Addiction hurts. It destroys relationships. It ruins lives. It kills.

When Someone You Love Relapses

When Someone You Love Relapses


Loving someone who is in the throes of active alcohol or drug addiction may be one of the hardest situations any person can face. There is no doubt that caring for someone who is intent on abusing themselves is challenging. It is easy to get caught up in the insane cycle of drug abuse and alcoholism and completely forget about your needs. During these times, it is even more imperative for you to focus on taking care of yourself.

Take care of you! You may need to ask for help and support from caring friends. The addict or alcoholic has the ability to act like a cyclone that rips through people’s lives. Be sure to stay safe. Take time for yourself, take care of your own needs, and lean on your friends.

Set boundaries and stick to them. Let the alcoholic or addict know what you are willing and not willing to put up with, and how their substance use affects you. Once the line is drawn, stick to it. This may be difficult at first but the benefits far outweigh the challenges.

Don’t blame yourself. You have no control over what the alcoholic or addict does. They will act on their own free will and make their own choices. Do not think for a minute that you had anything to do with their addiction. Many abusers like to blame the people around them instead of taking responsibility for themselves. Do not allow yourself to buy into this!

Beware of enabling. Being soft on the addict or alcoholic after a relapse may do more harm than good. Consequences are great motivators. Do not rob the addict of their consequences. It may be their catalyst to change.

Alcoholism is a family disease. Quite often, support groups and treatment can benefit the addict’s loved ones just as much as the addict. There is no shame in asking for help.

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