Substance Use Disorders (SUD), previously referred to as addiction or substance abuse)are difficult to figure out. On the surface, there seems to be a simple solution addressing the problem. Just stop using it. If we count on that as our answer, the next question is why individuals with an SUD put themselves through the consequences they experience. For individuals and families that have or are going through this challenge, they know the answer is more complex than that.

People who experience a loved one’s SUD become overtaken by it. Common sense, logical, and healthy choices are forsaken. Poor decisions, destruction, and chaos take center stage. Family, friends, and all others feel the consequences of the loved one’s use. Anyone close to the misuser will feel the impact of their misuse.

In our previous book, Falling Trees, Color Blind Scientists, and Addiction, we explained what individuals face in their experience with a SUD. Our reader did cover the impact SUD has on families. However, we felt we needed to talk more about the family aspect. Family members are caught up in the problem of the use but can also play a crucial role in the recovery. Finding your role and place in a loved one’s recovery is difficult. The family needs to heal from the impact the use has had on them as well as be a support for the misuser. Our newest book, Finding Our Way Home: A Guide for Families Experiencing a Substance Use Disorder (May 2025), details the family recovery from a SUD. 

This newsletter is the first of a three-part series on SUD. Our first part includes information and guidelines on what determines an SUD. The first 3 C’s, Compulsion, Loss of Control, and Consequences, are discussed. Our second newsletter, the next 3 C’s, will look at SUD from a family perspective. The family’s understanding aids the recovery from a SUD; they cannot control the SUD use, they did not cause it, and they cannot cure it. Our last newsletter will talk about how families could cope with an SUD.