"In the case of sudden cabin depressurization put your own oxygen mask on first before attempting to help others."
This mantra, repeated before every airline flight, has become so ubiquitous we tend to tune it out. Taking the time to reflect on it reveals a powerful message of the need to accept limits. Unfortunately, many families struggling with addiction become so obsessed and frantic trying to find ways to "help" the addict that they forget to put their own "oxygen mask" on first.
If a family member comes to our place looking for ways to help their addicted loved one, these are the principles upon which we base our care:
- The only things you can control are yourself and what goes on in your home
- Loving and/or living with an addict who is using causes harm to the family
- Family members need help for themselves before they can be of use to the addict
- Family members resistance to engaging in a program of recovery mirrors that of an addicts
- It's a privilege for an addict to experience consequences.
Opioid addiction can cause death suddenly. This fact permeates the thoughts of loved ones. Living with this ongoing fear results in a reaction based approach focusing on the status of the addict. They lose sight of their own need for help. Sadly, family members bounce from crisis to crisis frequently doing more harm than good in their efforts to "save" the addict.
The message we give to those who come to us for help is that immersing yourself in a program of recovery is the best thing you can do, not only for yourself but for your loved one. A place such as ours can help you develop a comprehensive strategy for dealing with the ravages of addiction. Attending and belong to Nar-Anon and/or Al-Anon will give you the strength to implement that strategy and begin your own process of recovery.