Our goal is to help you find the courage, strength and hope as you work to overcome what can feel like hell. Strength and Hope’s mission is to provide education and the courage to heal to those who have been affected by a relationship with an addict. We can say from experience that caring for someone who struggles with alcoholism, drug addiction, or both can make daily life feel like “Hell on Earth”. It’s natural to want to help or “fix” someone whose addiction is causing them harm, but doing so can wreak havoc on our heads and our hearts. When we try to control the behavior of others we are actually exhibiting codependency, and we the “helpers” end up getting sick ourselves. If a loved one’s addiction has caused you to experience pain, depression, stress, and hopelessness or at times even made you feel insane, then you have come to the right place. “Hell on earth” when loving someone who is struggling with alcoholism and/or addictions. When you feel like you have lost your mind or have become depressed by loving someone who is an alcoholic or addict you need support, and you have come to the right place for healing and help. What most people don’t realize is that we too get sick through codependent behavior and trying to fix and control our loved one.
Contributors to this site have children, siblings, friends, lovers, spouses and parents that suffer from alcoholism and other addictions. Many once had what in the eyes of society would deem successful families, a perfect child, an admirable marriage, a great career and a wonderful life.
Other contributors grew up in abusive, alcoholic homes, or homes full of other addictions. This is what is often referred to as an adult child of an alcoholic or addict. That type of upbringing led to developing coping skills that no longer worked in adult life. Strangely enough, many of us who grew up in those homes repeated the behavior by developing intimate relationships with people who struggled with addictions (only to complete the circle by creating the same home environment we were raised in).
And finally, some contributors watched in horror as their children were tormented by alcoholism and other addictions.
Our contributors who have a son or daughter facing addiction have also went down a long, hard road. It’s difficult to grasp how or why your own child, who did not spend their youth in a volatile home or in proximity to alcoholics and drugs addicts, has somehow materialized a severe addiction. Parents can be shattered by the fear of something happening to their children, and that fear coupled with unanswered questions like “How Him?” or “Why Her?” they can default to destructive thoughts of self-blame or even blaming others. We must remember that addiction, in all of its forms, is a nondiscriminatory disease. It’s frustrating, but there is no “how” or “why” answer. Even so, parents of addicted children experience increased stress and anxiety, and often relentlessly take extreme measures to control their child. Actions taken that exhibit codependency tend to not only fail, but also cause further strain on the relationship.
The simple fact is that addiction is an epidemic that spares no one. Whether you are rich or poor, happy or sad, outgoing or shy, the disease of addiction does not discriminate. You could be a world famous celebrity, a CEO of a major corporation, a brilliant inventor, a talented artist, an esteemed business man, a quintessential “soccer mom”, a loving father, a caring mother, a husband or a wife, a brother or a sister, a doctor or a lawyer, elderly or adolescent and still be subject to the perils of addiction.
Even Betty Ford, the First Lady of the United States (1974-77) struggled with both alcoholism and addiction prescription medication. Ford did enter treatment and eventually gave a face to what was once a very private and taboo disease, by opening the Betty Ford Center (now Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation) for Drug and Alcohol dependency in 1982. Even she admits, “I didn’t do this intentionally. I didn’t set out in life to be an alcoholic and build the Betty Ford Center.” Most would agree that becoming an alcoholic or developing an addiction is never an intention. It can take as little as one experience with alcohol or drugs, both of which cause change in the way a person feels, thinks, and acts, that leaves them insatiable for more.
It’s never easy to see someone we care for become powerless to the insidious disease, but when it does happen it is usually very evident. At the onset of a loved one’s addiction, our needs become less apparent or less of a priority. Rather than being next in order, it crucial to have at the front of our heads’ that WE will also feel affliction and will end up emotionally and psychologically sick from trying to fix, control and help the people we love who happen to be alcoholics and addicts. It cannot be emphasized enough that the stress and anxiety that comes from living with a loved one that is struggling with addictions can lead us, despite our abstinence from drinking and using drugs, to develop our own health issues. When this happens our quality of life is greatly reduced and we may experience an early onset of death.
Strength and Hope has gathered content and tools in an effort to help you manage the after-effects of witnessing drug and alcohol abuse, and find enjoyment within YOUR own life. This effort is made independently for YOU, regardless of your loved one’s “sober” or “using” status, because we know from experience that’s what YOU need. It may feel self-indulgent to focus on yourself, but we encourage you now more than ever to invest the time in in YOU. Dive into the resources on this site, soak up its knowledge, and build your own arsenal of tools to accompany your journey to emotional recovery.
Life’s challenges will never be fully removed, but when we practice discipline with an open-mind, their impact on our life is lessened and we get closer to serenity. Think of this journey as starting a healthy weight loss plan: You MUST put in the DAILY effort to work the proper diet and exercise each day. You also keep your expectations realistic, for example with the weight loss plan; you don’t expect to hit your goal overnight. The big plus here is that once your routine is down, one cheat meal won’t make you gain all the weight and leave you where you began. The path to healing is a parallel experience: one of life’s hiccups won’t leave you defeated. Even better news is that your journey’s positive impact will manifest in all areas of your life. It will work if you work it!!
STRENGTH and HOPE will continue to gather new information and resources that will benefit the families and friends of those who struggle with alcoholism and addiction. You are also invited to join our online support community, and if you wish can share your experience and contribute to our efforts.