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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

When you love an addict

Addiction is a widespread plague across the globe. The odds of you or someone you love coming into contact with an addict are about 1 in 3. Sadly, this means that almost every American family has at least one person that is affected by addiction.

Emotional struggles
An addict in the family is like having a poison spread among you. Slowly but surely each member is impacted, changed, and hurt. Some may say they have shut the door on the situation, or washed their hands of it, but deep inside damage has already been done, whether they realize it or not. You are never really free of the impact it has had on you.

Keeping it in the closet, keeps addiction alive 
Finding support is a difficult process as so many family members with friends or loved ones that are addicted are ashamed and embarrassed to bring their problem up. Many loved ones in fact keep the family problem a secret from the outside world and this is a launch pad for manipulation from the addict. When an addict knows you'll protect them, they will take advantage of the situation and make the most of it. Guilt, pressure, threats are all weapons in the arsenal of an addict. what has to be understood is you are no longer dealing with your loved one as you once knew them. You are dealing with someone that has a chemically altered brain. They require different handling.

You aren't alone in this
Remember, almost every person you know, whether it is your preacher, doctor, friend, co-worker has someone in their life with your problem. They may even have it themselves. Once the shame can be put aside, and this terrible problem brought out, you will more than likely find tons of support. When it comes to addiction, shame is guilt's ugly cousin. Shame is a waste of time, and a way for the disease to conquer all of it's victims one by one. Keeping your burden to yourself is a way of protecting an addict, and yourself. However, in the long run it is silently enabling a situation to flourish.

Share with anyone who will listen
Sometimes the quickest way to find help and hope is by opening up to those people around you that you have been keeping addiction a secret from. Help and information comes in many forms and once you cross that bridge you will find healing. You will be amazed at the outpouring of love and support you will get. Not just from your immediate family, but online, from complete strangers. There is a whole world of people suffering right along with you, and many have even gone through worse. Share your experience, reach out to others, and also remember to help another in your search for support. Just because you are going through this terrible time, doesn't mean you can't offer help to someone else. They may be at a different place than you are, so whatever you've learned can be of a great help to them. Giving of yourself is a part of healing.

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