Letting go is always hard, and friends and family will go to great lengths for the ones they love. They may even knowingly allow a loved one to take advantage of them because at least they will still be a part of their lives.
Cutting off a loved one who is suffering from addiction can be very difficult, because we feel we are their last hope. Without our home, our money, or our relationship, we think they will have no other place to turn. However, choosing to stop enabling someone will probably help them more than allowing them to continue in the same manner. What’s more, you can’t let your health suffer because of their actions. Sometimes you just have to put your foot down.
- When Your Safety Is Jeopardized
The world of drug or alcohol addiction can be a very dangerous place, as drug abusers may interact with dangerous people and often put themselves in risky situations to get a hold of the substances that they need to curb their cravings.
Substance abuse can turn your loved ones into violent people. The substances they abuse can disrupt their judgement and emotional regulation, making them short-tempered and prone to violence.
If someone is putting your wellbeing at risk, it’s clear sign to make a change. If they physically, verbally, or emotionally harm you or other friends and family members, you have a responsibility to protect them.
- When You’re Enabling
When you willingly support people who are making no attempt to get better, it means you are enabling them. This can include giving them money, food, or shelter, and if you take the blame for their problems or allow them to take advantage of you, you’re enabling them.
Everyone makes mistakes, and no one chooses addiction. We don’t want to turn our backs on our loved ones because they develop an illness, but we also can’t enable them. Many addicts don’t acknowledge their addiction until they are forced to. Actions speak louder than words and you may need to take drastic measures for them to realize the gravity of the situation and that you are being serious.
- When They Refuse to Listen
You can only do so much for people who don’t want to listen. You can try and convince them that they need professional help, but they have to choose to get it.
You should try and explain to them how their actions are affecting their lives, to teach them about their disease, and to show them how their actions are affecting your life and the lives of those around them. It’s important, however, to keep reminding them that you care about them and that you wish to see them recover.
If their friends and family can’t convince them to seek help, consider holding an intervention. There are professional interventionists who specialize in helping families communicate with substance abusers and if that doesn’t work, it’s probably best to cut them off completely until they are ready to listen.
- When You Need to Take a Break
We all want to help our friends and families and if they’re in trouble, we’ll make every effort to help them. Many of us will sacrifice our own well-being and happiness to help those we love but being a caregiver can be exhausting.
Even if you’re willing to risk your health and potentially your safety for those you care about, you should know that you can’t help them if you’re exhausted. You can be a better resource for them if you take a break once in a while and make sure you’re also taking care of yourself and your responsibilities.
Let them know that you simply don’t have the energy to provide them support right now, but that you are committed to getting your life in order so that you can be there for them and offer them support once they complete a treatment program.
- When You Stop Caring
It may be hard to believe, but you can develop apathy towards loved ones suffering from addiction. As much as you care about them, it’s hard to love someone who mistreats you and their actions may damage your relationship to the point where you stop caring.
You aren’t obligated to help someone that you don’t care about, and you are more likely to las out at them or say hurtful things. Neither of you needs that.
People suffering from addiction need love and support, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be the person who supports them. If you can’t give them the support that they need, for whatever reason, you may actually be making things worse.
Cutting off a loved one is a difficult decision and even though you’re not staying in contact with them, that doesn’t mean you’re giving up on them. You can still care for them and be there for them when they choose to seek the treatment they need.