You can experience feelings of hopelessness and heartbreak if your loved one is fighting a losing battle against alcohol and drug misuse. Despite every effort to get them the expert help, they should conquer their drug abuse; you watch in horror as your loved one slide more into the madness of addiction. As your loved one’s problems with chemicals grow worse, the psychological and physical effects it’s having on you and your family is equally as overwhelming.
To assist your addicted loved one and your family gets the help and support you want, you must do one of the toughest things you will ever do in your life–and that’s leaving alone the loved one who is addicted.
A Slippery Slope, A Vicious Cycle
When your loved one is facing hard times, your first step is to rush out there and do everything you are able to help. In these circumstances, you will spare no expense to help your loved one to overcome his/her addiction. For those family members or friends that are addicted to alcohol and drugs, you might believe that you’re attempting to help by paying their bills or providing them a place to call home. While these actions might appear beneficial on the surface, the help that you are offering may be doing more harm than good.
If you’re engaging in the behaviors listed above to help the addict in your life, you’re most likely allowing them to keep acting in the way they’ve been used to while abusing substances. Enabling behavior doesn’t let those who are addicted to face the effects of their actions. Because of this, the cycle of dependency continues, and friends and family are left to collect the pieces.
If this kind of behavior continues without the proper intervention, relationships between family members and friends will deteriorate to the point of dysfunction. To deal with this overwhelming anxiety, some may turn to alcohol and drugs themselves. To put a stop to the destructive pattern of behavior, your loved ones that are struggling with substance abuse has to experience the consequences of their drug dependency to the fullest. The first and most crucial step in achieving that objective is to let them go.
What Does Letting Go Mean?
For the friends and families of addicts, learning how to let go is tricky. While learning to surrender genuinely is essential to start healing, family and friends equate to surrender in this way to completely cutting all ties to their loved ones. Regarding drug addiction and recovery, the action of “walking away” from somebody who’s lost in their dependence means that you’re ceasing any kind of support unless they create a meaningful and fair effort to seek out help.
Essential Measures To Detach From Loved Ones Who Abuse Substances
When you’re cutting ties with the alcohol or drug abuser in your life, it has to be carried out in small steps. The following is a guide that you can follow:
The first step in the procedure is to learn everything that you can about the illness of addiction. A beautiful place to start is government based sites like the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and other similar sites. You might also need to meet with the family doctor, your local addiction counselor or psychologist. These professionals can’t just provide you with valuable knowledge; they are also able to offer scarce regional resources about treatment centers and other organizations you can turn to for assistance.
Before you can start the process of detachment, you want to set up a support group that can assist you in your own recovery journey. In groups like Al-Anon and Nar-Anon, they find support and strength for many co-dependents. These groups comprise of friends and family of substance abusers who share their experiences with each other. When you seek help and support in these groups, you will realize that you’re not struggling alone.
You can look for treatment or family counseling or seek assistance from family members and friends. When you find assistance in this fashion, you understand that you can make decisions that will provide you peace of mind–whether or not your loved one continues to use alcohol or drugs. Ultimately, you have to select a group or an individual that inspires you to feel better, less fearful and more motivated.
Create a List
In the process of breaking free, it could be valuable to create a psychological or physical collection of behaviors you will need to change on your own. You want to select actions that will stop you from being immersed in the drama of your loved one. An exceptional example isn’t waiting by the telephone or calling the relative or friend when they’re out with their using buddies. Instead, you must make it a point to get in touch with those within your support network for advice and encouragement.
In case you falter in following through with the things on your list, do not beat yourself up. In those times, you must practice self-love and has to take part in appropriate self-care such as practicing excellent hygiene, eating right, and getting quality sleep.
Find Hobbies and Activities That You Love
It’s crucial that you find enjoyable and purposeful activities which don’t involve those that are engaged in substance abuse. Whether it’s gardening, painting, reading or participating in exercise and healthy activities, they can help you keep concentrated on the here and now and can be a great stress reliever. Also, healthy hobbies and activities can lower blood pressure, gives you a much needed mental break, and can get you in touch with other healthy people.
Learn How to Walk Away
When you’re communicating with a loved one in the throes of addiction, it causes a lot of friction and conflict which could leave you emotionally drained. To help keep a healthy distance, you will need to learn how to walk away rather than engage in heated discussion or debate. You need to tell your loved one that you’ll be happy to talk about things with them when they’re lucid and sober.
Addiction is a Family Disease
Addiction often has devastating effects on the family and friends of those suffering from this dreadful disease. To prevent substance abuse in its tracks, the entire family unit must participate in the treatment procedure. As one of the leading drug treatment centers in the state of Florida, Dream Center for Recovery features quality family therapy programming that’s effective, proven to work and can be personalized to fulfill your family’s unique needs. Contact us toll-free today and start your journey on the path to recovery.
When Someone You Love is an Addict
You are dealing with someone different.
