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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When your love isn't enough, how to deal with an addict

If you or a loved one is caught in the grips of addiction, your battle is a tough one. If you live in Orangeburg, or other areas of South Carolina, please see:
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
803-534-4682
590 Louis Street
Orangeburg, SC 29115

NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS
803-254-6262
Columbia, SC 29201

Why won't love work?
Loving an addict is a painful journey for anyone to take. Not only do you see the physical damages ravaging them daily, but you watch that spark of life, that glimmer of love and recognition die in their eyes. They no longer see you, or feel your love, you are a vessel or an obstacle. It is a challenge every day to remember the person your loved one used to be, but at the same time it is that very memory that keeps you holding on, hoping and loving an addict. Love isn't enough to bring about sobriety because addiction blocks the transmission of the feelings. Addiction intercepts and alters reality for the addict and as such does not allow for the addict to feel and express love. Do not worry that your addict will feel unloved if you don't fulfill their needs with regards to their addiction. They are not capable of knowing what a true act of love is. Once in treatment and fully clean from the grips of their substance abuse, an addict will once again "feel" real genuine feelings. Learning to cope with the bad feelings, and embrace the good feelings will be a part of their journey.

Understanding your new role in an addicts life
One realization one must make and understand is that your love for the addict can not be enough to get them to change. It is not that your love is failing you, or failing them, but your love and their love for you is being held hostage by a chemical masquerading as a cure. You may need to adjust the definition of your love when dealing with an addict. Is your love for the addict allowing the addiction to flourish? Are you the convenient ally in an addicts quest for death? Has your love for the addict allowed you to enable their addiction? Finding help to learn how to effectively love an addict without sacrificing your happiness is key. Do not let your new role in the addicts life be one of co-dependency, and an enabler. Your new role has to be I will help get you treatment, I will not let my love for you help you die through addiction.

Knowing your enemy
Drug addiction is a state of periodic or chronic intoxication produced by the repeated consumption of a drug (natural or synthetic). It's characteristics include: an overpowering desire or need (compulsion) to continue taking the drug and to obtain it by any means; a tendency to increase the dose; a psychic (psychological) and generally a physical dependence on the effects of the drug; and detrimental effects on the individual and on society. Addiction replaces bad feelings with a false sense of happiness, and blocks genuine love and happiness from reaching the addict. Addiction is made when the connection between human and chemical bond through abuse. 
For more information and support on addiction, see: The Addicted Family
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