The 3 Cs Of Addiction
I didnt cause it. I cant cure it. I cant control it.
If you have ever been to an Alanon meeting, youve probably heard these before. Though theres a lot of wisdom in these thoughts, they can be truly hard to understand, especially when youre family is caught up in the addiction cycle.
A lot of times, family members try to do things to control the addiction behaviors of their loved one. To do so, often feels like self-preservation. Were just trying to survive it with as little damage as possible. Theres a theory in psychology called change theory, which basically states that we dont really make any changes unless were uncomfortable. So, avoiding discomfort may actually be perpetuating the disease process in our loved one. Our interference with them being uncomfortable can actually allow their suffering to continue longer than it would have. Wrap your mind around that one! We are not meant to control their behaviors, or rescue them from their consequences. We are allowed to let it go. In fact, most times, our desire to control them backfires on us.
Addiction acts the same way. We, as the army of family members, do not have a way to cure the addiction for our loved one, but we can support their recovery, and our own. As we learn what addiction really is, we can help with the recovery process for our addicted family member. Learning how to have boundaries with them and to create a sense of safety in the family is key.
The Three Cs Of Addiction
A simpler way to differentiate a bad habit from an addiction is to use the three Cs: compulsion, control, and consequences.
Take note that a medical professional may still classify the behavior as substance abuse and not an addiction if an individual has problems with compulsion and control. Its when a person continues the behavior after repeated negative consequences that it becomes a clear addiction problem.
The Most Important C: Consequence
It is important to note that having one 2 out of 3 of the characteristics would suggest that an individual is only abusing a substance or a process. Typically, the C that separates most people with dependencies from those that only abuse is consequences. For most individuals, when the consequences of continued abuse get bad enough, they typically stop or cut back. This is not the case for people with addictions.
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Three Cs Of Addiction Recovery
Living a life freed of the agony and suffering caused by drugs is the goal that keeps us all committed to change and growth. Addiction alters a persons order and values by leading them to pursue an empty promise rather than a future of meaningfulness. The three Cs of addiction recovery are: I didnt cause it, I cant cure it, and I cant control it.
For starters the recovery process, you must undertake: Courage, Clarity, and Confidence. Treatment options, 12-Step programs, and family and friend support all contribute to the establishment of a new life. Recovery requires fortitude, whether it be extensive outpatient, inpatient, or any other treatment.
This article is your guide to giving your family a more meaningful and sensible lifestyle. One that will bring them to the care they require for rehabilitation from active drug abuse.
The First C: I Didnt Cause It
As a parent or loved one of an addict, you must understand with certainty that you didnt cause the addiction. You didnt create the addictive behavior, the ensuing addictive and self-destructive lifestyle, and the addictive personality.
Your loved one may have jettisoned all of the trappings of a healthy life, or they may be a functioning addict. Still, at some level, every addict is displaying a dire level of emotional dysfunction, through their addictive behavior. You didnt cause it, even if the addict blames you for their dependent based lifestyle.
You have to know and own this fact. While addiction is often called a family disease, there are many steps to dealing with any family-related issues that are positive and constructive. But addiction is not one of those steps.
As a loved one of an addict, it is both painful to witness the life opportunities and genuine happiness of a loved one squandered because of substance abuse. But also, the incalculable damage to reputation, prospects, overall family quality of life, and successful day-to-day functioning are a hidden burden with which the family members and loved ones of an addict have to deal.
But to attempt to address this challenge successfully, you need to understand that you didnt cause it, and also to accept both the physical and the mental aspects of addiction. Thats where the second of Three Cs of Dealing with an Addict can come in handy.
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Your Loved One Needs You After Treatment
For as much trepidation as your friend or family member may have in entering rehab, the fear of leaving treatment may be even stronger.
When in rehab, clients learn that they are protected from temptation. They know they can get support from staff or other clients at any time and that they are surrounded by positive, supportive people who understand what theyre going through.
After treatment, your loved one must face stresses that could lead to relapse. For example, they may be concerned about how other friends or family members will judge them. They will need to face the stress of getting back into the workforce. They may feel lonely as they try to distance themselves from old acquaintances who continue to use drugs and alcohol.
Studies show that many people who develop dependencies to drugs and alcohol initially started using to cope with their emotions. With so many strong emotions facing recovering addicts all at once, its no surprise that relapse is most likely to occur within the first three months after treatment has ended.
