It’s a gray and rainy day, and I’m sitting in a room with a group of people who never wanted to gain entry into the retreat we’re hosting. They desperately tried everything in their power to never be here. They formulated plans, they had talks, they paid good money, they supported, they begged, they pleaded, they researched, and they loved with all they had. And, yet, here they are: the folks who have lost a loved one to the disease of addiction.
Children in homes where addiction is present tend to adopt relatively predictable family of origin roles or scripts. These roles allow children to draw positive attention, and sometimes are designed to avoid any attention at all. Each role seems to be focused on a universal primary relationship goal: an attempt to not feel pain. Our kids often play their roles with such fluidity that they go unnoticed. They do their best to help the chemically dependent home they are living in feel safe and structured.
The Responsible Child is the adolescent who acts like an adult. They try to produce predictability, tame tensions, and organize the outcomes. On the extreme end, these kids are planning and preparing meals. They may be cleaning the household, or making sure the doors are locked at night. If there are younger siblings, they may be checking backpacks for homework folders and ensuring that assignments are completed.
Family Recovery Series: 6 Things You Can Do to Help an Alcoholic Loved One.
Part One: Educate Yourself About Alcoholism and Addiction
Even though the first step in Al-Anon tells us we are powerless over another’s drinking or addiction, we know there are things we can do to help the situation. In the coming months, we’d like to discuss 6 things you actually can do to help an alcoholic loved one.