When Someone You Love has an Addiction

When Someone You Love Has an Addiction

The fallout from an addiction, for addicts and the people who love them, is devastating – the manipulations, the guilt, the destruction of relationships and the breakage of people. When addicts know they are loved by someone who is invested in them, they immediately have fuel for their addiction. Your love and your need to bring them safely through their addiction might see you giving money you can’t afford, saying yes when that yes will destroy you, lying to protect them, and having your body turn cold with fear from the midnight ring of the phone. You dread seeing them and you need to see them, all at once. 

You might stop liking them, but you don’t stop loving them. If you’re waiting for the addict to stop the insanity – the guilt trips, the lying, the manipulation – it’s not going to happen. If you can’t say no to the manipulations of their addiction in your unaddicted state, know that they won’t say no from their addicted one. Not because they won’t, but because they can’t. 

If you love an addict, it will be a long and excruciating road before you realise that there is absolutely nothing you can do. It will come when you’re exhausted, heartbroken, and when you feel the pain of their self-destruction pressing relentlessly and permanently against you. The relationships and the world around you will start to break, and you’ll cut yourself on the jagged pieces.  That’s when you’ll know, from the deepest and purest part of you, that you just can’t live like this any more.  

I’ve worked with plenty of addicts, but the words in this post come from loving one. I have someone in my life who has been addicted to various substances. It’s been heartbreaking to watch. It’s been even more heartbreaking to watch the effect on the people I love who are closer to him than I am.

I would be lying if I said that my compassion has been undying. It hasn’t. It’s been exhausted and stripped back to bare. I feel regularly as though I have nothing left to give him. What I’ve learned, after many years, is that there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to change him. With all of our combined wisdom, strength, love and unfailing will to make things better for him, there is nothing we can do. 

I realised a while ago that I couldn’t ride in the passenger seat with someone at the wheel who was on such a relentless path to self-destruction. It’s taken many years, a lot of sadness, and a lot of collateral damage to people, relationships and lives outside of his.

What I do know is that when he is ready to change direction, I’ll be there, with love, compassion and a fierce commitment to stand beside him in whatever way he needs to support his recovery. He will have an army of people behind him and beside him when he makes the decision, but until then, I and others who love him are powerless. I know that.

Nobody intends for a behaviour to become an addiction, and if you are someone who loves an addict – whether it’s a parent, child, partner, friend, sibling – the guilt, the shame and the helplessness can be overwhelming. 

Addiction is not a disease of character, personality, spirit or circumstance. It can happen to anyone. It’s a human condition with human consequences, and being that we’re all human, we’re all vulnerable. Addicts can come from any life and from any family. It’s likely that in our lifetime, if we don’t love someone with an addiction, we’ll know someone who does, so this is an important conversation to have, for all of us. 

The problem with loving an addict is that sometimes the things that will help them are the things that would seem hurtful, cold and cruel if they were done in response to non-addicts. Often, the best ways to respond to an addict have the breathtaking capacity to drown those who love them with guilt, grief, self-doubt and of course, resistance.

Loving an addict in any capacity can be one of the loneliest places in the world. It’s easy to feel judged for withdrawing support for the addict, but eventually, this becomes the only possible response. Unless someone has been in battle armour beside you, fighting the fight, being brought to their knees, with their heart-broken and their will tested, it’s not for them to judge. 

The more we can talk about openly about addiction, the more we can lift the shame, guilt, grief and unyielding self-doubt that often stands in the way of being able to respond to an addict in a way that supports their healing, rather than their addiction. It’s by talking that we give each other permission to feel what we feel, love who we love, and be who we are, with the vulnerabilities, frayed edges, courage and wisdom that are all a part of being human.

When Someone You Love is an Addict.

  1. You’re dealing with someone different now. 

    When an addiction takes hold, the person you love disappears, at least until the addiction loosens its grip. The person you love is still in there somewhere, but that’s not who you’re dealing with. The person you remember may have been warm, funny, generous, wise, strong – so many wonderful things – but addiction changes people. It takes a while to adjust to this reality and it’s very normal to respond to the addicted person as though he or she is the person you remember. This is what makes it so easy to fall for the manipulations, the lies and the betrayal – over and over. You’re responding to the person you remember – but this is not that person. The sooner you’re able to accept this, the sooner you can start working for the person you love and remember, which will mean doing what sometimes feels cruel, and always heartbreaking, so the addiction is starved of the power to keep that person away. The person you love is in there – support that person, not the addict in front of you. The sooner you’re able to stop falling for the manipulations, lies, shame and guilt that feeds their addiction, the more likely it will be that the person you remember will be able to find the way back to you.

  2. Don’t expect them to be on your logic.

    When an addiction takes hold, the person’s reality becomes distorted by that addiction. Understand that you can’t reason with them or talk them into seeing things the way you do. For them, their lies don’t feel like lies. Their betrayal doesn’t feel like betrayal. Their self-destruction doesn’t always feel like self-destruction. It feels like survival. Change will come when there is absolutely no other option but to change, not when you’re able to find the switch by giving them enough information or logic.

  3. When you’re protecting them from their own pain, you’re standing in the way of their reason to stop.

    Addicts will do anything to feed their addiction because when the addiction isn’t there, the emotional pain that fills the space is greater. People will only change when what they are doing causes them enough pain, that changing is a better option than staying the same. That’s not just for addicts, that’s for all of us. We often avoid change – relationships, jobs, habits – until we’ve felt enough discomfort with the old situation, to open up to a different option.

    Change happens when the force for change is greater than the force to stay the same. Until the pain of the addiction outweighs the emotional pain that drives the addiction, there will be no change. 

    When you do something that makes their addictive behaviour easier, or protects them from the pain of their addiction – perhaps by loaning them money, lying for them, driving them around – you’re stopping them from reaching the point where they feel enough pain that letting go of the addiction is a better option. Don’t minimise the addiction, ignore it, make excuses for it or cover it up. Love them, but don’t stand in the way of their healing by protecting them from the pain of their addiction. 

  4. There’s a different way to love an addict.

    When you love them the way you loved them before the addiction, you can end up supporting the addiction, not the person. Strong boundaries are important for both of you. The boundaries you once had might find you innocently doing things that make it easier for the addiction to continue. It’s okay to say no to things you might have once agreed to – in fact, it’s vital – and is often one of the most loving things you can do. If it’s difficult, have an anchor – a phrase or an image to remind you of why your ‘no’ is so important. If you feel as though saying no puts you in danger, the addiction has firmly embedded itself into the life of the person you love. In these circumstances, be open to the possibility that you may need professional support to help you to stay safe, perhaps by stopping contact. Keeping a distance between you both is no reflection on how much love and commitment you feel to the person, and all about keeping you both safe.

  5. Your boundaries – they’re important for both of you.

    If you love an addict, your boundaries will often have to be stronger and higher than they are with other people in your life. It’s easy to feel shame and guilt around this, but know that your boundaries are important because they’ll be working hard for both of you. Setting boundaries will help you to see things more clearly from all angles because you won’t be as blinded by the mess or as willing to see things through the addict’s eyes – a view that often involves entitlement, hopelessness, and believing in the validity of his or her manipulative behaviour. Set your boundaries lovingly and as often as you need to. Be clear about the consequences of violating the boundaries and make sure you follow through, otherwise it’s confusing for the addict and unfair for everyone. Pretending that your boundaries aren’t important will see the addict’s behaviour get worse as your boundaries get thinner. In the end this will only hurt both of you.

