On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…the admittance that they no longer have power over their addiction and have lost their shit.
Pssst…This is the part where they should probably call upon a Higher Power to assist in giving them some strength and faith.
Christmastime is the perfect time for the 12 Steps. For the entire family. You see, if you still accept your loved one who is trying to work through their sobriety, you should consider doing the 12 Steps with them. If you don’t, you’re showing them that they are the only one in the family who is flawed and everyone else is just friggin’ perfect as fireflies. FYI: You’re not. You’re fucked too.
The actual literature about the 12 steps discusses that one must hit “rock bottom” to truly hand themselves over to the admittance that they no longer have control over their lives. Here’s the thing about “rock bottom” and AA, every person has a different “rock bottom”. (I’m not as familiar with NA as AA, I’ll admit. The reason? Because even my “rock bottom” clients with other types of addiction would say NA was too strict and AA was a more welcoming place.) “Rock bottom” means anything from arrest to intervention from family to prison time to losing to children to losing everything. Most times, I don’t coddling people with addictions. I have the old school view on things of breaking it down and then assessing the person beneath the exterior who has issues with trauma or depression or a personality disorder.
The reason that that families should work the 12 Steps together is so that they can evaluate themselves, the dysfunction in their homes (oh, get over it, we all have some of it), and create a judgment-free place of love and acceptance. Here’s the thing, family members and loved ones in support in of their person who was addicted should be willing to assess their own journey and take some inventory about who they themselves are in truth. So, just humor me.
Once upon a time…ok, the time was about 15 or 16 years ago, I went through one of the most traumatic times of my life. By the way, I’m one of those people who completely represses their feelings about the incident until it’s over, then, I deal with it in my own way. In that instance, I dealt with it in the complete wrong way. I dated completely inappropriate men…often. I abused alcohol alone and with others to the point the I would black out and constantly end up between the coffee table and the couch (when alone, never really sure how or why always ended up there).
I realize now that God and the help of some angels saved me some from some disastrous situations. Perhaps the time I took on a roommate, a stranger, and a man, who was actually a murderer on the run from another state. Nice guy, but found out later from his next roommate, that he had several alias’ and was on the run…wasn’t my best idea, but I needed the income. Desperate times call for frightening mistakes.
The only thing I’ve ever been truly addicted to is cigarettes, but, for some reason, I’m better at dealing with substance abuse than mental health (my concentration in grad school was mental health and substance abuse). Despite the fact that I grew up in a chaotic household run by a father with type one Bipolar Disorder (the more often manic one) and an obviously depressed and disengaged mother, dealing with these things made me shy away from serious mental illness and towards addiction. I thought it was God’s plan for me, but God has something else in mind entirely. I wish He would give me a hint.
So, in the spirit of Christmas, hold back a little on the presents and give a little more of yourself to someone who is hurting more than you may know.
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Family, friends, sober, and using, please comment here and share in your journey and ask any questions you like! If I don’t have the answer, I’ll find out and get back to you!