Making your alcoholic/drug addicted loved one accountable

An alcoholic or drug addict is after two things (usually unconsciously)....
  1. They want a great life with their family.
  2. They want to drink and/or use their drug of choice.
The thing is, they can’t have both….. And usually in their trying, they take their family down with them…. Not consciously most of the time, but as a byproduct of their addiction.

Now, the role of the family is to hold the loved one accountable. I don’t necessarily mean tough love...I mean letting the loved one know, “If you want to drink, go drink. If you want to drug, go drug...but I’m not going to help you! I’m not going to enable you!” See, because the more comfortable you make the addict, the more they think they can achieve those two things (a great life with family and great life drinking/using drugs).

However, when you set your boundaries, stop enabling, stop making it so comfortable for them, their less likely to want to continue drinking/drugging. They feel the weight of their decision to go out and keep drinking/drugging…. And usually it’s that pain level that will cause them to begin thinking, “Hmmm, maybe I can’t have both????”

See, they are not choosing drugs or alcohol over you. They are choosing BOTH… trying to figure out how to have a great life with family and addiction… when they face some consequences for their behavior, they’re more apt to be intrinsically motivated to do something about their addiction...and start thinking more about recovery in general.

It’s ok to make them accountable by not enabling...of course, you love them and you show them kindness….but you avoid the enabling behaviors…

What are your thoughts?
  • 11 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • @dominica So perfectly said!!! For so long, I have felt like my son was choosing his addiction over his family~ the family that has so much love for him.....After finding this sight and reading Beyond Addiction, I see things so differently!!!
    Thank you so much for posting this!!!
  • Glad you are seeing things differently, @grievingmom. Being the parent of someone who struggles with addiction is a learning process. And I'm glad you're learning! :)
  • Thank you @DeanD !! This sight has helped me so much!! Your words have helped so much!!!
  • @grievingmom hi there! so glad you are getting some insight and support here! i too look at addiction quite differently than i used to! good that we can all support and encourage one another and believe for the best for our loved ones...

  • @dominica @DeanD @grievingmom As the former co-addicted guy, I have to say that this seems like a lot of literature that has been written by someone who has never had an addiction.
    And addict wants one thing: Relief from pain.
    It doesn't matter where it comes from, it doesn't matter how the pain got there. Locked in deep addiction, all the addict wants is relief.
  • @JoshuaShea thanks for your view. i agree addicts are in emotional and sometimes physical pain.... in fact, i think most people are in some amount of emotional pain regularly... consciously and unconsciously.... i also think addicts may want more than relief....but those things vary from person to person and situation....
  • @dominica We can agree to disagree on this one.
  • I've been married for 50 years but my wife has been an alcoholic for the last 30 years. Over the last 30 years she has pretty well destroyed everything important to me. Since 3/8/2013 I have kept a detailed log of her drunkin episodes. to date they number 217. She has also been taken to the hospital 4 times to get her head stitched up. Also once for a broken arm after falling off a chair in a restaurant. I tried on 4 of those incidences to get her Baker Acted but the police wouldn't take her. After her latest blood bath I finally made an appointment with a Judge to have her Marchmen Acted. The threat of that action, forced her to admit herself into rehab at Hazeldon (Betty Ford) in Naples Florida. Unfortunately they put her in an Out patient program, with no detox. She has been in the program for about 6 weeks now and all I can see is that she is now a "Dry Drunk".
    The story is far more detailed than I am delineating here but don't know if this is where I'm supposed to be? Can someone help me pout here?
  • @Simo3377 hey there. it's going to take far longer than 6 weeks for you to see some changes in her... we're talking a very long time of addiction here.... even if she were at an inpatient program... change takes time. it's a process.....

    my best advice is that you get into a recovery program and work on areas where addiction has affected you. al-anon, codependents anonymous... and there is a really great book called "BEYOND ADDICTION: HOW SCIENCE AND KINDNESS HELP PEOPLE CHANGE" that book can help you while she is on her own recovery journey....

    you can pout, but that won't help anyone.

    here's a link to a short 20 minute guide that goes with that book... have a look:
  • @Simo3377... I replied to a post of yours in another thread, so please look for that. Definitely look into the Beyond Addiction book that @dominica recommended, too. It's by far the best book out there for partners of people struggling with addiction.
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