Several years ago we had two members of our family hit their respective bottoms in rapid succession. For me, this was a brand new experience. Of course, I had put my family through the turmoil, horror, and pain of dealing with the consequences of my own alcoholism 12 years earlier. Until I had the experience first hand of watching a family member go through their struggles with addiction, I didn’t have the empathy or compassion necessary to really understand the anguish I had caused those that loved me.
Within the family, we develop patterns of behavior and styles of relating that form the basis of our future social interactions and relationships. When a family's ability to cope with stressors and process traumatic experience breaks down many of its members may begin to exhibit symptoms of substance and process addiction, suicidality, depression, and a host of other challenges.
The Transtheoretical Model of Change is currently the most complete picture we have in psychology to explain how and why individuals are able to create and sustain behavioral or attitudinal changes in their lives. It is my hope that by helping the reader to better understand this model I can help you to better understand the behavior of a loved one suffering from addiction.
Addiction can be defined as self-induced changes in the neurochemistry of the brain that result in negative consequences and unhealthy behavior. Many individuals employ various methods to change their neurochemistry in healthy ways such as meditation, exercise, certain forms of therapy, and others.
If you or a loved one has been through treatment for substance use disorder one or more times in one or more different facilities, and have yet to find lasting recovery, you are most likely asking yourself what will be different this time. This is a question which can plague the thoughts of those attached by bonds of affection to an addict. While there is no simple answer to this question I do believe I can give some helpful suggestions which can greatly increase the likelihood of success.