Anyone who’s ever loved or lived with an addict knows how tough it can be. The addiction may be destroying your relationship, your family, and your well being. It’s hard to know when to let go, or even just acknowledging the fact that the relationship has become unhealthy and destructive. You may feel responsible for the loved one and feel that they can’t survive without you. There is a fear that leaving will cause them to fall deeper into their addiction or worse yet, that they won’t survive it at all. But at the same time, you feel exhausted and consumed by the relationship and find that your own life has begun to spiral out of control.
If you have begun experiencing these feelings, ask yourself a few questions to help determine if leaving the relationship is the right decision. Some of these questions include:
-Are you scared that the person will become homeless, suicidal, or will end up dying if you leave them?
-Are you scared that they’ll recover from their addiction if you leave, and then start a relationship with someone else?
-Are you scared of being alone?
-Are you afraid you’ll never love anyone else the same way you love the addict?
-Are scared to tell friends and family how bad things have become?
If you find yourself answering “yes” to one or more of these questions, then the relationship has become unhealthy. Fear is a big concern here, and it has possibly taken over the relationship more than anything. Leaving the person is hard because there are so many fears attached to doing it.
It’s important to know that the feelings of fear, guilt, and powerlessness about the relationship are normal, and that most people in relationships with addicts experience the same emotions. It’s also a good idea to begin to take a deeper look at the source of your fears, especially when it’s connected to leaving the person. For example, if you’re afraid the addict’s life will fall apart without you, then you are taking too much responsibility for that person. You can’t be in full control of someone else’s life, even if they have a disease like addiction. If that person is abusing or mistreating you in some way, then you most certainly shouldn’t be holding yourself responsible for their choices.
Take a good look at the role you play in the relationship. Imagine seeing yourself through the eyes of an outsider. What is it really that’s keeping you from leaving, and has the situation become toxic?
It is possible to let go of the fear that seems so strong and overwhelming. Being in a relationship with an addict is usually filled with ups and downs, and it’s difficult to look past the drama. You may simply feel exhausted, depressed, and fearful because of the negativity that comes from living with addiction. Remember that life and relationships don’t have to be that way, and you have more choice in the matter than you think.
Getting Help and Moving Forward.
One of the good things that can arise out of a relationship with an addict is that it can force you to look deeper into your own issues. Instead of hiding behind the addiction of a partner, you can begin to uncover your own insecurities and begin to move past them. It’s important to begin taking responsibility for yourself and learn how to deal with issues in a healthy way. There are support groups that can help as well. Reaching out to others is a great way to make changes happen and begin a healthier life.