Living With an Addict

in Life

Living with an addict or alcoholic is a life that no one would call fun. Why do we do it? Why do we stay to face a myriad of trials and suffering day after day? Those of us who are trapped in this life ask ourselves this very question and then continue on. Many leave, many don't. For those of us who deeply love our addicts there is a sense of abandoning the sick one, the one who wakes up day after day to continue to do the very thing that has ruined their life.

Being yoked to an alcoholic or addict, our lives become a living hell. We have to hide car keys, debit cards and money. We suffer financial disaster at the hands of the addict. We yell, we scream, we pour out alcohol, smash crack pipes, look for hidden bottles and threaten to leave. It's futile. Depression sets in as we realize we cannot control the them, we can't stop them from using and have spent countless days or years trying.

We eventually seek help due to our own demise and quickly learn that we are as sick as the addict. We enable and then are angry at the addict for using. We try to control and then are angry because we can't. We dance a dysfunctional dance and go around in circles. Finally we exhaust ourselves and end up in an Alanon meeting, thinking we will learn how to stop the addict from using. But what we learn is that we need to stop our own unhealthy behaviors and work on our own recovery.

After accepting that fact that we are sick, the shares of others in recovery begins to give us a glimmer of hope. We learn that we can be happy again even if the addict never stops using. We have choices and can draw boundaries. We can leave or choose to stay. We learn that the best way to help the addict is to help ourselves. We find others who are experiencing the same trials, the same pain, and we help each other. Recovery is hard and it takes work. There can be backsliding into old, unhealthy ways but with a strong support system it will not be long lasting.

This is not a life I would wish for anyone and I would not choose it on my own. It has chosen me. I remember the old days when sobriety was the norm for my family and we were happy. I am a die hard optimist and woman of faith. For me to give up hope that my addicts will one day be sober feels like giving them a death sentence and abandoning my faith in all that I know God is able to do.

Why do I stay? I guess I am not ready to stop loving the unlovable just yet. Knowing they are sick with a disease helps me to keep things in perspective but life is still hard. I feel strangely responsible, having raised an addict even though there were no drugs or alcohol in the home. Addiction runs deep in the veins of my family and I , myself, am a recovering addict. I thought raising my kids in a sober home would be enough but somehow addiction found its way through the generations and struck my family, again.

It feels like a curse but I count as many blessings as I can. God found me and stood me on my feet when I couldn't help myself. For now, I will find my hope in God and my Alanon friends and pray that my addicts will one day reach their bottom and be ready to look up and cry out for help. One day at a time here.

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Deborah Cissna has 1 articles online

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Living With an Addict

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This article was published on 2010/03/29