Addicts Thrive on Drama
Casey’s brother Scott had been fighting a heroin addiction for many months with no hope in sight that he would rectify his behavior before it eventually killed him. She was concerned for his wellbeing and knew he needed treatment but he wasn’t motivated to seek any.
What was more distressing was the family situation. Half the family was through with his broken promises to get clean and his constant relapsing so they wrote him off and refused to see him anymore. The other half of the family felt all the sympathy in the world and continued to enable his addiction with soft-hearted forgiveness and naïve blindness to the seriousness of his condition.
Instead of acting together to stage an effective intervention or bring the young man to some sort of understanding or treatment, they were focused on one another. The sympathizers spoke badly about the other side of the family who were giving Scott the cold shoulder. The other side would gossip angrily about how the enablers were making it worse. It was more about one side vs the other instead of the family coming together to face the addict.
This is actually the best possible scenario for an addict who is trying to hold onto his addiction. If he can stir up enough drama, he’ll get the spotlight and attention off of his own addiction and onto everyone else. Addiction thrives in chaos. The worst possible scenario for addiction is for people to ignore all the drama and stand united against the addiction itself. Full support of the addict but zero tolerance for the addiction.
Sadly, that’s not usually the way it goes. Humans naturally love drama and when an addict in the family starts to stir it up with ups and downs, accusations and excuses, or even fights and apologies, it steals attention from the need for recovery and focuses everyone on the drama.
If your family is dealing with an addict, it’s best to bring the two sides together in unison. There may be some disagreement about how to handle Scott (cut him off or enable his behavior) but the simple truth for all involved is that the family member needs help to get away from this addictive and destructive behavior.
If you need to stage a family intervention, speak with a professional intervention specialist who can council the family as much as the addict.