About a month ago I attended a conference and while there I was part of a panel presentation. During the presentation, an audience member vulnerably shared her experience on the topic. Several people in the room took what she had to say personally, assumed it was directed towards them, and experienced some of their own guilt. She expressed her frustration in not being fully heard and shared that it was not personal. As the presentation unfolded, it slowly hit me that in taking what she had to say personally the focus was no longer on her experience and her vulnerability. This concept resonated for me in a way that it had not before.
Viewing entries tagged with 'co-dependency'
One of the most challenging aspects of my job is helping family members understand what it means to do their work. When working with chemical dependency/addiction, the problem is most often pretty clear. Typically, addicts have a slew of consequences and easily observable patterns. The problem is tangible. When it comes to co-addiction, co-dependency, parental anxiety, etc., the problem becomes much more difficult to define. During my first phone call with families of Evoke clients I will say, “The more you treat this as if it is YOUR treatment, the better off this goes. The best thing you can do to help your son is to do your own work.” A common response to this point, “Wait… What? My treatment!? I’m not the one with the problem!”
This is the problem. The mainstream philosophy used in addiction and mental health rehabilitation can best be described using the following story: A family goes for a drive and gets into a severe car accident. The paramedics arrive at the scene...and only the driver gets taken to the hospital for treatment. In our scenario, the "driver" is the addict. The rest of the family is left at the scene of the accident: left with their pain, their fear, their rage, their hopes and their dreams. They are just as affected, and in many ways just as responsible, but only the addict gets whisked off for help.