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Being a loved one of an addict is no easy task. You love your addict, and want them to get better, yet it never seems important enough for them to actually stop their addiction. So you are stuck constantly questioning yourself, your addict, and both of your actions.
The most common question I find myself asking is simply “why?”
Questions to the Addict
Questions to the addict include “Why won’t you just stop?” “Why did you use again?” “Why don’t you understand how your actions cause others so much pain?” “Why don’t you care about the consequences of your addiction?” “Why can’t you keep a steady job?” “Why put us through this again?” “Why do you not love me enough to stop?” “Why put yourself through this again?”
Yet we all know the answers. They are always the same. “I tried.” “I don’t know.” “I didn’t mean to.” “I do love you.” The fact of the matter is, addiction is the devil; Satan on Earth. It gets into your mind and takes over, making everything else irrelevant. From my personal experience, addiction starts as just a desire to get out of one’s own mind. Maybe the person has depression or some other underlying condition, and they just want to feel numb for a bit. Or, they were prescribed some pain pills and their tolerance has gone up, so they look for something stronger. No matter how it initially starts, once the body becomes addicted to the substance, it becomes ‘necessary for survival.’ And by the time it has become obvious that there is a problem, Satan himself has already taken grip, and it’s too late to turn back.
Questions to Yourself
Then there are the questions you ask yourself. “Why am I still trying to help you?” “Why can’t I just walk away?” “Why do I put up with this?”
These questions are harder to answer. In a way, loved ones of addicts have a sickness of their own. It’s not necessarily a need to feed on the drama that comes with addiction, but I’m sure that could play in role in some lives. The desire to help the addict recover, the want for him or her to have a normal life, the feeling of responsibility as a loved one – those are the answers I can come up with. You love this person. They’re your family or friend and all you want is for them to see how much better things would be if they would just put the needle/bottle/pipe down. And if you walk away, it means you are giving up on that person, which is unbearable to consider.
So how do you handle the “whys”?
I struggle with this on a daily basis. When it comes to addiction, it is futile to ask “why.” There is no logical or good enough explanation to satisfy me, and it does nothing to help me OR the addict. It takes time and effort, and sometimes I still obsess on the unanswered questions. But I try extremely hard to not even ask “why” anymore. As a loved one of an addict, the most important thing for me to focus on is myself.
If you are a loved one of an addict, struggling to understand, I highly suggest attending Al-Anon meetings. No, not the meetings for the alcoholics. Al-Anon is for loved ones of addicts. Family, friends, partners, spouses, etc. In this meetings, you work the 12 step program, just like alcoholics do in AA and drug addicts do in NA. Except this program is geared towards YOU and YOUR RECOVERY. It helps YOU keep focus on yourself, and not be so co-dependent on the addict.
Not ready to go to a meeting just yet? Check out the books above, they help explain the process. You actually use these books in the Al-Anon meetings, so if you get one, you will be one step ahead of the other newbies.
What are your thoughts on the “whys” of addiction? Are there any other questions that you simply cannot answer, and are driving you insane? Leave them in the comments, I would love to hear your input.