Relationship With an Addict – How to Help Them Get Sober

Being in a relationship with an addict

If you are in a relationship with an addict and you love that person then you’re probably suffering from their addiction. It’s not easy to love someone and simultaneously watching them kill themselves, the worse part of it all is that you feel utterly powerless to prevent their self-destruction. You feel there’s a massive barrier of understanding between the two of you where you’re lost as to why they’re engaging in this behavior in the first place. This will cause you to feel betrayed and emotionally disturbed as you panic to find a way to solve their problem so you don’t have to feel this way anymore.

I have been on both sides of the spectrum, I have both been the addict in a relationship and on the reverse have been sober while in love with someone active in their addiction. I know the best course of action to take if you are living with an alcoholic or addict, or in love with someone in their disease. I’m going to give you the steps to help them get sober.

  1. End the relationship before it’s too late – This may not be what you were expecting, but this is a crucial first step to your recovery. That’s right, I said “your” recovery and not “theirs”. The focus of this article isn’t their addiction, it’s how their addiction has effected you. You will never solve their problem, an addict has to decide to get sober once they’ve lost enough. However, their relationship with you can be another thing that they lose which may contribute to their decision to get sober down the line. By staying in the relationship you’re indirectly enabling their behavior. Not only that, you’re building up resentments towards that person and there’s a chance you will “snap” and the relationship will end with no chance of reconciliation. The sooner the relationship is ended, the less resentments you’ll build towards that person, and the more hope you have to salvage the relationship down the line.
  2. Focus on your recovery – Ending the relationship with an addict will without a doubt be very painful, now it’s time for you to focus on recovery from that grief. In a way, you were grieving in the relationship by watching them kill themselves but by ending the relationship you’re choosing to no longer senselessly prolong your suffering. Since you ended the relationship you will be hit with a wave of grief, but it won’t be prolonged – you will recover. Along with grieving the relationship, you will also to some extent have built up resentments towards that person which you will need to recover from. A lot of resentments come from taking the person’s addiction personally when you shouldn’t have. Understand this, addicts use – that’s what they do. Being resentful towards an addict for using drugs is like getting mad at a bird for taking a crap on your car – that’s what birds do. You can; However, choose to not park your car underneath that tree.
  3. Reconciliation – If the addict/alcoholic gets sober down the road, then your last step would be to reconcile with that person if you choose to. I’m frequently asked “how do I know if they’re sober?” And if you’re asking that question, then they probably aren’t. An addict/alcoholic going from their disease to sobriety is extremely noticeable, they will have more radiance to their personality and appearance, they will be more kind and patient, and you will see them taking action to stay sober.  If they stay sober, then there’s no reason to not stay in the relationship, but if they relapse then repeat steps 1-3 as soon as possible.

I know that the solution in this article probably wasn’t what you were looking for, I imagine most people that don’t understand the true nature of addiction would hope to find a way to get them sober while staying in the relationship. Having been an addict, in love with an addict, and in the recovery landscape for a long period of time I can tell you this – you will never get them sober.

What you can do is make a choice to recover from how their addiction is effecting you. By doing so, your inadvertently contributing to their likelihood to obtain sobriety, recovering from the pain that their behavior has caused you, and giving more hope to a healthy relationship with that person down the road. If you choose to stay in the relationship with an active addict/alcoholic then you’re enabling their addictive behavior, sabotaging their chance at sobriety, and building up resentments towards that person which sabotages any chances of a healthy relationship down the road.

I hope my extensive experience on this subject reaches your heart so you acknowledge what’s the best choice for yourself – even though it’s the hardest choice to make! Even if you decide it’s too hard to leave the relationship so you stay with the addict, I hope this plants a seed in your mind that there is a better path.

Feel free to reach out to me for support or any further questions and/or support:

Philip – 2147349667

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