For Family and Loved Ones
Are you feeling exasperated about
your family member’s addiction?
Are you fed up with watching your
loved ones destroy their lives?
Are you at your wit’s end, having tried
everything you can
think of to make them stop?
Caring about an addicted person can feel like a nightmare.
Does this sound like you?
- You are sick and tired of the pain and/or abuse in
- You yell at the “addict” in your life,
threatening to leave the relationship if the problem
behaviour doesn’t stop.
- You “protect” the addict by making excuses for
- You make appointments with doctors and therapists,
only to find that the person is unwilling to go.
- You complain to
your friends and family members about this person, even though you
know they don’t have any
answers for you.
- You try to convince yourself that the problem really isn’t
- You feel sorry for yourself, baffled about why
this is happening to you and what to do about it.
You may find that the addictive behaviours of your partner or family
member are consuming all of your energy and bringing you down.
The anxiety you feel may be interfering with your sleep and robbing
you of your enjoyment of life.
The pain and unpredictability of caring for an addict seem to go
Stops Rescuing Her Teenagers
and Develops Self-Love
Candace changed my life. I had always prided myself
on being a survivor of abuse (physical, mental, psychological),
until I adopted two FAS Native children in a love-less marriage.
My marriage soon fell apart and my life quickly began to unravel.
When my children became teenagers, they both became addicted
to alcohol and drugs. I struggled with this situation
for several years, not having the first idea of how to deal
with it. They were both verbally abusive with me, and
totally disrespectful of me and our home, causing a lot of
physical damage any number of times. The environment
was threatening, physically and emotionally. Both kids
were skipping school and in trouble with the police. They
were regularly getting fired from the jobs my ex-husband and
I had gotten for them. I was continually “rescuing” them
from the trouble they were getting into. I had fooled
myself into thinking I was coping and doing the right thing… ever
At a point of absolute mental and physical collapse, a good
friend recommended that I meet with Candace. The
thought of “exposing” my world and thoughts to
a stranger was, frankly, terrifying. I didn’t know
where to begin and really didn’t believe I needed help… ever
Candace was absolutely amazing. Her clarity, integrity,
and skillful guidance turned my life upside down, in a good way.
I began to view myself in a different way, learning how to value
myself. I came to recognize that I hadn’t been
functioning very well at all; I had been denying my own pain,
not respecting MY needs and, in fact, enabling my kids to choose
the wrong path. As my sessions with Candace progressed,
I learned how to set clear, firm boundaries with my ex-husband
and with both of my children, and I soon began to feel a lot
better about myself.
I swear to you that if Candace had not come into my life
at that crucial moment in time, things would have been very
different — or should I say things would have stayed the same,
with potentially disastrous long-term consequences for me and
my children. Today we are all doing well, physically
and emotionally. We have a much healthier relationship
with each other than we have ever had before. The abuse
has stopped, the enabling has stopped, and my new found self-respect
is modeling a healthy approach to life’s choices.
The next time I’m feeling mired in confusion, I will
have absolutely no hesitation to pick up the phone and call
Candace, knowing with confidence that she will help me
navigate through the toxic fog. I am so glad I listened
to my friend and took that first step to reach out to Candace
If someone you love is abusing drugs or alcohol, or is engaging in other
addictive behaviours such as disordered eating, problem gambling, smoking,
internet addiction, abusive relationships, or compulsive spending, you
You may think that it’s somehow YOUR fault, because you
have not found a way to make the turmoil stop.
You feel like a “bad” parent or spouse, that you “should” be
able to do something to end this terrible situation.
To make matters worse, your addicted family member may be telling you
that you are to blame for his or her addictive behaviours!
Although the details of your experience may differ from someone else’s, the
emotions you feel are often the same as others who are dealing
with a loved one’s addiction.
Some of the most common emotions include:
- frustration and fear
- anger and anxiety
- guilt and shame
- confusion and powerlessness
- hopelessness and depression
If you are in a relationship with an addict, you may be neglecting
yourself by not giving yourself the attention you need, and your own
self-care is likely suffering.
The first step in helping an addicted family member is to learn
how to “detach with love” and start looking after
your OWN needs.
You need to learn how to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF first.
Once you start focusing on changing your own behaviour and taking
responsibility for the things you CAN change, you will:
- find time for yourself without feeling stress and guilt
- set appropriate boundaries with others, such as saying “NO” when
you mean “No”
- express your anger and other emotions in safe and healthy
- ask for and get help when you need it
- let go of control and perfectionism, creating more
ease and enjoyment in your life
- take care of yourself physically – eating well,
getting enough sleep, etc.
- spend more quality time with nurturing friends and
- learn to HAVE FUN!
To order Candace's award-winning book Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Top 10 Survival Tips for Loving Someone with an Addiction, click here.
Overcomes Guilt and Becomes
a Strong Role-Model for Her Family
I began seeing Candace because my daughter had a serious addiction
problem that was negatively impacting my life and the lives
of my family as well. I was overwhelmed with feelings of
fear, anger and guilt.
I was trying to help my daughter stop using drugs, but because
she wasn't ready to help herself, my efforts were in vain. I
was letting her walk all over me because I was afraid that
if I set hard boundaries I might lose her forever. I
felt a lot of guilt, and I had been blaming myself for her
situation for a very long time.
Candace quickly helped me see that I needed to establish
firm boundaries for myself and my family. I began
to understand that I could only continue to emotionally support
my daughter if she respected those boundaries. I realized
that I couldn't control her addiction, that I could only
control my own choices and reactions. Most
importantly, I knew I was the one who needed to set the respectful
tone that I would accept in my relationship with her.
As I started to see the situation more objectively, I understood
that my daughter's addiction was not my fault. I
could be there for her in more emotionally healthy ways,
without compromising my self-respect.
Now I feel strong and confident when I make decisions
for myself and the rest of my family. My daughter
is a part of my life. It's not always easy, but I
am offering her loving support with new understanding,
respect and integrity.
Counselling can help you detach from your loved one’s addiction
and learn how to focus on yourself – the only thing you do have
Counselling with a skilled professional such as myself can help you
to regain the self-respect and the peace in your life that
you so deserve. Getting counselling for a family member’s
addiction can help you overcome the pain and confusion you are
experiencing. The improvements you make in your own life can also have
a huge impact on your loved one’s addictive behaviour.
If you are ready to try a different approach, I can show you another
way to be in relationship with your addicted family member or loved
If you would like to call me for a free 15-minute telephone consultation,
you can reach me at 604-677-5876.
If you would prefer to email
me, my address is email@example.com. I would love to hear
My office is located in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I provide therapy
and counselling services for the Greater Vancouver area including Vancouver,
Burnaby, Richmond, North Vancouver and West Vancouver.