Are You Addicted To Your Addict?
When you live with someone, and love them, there is a desire to connect with them, to share parts of their life and experiences.
Which, for the partner of an addict, could make it tempting to meet them where they are, join them in their vices, create a bond that will keep you close, or simply to try and walk in their shoes.
Most partners will have the sensibility to stay away from the fixes their addict is hooked on and will do everything they can to try and get the person they love to stop doing what they are doing, and get clean.
Which doesn't always mean that they can't still be addicted.
It might not be drink, drugs, gambling or sex that they're addicted to, it could be the plight of saving their partner that the are becoming increasingly bound by.
Discovering that someone you love is struggling with an addiction is heartbreaking. It's also frustrating and exhausting as you try to convince them to walk away from their darkness, to recover their control over their life.
As time goes on, addiction can end up negatively impacting not only the life of the addict, but also the people that care for them and offer help. As the destruction and the betrayals add up though, people that previously offered help to the addict will begin to turn their backs and withdraw their support.
But addicts are resourceful, and they often find that one person who is committed to their cause, and who can ultimately enable them long after those others who have pulled away.
And that one person who gives them more, who stands beside them, can end up being as addicted to their addict, as their addict is addicted to drink, drugs or gambling.
They turn a blind eye, they make excuses, they give in 'one last time' and they allow themselves to be used, disrespected and disadvantaged in what seems like an altruistic determination to stand by their loved one, to be that single soul who believed in them and never left them on their own.
Which appears to be incredibly loving, and honourable.
But is always more about that person, than it is about the addict.
They are addicted to the chaos, to the drama, to the constant highs and lows of loving an addict.
They are bound by their own desperate need to be wanted, to be good and kind, committed and loyal, regardless of the price they have to pay.
Their addiction immerses them so fully in the cause of another that they don't have to focus on their own lives, and see what's there to be healed and nurtured first, before they can ever truly and fully be able to help another.
Their vice is the pain of others, to forget their own heartache.
And it works.
Sometimes it works for a long time.
The problem is that by giving everything to fighting another's battle, they become defined by an addiction they don't have, an addiction that is quite different to their own.
When we give all of ourselves to saving someone we love, we lose ourselves.
When we give much more than is asked of us, than is truly needed by another, we are lost in the cause, without clarity of the path that most needs to be taken.
We are addicted.
And while this addiction won't necessarily kill you, it can undo a life just as easily as the addictions you are trying to save someone else from.
I know, because I've been addicted.
My fix was a man I was trying to save, a man who wanted my enablement, not my commitment.
Without my fix I was left with me.
Me without the failures of another to focus on, only my own.
Me without the drama of another to get distracted by.
Me without the desperation of another to soothe, as my own desperation bubbled inside.
While I was trying to save him, I was drowning us both.I had to let go, come to the surface and take a deep breath. I had to begin my own recovery and get myself out of the cycle of numbing my own pain, with the pain of another.
And, as is often the case with partners of addicts who get clean, it soon became crystal clear that my recovery had to be my primary focus, and that my ex had a major problem that only he could deal with himself.
I couldn't save him AND save myself too.
So, is your unwavering fight for your loved one at the cost of your own mental and emotional wellbeing?
Are you addicted to your addicts cause?
What are you avoiding in your own life, by giving everything you have to saving someone else?