If I ask you to pause for a moment and think about the word Family, what do you come up with?
It is easy to think of certain attributes. A warm and inviting household with loving parents, sibling quarrels, the idea of support – that they’ll always be there for you when you need them. But what about if, in that picture of family, there is an unseen entity. One that causes rifts, discord and illness behind closed doors?
It is an all too common thing, one that I too have watched unfold in my own household.
A hidden world of darkness
I’ve learned to see this pain and negativity over the years, and what it does to family. Behind closed doors, unseen to the public. I have seen drug abuse, addiction and mental health decline…
On a day by day basis there is connection, love and support evident in family interactions. We go about our business and check-in with each other as we see fit. But not to really connect and understand one and other.
We spend hours in the same household together, and yet often use that time alone or on menial things. And in this boredom, we may seek out thrills and gratification in dark places. Something easy, that is just there and available to pique dull senses. Drugs, alcohol, addictive substances... etc.
Something so debilitating in the long run becomes the crutch upon which interactions are sustained, and you see in those family members who do not resist the temptation the pain of disconnect. The affliction of addiction.
Where is the light?
If it were as easy as dictating that that is not the path your brother, sister, mother or father, aunty or uncle should take, it would be an easy fix. But the hidden truth is it takes a lot more, and the whole family, to put in and turn that loved one around. If I had known the importance of connection and love, support and empathy, maybe I would be making a bigger difference.
Knowing that now though: that connection, support and empathy play an important role in turning one’s life around from the darkness of addiction, I would see that understanding used for good in my interactions with family members. That I can make a deeper connection by stopping, and actually listening and supporting them in their darker moments.
If you’ve ever felt or seen that a family member is struggling with addiction, I urge you to consider how your interactions with them may help to steer them toward a positive outlet. By giving meaningful connection and empathy to the cause.
Rise and shine your light for Family
It is never too late to create connection and support for loved ones who may be struggling with addiction. My plan is to prioritise educating and listening to the people I care about by doing the following:
Make them a priority and set aside time to check in with those you care about. A simple action can have an enormous impact on someone who may be feeling in the dumps.
Use meaningful language and empathy to really understand and listen when interacting with my loved ones. It is hard to begin with but practicing this daily will mean the world to those you care about.
Myself learning more about the importance of an individual’s needs and help to realise these needs throughout life.
Now, when I ask you to think of Family who do you think of, and what will you do differently with them?