  6. You can’t fix them, and it’s important for everyone that you stop trying.

    The addict and what they do are completely beyond your control. They always will be. An addiction is all-consuming and it distorts reality. Know the difference between what you can change (you, the way you think, the things you do) and what you can’t change (anyone else). There will be a strength that comes from this, but believing this will take time, and that’s okay. If you love someone who has an addiction, know that their stopping isn’t just a matter of wanting to. Let go of needing to fix them or change them and release them with love, for your sake and for theirs.

  7. See the reality.

    When fear becomes overwhelming, denial is a really normal way to protect yourself from a painful reality. It’s easier to pretend that everything is okay, but this will only allow the addictive behaviour to bury itself in deeper. Take notice if you are being asked to provide money, emotional resources, time, babysitting – anything more than feels comfortable. Take notice also of the  feeling, however faint, that something isn’t right. Feelings are powerful, and will generally try to alert us when something isn’t right, long before our minds are willing to listen. 

  8. Don’t do things that keep their addiction alive.

    When you love an addict all sorts of boundaries and conventions get blurred. Know the difference between helping and enabling. Helping takes into account the long-term effects, benefits and consequences. Enabling is about providing immediate relief, and overlooks the long-term damage that might come with that short-term relief. Providing money, accommodation, dropping healthy boundaries to accommodate the addict – these are all completely understandable when it comes to looking after someone you love, but with someone who has an addiction, it’s helping to keep the addiction alive. 

    Ordinarily, it’s normal to help out the people we love when they need it, but there’s a difference between helping and enabling. Helping supports the person. Enabling supports the addiction. 

    Be as honest as you can about the impact of your choices. This is so difficult – I know how difficult this is, but when you change what you do, the addict will also have to change what he or she does to accommodate those changes. This will most likely spin you into guilt, but let the addicted one know that when he or she decides to do things differently, you’ll be the first one there and your arms will be open, and that you love them as much as you ever have. You will likely hear that you’re not believed, but this is designed to refuel your enabling behaviour. Receive what they are saying, be saddened by it and feel guilty if you want to – but for their sake, don’t change your decision.

  9. Don’t buy into their view of themselves.

    Addicts will believe with every part of their being that they can’t exist without their addiction. Don’t buy into it. They can be whole without their addiction but they won’t believe it, so you’ll have to believe it enough for both of you. You might have to accept that they aren’t ready to move towards that yet, and that’s okay, but in the meantime don’t actively support their view of themselves as having no option but to surrender fully to their addiction. Every time you do something that supports their addiction, you’re communicating your lack of faith in their capacity to live without it. Let that be an anchor that keeps your boundaries strong. 

  10. When you stand your ground, things might get worse before they get better.

    The more you allow yourself to be manipulated, the more you will be manipulated. When you stand your ground and stop giving in to the manipulation, the maniplulation may get worse before it stops. When something that has always worked stops working, it’s human nature to do it more. Don’t give into to the lying, blaming or guilt-tripping. They may withdraw, rage, become deeply sad or develop pain or illness. They’ll stop when they realise your resolve, but you’ll need to be the first one to decide that what they’re doing won’t work any more.

  11. You and self-love. It’s a necessity. 

    In the same way that it’s the addict’s responsibility to identify their needs and meet them in safe and fulfilling ways, it’s also your responsibility to identify and meet your own. Otherwise you will be drained and damaged – emotionally, physically and spiritually, and that’s not good for anyone.

  12. What are you getting out of it?

    This is such a hard question, and will take an open, brave heart to explore it. Addicts use addictive behaviours to stop from feeling pain. Understandably, the people who love them often use enabling behaviours to also stop from feeling pain. Loving an addict is heartbreaking. Helping the person can be a way to ease your own pain and can feel like a way to extend love to someone you’re desperate to reach. It can also be a way to compensate for the bad feelings you might feel towards the person for the pain they cause you. This is all really normal, but it’s important to explore how you might be unwittingly contributing to the problem. Be honest, and be ready for difficult things to come up. Do it with a trusted person or a counsellor if you need the support. It might be one of the most important things you can do for the addict. Think about what you imagine will happen if you stop doing what you’re doing for them. Then think about what will happen if you don’t. What you’re doing might save the person in the short-term, but the more intense the addictive behaviour, the more destructive the ultimate consequences of that behaviour if it’s allowed to continue. You can’t stop it continuing, but you can stop contributing to it. Be willing to look at what you’re doing with an open heart, and be brave enough to challenge yourself on whatever you might be doing that’s keeping the addiction alive. The easier you make it for them to maintain their addiction, the easier it is for them to maintain their addiction. It’s as simple, and as complicated, as that.

  13. What changes do you need to make in your own life?

    Focusing on an addict is likely to mean that the focus on your own life has been turned down – a lot. Sometimes, focusing on the addict is a way to avoid the pain of dealing with other issues that have the capacity to hurt you. When you explore this, be kind to yourself, otherwise the temptation will be to continue to blunt the reality. Be brave, and be gentle and rebuild your sense of self, your boundaries and your life. You can’t expect the addict in your life to deal with their issues, heal, and make the immensely brave move towards building a healthy life if you are unwilling to do that for yourself.

  14. Don’t blame the addict.

    The addict might deserve a lot of the blame, but blame will keep you angry, hurt and powerless. Addiction is already heavily steeped in shame. It’s the fuel that started it and it’s the fuel that will keep it going. Be careful you’re not contributing to keeping the shame fire lit.

  15. Be patient.

    Go for progress, not perfection. There will be forward steps and plenty of backward ones too.  Don’t see a backward step as failure. It’s not. Recovery never happens in a neat forward line and backward steps are all part of the process.

  16. Sometimes the only choice is to let go.

    Sometimes all the love in the world isn’t enough. Loving someone with an addiction can tear at the seams of your soul. It can feel that painful. If you’ve never been through it, letting go of someone you love deeply, might seem unfathomable but if you’re nearing that point, you’ll know the desperation and the depth of raw pain that can drive such an impossible decision. If you need to let go, know that this is okay. Sometimes it’s the only option. Letting go of someone doesn’t mean you stop loving them – it never means that. You can still leave the way open if you want to. Even at their most desperate, most ruined, most pitiful point, let them know that you believe in them and that you’ll be there when they’re ready to do something different. This will leave the way open, but will put the responsibility for their healing in their hands, which is the only place for it to be.

And finally …

Let them know that you love them and have always loved them – whether they believe it or not. Saying it is as much for you as it is for them. 

336 Comments

Unimaginable

I have been with my husband since 2012. Married in 2013. We got together as he was coming out of prison and into a halfway house. I strongly believed he was going to be a changed man when he was released. (As I knew him prior to this in school). He was one of the ones who went down the wrong road and kinda Stuck to it. His mother passed from cancer when he was 11, and was a heavy drinker. His father was never really there and really didn’t care what he did but bailed him out of trouble each time. He has had a hard life. But he is an adult now. I did trap my husband into having a child! Bad idea ladies. Now I swear it is his mission to make my life a living hell! But as far as the drugs go. He started with pills as in opiates/ now on the subutex/ and I’m concerned of other hard drugs. As he will constantly lie and swear up and down he is sober. It’s exhausting and mentally draining. I feel so bad for him. He did this with the other women he dated too. Lie/cheat/steal and do drugs. He has stated he is not the relationship type. While he has OD”Ed in the car at his job. Ambulance brought him to the hospital and he left ama when he woke up from being unconscious. It’s a battle being with someone who holds that much pain inside that he is unwilling to talk about it to anyone. I figured by having our son he would change his ways. I guess not. I’m not perfect, but I do try to be better for my children. I have been clean and sober for 7 years. With the occasional social drink. But knowing my limits.

