The 3 C’s of Addiction and Recovery and How to Follow Through With Them

Helping a loved one through recovery can be a very difficult process. No one wants to see their loved one going through something so difficult, but the reality is that thousands of families will go through the process every single year. 

During the recovery process, family members and those closest to the person will begin to blame themselves for what is happening. This is a natural part of overcoming addiction and can cause a lot more issues for a family as they try to understand why it’s happening to them. 

This is when recognizing and repeating the three C’s is as important as ever. Living with an addict can be complicated, but recognizing your place can help to ease the burden allowing you to be there for support rather than hold resentment. 

At a glance, the three C’s refer to: 

  • cause
  • control
  • cure

You didn’t Cause the Addiction

When someone close to you is struggling with addiction, it’s easy to point fingers, even at ourselves. This is especially true if it is a partner or child, or parent. As we try to make sense of why something happened, we begin to see ourselves as the cause of it, which can be very harmful. Not only is it a bad mentality, but it can also prevent you from giving the kind of support your loved one needs to help overcome their addiction. 

When that seed of doubt begins to creep in that you are somehow responsible for someone else’s addiction, remember that you are not. No one is responsible for the addiction in that way. Addiction is an illness, and you did not cause it by being unavailable or overbearing, or any other reason you craft up. 

You Can’t Control the Addiction

Much like you’re not responsible for the addiction happening, you’re also not responsible for controlling the addiction. In fact, you can’t. Only the person going through recovery can truly control the addiction, and even then, it is a mental, physical and emotional battle day in and day out. 

The sooner you realize that you cannot control the addiction, the better off you will be in providing the right kind of support to those who need it. Rather than trying to control the addiction, you may also find the energy to help your loved one receive the right cure. 

What your loved one needs more than someone trying to control the addiction is someone who will stand by their side while they navigate it. If you find that your loved one needs more support than you can give, it may be time to reach out for professional help, such as Hollywood Hills Recovery

You Can’t Cure the Addiction

Just like you can’t control an addiction, you have no say over when it is “cured.” The truth is that recovery will be a life-long battle, and no one person can just make it go away, no matter how hard they want it to. 

Realizing this early on may alleviate some of that blame and allow you to be an ally rather than someone trying to control. While it’s important to remain invested and motivated to help your loved one through their recovery, there is a difference between that and attempting to cure. That means don’t get angry if they struggle or don’t approach recovery the same as you might. Recovery is an extremely individualistic thing, and it’s important to remember you can’t cure it as much as you didn’t cause it. 

How to Follow Through with the 3 C’s

It can be very difficult to remember the 3 C’s when living close to someone with an addiction. The key when you feel your care manifesting in despair or anger is that you are not in charge of how someone else manages their addiction, no matter how much you love them. 

Take some time to reflect and recognize the role you have in this person’s life and be there where you can rather than taking charge of recovery. This will help all parties maintain some peace of mind as they navigate sobriety. 


Recovery will be different from person to person, and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Within this, there is no way to help a loved one navigate recovery based on what you think is best when you’re not the person suffering. Remember, the 3 C’s can help you to maintain your own sanity and help in the way you’re needed, not the way you would like to be.

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