When you love someone who struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, life can do a complete 180.
Your relationship becomes more complicated than ever. You come to know your loved one with two different sides: one sober – and one under the influence. You never know which one will be waiting for you when you come home, or how long they’ll stay that way.
When you love someone with an addiction, you come down hard on yourself.
What did you do to cause this? What could you have done to prevent it? Why didn’t you see this coming? Were you a bad parent, spouse, sibling or friend?
When you love someone in active addiction, you feel the fallout – every single day.
The manipulation, the shame, the fear and the destruction are almost unbearable. You feel the need to protect them, to give them money – even when you know it’s only going to more drugs. You lie awake at night, waiting for the sun to rise – desperately hoping to make it through the night without the phone call.
When you love someone whose whole life seems to center around pills, or alcohol, or heroin, broken promises are a dime a dozen.
You’ve heard all of the vows – and at the same time, have been let down time and time again. Anniversaries, birthdays, special occasions have all been blown off. Trust is a long lost memory.
When you love someone addicted to substances, it’s difficult not to become jealous.
Looking at other people’s lives and relationships from the outside, it’s easy to wish life hadn’t thrown this addiction into your family. Seeing happy families, watching dads celebrate Father’s Day, looking at pictures of the latest vacations of other husbands and wives. It’s not that you aren’t happy for them, but you feel pangs of sorrow that your life and relationships aren’t there right now. But if anyone asks – you’re good at putting on a smile.
When you love someone addicted to drugs or alcohol, every day brings chaos.
You’re on the constant watch for arguments. You’ve become an expert at noticing when money goes missing. You watch the clock to see if he’s a few minutes late coming home. You know all the signs that she’s been using again. You’ve held your breath as you’ve picked up the phone, hearing that he’s been arrested again – or is in the hospital. There is no rest and there is no peace.
When you love someone who is addicted, the person you love disappears.
The person you know and love is still there – but that’s not who you’re dealing with. You still love her, but you don’t like what she’s saying or doing. You wish you didn’t love him so much – because then you could just wipe your hands clean and move on. But you can’t let go.
When you love someone with an addiction, you walk a long, exhausting road.
You wonder how, if and when things will ever get better. Until then, watching their path of destruction unfold, you are heartbroken. You may feel like you have nothing left to give.
When you love an addicted person, you realize addiction isn’t a moral failure or a disease of character, personality or circumstance.
You understand that addiction can happen to anyone.
When you love someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol – There is HOPE.
Your loved one may have given you every reason under the sun to walk away and give up hope. He may be serving time behind bars; she may be isolating herself from friends or family. He might be in denial. Maybe she doesn’t seem to care.
No matter where your loved one is at in his or her addiction – it is never too late for him or her to get help – and to have a chance at sobriety, and a chance at life. No one is too far gone.
It doesn’t matter how old your loved one is. It doesn’t matter how long he or she has been using drugs or drinking. It doesn’t matter how much time feels lost. As long as there is breath, there is life and there is hope.