Let Me Love Back the Family by Peter Marinelli

I have seen the tragedies over and over during my years of sobriety, and has been amplified being employed in the treatment center field.

Now the tragedies I refer to aren’t only the alcoholics and addicts. Most of who have walked that path knows of the horrific suffering the life of addiction brings. What I am referring to are the families of the alcoholic an addict. They have endured year after year the pain of watching their loved ones commit a slow suicide and are helpless to stop it. I get the phones calls daily and listen to the broken families on the other end, grasping at anything to get their son, daughter, husband, wife, or friend well.  What can we do they ask. How can we help they ask. And some state, we don’t care anymore (usually out of anger, as most do care very much).

While the alcoholic or addict gets the opportunity to go into treatment and or a 12 step fellowship, where they are circled by other recovering people with love and kindness patience and tolerance, most families are left to go through wreckage without a clue on how to repair their shattered lives.

They can’t discern on how to help and what is enabling. They wonder when their addicted loved one will use again once they have sobered up. Is this just a rest up till the next debacle?

How will we get out of this financial ruin the addict or alcoholic has caused?

They seem to hate and love the addicted person in the same breath.

Surprisingly lots of families aren’t even aware off Al-anon. And when it’s suggested two things usually happen. They either think they are going to get the addicted one well or are aghast that they have to go to get help when they did nothing wrong. Bless them, as I wonder how I would feel if I was them going through this.

It’s an obstacle that I have found needs to be treated delicately, firmly and with love. The only know what they know, and so many did the best they could with what they had.

Bless them for their courage to stand tall and held onto hope when they felt hopeless, and to endure while the alcoholic and addict tore apart lives. Now this isn’t to blame the sufferer of addiction, as no choice was involved here and anyone who suffered from addiction knows how they were compelled to use no matter what, possessed might be a better word here.

Now once that the addition suffer gets well, what will they do to give back to a family who has been shattered. The wounds may heal but the scars may last forever. Time a and time again, I witness in my line of work, folks sitting in treatment without a clue of how much they are loved and have been supported, nor the need to give back.

As a good old timer once told me, ‘kid, we owe!”

Interesting how the Big Book tells us “a much more important demonstration of these principles lies before us in our respective homes occupations and affairs” stating homes first.

Let us give back without becoming weary, let us love back without attachments to getting back. Let us be kind, tolerant and compassionate without expecting applause.

God and sobriety are the proof that the “age of miracles is still with us”.

With this great Power we get in sobriety, via the 12 steps, God gives us and allows us the ability to heal the wounded, love the ones who have felt unloved and neglected, to give back so that they may rise up again and hold their heads up and get their shoulders squared and once again embrace this precious gift we call life.

We can then all walk shoulder to shoulder, as families, as friends, as children of a Loving God.

I owe, we owe, and God will give us all we need to do so.


Chop wood, carry water

Peter Marinelli

Director of Sober Residences

FHE Health

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