The Only Disease That We Wait to Get Worse Before We Treat It

May 12, 2023

What’s the first thing that you do when someone you love gets diagnosed with a life-threatening illness?

People in the family gather up all the information they possibly can and look for treatment options. And you communicate with each other about how to get on board with a plan of action. It becomes a team effort. Only one person may officially be diagnosed with the disease, but the whole family becomes a part of the solution.

What happens to a family when they get inflicted with drug and alcohol addiction?

Not that.

When the illness is addiction, people in the family tend to split off, they get compartmentalized, they get fractured. People argue. One person wants to handle it one way and another person wants to handle it completely differently. People’s feelings about it are varied, and so the response to it is varied.

And there’s judgment about that.

On top of that, we often focus on the behavior of the addict and less about what’s going on underneath, what’s the root cause. We don’t know what treatment looks like. We don’t know how to get them to treatment. Most don’t know treatment is for those who don’t want it. Addiction is treatment resistant. We don’t know what the arc of care is. We don’t know what it really takes to recover. We don’t know when we’ll even know if they’re recovering. We don’t know what to do when they call us from treatment wanting to leave early. And for so many of us, we don’t know when to step in and take action.

Addiction is a deadly disease. And it is the only disease that we wait for it to get worse before we treat it.

We don’t have to wait.

There is a solution. And just like with any other disease, the family can be involved in strengthening that solution.

The family has become unwell as a result of loving someone with addiction simply because of how we respond and how we feel about it. We can start to get well before they do. We can all get well together—the family and the person struggling.

Tipping Point Recovery has created a training to educate you on how to do it. It’s called “Dear Family, If I Relapse, Please Do This,” and it talks about what I wish my family knew when I was struggling. It’s available for free within our new Facebook community, Friends of Tipping Point—A Hub for Recovery Conversations, along with loads of other training and resources to help you understand addiction so you can offer healthy help.

Go find it. Let’s get you grounded so that you can stop waiting and start making recovery-oriented decisions. Click here to join the community. I look forward to seeing you in there.

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