Thursday, November 06, 2008

How to have a "healthy" relationship with the addicted person in your family

If your family member is actively involved in their addiction you can still have a "healthy" relationship with them but it will look and feel a lot different than a normal healthy relationship.
You can't have a normal healthy relationship with someone who is actively using drugs.
What is different? Number one you should not trust them. Not trusting them even if you want to is a good thing because it is a sign that you are understanding the reality of their situation. It is also important to develop a non judgmental understanding of your loved one's condition this is an important step in having a healthy relationship. Non judgmental does not mean you like what is going on but does mean you understand what is going on, and are willing to avoid falling into a power struggle with your loved one.

You need to be very consistent in your communication with the addicted person and avoid trying to manipulate them like the plague. It is important to learn how to take back your life while you reduce your urge to manipulate them manage their life while your life falls apart.

People that care about the addicted person tend to get scared, or angry when they can't make something positive happen. When family members don't get support their relationship with the addict becomes driven by anxiety and is focused on trying to make something happen to change the situation. This sets up a power struggle and the addicted person starts focusing on you as the problem and you are focused on trying to manage their life while your life starts to disappear.

It is important for you focus on maintaining the quality of your life and give consistent messages to the addicted person in your family. The messages should be that you love them and you want them to get help for their addiction and you will hold them accountable for their behavior. Without the drama of a power struggle there is no resentment and anger that gets in the way of communication. This leaves an opening for the future when they are struggling and start to believe they do need help for them to talk with you.


Anonymous said...

I re-read the 2nd to last paragraph of this post several times. In fact, I think I'm going to write it down and carry it with me. This really gets at the heart of what has been happening in my relationship with an addict lately. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Odd, I'm here at work, where between tasks, I must re read often. But this last section I found myself re reading and re reading it. I too thought of copying it for future use. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your message on how to deal w/ an addict. My husband was just released from rehab today, been in Detox 6/23-7/01, home 7/01-7/11, relapsed, Detox 7/11-7/14, directly trnsf to Rehab 7/14-8/05. Upon discharge @ noon today, I get home from work @ 6pm & he's gone. Said he's going to 2 mtgs tonite. I understand the need for support, but this is outrageous, if he needs that much, he should have stayed in Rehab. I was looking fwd to spending some time w/ him, now I am neglected while he's prancing around from mtg to mtg, burning gas that I need to pay for since he lost his job on 7/08/11. What are your thoughts? I understand that he will need to go to mtgs daily, but he also needs to work on getting back into home life too.
Hope you write back w/ some good suggestions before our marriage falls apart.