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On the last track, we discussed the "threaten, punish, and relent" cycle, and ways that family members try to force change in an addict.
On this track, we will discuss the three main reasons families cling to old habits of coping and become highly resistant to change. These are being locked into recycling past habits; relegating themselves to the sideline; and "feeling comfortable".
3 Reasons Families Cling to Old Habits
Reason # 1 - Locked into Recycling Past Habits
Antonia continually recycled her old actions of dealing with Carlo, she perpetuated the past. As you can tell, escaping from the house and then cleaning up after Carlo did nothing to improve Antonia's situation. Carlo never had to take responsibility for his drunken rages. Antonia's refusal to deal with the situation was a tacit acceptance of his behavior, and so Carlo continued to act as he always had.
Reason # 2 - Relegating to the Sideline
Reason # 3 - "Feeling Comfortable"
Before the family member of an addict can change, I find that they have to be rigorously honest with themselves about their resistance to change. For Antonia, it was easier to suffer than to change. Thinking about what she might have to do to get in to a better situation was terrifying. I asked her to ask herself, "Am I willing to leave behind the comfort of my old ways?" I told her, the pain of change always gets better, but the pain of staying the same always gets worse.
In summary, I find that there are three main reasons families of addicts are resistant to trying new methods to change their situation. These are they get locked into a habit of recycling past actions, they relegate themselves to the sidelines, and they feel "comfortable" with the way they have always dealt with things.
"New Rules/Old Rules" Exercise
On this track, we have discussed the three main reasons families of addicts are resistant to trying new things to change their situation. These were being locked into past habits; relegating themselves to the sideline; and "feeling comfortable". Would it be beneficial to play this track in your next session with the family member of an addict?
On the next track, we will discuss the survival skills practiced by the families of addicts. These are being a contortionist, trying to keep the addict happy, inventing new ways of connecting, and unspoken rules.
Online Continuing Education QUESTION
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