Whether we like to admit it or not, many of us know and love an addict. The rise in addiction rates has skyrocketed in the last few decades, and overdose rates are at an all-time high, far surpassing the death toll of killers such as car accidents and gun-related deaths. So the time to get honest with ourselves about what is going on is now. For those of us who love an addict and don’t know what else we can do to help, there may be only one thing left to do, create distance yourself from an addict with love.
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Distance Yourself from an Addict Child
For people with an addict child, spouse, family member or friend, the idea of creating space between you and that person can seem crazy. It is ingrained into our nature as humans to want to help our loved ones in any way we can. However, after we have given all of our money, all of our sanity, all our heartfelt pleas, having done everything in our power to get them to stop, we have to come to the realization that there is nothing we can do for them until they ARE READY.
One of the hardest aspects of learning to cope with loving an addict is that there is nothing that can be done for them until they are entirely ready and willing to get clean. Until that time comes, we have to distance ourselves. As an addict child and someone who loves an addict, I think I have a pretty good view on the subject. I can honestly say that before I was ready to admit I had a problem with drugs and alcohol, there was nothing that my parents could do.
My mom tried her best, but ultimately, it was just her desperate attempt to ensure that I wouldn’t get any worse than I already was. For example, she knew the whole time what I was doing, but when I asked her for money, she would try her best to say no, but after I manipulated and sobbed and threatened her, she would eventually give in. Years later, she told me she always caved in on giving me money because at least that way she knew I wouldn’t have to steal it from someone else. So yes, my mother enabled me, but in the end, she did it out of love. How was she supposed to know that she was just halting my “bottom” and slowing the admitting process? But bless her heart she tried to save me. It wasn’t until she finally stopped talking to me entirely, that only a few short weeks later, I was calling her for a ride to Detox.
You know when they say if you love something, let it go? While yes, this is in regards to romance usually, but it applies to this situation as well. The more we love someone, the harder it may be to distance ourselves from their addict behavior, but have no doubt, if we want the best for them, it is absolutely necessary.
So how can it be done? For starters, regardless if your loved one has admitted defeat yet or not, it is never too late for you to try out an Al-anon meeting. This fellowship is a sister of Alcoholics Anonymous, and is for family members, friends, and loved ones of addicts and alcoholics. It follows a 12 step program, where members get a sponsor, work through their steps, and learn how to cope with and maintain healthy relationships with their loved ones, even if it means staying miles away. I personally know countless of sober addicts and alcoholics who have loved ones in Al-anon, and they joke that it was the worst thing their loved one ever did, because now the alcoholic/addict can’t get over on them anymore.
Another way to distance yourself from an addict is, depending on your situation, you can block their number, change the locks on the house, etc etc. This is going to be tough but a clean break has better chances of healing properly. Here’s the deal, the more an addict knows they can manipulate someone, the more they will do it.
Distance Yourself from an Addict – Creating Healthy Boundaries
Creating healthy boundaries for yourself is top priority here. It may seem mean or heartless at the time, but trust me, take it from an addict, it is the best possible thing that can be done to us. Having no lifelines left usually means a quicker “rock bottom” for many of us, which usually means, a quicker recovery. Healthy boundaries can vary on the situation, but for starters, learn how to say no, and walk away. Remove yourself from the situation. Try your best to not be in the same room when you’re being manipulated. It is the easiest way to unintentionally enable your loved one. Step away, and keep your wits about you.
It seems hard and cold and heartless, I know. But if you care about and love your addict, this is the only thing that can be done for them. It is only once we have burned all of our bridges do we become willing to find a way back to shore. And if not, if we aren’t ready yet. Then there is no human power that can stop us until we are truly and finally ready.
So if you are in the fight between your addicted loved one and their drug or drink of choice, I will pray for you to keep your backbone strong, and the wellbeing of your loved one. Just know, that when they finally do come to their bottom, they will contain the gift of desperation, and they will choose to recover. Everything that follows this admittance of defeat will be a beautiful and fulfilling life. But again, you have to distance yourself from an addict you love.
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Freedom From Addiction
If you have found yourself suffering from alcoholism or addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then FindAddictionRehabs.com can help. We give you the jump start to recovery you need. Our program is unique in that it doesn’t just treat the addiction, it treats the whole person. For more information on our program, call 1-877-959-7271 today.