Medicating Oneself: Checking Out of Family Intimacy & Relationships

Contributor: Martin Jackson, MA., M.Ed., LADC – Owner/Founder – The Institute of Health & Healing Sciences, LLC.

woman-335394_640As it is written in Joseph Lee’s book, Recovering My Kid, “Nothing makes parents’ hearts sink faster than the thought of their child suffering. And addiction is a uniquely dark and deep form of suffering. Over years of addiction, families our worn down, trust is lost, and relationships are strained.

No logic or science can adequately explain how the disease mutates the afflicted, how they no longer resemble the loved ones who once seemed so familiar. All too often, this is the tragic lens through which society views the young who lose their way,” (Joseph Lee, MD. Recovering My Kid, 2012, p. ix).

Severing Relationships

When one engages in the process of medicating themselves, whether medically or recreationally, it is rarely their goal to sever the relational and intimate relationships they have established over the years.

In all of my 27 years of treating individuals and families with addictive disorders, I have never heard anyone state,

“I began using so that one day my beloved mother/father will begin to become so heartbroken, that she/he will want to disown me, for the sake of ‘tough love!’

“Oft-times this disconnect, between those who’ve once enjoyed the pleasure of experiencing family intimacy and healthy relationships, can unfortunately begin with the process of “medicating oneself.”

Clouding Your Mind

When one has ingested him/herself with mind/mood altering chemicals, in order to medicate themselves, their vision to see into themselves and others, in a spirit of truth called—into-me-you-see—(intimacy), becomes jaundiced or clouded.

That which is said to make one free, truth, is no longer the order of the day for the one medicating themselves or the family to which they belong, and it seems that the checking out of family intimacy and a healthy relationship seems to be a thing of the past.

It Becomes too Easy to “Take a Pill”

peace-of-mind-349815_640Yes, with the tremendous amount of medications available to consumers today, along with the appearance of many in our society, having an enormous appetite to feel better, or enhance their performance, this medicating of oneself may be the result of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde behaviors families are witnessing by their loved one(s).

As a result, the thin line between medicating oneself and that which is known as addiction, becomes one and the same.

Solutions for Family Relationship Strain

What may be a solution that will assist families to reconcile their differences, redeem that which seems to have been lost, and ultimately enable them to recover from that checking out of family intimacy and relationships?

What will it take for families to restore those ties that once bound them together, reconnecting them, in order to make them stronger than those that would tear them apart? That which has proven to work for millions of families over the years has been found in the twenty-four spiritual principles utilized by anonymous programs.

Families Need to Understand the 12-Steps

This idea of understanding the 12-Steps of Recovery, utilized by Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, etc., without helping individuals and families to understand the true value of the 12-Traditions of Recovery, only half of the mission is complete.

There are 12-Steps and 12-Traditions, equaling 24-Spiritual Principles, just as there are 24 hours in a complete day. Assisting individuals and families to effectively apply these principles in their lives, can help resurrect the balance of true love, where tough love appears to have been thwarted.

Is this the only answer to the dilemma, Medicating Oneself: Checking Out of Family Intimacy & Relationships? No; but it surely has done wonders for many who practice those 24-Spiritual Principles, in all of their affairs, and improve their intimacy and relationships with others and society—One Day at a Time.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What are some examples of ways you have reconciled with family while in addiction recovery?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 17th, 2014
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Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.