Loving a drug addict can be very difficult because there are so many emotions that you go through along the way. Unfortunately, many people often wonder if they are feeling normal emotions when it comes to their loved ones or if they are over or underreacting to the situation.
Most addicts don’t realize the emotional toll their addiction takes on their friends and family. They don’t understand how an addiction can change the people they love. The guide that follows walks you through a few common emotions people go through when they love someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Feelings of Betrayal
When someone is addicted to drugs, it will cause them to do things that they normally wouldn’t do. They feel such a stronghold on the drugs that they will do just about anything to get them. This can often lead to feelings of betrayal by friends and family because the addicts often end up stealing money, jewelry, electronics or other things of value at some point during their addiction.
Having someone you love steal from you can cause feelings of betrayal. It often lets you know that the person you once loved is no longer thinking clearly and has a serious issue they need to attack head-on. If a drug addict has stolen from you, annotate what they stole, when they stole it, and what the items are worth. This allows you to tell them later in recovery about what was stolen from you so that they can have an opportunity to make amends and make things right with you.
Feelings of Shame
An addict often hurts more than just their close friends and family during their addiction. Many addicts will steal from anyone they can. This can create a lot of shame in a family because those not addicted to drugs feel as though they have to make up for the damage that their family member causes. This can end up costing a family a lot of money and ruin relationships along the way. It’s common for families to feel so embarrassed and ashamed of the decisions that their addicted relative makes that they completely shut them out of family functions until they get help.
Feelings of Worry
Loving a drug addict often comes with a lot of worries. You will worry about their safety and wonder if they are alive and healthy or if they are in jail on drug law violations. Loving an addict means there will be many nights where you will get little to no sleep at all because of how much you worry about them. Many people who love addicts find that the best night’s sleep they get is when they know their loved one is in jail, because they know that they aren’t being beaten by other druggies or overdosing.
Feelings of Being Lost
Loving someone addicted to drugs can make you feel very lost. When your loved one won’t go to treatment, it can make you feel at a loss because you want them to live a happy, healthy life, but can’t force them to get the help that they need. This is the point when many families hold interventions for their loved ones to try to entice them to get professional help for their addiction. Inpatient and outpatient treatment options are available to allow addicts to get the exact care that they need.
Feelings of Being Overwhelmed
Addicts don’t realize that the responsibilities of life don’t stop while they are on a drug binge. Their bills still need to be paid, kids still need to be taken care of, and houses still need to be maintained. Loving an addict can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed because everything falls on your plate. You still must make sure that every obligation is taken care of no matter which family member is addicted to drugs and alcohol. This can be overwhelming and cause a lot of resentment to grow.
Feelings of Hopelessness
Having a loved one overdose or disappear again and again can make you feel hopeless. You want them to get help or to stay clean after they have gone to treatment, but you can’t make them. In order for a person to stay clean from drugs, they have to want to stay clean. Most of the drug addicts who go to treatment aren’t able to stay clean forever. Nearly 60% of all addicts who overcome addiction end up relapsing at one point or another. Having a strong family foundation can help them to stay clean in the long run.
Feelings of Elation
Many people who love addicts state that they have never felt the feeling of happiness that they feel when their loved one stops using drugs for good. The feeling of elation is immeasurable because the weight that loved ones carried around the entire time the addict was abusing substances will be lifted off of their shoulders. Many friends and family members will do anything to help the person stay clean if they are willing to ask for help.
If a loved one has recently overcome an addiction to drugs, be willing to go to support meetings with him or her so that they know you support them. Avoid using drugs or alcohol in front of them, regardless of how mild they may be because it could serve as a trigger and cause them to start using again.
It can be nearly impossible for someone to be able to overcome an addiction to drugs on their own. Knowing that they have the support of friends and family can make it easier for them to make the choice to get help for their addiction. Holding an intervention can be a great way to let your loved one know how important they are to the people close to them and help them find the motivation they need to overcome their addiction. It will be a life-long struggle for them, but having people support them will make the process easier.