There have been countless firsthand accounts of people living with addiction as a disease, be it substance or non-substance. People sharing their harrowing experiences through recovery, relapse and active addiction.
But how much has been said about those who live alongside an addict? The family, the friends, the loved ones? The ones who are left helpless with no clue on how to “fix” someone they care about. The ones who watch in despair whilst the addict indulges and deteriorates, unable to understand the struggles of an addict.
Living with an addict could be a very isolating experience, whereby you feel you cannot comprehend why someone with so much potential chose the path of addiction. It’s not easy to understand someone else’s choices when that would not have been our thought process or choice. It is not easy to understand the physical, mental and emotional experience an addict is having when in active addiction, or even when they are on the path to recovery.
Sometimes it could even be painful when they tell you that only another addict would be able to help them, and you as a parent or spouse who knows them for years, can never process their struggle. Perhaps we blame ourselves for the mistakes we may have inadvertently made, which lead someone we cared about into addiction.
I implore you, as caregivers and loved ones living beside an addict, to seek for help and guidance to process those feelings, to process your personal trauma and grief, so that you can provide better support to those who need it, without forgetting your identity as an individual.