Loving an addict is complicated and exhausting. Loving an addict while you’re trying to cope with your own demons is almost unbearable. My son is addicted to drugs and has been since he was 12 years old. He’s twenty now. Came back out west to try and kick the habit and make a fresh start from his past in the East. But here’s the thing…..you can’t run away from the addiction or the problems, they just follow you wherever you go. In order to resolve them, there comes a time when you have to plant your feet in the sand, put your hands on your hips and say, “NO MORE!”.
I’ve reached that point with my illness and I’m ready to take back control of my life. I know that I have to be the one to do this and only me. I have to want recovery so bad for myself that it becomes my sole focus and I invest the energy, the time and love into healing myself.
I’m afraid my son isn’t there yet. He doesn’t seem ready to accept that he needs to WANT recovery for himself in order to succeed. He has not yet figured out that he has to put in the work and effort into himself in order to be the change he wants to see happen.
I’m scared of losing him because of him being unable or unwilling to choose recovery. But I also accept that we all have to hit our own personal “rock bottom” that becomes our catalyst of change. I can love him and I can support him emotionally, but I cannot make his choices for him.
When you love an addict, you always want to believe that this time, they aren’t lying to you about this or that. You want to believe that they aren’t selling stuff to get money for drugs. You want to believe that they aren’t running away from legal problems and potentially creating more for themselves. You see the small, broken child that is using to cover up some pain or trauma that they cannot cope with. You see them for the innocent that they were and you believe that if you just love them enough, they’ll get better.
And you don’t realize that you’re losing yourself in all of it. You’re so busy trying to enable the addict and make them happy, you forget about yourself and what you need. And when you already live with your own mental illness, you are vulnerable. So you relapse. And you resort to old coping mechanisms that are unhealthy for you, just to get by.
And then you find yourself caught up in the cycle yourself. Addict. Addiction. Dependency. And it all becomes a spiralling hole that everyone gets swept up in. Until someone puts their hands on their hips, feet in the sand and says, “NO MORE!”.