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The death of dreams for our children who are addicts and alcoholics

Recognizing addiction in loved one Dr. JantzDr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote On Death and Dying in 1969, and it holds timeless wisdom for parents of addicts and alcoholics. The Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief chronicles the reactions we have when we lose the dreams we had for someone…ourselves, or our children, perhaps.

Those steps might look this way when we witness a loved one’s chemical dependency:

1) Denial: He’s not using drugs – he’s got learning disabilities or He wasn’t drinking – he’s just an inexperienced driver.

2) Anger: You’ve stupidly shot up all your college funds.

3) Bargaining: If you fix my child, I’ll never ask for anything again.

4) Depression: I’d rather be dead than go through this hell.

5) Acceptance: I’ve come to accept that I am powerless over my loved one’s drug or alcohol abuse, and that my life has become unmanageable.

The Acceptance step may sound familier because it’s the first step any any 12-step program. It’s the foundation of recovery for addicts and alcohlics, and for those who love them. Acceptance is a good place to end up in Dr. Ross’s model, and it’s a great place to start getting healthy in AA or Al-Anon.

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