“When addiction enters a home, recovery is necessary for the entire family.” Jean Heaton, “Helping Families Recover from Addiction”
I wish I had read this book 35 years ago, when addiction and alcoholism first thrust their ugly heads into our family. Jean Heaton has written a wonderful book about how to use the 12 Steps, Catholic Teaching, and Ignatian Spirituality to recover from codependency: addiction to controlling a family member’s addictive or alcoholic behavior.
The book is organized into 12 chapters. Each chapter focuses on one of the 12 Steps, bringing biographical information about the author’s journey into recovery. For her, the journey began with Step 1, “We admitted we were powerless…..’ In other words, she could not manage or control her son’s addiction or her husband’s alcoholism.
Catholic teaching and Ignatian spirituality are her support and guide in this recovery journey. As she journeys through each of the steps she tells how they help, so that we who have family members suffering from addiction can also use them for our own recovery. At the end of each chapter there is a worksheet: a psalm on which to meditate, lists to make and questions to ask yourself that will get you deeper into the Step, and finally a prayer appropriate for the Step.
As I said at the beginning this is a book I wish I had read 35 years ago, but I’m more than grateful that I’ve been able to read it now. Let’s hope that it can reach all families afflicted by addiction and alcoholism.
My Family is destroyed, My life ruined. Everything I feared came true 10 times worse than my worries. I’m lost. My son is still addicted and now my daughter is addicted to marijuana. My wife let’s them smoke pot in the house now which is promoting more addiction. 15 years of hell and now divorce is here. More hell. More pain and terror and agonizing sadness as I watch this slow tragedy continue to unfold helpless to stop it as I watch my beautiful family dissolve deeper into drugs embrace.
One word: Alanon
Mr. Guth, I am so sorry for you and I empathize with you. I have agonized and been in the depths from time to time during the past 30 years because of family member’s addiction and alcoholism. After the 14th and 15th rehab, I started to attend a men’s alanon meeting and heard stories of sons, daughters and wives who had done worse than my family member, but with God’s help, focusing on themselves, the men involved gained recovery. And in almost all of the cases so did the family member in addiction. They trusted God (“The Higher Power”) and admitted they were powerless. In Calix I’ve learned that my prayer at Adoration should be to accept God’s will, to be patient. Steps 1-3 summarized: I can’t, God can, I’ll let God do it. And we do that at Calix with the help of our Catholic faith. You’ll be in my prayers.