If you are a teen living with an adult who has a problem with alcohol or drugs, you need to know one thing, and you need to let this sink deep into the inner recesses of your soul: It’s not your fault!
Adults who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction and have refused to address their problem are, in most instances, incapable of taking responsibility for their own actions. They invariably look for some thing, or some one to blame for their problems. If you are living with such a person, you probably know what I mean. You may have been blamed yourself, either directly or indirectly, for this person’s problems, including their addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Here is a simple phrase that you can repeat to yourself to help you absorb this message: I didn’t Cause it, I can’t Control it, and I can’t Cure it. These are the three C’s of recovery. Repeat them to yourself; meditate on them; and let the truth of these three words ring in the deepest parts of who you are.
I Didn’t Cause It
You didn’t cause your parent, brother, uncle, stepparent, (insert the label for the addicted adult you live with)… to be an alcoholic or a drug addict. They are sick people who need treatment; in many cases they don’t have control over their own decisions once they begin using. Addiction is a powerful force that has your loved one locked up in a prison that they cannot escape from themselves.
They will blame you, manipulate you, verbally abuse you, and make you think that it is your fault that they drink or do drugs. You must resist the temptation to accept this blame. It’s not your fault, and you didn’t cause it!
I Can’t Control It
You don’t have the power to control your loved ones behavior, and you certainly can’t control their drinking or drugging. You may have been told by your loved one that if only you got better grades, didn’t mess up at school, cleaned the house more, showed your loved one more respect, blah, blah, blah, he or she would stop drinking or drugging. It is a lie and don’t believe it!
You can’t control their behavior any more than you can keep the sun from rising in the morning. You’re just not that powerful. The alcoholic or drug addict may have given you lots of power in your house. Maybe you pay the bills, buy the groceries, take care of a sibling, and have responsibility beyond what should be given to someone your age, but you aren’t powerful enough to control an addict’s behavior. You can’t control it, and it’s not your job to try.
You Can’t Cure It
If your loved one is an addict, you can’t cure their disease. You may have lived with the addict for so long that you think that your behavior can affect the addict’s behavior and outcome. Don’t believe. It is a lie!
The only one who can stop an alcoholic or drug addict from using is the alcoholic or drug addict. Only they can make the decision to quit. Only they can make the decision to seek help. You can suggest they get help, but you can’t make them do it. You can’t cure it, and it’s not your job to try!