Today we’re going to discuss a difficult question: How to Work with Family Members Who Aren’t in Recovery or Sobriety.
I feel this question could be answered in a couple ways, depending on what is meant by a “family member who isn’t in recovery or sobriety.”
For me, I don’t know that I have direct family members that have a sexual addiction. I do, however, feel that my family members are not emotionally healthy; they deal with their emotions by numbing out, denying, or completely ignoring the core problems.
Is this still dealing with a blood family member who isn’t in recovery?
To me, YES, it absolutely is!
Although sometimes I’ve thought this in the past, I don’t believe today that EVERY MAN is a sex addict. I do, however, believe that many men do not know how to deal with negative emotions in healthy ways.
Isn’t this the core problem we all have?
As sexual addicts, we’ve chosen to use pornography and other sexual actions as a way to cope with negative feelings and emotions; instead of being aware of my negative emotions and surrendering them, I’ve chosen to numb out and cope via pornography.
Others may have a different “drug of choice” to deal with these feelings, but the end results are the same – emotional sickness and thus, addiction of some sort.
No matter how one chooses to deal with his or her emotions, I’m learning that it’s difficult to be around these people. And for me, this applies directly to the question mentioned above.
So what do I do?
I. DON’T. KNOW!
This has been an ongoing discussion with my therapist for the last year. One thing he recommended just last week was to do a brainstorm of different solutions. He said to let every idea become an option and to write them all down in a brainstorm chart.
Here’s what I’ve come up with…some are WAY out there, sorry in advance.
- Move to India
- Become a Buddhist Monk
- Leave my religion
- Tell my parents to “#-Off”
- Detach from them indefinitely
- Create a punch pass where we can only see them X times per year
- Have them go to my therapist for counseling of their own
- Make them read all the recovery literature and write out what they’ve learned
- Get a tattoo
- Sell my house and move across the country
- Share my journal entries with them about what I’m discovering regarding our relationship
- Write an anti-religion book
- Ask my parents questions about their childhood
- Read them my full-disclosure
- Tell them they aren’t allowed back in our home until they’ve worked on their own emotional health
UPDATE: here are some others
- Create a list of boundaries with consequences if boundary is crossed
- Schedule a session with Adam Moore and my parents and me (maybe)
- Have my parents read a book together and start a conversation about the book
- Move to Wisconsin
- Tell them I need space
- Write them a letter about gift giving and how it needs to stop except for on Christmas and Birthdays and it can only be 1 toy, 1 outfit, 1 book
- Read them my full disclosure with my therapist
- Create a list of questions I can ask them about their childhood – curiosity
- What was your relationship like with your mom?
- What was your relationship like with your dad?
- How did you meet mom/dad?
- What was your courtship like?
- Did you have a problem with pornography & masturbation as a kid?
- Do you still have that problem now?
- Besides smoking, did Grandpa have any other addictions?
- How did you choose to cope with hard things when you were growing up?
- What were some of the hardest things you had to go through as a child
- Why were these things hard for you?
- How did you deal with them?
- Did you ever talk with your mom or dad about your feelings?
- Why or why not?
- Was it hard to have Grandpa not going to church with your family when you were a kid?
- Did you feel like people looked down on you since you were from a “part member family?”
- What was the relationship like between Grandma and Grandpa?
- How do you deal with negative emotions?
- What are some of the most recent negative emotions you’ve felt and how did you deal with them?
This is just a start…sorry if some of them were a bit harsh – just trying to be 100% honest.