Addiction like many other invisible diseases is often overlooked as a real health issue and put more on the victims willpower than anything else.
However telling, for example, an alcoholic to stop drinking is basically like telling someone with a stomach bug to stop being sick. It’s just not that easy!
Addiction is such a taboo subject it makes it harder for victims to get the help and support they need. If you’re a functioning addict you’re way less likely to seek any help cause you think your fine, you think you have things under control. When in reality drinking a vodka or sniffing a line at 6am to start the day is probably not you having your life in control.
We have to remember though, especially for those with substance abuse issues, that they are not the same coherent individual they used to be. They do not make good choices and they don’t understand the repercussions of their actions. In fact a lot of what they think about it how to get that next fix by any means necessary.
Having been close to someone with an addiction I know just how frustrating it can be. All you want to do is shake them and be like WHAT ARE YOU DOING, JUST STOP! You can feel worthless and helpless but NEVER blame yourself! Addiction, in my opinion, is 100% the outlet of an underlying issue, this is not your issue and you should not take on any guilt associated to it. You need to take some time to try and understand WHY this person is doing what they are doing and how this can be helped.
The person who’s addicted is not going to want to face their issues, this is probably why they’re an addict in the first place, so they can forget, so they can transport themselves into a little bubble where there is no responsibility, no pain, no nothing! This is the main struggle… Getting the person to admit they have a problem and then getting them to accept help. You cannot force anyone to do this, they have to want to do it for themselves, not for you. This is unfortunately why it usually takes something major to get them to wake up, something that scares them and jolts them back into reality. A medical scare, having their kids taken away, whatever it is it’s not going to be pretty but it will hopefully work.
In a perfect world an addict will realise all this before anything drastic happens but in some awful cases they will never realise. The only thing you can do is try to be as understanding and helpful as possible.
Trying to be the understanding one, the shoulder to cry on, the hypothetical punch bag, can be absolutely exhausting! It’s not an easy task but it’s something you do when you care about someone. There are times you will want to give up, times you honestly believe it will never end, but try to stay as positive as you can! And make sure you also have an outlet, maybe a loved one or a councillor, do not take the whole world on your shoulders cause you will crash and burn.
Thankfully my story has ended well and that person close to me is now 4 years sober. It wasn’t easy, in fact it was the most horrible experience to go through, seeing someone you love be so vulnerable, so lost, so broken… it’s truly heartbreaking! They have given up on themselves but don’t you ever give up on them! Never give up hope, cause there are brighter days ahead.
If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction there are places you can go and people you can talk to, don’t suffer in silence!
(here are a few links I found with a quick google to get you started)
And if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to asks me, either pop a comment below or drop me an email. I’m by no means an expert but I have been that support system and know exactly what it’s like; I’ve been guilt ridden, confused, angry and I’ve also seen things change for the better.
Peace and love xoxo
*I just wanted to reiterate that this is purely my opinion based on my own experiences, it is not meant to cause any offence or controversy. My main aim in writing this is the hope that it could potentially help even one person who’s feeling lost as a result of dealing with an addict.