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Perhaps the most important thing for you to remember, and to try to help children in your family to understand, is commonly known as the "three C's of addiction":
You DIDN'T CAUSE it. Addiction is not something that one person can do to another. An unhappy childhood, an unhappy marriage, or problems with children, for example, do not cause a person to become a substance abuser.? Even if you yourself had a substance abuse problem when your children were young, it is not your fault.? While some people may be born with an inherited tendency toward addiction, and some life experiences may make it more or less likely, neither genes nor experiences alone cause addiction. Rather, the path to drug use, abuse, and addiction are actions that the substance abuser chooses. Simply stated, the addiction is the result of a series of bad choices made by the substance abuser.
You CAN'T CONTROL it. If an addict wants a drug, nothing and no one will stand in their way. Forget pouring the wine down the sink, or flushing pills down the toilet; it won't make a difference. In truth, the only way to limit being around substance abuse is to limit your time around the substance abuser.
You CAN'T CURE it. Much as you may want a substance abuser to get help, you can't make it happen. Love and understanding won't do it, and neither will begging or threatening. Recovery will come, if at all, only if and when the substance abuser truly decides to seek another life. Just as the addiction was the result of a series of bad choices by the substance abuser, so must recovery begin and be maintained through a series of good choices by the substance abuser.
The three C's can be a great comfort. Suppose you find yourself worrying, saying:? If only I'd been a better mother, perhaps my son would never have started drinking. Repeat to yourself: I didn't cause it. Or tell that that nagging inner voice ? Maybe if I found a really good treatment program and took her to meet with the counselor ? that you can't cure it.?? It's a hard message to remember at times, but it really can help your own peace of mind.
You cannot control substance abuse, cure it, or cause it. But you can learn to cope with it.
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