When you finally recover and see the light on the other side of addiction, you begin to understand and empathize with others struggling with this disease as you begin to see yourself in their every word, their every thought, their every action, when you were in active addiction.
When you see another who is living in a world where only their perception guides them, and is their only “reality,” you begin to understand and empathize with their ill mind, body, and soul. It triggers memories of a past set in paranoia and delusions induced by the seduction of a drug.
When you know the solution and the path that leads to serenity, survival, sanity, and self-love and respect, you want to share it with all those suffering with addiction to hear. You know you have to exercise patience, love, empathy and acceptance for where the addict is presently, hold their hand, reassure them, and pray with them, and for them. When someone is ill, we don’t turn our backs on them, we offer them love and support, and help them to find healing remedies and solutions.
When the mind of an addict has been reduced to that of a child who hasn’t developed reasoning skills or coping skills as of yet, who suffers with separation anxiety, who loves to be the center of attention, who doesn’t understand the meaning of delayed gratification, or the precious meaning of life, who is unable to feel anything or hear anything unless it feels good for them, we must all pitch in to teach new and acceptable behaviors, and to teach them to feel everything with grace and confidence. We must reassure them that they are safe, and encourage them to find the lesson from every feeling in every situation…to remind them over and over that they have the power to heal and grow when they remain open minded, teachable, and positive, rather than living in isolation and in fear from feeling our emotions. We must find ways to allow them to see the spectacular human being that they can be, and empower them to accept and embrace change in order to evolve. We must guide them in making good decisions for themselves and in doing the right thing. We must guide them with strength, faith, hope, and love so that they may slowly find their own path and learn to navigate successfully in their lives. Lead by example. Help them to jump start a new beginning, and then cheer them on from the sidelines. I’ve always said from the time I began my recovery, “It takes a village to raise an addict.”
When you see a loved one suffering with the disease of addiction, please remember that they can recover, and that each person has specific needs. Listen, don’t preach. Love, don’t smother. Guide, don’t overwhelm. Meet them where they are. Allow them the dignity and respect of being proactive in their recovery. If they are unable to participate early on, but they are aware that they need help, and they ask for help, find resources where they can heal naturally and organically to give the body and the mind a chance to truly heal on a cellular level, rather than finding resources that continue to keep them hostages to drugs by giving them drugs to manage their substance abuse. There may be a true medical need initially for medication assisted detox, but after the patient is stabilized, let’s gradually push out the drugs and begin to introduce natural and organic solutions that are sustainable, and can offer a successful lifelong recovery.
By being mindful of the addict’s mindset and needs, we can help them to retrain their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors thus leading to healthy cells, leading to a healthy immune system, leading to a healthy body, mind and soul. The healthy food that we feed our bodies, the positive thoughts that we feed our mind, and the love and compassion with the addict which feeds our soul, has a direct impact on our overall health, especially in addiction recovery, when we are trying to find and practice alternatives that support harmonious health for life.
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