So you are living with, related to, or connected to an addict in some way that your life is impacted. What does impacted mean? It could mean that you were left stranded in a distant town, waiting on the addict to come get you, deep down knowing they never would. It could mean, you stay up at night wondering where they are, and if they are safe? It could mean that your wallet or purse is empty either because you are struggling or that someone stole from you. Or you have a son or a daughter waiting at the window for time with Mom/Dad knowing, they are not going to show, again. Truly it may mean anything where you feel some discomfort/heart break with this person’s presence in your life.
First you are not alone, these scenes and many like it play out all over the world every day. Loving an addict and being loved by an addict is not something that is rare. There are two thoughts that may be happening here. 1) If they truly loved me they would quit. 2) If I just love them a little more maybe they will get better. There are likely thousands of other thoughts that are going on but for today we will focus only on these two, these thoughts are the ones I hear so often in my practice.
First, yes love has something to do with the addict finding recovery. I am sure some of you reading this even know what that that love is, I also know from personal experience that that type of love is the hardest to come by. Without the smallest ounce of this love recovery is almost impossible. If this type of love is not in the addicts’ wheelhouse no other love will sustain recovery. This is “the love of themselves,” and with the lives that we have lived and how we interpreted the messages from our youth it is one of the hardest loves to attain. I think the saying “Easier said, than done” came about because someone said, “you need to love yourself.”
“I love them so much if they loved me they would get better.” Addiction rarely works this way. Yes, the addict loves you or the children deeply; likely more than anything they have ever loved before. And likely, every time they “put in” (engage in the addiction) they think about how they are screwing you over. (That is also likely one of the nicer things they are saying to themselves.)
So if they feel it, think it, or even know it why is that not enough? Simply put the pain they are trying to sooth or numb is so great, that soothing that pain and the only way they know how in this moment are over powering their life and their minds.
Loving an addict can feel devastating, you remember the person you fell in love with, the baby you held for the first time, the first love of your high school sweetheart, the person who made your knee’s weak just by their gentle touch. The person who made you think nothing was impossible.
But, there is a love you can show them that may truly help. It’s the same love they need to find in themselves. That is the love of, yourself. This is hard as well, do you understand that setting and enforcing boundaries is loving of both people? Do you see that accepting behaviour that is destroying you and the relationship is not about the addict? It’s about you!
None of this work is easy, for the addict or for the person who loves the addict. If you are impacted, reach out walk with someone who can be there to listen who has experience and join Al-anon. You need to find compassion, you need to find understanding and you need to find forgiveness not only for the addict but also mostly for yourself.
Keep Chasing Those Cars
With Love, Respect and Admiration
P.s. I will be holding a 6-week program in Calgary Alberta Titled “Addict in the House.” Here we will discuss what these impacts are. How to work and understand the Three C’s. There will be a panel of addicts (in recovery) from all types of addictions. If you want to find out more please use the contact us link on my website at www.stevenarchambault.com