Blog: Perspective on Trauma

The holidays and The Addict: A family members perspective.

by LaDonna Remy, MSW,LICSW on December 13, 2014 No comments

I hurt for my loved one. I hurt for their children. I hurt for the spouse who no longer attends to the relationship. My loved one is blind to what they are doing to themselves, their children, their spouse, and our family. I do understand that it started with pain. Pain so big, there seemed no other answer. I do understand they didn’t know what to do. I understand they have to see it to change it. I try to understand I can’t change it for them. I know my understanding changes nothing! I feel stuck, hopeless, and helpless.

The holidays are sad now. Those of us, who are not addicts, are stuck in not knowing how to navigate the holidays with, for, around the addicted loved one. Some say “just move ahead as usual; it’s their life-they will figure it out one day”.  Some say, “I can’t watch that-I don’t want to see that at the holiday table-it hurts too much”. Some say, “lets try to organize an intervention”. Some say, “they will be angry. We will lose them if we don’t go along or we try an intervention”. Others say, “they have to hit rock bottom first”. We are stuck!

We love them, are angry at them, have been hurt by them, see their children hurting, are afraid of them, are afraid for their children, have compassion for them, and want them to be ok!

Perspective: It will never feel ok to know your family member is suffering. It will never feel ok to see the impact of their decision making and their choices. Non -addicted family members will best benefit from gaining support for themselves from informed resources.  It is the addicted person’s choice to use substances and /or alcohol. No matter how it started or what enables it to continue.  Non addicted family members will hurt and will need to learn what they can and cannot do. They will need to understand they cannot make the pain the addicted person is causing stop. (When you genuinely love someone -you hurt when they are hurting.) Non -addicted members will need to take steps to ensure that children are truly protected. They will need to take steps to ensure that they themselves are protected. They will need to take steps to ensure they are strong enough not to enable, and mature enough to be a resource or find a resource if the addicted family member wants to attempt healing. There simply are no easy answers. Addiction is dangerous, sad, scary, infuriating, and out of the non addicted members control. This does not mean non -addicted members should not try to help. It means learn what is feasible in your area, learn what is advisable and non-advisable when your loved ones are addicted. (It is essential for your own survival.) Informed resources include; or

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LaDonna Remy, MSW,LICSWThe holidays and The Addict: A family members perspective.

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