Loving an addict is both exciting and heartbreaking. Being with them is like having relationship with two different people. When they have their drug of choice, they are content and happy, but when they are busy chasing it, you’d better get out of the way.
They will tell you they love you while they are stealing from you, and they will lie right in your face with such conviction, you find yourself wanting believe them. As the lies start to stack up, you may find yourself asking why they choose the drug over you. As an addict in recovery, I can tell you that they really can’t choose drugs over you, because they have no choice. They must have the drug just to feel normal and keep from getting sick.
How Addiction Works
Addiction is a disease that, over time, causes changes in the brain. Chemicals known as neurotransmitters are changed, and the pleasure center in the brain is affected. It also changes the way you learn and make decisions. Hence the urge to use drugs is both physical and psychological. If you try to stop on your own, the withdrawal symptoms are miserable, and in some cases, even fatal, especially if you stop abruptly. When I tried to get clean on my own, I experienced shaking, sweating, panic attacks, and the inability to sit or lay still. I was not successful trying to quit on my own. If I could simply wake up one day and choose to quit, I wouldn’t be an addict. Experiencing life high on chemicals became my normal state of mind. If I had to go without my drug of choice, or any drug if I got desperate enough, it made me feel as though something was terribly wrong; I couldn’t relax or content myself until I had more of the drug. In short, my relationship with drugs became the most important one in my life. Everything else was secondary, such as:
- Personal Hygiene
The sad truth is there is nothing you can do to beat your loved one’s addiction. It is something they must want to do for themselves. There are, however, things you can do that may nudge them in the right direction. Start by taking care of yourself. There is a lot you can do for your own physical and psychological needs that may gradually change the dynamics of your relationship with the addict in your life. If you begin to follow through with ultimatums and learn to stop enabling your loved one’s addictive behavior, they may be willing to take the necessary steps to get help. You can learn how to do this by attending 12-step meetings of your own, such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. Seek therapy and do the things you love. Remember, you cannot help your loved one without being healthy yourself. You can also hold an intervention. When I learned that my family was no longer going to give me money, invite me over for a meal, or give me a place to stay as long as I was using, I realized I couldn’t maintain that lifestyle anymore and made the decision to go into treatment. Remember, if it feels like the addict is choosing drugs over you, it’s not personal. Give yourself as much support and love that you give the addict. Protect yourself by setting boundaries and know that his or her rejection of you is result of addiction, not the absence of love. If you or a loved one may need help for drug addiction or alcoholism, please contact us at Oceanfront Recovery today to discuss detox and treatment options. One of our experienced intake advisors will speak with you at 877-279-1777 today.