There is no cure for addiction, and relapse is an unfortunately common element of this disease. It can be very frustrating to work so hard encouraging a recovery, only to see it derailed by relapse - but the fight against addiction is a marathon race and not a sprint, and sometimes, you just have to start at the beginning all over again.
Addiction treatment works very well to induce periods of remission and/or periods of less harmful use. Some people may need to go through the addiction treatment process more than once in a lifetime. This doesn’t mean that treatment doesn’t work. It works well to help people get control of their symptoms; but no cure yet exists for the disease of addiction.
The Power of Persistence
A person with diabetes or cancer may need multiple bouts of treatment over a lifetime to get symptoms under control – but people would never say that such treatments don’t work or aren’t necessary – and addiction treatment is very similar in nature.
Don’t give up hope!
Because addiction affects the family so deeply and because the battle against the disease is so lengthy, it can be helpful to get outside support from others who know and understand what it’s like to live with an addict.
Some support options include Al-Anon a 12 steps group for the loved ones of alcoholics and drug addicts, or meeting privately with a therapist or family counselor, to discuss ways of coping effectively.
Children especially need support when growing up in a household with addiction. Children can take this self test to find out if their mom or dad might have an addiction, and if so, they should be encouraged to talk to a trusted sober family member about finding the support and stability they also need.
You can make a difference and help a loved one break free from addiction, and if you get the support you need and if you learn how to assist without enabling, you can keep your sanity while doing so.
Sometimes though, the behaviors of addiction become darker, and simply by living with an addict you place your life, or the lives of those around you, at risk. Addiction can never justify violent or abusive behavior and anyone living with an abusive family member needs to put their own right to safety and happiness first, calling the police for assistance and safety if necessary.
Page last updated Sep 13, 2010