Do you know of a family member or a close friend who suffers from addiction? How has their family reacted? Have they been open about their struggles with the mental illness or have they kept them hidden in the dark? I understand these can be emotional questions to answer because I have family members who struggle with alcoholism.
Most people, when they hear the word addiction automatically think of the social and behavioral problems. However, the root problem of addiction is really physical and psychological. For example, I have a heart condition. My heartbeat is often irregular. When this happens my brain steps in and I take action. I lay down and call the doctor. A person who suffers from addiction has a brain condition, a mental illness. The very thing they need – the brain to take control – is the physical body part that is sick.
The struggle for addicts is so daunting. Can you imagine how difficult it must be to psychologically fight a behavior when your brain physically craves it? It is hard to put ourselves in the addict’s shoes, but Samantha Fowler did in the video below.
I have known the Fowler family ever since Sam’s mother, Elizabeth was my first boss out of college. I have watched her three kids grow up, and I’m moved to share Sam’s perspective of her brother’s journey with addiction. Her perspective enlightened me and challenged the way I think about the disease. Her desire to give addiction a voice is beyond impressive and her wisdom beyond her years. I believe her knowledge will be a part of the healing journey for so many families who are battling addictions.
Sam made 3 great points in her video. They are worth repeating and sharing. It is my hope that you can share them with someone who needs to hear them.
1. Addiction is a Psychological Disease
No one chooses to become an addict. They are born with a mental illness. If it came down to free will, the recovery process would be quicker and simpler. But since it deals with changing the mind’s chemistry, the process can be treacherous, but not hopeless.
2. Addiction Affects Family Members More
It affects the addict and the addict’s family members. Family members are more at risk because they are sober to the addicts’ conditions causing them to develop psychological and emotional problems such as thoughts of suicide, self-harm, and becoming numb to the feeling of death. Addicts, however, are numb to their dangerous behavioral patterns which causes the delay in their recovery.
3. Addiction Thrives in Darkness
Anonymity is not the way to heal because it deals in feelings of fear and shame. Such feelings are not from our God of love, but from Satan, who comes to only steal and destroy. For families who are searching for healing, they have to find courage for vulnerability; it is the only way to find freedom.
Tell us! What is something new you have learned about addiction and will share with those around you?