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Family Disease Of Addiction: The Three C’s

Three C's Watching your loved one struggle from the disease of addiction is painful for you, too. When your loved one suffers from addiction, the entire family can suffer. In many cases, you may find yourself enabling your loved one when you thought you were supporting them. The addict/alcoholic when under the influence of their disease can be manipulative, deceitful, dishonest, and a thief. This is not who your loved one is; this is what the disease looks like when it is full-blown. It is important for you to understand this because you may start to believe this is somehow your fault or that you can fix or change them, but without proper professional help, there is little you may be able to do, and it has nothing to do with you – it has everything to do with the power of addiction.

Three C’s

By now you probably feel pretty powerless and lost when it comes to helping your loved one out of addiction. Here are some things you need to know and what you can do to help them.

The Three C’s:

I didn’t cause it.

I can’t cure it.

I can’t control it.

If you have been to a 12-step support meeting like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon, then you may have heard of the three C’s, but let’s take a closer and deeper look at what they really mean. Understanding the three C’s will not only help you heal, but it will help you think clearer so that you can help your loved one.

I Didn’t Cause It

You did not cause your loved one’s addiction. This is a chronic progressive brain disease that affects both the mind (emotional and mental health) and body (physical allergy). Like any other disease, it is a medical condition that certain people may be predisposed to, but that you yourself cannot create. This has nothing to do with you, because the truth is that you are not powerful enough to create a disease in your loved one – if you were, you would use that same power to help them recover. Many times, loved ones carry around this guilt that they caused their loved one to get sick, but not everyone that drinks or does drugs turns into an alcoholic/addict, so that idea has to be removed. Fully understanding this and showing this in your actions, can help your loved one take accountability for their actions and ultimately, their own recovery.

Related: AA The Family Afterward

I Can’t Cure It

You can’t cure it. Once an alcoholic/addict crosses the line into addiction they cannot go back. Addiction can be treated and managed, like diabetes, but it cannot be cured. Now, do not mistake incurable with terminal, because long-term recovery without addictive drugs and alcohol is possible through treatment, therapy, and 12-step programs. This is not a theory, this is a fact as we have thousands of patients doing just that. In addition, there are millions across the U.S. that are in long-term recovery, so with those kind of numbers, anyone can do it if they are willing to put in the work. You need to be the hope for you loved one, too. Letting them know  that they may not be able to go back to the way it was before they drank or did drugs, but that they can recover and live a life removed of the obsession to use or drink.

I Can’t Control It

You can’t control it. They can’t even control their addiction, so how would it be possible for you to? It is because you can’t control this that more help and support is needed. Your loved one is very sick and in return they have made you sick. Sick with guilt, anger, fear, anxiety, sleepless nights, etc…anyone can add to the list. How are you able to help support your loved one if you yourself are not well? Addiction is a family disease and thus everyone needs the opportunity to recover.

What Can I Do?

You can seek help for yourself, too. There is no shame in asking for support. You are going through a very difficult situation in your life right now and extra support will help you help your loved one. We suggest attending a 12-step support group such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. In addition, seeking therapy during a trauma or crisis in your life will help you navigate not only your feelings, but what is the best action to take so you can show support without enabling. There is a difference between enabling (giving your loved one money so they can get high/drunk) and supporting (helping them gather information for treatment and even calling to help them get in). Once you are able to distinguish the difference, it can be easier to set boundaries and help the whole family.

You do not have to do this alone anymore. Chat Live with us or call 1-800-439-5959 to speak with trained addiction counselor now.  There is hope and we can help.

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