Children who grow up in an addictive home internalize a lot of toxic shame where they lose the ability to believe in their own worth and value. For some people, it has never been instilled in them, to begin with. But there is an emotional connection between the addict and their family. Regardless of how old you are – if you were raised with addiction, you deserve to be acknowledged!

On today’s episode of The Addicted Mind Podcast, Duane talks to Dr. Claudia Black, a world-renowned expert on addiction and codependency. Claudia has been working in the field of addictive disorders for over 40 years. She recently released the third edition of her book, “It Will Never Happen to Me: Growing Up with Addiction as Youngsters, Adolescents, and Adults.”

Growing up with substance use disorders, there was really a lot of fear that permeated her life – the fear that also permeates the lives of so many people growing up in an addictive home. 

Claudia believes that nobody deserves to live with fear and shame. Children don’t deserve that. Partners don’t deserve that. And certainly, the addicted person doesn’t deserve that. And it’s that belief that has driven Claudia to her 40-year-plus career, and eventually, writing the book, which now has over 2 million copies in print. 

Challenging the status quo in the late 70’s, Claudia’s work has been a fundamental part of recovery treatment and it has laid a big foundation in the recovery community today. Her work has given a voice and validation to this suffering that people didn’t even know how to name back then. In fact, her work around family roles and rules had a huge impact on Duane’s recovery and growth. 

In this episode, you will hear:

  • Growing up in toxic shame, fear, and sadness
  • How the book came to be
  • The emotional connection between the addict and their family
  • The systematic approach to treatment
  • How Claudia’s work challenged the status quo back then
  • Acknowledging the children of addiction
  • Recognizing the different family roles and how to address them
  • How to walk through pain 
  • The two big resistances to recovery and the value of self-help groups

Key Quotes:

[03:20] – “As children, we internalize a lot of toxic shame… we lose the ability to believe in our own worth and value.”

[06:47] – “If you were raised with addiction, I don’t care how old you were, you deserve to be acknowledged.”

[09:22] – “In the treatment, we’re not working with just the person who comes for treatment – but truly, the family is the client.”

[14:17] – “The addiction in the family would be ignored by everybody else if they could ignore it.” 

[15:36] – “The issues are ageless… we may understand more about it, we may be more sophisticated in our treatment, but the experience for the person really doesn’t change.”

[20:05] – “That’s what recovery is about for a teenager or an adult child – is what you didn’t learn, as well as challenging the beliefs along the way.”

[25:12] – “For some people, things are more blatant than for others, but it is so chronic.”

[30:31] – “A lot of people get in trouble as they try and do the skill work without looking at the emotional work or looking at the belief that’s associated.”

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Supporting Resources:

It Will Never Happen to Me: Growing Up with Addiction as Youngsters, Adolescents, and Adults