Loving an addict or an alcoholic through their active addiction into recovery is a challenge for any friend or family member. Here are three vital truths anyone who loves an addict or alcoholic needs to know.
- Nothing you say or do can make someone drink or do drugs. It is possible you will hear, or have already heard, a significant amount of blame for your loved one’s drug and alcohol problem. Your loved one has pointed their finger at things you said, things you didn’t say, things you did, things you didn’t do. They’ve searched high and low and even gone to triggering places to make you feel responsible for their drug and alcohol addiction. This has nothing to do with you. When an addict or alcoholic starts blaming someone other than themselves, they are in denial. Blaming is a form of manipulation to get someone else to take responsibility for what the addict or alcoholic needs to take responsibility for. Addiction is a disease of many things, including a disease of choice. Through treatment and therapy, addicts and alcoholics learn to make better choices. More importantly, they learn that their choices belong entirely to them. This important truth also applies the other way around. Nothing you say or do can make your loved one not drink or do drugs.
- Everyone’s bottom is different. Some people have a “high bottom” in which their lives are still relatively “together”, aside from the fact that they have a growing chemical dependency problem. Other people have a “low bottom” in which everything falls apart and they manage to create greater and greater problems in their lives which others would describe as “sinking” lower and lower. What you will consider to be “enough” for your loved one to realize that they have a problem will likely be very different from what your loved one will think is enough. You are going to hear protests of having it “under control” and that they can stop anytime that they want to.
- Your love means the world to them. Loved one’s of addicts and alcoholics face a difficult challenge. You have to set healthy boundaries to protect yourself and your loved one. You have to know when to say “No” and draw firm conditions for letting that person be a part of your life. You don’t want to enable them and you don’t want to completely abandon them. Above all else, you want to continue to love them unconditionally with all of your heart. There is an important saying to live by as the loved one of an addict: love the addict, hate the addiction. One day, you’ll be able to recognize that the addiction was necessary because the addiction is what bring your loved one to recovery.
At Cypress Lakes Lodge, our recovery lodge fosters support, loving care and acceptance of every difficult problem our clients share with us. We meet our clients at a point in their lives when they need recovery the most, and wherever that is, we embrace their decision to choose sobriety and to maintain it. Contact us on 409 331 2204