As someone who is trying to help a loved one get better, its important to understand that recovery is more than getting the person to stop using. Its also important to understand that you play a key role in helping the person responsibly cope with the difficult emotions that come with addiction.
Drug Dependency Isnt Your Fault
Of course, its always easier to blame ourselves. What did I do wrong? How could I have prevented this? In the case of drug addiction, where addicts commonly pass blame to others, its even easier. But, focusing on what you did wrong is never the answerit places the focus of the addiction on yourself rather than on helping the person in need.
While watching your loved one struggle with drug or alcohol dependence is heartbreaking and stressful, being proactive is essential. The first step to helping any addict is accepting that you are not the cause of the addiction. Doing so will not only help you relieve the incredible amount of stress youve been holding onto, but oftentimes will help kick-start the recovery process for the addict. Once youve taken the blame off of yourself, you can start looking into treatment options for your friend or family member with greater clarity.
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Physical Warning Signs And Symptoms Of Addiction
After chronic use of drugs or alcohol, the body has a hard time adjusting to the abrupt discontinuation of the substance. Every drug is different, however, and some drugs may cause more emotional than physical withdrawal symptoms. Other symptoms may also manifest as a result of withdrawal, such as insomnia, appetite changes, and irritability.
The Third C: I Cant Control It
You cant control an addicts behavior. Substance use heavily affect the chemistry of an individuals brain. Also, the people, places, and things associated with your loved ones addiction support his or her way of thinking. They enable and help to perpetuate the lifestyle. They support the mental mindset of the addict. Sometimes the only way to break free of the metaphysical mindset of them is to physically and mentally unplug and break open.
Thats where Free by the Sea comes in, to help you create a successful mental lifestyle for recovery, as the best way possible to ensure successful treatment outcomes. You can best help by acknowledging that you cant control it, and by removing your loved one from the people, places, and things associated with their addictions.
Once these distractions are gone, our patients can engage in the treatment process fully. They can start to develop the coping skills they will need to begin a new life free from addiction.
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What I Learned About Courage And Compassion In A Twelve
Posted November 27, 2015
Dear Abby’s response to a loved one who just ended a relationship with an alcoholic.
“Alcoholics are like everybody else: sometimes amazing, loving, smart, charming, funny and compelling. Unfortunately, the fallout from addiction can be tremendous for loved ones. It is a depleting, depressing, and lonely life to be with someone long-term who engages in such dangerous behavior.”
In 2013 the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported that 16.6 million adults age 18 and older had an Alcohol Use Disorder. Many more millions family and friends share their pain. James Graham writes that there are two great human resources on alcoholism: recovery alcoholics who have front line experience and combat veterans who have been exposed to the active drinking of a loved one for long periods of time. I am a combat veteran whose husband lost his battle with alcoholism.
Terry inhabited a parallel universe: his hidden self and his public self. Like light which consists of wave and particle, my husband was both things at once–a baffling paradox. Shortly after he died, I composed a poem to “my husband of a thousand joys and sorrows.” For every sad episode associated with alcohol, there was an equally joyful time when Terry was sober. We careened between the highs and lows of the roller coaster ride of our . Looking back, I recognize my part in this risky journey. I thrived on the melodrama. That’s likely why I didn’t embrace my own recovery.
The Three Cs Of Recovery And Addiction For The Supporter
Perhaps one of the most complex, chaotic, and heart-breaking experiences one could be in is loving someone who struggles with addiction.
2020 has heightened the effects of addiction for both the user and the people who care for them. Physical distancing and isolation protocols as well as limited healthcare services during this pandemic have put a vulnerable population at a more vulnerable risk. There have been more overdose deaths compared to COVID-19 cases, and this is not to argue the reality of this pandemic, but it is to shine a light on another crisis our world is facing. BC, alone, recorded 911 overdose deaths between January and July of 2020.
For more info on the impacts of COVID-19 and people struggling with substance use check out this article here.
Standing by while watching your child, your partner, your sibling, or your friend suffer through addiction can take a serious toll on your wellness. The constant battles pleading, trying to support, and downright begging with your loved one to stop using drugs or alcohol is exhausting and quite frankly, very sad.
The chaos of addiction is so overwhelming the lies, the financial struggles, the relationship breakdowns, the constant push and pull of emotions and expectations these are some of the most intense feelings that come with addiction.
Stop feeling embarrassed, this is not an uncommon issue and there are so many families out there struggling just like you.
