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Being the loved one of an addict can be a uniquely challenging experience. When we live with a loved one struggling with addiction, the challenges can increase exponentially. What is it like to live with an addict? What can we expect to experience and learn from living with an addict?

The Turmoil and Instability of Addiction

No two addicts are exactly alike, nor will their experiences be the same, but there are some commonalities among the experiences of many people living with addiction. Many addicts struggle with emotional difficulties, including intense mood swings, chronic emotional turmoil, and a destabilizing sense of inner conflict that affect every area of their lives. They often want to quit but feel powerless to be able to, and so they’re constantly at war with themselves. They often have very unhealthy relationships, especially with the other addicts in their lives, and these relationships can be full of patterns of codependence and enabling each other’s substance use. Addicts can sometimes have a hard time keeping a job. They might be financially and emotionally unstable. They might struggle to stay balanced or to feel whole within themselves. They suffer from a profound lack of inner peace. 

The Toll Addiction Takes On Us

When we live with an addict, we can reasonably expect to be impacted by their addiction. They might take their emotional pain out on us. Their substance abuse might cause an increase in worry and stress. We might develop health conditions of our own, including depression and anxiety, because of the sheer overwhelm and sadness we feel due to their addictions. We might try to prevent them from using. We might throw out their pills or empty their alcohol bottles. We might plead with them to quit, citing our love and concern for them as the reason why they should want to get better. We might not understand why they continue to choose their addictions over us, even once we’ve given them the ultimatum to choose between us and their drugs of choice. We can feel devastated, betrayed, and heartbroken when we realize that no amount of love, pleading, or persuading, can convince them to quit.

The Choice Lies With Them

When living with addicts, we eventually come to discover that the choice to recover belongs to them and them alone. We can’t make the choice for them, we can’t force them to quit, and we can’t expect anything we do to influence their decision. Addicts get sober when they decide to, when they’re ready to. In the meantime, living with them can be quite difficult and can put tremendous strain on our overall well-being.

At The Guest House Ocala, we have personal recovery experience and over 12 years in the recovery industry. We have helped countless people recover, and we’re here to help you too. Call 855-823-5463 today for more information.