In my mission to strengthen the role of a parent in the lives of tech-savvy youth I have learned that in every family system there is a loved one of all ages struggling with some form of addiction; it is indeed an integral part of the human condition that offers many lessons about love and suffering in the family.
Our guest blogger, John Perry, Owner of Clean & Sober Recovery Services, explains how understanding this condition with compassion and hope enables us to keep an open mind. It is possible to learn how a loved one’s suffering and struggle to be free from addiction informs them about their own powers of self-determination, and to be patient as the process of recovery reveals itself in this struggle. If you suspect that you, your child or another loved one in your family suffers from addiction, the most important thing you can do is get educated and seek help. Contact me for a list of resources.
Thank you John for being so generous with sharing your own struggle and life in recovery. Read his insights below…
When your loved one returns to the family after treatment, things will be different on a lot of fronts. For one, their authentic “personality” (for lack of a better word) may be visible for the first time in a long time. Even though I’m personally in long-term recovery, it’s still part of my nature to be restless, irritable and discontent. And, generally, that tends to be the personality of the substance abuser who uses drugs or alcohol to stimulate, relax or distract. That’s a big part of the reason why drugs or alcohol can so easily sink their teeth into us: They make us feel normal. So when we get sober, our dis-ease is laid bare. That’s why we must take steps to manage those uncomfortable parts of ourselves. That’s where AA and NA meetings, support from a sponsor, counseling, sober living or other recovery resources come into play.
When we stop-self-medicating, our true selves shine through. That “self” may be unfamiliar to the family, and the newly-sober loved one may be uncomfortable and unpredictable to be around. We may appear “off” when we are our sober, non-medicated selves.
But just be patient as “the person you used to know” returns to you and works to build a solid recovery. If your loved one is not emotionally-connected in early recovery, that’s OK as long as they are working towards recovery. If you are confident that they are sober, then sit tight. On the other hand, if they are disconnected because they haven’t stayed sober, that’s a whole other story that calls for the family to take other action.
Guest blogger John Perry is the founder and owner of Clean & Sober Recovery Services located in the Sacramento, California area. John and his team help people from all over the nation through residential inpatient treatment and intensive outpatient treatment programs. His facility also arranges for interventions, offers detox in their serene inpatient residence, and they offer assistance to continue to strengthen recovery in affordable, high caliber transitional housing after treatment ends.
About: We are a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. Our mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device.
Peace on earth begins with peace at home.
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Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and consultant on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber-powered world. She is a former technology executive trained in behavioral science at U.C. Berkeley, a mother of two grown sons, and an author of books for practical guidance on parenting, growing up and family life in the network culture. As a family and technology culture advisor, Joanna has appeared on 103.9FM The Fish, 710AM Keeping Faith in America, 1380AM The Answer, and Examiner.com.
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