Giving addict help to a person with an addiction can make you feel that love is not enough. The powerful hold that addiction has over a person with an addiction can make the most determined person give up and walk away from trying to give an addict help.
Many people who have terminated a relationship with an addict find that despite their best intentions, they still hold feelings of anger and resentment about the situation. While a person remains in the grip of addiction it can be hard for a partner or family member to find closure or relief from feeling that perhaps you could have tried harder or done better.
Taking responsibility upon yourself for an addict’s problems does not give addict help and it is a depressive way of thinking. If the lifestyle thrust upon you by a partner with addiction is bringing you down and impinging on your health – you need to remember that in such situations, you also have a responsibility to take care of and nurture yourself, particularly where young children are in need of your care.
Part of the frustration in dealing with an addict and trying to give addict help is the knowledge that underneath the bad behavior and disregard for others the addict is on a mission – in trying to fill the void in his life – he is really in search of love.
When people have missed out on an early nurturing environment which encourages self esteem, they are left with feelings of insecurity, doubt and emotional pain. Drug use provides a replacement for a stage in life when we need unconditional love and support and to feel powerful and in control.
Breaking the cycle of addiction is about giving up the illusion of power, and accepting the risk of loss, rejection and failure. Our ability to hold on and keep going in the face of discouraging problems is very much dependent on our feelings of self esteem. Just as it is hard for a child to accept that they can’t have everything that they want on demand, so it is for an addict to give up the instant gratification that they get from addiction to drugs.
Having to work towards goals, postponing satisfaction, hoping that things will turn out for the best and waiting for outcomes is difficult for an addict. Emotional insecurity leads to excessive anxiety or depression about uncertain outcomes – the tension is unbearable except with the help of drugs.
A person should never feel that it was their fault that a relationship with an addict has had to come to an end. An addict has to be willing to give up their position of power and control in the situation and be willing to negotiate and compromise before real relationship can begin. The hardest thing for an addict to do is to give up that feeling of power and risk emotional vulnerability.
Sometimes there is a window of opportunity when the addict feels they can trust another person enough to talk about and share their feelings of impotence and vulnerability. The best thing that you can do in such a situation is to offer no opinion but to let the addict speak. We can show our love for an addict by making time and space for these windows to open – and listening to the addict.