It can be crucial for you to recognize that although you may not be the one who is addicted to alcohol and/or drugs, you can and still may be impacted by the illness your loved one suffers from. Loved ones of addicts can brush off their feelings but addiction takes a toll on all members involved. The impact can impair the lives of all who surround the addict, especially when loved ones are engaging in enabling behaviors and unable to manage their own lives.
Related: Enabling vs. Supporting
Family Disease Concept
Having an accurate comprehension of how you may be just as sick as your loved one can be necessary for you so that you can get back to living your own life. It may be an unfortunate truth but the situation is that being surrounded by a loved one who is active in addiction means you’ve probably had an increased level of stress, additional chaos, need to keep a watchful eye on expensive jewelry, items may have already gone mysteriously missing, and your loved one may be sneaking around lying. With all this hectic activity compressed into your life now, the former joyful days of rest and favorite pastimes are likely long gone. You can’t deny your loved one’s addiction has affected you. It’s likely this caused you to become just as sick as them. You may not be dependent on alcohol and/or drugs like your loved one, but having an addicted loved one in your life has caused your own life to become unmanageable because you have engaged in unhealthy behaviors, such as self-denial and codependency. However, the upside is that once you realize there’s a problem that exists and needs to be addressed, you can begin working on it.
Go to meetings and focus on your own recovery
If you come to the realization that you may be just as sick as your loved one, then it should also be revealed to you that you require the same common solution. Getting your life back on track can begin with implementing your own program of recovery. This means that you are encouraged to reach out to Twelve Step Fellowships like Families Anonymous, Nar-Anon, Al-Anon, and Co-Dependents Anonymous for support. This will allow you to be able to work on your own program, so that you can get your own life back on track. It will be vital for you to be able to separate your loved one’s recovery from your own during this phase in your development.
Helping. Protecting. Fixing. Caring. These are all words you may have become accustomed to for explaining actions you took for your loved one such as providing money for them, helping them out of legal trouble, handling responsibilities for them, and generally taking over any task they were capable of completing themselves. By you doing these tasks for your loved one under the false impression you were helping them, these behaviors actually enabled your loved one’s addiction and contributed to them using. It may not make sense because you have a deep care and compassion for your loved one, so you want to do everything you can to provide for them but these actions just handicaps them by keeping them sick.
When you face the reality of your loved one’s addiction, you can see how it has affected your own life and get yourself back on track. As a result, you and your loved one can grow closer. It isn’t about pushing each other away from one other but instead about getting integrated so each of you can receive the help you both need. Addiction truly is a family disease and can tear lives apart, taking a toll on each member. However, there is a choice: nobody has to give the disease all the ultimate power. The family can get education about addiction and come to see all the effects it has on everyone involved.
Are you concerned about your loved one’s addiction because you see it getting worse? Contact The Watershed for help today.