Having a loved one struggle with addiction can be extremely painful. It is a helpless feeling, watching someone that you care about lose control of their life because of their addiction. It is easy to get caught up in trying to help them or fix them or save them. One thing that the loved ones of addicts often forget, though, is to care for themselves. It is important that you do not get so caught up in the addict’s life and problems that you neglect yourself. You have to take care of yourself, first and foremost.
When you love an addict, you might feel like no one else understands how you feel and what you are going through. How could anyone possibly understand the pain that you feel as you watch your loved one slowly deteriorate? If there is anyone out there who understands, though, it is another person who loves an addict. Author Sharron K. Cosby wrote of her experience in having a drug addicted son in her book Praying for Your Addicted Loved One: 90 in 90. The book is a devotional with 90 days worth of motivational scripture and support. Not everyone will be able to relate to the heavily religious theme of this book, but by embracing the message of your own higher power, the information in Praying for Your Addicted Love One will be soothing for your soul and can help you cope with having your own addicted loved one.
Loving an addict is not all about coping, but it also allows you the opportunity to heal and truly learn to love and appreciate yourself. It takes a very strong person to be able to love an addict and still continue to thrive yourself. Therapist Candace Plattor’s book Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Top 10 Survival Tips for Loving Someone with an Addiction focuses on your own recovery from a mental health standpoint. Rather than putting the emphasis on religion by utilizing Bible scripture in your healing, as was done in Cosby’s book, Plattor offers helpful information based on her therapy practice that can shift the focus from your loved one’s addiction to your own well-being and recovery.
When you love someone who has an addiction, you need to make yourself a priority and do everything in your power to be well. As heartbreaking as it is to admit, there really is nothing that you can do to save your addicted loved one. He must make the decision to choose sobriety for himself, and if they do not make that choice, you must still live your life. You have to take care of yourself, and that is the only thing that you can control.
Just like an addict who is in recovery, you must take the time and do the work for your own recovery. Do not be a slave to your loved one’s addiction. Reading Sharron K. Cosby’s Praying for Your Addicted Loved One: 90 in 90 and Candace Plattor’s Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Top 10 Survival Tips for Loving Someone with an Addiction can give you a lot of useful tips to assist in your own healing. Perhaps if you can keep yourself healthy, your loved one will follow suit.