Having addiction within a family can be very stressful, confusing, chaotic and disheartening. It can be very difficult trying to know what to do to help. Often times families feel stuck, not knowing if what they are doing is helping or hurting their loved one. Good recovery in a family starts with this basic understanding of the 3 Cs. Having a foundation of understanding of what the family is not responsible for helps the family then direct their focus on how to best help the entire the family and not just the one with the addiction.
1. I didn't cause it-Often times families blame themselves when there is a loved one in the family that struggles with addiction. The truth is, addiction is not caused by the family, plain and simple.
2. I can't control it- It is not up to the family to control the addiction or the level of dependence from the dependent family member. Nothing the family does or does not do is going to control the addiction in another family member.
3. I can't cure it- Unfortunetly, the family cannot cure the addiction. When the family spends time on trying to cure the addiction, everyone loses not just the person suffering from addiction.
Theses are the 3 Cs of family recovery. This is a great guide for families to follow. Any time the family is trying to take credit or blame for the addiction, the family must state the truth..we did not cause it! If the family begins to try to control the addiction-the family must state the truth-the addiction is not ours to control. Any time the family is trying to cure the addiction (rather than offering support or referring family members to treatment) the family must state the truth- I cannot cure it!
Standing on truth will help the family to stay as healthy as possible. If the family is not standing on the 3 Cs, they can be caught up in the addiction along with the person struggling with it, and that helps no one. Remeber, this is just the beginning, but it is a great place to start!
We recommend that the families of our clients seek counseling and support. A great support system is Al-Anon. Al-Anon is a free support group for loved ones of individuals suffering from addiciton and is offerred nearly everywhere in the United States. Visit Al-Anon.org for a list of meeting in your area.