In some ways, addiction is harder on friends and loved ones than for the person with the substance use disorder. Addiction can take the person you loved and twist them in someone unrecognizable. Your husband that attended every single T-ball game and school play is suddenly missing everything or forgetting that he was supposed to be there. Your boyfriend who could always be counted on to pick you up from work leaves you stranded late at night. Your wife, who was the one responsible for balancing the checkbook and keeping track of all the household expenses, is spending money left and right and your account ends up overdrawn. Of course, you understand that they aren’t purposely trying to hurt you, that they have a disease that’s taken over their life, but how long can you be expected to stand by and let it happen? Is it okay to leave, and how would you go about it?
Ask yourself first what your reasons for staying would be. Is it because you still love the person and truly want to help them get better, so you can spend the rest of your lives together? Is it because you think your children will be better off with both of you in their lives? Those are good reasons to stick around and try to make it work. On the other hand, some reasons just come down to fear, and those are things that you need to seriously consider letting go. Here are some examples of reasons you should not stay with someone:
- You’re afraid that they’ll commit suicide if you leave and/or they’ve threatened to do so in the past.
- If you kick them out of the house, they’ll be homeless.
- You’re afraid or embarrassed of having other people find out how bad things are.
- You’re scared to be alone.
- You think that you might never find someone else to be in a relationship with.
- You think that no one understands them or can help them besides you, and you’re afraid they might never get better without you.
Here’s the thing – you aren’t responsible for their choices or actions. Odds are that they have family or friends out there who can take them in at least temporarily, and if not, there is help available for people who are about to become homeless. You might be close to the person and think you know everything about them, but unless you’re an addiction specialist, you aren’t the best person to help them through their problems. They need to enter treatment or at least find a psychiatrist or therapist. As for threats of suicide or self-harm, that’s emotional abuse, and they’re just trying to guilt you into staying. Even if something were to happen to them, that is not your fault. You have to consider your own safety and wellbeing, as well as that of any children you might have, and trust the rest to the experts.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.