Aaron and Angela, Founders of Brass Tacks Recovery, on Healing:
We believe that the stigma around addiction or alcoholism can contribute to families’ enabling behaviors. This is a difficult concept for families to recognize and accept. The family members want to be supportive, yet on many occasions, they are also being driven by shame, and a fear of being judged. That shame frequently creates a sense of a “let’s hurry and get this handled before anyone finds out” reaction in the family.
In fact, because of that stigma, we often encounter families who are more concerned about what their peers or colleagues think about them than they are about the addiction. That doesn’t mean the family doesn’t care about the individual who’s struggling. It means that the stigma that comes with alcoholism or addiction is still very prevalent, even in 2017. We share a great deal of empathy with our families.
We believe that enmeshment, or a lack of boundaries, often results from a family struggling with managing their own anxiety. A parent’s unresolved childhood trauma, adult insecurities, or even fear of making a mistake as a parent, can be the driving forces for an enmeshment pattern in the family system.
In our personal and professional experience, parenting skills can be the result of unhealed wounds from a parent’s own childhood. Often, a parent’s unhealed pain is what is driving the family’s decision-making process. In order for the individual struggling with alcoholism or addiction to heal, Brass Tacks Recovery believes that parents and partners must be willing to be honest with themselves, get educated, and commit to their own growth. A child cannot admit having a problem when his or her parents continue to fix it.
In the case of spouses or partners, the partner can feel they’re betraying their loved one by asking for help. The spouse or significant other really struggles with the concept of not being true to their partner. This can make it difficult for him or her to follow through on the recovery suggestions we provide. It takes coaching and support to help them digest the fact that their asking for help is a loving act, not a betrayal.