How to Love Someone Struggling with Addiction

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Fostering healthy relationships can be challenging in the best of times. Whether it’s with family members, significant others, or friends, the people in our lives that are close to us often affect how we feel. When you love someone who is a substance addict, this can pose a big problem.

Loving them the “right” way can mean different things to different people, and sometimes what seems right can cause the loved one more harm. If your goal is to help your loved one recover and help yourself heal from a damaged relationship, Emerge Healing Center is here to help. 

Below we’ll look at how an addict often affects loved ones, how and why boundaries can help both parties, and how to get help. 

Effects of Addiction on Loved Ones

If you are feeling negative effects from loving someone with addiction, don’t feel ashamed. This is common and not surprising. Most importantly, it doesn’t mean you aren’t there for this person and love them.

If you’re a parent trying to help a child with an addiction, you may have experienced financial struggles supporting them when they’re in trouble, emotional heartache from watching them be in pain, tiredness from the emotional stress of the situation, and countless other feelings.

If you’re a child with a parent in active addiction, some of the above emotions may also be present. You may also feel helpless and not sure what to do, or tired of acting in a parental role, taking care of them. If you’re another role in the family system, there’s little doubt you are also experiencing some type of heartache. 

For those with a friend or significant other in substance addiction, you may experience a range of the above emotions, along with strife, hurt, and even the end of a relationship for your own sake. 

In the end, addiction is the enemy here and not your loved one. Whatever you’ve experienced or are still experiencing, there are steps to take that can alleviate your pain and ultimately set your loved one up to get help. 

How and Why to Set Boundaries with Addicts

Unfortunately, many addicts don’t get help until it’s their last resort. They instead stay in active addiction for different reasons – maybe there’s always someone there to bail them out, or people around them that make it seem like their situation isn’t as dire as it is.

This is NOT the fault of the loved ones. Usually, people who love someone with addiction think that the best thing to do is to consistently be there for the individual, whether financially, legally, emotionally, or other. Instead of pushing the person towards recovery, this behavior usually keeps the addict from changing behavior.

This is when setting clear boundaries with the addict becomes vital.

Boundaries, often viewed as hurtful or cruel by the addict, allow the loved ones to set clear lines that they won’t cross anymore and bring consequences into play for the addict. Boundaries can also put an addict into a place where professional treatment becomes their only option, which is what they needed to begin with. 

When loving an addict, some examples of boundaries could include:

  • Not giving the addict money anymore
  • Not allowing the loved one to live with you if they’re using
  • Not bailing the addict out of jail
  • Letting the addict know that if they keep behaving a certain way you can’t interact with them further 

Whatever your boundaries are, make sure you communicate them to the addict lovingly and clearly. You are not doing this to hurt them, but to help them. After setting them, you mustn’t allow the addict to cross them. They need to know you are serious. 

Again, this will likely be difficult for everyone involved. Just know that this will help the addict get the help they need. 

How to Help a Loved One with Addiction

First of all, you may be questioning if your loved one has a diagnosable addiction or an unhealthy habit to watch. If you feel like you or a loved one has an addiction, help is available. Below are signs to look out for that may indicate you or a loved one would benefit from professional treatment for Alcoholism or drug addiction:

 

  • Not being able to limit the amount you drink or use your drug of choice 
  • Having the desire to cut down on drinking or using but being unsuccessful in your attempts
  • Spending most of your time either drinking/using, figuring out how to get alcohol/drugs, or recovering from drinking/using
  • Continuing to drink or use even when it causes problems at work, school, or socially
  • Having withdrawal symptoms when you don’t drink/use, or drinking//using to avoid withdrawal symptoms 

If your loved one does fit the above symptoms, or others, make sure they know they’re not alone. Set boundaries if needed, but also support them by researching treatment centers, finding support groups, and being available if they are respecting your boundaries. 

Getting Treatment

If you or a loved one are currently dealing with substance addiction and would like to know more about treatment options in Atlanta, contact us today. At Emerge Healing Center, our team can help you to decide which program is right for you, as well as design a treatment program that will maximize your chances of success. Gain control of your life with the help of the right treatment center, and find out just how fulfilling an addiction-free life can be.

 

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