Your Loved One Is Not Unique

May 24, 2024

Earlier in May, we held a 3-day retreat for the clients in our year-long program, and I came across a reflection from the retreat the year before.

In a role playing exercise with one of our Interventionists playing the role of the addict and a dad playing his parent, we had a powerful role play of a conversation so the dad could practice reframing his responses to his son.

For this dad and everyone watching, it felt like the words they were hearing from the interventionist were coming directly from their loved ones’ mouths!

“Oh, my gosh, that sounds exactly like my loved one.” Everyone was stunned how real it felt. 

The commonality of how the interventionist was responding to how their loved ones had responded in the past to everything this dad was saying was almost scary. 

How could he possibly know?

This dad realized, “My son is really not that unique. This is the disease of addiction.” He was spot on.

Your loved one is not unique.

Helping families to understand this is one of my primary missions, and it originated back before I had any idea Tipping Point Recovery would be a thing.

I was running a support group for families, and the whole reason I had started the group was to demystify these statements I kept hearing from families. Things like,

“She’s such a jerk.”

“He’s such a liar.”

“They are so manipulative.”

What I realized most people think all this awfulness is just their person; not realizing it is all addicts.

I ran this group as an ally for their loved one. A representative for the truth about this disease. A translator/interpreter. 

When someone would say, “She’s such a jerk,” I replied, “Yeah, I was too.”

When someone would say, “He’s such a liar,” I said, “I lied constantly.”

When they said, “They’re so manipulative,” I responded, “Listen to how I manipulated my family.”

The families in this group knew me as the recovered version of myself. They looked at me and saw a warm, honest person trying to help. And I was telling them how every awful thing their loved one had done was something I had done too.

It’s not just your loved one; it’s all addicts.

Addiction lies, denies, and manipulates.

We do it because we’re sick, and these behaviors are symptoms of our illness.

When I realized families didn’t know this, it struck me as the thing I was going to do for the rest of my life—tell families the truth. I am going to make sure people know they’re loved one is not a jerk.

Not so you excuse their harmful behavior. Not so you put up with it. But so together we can focus on going after the real problem. 

I focus an entire section of my book on the symptoms of addiction, along with other often misunderstood truths about this disease. The book is called Dear Family, Why Your Loved One Won’t Accept Help and How to Help Them Anyway, and it’s available now. 

It’s a great place to start if you want to lift the curtain on what is really going on with your loved one and learn a new approach to dealing with it.

Share with me below, do you believe that your loved one isn’t unique? Do you believe their behavior is a symptom of their addiction rather than them just being a jerk? Or is that still a difficult concept for you to accept? It’s okay either way. Share what you’re feeling in the comments.

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  1. Tami

    My mind tells me it’s the afflict but my heart hurts to think my son would do or say these things. Any attempt to help him is me with denial and lies. Even when the proof is right there it’s either someone else’s or that’s an old needle on and on and on. If we push too hard he leaves and the night is filled with hateful texts and threats of suicide.

    • Kate Duffy

      Hi Tami, I hear you. It’s incredibly challenging when our minds and hearts are in conflict, especially in situations involving loved ones. We should remember, our journey to healing often starts within ourselves. Thank you for sharing with us.


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