Loving an addict...

I grew up with an alcoholic father.  There were so many things I struggled with because of that.  I had insecurities every time the feeling of abandonment was triggered.  I was angry.  I was sad.  I was numb.  I was jealous of people with present, engaged dads.   

One thing I realized early on was that for me to be healthy and sane, I needed strong boundaries and not to enable any longer.  As a daughter, I sometimes feel guilty about the physical and emotional distance that has created between my father and I.  In my adult life, I have done a lot of work to understand addict behavior, the dynamics of codependency, and to heal my heart from the wounds I experienced.  At this point in my life, it is more important for me to be safe emotionally, than to feel guilty about the decisions someone else has made. 

I was recently reminded of how important these things are from a pep-talk on my friend's Facebook wall.  She'd posted a few things that felt relevant.  I am copying them below: 

First was a post from Jaime Primark Sullivan.  I don't know this person; her post below had been shared on my wall.

       "You can not love someone out of addiction the same way you can't love someone out of   
        ancer. Addiction is an often fatal disease that needs constant treatment - of which love is
        but one ingredient.

        So many carry crippling guilt that their love is or was not enough - I promise you, absorb
        these words, truly, if love was enough to cure the disease, to save the addict, there would
        be no more addiction.

        So often we wonder, why aren't I enough? Why won't they chose me? Here is the truth -
        the drug/alcohol affects the chemistry and function of the brain, robbing the user of
        control, literally taking away their ability to "chose" you or anything else for that matter.
        Addiction is not personal. Their substances matter more then you, more than God, their
        reputation, their children, their parents, their life.

       You didn't cause it. You can't control it. You can't stop it. And if it's hurting you, you don't
       have to condone it. Protect yourself and please know it has nothing to do with you."

Second, I saw this picture and it confirmed things I've been thinking about.

If this is something you have struggled with, please talk to someone about the impact addiction has had on your life.  The truth is, as an adult, you are only responsible for you.  We should still be kind and considerate, but it is not your job to make others happy. 

Be kind and gracious to yourself!