Truths for those Living with an Addict

Living with someone who is battling an addiction is often very painful and challenging. But if you have made the decision to stay, then here are some hard truths that you will need to face:

1. He or she cannot be trusted to tell the truth. They deny the reality of their struggles and their slips. They hide them from themselves, they hide them from you, and often they will hide them from their counsellor, as well.

2. Don’t expect them to be either responsible or reliable. Their focus isn’t really on sobriety, regardless of their claims, and the things they say to you. This means they will be driven by the need to satisfy their desire for their drug, or their behaviour of choice. At times this means doing things they’ll later regret, and breaking their commitments and promises to you.

3. You can’t control them or make them change. Only they can make the difficult decision to be free.  It isn’t your battle, and you can’t make them change. Threats and ultimatums aren’t powerful enough.

4. You will be frustrated again and again. Even if your partner is committed to change, it’s a long, and winding road, and they’re going to slip and fall. Their brain has been rewired – and it’s hard to change it back. For many, it’s a battle they’ll be fighting all their life. I wish this wasn’t true – but, too often, it’s a fact.

5. It is not a battle they can fight and win alone. Once addiction’s got a grip, all the will power in the world will never be sufficient to free them from it’s hold. They’re going to need the long-term commitment and support of: an addiction’s counsellor; (in most cases) an accountability partner; plus, information on what causes an addiction, the effects of an addiction and steps that can held to set them free over time.

Something to consider

Taking care of yourself is the most important aspect of living with a person who is struggling with addiction.

In summary this will include: setting and enforcing healthy boundaries; resisting any instinct to enable the addict; leaving them to deal with the consequences of their actions; being honest about the impact he or she is having on your life (including your mental and emotional life); spending time with family and friends who build you up; making sure you make time for doing things that you enjoy; and making time for relaxation and exercise.

All of the above are non-negotiables. They are not self-indulgences or luxuries.     

Recovery is a battle. A daily battle. But the battle will get easier.


16 thoughts on “Truths for those Living with an Addict

  1. Thank you for ALL of this! Excellent truths and reminders that I needed today—especially the part about “self-care.” As a wife of nearly 39 years, a mom of 3 adult children, and now 5 (and almost 6) grand babies, self-care isn’t something I made a priority. Ever! I know I NEED it! I am finally seeking to make it a priority—but it’s hard. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for this very helpful post! I am in this situation, as you know, and you are right on, absolutely true. And God is helping me maneuver and strengthen boundaries and taking care of myself and the kids. God is faithful and good and is helping a lot. Thank you for sharing this vital post!❤️❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am so glad you are providing support to people in these heartbreaking situations. I have a friend that was living in one like this for over a decade, and I didn’t know how to help her. This is such an important resource.


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