To the person who is desperately worried about how well the person you love is doing all the time, you forget to check in with yourself. To all of us, who are smiling behind a deep dark secret about someone you love. You can go from being deeply sad about the reality of the person you love who is struggling with addictions to angry in a few seconds. Some days you feel invincible, and things are so so good, and you feel “normal,” and other days are the scariest saddest day you have ever had. This is to those who check their phone or social media one too many times to make sure that the person you love is alive today. Life would not be the same if they weren’t around, but at the same time, life would be way less stressful and easier, you might not hurt so much.
Even though you may bury your head into your pillow and cry so no one can hear. Even though you feel like no one could possibly understand what you are going through. Even though you are trying to be strong for your family. Even though you feel like you can’t share with anyone that a loved one is a substance abuser. You are not alone.
Addiction doesn’t just affect the person that has it, but it greatly affects the people who love them. It hurts us to the core to see our loved ones hurting themselves. It is painful for us to see our loved ones “choose” an addiction over their family or friends. It is hard to witness that person continue to make bad decisions and have it be entirely out of our control.
Please know that you are stronger than you will ever know. That it is okay to feel your feelings. It is okay to not be okay, and it is okay to be okay. Your feelings are justified and valid. You are not crazy for having trust issues or jumping to the worst-case scenario in your head. It is okay to set boundaries and follow through on them even though it might break your heart. I know it is hard to continually live on this emotional roller coaster of coping with when someone you love has an addiction.
Seek help and support from friends, family, and professionals. This is something you don’t need to take on alone. Healing starts with accepting the reality of what is happening. It is accepting the hurt and pain to be able to let healing take place. It is taking every day, one day a time, and one foot in front of the other.
Please keep in mind that this person who is struggling needs real help. Even though it feels easy for you to see the right choices, to this person, it isn’t. Addiction is a disease. However, it is their choice to want to get better and recover.
Whatever choices you make about how you want to support this person through their addictions is yours and yours alone. It is not your addict loved one’s manipulative compulsiveness, or your friend’s advice, or your parent’s anger, it is yours. If you want to give grace to them and love them through this challenging time, that is okay. If you’re going to walk away and not continue to have this person in your life, that is okay. It is ultimately your decision to make.
Loving an addict is one of the hardest things to navigate. You are courageous, strong, and so loving, don’t forget it.