Once addiction gets a grip, the person you love fades, at least until the dependency loosens its hold. Your loved one is still in there around, but that is not who you are dealing with. The person that you remember may have been warm, humorous, generous, wise, and healthy — so many terrific things — but addiction changes people.
It takes some time to accept this fact, and it is very normal to react to the addicted individual as though he or she is the person you remember. This is precisely what makes it so easy to fall for the manipulations, the lies, and the betrayal — over and over.
This isn’t that person — although you are responding to the person you recall. The less time you will take to accept this, the sooner you can begin working for the individual you love and remember, which will mean doing precisely what sometimes feels cruel, and always heartbreaking, so the dependence is starved of the strength to keep that person away.
Your beloved one is in there — help that individual, not the addict near you. The quickly you’re able to stop dropping for the guilt, manipulations, lies, and shame that feeding their dependence, the more likely it’ll be the person you remember will have the ability to find the way back to you.
Do not expect them to be on the same wavelength.
Once addiction takes hold, the individual’s reality becomes distorted by that dependence. Realize that you cannot reason with them or argue them into recognizing things the way you do.
For them, their lies do not feel like lies. Their betrayal does not feel like a betrayal. Their self-harm does not always feel like self-harm. It seems like survival. The change will happen when there is indeed no other option but to improve, not when you are ready to find the switch by providing them sufficient information or logic.
When you are protecting them from their pain, you are preventing them to go on the way of their recovery.
Addicts will do everything to satisfy their addiction because when the dependency is not there, the psychological pain that fills the space is higher. People will only change when what they do induces them enough pain, that changing is a better choice than remaining the same. That’s not just for addicts that are us for all. We usually avoid change — customs, relationships, jobs — until we have felt enough distress with the situation, to open up to another alternative.
Change takes place when the force for change is greater than the power to remain addicted. Until the pain of the addiction exceeds the emotional distress that encourages the addiction, there will be no change.
When you do something which makes their addictive behavior comfortable or protects them from the pain of the dependence — maybe by loaning them money, lying for them, forcing them around, you are preventing them from reaching the point where they feel adequate pain that making them quitting their addiction is a better choice. Do not minimize the dependence, overlook it, cover it up or make justifications for it. Love them, but don’t prevent their healing by shielding them from the pain of their craving.
There is a different approach to love an addict.
When you love them the way they were loved by you before the addiction, you may wind up supporting the dependence, not the individual. Boundaries are essential for the two of you. The boundaries you once had may find you innocently doing things which make it much easier for the addiction to continue.
It is okay to say no to things you may have once agreed to — in actual, it’s vital — and is usually among the most loving things you can do. If it’s hard, have a phrase — an anchor or an image to remind you why your ‘no’ is significant.
If you feel like saying no puts you in danger, the addiction has embedded itself into the person’s life span you love. In these conditions, be open to the possibility that you might need expert support to assist you in staying secure, perhaps by stopping contact. Maintaining space between you both is no reflection on how much commitment and love you have for the person and all about saving you both.
Your boundaries — they are essential for the two of you.
If you love an addict, your borders will frequently have to be stronger and more significant than they are with different individuals in your life. It’s easy to feel guilt and regret about this, but know that your boundaries are significant because they will be working hard for the two of you.
Setting boundaries can enable you to see things more clearly from all angles as you won’t be blinded from the mess or as willing to see things through the addict’s eyes — a view which often involves hopelessness, entitlement, and believing in the efficacy of their manipulative behavior. Establish your boundaries as frequently and lovingly as you want to.
Ensure that you follow through and be clear about the consequences of violating the limits it’s unfair for everybody and confusing for the addict. Assuming that your boundaries are not necessary will see the behavior of the addict get worse as your borders get thinner. In the end, this will hurt you both.
You cannot fix them, and it is essential for everyone that you stop trying.
The addict and their actions are beyond your control. They will always be. An addiction is all-consuming, and it changes reality. Recognize the difference between what you can change (you, how you believe, the things you do) and what you cannot change (anyone else).
There’ll be a strength that comes from this although presuming that this will take some time, and that is okay. If you love somebody who has an addiction, know their stopping is not only a matter of wanting to, let go of having to fix them or change them and release them for your sake and for theirs.
See the Reality
When anxiety becomes devastating, denial is a way to shield you from a painful reality. It’s much easier to act that everything is fine, but this is only going to enable the behavior to bury itself deeper. Take notice, if you’re being asked to offer money, emotional resources, babysitting – anything more than feels comfortable.
Take note of the feeling, though weak, that something is not perfect. Emotions are strong and will attempt to inform us when something is not right long before our spirits are prepared to listen.
Don’t do things that maintain their dependence alive.
A variety of conventions and boundaries become blurred when you love an addict. Know the difference between empowering and helping. Helping takes into consideration the effects, consequences, and advantages. Allowing is about providing instant relief and overlooks the harm which may come with that relief. Giving cash, lodging, eliminating healthy boundaries to accommodate the addict — these are entirely understandable when it is about caring for your loved one, but with somebody who has an addiction, it is helping to maintain the addiction alive.
