Tips for Moms, Dads, Partners, Relatives and any other entourage with a Loved One in active use

Facing this journey, it is crucial to come to know the following:

  • You are not alone
  • You are responsible for your own life, health, success and peace of mind; you just have to take the reins.   The same goes for your struggling loved one. As hard as it is…don’t hitch your peace of mind and well being onto the roller coaster.  Detach from it and work on your wellness.   Learning that is the process of recovery.   The healthier you get, they better chance they will have of getting healthy.
  • As long as there’s breath, there’s HOPE!


 The 3 C’s of Nar Anon:

You didn’t Cause it, you can’t Control it, you can’t Cure it

Cause: At this point blaming who, what, where, why and how the addiction started is futile.  That only adds to the misery and distracts from handling it in functional, healthy ways.  This pertains to past, present as much as potential substance abuse.  Don’t live in fear that by saying/doing the wrong thing you will send them spiraling back into the cycle.  You are not the cause of that.  Someone who wants to remain clean will do so regardless of stress or pressure.  There will always be stress and pressure!  The key is learning to cope without abusing a substance.  And that is up to them to develop. Emotionally tiptoeing around someone won’t prevent substance abuse any more than bulldozing and bullying will.   Working a program is the way forward.  You take care of you.  Your priority is to make sure you are healthy and functional.

Control: Policing and making sure they are going to meetings, spending time with sober companions, doing what they are supposed to should only be something paid attention to for your own safety and boundaries.  Taking control of their life, recovery or participating in the craziness as it occurs is not healthy for anyone.

Cure: Nothing you can do, say, think, or feel will heal or cure it.  You can affect their decisions with healthy boundaries and responses, by not enabling use or participating in negative, dysfunctional behavior and conflict.  And by taking care of yourself. Beyond that…it is up to them to want it, to work a program and to recover.


Hopeful 3 C’s

Deep into it with my Loved One, I was taught that while I was powerless over the disease and didn’t Cause it, couldn’t Control or Cure it…I could Cope, I could Contribute (in good and bad ways) and I could Create loving, healthy dialogue.

 My own version of hopeful 3 C’s.

I Coped in prayer, meditation, support groups, therapy and all sorts of stress relieving methods.

I Contributed by not participating in negative behavior or conflict.

And finally… 

I Created healthy dialogue by keeping the bridge of communication open – I reached out as often as I felt comfortable to remind my Loved One that he was loved and I was in his corner, rooting for him to join the fight for his life. Keeping a list of available detox and treatment centers on hand for times of clarity, which are quick, subtle and pass without notice sometimes (when he’d say things like “You think I want to live like this? Or make statements related to remembering or wanting to a better life), In those moments give those names and numbers, it’s a soft, effective intervention (See: Allies in Recovery teachings on CRAFT method).

Handling it that way gave me hopeful action to take – without trying to control or go crazy forcing anything, while in the midst of it caring for myself, keeping a safe support system on hand for those moments of crisis or meltdown and always praying, hoping and believing for the best outcome.


That for me, is what navigated me through it and helped shepherd my Loved One toward treatment.

Still learning, always hopeful,


Author of Unhooked