Loving an Addict in Recovery
When it comes to dealing with addiction, only those close to it really comprehends the depth of the damaged that is left in its wake. Addicts in recovery are in the perfect position to see how their addiction affected their loved ones and relationships.
Addicts in recovery are also uniquely in the position to see exactly how hard it can be to earn back the trust of those people. It’s never an easy thing to do. But what happens when you love an addict or recovering addict and you sincerely want to help and support them? What does being a part of their support system really mean?
Facing Reality Head On
Facing reality head on means accepting that you won’t always be able to control every part of your life, especially when dealing with a person struggling with addiction.
Regardless of what your specific situation is, or what the addiction is, accepting everything you are dealing with is the best tip for loving an addict in recovery.
It’s important to maintain appropriate boundaries when loving an addict in recovery. For some, this could simply mean learning some assertiveness. This will help you say, “No” whenever you mean to say no and “yes” whenever you mean to say yes.
Also, maintain balance in your overall life. This means work, family, volunteering, relationships, etc.
Stop trying to “fix” or control others.
You only have control over your own actions. You cannot control anything that an addict does. He/she may relapse and give into alcoholism, drugs or narcotics, but that is out of your control.
Learn to “help” and not “enable.”
Your loved one may be addicted but they are still capable of being responsible for themselves. You may want to “help” by giving money, food and a bed to sleep a regular basis or allowing them to overstep boundaries, but in actuality, you are “enabling.” And this is unhealthy for the both of you.
Giving regular rides to AA is an example of helping, but letting the person know your boundaries and sticking to them can deter enabling.
Don’t give in to manipulation
Some of these manipulations consist of cheating, lying, raging, blaming or making others feel guilty etc.
If you allow an addict to manipulate you the addict will only become more manipulative they will become. You have to hold your ground.
Taking care of you doesn’t make you “selfish.”
Taking care of someone else shouldn’t come before your own needs. It will only make you exhausted and cause you to become depleted.
Respect yourself enough to stay balanced in healthy ways. It’s important to take care of your mental, physical, and emotional needs, even on a spiritual level.
As an adult you are responsible for your own happiness and sense self-fulfillment.
Help Is Out There
Support groups such as AA, NA, etc., are great at helping addicts of all sorts to stay sober. So, if you or a loved one is dealing with alcoholism or drug abuse, reaching out and getting help is nothing to be afraid of.