If someone you love has an addiction, you’re not alone. According to a 2014 survey, roughly 21.5 million Americans struggle with an addiction. For you, as the spouse, parent, sibling, child, or friend, the effect of their addiction can be devastating. To better navigate life with an addicted loved one, it’s important to remember what you can and can’t do, and be aware of your needs. If someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol, here are some things to keep in mind.
Accept the Situation
You may be attempting, on some level, to hide from the truth. If you ignore this issue with your loved one, try to hide it from the kids, or consistently cover their messes, your reaction is normal, but it isn’t healthy. When a loved one is suffering from an addiction, you should not be normalizing their behavior. This can become a form of enabling, furthering your loved one on his or her own destructive path.
You Can’t Fix Them
One of the biggest things with which you’ll struggle is the desire to fix your loved one. You’ll want to get his or her life back on track. You’ll want to convince, or even force, him or her to break the destructive habit. This kind of pressure will drive a wedge between you, and it won’t do any good. Ultimately, your loved one is responsible for his or her future, not you. Your job is to set up proper boundaries. The best thing you can do for your loved one is to take care of yourself.
Take Care of Yourself
If the person in your life struggling with addiction continues to get drunk and yell at you, your next course of action should be to set up boundaries. You can’t convince your loved one to get help, but you can take care of yourself. In the process, you may wake them up to the seriousness of their addiction. Don’t threaten, and don’t manipulate, but do what’s best for you. You don’t need to put up with abusive behavior, and if your loved one’s addiction is harming you in any way, you should set up boundaries. Move out, or limit contact. It would be helpful, during this stage, to consult a therapist. A therapist will help you understand emotional abuse, counsel you on proper boundaries, and help you stay strong. It’s not easy to take a step away from someone you love, but your own needs must come first.
Keep Loving Them
You’ll likely notice a great deal of anger surface towards your loved one as time passes. Your relationship with them is completely up to you. However, you’ll ultimately probably choose to remain their ally. Your tough love and genuine care may help your loved one turn around. They may choose to visit a treatment facility, like the addiction treatment center Florida, and finally begin to detox themselves. If they don’t choose help, remember–it’s not on you. Keep a safe distance, let go of responsibility, and continue to love your friend or family member. This is an incredibly difficult thing for anyone to go through, and you deserve care and understanding as you go through it.