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Andre Z

Hi everyone. I´m from Brazil. I am an alcoholic and I cryed so much when reading all of the comments posted here. I actually typed this post title on my search just to find this amazing post. I was addicted to cocaine pryor to my alcohol addiction for many years. I did came clean from coke as I had many episodes where I would lay down my bed with excruciating pain in my nose and mouth. I mean literally.

Its been more de 5 months that I had that cleared out but I have somehow not been able to stop drinking almost everyday. I do understand how much pain it causes and my heart goes to everyone that took the time here to demostrate how much love is a beautiful thing even though is causing a great problem to your lives.

You are amazing people that have great love for life and that is what life is all about. I would like to meet each and everyone of you to say sorry because this is a all around love at its prime.

I did everything to keep my addicting out of the eyes from everyone staring just inches of me. And thats family, friends and the one you love and loves you.I have lost a great deal during the process.

All I am trying to say is that is very, very complicated and in my experience is something to do with the past. Its related to unfinished emotional feelings or not been able to understand real feelings when you are young. Family issues not well resolved and it never will because the past got so inserted into our lives, and in this case my self and maybe all of the addicts out there.

I hope there was a simple answer but there isn´t. But I love you all for coming forward and I wish that better days arrive for all of you that look forward to have a fulfilling sense of happiness together with the one you love.

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Karina

My boyfriend is addicted to coffee , coke (soda) tabaco and Mariguana.
I don’t know if want to be with someone who doesn’t Love himself. I don’t know if this is that serious or I am overreacting 🙁
I already tried to give him my opinion but he wont care.. Hope to read some advices thank you!

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Rhose

My boyfriend is a heroin addict. When I first met him, he was clean. However 4 months after I started dating him he started taking heroin. He was clean when I first met him and he was clean when we first started dating. At that time, he was two years clean up until he relapsed. I was hurt the first time he relapsed, but I helped him while he was going through withdrawals because he wanted to be clean. H had asked for help. Well a year has passed and he is still taking heroin. There are plenty of times that he has tried to get clean but he continues to relapse again and again. I think the only reason why I have continued to stay is the fact that he is constantly trying to get clean. Although he fails in staying clean, he tries and makes an effort. I know he badly wants to be clean, he just needs the strength and determination to do so. I have been in so much pain for months now. Last week I wrote him a letter saying that I can no longer be around him if he is using, but told him I will be there if he needs someone to talk to. I also told him that he needs to be at least 2 months clean before I can start to spend time again and then we will figure out what the next step would be. As much as this pains me, I have realized that me being around him whenever he’s high is not good for me. Its too painful seeing him high all the time, that is why for now I am distancing myself.

I hope everyone on here finds the strength to overcome whatever situation they are in. Its really hard to be with someone that is an addict. As much as we love them, they will never change unless there’s a reason for them to. I agree that when we around them, we are feeding into their addiction and are enabling them. During this time, we must all learn to be fine by ourselves. This is the time we should slowly start to learn to love ourselves again. We have all taken care of our love one for so long. When we take care of them, we forget to take care of ourselves and we end up prioritizing them. We do so much for the people we care about. But during this time, take time to do things that you love. It will be painful to not be with them for a while and you will worry at all times, but just know that not only are you helping yourself, but you are also helping them.

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Mom

I caught my 16yr old daughter with Coke last November. Since that time she tells me she not doing anything. When I question her she tells me I make her feel bad. Well on Halloween I found out that she has been doing Coke, Molly, mushrooms and pot. We talked and she agreed to go get help.
She’s been in the treatment center for 6 days and the past 5 days her 15 min phone call to me each night has been awful. I get if I love her, I would pick her up ASAP. The center is making her depression worse. She tells me all she needs is me and her friends to help her stop. Today she told me she was going to kill herself as she can’t be there anymore.

Is this still the addict talking? Is this to manipulate me or is her statement a truth?

I love my daughter with all my heart but I don’t want to be an enabler.

😭😭

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Mom 2

This is 100% the addict talking. Join The Addicts Mom on Facebook. You will get so much support and insight there.

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Alexis T

I’ve been dating an addict for about 7 months now, we met through drinking over a year ago and used to drink together 1-2 times a week every week from about December to March and we started dating at the end of March. We slowly stopped but I would still drink in her room a few times a week( I shouldn’t have) and she wouldn’t, but after about 2 months of dating she went back to drinking how we did before we started dating. I would drink with her but we got into fights every single time, so around July I sobered up and maybe 2 weeks ago( October now) we finally went out together again and fought like crazy. I sobered up so we wouldn’t fight and so that it’d be easier for her to sober up. She hides drinking and will sneak out and won’t tell me until the next day or a few days later, she’s been taken advantage of by a few people and it scares me to not know where she is and if she’s okay. She doesn’t drink every day but when she does drink she always says “ I’m gonna keep drinking” after the bars close, then she gets home around 7 am and usually still wants to drink. I always show up when she gets home to put her to bed and make sure she’s safe and in bed, but I feel like this is enabling it because I always show up. I’ve given her ultimatums and left, and she’s left me saying I deserve better then comes back a few days later and doesn’t try to be better. Her friends convince her that she doesn’t have a problem so that she’ll keep going out with them and they don’t see how when she’s sober she says she wants to sober up and quit drinking, how she needs to cut those friends off because they aren’t her real friends but her drinking friends. She’s made me feel like crap for going to get her and bringing her back home and for accusing her of going out when she wasn’t, but she would. There’s been times when I was supposed to go over and she’d sneak out and would ignore me all night and I’d have to find her and she’d be out drinking. I’m getting tired of it and I noticed I’ve been falling into a depression and I can’t keep doing this to myself. I’ll only stay a little longer and if she doesn’t change I have to leave for my own sake. I love her so much, but I can’t save her and I keep telling her I’ll be by her side and support her but she doesn’t want help. She doesn’t want to admit she had a problem. She’s verbally and emotionally abusive to me, especially when she’s drunk. She’s completely different when she’s drunk. I miss her in the beginning when she was sober. I wish I didn’t drink in her room and was more sober with her, I thought she only liked me for drinking. Now her problem is out of control and I have no idea what to do. She’s moving in with her drinking friends and wants to sober up and thinks she will living there, but I think they’ll enable it. They don’t want me around because she’s sober around me and when she drinks I show up to stop her, and when she’s sober she’s glad I did but drunk her is mad at me for taking her beers. I don’t know what to do anymore

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amanda

I started attending al anon and am finding the strength to help myself before I die from stress helping the love of my life who is an addict. Al anon helps give you the tools to help you become at piece to make healthy choices for all concerned.

