The best thing you can do for yourself or any addict you care about is to not enable their drug addiction. Parents can fail in this regard when they are unable to accept a family member’s addiction as a serious problem. With the best of intentions, parents can unknowingly support their teen’s drug use by enabling. As sad as it is for parents to see this; it is equally an enigma to an addict as they find that their mental condition progressively responds only to their cravings. It’s important to do everything you can to stop feeding the lifeline to addiction – it can really save lives.
In that moment, I felt like I was wearing my own scarlet letter – that the “A” for addiction was emblazoned on my forehead and would be my mark to bear for as long as I lived. I was embarrassed and ashamed about our situation, not knowing how to begin to respond…
Of all the things that people do, few are as puzzling to psychiatrists as compulsive drug use. Sure, all drugs of abuse feel good — at least initially. But for most people, the euphoria doesn’t last. A patient of mine is all too typical.
Lately we’ve been noticing the use of acronyms in the comments people have been posting here on Intervene. Some of them we knew (i.e. AA, CA, NA) and some just left us scratching our heads (i.e. IME, CPA, HTH).
As a mom, I never really understood that I could never understand the pain of the addict, of my son. I was so immersed in my own pain and the trauma of our family that I couldn’t see the other side, what my son must have been feeling.
Acceptance is a baseline for clear mindedness in the wake of discovering a family member suffering from drug addiction.
As for adults, after you read this, I hope you’ll never ignore our emotions, or think we don’t feel things as deeply as grownups because we’re not acting the way you think an upset or depressed person should. Don’t confuse ‘young’ with ‘clueless.’
A mother wrote to me: Things are better at the moment, but we have ups and downs. I am working on the “loving with detachment” issue. I spend hours each day trying to look at where I went wrong as a parent or what I should have done differently.
This excerpt is taken from a chapter of my memoir, The Los Angeles Diaries, which is dedicated to the memory of my sister and brother…My beautiful sister, in the beginning alcohol and drugs bring you relief. They give you courage and confidence and then slowly, over a period of years, they strip it all away and you spend your final years struggling to fill the emptiness that it’s left inside you…