Tuesday, November 03, 2015

THE FAMILY END




Alex and his wife Edna were sitting in their living room watching a television documentary on heroic measures to keep terminal patients alive and why everyone should have a living will. He finished his drink, looked at his wife and said, "Just so you know, Edna: I never want to be kept alive in a vegetative state, dependent on some damn machine and fluids from a bottle. If that should ever happen to me, just pull the plug. Promise?"
"I promise," Edna replied, got up from her chair, pulled the plug on the television set, went into the kitchen, and threw out all of his whisky. 

~ 

In rehab I learned that addiction is called "The Family Disease." It doesn't matter who takes the drugs, everyone gets sick. If you've ever said to yourself or anyone else, "I'm only hurting myself," if you don't already know, let me be the first to tell you: That is bullshit. "Everyone gets sick" means everyone gets hurt. 

My mother used to blame me for her being "sick" all the time, for which she needed to take horse-stunning pain killers and sleeping pills. My father was the man who was never there. My home was a nest of violence, sexual abuse, and mental torture that left me believing that chronic depression and playing with suicide was normal. I had to twist and bend my perception of reality until I could say to myself that I had a great childhood, almost none of which I can remember. 

Try to do your algebra homework while everyone around you is screaming and fighting. You don't invite friends over to your house to meet your parents because you have no idea what's going to be on the other side of your front door: War zone, drunk tank, boxing match, or fun house. So you do without friends. 

Some family members sneak off to cry, some cope by getting into drugs themselves, some take it out on the world around them through violence and crime, some leave never to return, and some simply end the pain by taking their own lives. 

Addicts: All of the above is not a good excuse to use. Instead it is a call for you to reach out for help. Rehab, Narcotics Anonymous Twelve Step meetings, get clean, and grow the hell up.

Family members of addicts: None of the above is a good excuse to say or think of the addict, "He or she has the problem; Not me." Everyone gets sick. Everyone who is sick with any aspect of the disease of addiction needs help to recover. The programs below are designed to do exactly that.

Nar-anon is a Twelve Step program for those affected by addicts: parents, siblings, employees, employers, and friends.

Al-Anon is a Twelve Step program for those affected by an alcoholic: Parents, siblings, employees, employers, and friends.

Alateen is a Twelve Step program for young children of alcoholics, or siblings of alcoholics. 

The links to the world services of all of the programs mentioned above are over in the "Learn More" box on the right side of the page. Your happiness and the happiness of those you love are what is at stake. What's important is what you do next.

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