Tonight I announced to the world (ok, facebook, whatever) that Mr D is an addict. I’m interested in the reactions of my friends and family but I am more concerned with getting out of the addiction closet. I refuse to contribute to the stigma addiction disease leaves on families, and I want to show people that this affects more people than they think, and the “kind of people” that they love.
I hope they still love us, anyway.
Here was my post (yup, it was a long one):
Dear friends and family:
I value you in my life so much that I need to be honest with you about the situation our family is experiencing. I have decided that I cannot live in shame or fear of people’s negative opinions, and I need support from people that care about me and my family.
On December 21, Mr. D was admitted to a residential treatment facility in (a city south of home) for addiction to prescription Vicodin. It has been a difficult time for all of us, not just Mr. D. Initially, he entered rehab at my insistence, but since he has been there he has come to a realization of what his addiction can (and almost) cost him and is working the program well. We had an especially productive time this weekend, the “Family Communication” weekend. This morning I also met with him and his residential counselor to discuss his homecoming and his intensive outpatient treatment plan.
He will be discharged on January 19, and then have 10 weeks of thrice weekly counseling sessions (group and individual), which includes one session per week with family members. He will also be attending almost daily Narcotics Anonymous meeting, and I will be attending Al-Anon meetings weekly. We have a long road ahead of us but we have committed our family to his recovery, so long as he continues to not use any substances. We aren’t really drinkers, but even alcohol is banned from our home throughout his initial recovery. As his counselor said today, “You may not have an alcohol problem, but there is certainly a Vicodin for you at the bottom of a beer bottle”.
We appreciate your support and encouragement during this time. It doesn’t matter how it got to this point or the circumstances that ultimately led Mr. D to inpatient rehab; what matters is that Mr. D recognized he had a problem and is working on treating it. Addiction disease is real. You can learn more about it at the website I attached to this status [another shameless plug for Addict Science] . If you cannot support our family’s recovery, or cannot accept that this is truly a disease that can affect ANYBODY, maybe you should consider un-friending me (and I don’t mean only on facebook).
Mr. D knows he has to stay clean to keep his family. One pact we made with the counselor during the session is that if Mr. D uses any (ANY) substance, he has to leave the home until he asks for help getting clean. Please do not enable him in the coming months in any way (not that he would ask, I hope…but an addict brain in beginning recovery doesn’t rationalize, it hungers).
Send positive thoughts and comments to us (Mr. D has not phone or internet access during inpatient treatment, but he will be coming home); check in with us; pray for us. We cannot isolate ourselves and be successful, so please reach out. Our marriage may be new, but our commitment to our vows and one another is strong, and I am willing to help him in healthy, positive ways to overcome this disease. Mr. D is also willing to help himself, and I am hopeful he remains that way.
I will NOT be ashamed. This is a struggle, but if Mr. D had a heart attack or was diagnosed with cancer, no one would blink an eye if I reached out to my family and friends for support. It shouldn’t be any different for addiction disease. Please show your support for my family during this time the same way you would for any other medical condition.
Thank you for loving us
I am excited to blog on the weekend “Family Communication” sessions tomorrow. I met some amazing people and I had some incredibly intense moments that will stay with me for a lifetime. I am glad Mr. D’s program has such an emphasis on the family as a whole instead of just the addict. I am learning so much!
Thanks for reading. I also appreciate feedback in the comments section, whether from a family members or addict’s point of view.