What to Do When You Love an Addict

Loving an addict isn’t easy, however, you can learn what to do when you love an addict and learn ways to cope.

When you love someone, whether they are your child, spouse, friend, or other family member that suffers from a drug or alcohol addiction you can find yourself feeling as if you are an impossibly complicated and painful situation. However, if you are constant asking yourself what to do when you love an addict, there are many answers available to you. You can learn how to have a relationship with a drug addict as well as ways to better love a recovering addict. All you need to do is learn some of the ways to do just that and you will soon know how you can not only sustain your relationship with the person you love with an addiction but also to improve the relationship and ensure that you provide them with the support they need to recover from that addiction.

Make Sure You Get the Support You Need

Before you can learn what to do when you love an addict, you need to make sure that you are getting the support that you need. Remember, you are not the only person with a loved one suffering from an addiction. In fact, there are many spouses, children, and family members that are going through the same struggles that you are.

This means that you have a community of others that can become your support system if you know how to find one another. There are support group meetings like Al-Anon and Narc-Anon that are designed to provide a safe place for families of addicts. You will have a community, counselors, access to resources, and the like to help you improve your situation and better handle anything that your loved one with an addiction does or causes in your life.

Be Supportive of Your Loved One but Do Not Enable Them

There is a fine line to walk when it comes to knowing how to have a relationship with a drug addict. You need to learn how to walk that line so that you can be supportive of your loved one but also avoid being what is known as an enabler. Enablers are people in an addict’s life that either knowingly or unknowingly allow them to continue their substance abuse and addiction without help or treatment.

An enabler, for example, could be the person that financially supports the addict, covers for them when they are late or absent to work, or otherwise excuses or accepts their behavior. However, a person that is supportive is different. Supportive people in an addict’s life are those that encourage them to seek treatment, that are willing to take them to therapy, take care of their children when they go to rehab, or otherwise help them and support them in their recovery.

You need to try to find ways to be the supporter rather than the enabler. This may include doing things that your loved one does not fully appreciate at the time. For example, you may need to check the house for alcohol or drugs and remove any that you find or any paraphernalia. When they have gone through treatment, you may want to ask them to submit to random drug tests. Or you may simply need to engage in tough love practices like not giving them money when they ask for it or not putting up with their bad behaviors.

There is no single or simple answer to the question of what to do when you love an addict. Every person with an addiction is different and every family dynamic is different as well. If you find yourself a support system and learn how to be a supportive person yourself, you can better determine what to do when you love an addict and how to handle the situation. In the end, loving a recovering addict is possible.