Today I’m honored to feature a guest post by Candace Plattor, author of Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Top 10 Survival Tips for Loving Someone with an Addiction.
Coming Face-to-Face With Reality
When we are faced with a difficult situation in our lives, most of us want to find a way to resolve it as quickly as possible so that we can feel better. No matter what kind of problem we are dealing with, being able to first understand and accept the reality of the situation will be instrumental in being able to resolve it. This is particularly true when we are challenged by a loved one’s addiction.
Learning how to deal with this uncomfortable reality is the most important first step in “surviving” when you love an addicted person. Things are as they are, right now, in this moment—and although it may seem easier to stay in a sort of fantasy space where you can continue to believe that things are going to magically get better, there is no such magic. You will not be able to change anything that you’re not willing to acknowledge—because activating your awareness will always be what brings about new action.
Unfortunately, things will not get better in our lives just because we wish they would.
But that is why making the choice to come face-to-face with reality—as difficult as that may seem—is a courageous act. It often means accepting that parts of your life may be out of control as a result of loving someone who is engaging in addictive behaviors. Some of these addictions can include mind-altering substances such as drugs and alcohol, as well as mood-altering addictions such as eating disorders, compulsive overspending, smoking, being “glued” to the Internet, gambling, or codependency in relationships.
Sometimes your own dysfunctional behaviors may develop in response to someone else’s addictions.
For example, you may be feeling a constant, gnawing worry that you live with every day—an anxiety that at times borders on panic. Because you love someone with an addiction, you may find yourself being asked for money often and feeling guilty if you say no. Perhaps you are watching everything you say and do, in order to “keep peace” in your home and not make the addict angry. Or you may be asked to do favors for your addicted loved one on a consistent basis, such as watching their children or doing their errands, and you may not know how to say no.
Whatever your particular situation is, acceptance of what you are dealing with in your life is an imperative first step when loving an addicted person.
Candace Plattor graduated from the Adler School of Professional Psychology with a Masters degree (M.A.) in Counseling Psychology, in 2001. For over 20 years in her private practice, she’s been helping clients and their loved ones understand their addictive behaviors and make healthier life choices.
Candace’s award-winning book Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Top 10 Survival Tips for Loving Someone With an Addiction is available through her website, www.candaceplattor.com/products, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters, and bookstores throughout Canada and the US.
Her second book, Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Workbook, was just named a Winner in the 2012 International Book Awards in the Health: Addiction & Recovery category, and is also a Finalist in the Self-Help: Relationships category. It, too, is available through her website, and in bookstores throughout Canada and the US.
Please visit www.lovinganaddict.com for information.