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It Can Be Difficult To Help A Loved One Whos Struggling With A Drug Or Alcohol Addiction
This individual may not only resist the help, but their substance abuse may also cause problems in your relationship. It can be difficult to connect to someone who has been changed by their active addiction and lead them away from their habit. Our Texas drug and alcohol addiction treatment center is exploring the three Cs of addiction and how they can assist people in getting help for their loved ones.
The Second C: I Cant Cure It
Addiction is not just a physical problem. Addiction is a powerful physical and mental phenomenon. It is both biochemical and psycho-voluntary in the required coping mechanisms and lifestyle that the addict must construct so that they can maintain the means and methods for fulfilling their substance or alcohol addiction.
You have to acknowledge, to yourself, as a loved one or family member that, I Cant Cure It. That doesnt mean that you should give up or that addiction cant be cured. Still, it may mean that the issue has reached the point where proper professional rehabilitation is necessary. Once the addict creates a harmful lifestyle and coping mechanisms, it is tough to address the problem without an intentional intervention strategy and proper rehabilitation.
Proper rehab is typically necessary in order to recover from active addiction. Physical addiction demands a lifestyle that validates only the addictive substance and nothing else. As such, it requires a mental lifestyle that then accompanies that physical lifestyle for a full and successful recovery and treatment.
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Purpose Of The 3 Cs In Recovery
The purpose of the 3 Cs is to help an addicts loved ones understand their role. Too many people assume they have control over their loved ones behavior and that they can cure them.
The three Cs give loved ones a path to understanding that they cannot:
- Make someone quit using drugs, alcohol, or any other addictive substance. It must be the person with the SUDs decision.
- Do the work for them. Theres no way for a loved one to do the hard work of recovery on behalf of someone else, nor should anyone try. The journey to sobriety is an important part of succeeding, no matter how difficult it might be. Its also impossible for loved ones to prevent relapse.
- Allow an addicted persons behavior to violate their boundaries. Designing and implementing boundaries is an important step for loved ones who care about a person with an SUD. Enforcing those boundaries is equally important. Disregarding boundaries just supports the addiction.
It might feel as if there isnt much you can do when you love someone with an addiction. But there are things that can be done to help you and enhance your ability to help your loved one.
Remember, its impossible to control your loved ones addiction behavior or their treatment. Once someone has decided to seek treatment, step back and allow them to walk their path.
This doesnt mean you cant be supportive, but you shouldnt be controlling. And sometimes, trying to control your loved one can negatively affect treatment results.
The Three Cs Of Al Anon
- I didnt CAUSE it.
- I cant CURE it.
- I cant CONTROL it.
These simple statements help addicts and their loved ones understand addiction and how to recover from it in a new light. Specifically, they work to help loved ones overcome their feelings of guilt and grief. Al-Anons three Cs are reminders to loved ones in family recovery that help them realize that they are not the cause of the addiction that their friend or family member is having difficulty with. Through this education, families will be better suited to help their loved ones in their journey to sobriety.
People who are close to addicts usually fall into one of three categories:
- Feeling guilty because they are the cause of the addiction
- Thinking if only they could do X, Y, and Z, they could help their loved one stop using
- Thinking if only they could completely separate their loved one from drugs and alcohol, they could get them to stop using
All of these beliefs are misconceptions and can hinder a persons ability to recover. There are proper actions to take to support someone going through addiction, but healing them or stopping their usage is not anyone elses responsibility but the addict themselves.
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Caring For A Loved One With An Addiction
Families who are dealing with an addicted loved one are faced with many challenges. The anger, sadness, guilt, shame, and disappointment can become overwhelming, which can start to affect life in powerful ways, such as job loss, divorce, or medical problems. Many families have been able to avoid these consequences of loving an addict by understanding the three Cs.
About the Three Cs
Recovery is a journey. It takes time to release oneself from the chains of addiction. This can be hard on families who so desperately want their loved one to be clean and sober. The three Cs can help with the path of recovery. The three Cs for families dealing with the addiction recovery process are:
- I didnt Cause it
- I cant Cure it
- I cant Control it
Addiction is a chronic brain disease.
I Didnt Cause It
Addiction is a disease, according to the American Medical Association and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. It is like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, but its more complex because it includes behavioral, biological, and environmental factors. Genetics has a lot to do with whether someone will suffer from an addiction.
I Cant Cure It
As you know, addiction isnt something you can cure. Nothing you do will take this brain disease away from your loved one. All you can do is encourage your loved one to seek treatment in order to understand how to manage the addiction and get his or her life back on track.
I Cant Control It