Carl Davenport talks about how families are affected by addiction
Addiction in the family: Healing for all
In a recent interview with Recovery Today, our Community Outreach Director discusses addiction and how it affects families.
Sherry: I’m sort of family member of addict alcoholic, and so I have a lot of empathy for the families as well. What do you offer the families? They’re coming in struggling too.
Carl: Absolutely. People think this is and I thought the same thing you know. I’m only hurting myself. I’m not hurting anybody else, the fact of it really is hurting everybody around us. Addiction is a family disease.
Sherry: That’s a second hand disease.
Carl: So it’s very important to get the families involved the parents involved. So every client that comes in to us, our clinical director and the therapist we make it within the first week to certainly get ahold of the parents, talk to them. We do groups with the individuals with the clients and therapist and the parents and then every Saturday not every, once a month on Saturdays we also do another group. We have the parents come with them and those are very powerful groups. Oddly enough the ones that it really made sense to when we would do these things that I see the most help or their other fathers.
Carl: Dads, they get to kind of see what going on to feel alone and you’re sitting in a group with 15 or 20 parents and they have and you have their children with their 15 or 20 young adults men and women and they can see similarities. They feel it’s a healing process for them because as a parent myself you know what happened, is we blame ourselves you know? My daughter, my son is an alcoholic or something, drug addict and they feel it’s a healing process for them because as a parent myself you know what happened is we blame ourselves. Must be something I did you know we take the blame on so were able to show them that it’s not, that there is some other… There’s a physical disease.
Sherry: And the power of being with other families, not feeling so alone.
Carl: Much more powerfully than I thought it would be like I say in the father’s you know they break down and they get to because they get to see what other families are going through the exact same thing.
I went into when I went into treatment myself and a wonderful therapist, they drew something on the board and I said about a family disease and they threw this circle with the alcoholic and they said the I’m the alcoholic and what happens is that net dynamics I have with my family as I come home I get drunk during the day and a come over every night, and I scream at the wife and I go and tell him my daughter has to do homework with me and I say sure I’ll do that and I don’t do. I go over and I kicked the dog and then I go to my son and he wants to play ball or have some fun in time I don’t do any of that because I continue drinking get drunk.
When that changes when that dynamic in me changes back into that family they’re used to me screaming, not doing homework and kicking the dog so that part has to change too, you know that they have to understand. So I need to be even more cognitive and aware happened there it’s amazing that this. I am doing homework with them, where I am not screaming. Life changes so their life has to change to its well a family disease.
Sherry: It’s… you were available you were unavailable and suddenly you’re available and they’re like not everybody used to me being there. Yeah, sometimes it even worked for them as painful as it was sometimes worked for them. That’s when you really have to support the family. So what would you say if a family member was listening to this video right now and is in pain?
Carl: You just get help you know. You got to reach out and have a client reach out to us you know you got to go to them. It’s a disease I had to remind myself with us all the time to you know, hate the disease not the individual. That’s the hardest part we have to do sometimes is to work on it’s you know, this person is doing this because they’re using heroin.
Sherry: So they’ll say to you I’m so angry and I’m so hurt it’s like okay be angry at the disease just don’t be angry at the person. Have compassionate for the person.
Carl: That’s the hardest thing to do you. Draw some boundaries that’s the hardest thing to do is draw all those boundaries and what you can or can’t do you know if you draw some of those boundaries… I did I work with the client with the parents all the time and they call and they want to get their average age our clients are probably 18 to 29 average age probably 25, 26.