By John Perry, Co-Founder, Clean & Sober Recovery Services
Clean & Sober Recovery Services offers a FREE and confidential family group meeting every Sunday as a resource for the entire community. One out of every four families experiences the misuse of drugs or alcohol, so the room should be packed. People should be streaming in to get support or information about dealing with a loved one’s Substance Use Disorder. But we always have some empty seats.
Why don’t more people come to the meetings? They’re led by a board-registered interventionist, who is also a family coach, grief counselor and retired chaplain. There is tremendous wisdom in the room amidst the presence of many “legacy” family members who have survived (or are surviving) the storm of a loved one’s addiction or alcoholism. The meetings don’t require an RSVP. The “price of admission” is simply that you are concerned about someone’s drug or alcohol misuse.
But still, Substance Use Disorder is such a shameful disease that people hide it in the dark corner of their lives. Parents think they “caused it.” People who vow every night to change their ways wake up every morning and reach for the drink or drug. And they blame themselves for not being “strong enough” or “good enough” to say "No." If only we could turn off diseases like cancer or diabetes or addiction with good intentions or willpower....
When families don’t understand this brain disease, they relinquish their power. They mistakenly believe that the addict/alcoholic can change without the family changing, too. Or, with crossed fingers and wishful prayers, people make excuses about why someone shouldn’t get treatment or doesn’t need treatment. That’s magical thinking, at its best and worst. It keeps people sick, it isn’t realistic, and it fails to treat Substance Use Disorder as a brain disease that can be kept in remission – but only if we call it by its name, learn about it and treat it appropriately.
Want to come to one of those Sunday meetings? Call us (916) 990-0190 to learn more.
It’s hard for the substance abuser to stop drinking or using drugs. It’s often as hard – or harder – for the family. Yet it seems so simple: Why don’t they just stop drinking or using drugs? People who aren’t familiar with the complexity of Substance Use Disorder seek a quick solution, just as the addict or alcoholic seeks a quick fix for whatever ails them: social isolation, woundedness, depression or other mental health issues, and more.
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