Why won't he just stop?


It’s probably the most common question friends and loved ones of an addicted individual ask.

Consider this. Bring to mind your go to coping skill. The one you can always count on to help you manage a stressful situation or emotional distress. Picture it now. Got in your head?

Now imagine I told you that I was removing that go to coping skill, the one you always count on, from your life, forever. How would you feel? I’m pretty sure your answer would be somewhere between horrible and inconsolable.

Here’s another way to visualize the relationship between an addicted user and their drug. Was there ever a time when your parents or friends vehemently disagreed with your love interest? Ever have a parent tell you to stop seeing someone with whom you were madly in love? Even if that never happened, imagine for a moment if you were given that ultimatum. Would you give in or fight that decree tooth and nail?

I’m currently writing a rock musical about heroin, but it could be any drug. In order to help the audience visualize this unexplainable relationship, heroin is portrayed by an actor. You don’t just hear about the drug, you get to see her. You see and feel the love between the addicted user and heroin. So when you wonder why someone won’t just stop, why they won’t listen to your sound reasoning, take a moment and think of it in turns of love. Because although it’s dysfunctional as hell, make no mistake it’s love.

This is a hard concept for family members to understand. But refusing to acknowledge the truth from the user’s perspective will leave you communicating in a way that’s guaranteed not to get the results you want.

Addiction is a family disease. Everyone is affected. No one gets to sit this one out. It’s crucial to understand the disease so you can communicate more effectively. And it’s equally important that all family members take care of themselves. It’s not being selfish, it’s being smart.

This is why I have begun offering workshops for family members. To make it as easy as possible, I’m offering these workshops online. Come in your pajamas and connect by phone or video chat, but come. And then to reinforce what you learned, included in the price of each workshop is a 30 minute coaching consultation to be scheduled at your convenience either at my office or remotely. If you decide you want to do more work, we can arrange individual sessions or you can sign up for the TriState’s first Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course exclusively for family members/close friends of an addicted user starting January 14.

Let the healing begin.

AddictionMark Levine