It is heartbreaking to watch someone you love continuously hurt themselves over and over again. Witnessing every inch of their soul slip away under a mountain of psychologically controlling substances and seeing them lose themselves is devastating no matter how hardened you may pretend to be. Staring into the eyes of a man who is strung out is like looking into the window of their broken soul and watching it gasp for air as it is being strangled to its last breath. I cannot stand drugs and what they do to people. How they rob our loved ones of every inch of their personality and hijack their brain removing every bit of reason and logic they spent their life cultivating. I hate to see anyone hurting but I can especially empathize with addicts because I am one myself, who has decided enough is enough. There is a way out, that impossible mountain is scalable and happiness and freedom is a reality.
I know each and every one of you has been affected by addiction in some way or another, whether yourself or a family member, friend or by society as a whole. I am not sure if it has always been this bad because I am relatively young but it seems to be extremely prevalent right now and not slowing in the least. Many of us know the heartbreak of watching a loved one slip away into the darkness of slavery to chemicals, many never make it back. I have had too many friends die of this thing and I don’t want to go to any more funerals. I come from a family riddled with chemical dependence and although I may be clean, several are still in their mess and there is nothing more I wish from my life than to see them free like I learned to be. That is why I am committed to sharing this message and to loving those who just can’t love themselves or us back.
No matter how bad it gets we can never give up. Yes, there is a point when helping becomes enabling and continuing to be in their life may cause you more pain than it may seem worth, but the worst thing we can do is alienate those who have fallen. Let me be clear because I know this is a major gray area and from seeing my parents struggle with this I can sympathize with those who are stuck between a rock and a hard place, just because we have to distance ourselves for our own sanity does not mean we have to relinquish hope and stop loving this person. I have seen people walk out of my life never to return because they couldn’t handle the emotional torture that I put them through and if I could say anything I wish they could know that I am sorry and I never intended to hurt them. I can’t blame them for making the decision to save themselves from my demise, but it hurts. There are many I love and wish would come back and this pain and isolation I have experienced has pushed me to reach out harder to those struggling.
The worst thing we can do is stop loving them. No it is never our fault when things end in the worst, but that added pain can be enough to push them over an edge they cannot return from, it almost did for me. The most painful aspect of my addiction was the person I loved that got dragged through my addiction from the very beginning told me I chose the drugs over her. I will never forget those words, they will haunt me to the day I die, and I must live with this and go forth. All that said to suggest the impact this decision can have on another. This article is not about where to draw the line its about helping the hurting. We must love them no matter how far or how difficult it can be.
We need to be firm but support them. Obviously we can’t condone the activity but we need to provide emotional support. The number one common factor I have observed among my fellows is that addiction is a lonely place. It feels like no one cares and often that others feel like they would be better off if we were dead. Actually some have actually been told this. But we can’t give up on them both as humans and as professionals in the field. Relapse is sometimes an unfortunate part of the recovery process and we should treat and encourage them to think of every slip as an opportunity to learn.
Someone needs to be physically there for them. Maybe not us as being the family or friends but somebody, better someone who has experience because it can be difficult to earn the trust of someone who has not been where they are. That’s where those in recovery can come to the rescue, if you know someone who has been through it call and see if they will talk to them. This visit from another addict my be the helping hand they desperately need. Find a local AA club, I guarantee there are many willing individuals who would gladly reach out to this person. In meetings we often hear of tragedy stories from family members but rarely are we told of opportunities to help, and serving others in this capacity is a foundational principal in the AA program.
Encourage them to ask God for help. I understand this may be out of the question for those that do not believe, but if we really wish the best for this person then what does it matter if it could help them. For me God was the only way to achieve sobriety, I tried everything I could without Him and it was just too much, I could not do it on my own. No amount of treatment, therapy, doctors or medications could do the trick for me. I had brief periods of sobriety that were full of torturous cravings to use that always led back to the drug. God has helped me deal with that and I am no longer constantly provoked by my sick mind like I was before. Just the principal of believing in a higher being that actually cares for your benefit may be enough to kick start a psychological shift sufficient to bring change, and maybe it will be for them. The most important factor in this again is love and compassion in knowing that something out there cares about our issues, wants to hear from us and wants to help. Maybe they can get that from an individual, I can’t speak for anybody but myself, but no person was ever reliable enough to be there for me all the time and I needed 24/7 surveillance.
Addiction is a problem that affects a person on multiple fronts, socially, psychologically, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The deepest issue addicts face is disconnection from the things we love. We feel alone, a feeling that increases exponentially as we fall deeper into that pit. I think the solution comes with a plan of action that attacks all aspects of the disease and it starts with love. Complete, honest, genuine, real and unconditional love. Period, end of story. I realize this is a big challenge and addiction comes with loads of stigma and baggage, but we are conditioned as beings to be compassionate to each other and as difficult as it can be to empathize with a person who caused their own problems, it is the way to begin defeating the enemy. We kill it with kindness and love. I can’t begin to describe how finding people that truly care and understand has allowed me to break free of my personal bondage, and the growing support and love drives me further from my past every day. The gratitude I have for my support and God is indescribable and I truly am glad I went through what I did because I know I can help someone else. This is my challenge for you, reach out to the suffering, lend a helping hand and love the unlovable and see if we can’t start making a dent in the problem. I have yet to find a problem that cannot be solved with love and peace. Darkness cannot force out darkness, only light can penetrate that all consuming force field. Let your light shine in the dark and illuminate the inner beauty of a lost soul. I guarantee you will accidentally found joy along the way.