By Dr. Kim Logan-Nowlin & Arthur E. Nowlin, LMSW, CAADC
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This article was written by Dr. Kim Logan-Nowlin for Message Magazine : Drama Files
It May Have Been Too Late to Say Goodbye, But Not Too Late to Address His Addiction.
Carson had been a substance abuser since entering the military. He returned four years later, upon an honorable discharge from the army. He was one of 13 children and always a loving and devoted son to his parents.
Carson was reared in a very spiritual and loving family. He was very supportive, caring, and helpful towards his parents all while struggling with his personal drug and alcohol addiction. One afternoon after a day helping his mother and enjoying the afternoon with his parents, he walked out and told his father “I’ll be back.”
Passing of Time
Later that week Carson’s father, James, went into the hospital for a breathing treatment. His physician decided to extend his stay because the effects of a longstanding smoking habit were now exacting its toll. James’ lungs had been deteriorating for at least 10 years. After a week, James was no longer breathing on his own. His body was getting weaker and weaker and his lungs were no longer functioning properly.
Carson’s mother and siblings visited James several times throughout the week, until the doctor called and told them nothing else could be done for him.
James and seven sons all served in the military. “You never leave a wounded solider alone,” they believed, and the family gathered around James one last time as the life support was removed. He passed away early the next morning.
A week later when James was buried, Carson was absent. He missed his father’s illness and passing. Carson’s ex- wife, a police officer, went looking for him for the family. When she found him and told him that his father had passed away, Carson was in total disbelief. He remembered seeing a huge funeral possession going down the street and was so surprised by how long it was, not knowing that it was his own father’s funeral.
Immediately, Carson went home to find his mother and a single obituary in the china cabinet. Carson realized he had to live with this for the rest of his life.
Ever since that day Carson has lived with his mother and finally found healing in drug recovery. Carson has begun counseling for PSTD ( Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and also grief counseling.
Alcoholism and drug addiction have obvious and well-documented effects on chronic substance abusers. Prolonged abuse of drugs and alcohol deteriorate a person’s physical health, impair mental functioning, and damage the spirit. These adverse effects also impact the immediate family’s finances, physical health and psychological wellbeing.
Family roles naturally shift to adjust to the behaviors associated with drug or alcohol use, and to continue maintaining order and balance. Including the addict, there have been six roles identified to understand how the family functions around the substance abuser. They are:
No matter how old a parent’s child is, discovering that a child has an addiction can be an unpleasant, rude awakening. It may cause mothers and fathers to question their parental abilities or the decisions they made. Parents of addicts, much like children of addicts, often blame themselves for the development of the substance use disorder.
God is a forgiving God. We must be willing to forgive ourselves and grow from our mistakes. God can turn even the tragic addiction, and the grief-filled experience of losing his father into complete recovery and restoration.