Instead of wallowing in hopelessness and self-pity, know that there is hope. Ask yourself these 10 Questions and be empowered. You will get through this.
Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, shopping, videogames, porn, or any other, addiction has very devastating conseqeunces not only to the addicts but to those who love and care for them. If you are someone who loves an addict who is your spouse, child, parent, or family member, you know the feeling: the sleepless nights filled with worry, the battle with your own fear… It’s like you are trapped with a snake slithering all over your body, tightly wrapping around your neck. It’s like you are drowning and gasping for air, living a wide-awake nightmare.
As someone who loves and cares for an addict, you feel like you are getting smaller, as your life is occupied by this lurking, ever-growing problem. It makes you sad, angry, lonely, embarrassed, ashamed, concerned, helpless, and powerless. Time and again you hear promises of change, only to have your expectations and hope being crushed to the ground, your own breath knocked out from your lungs.
It’s true what they say: When it come to addiction, no one wins.
Still, there is hope. Step back from your desolate, seemingly hopeless world just for a moment. But instead of asking yourself, “Why did this happen to me?” ask yourself these questions:
15 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Love an Addict
1. Do I love myself?
As you deal with your addicted loved ones, you may be surprised that all your attention, time, energy and resources are directed towards them. You are slowly fading. Well, guess what: take back your own life. You deserve to live, so live again and against all the chaos around you. You are not the one with the addiction, and you cannot control what they do. You didn’t cause it, and you can’t change it.
2. What is my role in the addict’s life then?
You may not realize this, but you may be addicted to your addict as much as they are addicted to their addiction. All you think about is them, day in and day out. All your resources are spent on them, and you cannot separate yourself. You may love your addict, but co-dependency will not help them in the long run.
3. How is my loved one’s addiction affecting the rest of my family?
While you may be fixated on your addict, there may also be other members of your family that are being neglected. They need you, they want you, they miss you, and they deserve attention too. You don’t have to make your life revolve around the addict, whose own life only revolves around getting their next fix.
4. What can I do?
Try to get your addict the help they need. There are many facilities such as Bridges of Hope that can help them get rid of their addiction and be on the road to recovery. After you have exhausted all your options and effort to help your loved one become sober, you must set boundaries. Get your life back and live your own life.
5. How can I cope?
Focus on how you can make your life better despite the turmoil around you. Structure your own life, so you do not have free time when your mind tends to wander into the darkness in your life. Don’t go and fall into that trap. Everyday, will yourself to get out of bed, go out and take a walk, find inspiration all around you.
6. Learn to meditate.
It’s not uncommon for your mind to wander and become engulfed by what is happening to your addicted loved one and to your life. You may probably try very hard not to think about these. However, there’s a positive way of dealing with these thoughts through meditation. Meditation allows you to be self-aware and to be mindful of your emotions without giving in to them.
7. When was the last time I laughed?
Dealing and living with an addict can indeed leave you constantly stressed that you may have forgotten to laugh. Addiction is a thief that robs you of joy and delight. But hey, don’t forget to breathe and get a breather. Don’t forget to have fun. This is good for your mood and your health.
8. Do I have healthy boundaries?
Because you love the addict, you have a hard time saying “no” and leaving them to their own devices, to deal with the consequences of their own actions. However, this is taking a toll on you. Set healthy boundaries especially when it comes to your needs and those of the rest of your family, such as food and finances.
9. Who do I turn to?
It is important to have your own support system, someone whom you can call during those sleepless nights. You need someone who will listen to you without judging you, someone who will help you gain the wisdom you need to be calm enough again, go back to sleep, and wake up to another day. Sometimes, though, the only one you can turn to is a Higher Power, or God.
10. Will I survive this?
Yes, of course. You will survive this. You will smile again, you will live again. You may even wake up and all these feelings you have now are all gone, replaced by hope, gratitude, love, and life.
Loving an addict can be one of the most difficult things to do. Remember: Love takes many forms, and when it comes to addiction, the only way to love them is to help them. They may not like it at first, because you are taking them away from their comfort zone, from their lifestyle, from their addiction. However, keep in mind that this may just be the only way for them to learn and become sober so that they can live healthy, positive, and productive lives.