Friday September 30th 2016

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How to live with an addict

Fatigue makes everything more difficult

Since my son’s birth, one and a half years ago, I have not had one decent night’s sleep. He wakes three to four times a night, screaming. Regardless of what time he goes to bed, he wakes at five am. I am a morning person. When my daughter was small, I used to wake an hour before her, so I could have time to myself, organize, and start my day. This small routine is what helped be more productive. With my son, this has been impossible, and almost every day has been a challenge. I go to sleep with him, exhausted, and wake long before I even want to, to him jumping on top of me. I am tired more, finding the mental focus to work has been difficult, and time alone has been almost impossible.

By the grace of God, two nights in a row my son slept through the night. The second day, I woke up before him, went downstairs and got everything ready before he awoke. I settled into my home office to check some work emails and when I turned around he was happily running into towards me smiling and saying, “Momma.” After the warmest hug, he sat still at breakfast with his sister and fed himself! Later, when I took him to the store, something I usually tried to avoid, he fell asleep I was able to shop in peace. While I was waiting on line, the man behind me struck up a conversation about all the organic and healthy food he saw in my cart. He turned out to be an extremely generous man who owned an entire ranch helping families in crisis, housing more than forty troubled children. He actually lived around the corner from me and I didn’t know it. What an inspirational conversation we had. The rest of the day was more of the same.

Then I realized something. If every night was difficult and sleep was sparse, it was going to affect my health, my mood, my behavior, my outlook, and my ability to be productive. Somehow I made it work, knowing it was a temporary situation and because of the love I have for my child.

Negativity precipitates negativity

I mentally pressed rewind and went back four years. At that time, I was not sleeping because I was up worried most nights when my husband would not come home. You see, codependency and control issues are often difficult to distinguish.   I was taking care of a little girl on my own, my husband was bringing drugs into my home, and we were slowly going into financial ruin.

Every time I would try to be positive, something bad would happen. I was in a vicious cycle but I did not know it. Negativity precipitates negativity. The more negative thoughts, behavior,and events that entered my life, the more negativity I attracted. If there was positive in my life, I could not see it or attract it.

Getting ready for change

When I had my moment of clarity and I realized I was sick of my life the way it was, I made a change. Letting go of my addict husband was a process that helped me.  I started going to meetings for families like mine, I sought a therapist, I mentally left my husband, and then shortly after, physically.

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I started to let a little positive in each day. I made myself read positive affirmations daily. I interviewed for a job opportunity I really wanted and got the job. My father happened to be retiring the same time. I had to work again full time to be the sole supporter of my daughter, and he offered to take on a bigger role and help take care of my child. I reconnected with friends I had lost touch with who helped nurse me back to life. Everything started to come together in a way that forced, even the once skeptical me, to believe was some divine synchronicity.

How to live with an addict: change the focus

When you are caught in the cycle of addiction, life may seem hopeless. If you decide to stop talking to the addict, or stay in their life, either way, you can still make a choice to silence the negative and accentuate the positive. Once you start looking for the positive things about you, and your life, you will start to find them. Once you find them, more will become attracted to you. Eventually you will be taking the emphasis off of the negativity of the addict’s behavior and focus on what is positive within you.

Living with an addict questions

Do you still have questions or want to share your situation with us? Please leave us a message in the comments section below. We do our best to respond to all questions personally and promptly.

Photo credit: Straight - Pride

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3 Responses to “How to live with an addict
heather
11:56 pm December 16th, 2014

My husband is really outta control! He lost both of his jobs within a couple days apart! He used to work for my landlord but stole from one of his tenets! Now in trouble wit his probation officer! He tried to reschedule his appointment but his Po said no I’m not rescheduling it again! I’m afraid he’s going to run and we have been together for 17 years! Have 3 kids together and one on the way! I’m so depressed don’t know how to cope with this! He said that he sorry it wont ever happen again but it goes on and on then he said he’s not going to get treatment! I asked him why he said it don’t work! I don’t know what to do! Please help me

Andrea
12:54 am January 1st, 2015

Hi I’m in a relationship with a drug addict for 3 years, our first year an halph he wasn’t using drugs, at least he wasn’t obvious. I loved him so much I gave him a emotional support in his recent detox and rehab. I’m codependent but because of his addiction I became more codependent. I just started to go to my codependent meetings. I’m very depressed because he is using drugs again. He left his rehab four months ago and he started to use drugs two months after rehab, he is using at least once a week. I feel so desrespected when he doesn’t come home. I can’t take that anymore. We just move to a beautiful house, we made big resolutions together. I just want be respected after all support I gave to him he should go to the meetings every week and at least don’t spend a night out. His attitudes with me is so toxic that I’m not sure if I still love him anymore.
Will be so sad to finish that relationship but every time he relapse and don’t do anything about it he pushes me away from him. I already recent him so bad. Today is December 31 we are going to be home, like any other day, we are like strangers living in the same house.

Amanda Andruzzi
4:14 pm April 17th, 2015

Andrea,
I apologize for the delayed response. Posts don’t always get to me and this one did not until now.

I doubt things have changed for you at least on his part and I know what you are feeling. I had great moments with my ex-husband but they were short-lived because the bad ones always overshadowed them. This is not the life you want and I want to help empower you to have the life you deserve, I highly doubt this is it.
The only way for you to take back the control and happiness into your own life is to try to stop worrying about and controlling him. You have given him ample opportunity and that is all you can do. The rest was up to him and it did not pan out. He is not ready to stop using and that is not your fault. Go with your instincts here; if you don’t love him for the way he is treating you that is good, if you think something is wrong to be in this relationship, it is, and if you are thinking of getting out, you should!
He can’t change right now or maybe ever but you can! You can let go and stop putting all your energy into him and put the energy back into making your life, the way you see it.
Andrea, I hope you start believing in yourself because once you do, you will no longer be able to tolerate this. Self-confidence is the number one attribute most co-addicts lack. I know because I was one. I wrote about it, to help other people who could not move on from a drug addicted loved one. I hope you keep searching for answers here, my blog and book are a wealth of information for you. I want to help, keep me posted.
Best, Amanda Andruzzi, published author, Hope Street, a moot from a co-addict

About Amanda Andruzzi

Amanda Andruzzi, MPH, AADP, CHES, is a Certified Health Coach, founder of Symptom-Free Wellness, and the author of Hope Street. Her first book, Hope Street memoir is an inspirational story of one woman's frightening journey of co-addiction that led her to uncover courage, unbelievable strength and overcome great adversity. She resides with her daughter, husband, and two sons in Florida.

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