It’s okay to help out the people we love when they want it, but there is a difference between enabling and helping. Helping supports the individual. Enabling supports addiction.
Be as honest as possible about the effects of your choices. That is so difficult — we know how hard this is, but if you change what you do, the addict will also need to change everything he or she does to accommodate those changes. This will probably twist you into guilt, but allow the hooked one knows that if he or she decides to do things differently, you will be the first one to available for them and your arms will be open and that you love them as much as you ever have.
You will possibly hear that you are not believed, but this was made to refuel your supporting behavior. Accept what they’re saying, be discouraged by it and feel guilty if you would like to — but for their sake, do not change your decision.
Do not buy into their view of themselves.
Addicts will believe that with every part of their being they cannot exist without their dependence. Do not buy into it. They can be complete without drugs, but they won’t understand it so you will have to think it enough for the two of you.
You may need to accept they aren’t prepared to move towards this yet, and that is okay, but in the meantime do not actively encourage their view of themselves as having no choice but to surrender entirely to their dependence. Each time you do something that supports their addiction you are communicating your lack of faith in their own ability to survive without it. Let that be support that maintain your boundaries definite.
When you take your ground, things might get distressed before they get better.
The more you let yourself be manipulated, the more you will be manipulated. When you take your ground and stop giving in to the manipulation, the manipulation may get worse until it ends. When something that has always worked does not work anymore, it’s human nature to do it more.
Do not give into the lying, guilt-tripping or blaming. They may withdraw, create illness or pain, anger, or become sad. They will withdraw when they recognize your resolve, but you will have to be the one to determine that what they are doing will not work anymore.
You and Self-Love. It is a necessity.
In precisely the exact same manner that the addict must identify their needs and meet them in a fulfilling and safe way, it is also your responsibility to recognize and meet your own. Otherwise, you’ll be drained and ruined physically, spiritually and emotionally, and that is not good for anyone.
What are you getting from it?
This is a question and will take an open and brave heart to research it. Addicts use addictive actions to prevent from feeling pain. The people who love them use often supporting behaviors to prevent from sensing pain. Admiring an addict is dreadful.
Helping the individual can feel like a way to extend love you are desperate to reach and can be a way to alleviate your pain. It can also be a method to compensate for the bad emotions you might feel towards the person for the distress they cause you. Although this is all normal, it is essential to explore how you may be contributing to the problem.
Be honest, and be prepared for the difficulties in coming up. Do it with an individual or a counselor if you will need the support. It may be one of the essential things you can do for the addict. Consider what you envision will happen if you quit doing what you are doing for them. Think about what is going to happen if you stop doing what you’re doing for them. Then imagine about what will be the result if you don’t.
What you are doing might save the individual in the short term, but the more extreme the addictive behavior, the more damaging the ultimate consequences of the action if it is allowed to continue. Although you cannot stop it continuing, you can stop contributing to it.
Be prepared to take a look at what you are doing with an open heart, and be courageous enough to challenge yourself. The simpler you make it for them to maintain their dependence, the easier it is for them to keep their addiction. It is as easy and as complicated, as that.
What changes do you want to make in your life?
Focusing on an addict is very likely to imply that the focus on your own life has been turned down. Sometimes, focusing on the enthusiast is a way to avoid the pain of dealing with other issues which can hurt you.
When you examine this, be generous to yourself. Otherwise, the attraction will continue to blunt reality. Be courageous, and be gentle and reconstruct your sense of self, your life, and your boundaries. You cannot expect the addict in your life to manage their problems, heal, and make the exceptionally courageous move towards building a wholesome life if you’re reluctant to do this for yourself.
Do not blame the Addict.
The addict might deserve plenty of the blame, but blaming is going to keep you angry, hurt and helpless. Addiction is already profoundly steeped in guilt. It is the fuel that started it, and it’s the fuel that will keep it going. Be careful you are not contributing to keeping the pity fire lit.
Go for progress, not perfection. There’ll be a good deal of backward ones and forward steps. Do not see a backward step as a failure. It’s not. Improvement never appears in a pleasing forward line, and backward steps are all part of the procedure.
Many times, the only choice is to let go.
Sometimes of the love in the world is not enough. Holding someone with an addiction can tear at your soul’s seams. It may feel that pain. Letting go of a person you love deeply may seem unfathomable, but if you are nearing that stage, you will understand the desperation and the depth of pain that could drive an impossible choice.
If you will need to let go, know that this is fine. It’s the only alternative. Letting go, anyone does not imply you stop admiring them, it never intends that. You may leave the way open if you would like to.
Yet at their most extreme, most destroyed, most pitiful stage, let them know that you believe in them when they are ready to do something different, and you’ll be there. This will open the door for them but will place the responsibility for their recovery in their hands that is the only place for it to be.
Make them realize that you love them and have always loved them- whether they believe it or not.