Loving someone who is an addict is one of the most challenging situations you’ll ever face in life. Whether it’s a family member, a friend, your partner, or your child, the struggle is constant, and supporting the chaos addiction brings is very difficult.
It’s important that you learn the difference between loving/supporting an addict and enabling an addict. It’s also important to protect yourself from the fallout of their negative life choices. Take a moment to read through a few helpful tips for coping, along with some words on what you can really do to help.
Some signs to watch for if you’re concerned
It’s crucial that you know what to watch for if you suspect a loved one may have a problem with addiction. Here is a brief list of some of the most common behavioral expressions of an addict.
- They look messed up more and more often
- They start having trouble remembering conversations
- They sleep a lot and maintain irregular circadian patterns
- When you start noticing that they lie about their substance use
- Instant anger when the subject of addiction is raised
- Poor hygiene and neglected appearance
Understand control versus influence
The first thing you need to understand about addiction is that you (and your loved one) have no control. You cannot force the person you love to get clean. You can try to strongarm them into checking into an inpatient rehabilitation program.
The problem is that the things they learn in the center will never truly stick until the addict is ready to be done with their addiction. Rehabilitation is mostly mental. Getting “clean” is only the beginning of sobriety.
Controlling someone else’s actions isn’t something you should ever burden yourself to conquer. You can, however, work to live a life that influences your loved one in such a way that they see the benefits of sobriety.
Overcoming the bonds of codependency
Addiction is one issue, and codependency is another. The problem with codependency is that oftentimes you are just as reliant upon your addicted loved one as they are upon you. The psychological connection is often difficult to navigate when there’s a codependency present.
The best thing you can do is to take an honest look at your connection with this person, and work to avoid placing yourself in a questionable spot. Here are a few signs that you’re in a codependent relationship.
- When you take responsibility for the addiction
- When you sacrifice your own happiness to make them happy
- Feeling like it’s your job to keep the addict safe
- Ignoring your own feelings, values, and beliefs to accommodate your loved one
- Inability to set personal boundaries
- Trouble talking about your own feelings
Ways to be of help to your addicted loved one
It helps to learn. Educate yourself about all angles of your loved one’s addiction problems. Educate yourself in the way of self-care and self-awareness. The stronger you can make your own mind, the more helpful you will be to the people around you.
To read more on topics like this, check out the lifestyle category.