Loving someone in addiction recovery takes a lot of commitment and patience.
It is easy to throw away the baby with the bath water. Many people think of love as an emotion, the love we feel. But love is also an action. You do not have to be emotionally connected to someone to love them. Loving someone in recovery is as much about you and your boundaries as it is about being there for them. It is not always easy, but you have to separate the person from the disease. They are not a bad person trying to be good; they are a sick person, with a disease, trying to get well.
Loving someone in recovery means really being there for them.
It is easy to say, “well, if you would just (fill in the blank), or “I do not understand why you keeping doing this.” These types of statements are judgments about your inability to relate to their circumstances. If you have never suffered from addiction, how can you be expected to understand them? Do not put expectations on your loved one. Expectations can set them up for failure and only disappoint you.
It is important to be supportive and just listen.
Try not to give your loved one advice or direction. This is love in action: being there for them without your own agenda. Be a part of what they are going through. Be an active participant in their goals and objectives.
As much as your participation in their recovery is about them, you have needs as well.
It is not easy to watch someone go through the struggles of addiction and try to crawl their way out. Find a support system. As important as it is for you to listen to your loved one, you need someone to listen to you as you deal with the process. There are support groups and 12-step oriented programs that are geared just for loved ones of someone in recovery.
- Scharff, C., Ph.D. . (2015, December 11). 4 Ways to Be There for Someone Recovering from Addiction. Retrieved February, 2017.