Loving someone means sometimes following them through dark places.
This means you’re there for them when they’re sad, anxious, or ill.
In some relationships, it means being there for them when they’re an addict.
While there’s no easy way to show you still love and care for someone who’s struggling with addiction, probably the single most powerful thing you can do is to keep communicating with them as they work through their issues.
To do so takes a lot of patience and a certain amount of skill that thankfully anyone can develop if they’re dedicated enough.
Where to begin?
Unless you’re willing to be loving and compassionate, you might as well stop right here.
Addicts know when you’re going through the motions. If you want to genuinely communicate, then this is where you start.
How do you show this? Start with actions rooted in compassion and go from there.
Every addict has already heard the lectures.
What they need from you is to listen. This means practising good listening skills without a lot of interruptions or lectures and criticism.
Be Steady and Reliable
This means you need to be consistent in your actions. They need to be able to count on you to be stable, for things to be exactly as you say they are.
Avoid surprises as they can create situations filled with stress.
Love but Create Boundaries
While your love should be without limits, your world should not be. It’s healthy to set boundaries with those who are struggling with addiction.
It’s another way to show them, love, when you let them know there are certain behaviours you will not put up with anymore.
Create a Safe Place for Change
An addict is going to have to go through countless changes in the process of counselling as they work to change their behaviours away from harmful actions.
You will be called upon to be helpful through this process by being accepting of those changes.
You will also be called on to change some behaviours of your own.
Don’t shy away from these changes, as they’ll be right for you too and show the addict that you’re also willing to work on your problems.
Don’t go it Alone
Know where to find resources for help. This is a complicated process and one you shouldn’t be going through without support.
These actions are designed to keep the lines of communication open.
By not being willing to put the work in, the addict in your life isn’t going to be likely to want to talk to or even have anything to do with you.
It’s so important to maintain these steps throughout the process of recovery.
Stay strong. No matter what, remember who you’re fighting for. In the end, that’s what’s going to make this all worthwhile.