How Do You Love an Addict?
Can You Truly?
There are so many different varied addictions it can be overwhelming to anyone, especially the sober. The levels of addiction, the mind-altering or mood-altering addictions; which are worse? Is there one that is worse than another? I suppose that would be dependent solely on who you ask; however, addiction is never simple, just addiction. There are always loopholes here or there. So, how do you maneuver through the realm of addiction when you are the sober one?
Reality Sucks! However, if someone truly wants to love an addict through their addiction then they need to realize that it is their reality, and they need to deal with it. There is not a prayer or a magic lantern strong enough to change someone if they are not ready, willing, and able to accept and embrace the change needed. One of the biggest habits to harbor when loving an addict is making certain you do not feel guilt. There is no reason for you to feel guilty. If they do not ask for help, you cannot force it upon them. Let them feel your love regardless of all else. If they need a meal, buy them a meal. If they need a shoulder to lean on, stand still so they can lean. However, do not take their burdens home with you. Make certain to keep a clear boundary line always drawn.
Keeping a healthy balance is critical! There needs to be clear and concise communication and rules. When you say ‘no’, mean it. When you say ‘yes’, mean it. This has quite often been compared to dealing with a child, and quite frankly, it is. Having clear and concise boundaries is crucial for both sides. At the same time, you will want to continue the activities that you enjoy while continuing to have a healthy attitude. Continue to go to the gym and work out or enjoy your favorite pastimes and activities. Your loved one and their own personal addiction should not stop you from continuing your own personal livelihood and enjoyment.
You can only fix, YOU! When the realization hits that you cannot fix the addictions of others, it may very well be a hard hit. Far too often, it is the belief that you can fix others, or they would be better off if they only listened to your advice and guidance. However, it is crucial to realize this is not the reality that everyone lives by. The best thing to do is realize early on that you do not control anyone and cannot fix anyone, but yourself.
That tidbit of information bleeds directly into this one; there is no blame game to be played. Not where addiction is concerned. There is no one to blame. The addict in your life is going through enough, they do not need blame piled onto that. This can and only will bring heartache for both sides. The reality of the situation is that you just need to be there as much as you can allow yourself to be. Are you able to listen, be a shoulder, or be a sounding block? If so, then do it. But leave the blame game on the top shelf of the closet. It will not benefit either side.
The important thing to remember is this; whether it is mind-altering or mood-altering, addiction is addiction. This, also means that there needs to be a clear line between helping someone and enabling someone. There does not need to be a rescue mission set into place. The addict may very well not want or be ready to be rescued. Addiction is clear; it will not resolve until the addict wants it to.
Until Next Time: