When life becomes difficult, people have a tendency to look for something or someone to blame. When a family is faced with addiction, the need to blame becomes even more intense. It’s almost as though people feel comfort in projecting their anger about an addiction onto something or someone else. For example, I’ve often heard parents blame their kid’s friends for a developing addiction. I’ve also heard of entire communities bearing the brunt of anger for an addict’s downfall. And while there may be factors that are clearly the root cause of an addiction, the reality is that, while circumstances often come together that allow for an addiction to emerge, recovery is always the addict’s responsibility. NO ONE CAN OWN ANOTHER PERSON’S RECOVERY.
I’ve pissed a lot of people off over the years because I tell them that there’s no way someone can be healthy on someone else’s behalf. Yet, when my phone rings, it’s often someone wanting desperately to know how they can get someone off of drugs or alcohol. And while it may seem like common sense that no one can get someone else to do anything, really, peoples’ anger and fear lead them to wanting to do the impossible. I have to warn people, all the time, that there’s no one thing anyone can do. Often, an addict developed over the course of time and requires many resources in order to become healthy. The substance of choice is usually only an aspect of the overall Addiction profile. Economic, cultural, and genetic factors usually collide into the perfect storm that is Addiction. Yet, people want to unravel this intense knot simply by snapping their fingers.
It’s a sad fact that when an addict is “in cycle,” he or she loves and desires the substance of choice more than anything else in the universe. While I don’t believe in the “rock bottom” myth, the reason it become so embedded in the recovery consciousness is that it often seems that something happens to an addict that awakens him or her to the harm his or her relationship with the substance has caused. But as long as there isn’t any harm associated with the substance use, there’s ZERO motivation to change.
Though people around an addict can see the harm substance use causes, the addict can’t. No amount of begging or pleading with an addict in love with a substance will open his or her eyes. Only when the harm is significant enough to for the person behind the addict personality to awaken will change occur. The most compelling “sign” that an addict is ready to change is that he or she will carry a sense of humility. Addicts tend to be arrogant; someone in recovery tends to be humble and respectful. Addicts will manipulate anything to get their substance; someone in recovery realizes that he or she has taken enough through manipulation and will begin to give through honest transparency.
When it comes to Addiction, there may be something or someone to blame. But when it comes to recovery, the addict must give way to the person it has hidden and find health. NO ONE CAN OWN ANOTHER PERSON’S RECOVERY.