An Addicted Loved One–Survival Tips
An addicted loved one can throw us into crisis after crisis. We feel a 1000 different things, and none of them good: for panic, fear, dread, anxiety, shame, anger, grief, sadness, guilt… It is truly a rough ride on the roller coaster of painful emotions–everything awful we can imagine and maybe even a little more.
Just surviving a loved one’s addiction is the most we can manage sometimes. We get pretty beat up. There’s a continuing series of traumatic events. You never know what’s next or how long a little moment of peace will last. You live on edge–afraid the phone will ring and there will be more bad news… or maybe even that worst bad news you’ve been expecting forever… We get tired… exhausted really. Burnt out, done and ready to collapse. There are moments when it feels like you just can’t take another step.
Here are just a few survival tips for coping with the sad and overwhelming reality of loving someone who is addicted. I hope these are helpful in some small measure, however, reach out for help–in support groups and in counseling. Don’t wait until things get worse.
Survival Tips for Loving Someone Who Is Addicted
- Get help for yourself as soon as possible.
- Talk about it.
- Take responsibility for your own welfare and well being.
- Focus on your own growth and development.
- Fight denial.
- Encourage treatment but don’t obsess or try to control the situation.
- Express your concerns to your loved one without drama.
- Establish boundaries and limits and stick to them.
- Take care of your own health–physical and mental.
- Give up your fantasies of being able to fix your loved one.
- Accept the realities of addiction as a disease.
- Remember that your loved one’s recovery is possible, but it might not happen.
- Accept your own powerlessness over addiction.
- Maintain a steady movement toward your own life goals.
- Take care of yourself daily.
- Learn about addiction and addiction recovery.
- Learn about enabling, codependency and codependency recovery.
- Work your own recovery program.
- Endeavor to be calm, still, focused and serene in yourself.
- Shed inappropriate responsibility and guilt.
- Use your Higher Power.
- Practice being in the present moment. Don’t project into the future.
- Learn relaxation techniques and use them daily.
- Be inspired by others who have found their own healing in similar situations.
- Stick with the winners who still have a grasp on the realities of addiction while loving someone who is addicted.