A FAMILY DISEASE

A brother wrote an email message to me. This is part of it: I worked at a restaurant with my older brother and, after a few weeks, I started seeing clearly his actions, who he was hanging out with and what he was doing. I realized that he was an addict. I watched his life spiral out of control and I warned him that I would tell our parents what was happening. After months of threatening him and praying that he’d stop, I told my parents. Through my own tears, I told them that I was losing my brother to drugs. They sat in disbelief…it was too hard for them to grasp. At that moment, I hated my brother: I hated him and I loved him. It was all so confusing.

My personal reflection on the passage above offering my thoughts today: The Big Book of AA calls addiction a “confounding illness.” The boundaries of hate and love collide, family loyalties are threatened, brothers fight against brothers, and parents don’t know what to do. We parents try to save our families, but how do we protect everyone, including ourselves? Somehow we have to find a place where we are able to stay close to our addicted child while keeping ourselves and our other children out of the chaos.

Today’s Promise to consider for all of us who love addicts: I will talk with my non-addicted children about what is happening in our family. I will listen to them and try to understand their confusion and fears. I might even share mine. I will offer them help in An-Anon, Alateen or another counseling program.

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Glenda
Glenda
11 years ago

Yes, addiction most certainly is a family disease. In my case today it has gone to the next generation, my newborn grandbaby that was just born today. It appears that my son’s girlfriend said she was “prescribed” Percocets during her pregnancy (the hospital said they will be calling her Dr. to confirm this as that is dangerous during pregnancy!) and now the baby has to be transferred to a neonatal unit for assessment as she is “jittery”. I cried when I got home. This poor innocent baby is now paying the price for her parent’s addiction. I don’t even have words right now.

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
11 years ago

Dear, Glenda, I’m so sorry. You are right – there are no words. Everyone who reads this – we will pray for your grand baby. We will bombard the heavens with prayer. Love to you. Libby

Glenda
Glenda
11 years ago

Thank you so much Libby. I have found so much comfort in your book and blog and just knowing that I am not alone gives me hope and strength. Who knows, maybe this is their wake up call, maybe this is what is going to make them clean up. God I pray that this is true because the alternative scares me so much. This is their 2nd child and I am so scared that social services is going to take them away. I told my husband that if that happens it will shatter my heart, it will make me think that maybe we should take them in ourselves and he said yes, but then what reason would they have to get better? And he’s right. God help us all.

Victoria
Victoria
11 years ago

Dear Glenda,
I am so sorry to hear about your Grandbaby. I will pray for you, this innocent little baby, and the Mother and Father. I took care of an addicted baby, that was placed in my daycare by Social Services, it was heartbreaking. However, babies are resilient and they do bounce back, I have seen it. Hang in there, and say the serenity prayer as often as you can, it really seems to help me.

Libby,
A family disease, yes it is! Addiction also sickens the non-addicted family members. We don’t even realize we are being sucked in until it’s too late. The answer for me began with your book, I will be eternally grateful, and recently, finding Al-Anon. I talk to my 15 yr old son and 11 year old daughter about Alateen, but they are not interested. I wish they would give it a whirl, but I don’t want to force it. I know they have been affected by their brother’s addiction, but they just tell me that they worry about him, but other than that they are OK.
Love to You and Your Family,
Victoria

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
11 years ago

Dear Glenda,

God bless you that you are finding a ray of hope in this trauma. We need to hold on to that belief that God is in our lives. When I feel pummeled with trauma, I reread the book of Job in the bible and this gives me hope and strength. Maybe this is their wake up call and maybe they will choose to change – it is up to them. Victoria and I are with you. Love and prayers.

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
11 years ago

Dear Victoria, Your two children don’t want to go to Alateen and I understand because neither did my younger son Jeremy. He refused help in any way and wouldn’t talk with me either. He kept everything buried deep inside his belly and, even today, he suffers from past hurt. Good that you are talking to your younger children (I wish I had done more of it with Jeremy) and my guess is that they talk with each other and help each other along the way. You are getting help in Al-Anon. As we get stronger, we are stronger for our families. Let’s keep each other and our families in prayer.