Family & Friends Addiction Information
If you are here, you’ve likely been trying for some time to get your loved one — a family member or friend — to stop drinking and/or using drugs. Your efforts probably seemed to work – at least at times. You’ve probably experienced periods when your loved one did stop or cut down or changed or cleaned up. But then something would happen, and it would start again, and you would rev up your efforts to make them do it right this time.
Having found this page, you may be feeling scared, confused, angry, sad, numb, ashamed, resigned, fed-up or desperate. You may be stunned and confused or believe you are a bad parent, sibling, friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse because you cannot get your loved one to stop drinking or using so much. You may question how your loved one can possibly continue given all of the problems it’s causing. You may believe that you are not important enough for them to want to get their substance misuse under control.
It is possible you are not entirely convinced – even now – that your loved one really has a “bad” problem with drugs or alcohol, especially if s/he is a young person. And, if you are like most people who visit Chooper's Guide, the idea that addiction is a disease is ludicrous – let’s face it, cancer is a disease – your loved one is “choosing” to drink or use drugs.
It is no wonder you may be experiencing some variation of all of this and more. A loved one who has a problem with their substance use often tries to minimize how bad it is, often comparing their use to someone else’s and making statements like, “I’m not as bad as Jack next door. Heck, he drinks every day!” Family members and friends typically offer similar rationalizations, often because they are afraid of the label ("alcoholic" or "drug addict") and what comes with the label.
Regardless of what you are thinking or feeling or believe, you are here. You are seeking answers, and providing them is what Chooper's Guide is all about.
To best help visitors to our Family & Friends Section, we have asked our education partner, Lisa Frederiksen, Founder of BreakingTheCycles.com, to share her expertise. Lisa has more than forty years experience with family members and friends’ substance misuse and addictions and is a researcher, writer, speaker and consultant, specializing in 21st century brain and addiction-related research as it relates to addiction, substance abuse, mental health, and secondhand drinking/drugging(SHDD). She is the author of two books written especially to help family members and friends: If You Loved Me, You’d Stop! and Love One In Treatment? Now What!
Some of what you read here may be familiar if you follow Lisa’s work, but that’s okay. One thing about substance abuse, addiction and recovery: solid research is well-worth repeating and re-reading.