ORANGE COUNTY, Calif., July 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Phillip felt hopeless. Ruminating the fine line between being helpful or pernicious, how could he be of any use to Adam, he thought. With a shrug, he hopped into his car, his "go-to" when confronted with conflict, hoping a drive would clear his mind. In a moment reminiscent of divine intervention, the radio caught his attention.
"An addict is addicted to a substance, while a family becomes addicted to the addict," the man said. "These dysfunctional tendencies cause a cycle of co-dependency."
The simple line reverberated in his ears and seared his heart—he thought about the times his mom would make money easily accessible so Adam wouldn't compulsively steal, about the dishonesty; of the denial they shared concerning his addiction. After 19 years of tolerating Adam's addiction to various substances, his lies, and the detrimental effects on their family, Phillip rid himself of his inhibitions and did something he had never done before.
In the supervening days, he embarked on a journey to grasp all the facets of addiction. He reached out to Siamak Afshar, a recovering addict whose voice unearthed a sliver of hope that recovery for his brother was possible. He founded and operates the Transforming Life Center in Yorba Linda, California to facilitate the process of recovery for both addicts and their families.
Siamak made Phillip realize that his co-dependency made him complicit in his brother's addiction—that he had enabled this behavior for the past 19 years. He wondered how he could hold so many misconceptions about this prevalent disease whilst allowing shame and commiseration to take hold where support and guidance should have.
Co-dependency, a learned social and behavioral condition, is characterized as the effect addicts have on their loved ones, and vice versa. Although these individuals believe that they are acting with good intentions, relationships of this type stifle the emotional growth of all involved. Typically, they justify an addict's actions and sacrifice their quality of life in order to protect them from harm and hide what is perceived as a shameful act; however co-dependents cope by repressing negative feelings and fears. In coming to terms with his part in his brother's addiction, Phillip recognized how his denial of the situation fostered an environment where Adam could resort to self-destructive tendencies.
In his findings, Phillip concluded that addiction has no prejudice. Similar to a storm, the disease arbitrarily blows through the lives of the surrounding family members. It is a demanding thing to trifle with and requires resilience and strength to be defeated. Instead of fixating on the substance abuse, he contemplated the root cause of his brother's behavior, if it's due to genetic proclivity, to heal old wounds, or coalescence of the two.
Most of all, Phillip grew tired of Adam's dichotomous character: the way in which his compassionate and caring nature could would be thrown to the way side as aggression, manipulation, and spite took hold during the come down. To convey his concern for Adam, Phillip learned, he had to offer him unconditional love and support to get clean or the door if he refused rehabilitation.
Phillip's pleas fell on deaf ears during the intervention. Adam denied his addiction, the severity of the situation, and the decisions before him. Though it broke his heart considerably, Phillip understood that breaking a habit calls for a lifestyle adjustment. After police removed Adam from his home, he embraced homelessness over seeking treatment.
Getting high became as imperative to his survival as eating. Over the course of three months, Adam lived on the streets—eating leaves and getting high—reaching new lows in his attempts to get a fix. Although he had stolen from family before, his new lifestyle compelled him to commit armed robbery, if needed, against his loved ones.
But this tumultuous period proved to be necessary for Adam, who didn't recognize the extent of his cruel behavior until his co-dependents excused themselves from the situation. After realizing this terrible fact, he surrendered to Phillip's love and enrolled himself in Afshar's designated rehabilitation program, which equipped him with techniques and tools to control the disease. Since Afshar's program works by encouraging loved ones to play instrumental roles in their addict's recovery, Phillip, too, received training to move beyond his status as a co-dependent enabler and learn how to maintain healthy, encouraging relationships. .
After 19 years of battling addiction, Adam successfully curbed his appetite for abusive substances. To maintain sobriety, he dedicated his life to helping others understand and overcome the ailments that once plagued him. Adam opened a convenience store and continued this diligent work for nine years before the unimaginable occurred.
Three meth addicts he tried to help onto the path of recovery masterminded a heist to pilfer what they could to feed their relentless addiction. High on meth, the compilation of complex feelings compelled them not to just steal but to also rob him of his life in a heinous manner.
Though the harrowing experience significantly impacted Phillip, he knew the nature of addiction too well to hold these individuals accountable for who they were during their hour of desperation. When Phillip faced his brother's murderers in a court, an overwhelming sense of understanding and humanity led him to forgive them for their mistakes.
24 years later, Phillip has found solace in continuing the work his brother began before his life was prematurely taken. From facilitating a home to serve as a rehabilitation clinic to sponsoring and supporting addicts, Adam's light shines brilliantly through Phillip's compassion for the community.
If you or someone you know is battling addiction, there are opportunities available to achieve recovery. As Phillip learned, the first step requires one to become educated on the multifaceted disease and to use that information to facilitate the next steps of recovery from their addiction or co-dependency.
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