Get Confidential Help 24/7
When someone you love has an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it can be difficult to keep yourself healthy. Your concern for them may eventually become all-consuming as you see the toll the disease is taking on every aspect of their life, from the physical to the financial. Living with an addict can also affect your mental health, as you lose sleep worrying about your loved one or begin to feel hopeless that nothing you do or say will convince them to seek help.
The more time and energy you expend on your loved one, the fewer resources you’ll have remaining to address your needs. Due to this, you need to be strategic about protecting your physical and mental health by practicing self-care and creating healthy boundaries.
How to Improve Self-Care
Living with an addict requires you to find various ways to restrict the outsized influence substance abuse can have on you. Because it can be so stressful to have an addicted loved one in your life, you’ll need to develop healthy coping skills that help regulate your mood and lower your blood pressure.
Setting aside time to take care of yourself allows you to be more emotionally available for your substance-abusing spouse, friend or family member, as well as anyone else who might need you. It also enables you to focus on other things in life aside from your loved one’s self-destructive behavior. Along the way, you’ll improve your mental well-being by giving yourself a break from the demands of your daily life. People who practice self-care are less likely to experience stress-related burnout and are more resilient and empathetic toward others.
Ideas for self-care activities include:
- Taking up a new hobby that allows you to express yourself creatively
- Going for a walk in the park and experiencing the benefits of being in nature
- Getting a massage
- Doing yoga or practicing meditation
- Taking a bath
- Baking bread or dessert
- Writing in a journal
- Doing a crossword puzzle
- Treating yourself to your favorite meal
How to Set Boundaries
Boundaries are an essential part of healthy relationships, but especially for those living with an addict. What are boundaries? Essentially, they are a set of guidelines for how you live your life, what you value most and how you expect others to treat you.
If you often feel lost, depressed or desperate, setting boundaries with your addicted loved one allows you to regain control over a frequently chaotic situation. Here are some examples of boundaries you can create.
- “I won’t lend you any more money to buy drugs.”
- “I am no longer allowing substance abuse of any kind in this house.”
- “I refuse to cover for you anymore.”
- “I won’t change to accommodate you and your habit.”
- “Your drinking and drug buddies are no longer welcome here.”
Once you have established boundaries, you must be consistent with them. Addicts can be manipulative, and they will find ways to exploit any loopholes you leave. Be clear with your loved one about what the consequences will be if they overstep their bounds – for example, will you call the police if you find illegal drugs in your home? Will you tell an alcoholic they need to find somewhere else to spend the night if they come home drunk again? Yes, it can be frightening to enforce these rules and see the outcomes, but you can’t continue to enable your loved one if you expect them to change their behavior.
Living With an Addict – Getting Help for Someone You Care About
People with drug and alcohol problems often prioritize use of their chosen substance above all else. However, you shouldn’t lose hope. Despite the challenges of doing so, you can help convince them to seek treatment through tools such as an intervention. Continue to express your love and support, and communicate that you want to see them get better.
Evidence-based drug and alcohol rehabs like Beach House rely on a combination of clinical expertise and behavioral counseling to approach addiction holistically. Our treatment approach tackles both the mental and physical aspects of the disease, as well as its root causes, to rebuild a healthy life. If you are living with an addict, don’t wait another day to reach out to us.