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Cynthia W

Here I am at 3:45 a.m. and another night of having no sleep. It is my 30 year old son who is addicted to crystal meth. He has been to so many rehabs and sober living homes that I have lost count. I do attend Alanon, have a psychologist for myself and a therapist. I have done all that I can do for myself to know the 3 C’s…didn’t cause it, can’t control it, can’t cure it. Still with all that I have learned I still feel emotional pain. All I know to do is to pray hard. I am a believer in a Higher Power who is greater than myself. I won’t ever give up hope. It is what keeps me going. I am learning more to let go and allow my son to go through the feeling of being uncomfortable….hard to do but after reading this article it confirms what I already know. Allowing him to have his independence is what is best for him and myself for this is the only way for him to accept responsibility. I cannot treat him as if he is still a child by the “feed me, keep me warm” behavior. Sooner or later he will get sober. I have faith. I am a believer in thinking positive. I must think this way to be able to carry on. I have to. I am grateful for the article. Have hope. Positive vibes to send your way.

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Keshnee N

I met my husband through online dating and though I was sceptical about the process somehow it brought us together. He made me laugh, cry , seethe at times with anger and most of the time made my heart flutter. After a year of online dating he came to my country and we got married after..during the time that we were together I was so happy. But there were warning signs all along which I had chosen to ignore. Emotional outbursts from nowhere, no prior warning, spending lots of money with no memory of what money was spent on. And I became a bank, always funding his need for more. He tore at my heart bit by bit. Sometimes leaving irreparable cracks. During a period when I fell ill he was by my side every day in hospital caring for me, but when he left there unbeknownst to me he was taking drugs, to the extent that he completely zoned out. It became worse over time with loud screaming matches so that I would even break into uncontrollably coughing and my throat has even felt the long term effects. Our fights were always about all the things of mine which he had stolen and sold. And there were so many things bug and small, he even stole.money from my children. I divorced him but got back together when I saw that he was living on the street as he had gambled away all the money from the settlement. My heart could not bear the thought of someone I loved so much being reduced to such circumstances. I remember feeling guilty for the bed I slept in, the mouthful of food I ate, the roof over my head. I couldn’t bear the pain it caused me. After getting back together things were ok for a while and then it all started again. The worst part was when he would start screaming at my kids. That I could not allow. So I told him to leave. Gave him a huge settlement again to see him off and now here I am. He has gambled away everything and now I just bought him a ticket to go back. I will always love him but loving someone should not destroy me this way..I don’t have the strength to do it anymore. I need to love me again. Be responsible for my own happiness. I realise you cannot help someone who does not see that he is doing anything wrong. It’s time for him to make it on his own. Without me. And its time for me to take care of me..

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Anon

I am so happy to have came across this article tonight. I don’t know if anyone will come across this comment, but I wanted to share my own story. I have been with my boyfriend for 3 years. When I met him he was a kind, gentle, caring man. I fell in love with him, and noticed signs of drug abuse early on, but looked past it. I hardly even knew the severity of opioids then, growing up in a small town with a sober people surrounding me. Over the years he battled severe addiction. My family and friends warned me that I could not save him, but I kept falling for his extreme manipulation and lies that he was sober. I would question him nonstop when I knew deep down he was high, but he would constantly deny and make me feel crazy. It got to the point where I was saying to him “you’ve made me feel crazy about thinking you were high before, and then admitted it later on,” and he would still ever so convincingly lie about being sober. 8 months ago, I picked him up off the ground and he was blue and not breathing. Overdosed. I will never forget the horrified screams from his parents. He survived, and swore he would never ever let that happen again, and he was done. Got a full time job. I thought he was truly done. He would nod off, and I would question, but he would convince me so well he was just tired from working long days. I believed him, like a fool. Yesterday, I was with him and studying for an exam (I am a college student.) He went to the bathroom, came out, looked at me and started having a gran mal seizure. I will never forget, once again, the absolute horror I experienced, his parents screams, calling 911, all of it. I am traumatized. He has finally agreed to go to long term rehab. And I have finally come to terms I never want to witness another OD again, or deal with the lies and extreme emotional abuse. I’ve lost myself throughout all of this. This article, and the comments, helped me to realize so many things tonight.

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Jessica

A lot of your story sounds like what I’m going through with my fiancé as well. This is very fresh for me and I’m trying to figure out how to cope and process. Your story hit home for me and I just want you to know that you’re so strong and loved. I’ll be thinking of you.

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Stella P

Love to you, Anon. You sound like a remarkable person, a true angel in your partner’s life.

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Linda

I found this article, and it’s the best thing that’s happened for me at precisely the right time.
I too love an addict. It’s going on 3 years and tho I steadily added boundaries, I was weak, scared, and definitely enabled him. Every thing I read relates to my situation. I cannot express enough how helpful this all is. It’s helping me to have the strength to put in place new stronger boundaries with a much better understanding of why they’re so important.
I’m also going to be honest with myself as to why I was enabling-and how harmful it was for both him and me. I need to rebuild parts of my life. And I need to allow him to figure out his life. I can’t do both. It’s exhausting.
It’s ridiculous because I co chair meetings. My son is also an addict and I had no idea how different it would be/feel for me with my bf. A different set of emotions threw me off… and after reading this I feel like I can start to make the changes that will ultimately help me. I know it’ll be hard soI plan on referring back to this article often. I know I will be out to the test-prob soon. God help me keep strong, loving, boundaries.
I’ve already discovered something extremely important. I am not wrong for what I want and deserve out of a relationship. I can change my behaviors and be kinder and gentler on myself while doing it.

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Stephanie

I just wanted to say that I read your comment, and I am in a similar situation. Thank you for sharing. I am so lost. I am losing myself to his addiction. I thought he was clean, and we went away this weekend, and he obviously used heroin before we left, and went into withdrawals Saturday. Instead of a romantic weekend away, he spent the weekend sick and in and out of it, and i spent the weekend in tears and a deep depression. He is my soulmate and the love of my life, and I feel so stupid, blind, deceived, betrayed.. The list goes on. To know I’m not alone in how i feel and what I am going through gives me strength. I hope you find some peace.

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Summer

This article was very helpful to reenforce what I know to be true. Just like the addict, those addicted to an addict need to hear/read the truth again and again as the denial billows back in like smoke. What I can see, cannot be seen by my beloved.
Our story is convoluted in addiction dating back to 1996 when we first met. At that time, I was trying to stay off drugs (coke) and alcohol. My husband, didn’t drink because “it got him in trouble”. I struggled to remain sober or really “dry” through my 20s and at about 25 I found opiates which became my primary addiction. I lied, stole, manipulated, disconnected from those I loved, isolated, betrayed everyone that cared about me, all while my husband buried his head in the sand. When circumstances forced him to emerge, he enabled me all the while he was addicted to work. I always wanted to be well. Something deep inside pulled at my soul to keep trying, which I did throughout my addicted years. I tried everything! Rehabs, outpatient centers, retreats, therapy, meetings, self help books, juggling combinations of prescription medications, marijuana, with and without different types of alcohol, I became hopeless as I always ended up back in the boomerang of opiates. In my earlier 30s I had a daughter, then 2 years later a second daughter. By this time, my husband became fully invested in my addiction. In fact, he shifted his addiction to work onto me. I was his primary focus and concern. After my second child was born I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my very first thought was “oh good, I can finally use without being bothered by anyone”. Not a care for my life, my children, who may end up without a mother, just my own selfish desire to be high and out of self. After treatment for cancer I was regaining my physical strength but my mental state was worse than ever, I dove deeper into opiates and alcohol. Within 6 months, when my back was against the wall again, I agreed to go into treatment. I got well. It was nothing short of a miracle that I became willing to follow ALL the directions of a sponsor in a 12 step program and I got well. About a year into my sobriety my husband began drinking. To this day, 11 years later I’m not sure if he’s an alcoholic, if I had to place a wager, I’d say yes. If he’s not one, he’ll become one before he stops. About 2 years into my sobriety he had an affair. Fast forward 10 years I learned he’s been betraying me with “relationships” with other women on and off ever since. I think most of his actions have seen the light of day but continued betrayal leaves me skeptical. Mostly it does not involve sex but has and my husband has confided in me that it’s more about the need to be needed. He has admitted it’s an addiction and will say he does it because he “can’t help it” however, if you asked him today he would not concede to a sex and love addiction. Last September when caught again, I asked him to leave. He started attending alanon as he thought, and I agreed codependency was part of our problems and perhaps the root of his troubles. He improved, had hope, re-emerged as his better self and I was very hopeful. Two months later he was home and 3 months after that he started texting her, covid hit, no more meetings for my husband and in June he was in full swing with the other woman and I had to ask him to leave. The most interesting part of this story is what happened to me the past year. I became fully addicted to fixing and controlling our problems. All the symptoms of addiction returned without the substance. I became addicted to him. Does he love me ? Am I enough? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t he recommit? Why isn’t he trying harder, fighting for us? Why isn’t he loyal as he used to be? Here I am now, able to love, a well individual who can give this man everything anyone could ever want. I’m a good wife, always trying to do better, loving and considerate, accommodating and kind, beautiful and I keep a beautiful home, we have well rounded, smart and beautiful children. Most people who know him say they want to come back in their next life, as him. It’s baffling to me. And yet I know addiction. In those months I spent so much time in my program throwing myself harder in to meetings, into helping others and yet I became so so sick. All the while, I never wanted to drink or use. My addiction changed faces and yet I’m addicted none the less.

So what have I learned? I learned that the expression of anger, bargaining, grief, fear (more like terror) does not penetrate addiction. Just like the article says loving someone with an addiction is like the tearing of your soul and letting go feels like desperation and raw pain that has been absolutely unbearable at times. Recently I described it as a long a painful surgical procedure. But nothing changes if nothing changes so it’s me that’s changing. I started an alanon program called controlling/fixing, chaos creator. Apparently I do all of that and it was there long before I knew about my husband’s infidelity. I’m almost half way through the steps, a brutal process but if 12 steps can beat opiate addiction, I am sure the process will also concur addiction to the addicted.

I don’t know what will happen with my husband. At the moment, he’s lost, a shell of the man he used to be. I am broken hearted for so many reasons and I love him completely. I am just not willing to accept the unacceptable any longer.
Godspeed.

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Dae

I’m so sad and depressed about this I’ve never been in love in my life and to finally be in love and it be to an addict is so heartbreaking I have no idea what to do most times.
I just wish I had no one to talk to, he’s my best friend and I don’t want to loose my best friend and love of my life.

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Cole

Same here. Finally found my person and she’s addicted to so many things I’ve honestly lost count. She wasn’t this way when we met. My heart is falling apart in my hands.

I can’t take it anymore

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J. B

I am in the exact same boat as you. It feels like a nightmare to be in love with someone who doesn’t exist. I fabricated this person in my mind- but the addict is there, and he’s manipulating and winning. It is the most confusing and hurtful kind of “love”. He is also m best friend. And I have to let him go otherwise his behaviour won’t end

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Sammie

I feel the same exact way. This is my first actual boyfriend and love and his addiction started with prescription pain killers and turned into fentanyl. It’s so hard to see him high and I just get so angry at him all of the time. I’ve been with him for almost 3 years and we have a baby that will be here in December. He’s going back into rehab for his 3rd time because he overdosed and I had to bring him back to life with 3 doses of narcan. I feel so helpless so I’m finally turning to these articles to help me. I just wish I could change him but I know I can’t do anything but support and love him and he has to change himself, this has definitely been the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. I’m to the point where I’m looking into therapy and group counseling to help me cope with his addiction because I can’t keep doing this alone. I wish you and your loved one nothing but the best!

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Robert C

Hi, I’m terribly sorry you had to experience that situation. I know it’s so tough to go through but we go through the pain with the people we love and it’s so hard to give up on them, basically not even being an option when the love is so immense and the growth is vested in another.

I’m in the same situation with my girlfriend and it’s breaking my heart so much. I think about her everyday, I miss her so much and love her with all my heart. I had to let her go but in the end of me cutting her off and heat of the moment, I didn’t tell her that I would always be there for her when she’s ready to make change and I’m thinking I should. Is it to late?

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Anton

If you feel its important to you, then do it, and be very clear about your intentions. I’ve done this a few time’s because i tend to get really frustrated in that heat of the moment, and one of those time’s actually occured today! i had to cut off my best friend, whom i’ve known since i started to form memories basically, and to make a long story short my only choice was to cut ties and walk away, probably the hardest and most hurtful one yet, but at this point im kind of used to it. Anyhow, in my frustration i felt that i hadnt been clear enough so when i got home i wrote down a very clear message that im gonna be there for him if he decides he wants to stop using, and that i care deeply for him, regardless of what he believes. And i ended it with being even more clear that this is not a followup on the discussion, this is merely a clarification of what i wanted to adress and that i still stand by my decision. And it doesnt matter how he chooses to react, the important thing is i got to say the things i wanted to say! I hope you can pull something from this, either way, stay strong!

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Gia

Yeah. I feel this. I broke up with my heroin addict boyfriend who I was with for 7 months. We were in love. The love we shared was different than anything I have felt before, and it felt like true love. I still had to make the decision to leave, and sometimes I regret it. It has been 5 years. I just found out that he got married to someone he met after me. I am still working on fully letting go. Loving an addict is truly a full spectrum experience. I am choosing now to believe that I will find love again. That it can happen more than once. So much love to you all.

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K. Mars

This is probably the most accurate and helpful thing I have read. My husband is struggling with cocaine addiction. He began using a year after we were married and began adjusting his status with immigration. He worked at a bar under the table and I use to think he was being taken advantage of because the money never made it home. His family also left the USA around this time so when he became quite and depressed I linked it to that. But on our 3rd wedding anniversary he confessed to me he had a problem and needed help. As you said in your article recovery is never a straight path. He attended some 12 step programs and stopped going because he said he felt out of place. I found us a counselor and he was quiet through most of the sessions. And then the pandemic hit. He lost his job and his addiction exploded. I lost my job and then we lost our apartment. I planned to take us both to a family members home but with him still continuing his behavior I had to make one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make. I said I was going alone. He is now in another state with a friend picking up the pieces. I miss him terribly and feel angry why he couldn’t do this when we were together but after reading this is reassures me I made the right decision. I still love him and miss him so much but I know setting this barrier and continuing with counseling for myself and as a couple will help us get to a point to decide if our marriage can be salvaged. Thank you so much for writing this.

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Anissa W

A relationship with my partner of 4 years just ended. I had been with him 8 months when he told me that he did cocaine. I fully enabled the behaviour, which I deeply regret. I deeply resented him for it-I had hopes and dreams for a future with him. That resentment came out cyclically and I would spiral out of control into a person I did not like. He always seemed “in control” but after a while I started to see signs of him using every day and unconscious signs of addiction like always checking the pocket he had his drugs and paraphernalia in, going to the bathroom-locking the door-and turning the fan on then coming our sniffing. I could tell when he would be high then when he would start to need another line. It’s horrible, but I did not set boundaries because I kept hoping things would change. He split with me this past week-I had become resentful and angry all the time and it leaked into our communication constantly. I still love him and will love him for a very long time. But I can’t go back. I hope your heart is healing…

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Kimelia

This article about loving someone with addiction was triggering, in a good way. I cried and cried bc every sentence was so spot on, but reading them gave me the push I needed to book my first therapy session and begin distancing myself from my cocaine-using boyfriend.

