If your not new to addiction hitting your family you completely understand what a Battle our loved ones face when it comes to ending drug use/abuse. For many it’s a battle that rages for many months and years before they can come to a place where they can start putting some real Recovery time together.
That Battle is one that they will fight daily. But once that battle line has been established and the fires of the active addiction have been put out, there are other Battles our loved ones will face, and they are the Battles of putting their lives back together.
Many like my son, whose Battle of addiction has raged for years not months, will endure some pretty tough opposition in regaining the ground lost in the first Battle. There are a number of fronts that will need to fought, like;
Health issues: These can range from the severe such as Hepatitis C and HIV to malnutrition and skin lesions and abscesses. Infection is a huge enemy of addiction and it can take a fair amount of clean time for the body to rebuild its immune system.
Mental Health Issues: Depending on the number of years of abuse and the drugs which were abused many of our addicts must deal with mental health issues, and not only those from the chemical reactions from the drugs but also the many emotional traumas that can come during active addiction. This Battle in and of itself can send our loved ones back seeking the very drugs they left if not carefully helped through this front.
Relational Issues: Active addiction and all that it encompasses can split families, turn family members against each other and even alienate our loved one who has worked hard to put good Recovery time on the calendar. We must allow them the space to work these issues out. Those who have chosen the AA path will work through this step, as will those who work with faith groups and private counselors. Relationships are one of the biggest causalities of this Battle. But with time, love, forgiveness and extending grace can come full circle.
Career/Financial Issues: For most addicts, sustaining a job during active abuse just cannot happen. Most lose jobs or just plain walk away. Regaining ground here can take a long time. Some will never return to the fields they left as they may find them to be too risky and/or too much of a trigger that may send them right back to active addiction. Never mind the debt they may have to pay back to family, Rehab/Hospital facilities, Courts, Tickets, License’s etc.
Reputation Issues: This one can go hand in hand with the Career/Financial; rebuilding ones reputation takes time, and for the Recovered Addict it can a lot longer than any of us would ever want to have to deal with. In today’s electronic society running a Google check on a potential new employee can bring up Police Reports in newspapers and other such proceedings in the news. This Battle front can take years to regain ground in.
So the next time we utter the words “why can’t they just quit” and with that statement think that once they do ALL will be right in our world and theirs think again… The Battle of active use may be put to bed, but there are so many more they will need to fight.
I pray that we as family members will know how best to encourage them and come alongside them when needed. Sometimes just being a listening ear as they try to navigate through the battles is one of the most valuable tools in their arsenal as they continue to regain ground.