Researching or reading articles of research on addiction educates me more about why our loved ones continue to do what appears to us as self-defeating, immoral and illegal activity. To think they are choosing or willfully lying is a judgment quickly taken, but the truth is much more complex and physiological.
With stats such as “only 10% of addicts seek help on their own” , that is, even recognize they have a problem, explains a lot. In one such article written for CNN last year, Dr. Seppala, chief medical officer of Hazelden, states “Our largest public health problem goes unrecognized by those with the disease.” In my opinion, the same holds true for the family members. We don’t seek help readily; we don’t see that we may be part of the problem. Take, for example, a good co-depended parent model: self-authorized to sacrifice their own well-being, at all costs, with a fear based obsession not unlike the addict searching for the next fix. Using ineffective control measures, we have firsthand experience being among the 90%!
I easily equate the addict profile as it applies to me, a concerned parent fraught with hopeless attempts to assist. It explains the anguish, heartache and self-defeating measures those of us in this family disease do. It explains everything. Why we continue to ”mother” our 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and older-year olds…as if they are still in toddlers! We ineffectively combat a disease of lies; and the alternative is at first, unfathomable, incomprehensible and counterintuitive.
The other measures that may ultimately “help” result from our own decision to seek help or maybe we were coerced. However we get there, we are given tools to overcome our own connectedness to the addict and in so doing, contribute to changing that dismal 10%percent that seek recovery. When you know better, you do better.