You can't save an alcoholic or drug addict, but there are ways to support them.

I've dealt with my share of loved ones that battled addiction. My dad was an alcoholic,  and my mom was addicted to cigarettes. My dad died in early death, which I believe that had something to do with the years that he drank. My mom smoked for over 40 years, and fell prey to lung cancer and died early as well. It's a shame and it's disheartening the grip that addiction can have on a person.

I wish I could have saved them. I wish I would have known more as a young adult to support them. 

I know others who are struggling with addiction now. I wish I could save them or fixed them. Or get them to see the light or reach out for help or something. That's not how it works. However, I do believe there are things that we can do for our loved ones who are struggling with addiction. For their sake and for our sake.

Understand you cannot save that person

Addiction is not a rational disease. Have you ever tried to reason with someone who doesn't believe that they are an addict? It doesn't go very well. You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it.

Empower yourself 

Empower yourself by learning about the disease of addiction and considering attending a support group for loved ones of addicts. There's Al-Anon and Nar-anon and for some co-dependents anonymous can be of help. You can't fix the addict, but you can work on yourself, and there's a whole lot you can learn through these support groups that will help you best be able to encourage and support your loved one.

Learn what enabling is and make a commitment to stop doing it

Enabling means you doing or saying anything that would promote your loved one to keep drinking or drugging. This means ignoring the problem, covering for your loved one for words or behavior due to the addiction, giving your money when he is responsible for himself , putting up with any type of abuse, taking care of their responsibilities, cutting them slack because of this addiction , and so on. 

Have a real heart-to-heart conversation

The things that you're writing about here on the Forum, some of that can be shared in a heart-to-heart conversation with your loved one. I remember wondering about a loved one, whether I should sit and have the conversation or just let it slide. there's a part of us that doesn't want to address the elephant in the room. Sit down and calmly State your concern, and let him or her know that you are concerned out of love.

Offer to attend a 12-step support group with him or her. It's worth putting it out there. The answer might be no or maybe it will be a yes. At the very least, they'll know that when they're ready, you're willing to attend that meeting with them. 

Learn to love from a distance 

If your loved one is deep in active addiction, they might do you well to lovingly detach some. Learn to love him from a distance and not take everything so personal. You've got your life and he has his. if you've stated your concerns, and nothing is changing, and you're willing to stick it out with this person, then focus on you and love from a distance. I'm not saying this will be easy at all. I can say that as a mother of a young adult son, I've had to do this and sometimes it really hurts. However, to be Overly Attached was making me crazy. 

The disease of addiction, like I said, it's not rational. It can drive everyone Bonkers and really hurt people. If you're struggling or if you have a loved one who is struggling, my heart goes out to you. If you find you cannot cope on your own, reach out for help via a support group or a counselor. 

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