If you are in a relationship with someone who struggles with addiction–whether it is substance or behavior addiction–chances are, you are your wits’ end. It’s very difficult to deal with an addict. In fact, so difficult that it makes other people’s problems seem like a walk in the park.
What do our addicted loved ones feel and think? Do they love us? Why are they doing the things they do? Why do they hurt us?
We may never really know. However, to help you make some sense of things, below are some of the letters written by addicts to their loved ones:
Let Me Fall All By Myself
If you love me let me fall all by myself.
Don’t try to spread a net out to catch me.
Don’t throw a pillow under my ass to cushion the pain so I don’t have to feel it.
Don’t stand in the place I am going to land so that you can break the fall (allowing yourself to get hurt instead of me) …
Let me fall as far down as my addiction is going to take me, let me walk the valley alone all by myself, let me reach the bottom of the pit … trust that there is a bottom there somewhere even if you can’t see it. The sooner you stop saving me from myself, stop rescuing me, trying to fix my broken-ness, trying to understand me to a fault, enabling me …
The sooner you allow me to feel the loss and consequences, the burden of my addiction on my shoulders and not yours … the sooner I will arrive … and on time … just right where I need to be … me, alone, all by myself in the rubble of the lifestyle I lead … resist the urge to pull me out because that will only put me back at square one …
If I am allowed to stay at the bottom and live there for awhile … I am free to get sick of it on my own, free to begin to want out, free to look for a way out, and free to plan how I will climb back up to the top. In the beginning as I start to climb out .. I just might slide back down, but don’t worry I might have to hit bottom a couple more times before I make it out safe and sound …
Don’t you see ?? Don’t you know ?? You can’t do this for me … I have to do it for myself, but if you are always breaking the fall how am I ever suppose to feel the pain that is part of the driving force to want to get well. It is my burden to carry, not yours …
I know you love me and that you mean well and a lot of what you do is because you don’t know what to do and you act from your heart not from knowledge of what is best for me … but if you truly love me let me go my own way, make my own choices be they bad or good … don’t clip my wings before I can learn to fly …
Nudge me out of your safety net … trust the process and pray for me … that one day I will not only fly, but maybe even soar. ––Passion
What Addicts Do
My name’s Jon. I’m an addict. And this is what addicts do. You cannot nor will not change my behavior. You cannot make me treat you better, let alone with any respect. All I care about, all I think about, is my needs and how to go about fulfilling them. You are a tool to me, something to use. When I say I love you I am lying through my teeth, because love is impossible for someone in active addiction. I wouldn’t be using if I loved myself, and since I don’t, I cannot love you.
My feelings are so pushed down and numbed by my drugs that I could be considered sociopathic. I have no empathy for you or anyone else. It doesn’t faze me that I hurt you, leave you hungry, lie to you, cheat on you and steal from you.
My behavior cannot and will not change until i make a decision to stop using/drinking and then follow it up with a plan of action.
And until I make that decision, I will hurt you again and again and again.
Stop being surprised.
I am an addict. And that’s what addicts do.
Love, Your “User”
Dear Family/Friends/Loved Ones,
I am a drug abuser. I need help.
Don’t solve my problems for me. This only makes me lose respect for you – and for myself.
Don’t lecture, moralize, scold, blame, or argue whether I’m stoned or sober. It may make you feel better, but it only makes the situation worse.
Don’t accept my promises. The nature of my illness prevents my keeping them, even though I mean them at the time. Promises are only my way of postponing pain.
And don’t keep switching agreements; if an agreement is made, stick to it.
Don’t lose your temper with me. It will destroy you and any possibility of helping me.
Don’t let your anxiety for me make you do what I should do for myself.
Don’t believe everything I tell you. Often I don’t even know the truth – let alone tell it.
Don’t cover up or try to spare me the consequences of my using. It may reduce the crisis, but it will make my illness worse.
Above all, don’t run away from reality as I do. Drug dependence, my illness, gets worse as my using continues.
Start now to learn, to understand, to plan for your own recovery. Find Families Anonymous, Nar-Anon, Al-Anon or CoDA; those groups exist to help families in just your situation.
I need help – from a doctor, a psychologist, a counselor, from some people in a self-help program who are in recovery from a drug problem themselves – and from a Power greater than myself.
Most of the time, the best way to deal with these problems is to talk with other people who are going through the same thing. And this is why forums and blogs like ours, Bridging Hope for Recovery, provide avenues for people to seek help and support.
Call us for help and support: