The Harsh Truth About Loving An Addict
Updated: May 25, 2020
There is nothing more painful than watching drugs turn somebody you love, into somebody you don’t even know. It can also be very lonely. You don’t tell your friends. You don’t confide in your parents. You tell no one. You are stuck on a rollercoaster of emotions and have no manual with instructions on how to get off of it.
When a loved one is suffering, it’s natural to want to help. But how do you do it effectively without adding fuel to the fiery situation?
Addiction affects everybody involved. It puts entire families into a tailspin. While the addict is preoccupied with thoughts of using and doing anything to obtain drugs, the rest of the family members cover up the addict’s behaviours and an unhealthy environment. We isolate from friends and family because our guilt and shame get the best of us. We blame the addict, society, and yes, most of all, ourselves.
As family members, we live in what seems an eternal and constant state of fear, stress, and dread. The ringing phone has become a terrifying experience because we don’t know what’s on the other end. Has our child been jailed, hurt, or worse?
We try to do everything in our power to save our addicted loved one. That’s what families do. We protect. We love. We don’t give up. But our attempts may be unhealthy and hinder success with our addicted son, daughter, mom, dad, or friend. We can cross the line into codependency, enabling, and losing ourselves in the process.
You didn’t cause your loved one’s addiction, and you cannot cure it or control it.
Consider the following when dealing, and loving, and addicted loved one:
Loving vs Enabling
You can love but do not enable. Every time you bail an addict out of a difficult situation, it is easier for them to continue their negative behaviours. It is challenging to watch someone you love struggle and deprive them of help with money, time, food, or housing. Sometimes realizing that they’re struggling is the only way they come to terms with the fact that they have a problem.
Set Your Boundaries
To be a part of the solution, the only way you can control the situation is to set boundaries for yourself. Your situation is messy. It’s fluid. And it’s challenging. The only person that you can control in this, is you. Your thoughts, behaviours, and actions are yours and yours alone. Addicts are trained at manipulating through guilt trips, and even violent behaviours. These tactics perpetuate toxic relationships without healthy boundaries that only you can put in place. Love the person. Not their behaviour. Make sure they know this and refuse to put up with any abuse.
You Can’t Save them
Our first reaction as humans is to help the ones we love. If we saw them drowning in a pool, we’d dive in without hesitation. This isn’t the same type of rescue mission. As you try to save them from the pool, they fight you off, push you underwater with them and almost act like they don’t want saving. You see their problem very clearly, but their perception of it is entirely different. You may need outside help in the form of an intervention or addictions counsellor. If they are not accepting help from you, it’s time to bring in qualified professionals like our team at Liberty Intervention. Take a pause, reach out to us, and work with our team to properly help your loved one.
Surround yourself with love and support. An addict can pull you back into a cycle of chaos without you even realizing it happened. If you are not healthy and strong, you cannot help your addicted loved one. Liberty Intervention is here to support in numerous areas of addictions, including interventions, addictions counselling, and relapse prevention. We don't only support the addict but their family and circle of friends as well. Talk to our counsellors, schedule a doctor's appointment if needed. Your spiritual, emotional and physical health are critical now, more than ever.
If you or someone you love needs to speak to our interventionists and counsellors, please contact us immediately. Your call or email is always confidential.