all the grocery money on alcohol leaving the children hungry.
These experiences damage the entire family. When the family gets into recovery and works the 12-Step Program, they can heal. So how does a family work the 12-Step Program?
After admitting that he is powerless and that only God could restore him to sanity, the husband surrenders his will to God (steps 1-3). Then makes a personal inventory (step 4). He recognizes his addiction to enabling the wife to spend all the grocery money on alcohol. He admits he is wrong, becomes willing for God to change him, and ask for this defect to be removed (steps 5-7).
Now comes the more difficult part. The husband makes a list of all the people he had harmed. He would place himself, his children, and his wife on that list (step 8). Then he would apologize and make amends to everyone (step 9).
Making amends includes a commitment to stop the behavior. Here, it means telling his wife he will no longer give her the grocery money. He will buy the groceries or hire someone else to do the shopping to avoid the money being spent on alcohol. He would tell his children he would make sure they have food to eat.
The husband would continue to take personal inventory. When he slips and enables his wife, he would promptly admit it (step 10). He would spend time in prayer and meditation daily (step 11) and help others to find freedom from the addiction of controlling the addict (step 12).
Ready for Freedom from the Addiction of Controlling the Addict?
Realizing you have an addiction to controlling the addict is the first step of freedom for yourself. If you are ready to face this addiction and find a Family Program of Recovery, Contact Northlake Recovery at (561)-770-6616.