Loving an Addict

At first you’ll want to jump in and rescue them. But eventually you’ll understand you can’t. It’s the process of trying to help, and concluding you can’t, that is often described as hell.

The weight of a child’s addiction can be unbearable for a parent. The feeling of powerlessness, the constant lies, the need to hide your pain from the outside world, the constant waiting for that phone call, the constant worrying, feeling sick and exhausted, putting your own life on hold, and dedicating all your energy towards your child. The thought of funerals and caskets, while your child is still alive, is a constant haunting thought.

Addiction is a tough battle for everyone, but it is especially hard for the family of the addicted person.

It’s been an honor to work with the families of those struggling with addiction. There’s a frequent question that most ask in the beginning, and that is they wonder why they need to participate in the family program when it’s their child who is sick. It’s a fair question. Why does the family of the addicted person need help? It’s obvious why the addicted person themselves needs help, as their impairment and inability to function is clear. However, the impact of this disease extends far beyond the addicted person and affects the entire family.

So, why does GraceWay place so much emphasis on family involvement and their own recovery?

Think about the devastation of losing your home to a fire, everything you held dear and cherished is gone. Memories, keepsakes, and irreplaceable items all turned to ash. The destruction and mess it leaves behind is overwhelming. Now imagine the clean up.

Addiction is like a house fire, similar in its destruction, it consumes everything in its path, leaving behind trauma, shock, and heartbreak. It affects everyone in the family, and to survive, the family must adjust their needs to cater to the addicted person, making them the center of their attention, thoughts, time, money and efforts.

Navigating relationships with someone struggling with addiction can be complex. Finding the delicate balance of what to say and how to act, to avoid causing further harm, is a challenge. The trauma of living with addiction takes a toll on the family. Some families may spend their entire lives trying to make life easier for the addicted person, leading to a codependent relationship, which is debilitating for both parties. Especially for the addicted person, who never has to take responsibility for their actions and grow up.
If you fail to recognize that addiction is a family disease, you fall back into trying to control, save, change, or rescue your loved one with addiction. This will keep you focused on the addiction and the person rather than yourself and your well-being, leading to codependency. Codependency occurs when your happiness and well-being are dependent on the addicted person’s actions and moods. In other words, if they are struggling, it becomes your responsibility to fix it. Codependency is an unconscious addiction to another person’s abnormal behavior, similar to how an alcoholic or addict finds relief in substance use, the codependent finds relief in enabling. Both parties become trapped in compulsive behavior and dishonest thinking.

As long as the addicted person has someone to enable them, they will never overcome their addiction. Whether you like it or not, if you love someone struggling with addiction, you need help as well. Addiction is a formidable illness, it’s deceitful, manipulative, and delusional. In order to maintain a relationship with someone struggling with addiction, you have to make compromises, tolerate unacceptable behavior and make excuses for them.

The participants in GraceWay’s family program will attest that recovery is never easy, with many challenges along the way. Learning to say no and establish boundaries is just the beginning. The most compassionate thing you can do is seek help. Reach out beyond your immediate family and educate yourself on the disease. Every time a family member takes the courageous step to ask for help from professionals, it positively affects the entire family. Professionals can help you break through delusion and facilitate families coming together to form a healthy new relationship moving forward.

Love means learning to say no to addiction, and yes to life. Don’t wait for the your addicted loved one to see the light. Call the number below to be the change in your family. Statistics show that addicted persons are more successful when their families are educated on the disease, and in recovery too.

If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, call 229-446-7800 and speak with one of our admission counselors today. If your loved one is refusing the help that you have offered, and you are in need of a Certified Arise Interventionist, call 229-344-7402 for a free initial consultation.

Author GraceWay

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