For Family and Loved Ones
Are you feeling exasperated about your family member’s addiction?
Are you fed up with watching your loved ones destroy their lives?
Are you at your wit’s end, having tried everything you can think of to make them stop?
Caring about an addicted person can feel like a nightmare.
Does this sound like you?
- You are sick and tired of the pain and/or abuse in your relationships.
- You yell at the “addict” in your life, threatening to leave the relationship if the problem behaviour doesn’t stop.
- You “protect” the addict by making excuses for the behaviour.
- You make appointments with doctors and therapists, only to find that the person is unwilling to go.
- You complain to your friends and family members about this person, even though you know they don’t have any answers for you.
- You try to convince yourself that the problem really isn’t that bad.
- You feel sorry for yourself, baffled about why this is happening to you and what to do about it.
You may find that the addictive behaviours of your partner or family member are consuming all of your energy and bringing you down. The anxiety you feel may be interfering with your sleep and robbing you of your enjoyment of life.
The pain and unpredictability of caring for an addict seem to go on forever.
Barbara Stops Rescuing Her Teenagers
and Develops Self-Love
Candace changed my life. I had always prided myself on being a survivor of abuse (physical, mental, psychological), until I adopted two FAS Native children in a love-less marriage. My marriage soon fell apart and my life quickly began to unravel.
When my children became teenagers, they both became addicted to alcohol and drugs. I struggled with this situation for several years, not having the first idea of how to deal with it. They were both verbally abusive with me, and totally disrespectful of me and our home, causing a lot of physical damage any number of times. The environment was threatening, physically and emotionally. Both kids were skipping school and in trouble with the police. They were regularly getting fired from the jobs my ex-husband and I had gotten for them. I was continually “rescuing” them from the trouble they were getting into. I had fooled myself into thinking I was coping and doing the right thing… ever the survivor.
At a point of absolute mental and physical collapse, a good friend recommended that I meet with Candace. The thought of “exposing” my world and thoughts to a stranger was, frankly, terrifying. I didn’t know where to begin and really didn’t believe I needed help… ever the survivor.
Candace was absolutely amazing. Her clarity, integrity, and skillful guidance turned my life upside down, in a good way. I began to view myself in a different way, learning how to value myself. I came to recognize that I hadn’t been functioning very well at all; I had been denying my own pain, not respecting MY needs and, in fact, enabling my kids to choose the wrong path. As my sessions with Candace progressed, I learned how to set clear, firm boundaries with my ex-husband and with both of my children, and I soon began to feel a lot better about myself.
I swear to you that if Candace had not come into my life at that crucial moment in time, things would have been very different — or should I say things would have stayed the same, with potentially disastrous long-term consequences for me and my children. Today we are all doing well, physically and emotionally. We have a much healthier relationship with each other than we have ever had before. The abuse has stopped, the enabling has stopped, and my new found self-respect is modeling a healthy approach to life’s choices.
The next time I’m feeling mired in confusion, I will have absolutely no hesitation to pick up the phone and call Candace, knowing with confidence that she will help me navigate through the toxic fog. I am so glad I listened to my friend and took that first step to reach out to Candace for help!
If someone you love is abusing drugs or alcohol, or is engaging in other addictive behaviours such as disordered eating, problem gambling, smoking, internet addiction, abusive relationships, or compulsive spending, you are not alone!
You may think that it’s somehow YOUR fault, because you have not found a way to make the turmoil stop.
You feel like a “bad” parent or spouse, that you “should” be able to do something to end this terrible situation.
To make matters worse, your addicted family member may be telling you that you are to blame for his or her addictive behaviours!
Although the details of your experience may differ from someone else’s, the emotions you feel are often the same as others who are dealing with a loved one’s addiction.
Some of the most common emotions include:
- frustration and fear
- anger and anxiety
- guilt and shame
- confusion and powerlessness
- hopelessness and depression
If you are in a relationship with an addict, you may be neglecting yourself by not giving yourself the attention you need, and your own self-care is likely suffering.
The first step in helping an addicted family member is to learn how to “detach with love” and start looking after your OWN needs.
You need to learn how to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF first.
Once you start focusing on changing your own behaviour and taking responsibility for the things you CAN change, you will:
- find time for yourself without feeling stress and guilt
- set appropriate boundaries with others, such as saying “NO” when you mean “No”
- express your anger and other emotions in safe and healthy ways
- ask for and get help when you need it
- let go of control and perfectionism, creating more ease and enjoyment in your life
- take care of yourself physically – eating well, getting enough sleep, etc.
- spend more quality time with nurturing friends and family members
- learn to HAVE FUN!
To order Candace’s award-winning book Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Top 10 Survival Tips for Loving Someone with an Addiction, click here.
Kelly Overcomes Guilt and Becomes
a Strong Role-Model for Her Family
I began seeing Candace because my daughter had a serious addiction problem that was negatively impacting my life and the lives of my family as well. I was overwhelmed with feelings of fear, anger and guilt.
I was trying to help my daughter stop using drugs, but because she wasn’t ready to help herself, my efforts were in vain. I was letting her walk all over me because I was afraid that if I set hard boundaries I might lose her forever. I felt a lot of guilt, and I had been blaming myself for her situation for a very long time.
Candace quickly helped me see that I needed to establish firm boundaries for myself and my family. I began to understand that I could only continue to emotionally support my daughter if she respected those boundaries. I realized that I couldn’t control her addiction, that I could only control my own choices and reactions. Most importantly, I knew I was the one who needed to set the respectful tone that I would accept in my relationship with her.
As I started to see the situation more objectively, I understood that my daughter’s addiction was not my fault. I could be there for her in more emotionally healthy ways, without compromising my self-respect.
Now I feel strong and confident when I make decisions for myself and the rest of my family. My daughter is a part of my life. It’s not always easy, but I am offering her loving support with new understanding, respect and integrity.
Counselling can help you detach from your loved one’s addiction and learn how to focus on yourself – the only thing you do have control over.
Counselling with a skilled professional such as myself can help you to regain the self-respect and the peace in your life that you so deserve. Getting counselling for a family member’s addiction can help you overcome the pain and confusion you are experiencing. The improvements you make in your own life can also have a huge impact on your loved one’s addictive behaviour.
If you are ready to try a different approach, I can show you another way to be in relationship with your addicted family member or loved one.
If you would like to call me for a free 15-minute telephone consultation, you can reach me at 604-677-5876. If you would prefer to email me, my address is email@example.com. I would love to hear from you.
My office is located in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I provide therapy and counselling services for the Greater Vancouver area including Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, North Vancouver and West Vancouver.