I emphasize that no matter what happens with their loved one, the family member has an opportunity to grow on their own, to feel more empowered by learning more about this disease and themselves. I tell them that the more we are all connected, and the more they meet people who have been through the same experience, the more they are going to be able to not only accept it, but to grow and learn.
I can’t take away all the pain for them, but I can help people understand how many thousands of people there are out there who have gone through this and who have walked through the emotions and feelings of living with a loved one in active addiction, and that they can feel empowered to do something for themselves and heal.
I often talk about my personal experience, when I wasn’t sure if Chris was going to make it or not, and I had to learn that I was going to be okay. I share how I had to learn how to be empowered and not be a victim. That’s not easy to do – it’s much easier said than done – but I’m able to talk about all the resources out there whether it’s going to a support group, an Al-Anon meeting, talking with me, or talking to another family who has been through this, that help is out there. I’m able to connect people where they can talk about their experiences and their feelings in a safe environment.
It’s actually very similar to when a person walks into recovery for the first time. Family members need to do this for themselves as well. They need to find a community of people who understand what they are going through, and they need to find what works for them.