Addiction, Recovery:

How Life Is When You Love An Addict

1 Apr 2011 by Recovering You, 4 Comments »

How to love an addict, loving an addict, living with an addict



The affects of addiction impact on too many lives. For every person suffering substance, or behavioral addiction, there will be at least 4 people impacted by their actions.

Loving an addict and dealing with the disruption and destruction that comes with it, will be one of the hardest things you will ever do.When you discover someone you love is in the grips of an addiction, it is gut wrenching, heartbreaking. At first, you hope you have it all wrong, and you try to convince yourself that their problem isn’t as big as you think it is. You try being sensitive and supportive, but eventually over the months and years, as the addiction begins to wreck havoc on your loved ones behaviour, values and standards, (in many cases, those that you once shared) it all becomes impossible to ignore.

And it’s impossible at times to understand.

What your loved one is addicted to, makes little difference. It may manifest in different ways, but the break down in internal processes is the same.The profound changes in an addicts personality will affect all the people around them. And especially those closest to them. You will be affected in a totally different way to how your addicted love one is affected, but certainly no less significantly.

You will have also been emotionally changed. Deep inner reactions have occurred as you have been through the mental turmoil of wondering how to help, wondering why they can’t stop, puzzling over their behaviour, and hurting from all the deceit, manipulation and selfishness. It might seem harsh to generalise all addicts as having engaged in these actions, but I can tell you there’s not a single case I have heard of where at least 1 if not all 3 are in operation. It’s an unfortunate trait of of the disease I’m afraid and I will be talking more in future posts on separating these behavoiurs from the person.

The self esteem of the addict will have already hit a low, that allows them to abuse themselves, but soon your self esteem will also disintegrate. This is a product of not only feeling helpless to save your loved one, but also because of the emotional and sometimes verbal abuse you endure from your loved one’s addicted self. The belief that if you were someone better, kinder, more loving, more giving, more anything that would make your addict want to stop, filters in very early on. Particularly for women who tend to be natural care givers and often do all they can to make everyone else comfortable and happy first. If they can’t achieve that, they have failed those around them and take measure of their self worth from that.

Living with an addict is tumultuous. Not only do you deal with the obvious actions resutling from the addiction, but also the covert, the defensive and in some cases an escalation to violence, particularly with alcohol and drugs. Outsiders might imagine that the worst part of loving an addict, would be losing them in death, but when your life is held prisoner daily by someone you love’s addiction, it can become all to common to believe that them dying would be the best way out, when recovery seems far from possible.Of course the guilt from these types of feelings only magnifies the emotional trauma. And you hate yourself for feeling this way.

So how do you free yourself from this torment, without losing the person you love?

It is my intention to help you develop ways to do this in the posts on this site. Before I do though, I should clarify that freeing yourself doesn’t necessarily mean leaving or cutting yourself off from your loved one. Unless of course the situation has become violent, in which case you should absolutely remove yourself from the situation and make sure you are protected. When I speak of freeing yourself, I mean finding the solace from inside of YOU that will allow you to begin to develop and gain more strength in facing the challenges of loving an addict.

The key to this will be in YOU seeking YOUR recovery first. The important tools in building the strength to fight the demons of addiction, is to make sure YOU have have the foundations of self belief in YOU. When you have that, you are free. No matter how things might work out.

While this site will detail and discuss the elements of addiction, it will always be delivered from the primary place of importance. You. My readers. The brave souls loving an addict.

It is you I will be working with to help you embrace your own recovery, so that you can proudly lead the way.

Photo credit:) 2007Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier

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  1. […] So it goes for every single person who has ever loved an addict. […]

  2. Marissa says:

    I enjoyed this article and am trying very hard to understand many things surrounding an addict’s life. My friend and boyfriend is presently detoxing on his own and it is a must as he is attending Drug Court and many other mtgs due to to many DUIs. He has previously been emotionally and verbally abusive to myself and many others that have surrounded us. The hi’s and low’s, the on again off again relationship, my bending over backwards as a friend and girlfriend to accomodate his wants and needs only to get slapped in the face again and again. I am finding it very difficult to deal with and to understand all that has happened over the past four years. Just when I believe he is doing better it all falls apart again and again. This last time recently, he called it off. I told him to stay in touch and get thru all the things the Courts have demanded of him. The very next day I receive a simple text, “Hi, how r u? Just wanted to say Hi is all.” I have not responded at all. I am very confused as he was one of my best friends and we use to be together 24/7 and now nothing at all. Mutual friends have informed me that he has started with the physical part of detoxing and is not feeling to good with the shakes, etc. We are over 40 years old and have many friends in common. Letting our “friendship” die is harder than letting the girlfriendship die. However, I cannot chat, text, talk, etc to him so soon. I need some time to take all this “new life” of his in. If you have any suggestions, please let me know as I am very concerned about him but I am also hurting inside and want to move on with my life whether he is a part of it or not. Thank you.

  3. […] Did that mean that I deserved to be going through the hell of loving an addict? […]

  4. Shayna says:

    Wow I really liked this article. Everything said was DEAD ON to my situation. my heart goes out to anyone else dealing with something this terrible.

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