Choose happiness. At any time you possibly can, choosing happiness is so important. Here’s a lesson I learned on how sometimes, that choice isn’t always easy.
It’s true. Falling out of love can happen. But in my case, I didn’t exactly fall out. I was pushed out. By Heroin.
My husband and I had been together for five years by the time I found out he was addicted to drugs. We had been married for only one of those years, but still, in the time we had been together, I really thought I knew who he was.
But then his addiction started seeping into our relationship and he couldn’t hide it anymore. Money started disappearing. Fighting became more of a constant in our relationship. He started lying about small things that made no sense to be lying about. He stopped looking me in the eyes when he spoke to me. And there were more nights I woke up to find him sick on the couch than I could count.
I didn’t know at the time, but these were all warning signs that the person I loved was falling head first into the cycle of drug addiction.
Many of you who know me and are reading this may think this is a bit of TMI here. I beg to differ. Important stories can make people uncomfortable. Tough. You don’t have to read this. For everyone with a loved one going through something like this, and for everyone going through it themselves, this is for you.
1. Stop Beating Yourself Up: You are not the cause of your loved one’s addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous teaches addicts to accept the fact addiction is a disease they did not choose to have. Though the idea is controversial, one thing is true: It may or may not be your loved one’s fault — but it is certainly NOT yours. Stop thinking back to every stressful situation you may or may not have contributed to. And Stop thinking that you are to blame. You are not the cause. Something bigger is
2. Stop Enabling: There is so much literature on this, and if your loved one really does have an addiction, I suggest you pick up a series of self help books on this topic to educate yourself. I’ll keep it short though: Don’t make using drugs easier for the one you love… because if you do, you are only making it harder for them to stop
3. Educate Yourself: There is so much many of us do not know about the struggle of being an addict. Even though I have been exposed to the drug world in my life — I admit there is so much I am not aware of. The best thing you can do for your loved on is to try to understand as best you can. Read books, speak to experts, go visit an AA Meeting. There are so many ways you can be more of a value to your loved one, but the best way to be a solid support system is by being an educated one. So go read a book. (Note: In my experience, reading memoirs of struggling addicts was a huge awakening experience for me. I have selected a few of my favorite for you at the bottom of this post.)
4. Don’t Compromise Your Own Values: This is something we should always live by, but is especially true in situations like this. It is really important to do your best to not lose yourself in the process of trying to save someone you love. If you find yourself trying to be there for someone that in your heart you know is wrong for you — walk away. And that leads me to the next point.
5. It is OKAY to Walk Away: In my situation, I struggled for about a year trying to help the person I loved. So many people in my life were traditional and old fashion in their views of marriage “is forever,” and I was so afraid to let everyone down. Eventually I walked away because I knew the relationship was only providing me an incredibly unhealthy foundation for my own life. Let me be clear, if you love someone, it is okay to fight for them during a time like this. It’s okay to stay and be there for them and try to encourage them to kick their addiction. But if you feel like in your gut this is only the beginning of a disastrous life — if you feel like in your heart of hearts that this person you love will only be harmful to the potential happiness you have for your own life — and if you feel like the pros of leaving outweigh the cons — Walk Away. Don’t look back. I still send my x-husband light and love every moment I think of him. But I walked away. I walked away because I knew my life would never be the way I wanted it to be if I had stayed. And I knew he wasn’t ready to give up his love for a drug to stay in a loving relationship with me. Leaving was painful, but it was the best thing I could do for myself. You are all you have.
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