Advice for Addict Father

For discussion of any addiction or challenge

Moderator: PhilH

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JessicaW
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Location: New Mexico
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Advice for Addict Father

Post by JessicaW » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:58 pm

My father is currently in jail due to his addictions and the choices he makes while under their influence. Recently, I've gotten back in touch with him through letters to the jail (previously we hadn't spoken in over 5 years). He is going into a recovery program and in his last letter he has requested that I write him a letter telling him how his drug abuse has affected and hurt me. He says to let it all out there, but I don't want to say anything that might hurt his recovery (or our newly healing relationship).

Has anyone ever had to do this? Or ever been the recipient of a letter like this? It's something he says they all do in the group and they read the letters out loud. I want to help him with his recovery, I just don't know exactly what I should say, how far I should go and what would be helpful and what wouldn't.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

PhilH
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:29 am
Location: Northern Utah
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Post by PhilH » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:05 am

As an addict who has had to make amends to my family members because of my addiction (just by working the steps, not because of a prison program), I think this is a good opportunity for healing for both of you.

It was important for me to hear how my addiction to pornography affected my wife. It was a violation of my covenants to cling to her and none else. But in my addict mind, I listened to Satan's lie that it was only hurting myself, and not even that very much. It was an important part of coming out of denial to realize how much I had hurt my wife by my actions.

In responding to my confessions, she handled the situation perfectly. She didn't rage or throw a fit or tantrum. She just told me in simple, honest, and sometimes tearful terms, how much it her her when I acted out. It helped me that she didn't shame me, because I was really shaming myself plenty. And shame only drives us into the arms of the addiction again. But her telling me the truth was important. I needed to have the truth clearly in my mind, and stop acting based on rationalizations and lies. "The truth will set you free." We can't heal until we admit how damaged and messed up we are, and being told in love or at least in non-judging terms what the result of our actions has been is very helpful, even if it isn't very fun to listen to. I came to know that it was part of my repentance to listen to those expressions from my loved ones.

Best wishes to you. This may be hard for you to do, and even harder for your father to listen to, but it is right. The staff at the corrections facility are doing the right thing. Seek the Lord's guidance. Jesus is "The Spirit of Truth," and He will help you in telling your truth.

Phil

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