When someone has a significant other who has an addiction it can be confusing
Most people are in denial and that is the easiest path to take. They love the person with the addiction problem and want to think it is something that will go away. Often they read articles about the signs of what makes someone a true addict, but when they see that all the pieces of the puzzle fit, it is frightening. It takes courage to realize there is a real problem and even more courage to do something about it.
1. Find support
The place for most people to start is by joining a support group where it is possible to meet others who are going through the same thing. The support groups are free and very welcoming. No questions are asked and it is possible to just listen without ever saying a word. It is a safe place to help understand what the true meaning of addiction is and how it can affect others.
2. Create healthy boundaries
The second thing to do is to have good boundaries. Do not agree to go out drinking with someone who will end up drunk. Be honest and explain that it is not healthy to continue aiding someone who has a problem.
3. Don’t be manipulated
Thirdly, it is important to have thick skin. Sometimes the addiction can cause people to be abusive, hurtful and say and do things they don’t mean. Many times the person struggling with addiction will use these tactics to manipulate those who care about them to continuing enabling them. It is important not to give into these manipulations if you truly want to help your significant other. Remember, it is not the person talking, but the addiction. Many addictions are a type of illness. Understanding what addiction really is will help aid the person who is having the problem.
4. Offer Help
Fourth, it is important to offer help to the person with the addiction. Explain to them that they are loved, but they need help. They have to take the step and get the help because no one can do it for them. Be there to support them and offer resources for them to utilize, but let them own the problem and get the help. Do not continue to take responsibility for their actions.
5. Always make sure that you are taking care of yourself
Living with someone with an addiction can be very difficult. If it means leaving and separating yourself for a while, take the step. It might be the very thing that makes someone realize they have a problem and need help. This help should be professional. Never believe that assistance is not out there because it is. It is easy to stay in an unhealthy relationship and continue suffering, but there is not reason to. It can be frightening to take that first step, but in the end it is worth it for everyone involved.
Never hide the problem under the carpet. It is time to face it and start on the road to recovery. No one should live life suffering by enabling someone to continue in an addictive life style. Remember, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Take that first step and in the end, everyone will start on their own path to recovery.