How to Love Someone Through an Addiction

Watching someone you love lose themselves to an addiction is painful, frustrating and worrisome. But mostly, it breaks your heart. This message is for you, the sober one is exhausted, depleted and confused about what to do.

You cannot control the addiction. You can, however, control how your treat yourself during the process. You can protect your children in the process. You can live life on your terms, even while witnessing the destructive habit of addiction. Having firm boundaries that do not enable the addictive behavior is a start. Begin by saying “Yes” when you want to say “Yes” and “No” when you want to say “No.”

Some addictions are much stronger than others and most create some level of both psychological and physiological addiction. For example, drugs associated with a stronger psychological addiction include Ritalin, LSD, Hallucinogens, Cannabis products, inhalant products and many psychiatric drugs, like anti-depressants.

Conversely, substances that are associated with a stronger physiological addiction include alcohol, heroin, morphine, Vicodin, Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and many barbiturates, like Seconal and Phenobarbital.

Addicts are often filled with denial and shame regarding their addiction. If the addiction is to an illegal substance, you can ask them to live somewhere else until they are free from the addiction. This is not easy, but it may be necessary, especially if you are needing to protect minors in the home from witnessing this self-destruction or, worse, being exposed to drug paraphernalia that can appear as candy to very young children.

Child Protective Services has the authority to remove minors from parental authority because it is harmful to the children to have illegal substances in the home.

I encourage you to observe your own behavior instead of trying to look for the faults in theirs. After all, you can control your behavior in how you respond with both words and actions. You can learn a lot about yourself as you react to life’s challenges, in this case, another person’s addiction. You must protect yourself and any children that are near the addict. Below are some questions you can begin to ask yourself today:

  • Are you addicted to your responses or enabling behaviors?
  • Does your focused attention on the addict help you avoid the challenges in your own life?
  • Does your concern about how your family appears in public prevent you from getting the help you need?
  • Do you think you are really helping the situation by protecting the addict from getting the help he or she needs?
  • Is your life empty of fun?
  • Do you need to re-define your own life?

Simply taking a deeper look at your own response to the situation can help you take the addiction out of the dark cave so that you can shine a light on it and see it for what it is. If you, or someone you love, suffers from an addiction, there is help. You can start by contacting 1-888-987-6393

~Lisa Schiro