I believe that he can bounce back from this, but I do not have to suffer in the meantime. Every moment that I accommodate addicted “Michael” is a moment that he could be using towards becoming clean if he so chooses.

I’d like to thank the author for sharing and helping me understand the difference between truly helping and enabling. Sending strength & love to everyone out there that is struggling with this!!!

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DJ

Many ups and down in my 10 yr relationship with my mid 40s bf, with an extremely enabling mother who also takes pills irresponsibly. At this point it’s pointless to talk to him when he’s using b/c he doesn’t listen, blames me for everything, says i take no blame in the relationship, I don’t listen and I’m the miserable person here (which is true, but despite the guilt trips deep down I know his addiction is why I’m miserable, but I still feel the guilt) He’s very mean with his words, and I’ve been good about not engaging but unfortunately did the other night, what I said was truth but he gets extremely angry when I talk about reality and one things leads to another and it gets nasty. I now must once again commit to not to get sucked into letting him make me so mad with his lies and false accusations. Ugh I feel like I’m in the twilight zone. I’m sorry for everyone here, this is so hard, but I feel better knowing I’m not along in how awful I feel, and how much I still love him and would do anything but there is nothing left I can do, except to do nothing.

I wish there was a way to have some kind of support group for those who have read and commented here. This article has made me feel better because I’m not ready to not love him anymore and completely walk away and start a new life, I do not want that. When he stops with his pill addiction, he is such a good person, seems to love me so much and says he’s so much happier not being on the pills. So it is so confusing.

I felt like this article gave me the clarity to still love him and have hope without putting myself in his addicted behavior’s line of fire…. because heaven knows I’m so heartbroken all the time I don’t know what my emotions even are, my thought process is completely off and I’m often confused as to what my next steps are. For now I will just love him, let him know I’ll be here when he wants to stop, but also remember (at all times) not let him pull me into his drama and chaos. It won’t help anything : (

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Melinda N

My husband of 9 years just got out of prison 2 months ago after serving 7 years.
He had me fooled he was clean and sober. I didn’t have visits for the last 3 years of his bit because he lost that priveledge which made it easier for him to mask his addiction from me. He also became a “better” addict with newer tools for his cause.
Well, he got out during this pandemic which has caused no boundaries or much as for rules for his parole. No classes before release or after. Though I am pretty sure that wouldn’t make a difference.
He is definitely dealing with PTSD from his time. Something I we jave discussed he needs help for buy never shows up for the help. Just runs back to his drug comfort zone.
Now I am ready to leave. I can’t handle the pain anymore. I waited for him. It’s so lonely to wait for someone in there. Especially when it’s been all manipulation and lies.
He has lost everything and everyone except the clothes on his back so fast. And will lose his parole once I am gone and he has no address.
I love him so very much but I also love myself. I am 7 years sober myself. His consequences were also mine. That helped me to want it for myself. Sadly he didn’t and doesn’t.
He spoke with me last night in the throws of his insanity. Begging me for ‘another’ last chance. It breaks my heart and I am so scared for him. I am afraid for his life.
I am trying to do the right thing because I have had to see that I am his comfort when he is down and out after a binge. I am his roof, good and place to recuperate. Then comes the next binge with the same lies and broken promises. And the heart ache, fear and pain that goes along with it.
Since I have no choice but to move to another state I told him that if he gets help and changes his life he can come back to me. That I can’t be here for him like this anymore.
That I am available to talk anytime he needs me but I will not continue in the capacity of his wife. But I will be a friend until I can’t for him or he gets help.
I am so scared to walk away and lose him forever. I don’t want to. Got knows I don’t. I just don’t know what else to do for us both.
Even his family are turning on me. Thinks I am being cruel even though they have turned their backs on him and also me. I am trying to do this with out support.
But that is my reasoning in leaving. To reach our for support and distance cuz I don’t trust my self to stay strong if I see him.
Any advice. I and he both need it and I am desperate.

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BrokenHeart

I want to start off by saying this by far is one of the hardest things to deal with mentally and (physically) Because it make you feel ill my heart literally HURTS! My home was just raided for property that was not supposed to be here I had no clue all this was going on behind the garage doors the truth did come out that my husband had been using I have been dealing with this for years this is thee worst I think of all time he has quit before I can not deal with this lifestyle any longer his reality and mine are 2 different worlds 2 weeks prior to all this a “friend” of his out back was passing out turning very pale in color non-responsive I had to call 911 everyone telling me he was having a seizure I knew it was a lie and I told the paramedics that as well since that incident he had this “friend” living out behind my garage with a whole setup in a tent with just a nasty mess back there the day of the Raid was the first time I actually went back there to see it I was blown away!!! I don’t know how anyone could live like that I was so beyond upset and angry with the thought of a junkier living just beyond my fence and here I am dealing with my husband and my relationship hanging on by thread on fire I have now put the responsibility of the outcome in his hand he has total control of the outcome the “friend” has since moved out and I am still dealing with the trauma of the home raid his. Charges that he had to face the consequences for and the list goes on please if your in a relationship that is this toxic get out but leave you can love someone without it being bad for your own mental health I will always love this man I have since 9th grade I’ve been dealing with this lifestyle almost 20 years
XoXoXo,
#BrokenHeart

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Jean w

I am going through the same as you but with my daughter who has 3 children a21yr 16 yr both boys and a lovely 5yr old little girl who was a much wanted child ,her drinking has got worse after a rape 7 yrs ago she is 44 and has had all the help available,I think I am going to follow the advice and stay away the children are fine the little one is with her dad and comes to me.. This article has made me see that when our Dr said to leave her to it 6yrs ago I should have done just that.i am 76 and need some peace from it all.I hope you find a way through.xx

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Anna

It’s ok to be at your breaking point because this is when the change your life desperately needs happens. Ask yourself all day, everyday “What do I need to feel at peace?” This sounds simple but for people like us who have been more concerned with the needs of an alcoholic than our own, it is a forgotten question. Years have passed and you have let go of your own needs to focus on the needs of someone in constant crisis. So what do you need to feel sane? Do not feel guilty to have needs because all human beings have needs. If you have to leave him alone to feel peace that is ok. Remember it was his choice ultimately not yours. He chose the alcohol over you.

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Courtney B

This article hit me hard. My fiance has struggled with heroin and depression over the past 3 years. It has ripped my very essence to shreds. He has lived a very hard life and his best friend died a few months ago and he fell back into addiction. It started when I would find burnt tin foil and straws all over the house or in his pockets when I did laundry. He lies to me telling me he found it cleaning up. When I confront him about it he lies. It takes him to overdose to admit he’s been using. It has damaged me emotionally and mentally. I live in constant trauma I will find him overdosed or dead one day. Its painful and has sent me into depression where I closed myself off from everyone. I have enabled this behavior too long. What you said about when addiction takes hold the person you loved disappears. I’m at the crossroads finally and wish there was more I could do. This article really opened my eyes and let me know I’m not alone and myself needs to come first.

