Addiction: Families Terrified Of Each Other

By Jef Mullins 08/15/16

[Sponsored] The best thing about my recovery is that the people who love me aren’t scared anymore. 

Addiction: Families Terrified Of Each Other

Being in recovery myself, people often ask me what it’s like to be craving a drink or a drug. It’s hard to imagine if you haven’t gone through it; hard to communicate clearly to someone fortunate enough to have not been trapped inside it. Like a color-blind person trying to tell you what being color blind is like. But I will try:

Imagine that you are scuba diving and your oxygen runs out far beneath the surface. Every cell in your body is screaming – nothing else matters – and terror and physical pain – an aching, physical scream takes over. That’s close to it. And the fear lies just below the surface all the time. We lie and boast and concentrate far too much on others to push the fear down, but it’s there all the time. It feels like falling forever, having no skin and being made of shattering glass.

If you tell me you are angry with me, that you want me to stop, the fear bursts to the surface as if you are threatening my life. You are going to make me stop!

And our loved ones? The victims, the witnesses. My mother once told me, after the fact, that she had experienced and agonizingly rehearsed my funeral in her mind. My loved ones were scared for me and scared of me. They watched, bewildered, as I slowly killed myself and the dreams and hopes they had for me were hacked away. 

They were terrified, too. So scared, it broke the back of rational thought and words to express it.

Near the end of my drinking, my sister once stood in front of me, trembling with fear and fury and shouted: “But why do you do it? You’re bright, you are young - you have a beautiful daughter? Why? Why!”

I looked up at her but we couldn’t meet each other’s eyes. I heard myself saying. “Why don’t you?”

She couldn’t understand why I drank. I couldn’t understand how someone was able not to. We stood, two angry and terrified people, on opposite sides of a huge valley of despair and shouted at one another. 

Then I got well. With treatment, effort, support, time and love. 

Another question I often get asked is, “What is the best thing about your recovery?” The job, the car, the fact that the pain and washing-machine head had stopped? No. The best thing about my recovery is that the people who love me aren’t scared anymore. 

It was worth it all for that. 

Jef Mullins
Waters Edge Recovery

If you or a loved one is in need of assistance please contact, Waters Edge Recovery for help or more information. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day, 855-522-2064 or visit

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Jef Mulins owns the healthcare treatment management company, Bad Granite Management and is the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Choicepoint, New Jersey and Co-founder and Chief Development Officer for Fort Wayne Recovery, Indiana. He was formerly the CEO of Waters Edge Recovery in Stuart Florida. You can find Jef on Linkedin.

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