Titus (a pseudonym) grew up with an alcoholic mother and a detached father who left when, despite repeated treatment stays, the drinking did not stop. In his middle teens, Titus learned to sooth the pain and alienation with alcohol and opiates. From his teens into his twenties, he would alternate use of the two drugs every 2-3 years trying to avoid the morass of emotional confusion and excruciating family and relational pain. As a humble and quiet man he was able to find a giving and stable woman with whom he had a glorious baby. His patient wife was only mildly aware of the opiate use and trusted that the various challenging circumstances of their lives were sufficient explanation for his troubles and moods. With the progression of the addiction, when the explanations wore out and the deception became too obvious, they went looking for help.
As we helped him establish abstinence with the support of Suboxone®, he was for the first time in his adult life contending with being drug free. But, with few and thin coping skills, and many responsibilities, he felt naked and defenseless; yet guilty for the harm he felt he continually caused. With the little problems having accumulated everyday, and the weight of deep emotional scars from childhood, the burdens on these two well-intentioned spouses was overwhelming. Though for 10 years of his adult life Titus had been in mental health counseling and he had been through an intensive outpatient addiction program, the benefits were not sufficient for him to get off of the drugs nor support the growth needed for recovery. However, within five months of Family-Centered Addiction Recovery®, for the first time in his life he was deeply engaged in 12-Step and clean 90 days. The added benefits were that he and his wife were developing a reliable trust in the marriage with effective problem-solving, communication, and emotional management skills. He had interrupted the multi-generational family history of active addiction and failed marriages. Now their child gets to grow up in a healthy family home using the skills that healthy families use to be close and drug free. The ISLLC Family-Centered Addiction Recovery Program also provided them the strength to begin to address Titus’ mother’s addiction.