Addiction is an illness, not a lifestyle choice. People who become addicted to drugs and alcohol don’t actually enjoy being addicted to drugs and alcohol, though they may argue otherwise. When you approach your loved one to start healing a relationship broken by drugs and alcohol, it is important to focus on the science of the sickness of addiction. First, it is important to ask if they are willing to learn about what you have learned through your treatment process. If they are willing, you are prepared to educate them. Explain to them the way that addiction works in the brain and the body. Make sure not to use addiction as an excuse for the way you have acted in the past, but an explanation for what contributed to your behaviors. Now that you have been in treatment and working on getting well you have gained a new perspective on the sickness of addiction. In talking about the disease model of addiction, your loved one may gain their own new understanding. More importantly, once they understand that addiction is a sickness, rather than a lifestyle, they are more likely to develop empathy and compassion with both your struggles and with your recovery.
Great harms can be done to others during the course of addiction. Learning about the disease model may not be enough to break the thick barrier of resentment. Your sickness hurt them. Understandably, they are in a selfish, hurt place. Relationships are often strained this way in addiction. In recovery, however, your honest experience is often enough to break through. You are not making excuses for or arguing against your experiences in addiction anymore. Talking about them openly, about what you’ve been through and what you’ve learned about that time, helps. Acknowledge the harm done to your loved one and that you cannot imagine what the experience had to be like for them. Explain what it was like to live under the control of addiction. Offer to make amends by righting the wrongs which have occurred for you and your relationship.
Families and relationships find amends all of the time. Through treatment programs like the ones we offer at Simple Recovery, the whole family gets to recovery through family therapy and family programming. Our treatment programs are multi-tiered, offering a transitional approach to treatment through an action-oriented program for developing the life skills necessary to live sober. Start your recovery today by calling us for more information: 866-601-8128