Lorelie Rozzano is a guest blogger for Vertava Health.
Valentine’s Day And A Broken Heart.
Today is Valentine’s Day. Most will celebrate their love for one another by sending flowers or giving heart shaped chocolates and cards. It’s an extra special day for lovers all over North America. This day brings images of happy smiling couples, strolling off into the sunset together, hand in hand. But what happens when your valentine isn’t smiling? Or even worse yet, when they’re unavailable to you because they’re stoned or drunk? For some, it can feel like your sweetheart – loves getting high, more than he or she loves you. It’s not very romantic coming in second to a glass of alcohol or a syringe. Happy couples and substance use don’t go together in the same sentence. Happy is not what one feels when in a relationship with an addicted person. Tormented, despairing, miserable, fearful and stressed-out, are more accurate descriptions. Listening to your friends talking about their romantic night plans or the beautiful flowers they received, you might want to disappear. You hope no one asks you what you got for Valentine’s Day, because honestly, what can you tell them? My first love liked to party. In the beginning, it was fun. But he was not a happy person when he was high. I thought if I loved him enough, I could fix him. The harder I tried, the sicker I got. There were no romantic dinners. No long talks, or hand-holding strolls on the beach. Hearts and roses were not in the picture. Instead, we fought and called each other names. It usually ended with him holding his bag of dope and me in the next room crying. If you’ve ever loved an addicted person you will cry a lot. Usually in the privacy of your own home. You might present a smiley face to the world outside, but on the inside, you’re hurting. Back then I kept my thoughts and feelings to myself. I didn’t want people to know what I was going through or that I felt ashamed. Had I opened up when I was asked: what did you get for Valentine’s Day? I might have said this; I got a heart, only it was broken and still beating in my chest.
There’s nothing lonelier than being in a one-sided relationship.
You’re tired of coming in second to your lover’s drug of choice. Your partner doesn’t scrimp when it comes to getting his/her DOC but when it comes to getting anything for you, they’re always broke. They say they love you, you want to believe it… but actions speak louder than words and you can’t deny the facts. Your loved one is addicted and they are incapable of meeting your needs. Not because they’re bad, or they don’t care, but because they’re sick. Their illness is selfish and manipulative. They can’t emphasize with your needs because they are too busy thinking of their own. You won’t know this. They won’t tell you. They don’t know it either. Addicted persons are not self-aware. The reasoning part of their brain has been hijacked by addiction. They do not think rationally. They function impulsively, governed by an impaired thought process. You will try to get him/her to pay attention to you. Then you will try again. You will give chance after chance. Eventually, you will be faced with a choice. Stay or go. To stay with an addicted person, you give up self-respect and integrity. You can’t love them well. Instead, you lower your moral standards to stay in the relationship. If you stay long enough, you risk becoming equally as sick. Your thinking also grows dishonest and you might find yourself making excuses for why you stay. For many, Valentine’s Day is just another painful reminder of what’s missing. It’s a day to grieve the loss of what could have been. Addiction is a thief. It robs you of love, possibilities, laughter, intimacy, trust, respect, honesty and life.
If you find yourself alone today, reach out. Get support. It can be painful admitting to your friends and family that you need help.
Tell the truth. Don’t sugar coat your experience or make excuses for them. Facts must be faced for change to prevail. There’s no shame in loving an addicted person. You didn’t cause their illness, you can’t cure it, nor can you control it. But you can decide how long you will participate in it. Be your own sweetheart. It’s easy to blame your pain on your addicted loved, but recovery insists we ask ourselves tough questions. If you continue to stay in an unhealthy relationship and you’re miserable, it’s time to make changes. Understand when someone breaks your heart – three, four, five times and more – the blame shifts away from them, to you. Learn to set healthy boundaries. The man I married gave me an ultimatum. I could have him, or I could have my addiction. I couldn’t have both. If you’re not willing to treat yourself with love and respect, don’t expect anyone else too. Involve professionals. Addicted persons have the best chance of succeeding in recovery, when their families are healthy and in recovery, too. Loving an addicted person is like living with a broken heart. Although our stories are different, our pain is not. When you find people who understand, keep them close. If you have questions or you’re looking for support, Vertava Health can help. If you or someone you know needs help, please call this confidential support line for assistance. 888-601-8693.