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Viewing Addicts as Sick Children

Old 02-17-2012, 12:19 PM
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Viewing Addicts as Sick Children

Many addicts in recovery, including myself, acknowledge that when we're at the mercy of our addiction, we're emotionally stuck in adolescence. We’re irresponsible, illogical, confused, rebellious; engage in high-risks behavior, unable to foresee the consequences of our actions. Friends, family, coworkers, and the public regard us as adults, responsible for our actions and will halt our addiction when we decide to, have had enough, or when we hit bottom. When addicts overdose or die unexpectedly, loved ones often say at least they're at a better place. Perhaps this a way for survivors to console themselves or alleviate their own guilt.

Consider this: most states and many foreign countries allow (under welfare codes) involuntary psychiatric holds for individuals deem to be a danger to themselves or another person. The United Nations General Assembly even passed a resolution relating to this. You may recall Britney Spears' downward spiral. In 2008, her father, James, had her involuntarily committed under California code 5150 and was granted temporary conservatorship. Subsequently, Britney and her father secured restraining orders against individuals deemed to be destructive influences in Britney's life. In my opinion, James saved Britney's life.

So the next time you encounter a family member or loved one battling addiction, I invite you to view them as a scared, sick child -- perhaps in an adult body -- but emotionally, more like a young teen, who desperately needs help, so they don't harm or even kill themselves.

Bill Lee

Last edited by Morning Glory; 02-17-2012 at 02:22 PM. Reason: Removed book promotion
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by geomancer View Post

..... we're emotionally stuck in adolescence. We’re irresponsible, illogical, confused, rebellious; engage in high-risks behavior, unable to foresee the consequences of our actions.

Have you considered that some of these attributes usually preceed addiction?

Does anyone picking up the pipe, foil, needle or whatever, for the first time, ponder the consequences?


Friends, family, coworkers, and the public regard us as adults, responsible for our actions ]
Actually, the law does, regardless of friends and family perceptions.



Code 5150 is a 72 hour hold. At 72:00 01, the addict walks out the door.

Most addicts are not celebrities and don't have the paparazzi following their every move. The typical addict is extremely resourceful and can score their their doc, anywhere.

Short of physically restraining an addict ( a crime, btw) friends/family have no control over others.
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:35 PM
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I am going to respectfully disagree with Mr. Bill Lee.

I was an ADULT making ADULT DECISIONS all those years I was using and abusing. It was only at the end (the last 1 1/2 years) when I was no longer able to work and thus lived on the street, that some of my actions were most likely viewed as those of a very young adolescent.

However, during all that time, I will admit that my 'emotional state' was definitely that of an adolescent. It was only in recovery that I learned how we 'stopped' maturing emotionally and mentally when we picked up our DOC.

I am sorry, but my family 'interfered' many times and all that happened was i GOT WORSE. It was only when they reached their own "enough" point and finally 'kicked' me out of their lives, that I finally had a chance to find the recovery I so desperately needed.

The ONUS for the A finding recovery is ON THE A, NOT on the family.

J M H O

Love and hugs,
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:43 PM
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Sick person, sure. Sick child, no.
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:57 PM
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I also have to respectfully disagree. My in laws currently treat my husband as a sick child and it has only made him worse. He resents their help and will do anything to do the exact opposite of what they ask of him, especially when he's in crisis.
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:01 PM
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'When addicts overdose or die unexpectedly, loved ones often say at least they're at a better place. Perhaps this a way for survivors to console themselves or alleviate their own guilt'.

Get real, they have put us through HELL, we actually DO believe they are in a better place.

As a mother of an addict and ex spouse of a suspected addict THANK YOU FOR DISAGREEING!!!
Originally Posted by anvilhead View Post
as an addict i must respectfully DISAGREE with the above sentiment. addicts are certainly "grown up" enough to find drugs, do drugs, make connections with dealers, lie to physicians, lie to friends and family, steal, and otherwise protect and defend their habit.......they are just as certainly grown up enough to seek ways to resolve that same problem. to place the onus of THEIR recovery on friends and family is a crime, IMHO.
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:05 PM
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I can only say that my son came across as so mature and so confident, but the whole time he was doing all of the irresponsible things mentioned that adolescents do. However, my son was 21 so he was so close to being an adolescent anyway. My 17 year old has been "40" since he was 8 years old, he has never really been adolescent.
Just my 2 cents.
I think our A's can and will survive and they must face what everyone faces, CONSEQUENCES for the actions. It really is about cause and effect.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by geomancer View Post

So the next time you encounter a family member or loved one battling addiction, I invite you to view them as a scared, sick child -- perhaps in an adult body -- but emotionally, more like a young teen, who desperately needs help, so they don't harm or even kill themselves.

