This Is What We Mean By a Family Disease

September 29, 2023
Text post that reads, "Your paths are mirrored. Your recovery can be too."

Your loved one called me and left me a voicemail. They had a moment of desperation, they were crying, sounded super ready for help.

I called them back right away and left a voice message, sent a text as well.

They called me back!


We had a great chat, I could totally relate to them and they to me…they said, “Wow you totally get me.” Meaning we connected. Big time.

They said they are SO DONE and want to go to detox ASAP. They’re ready.


I got them a bed in a detox and have been trying to reach them for 4-5 days with no word back.

This is the scenario I found myself in hundreds of times when I worked as a Recovery Coach.

You get it, I’m sure. It’s a very common scenario. The reality is these moments of desperation are fleeting, like cracks in a window that slam shut as fast as they open.

I remember it so well. Day after day I would wake up determined not to drink. Today was the day I would get help. I cried. I called people for help. I went to a meeting and poured my heart out to the strangers that gave me a chip and surrounded me with phone numbers and love.

I’d leave the meeting and I would drink.

Again and again and again.

“Why can’t you stop for me?” she would say.
“Why don’t you just stop?” he’d yell.
“What the hell is the matter with you?” she’d snap.

When someone is addicted (insert definition) they can’t stop.

Your friend texted me, “Kate, I just sent your information to a woman named Jane. her daughter is struggling and she just called her mom asking for help. The mom doesn’t know what to do. I hope she calls you.”

Never heard from her.

Your therapist left me a voicemail, “Kate, just gave your name to Tony. His son is in really bad shape. They need you desperately. Here’s his number.”

Never heard from him.

Your friend called me, “Kate, there’s someone from my AA meeting who is going to die. His dad really wants help, I gave him your number. I hope he calls you.” He texts us both and the dad says he’ll call me tonight.

Never heard from him.

What is going on in these scenarios?

One is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and wants help in these brief fleeting moments and when they return to use, they lose the phone number, lose the momentum, willingness and/or interest.

One is caught in the fear, worry, confusion and chaos of potentially losing a loved one. They want help in these brief fleeting moments and when things settle down just a little bit, things don’t seem as bad.

This is what we mean by addiction being a family disease. You and your loved one both are caught in a cycle that is making you unwell. Your paths are mirrored.

Your recovery can be too.

I know how hard it is to break that cycle, as the addict and the family member. It’s been all you’ve known for so long it’s hard to imagine there’s another way.

There is. The hundreds of family members who have worked our programs will tell you as much. You can hear from them here or in our Friends of Tipping Point online community.

You have the strength within you to break your loop and do something differently, to make that phone call and choose a new path. I know you do.

And we’ll be here to help you do the rest, every step of the way.

Book a call here or reach out to me directly at 978-394-7788.

Leave a Comment


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts


Subscribe to our newsletter

to never miss a post.