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Tp

I am that addict u all love. I just want to say this is exact spot on, but just know we don’t want to fall into this spot. We have an allergy to drugs that makes us not like the normal people. Untill we can understand that we have to change our ways completely and ask our higher power for guidance, and fully give ourselves to our higher power we will always fall to our old patterns. We do love our families and wish it wasn’t this way

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F

I am The addict. I read this article after i managed to destroy everything around me for years. The writer knows what she is speaking about. There is one more thing to add imo. After you hit The bottom when all that reprehanded feelings surface you really realize what pain is. The guilt for what you did to your loved ones is unbearable, but still somehow you must go through it in order to be hope. Peace.

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Christine P

I am a mum and can see it’s destroying my son’s life he’s been in the army for23years and struggled with losing friends someone offered him come to help him . He is now retired and it has escalated to know he needs coke .it doesn’t make him happy just Misable it is hard

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ANON

Hello. I have been with my boyfriend for almost 4 years now. I knew he was my forever when we kisses for the first time. It gave me chills everywhere, and it still feels like that. I learned after we started dating that he was addicted to opiates. He has struggled with his addiction for a little longer then we have been together. He has told me that he was clean when he was not. He lied to my face constantly and made me feel like I was crazy for thinking he was high. He stole money from me and made up a stupid story, and I chose to believe him. Time and time again he would get “clean” and I chose to stand by him. I have stood by him no matter what lies he had told me and no matter how heartbroken he made me. He finally decided to check himself into a recovery program 4 days ago. As the days go on I find more and more out about how he has lied and manipulated me. The sad thing is, is that I knew, I always know. We have lived together for about 2.5 years. He would just make me feel awful for accusing him. I have no intention of leaving him because he was sober for about 3-4 months last summer, and those were the best months probably out f the entire relationship. I need to learn how to trust him again. He is my bestfriend. I have never laughed louder or cried harder with anyone else in my life. He is my forever and I have faith he can get through this. I believe in him. He just needs to realize he can do it himself. I know I cannot fix him he has to want to fix himself and I know that now. I am not having a good night and this article helped me a lot. Thank you for posting this.

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Mandy

I believe when you are with someone physically you inherit some of their spiritual baggage and that might be the reason you got chills from kissing him. Of course you can just say that’s crazy but I felt the same thing with my addicted ex…and used to have recurring nightmares about
Him 2 weeks after falling in love with him, and I saw him out of his body while he was sleeping one night I thought he was at the end of the bed but he was sleeeping right next to me. I believe I saw him out of body. I had several spiritual incidents happen to open my eyes to what addiction is doing to him spiritually. He was not even in his body!!

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keysha

Hello I have been dealing with an addict (alcoholic) for 10 years. When we first met he did drink a lot. It was too the point he would go to the bathroom on the bedroom floor or kitchen floor. The next day wouldn’t remember what he did. Also, he used to always play mind games make me think I was very forgetful of things he never told me because he was too intoxicated to tell me in that moment. I love him so I allowed to happen. After 4 years in, I got tired and told him he had to slow down on drinking or we were done. There were other issues he had to work on but that was a huge one. We broke up for a couple of months. He came back kept his word with drinking and the other issues we were having for a year or two. But, the thing was we weren’t living together so he would drink at home but wouldn’t drink around me. So, it may be think he had stop drinking but he didn’t. I was finding shot bottles in his car, in his trunk that he was hiding from me.
We talked about what I found, of course he lied said they were old bottles. Hence, we are engaged, but I am at the point where I don’t want to commit to an alcoholic, I don’t want to be miserable. Even though at times he tries to show me he can control it. But, it seems like when he does control it he binge drinks for the lost time. I have pleaded with him, cried, gave ultimatums. He is good for a couple of weeks then back to undisciplined drinking. I am close to ending the relationship because I am now understanding that he can’t help it. But, at the same time he says he doesn’t have a problem I am over reacting. He will say I am going to have a beer but before he comes to my house to have a beer he probably had two or three shot of alcohol and thinks I am stupid to believe that the beer is making him tipsy. Or that all he had to drink and he is like a zombies and snores like a buzz saw. I can’t take it anymore. The smell the sleepless nights. He is totally a different person when he is intoxicated. I love him so much and I don’t want to make it seem like I am turning my back on him but I am at my breaking point.

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Janice

You need to leave him. They say they will change, and may change like you think he does for a few weeks. He needs to go to AA for rest if his life. When he cleans up, then you can support him and that has to be after going to AA for at least 3 months for starters. You will be miserable if you commit to him and he doesn’t change. Your leaving him for good may be the straw that breaks his back. If he really loves you, then he will get treatment to detox and go to AA for rest of his life. Sorry, but don’t commit to him your loving him means you have to let him go and reach his rock bottom in seeing he needs treatment.

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Gwendolyn

I’m so torn. My LO is an addict that was clean for over a decade. He relapsed a few months ago and, after a lot of enabling, I cut contact with him 2 week ago. I am so scared I’m going to get a call that he’s dead. He has hid it really well as he works in the recovery field and is still actively working. I’ve been considering telling his coworker/friend that helped him get sober before to see if she can convince him to get treatment. Should I not? It’s bad enough I feel guilty for betraying him but is it also “trying to fix him”? Should I just leave it to fate?

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Yasemin.K

Wow! Hey Karen its 4am in the morning and obviously i cant sleep because these past couple months have been the worst. So i decided to google stuff to seek some sort of guidance or relation to what am currently going through… then i came across your article and am blown away because i can relate to all that you have written because im going through that same situation currently with a very close friend of mine who ive known for years.. and this has been a never ending hell-ish nightmare at first i thought its just a phase because his young..iv given him all the love and support i could an thought he would realise what his doing is silly and would eventually stop but as time went by all the lies surfaced and the constant betrayal and i figured this person simply doesnt want to change and has a serious problem and me sticking around and supporting him doesnt really help anymore he just gets more comfortable in what his doing and ive lost my sanity in the process.. and i honestly dont know what to do anymore and i dont even know how i would leave his side because id feel i left him when he was at his worst or needed me the most and what if i regret it and he just gets worse and what if he really hurts himself and becomes suicidal when i leave because he poses that sort of nature but then again if i was so important to him and if he wants me to stay in his life then why doesnt he just give it all up and change. I love and care about him very much but this has taken a huge toll on me and he doesnt even realise it.. i just wish he could wake up and be the same positive life driven guy i knew him to be without the drugs but his so caught up with the wrong company and drugs that he actually makes it a lifestyle and denies his addiction and says wothout it “he feels to much”.. it was an eye opener reading your article.. i would really love to hear your feedback.

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Nethera

I have looked after and supported my adult mentally son, who has had a drug addiction since in his teens.. I am now 63 and widowed and I am at breaking point, I am seriously ill and severely disabled. Over the past few years his addiction has become so bad, he has stolen so much from me, to the point were, I cannot even leave my bag for a second. Everything of value in my home has been stolen and sold and he no longer contributes a penny towards the house hold. I am in debt because of his addiction. He is under the community mental health team , who see him every three weeks for his depot but apart from that, they offer no help at all. I have begged them for help to support him in getting accommodation but my cry for help is ignored. I am drained and mentally depressed. I no longer have a social life. He manipulates me and now all I do is scream at him because I cannot cope. I just don’t know how I can continue to live in fear like this. I have a home but I feel homeless and just feel life Is not worth living anymore. He has psychotic schizophrenia and has been sectioned twice over the past 9yrs. I just do not understand why Community Mental health teams turn a blind eye when they are aware of the impact upon parents and the domestic abuse/harassment, which they are waking up to every day of their lives. I love my son If I didn’t I wouldn’t have put my life on hold for the past 10yrs and put up with the pain which I suffer, seeing him destroy his life. I have constantly worried myself that something may happen to him and I will lose him but I am at the point were I am having a mental breakdown. I just want peace and quiet in my senior years, I have neglected my own health Issues and now I just want to walk away but where do I go?