Bill Lee
I don't disagree that my addicted son "desperately needs help" -- that's why we've spent tens of thousands of dollars and countless sleepless nights trying to do our very best to help him! All to no avail. He is 21 and worse than he's ever been.

I resent the implication of your post. It is very hurtful to me.
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Old 02-18-2012, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by geomancer View Post
So the next time you encounter a family member or loved one battling addiction, I invite you to view them as a scared, sick child -- perhaps in an adult body -- but emotionally, more like a young teen, who desperately needs help, so they don't harm or even kill themselves.

Bill Lee
My son has been actively addicted for probably 20 years or more. How I viewed him had nothing to do with his choices, whether he chose to remain sober (he had several clean periods) or whether he relapsed, had nothing to do with how much I tried to save him or how much I loved him. He relapsed during the best of times, he relapsed during the worst of times, not once did he relapse because of anything I did or didn't do...he told me that himself.

If love could save an addict, not one of us would be here. We have walked through the pain, the blame and the shame. We have survived what may be the most painful experiences of our lives.

Today we no longer live in the problem, doing that almost killed me. Today we live in the solution of our recovery, and we pray for our loved ones that one day soon they too will find a better path.

Ann
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Old 02-18-2012, 06:42 AM
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I sort of agree with every one of the above posts. It's not a simple issue. I am an addict in recovery. I am ALL those things at different times and sometimes I am all those things at the same time.

I sort of feel that in the end it doesn't matter. No one can save me or fix me, it's not an outside job. If I sat here and gave you a list or outline of how I got to be where I am, it wouldn't matter.

Now that I am an addict, either I do the treatment or I don't, and maybe the treatment will work and maybe it won't.

I can stay off the drugs and booze, I can refrain from getting into any more relationships where I might mess up some innocent person's head. I can do my steps, and spend hours here, and work a full time job, but even when I do those things, I still need help. I occasionally need my family to give me a few hundred dollars to get my car fixed. I'd like someone to visit me in the psych ward when I've signed myself in.

I can't ever know if I have really done every blessed little thing I could to overcome this. I act as normal as I can act, and fulfill my responsibilities to the best of my ability. And I come home and rock in my bed terrified of myself, but refusing to use, because that is not the answer. I have learned the hard way that many things I've tried are NOT the answer, but what the answer is eludes me.

The best solution I have found is to do as little harm as possible to myself and others. That's all I got. I do the good I AM able to, and hide the rest of the time so I won't hurt anyone. Pretty much the same thing I did in child hood. Does that mean I'm a child?

It doesn't matter, I'm an adult now and it's no one's job to take care of me. If I am not capable of doing so, then I don't make it. That's reality, some people don't make it. I've made it this far, and that's pretty good. But I've still lost nearly everything I worked for in my life.

I'm not sure why I'm an addict and why I can't stop the madness in my head, but I am sure that it's ridiculous for anyone else to waste their life trying to fix me, or save me. Why should two lives be wrecked? For some people a swift kick in the pants, or a reality check will be what it takes to get them out of addiction, for some, those are the things that got them into addiction.

There are a million people and situations in this world that others cannot save or change. After reasonable care and goodwill, if we don't get better, cut us off, and put your efforts, energy and good will into yourself and the relationships that are fulfilling in your life.
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Old 02-18-2012, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by geomancer View Post
In 2008, her father, James, had her involuntarily committed under California code 5150 and was granted temporary conservatorship.
Conservatorship in my state is separate from an estate. Regardless, it doesn't mean house arrest. I could have done what you suggest when my daughter was active in her addiction, but nothing would have stopped her from walking out the door. She would not have met the legal criteria for becoming a ward of the state, and in a lock down facility.

How about sharing your personal story with codependency and addiction, and what you're doing to overcome it? The guilt manipulation from you indicates you haven't overcome it yet.
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