The Ripple Affect of Addiction

It’s not just the person who has an imbalanced relationship with alcohol (or any other substance) that is impacted, the people around them are affected to. There is a ripple effect.

I know how difficult it is watch people you love doing themselves harm and feeling powerless to do anything about it. When someone you love, whether that be a child, a parent, a partner or a friend has issues with alcohol, powerless is an overwhelming feeling.

Because really – there is not much that you can do. This is not a problem that you can fix for them, they can only fix it for themselves. When they are struggling to fix it for themselves, or have no apparent urge to do so, that is really hard to take.

You’ve probably asked them to stop or pointed out they are doing harm to themselves on many occasions and nothing changes. Or it does, but not for long.

At first, this is frustrating beyond belief. You have thoughts like “They obviously just don’t give a shit about themselves or about me to allow themselves to continue doing this.” Each time they stop you feel hopeful that this time will be the time, until you become jaded by that, you’ve heard it all before. It’s very hard not to get angry and pissed off, because it hurts like hell.

“Am I not enough? Did I do something wrong? Is this because of me?”

Guilt can be very heavy. You need to put it down.

You cannot make them stop. All you can do is continue to be supportive and encouraging to them when they are working on things for themselves. Point them in the direction of support when they ask. Listen. Be there.

Do your best not to support their drinking. Don’t drop them at the pub, don’t pop to the shop for them, don’t grab them a can from the fridge, don’t drink with them. If they are going to drink, they can do so without you. Tell them explicitly what your boundaries are and why, and stick to them.

It’s important that you don’t allow their drinking to be an excuse to treat you poorly. Whether it’s your kid, your parent, your partner or your friend, you do not need to stick around to be verbally, emotionally or physically abused. If that is your situation, I hope you have the strength to remove yourself from it. You can love them and support them from a distance if needs be.

I encourage you reach out and get support for yourself. Maybe you can’t change the situation for that person, but you can change how you think, feel and deal with it for yourself. You can get help remembering your worth, you are enough.

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