Confabulation in families of addicts: What is the TRUTH???

What are the lies we tell ourselves when we don’t want to face the truth about a loved one’s addiction? Read how you can seek and acknowledge truth, here.

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Becoming curious as we write our own stories

As many of you might know after I was in Australia with Brené Brown, Ph.D., I am continuing learning by taking an online/case consultation course to be certified in Daring Way and Rising Strong. I am with a group of wonderful folks from across the globe (mainly Australia and the U.S.) and we follow a rigorous Curriculum.

I am particularly fond of Rising Strong as it resonates with the qualitative research (Portraiture) I have done with women as well as with Families who see loved ones experience substance abuse and mental health disorders. In Rising Strong, folks learn how to get curious as they write their own stories.

What lies do we tell ourselves while in denial about a loved one’s addiction? How can we seek the truth and accept reality? Here is an effective solution and program that anyone can use. At the end, we welcome your questions, comments, or feedback.

The Emperor’s New Clothes

I am struck by the “confabulations” – the lies we believe are truths – as we uncover and become curious about ourselves and our Healing Processes.

The definition of Confabulation (verb:confabula) is a memory disturbance, defined as the production of fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive none the less confabulations do lead to deception.

In much the same way people pretended the Emperor had clothes on when he walked around in his underwear, Families (i.e. loved ones) see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear.

The money that was missing from mother’s purse.

The lies on where their loved one was last night.

The excuses we make for our loved ones’ indiscretions.

All are examples of how well-meaning loved ones shield themselves from the truth that undulates before their eyes. The Confabulations we hold as truth are often shredded as we grow from a place of guilt, shame, or denial to one of authenticity and transparency.

Getting rid of the Shame and Denial

Working with Families who want to move their loved ones to health and wellness, we uncover the honeycomb of Denial and invite all the participants to look at their behaviors. Denying addiction is a difficult place to move from. Loved ones may have inadvertently looked away and minimized what was going on around them and the identified loved one in their confabulation that they do not have a problem.

It is in the act of getting curious and being open to look at these memories false truths we hold that growth and renewal, authenticity and our shame shields give away.

Peeling back to the layers of Truth

In the last few weeks I have been personally struck by the versions of reality I have heard about similar situations from different people and different perspectives. Here are some principles I stand firmly behind.

  1. Seeking Truth demands uncovering, not cover up.
  2. Seeking Truth demands introspection, not accusing or blaming.
  3. Seeking Truth demands rigorous honesty from multiple data points
  4. Seeking Truth requires a stillness.
  5. Seeking Truth requires curiosity.
  6. Seeking Truth demands a commitment to change.

Today, I invite all of you as you write your own stories, to get curious, to look beneath your first drafts and demand authenticity of yourself and those around you.

In doing so, the layers of misconception will shed away as you cloak yourself in rich layers of Truth.

Got any questions?

For more check out this discussion and let me know what truths you are uncovering. You can post your comments and questions in the designated section below. We try to provide a personal and prompt response to all legitimate inquiries.

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About the Author:  Dr. Louise Stanger LCSW, speaker, author, trainer and international interventionist has developed and refined her invitational method of mental health, substance abuse and process addiction interventions using the well established research methodology of portraiture. She has performed thousands of family interventions  (http: throughout the United States and aboard.
Louise has published in the Huffington Post, Journal of Alcohol Studies, Addiction Blog , Campus Recovery , The Sober World  etc and various other magazines and scholarly publications. The San Diego Business Journal listed her as one of the top 10 Women who Mean Business and she was ranked as one of the top 10 Interventionists in the Country. Louise is a gifted speaker who immediately connects with her audiences. Her presentations lively, informative, customized and invigorating and participants say they walk away with, new strategies and knowledge   about families and addictions. Foundations Recovery Network, 2014 Moments of Change Conference, proclaimed Dr. Stanger the “Fan Favorite Speaker”. Falling Up- A Memoir of Survival is available on Amazon.
About the author
Louise Stanger, Ed.D. is a clinical social worker LCSW and Certified Intervention Professional CIP with over 35 years experience in substance abuse and mental health disorders, grief and loss. She has been a university educator (SDSU & USD) and researcher. She is active in the Network of Independent Interventionist and Association of Intervention Specialists and is also a Motivational Interviewing Trainer of Trainers. More at All About Interventions .
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