Addiction has devastating consequences for people who surround a loved one with addiction. There is not quick, easy fix for a loved one with addiction. Learn how to cope with someone is dealing with addiction and how to stop trying to fix people who cannot be fixed.
The Thief of Addiction
Learning to cope with the consequences of behavior that is hard to understand can feel difficult and frustrating. Addiction becomes the only thing on the loved one’s mind and it seems nothing else matters anymore. The loved one disappears inside addiction as it changes people. Accepting the person is different now is one of the hardest and most heartbreaking realities of addiction.
Become equipped with the right tools and resources to be supported through the journey of addiction. It is a difficult and complicated endeavor but it is possible to work with a loved one to provide support and guidance until he or she is ready to seek help or treatment. The following tools can be helpful to get started:
- Logic doesn’t apply. When addiction is present, the person’s reality is distorted. It is not possible to reason with or talk to a person with addiction the same way as a sober individual. Change only comes when no other way out exists.
- Protecting a loved one from pain can be detrimental to recovery. A person with addiction will feed the addiction any way possible. The emotional pain is so great that people will only change when addiction causes enough pain that changing is better than staying the same.
- Love a person with addiction differently. Love changes when a loved one has addiction. Boundaries are necessary to keep sanity and it is OK to say no to things once agreed upon when the loved one was sober. Be open to the possibility professional support may be needed to remain safe.
- Boundaries are key. Boundaries support a loved one with addiction and build a strong foundation. Let go of shame and guilt around saying ‘no’ and set boundaries which create a sense of hope and love.
- The loved one cannot be fixed. Addiction is beyond anyone’s control but the person who has addiction. It becomes all-consuming and distorts reality. Know the difference between what can change and what cannot change. Loving a person with addiction means knowing that stopping isn’t a matter of wanting to do so. Release the person with love, for both the sake of that individual and oneself.
- Let go (gently). Sometimes all the love in the world cannot save a person from themselves. Loving a person with addiction can feel heart rending and painful. Letting go of a loved one with addiction does not mean he or she is not deeply loved. In fact, loving someone means letting him or her go which leaves the door open to take ownership of the situation and make a decision to heal and get well.
The desire to fix a loved one with addiction can feel overwhelmingly strong. It can take everything you have to seek help for a loved one who is hurting. If your loved one has addiction and needs help, call us. Let us help you find resources and information to make an informed decision about best next steps.