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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Held hostage by addiction

AlkoholismusImage via Wikipedia
When a friend or family member is battling addiction, the whole family becomes engulfed in the problem and in essence is held hostage. Trapped in the addicts world, you either succumb to their addiction by becoming an enabler, or you abandon the addict and withdraw waiting for that one phone call that says it is over.
Family members often become overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, shame, depression and a type of grief is experienced very similar to losing a loved one entirely. The addicts family often defines their happiness by the type of day the addict is having. This is a classic form of co-dependency.

Co-dependency as defined by Merriam Webster’s Dictionary is "a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin); broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another".

Breaking the hold that the addict has over the family is a difficult task. The addict is driven by the urges taking place bio chemically in his body and uses many forms of manipulation to continue to gain support for his lifestyle. It is not beyond an addict to use psychological abuse, guilt, blame and threats to get their family and friends to succumb to their wishes. This is why so often the family is unsuccessful at "curing" or helping an addict on their own.

Finding help for an addict requires doing the one thing that probably many families have tried to avoid. Admitting to someone outside the family that there is a problem. Many families hide and protect the addict and their addiction and go to great lengths to keep it a closely guarded secret. There are many ways to discreetly find help and one resource is online. There are many support groups, and information on the particular addiction you are dealing with. For great resources and help, please visit: Guide for Living.
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