If someone you love is addicted to alcohol or drugs, it can be easy to get into the habit of ‘help at all costs.’ Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best way to make sure your loved one recovers. It can lead to co-dependent relationships that do more harm than good, even if you think you’re doing nothing but support and love that person.
If you need more information about how to help a loved one struggling with addiction, why not look here?
How do you spot if you’re in a co-dependent relationship with an addict? Here are a few ways:
- Do you find yourself taking responsibility for what the addict does? When you love an addict, it’s easy to find yourself feeling responsible for their decisions and behavior, or making yourself miserable to try and make them happy. Perhaps you’ve driven them to a bar to pick up a fix, just to make sure they’re doing it safely, or making excuses for them to colleagues, friends, or family.
- Are you always putting yourself second? A co-dependent person often puts their addicted loved one’s feelings before their own and ignore their morals, thoughts, and beliefs to better ‘support’ their loved one. But then, this isn’t the best way to support someone. Instead, you need to look after yourself first, and help the addict to understand the impact their problem has on you, rather than hiding it away.
- Do you have trouble talking about your own feelings? You may not even recognize what it is that you’re feeling, whether it’s fear, or loneliness, or sadness. If you’re intensely focused on ‘fixing’ your loved one and ignoring any help you may need, you’re not going to be able to do your best for them.
- Are you staying in the relationship because you’re afraid of being alone? Many people who end up in co-dependent relationships are often looking for approval and are terrified of rejection. They will do anything to stay in their relationship, even enable an addict if they have to.
- Are you a ‘yes’ person? If you say yes to every single request your loved one makes, even if you’re not comfortable with it, you may not be helping either yourself or them.
Breaking the Cycle
When supporting an addict through recovery, it’s important to set boundaries and stick to them. Ultimately, the only one who can overcome the addiction is the addicts themselves. You can’t do it for them, as much as you might like to.
It’s also important to remember that addiction isn’t a choice. It’s a disease, and recovery may not happen straight away. It may take a while, or a few attempts at rehabilitation programs, or symptoms may get worse before they get better. Don’t give up. Go back to the drawing board, or make the addict pay another visit to the doctor and return to treatment. As long as your loved one is willing to admit they need help, recovery is possible.