It’s mind-boggling to me that families often try to treat the medical disease of addiction at home. If your teenager broke his arm, would you set the bone at the kitchen table? If he had an asthma attack, would you lecture him about getting his act together?
Of course not.
Still, families grapple with addiction at home for two reasons: First, addiction can look an awful lot like bad behavior, especially at the outset. And second, parents feel embarrassed that addiction has found it’s way into their family, so they try solving the problem behind closed doors. There is a lot of shame related to this disease— parents feel as if they have failed.
In my 30 years as an interventionist, I’ve come to understand that addiction is one of the most complicated medical diseases to date. Few addicts recover on their own. And when they do, the hidden components of the disease have often gone untreated. An incomplete treatment leaves the entire family vulnerable to relapse. It can fracture families, which is counterproductive to your loved one finding and remaining in recovery.