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Is Your Parent’s Substance Abuse Your Fault?


Perhaps the most important thing for you to remember is commonly known as the “three C’s of addiction”:

You DIDN’T CAUSE it. Addiction is not something that one person can do to another. An unhappy childhood, an unhappy marriage, or problems with children, for example, do not cause a person to become a substance abuser. While some people may be born with an inherited tendency toward addiction, and some life experiences may make it more or less likely, neither genes nor experiences alone cause addiction. Rather, the path to drug use, abuse, and addiction are actions that the substance abuser chooses. Simply stated, the addiction is the result of a series of bad choices made by the substance abuser.

You CAN’T CONTROL it. If an addict wants a drug, nothing and no one will stand in their way. Forget pouring the wine down the sink, or flushing pills down the toilet; it won’t make a difference. In truth, the only way to limit being around substance abuse is to limit your time around the substance abuser.

You CAN’T CURE it. Much as you may want a substance abuser to get help, you can’t make it happen. Love and understanding won’t do it, and neither will begging or threatening. Recovery will come, if at all, only if and when the substance abuser truly decides to seek another life. Just as the addiction was the result of a series of bad choices by the substance abuser, so must recovery begin and be maintained through a series of good choices by the substance abuser.

You cannot control substance abuse, cure it, or cause it. But you can learn to cope with it.