While most addicts come off as selfish…
Leaving people questioning:
How could you do this to your family?
Don’t you care that you are hurting those around you?
The real problem is that they are so blindsided by their drug of choice that they do not even notice that their addiction is hurting those around them. In their mind, they think they are only hurting themselves. However, this mentality only makes things worse…
Because the truth is – the addict is hurting everyone they come in contact with. It could be as simple as upsetting their parents because they are watching them be so sickly to something more major like physically abusing their spouse or children. Whatever the case may be, addiction is not a victimless crime.
But, oftentimes, people are so focused on the recovery of the addiction they forget to focus on the friends and family hurt by the addiction. As the loved ones of an addict, not only are you effected but you still remain their support system and you need to be prepared for how to deal with their addiction.
A few tips to ensure your mental and physical health stay in check during the process include:
- Discover how to love an addicted person and still stay healthy. Seems almost contradictive, doesn’t it? Addiction can be toxic – even for those not suffering directly from it. Learn how to distance yourself when needed, learn how to avoid stressful situations that might put you in an uncomfortable or risky position.
- Stop blaming yourself. Even if you feel as though you might have caused the addiction, ultimately it is their decision. They made the choice to pick up that bottle or that dirty needle – you did not place it in their hand.Take a step back and examine your part in this. You are there to help them, but you did not do the damage so you should not feel guilty.
- Understand the difference between “self-care” and “selfish.” This is seen in addicts and in caretakers, you can easily forget about yourself and feel guilty if taking time for yourself – feeling like you are selfish. However, that is just a misconception that creeps in. Taking time for self-care is not selfish – you need time to rest, rejuvenate, and focus on you.Addiction can be contagious, especially if you are putting yourself in extremely harsh physical and mental situations. You are not helping them any more if you are not first helping yourself.