It's not easy to have an addiction. Neither is it easy to be in love with someone with an addiction. Listen as Essie Christensen shares her journey of letting go of her relationship with her husband and how she got back to herself again.
The Other Side of Addiction
When addiction is mentioned, your mind automatically goes to the addict. You start to ask questions like:
- What drugs do they take?
- What did they steal?
- When did this start?
- Why did I miss the signs?
- How can I trust this person again?
- ….and many more.
Do you take time to consider what it’s like for the person the addict is in a relationship with? Do you consider their children? In this episode of the Authentic Wellness Podcast, my guest, Essie Christensen Baines shares what it was like for her to be married to an addict.
LOVER OR ENABLER
Both. In most cases when an addict realizes that their significant other is dedicated to their recovery, it just fuels their addiction. The knowledge of the hope that lies in the heart of the sober person is all the addict needs to manipulate the next few weeks, months, or years. It just depends on how long the sober person takes to hit their own version of rock bottom. It can take what seems like forever for the sober person to realize what everyone else probably knows: there is NOTHING they can do to fix this problem. It’s all up to the addict.
To remedy the situation, the sober person tends to give money, lie to protect the addict’s reputation, concoct excuses when the addict deviates from their normal routine, or all of the above. Despite the anger, anxiety, and frustrations, the sober person still loves the addict. They just don’t like who that person has become. Nor do they realize that getting that person back will either take a very long time or never happen.
A NEW WAY TO LOVE
After you find out the person you love is an addict, you may think the best way to support them is to make sure they have a safe place to stay, food to eat, and the same access to you and your family as they did before. As you will hear in the show, Essie allowed her love for her husband to dictate her dealings with him for many years. She was lonely. She was filled with fear. She was heartbroken. It wasn’t until Essie came to the full realization that there was nothing she could do to change his priorities that she could let go of the guilt and shame of dealing with a broken relationship.
In order to love the addicted person, you will need to develop strong boundaries. Listen to THIS episode of the Authentic Wellness Podcast to get started. Boundaries are necessary because allowing the person to continue with access to you or your life may support their addiction as opposed to inspiring them to get help. Would you change if there were no consequences? Neither would I. If you are fearful of telling the addicted person “no”, then the problem may be bigger than you think. It may be best to seek professional help.
KNOWING WHEN ITS TIME
No matter how much you love a person, sometimes the appropriate response is to let go. You are no longer dealing with the person you knew before. This is someone else. The person you loved may be deep in there, but they no longer have control. There will be times when the original person makes an appearance. You will share a loving look, an inside joke, or a priceless memory. They may laugh a laugh that only you’ve ever heard. That is what makes it easy for you to fall prey to the manipulation, the lies, and the promises.
Now it’s time to concentrate on healing. No matter how long you’ve been in a relationship with an addict, you will need to take time to get back to being yourself. No need to rush the process. You’ve been hurt. The shame and guilt may remain for a little while, but they won’t last forever. As much as you can tolerate it, talk about it. I am willing to bet that it was easier for Essie to talk about her ordeal today than it was when it happened.
It helps to talk to someone who understands what you’ve been through. Book a discovery call here. I was involved with an addict many years ago. I came to realize that I wasn’t in love. I was living in fear. Fear or what people were saying. Fear of what people may know. Fear of what he was going to do next. Fear. Fear. Fear. One day, I decided I was no longer afraid. I went from fear to free. Free from him, his addiction, and his manipulation.
Set yourself free.