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dj

Keysha I’m sorry for your situation. I’m in the same boat, 10 years, I’ve been at my breaking point quite a number of times, and although I haven’t heard from him in 4 days now, I can’t stop loving him or give up hope.

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Sometimes we all just need space to talk to someone who will listen without giving advice, or problem solving, or lecturing. Someone who will let us talk, and who can handle our experiences and words and feelings without having to smooth out the wrinkles or tidy the frayed edges. 

Our kids need this too, but as their important adults, it can be hard to hush without needing to fix things, or gather up their experience and bundle it into a learning that will grow them. We do this because we love them, but it can also mean that they choose not to let us in for the wrong reasons. 

We can’t help them if we don’t know what’s happening in their world, and entry will be on their terms - even more as they get older. As they grow, they won’t trust us with the big things if we don’t give them the opportunity to learn that we can handle the little things (which might feel seismic to them). They won’t let us in to their world unless we make it safe for them to.

When my own kids were small, we had a rule that when I picked them up from school they could tell me anything, and when we drove into the driveway, the conversation would be finished if they wanted it to be. They only put this rule into play a few times, but it was enough for them to learn that it was safe to talk about anything, and for me to hear what was happening in that part of their world that happened without me. My gosh though, there were times that the end of the conversation would be jarring and breathtaking and so unfinished for me, but every time they would come back when they were ready and we would finish the chat. As it turned out, I had to trust them as much as I wanted them to trust me. But that’s how parenting is really isn’t it.

Of course there will always be lessons in their experiences we will want to hear straight up, but we also need them to learn that we are safe to come to.  We need them to know that there isn’t anything about them or their life we can’t handle, and when the world feels hard or uncertain, it’s safe here. By building safety, we build our connection and influence. It’s just how it seems to work.♥️
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#parenting #parenthood #mindfulparenting
Words can be hard sometimes. The right words can be orbital and unconquerable and hard to grab hold of. Feelings though - they’ll always make themselves known, with or without the ‘why’. 

Kids and teens are no different to the rest of us. Their feelings can feel bigger than words - unfathomable and messy and too much to be lassoed into language. If we tap into our own experience, we can sometimes (not all the time) get an idea of what they might need. 

It’s completely understandable that new things or hard things (such as going back to school) might drive thoughts of falls and fails and missteps. When this happens, it’s not so much the hard thing or the new thing that drives avoidance, but thoughts of failing or not being good enough. The more meaningful the ‘thing’ is, the more this is likely to happen. If you can look behind the words, and through to the intention - to avoid failure more than the new or difficult experience, it can be easier to give them what they need. 

Often, ‘I can’t’ means, ‘What if I can’t?’ or, ‘Do you think I can?’, or, ‘Will you still think I’m brave, strong, and capable of I fail?’ They need to know that the outcome won’t make any difference at all to how much you adore them, and how capable and exceptional you think they are. By focusing on process, (the courage to give it a go), we clear the runway so they can feel safer to crawl, then walk, then run, then fly. 

It takes time to reach full flight in anything, but in the meantime the stumbling can make even the strongest of hearts feel vulnerable. The more we focus on process over outcome (their courage to try over the result), and who they are over what they do (their courage, tenacity, curiosity over the outcome), the safer they will feel to try new things or hard things. We know they can do hard things, and the beauty and expansion comes first in the willingness to try. 
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#parenting #mindfulparenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparent
Never in the history of forever has there been such a  lavish opportunity for a year to be better than the last. Not to be grabby, but you know what I’d love this year? Less opportunities that come in the name of ‘resilience’. I’m ready for joy, or adventure, or connection, or gratitude, or courage - anything else but resilience really. Opportunities for resilience have a place, but 2020 has been relentless with its servings, and it’s time for an out breath. Here’s hoping 2021 will be a year that wraps its loving arms around us. I’m ready for that. x
The holidays are a wonderland of everything that can lead to hyped up, exhausted, cranky, excited, happy kids (and adults). Sometimes they’ll cycle through all of these within ten minutes. Sugar will constantly pry their little mouths wide open and jump inside, routines will laugh at you from a distance, there will be gatherings and parties, and everything will feel a little bit different to usual. And a bit like magic. 

Know that whatever happens, it’s all part of what the holidays are meant to look like. They aren’t meant to be pristine and orderly and exactly as planned. They were never meant to be that. Christmas is about people, your favourite ones, not tasks. If focusing on the people means some of the tasks fall down, let that be okay, because that’s what Christmas is. It’s about you and your people. It’s not about proving your parenting stamina, or that you’ve raised perfectly well-behaved humans, or that your family can polish up like the catalog ones any day of the week, or that you can create restaurant quality meals and decorate the table like you were born doing it. Christmas is messy and ridiculous and exhausting and there will be plenty of frayed edges. And plenty of magic. The magic will happen the way it always happens. Not with the decorations or the trimmings or the food or the polish, but by being with the ones you love, and the ones who love you right back.

When it all starts to feel too important, too necessary and too ‘un-let-go-able’, be guided by the bigger truth, which is that more than anything, you will all remember how you all felt – as in how happy they felt, how loved they felt were, how noticed they felt. They won’t care about the instagram-worthy meals on the table, the cleanliness of the floors, how many relatives they visited, or how impressed other grown-ups were with their clean faces and darling smiles. It’s easy to forget sometimes, that what matters most at Christmas isn’t the tasks, but the people – the ones who would give up pretty much anything just to have the day with you.
Some days are great days. We want to squeeze every delicious moment out of them and keep them forever somewhere safe and reachable where our loved days and precious things are kept. Then there are days that are truly awful - the days we want to fold in half, and then in half again and again and again until those days are too small to hurt us any more. But days are like that aren’t they. For better or worse they will come and they will go. Sometimes the effects of them will stay – the glow, the growth, the joy, the bruises – long after those days have gone. And despite what I know to be true - that these are the days that will make us braver, stronger, kinder and wiser, sometimes I don’t feel any of that for a while. I just see the stretch marks. But that’s the way life is, isn’t it. It can be hard and beautiful all in sequence and all at once.
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One of the tough things about being human is that to live wholeheartedly means to open ourselves to both - the parts that are plump with happiness, and the parts that hurt. We don’t have to choose which one can stay. They can exist together. Not always in equal measure, and not always enough of the beautiful to make the awful feel tolerable, or to give it permission to be, but they can exist together - love through loss, hope through heartache. The big memory-making times that fatten life to full enough, and the ones that come with breakage or loss. The loss matters and the joy matters. The existence of either doesn't make the other matter any less. 
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What I also know to be true is that eventually, the space taken up by loss or heartache changes space for enough of the beautiful to exist with it. This is when we can start to move with. Sadness still, perhaps, but with hope, with courage, with strength and softness, with openness to what comes next. Because living bravely and wholeheartedly doesn't mean getting over loss or denying the feelings that take our breath away sometimes. It means honouring both, and in time, moving with.♥️

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