WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE USING STOPS: PART 1

Dr. Patrick MacAfee

Dr. MacAfee says: We know a lot about addiction, but I’m very interested in what it means to live in sobriety. In other words, what is the impact of abstinence? Most people tell me they want sobriety because, “I don’t like who I’ve become.” This statement is a great motivator for change. Recovery is always an individual endeavor and also requires a supportive community.

My reaction: I never thought about the impact of abstinence. When Jeff completed his first recovery program, he emerged drug free, but his life was still framed around old ways of living. Just because he spent thirty days in treatment didn’t mean that the world he used to know suddenly changed to support his recovery. In fact, just the opposite was true. There was lots of work that needed to happen for him to reintegrate into life in a healthy way. It was all new to Jeff and new to our family. This was a delicate place.

Today’s Promise to consider: When using stops – whether overeating, smoking, drinking or using drugs – fear of picking-up again is common and living can be painful. I know that I can’t control my loved one’s behavior, but I also know that he will need a strong support system. I will be compassionate and supportive as he learns to live in abstinence.

 

 

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Pat Nichols
Pat Nichols
10 years ago

Our addicted children must embrace change to maintain recovery but family and friends must work just as hard in changing themselves to support their loved one’s recovery.

We, as family members, don’t feel a real need for lasting change for ourselves and even if we do see a need to change, we resist it. That is a natural reaction but I feel if the family members aren’t willing to make the changes that are necessary to support long term recovery the battle for recovery will be eventually lost.

Our children need and deserve a supportive family foundation. It’s a life and death decision.

Libby Cataldi
Libby Cataldi
10 years ago

Dear Pat,

God bless you for all the work you are doing! And Amen to all you’ve said above. Keep up the good work, for the good of all of us.

L

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Dear Pat, It’s good to hear from you.

I agree with your post. It’s crucial for the family to come together for the addict to get into recovery. As Libby can attest and says, recovery is a lifelong process. Support is the secret to sobriety and the help for the extended family.

Once an addict stops using, his or her whole world changes. That road is so difficult for them. They need and deserve unconditional love and support.

God Bless,
Barbara

Jane
Jane
10 years ago

I so agree with all that has been said above. I also know how hard it has been to love unconditionally through all the rehabs, failed attempts restarts, continued use and damage to relationships. We are trying hard to support his current attempt at recovery. The road is very difficult for the addict and my heart brakes over this. I also have a broken heart for the rest of us. So much healing is needed
Jane

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Barbara and Jane,

Good to hear from both of you. Thanks for staying close.

Recovery, relapse, recovery, relapse – you are correct, Jane, it breaks our hearts and suffocates life. A question might be: how do we support our loved ones while protecting ourselves and our families. Dr. MacAfee told me many times, “Stay close by out of the chaos of their addiction.” I have no answers. Maybe I’ll talk with MacAfee about this and hear what he says. How do we all get to healing?

Love to you,

L

Barbara
Barbara
10 years ago

Dear Libby, it’s a good question…how do we all get to healing? It will be interesting to hear how Dr. MacAfee responds.

For me, the healing has been a myriad of support from people like you, lots of books, and prayers. I think the healing journey will be a lifelong process for most of us. I don’t know if the deep hurt ever truly goes away. There is still a hole in my heart, but I think it’s getting smaller and smaller because of kind, compassionate people who share these feelings of helplessness, here in this forum.

Once again, I thank all of you for sharing your hearts. It means so much to me.

Dear Jane, you and your son are in my thoughts and prayers as you both struggle through recovery.

My love to you,
Barbara

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

Dear Barbara,

Your answer is lovely. I think you are correct that healing is a lifelong process and we all need support and love to help us get through life. The hole in your heart is getting smaller through compassion and understanding. I am humbled that you have allowed us to be a part of your healing, your life, your walk. We’ll hold hands and go forward together.

With deep respect and love,

L

Jane
Jane
10 years ago

Dear Barbara and Libby
You are both very amazing women. I find such strength in this forum . No doubt, this will be lifelong work and the one beautiful part of it all is that I have met the most amazing friends from Al Anon and now here as well. God bless and thank you for sharing
J