Families don’t need to suffer…
Families and spouses can become spiritually ill and go somewhat insane themselves, just as the addict. Let’s face it, if you live with a crazy person, chances are you will go sort of crazy yourself. An addict’s negative energy permeates all who surround him. If and when the addict gets better, spouses and family members are suddenly slammed with the pile of crap inside of them that had built up and was perhaps ignored by necessity. They begin to suffer greatly and wonder why.
Why do I feel more awful now that he or she has gotten well? I should feel better now… but I feel worse!
Our addiction is their bridge to insanity. The addiction of another can become a necessary preoccupation from their own worsening mental sickness, anxiety or depression. In a strange, almost pain-dependent way, families remain in a comfort zone of their own by trying to control, fix, manipulate, instigate, antagonize… all things a healthy person would recoil from. But for codependents, addiction provides them with a strange relief by enabling them to constantly deflect their own pain, self-responsibility, character flaws, or dependency issues. This is why most couples break up after the addict gets better. If one person gets better and the other does not, there isn’t much of a happy future ahead. Also, the sober addict is often nothing like the way he or she used to be. His or her spouse might wake up and realize,
Wait a minute, I’m not sure I even like this person! Sure they were an asshole when actively drinking, but it was that old personality I fell in love with, not this new one.
Regardless of what happens, once an addict achieves health and sanity, many family members and loved ones cannot help but realize how much pain they are in. Therefore, parents and spouses usually need the same thing addicts do – for the hole inside them to be filled. It does not seem fair, and the truth is, it’s not. But it’s reality. Codependents have always had us addicts to distract them and to blame. If we suddenly get better, there is no more distraction and nothing more to blame. Everything inside that the codependent has neatly tucked away now stares them right in the face. Time to take some action.
I strongly suggest that any spouses, parents, close relatives or friends who are suffering, even long after the addict has recovered, go out and embark on a rigorous Twelve Step process. It may save them as well. To note, they can follow the exact same Big Book Twelve Step directions that we do. All they need is to find a recovered sponsor or an al-anon sponsor who has taken these Steps and recovered.
Ultimately, the only thing you can really do to change anything is to let go of the addict and go heal yourself.
God, please give our families and spouses the willingness and power to heal and grow…