Addiction makes families sick together and at CTB retreats they get well together. The epidemic of alcoholism and drug addiction that plagues our world has produced an avalanche of broken homes and dysfunctional families. These broken familes multiply the effects of chemical addiction. Addicts reflect the pain of their addiction into the lives of parents, spouses, and children. The numbers are staggering.
The “Wino Willie and his Family” doll presentation had its birth at the Dunklin Memorial Center, in Okeechobee, Florida, in 1963 when there were an estimated 5 million alcoholics in America. Since then we have seen alcoholism more than triple, and illegal drugs have become a leading industry in our State. Illegal drugs have turned areas of many of our cities into war zones.
Few families have been exempt from this plague. Many have been shattered and more children caught up by drug abuse. The plague, like a deadly virus, has invaded our schools, churches and homes — disrupting every member of the family. Living with an addict has the same effect on a family as living in a house with a live, uncaged rattlesnake! It can be done, but not without trauma. Every member of the family is made to constantly focus on the sickest member of the family, i.e. the alcoholic, who often exercises power to control the emotional, financial, and spiritual climate of the whole family.
In a normal, healthy family NO one person is always center stage. Attention is given to the needs of each member and there is a healthy give-and-take between spouses and children -- but this balance is sadly lacking in the alcoholic family.
The Wino Willie doll presentation is an illustration of the typical addicted family. The story may take us all the way back to our families of origin or to just last month. We begin to understand the systemic nature of the disease and open our eyes to the cure.