incredible-marketing Arrow
How We Feel When Supporting Our Loved Ones in Recovery

With loved ones in recovery from addiction, we can feel a wide range of emotions, many of which we’re hesitant and afraid to discuss because we want to show unconditional support, hopefulness, and optimism. We want our loved ones not only to feel supported by us but to be motivated and encouraged by us and by our presence in their lives. We want to be as positive as possible, as much of the time as we possibly can. This isn’t always realistic, though, because addiction is a serious and debilitating illness that can overtake the lives of not only the addicts themselves but also the lives of everyone who cares about them. It can be overwhelming, depressing and confusing to be the loved ones of addicts as they grapple with their addictions and struggle to get sober. Here are some of the many emotions we experience that we can be afraid to examine when we want to be strong for our loved ones.

Emotional Suppression

When we’re always trying to be positive, optimistic and strong in the face of our loved ones’ addictions, it can cause us to suppress all of the other emotions we’re feeling. This emotional suppression can be stifling and painful for us. We’re not being honest with ourselves about how we feel. We’re not reaching out for help. We see our loved ones as being in need of resources and support, not realizing that we too are in need of them because we are going through a recovery process of our own. Part of that recovery entails learning how to let some of these other seemingly negative emotions come to the surface, where we can be fully present with them, where we can let our conscious awareness help us to resolve them rather than burying them under layers of avoidance and denial.

Compounded Unwellness

When we continue to suppress how we really feel, we add to our own depression, anxiety, other mental health issues and struggles with addiction if we too are addicts. We might be desperate to self-medicate from the pain of dealing with a loved one struggling with addiction, and we might use drugs to cope, even if we only use intermittently or don’t suffer from full-blown addictions. We might find ourselves struggling to function normally in life because the stress of it all can be so overwhelming. We might develop sleeping disorders, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and other complexes. We might dwell on the problem at hand, obsessing about our loved ones’ addictions, compounding the stress we feel around the issue. We might stop dealing with the other parts of our lives, sacrificing, neglecting and even abandoning our other interests, our work, our passions, and even our other important relationships. This can add to our feelings of unwellness, our lack of fulfillment, our unhappiness, and depression. Watching our loved ones suffer from addiction, and suppressing how we really feel about all of it, can slowly cause the other areas of our lives, including our health, to deteriorate.

Anger, Frustration, and Resentment

These less than positive emotions that we’re so afraid to face, that we try so hard to suppress, can include the sheer frustration we feel towards our loved ones. Sometimes we find ourselves feeling angry and resentful towards them. We resent the self-destructive, harmful choices we think they’re making, especially if we’ve forgotten or have yet to realize that their addictions are an illness rather than a choice. We resent this difficult position we’re being forced into. We’re angry with them for taking up so much of our time, energy and money. We might be struggling to afford their costs of living on top of our own. We might be funding their addictions and buying them their drug of choice since withdrawing from it can be painful and even fatal. We might have made the difficult decision to continue to buy it for them until they’re in rehab, since the alternative, watching them suffer in the meantime, worrying their withdrawal symptoms might kill them, can be too painful to bear. We might resent that we’ve had to make this choice. We might be angry with the whole situation in general, not with our loved one specifically.

Are We Enabling?

When we feel frustrated and angry with our loved ones, our instinct is often to pull away from them. We tell ourselves that helping them is a form of enabling them. We’re making them more comfortable and making their lives easier, and we’re keeping them from pushing themselves out of their comfort zone. We’re facilitating their addictive lifestyles. We worry that continuing to support them is keeping from doing the difficult work of recovery. We worry that the more we help them, the longer they’ll postpone seeking professional treatment. When we do pull away, even when we just think about pulling away, we feel incredibly guilty. We tell ourselves that when you love someone, you don’t give up on them. We don’t want to let our loved ones down. We don’t want their suffering to continue. We want to do everything we can to alleviate that suffering, even if it does mean we’re enabling them. This can become quite a dilemma for us, and we can find ourselves feeling a great deal of inner turmoil, confusion, and conflict around the issue. We might deliberate as to what the best course of action might be to help not only the addicts in our lives but ourselves as well. We might feel we have nowhere to turn, no one who will understand us, our loved one, and our unique predicament. We can feel increasingly alone, isolated, misunderstood and unheard. We feel alone in our pain, and we don’t necessarily want to talk to our loved ones about it because we don’t want to add to their already mounting stress of having to live with addiction.

At The Guest House Ocala, you will be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion.

Call 855-483-7800 today for more information on our treatment programs.

3230 Northeast 55th Avenue Silver Springs, FL 34488