An uncle wrote to me: My sister has a son who had a lot of problems growing up, including drugs. He is in another program (again, one of many attempts at rehab), but this one is a year-long program. It is amazing to me how many similarities there are in stories of addiction, only the people change. My sister has done a lot of enabling. Her husband turned his back on the family a number of years ago. Tears up any family dealing with this type of thing.  I’m not very optimistic, but we can hope.

My reflection: At one of my son’s first rehab centers, the counselor told me that for every one addict, four others are affected. The chaos spirals out and engulfs those of us who are connected to the family. This uncle suffers for his nephew, but also for his sister. His sister’s husband turned his back, and her brother knows that she has enabled her son. The disease sucks us in and we all feel the pain.

Today’s Promise to consider: In the miasma that is addiction, people who love us don’t know what to do to take away our hurt. I know that my extended family suffered for my son, my family, and me. I never needed their judgment or sadness, but I did need their love and support. Today, I won’t isolate myself. I will accept their love.




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Pat Nichols
4 years ago

My son’s addiction was something that my extended family did not want to discuss. There was never a time when anyone would ask how my son was doing. This just isolated my wife and I even more……strengthening our shame and self blame. This lead to increasing the need to keep the addiction a secret and cover it up the best we could. I look back now and realize how unhealthy this was. I think now that if I could start over with all the knowledge I have now I would work with my counselor and draft a letter explaining the disease in details and how family members and others could properly support my family. I would mail it to my son’s high school teachers, the juvenile judges, the police department, my son’s friends and their parents etc. Here’s an idea, why don’t I create a Web site and post it there so that ALL parents can just send their family and friends the address. 🙂

4 years ago

Some extended family always wanted the ugly details. I have so much shame by the choices and deeds done that I wasn’t wanting to share them; but if I could find someone who could listen to my frustrations and sorrows without the gory details that would be healing. I know there isn’t enough time and true pain isn’t popular they have busy lives and tennis matches to win. I try not to be me.