“Loving an addict is a very lonely place to be. You continue to care about them while they prove more and more how little they care for you and how much more their addiction truly means to them. Eventually, you have to save yourself and walk away leaving them to deal with their own poison alone.”
“There’s no greater pain than watching someone you love…love their drugs more than they love you.”
So, I recently searched “Loving an Addict” on the internet and above are the first two quotes that came up. Addiction comes in many forms, from methamphetamines to heroin to alcoholism. It also comes in the form of pornography, sexual promiscuity and things that we don’t even consider an “addiction”. Your cell phone for example, Facebook, Snapchat; any one thing can become an addiction.
Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continuation of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. People who have developed an addiction may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.
I became friends with a known addict about two years ago. Today, this addict is my best friend, she is my “go to” person. The one person who knows me better than anyone on the face of this Earth. The one who knows my deepest, darkest secrets, inflections in my voice, and worry on my face. She understands my love for God, my unconditional love for my children and my own deepest craving for a cold bottle of Mountain Dew.
I didn’t understand the depth of her addiction initially. I, sometimes was her enabler and her justifier. Before our friendship truly blossomed into what it is now, I would often vent about her shortcomings. Typically, my friends and family would respond with,” best to not even get involved with that” or “you don’t need that kind of stress in your life”. Maybe, I didn’t NEED that kind of stress in my life but this woman ended up saving me also!
I will never be able to say that I understand addiction. I often struggled with understanding how she could consciously make the sober decision to buy a bottle of vodka. How could she in a very sober moment choose that bottle over her marriage, her children, and her friendship with me? I also told her that lying was a “deal breaker” for me and if she lied to me I would have to be “done”. I, later came to understand that the lie was actually part of the disease and that I could love her and hate the disease.
My friend began attending church regularly. Sometimes with the bottle of vodka in her purse. She began reading the Bible. She was “Saved”, (To be saved by grace means that the judgment due to us because of our sin against God, ( ie. lying, stealing, adultery, fornication, coveting, lust, etc.,) will not befall us; that is forgiveness. But in addition, we get what we do not deserve, being in the presence of God.) and then baptized as an outward expression of having been “saved”. She still struggled with alcoholism.
She had struggled with alcoholism for many years. She had been to an inpatient rehabilitation facility, attended the occasional Alcoholics Anonymous classes, lost her driver’s license multiple times, and attended court ordered classes. Her relationships were failing, with her own children, her husband, her friends, and her employer. This is where most people give up. It gives them yet another reason to surrender to this addiction. My friend was at a crossroad. If there were any chance of saving herself, it was now. I’d like to say the next step was because of her strong will and that she went without struggle, but that would be a lie. She checked in to yet another inpatient facility for four VERY long weeks, nervous and scared.
In the rehabilitation facility, she was without the temptation of alcohol, she was retaught the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. She was in group therapy and individual therapy. For four weeks, she learned about herself, her shortcomings and triggers driving the alcoholism. There were few phone calls or contact with the outside world.
She returned home and I gained brand new friend. A friend with clear blue eyes, who can finally love herself! An improved version of my friend that used to show up with a buzz or too drunk to stand on her own two feet. She is someone who can make me laugh until I pee in my pants. Someone that I can confide my insecurities in, a friend who understands my ridiculous need to drive on back roads listening to old country music. Some people are waiting for her to fall off the wagon and back into her old ways, and assure me that it will happen. Some of us see a new person, something so different this time, something that is going to last. Her relationships rekindled, her life renewed and her own faith in God stronger than ever.
I believe in my heart that this woman is forever changed. I believe that this time is very different. I trust her and I trust God. She has a huge purpose in this life to fulfill. It’s easy for people to judge others for sins that they don’t understand.
I have three former addicts in my life who I can call my close friends. Not being an addict myself, I don’t always see their struggles or relate to their “triggers”, but I love them just the same. We aren’t meant to fully understand crosses that others bear, but we can respect that we all have our own individual crosses to bear.
Addiction is lonely, it hurts them, the addict and their loved ones. Recovering addicts have spent a lot of time working on themselves and their relationships. They have learned critical relationship skills, including how to identify, process and communicate their emotions and to set personal boundaries while respecting the lines drawn by others. Recovering addicts don’t expect perfection, having learned firsthand that it doesn’t exist. They have committed – in recovery and in life – to honesty and integrity and making decisions in accordance with their values.
“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life”
Connie, I love you and I thank God everyday for you still being in my life!!
2. Pinterest: 91 best Love the Addict Hate the Addiction Images
3. Psychologytoday.com “What is Addiction”
4. Carm.org What does it mean to be saved by grace? | Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry