I’ve honestly been putting off writing this post for a while now because for some reason it just felt too painful at times to talk about. Instead I usually just repost recovery stories in my Instagram/Facebook feed or bits about addiction and alcoholism to keep the message alive for those who either love someone who suffers from addiction or for those who may be fighting to overcome addiction. The truth is way more people suffer in silence than we know and that goes for both addicts and those that love them.
Talking about it is just the beginning of healing…
I am personally trying to recover from extended trauma from being emotionally hurt by those who suffer from addiction. We often don’t talk about the injuries of neglect, insult, sometimes violent and avoidant behaviour that are key traits of addicts and how it affects those who love and try to support them into recovery. Let’s also not forget that those under the influence often have total personality changes and in such a way can be two totally different people which makes them unpredictable and often scary to those who have to witness the change on the regular. These traits can be extremely damaging to those around them and leave wounds that last a lifetime.
I am not here to shame anyone and certainly not here to condemn, just simply address some of the things I have personally experienced and hope to give hope or understanding to those who both have an addiction, those who are unable to see their damaging behaviour caused by an unaddressed addiction or people who are on the brink of giving up on someone they love who suffers from addiction in one form or another. No matter where you stand, you are not alone.
I want to start by saying that I have lost 3 of my most loved and valued friends to drug or alcohol related deaths and I know we all die some day but these are just among the saddest ways to go and hurtful to those left behind. Preventable deaths are by far the worst and most difficult to heal from (only in my personal opinion, all loss is hard). I also want to say before we get on any further that I don’t think everyone who uses is and addict or is damaging anyone, it’s just very rare these days to meet those who do these things on the regular not to see consequences add up. Just something to ask yourself, does this add to my life or does it steal or keep you from deep connections, health and true happiness or do you use to numb and avoid your pain or problems? Only you can decide that for yourself but if your friends or family have told you there’s a problem, there is and talking to someone or getting help should be your first steps and I don’t mean ask your other addict friends or family or someone who only knows you as an acquaintance to affirm your behaviour. I mean talk to a professional, even just to rule it out.
The recovery for people who have been hurt by addicts can be as difficult as the ones actually going through substance abuse recovery themselves.
In my experience whenever drugs, alcohol or food is used to avoid or numb problems you have a problem and your relationship will suffer. Learning communication skills may be all that is truly needed for you to overcome but likely it’s much deeper than that and getting to the bottom of it is worth it in every way you can imagine.
Remember, healing is possible with the right support, the truth, time and dedication to the process. There are millions who have gone through this and have overcome and so can you.
Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years about addiction that maybe helpful for you.
It is both a ( at first) choice and then turns into not a choice and that is where the fight must begin.
I know I have heard both sides of this story because when we are in it or have seen someone in it, the struggle is REAL. The way addiction can take over your life is incredibly hard and there are many contributing factors. One factor is whether they actually want to get free or even believe they have a problem. People that don’t feel they have a reason to get free often don’t. Family support is key but unfortunately many of the addicts I’ve known over the years come from a lineage of family addiction so family may sound supportive but not in action. These are the hardest cases. Unless the parents or family members want to all be free it is very hard to get free in that environment. Nothing is impossible but it is harder. I could go on all day about how parents contribute to addiction but I will leave it for now. Ultimately when you become an adult you no longer have the right to blame your parents for any of your actions. You decide who you will be in the end. That is also for parents to understand, you can only do so much to support your children through addiction and it doesn’t make you a bad person to distance yourself, it is often the best thing you can do.
The best thing we can do for someone is support them in prayer because ultimately between the heart, the mind and the body that needs healing and change we can only be a healthy advocate and hope they make the right choice to get detoxed and fight for their health and life. We can’t make anyone want to live a healthy life. We can only show support by being healthy ourselves and inviting them on that healthy journey with us when they are ready.
From experience, choosing your friends and lifestyle early on in life is the best way to avoid getting hurt with this. You can have a balanced life and enjoy yourself from time to time. You don’t need alcohol or drugs to be social. You can choose hobbies that are fun and fulfilling without those things.
If you or someone you know has started to show signs of addiction or dependency address it with kindness asap and support them or yourself in finding a support group a church or anything that will help you get back on a healthy track. There is life and purpose even if you can’t see it today. Pray for help and God will help you find the solution, the help and the healing you need to be free.
Addiction leads to death so never let the liar lie to you about that.
In loving memory of the beautiful souls that were stolen from me. The ones that have passed away and the ones that weren’t ready to break it.
I want to finish with saying I love you and I know God does too and no matter where you stand I stand with you for you to have the best life. Surrounded by love, good health, warm wishes and deep connection and whatever your journey I hope that life never hurts you so bad that you don’t get an opportunity to heal and see the other side of the coin you were tossed.
-May God bless you all the days of your life.
Start healing now
I will try and add resources here as I can find them but do whatever you can to talk to someone. There are councillors that will zoom, or centres you can go. Don’t let your preconceived notions keep you from talking to someone. I say the same to those who are supporters of addicts, you likely need healing and counselling too. If we are honest, everyone needs healing from something these days.
Rise Up Medicine Hat
I follow some great pages on Instagram for support and you should too:
Many addicts in recovery need to boost their nutrition levels and satisfy their sweet tooth while they transition. Here’s a great solution. So yummy.