For the last several weeks I have been writing a blog on substance abuse and addiction. So when I read the article on the Huffington Post about the tragedy of the victims that died due to Diane Schuler's substance abuse, I requested my editor allow me to post a blog in response.
For those who have not read or heard about this horrific event here is a brief recap. Written with sensitivity and pathos, Dr. Tian Dayton reported that Diane Schuler was so intoxicated and "high" on Marijuana that she entered a busy highway going the wrong direction killing herself, 4 passengers as well as 3 others in the on coming car.
The article continues with a bulls eye quote from Sis Wenger, pres/CEO of The National Association for Children of Alcoholics where she states "Addiction isn't something people want to acknowledge or talk about". Truer words were never spoken.
Years ago, I founded a family counseling center in an effort to help the friends and families of the alcoholic/addict learn how to help their loved ones by establishing their own boundaries and turning off the co-enabling, co-dependent switch. I believe in a total recovery program; not just for the alcoholic/addict, but for all involved or it turns out to be a lop-sided effort.
We know that the alcoholic/addicts are the only ones that can change their behavior. They attend 12 step meetings and enlist a sponsor in their effort toward sobriety. So why is it that the people who love them bury their heads in the sand when it comes to seeking guidance for them in conjunction with helping the alcoholic/addict with their struggles?
Here are 8 reasons why these well meaning individuals believe that they don't need help or shouldn't get involved.
- Embarrassment and shame. People may view them as bad parents unable to "control" their husbands, wives' or children's behavior. Irresponsible upbringing of the children or disrespect to the spouse. The shame of it all with tongues wagging and fingers pointing behind their backs; too embarrassed to admit such a problem to anyone!
Of course no matter what we do, we can't stop the alcoholic/addict from a life of self destruction if that's the direction they are hell bent on going. But, we can do our part and in essence are obligated to do our part by using whatever means available to thwart their downward spiral. Whether we seek assistance through a self help program, individual counseling, or intervention, it is our responsibility to participate as best we can to help our loved ones try to reconstruct a life of sober, honest living. To pretend this disease doesn't exist and conclude with any of the above excuses makes us as irresponsible as the alcoholic/addict.
I hope there was someone who desperately tried to take whatever action they could to help Diane Schuler from ultimately self destructing and in turn destroying others. If not, how sad; for it is a lesson now learned with the highest stakes lost and gone forever; human life.