I'd love to hear from brothers and sisters. I only can write about what I observed in my family with our sons sisters.
Addiction is a family disease. We have all heard that but what really does it mean? How far does it go?
Easily we as parents see how devastating it is to us. This is our baby. Immediately we jump to fix it and be the savior. We all know how well that works. But what about the other kids? Older and younger, how are they dealing with this upset in their family?
Parents understand unconditional love. It's something a father and mother have that is impossible to explain. What about brothers and sisters? A sibling has a different perspective.
Both of our daughters were older than our son, one by 10 years and one by 2 years. Both with different family situations. Both with different reactions. Neither of them were right, neither of them were wrong in the way they handled the circumstances. As a parent I had to accept both of their decisions and reactions.
I'm leaving out a lot of the details but in summary our oldest daughter never left our sons side. The sister closest to Alex's age had a baby and made a choice she could not have an addict in her life, even if it was her brother. For a father it was hard to accept what they had decided but after a long time I came to realize that both were right in their decision.
Addiction is not just about an addicted child and a parents. It affects every person that loves the addicted person. This is a family disease.
Once our son entered recovery each person including me made amends in the family. It's not just the addicted that must recognize the current state as built by the past. Today love flourishes and all is well. There were no big apologies or explanations. In our family we are more a family of actions and prove it. Don't tell me what you're going to do, just do it. (I'm not stealing from Nike, they stole it from us)
Breaking the stigma is not about living in the past with all the hurts and pain. Breaking the stigma is standing up in the present and accepting ANYONE for who they are. Today is the day that matters most.
Break the belief and stigma that addicts are losers and will be forever. For some people, they cannot let go. But that is a problem they must live with, it is not a problem we all must suffer.
Be the light, not the darkness. Recognize in yourself that each of us have the power to bust the stigma of addiction and dispel the myths and untruths of what addiction has come to represent.