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Susan Ivy
Susan Ivy, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
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Experience:  BSN, MSN, CNS
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How do i explain to my 75 yr old grandma that being a

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how do i explain to my 75 yr old grandma that being a methodone program for drug addiction ( i had a problem with pain pills and still suffer from sever pain) is not a short thing and that it is very likely I could be on it my whole life. I have been on it a year now and it has been an amazing tool to pull my life together. but she is very critical and dosent understand that i will always be an addict and at risk for relaspe periculay because it help with pain control.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for using JustAnswer Health.

Addiction can be a very difficult thing for many people to understand. (even if you have underlying pain, I assume you had difficulty in obtaining appropriate pain coverage which led you addiction, I hope using this word is not too strong for you). It can especially be hard for family members of an addict/former addict to understand the dynamics behind it. This is because there are dynamics within a family that can contribute to one individual (or more) becoming the individual that picks up what is considered a negative coping skill (addiction) often originally as a means to escape stress and tension (or pain) that may be present in the family. This is often an unconscious reaction, that briefly helps the whole family. It is quite complicated, but I encourage you to read more about this, as it will help you to stick to your program of recovery (which in your case is a methadone program), and this is very important for you.

In other words, most professionals that have studied addiction, consider it to be a 'family system' problem. It is a bit complicated to explain in even a few short paragraphs if one does not have a background in psychology, but often the person that is identified as the 'addict' in a family system is a symptom of a problem that is much deeper. And when they start to get better (the addict, or 'identified patient' then it upsets a certain balance. It often means that the other family members have to look at themselves, and consider how they may have contributed, or may even have to face their own addictions - which are not always addictions to drugs)

So there can be forces within the family that actually encourage the 'identified patient' to remain ill. Of course this is not conscious, and loved ones would of course deny that they would ever wish you to be ill or harmed in any way...and of course there is a part of them that does not want you ill. Yet, it is easier to point a finger towards the 'identified patient' as having the problem, rather than to look at one's own problems. In other words, family members can believe 'there is nothing wrong with me, it is so and so that has the problem'.

Of course this is not the subject to start off with in trying to get your grandmother to understand. In fact, again, you may never be able to get her to understand, and you will again, only be able to do so much, then you must put your focus elsewhere, and that is on staying as healthy as possible for yourself and your immediate family members.

In explaining it to you, I am trying to help you to understand that you will face frustration in trying to get your family to 'understand' you. It is very important that you grasp the concept of having the "Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference." In other words, you can try to explain to her, but if she does not ever understand, you will need to 'let go' of this, and move on with your life, and set boundaries so that her lack of understanding does not become a point of contention that actually 'festers' and brings you back to the point of using substances in an unhealthy way.

I would suggest you learn more about these family dynamics as this will enable you to develop coping skills so that you can deal with your family without it effecting you negatively.

A very good impartial source of information can be found at this non-profit (free) website:

There are several sections that can be of help to you, but the section on addiction may provide you with techniques to help you deal with your grandmother.

I also suggest you also go to the main page and look at other sections that might apply to you, as there is much that can be of help to you (and most people!)

Here is the main page:

Please let me know if you have further questions about this. I am more than happy to help you with any follow up questions or needed explanation. My aim is to get a rating of 5 (Great service) for every question. So again, IF you need more information, just reply to me via the REPLY TO EXPERT button. I'll be happy to continue further to do everything I can to provide you with great service.

For your information, the above poem is the 'Serenity Prayer' and the full prayer is as follows

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Although this 'prayer' is something that individuals in 12 step programs are taught it was not originally meant for people with addictions only, it holds a concept that can be helpful for everyone.

Susan Ivy and 4 other Health Specialists are ready to help you

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