Can Changing the Language of Addiction Change Recovery?
The language of addiction tends to be pretty degrading. It’s often attached with such a stigma, and new research shows that we might actually be doing our addicted loved ones more harm than good by using this type of language. The thing is, many people just can move past the idea that addiction is bad, and for good reason, because too many times, those who find that they are addicted decided to tempt fate and give these substances or alcohol a try.
For those of us who don’t struggle with this type of addiction, or we feel like we know how to stop before things get too dangerous, or we just associate experimenting with certain types of drugs as not a solid thing to do, it can really feel like those who do battle addictions simply chose to ignore the negatives and do something they really shouldn’t be doing.
It’s Hard to Ignore the Fact that Many Addictions Stem from Bad Decisions
When we’re thinking about the language of addiction, it’s really hard to ignore the fact that for many, using or drinking began in the late teens or early 20’s. This is naturally a time of rebellion in almost all of our lives. We are making our own decisions and trying new things. We’re telling society that we have things all under control and don’t need the sound advice of our elders or authority figures.
Unfortunately, this is the time that many addictions are typically formed, and they usually start from choosing to abuse substances or alcohol to excess.
When those who choose to follow the rules, as well as parents and other figures of authority, see kids of this age behaving in a rebellious manner, it’s often accepted, but when we wind up having to bail young people out for their bad decisions, there is still the right to be upset.
Addiction, on the other hand, is entirely different. It’s a long, slow process. What many “grown-ups” see as a rite of passage has gone to extremes and “getting a little drunk,” or “smoking a little weed,” seems to have gone by the wayside.
Friends and family members, though, are often the ones who are the most affected by a loved one’s addiction, and while experts say that it should be treated as a disease and we should be gentler about how we see the problem, for those who have had things stolen from them, spent money they don’t have to bail their loved one out of jail, and had to deal with all the drama and heartache that addictions can bring, being gentle about a loved one’s addiction can be hard.
Why it’s so Tough to Be Kind to Those Who Struggle With an Addiction
So, imagine that your dad is an alcoholic. You watched as the problem began, and you begged him not to have another drink. For a long time, he held things together and was a good dad. He loved you, even if he did drink too much. Then, as you got older, he began to drink more and more. Never mind the why of the situation, the point is that he did. And he continued.
You asked him not to and he drank more. He yelled at you, and your relationship with him deteriorated. Eventually, the only thing you felt for your dad was anger. Anger because he never really loved you in the first place, or he wouldn’t have kept on drinking. He would have stopped when he could.
What you do understand is that your dad made a series of bad decisions. You understand that he put drinking above all of you, so it’s natural that you would walk away. You have that right. That’s why it’s always so hard for us to be kind to those who become addicted, about their situation, though.
Because addiction hurts us. It causes us to lose good people that we really love.
Could Changing the Language of Addiction Make a Difference
The trouble is, when we spend so much time being angry with our loved ones because of their addictions, we tend to push them away. We don’t, or can’t see what’s going on with our loved one because we are blinded by hurt, anger, and fear.
When we constantly let our addicted loved ones see how we are angry and disappointed in them, we are essentially telling them that they are hopeless. We are telling our addicted loved one that he isn’t good enough to be around, and that we don’t want him around because he struggles with a situation that has gotten out of his control.
The trouble is, we don’t put ourselves in our loved one’s shoes. Nobody ever starts out wanting to become addicted. They don’t want to become a “junkie,” or a “meth head,” and they know that’s what you think of them. In the dark of night, when things quiet down, or when they are all alone and having a moment of clarity, knowing that everyone they love is ashamed, or has walked away is enough to make them want to get high or drunk again.
It’s a cycle. New research suggests that by changing the way we treat our addicted loved ones might make a difference in how they actually recover and choose to clean up their lives. In fact, some suggest that by continuing to involve our addicted loved ones in our daily lives and involve them in the big things, we help to give them purpose.
By giving our loved one’s purpose, some research suggests that they will have an easier time choosing to overcome their addictions.
Making it All Happen
There is no denying that our anger and frustration over a loved one’s addiction is a real thing. Nobody is saying that you can’t feel that way, but by learning how to set strong boundaries, protect your sanctuary and your family, and overcome the negative feelings that often accompany spending time with our addicted loved ones, we can actually help them to become healthy, happy and, eventually, addiction-free.
For your part, you can work on changing the language of addiction by working on healing yourself and the rest of your family. By beginning to come to terms with your loved one’s addiction, you can learn how to help yourself and the rest of your family. Therapy for you and the rest of your loved ones can get you started.
When you’re ready, give us a call. You can’t change the language of addiction if you’re feeling bitter, angry, scared, and sad. You have to learn how to overcome these feelings and develop an acceptance. This isn’t something that most of us can do alone. That’s why there is help for the families of those who struggle with an addiction.
So, when you’re ready to start changing the way you do things, and probably help your addicted loved one in the process, why not give us a call? At Elite Rehab Placement, we can help you and your loved ones to get the help you need to heal, and we can help your addicted loved one get the treatment that he needs to overcome his addiction and start living an addiction-free life.
It’s not easy to deal with the negativity of a loved one’s addiction, but you don’t have to let it ruin your life. By removing the negativity, you can actually help your loved one to see that he matters, addiction or no, and you can rebuild a strong, healthy relationship, and maybe even help your loved one get clean and sober in the process.