If you are a family member of someone being controlled by addiction, you know how firmly this disease can take control of a person’s life. You once had a loving and caring spouse, child, or parent, and now that person is a thief, liar, and at times, a monster.
How can you effectively deal with your loved one and get them the help they need without being resentful and angry? You hate the addiction, but love the addict.
Hate the Addiction
Addiction is a disease. It controls a person’s thoughts, actions, and emotions. What started the addiction is not important – people start using for a variety of reasons (curiosity, to fit in, to numb pain, to forget), but they continue using to meet a need and because they are dependent on the substance. They continue using, even though the addiction is causing chaos in their life, because it is a disease that by nature is controlling.
It is a myth that overcoming addiction is just a matter of trying hard enough. You’ve seen how your loved one has tried over and over again, but keeps slipping back. This is because your loved one’s drug or alcohol use has chemically altered their brain so that it needs the substance. All the willpower in the world is not enough to stop addiction in its tracks.
Love the Addict
However, the fact that addiction is a disease does not mean that your loved one doesn’t have any responsibility in their situation. They chose to use, they continued to use, and they can now choose to get help. This is when your love for the addict must shine through. The best way to show you love the addict is to do what it takes to get them to accept help. You need to stick with them, encourage them, and plead with them if necessary to get help. This awful disease is something that can be overcome; it just needs to be done in the right way. Help your loved one find the treatment program that is right for them, so that they have the best chance at success. Then stay with them throughout the recovery process, provide support and encouragement for recovery, and welcome them back to a loving, sober home when rehab is done.
Once they are in recovery, you need to care enough about the person to accept their change of heart, forgive their past mistakes, and allow them to work to rebuild their relationship with you. You will be angry with the person for all they put you through, you will be bitter, and you will be cautious to open up and let them get close to you again. But these are steps you should be willing to take – because you love the addict.
If your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they need help. You need help too. My Recovery Helper connects families with treatment programs that can help them achieve sobriety and repair broken relationships. Contact us at (844) 867-6835 today to learn more.