|Anecdotes from Avi|
During the last anecdote, we discussed the need to protect the relationship with one’s spouse, protect one’s own sanity and we discussed the need for education about addiction. We wrapped the discussion with a plan for changing behavior and not to “sneak up” with a new behavior.
I understand that what I advocate here:
Love your addicted child and help the child understand her/his isolation, hopelessness, trauma and stress
goes contrary to what we are taught by society and authority. Society and authority teach us that the appropriate response to catching someone using a drug is punishment, shame and ridicule. Even in earlier Nar-Anon meetings we were taught to let the child reach rock bottom and not cushion their fall due to “bad” behavior. The rationale behind “let them reach rock bottom” advice was to allow the user of drugs reach this place, rock bottom, quickly. Knowing that “rock bottom” is so unpleasant, so unacceptable that the person, who keeps on making bad decisions, will want to escape that “rock bottom” place so badly, that now, that person, will do the “right thing” out of necessity. As result, we found out that “rock bottom” is an unreachable, moving target and too many of our children died away.
The silver lining in the whole story of overcoming addiction is the fact that the drug, the substance, on its own, is not the only cause for addiction.
Our soldiers who fought in the Vietnam war witnessed unimaginable atrocities. Those soldiers, in large percentage, used Opiates, the drug of choice of that area of the world at the time. A lot of these soldiers, when back States-side stopped using Opiates, they just did not need it any more. Our ex-soldiers just went on with their lives and did not need the numbing effects of the drug. An important point here is that not all soldiers, who used Opiates, stopped using the drug once State-side.
A second anecdotal story in our silver lining narrative is cigarette smokers who want to quit smoking: When these smokers are provided the drug, Nicotine, through a different delivery mechanism, the patch, only 17% of them will quit smoking, even though 100% of them wanted to quit smoking and bought the patch.
Some folks are more prone to addiction than others, this is our genetic makeup and short of changing our parents we cannot change our genes. Isolation, hopelessness and trauma are environmental makeup factors that lead to addiction, factors that we can control. Therefore, your job, as a parent, is to help your child understand the cause of her/his isolation, hopelessness and trauma. Then enlighten your child and help your child find the cause and solution to their isolation, hopelessness and trauma.
Your child needs your love and understanding now more than ever. Punishment, shame and ridicule will hurt your child and further their use and addiction.
Addiction is not lack of moral conviction
At times, you may feel that deeply religious conviction runs contrary to addiction and an addict is a person who simply lacks or lost a moral compass.
A person may have deep moral and religious convictions yet that same person can suffer from pain and/or chronic sickness. Drug addiction is a chronic sickness and as such religious conviction is not at odds with addiction.
I do know of a mother whose son turned to religion and spent the majority of his time with his new-found religious order and as such did not associate with his drug using buddies. His mother attributes his recovery to religion. If your child finds new friends, away from drug use, then this is a positive step.
Next anecdote: we will explore antidote to opiates and describe the process of overdosing
You are not invincible—Stew Birbrower
Together we march towards a destiny